Data & beer; Beer & data.

Samsung Galaxy Camera review

Posted: January 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

So Weezer played in town & I managed to score a couple tickets.  My Dear Employer also happened to start selling the new Samsung Android cameras (EK-GC100).  I thought I’d test the camera out at the gig & see what it could do (full disclosure: I requested a camera to borrow & test out; I was not paid or asked to do so).

We were seated at the back of the venue, directly in line with the stage but many, many meters away.  Couple that with my not-so-steady hand & a lot of the photos turned out quite blurry.  I’ve kept & published them to give an idea of the ratio of good-to-terrible shots.

Here’s a few shots for comparison.  It’s not a particularly fair “review” since these are all dark concert shots, but you get the idea.  None of these pictures have been post-processed, other than what the device did through its presets.

From our seats, no zoom.


Almost full zoom.


Full zoom (21x optical).


It does some great video, too.  The big disappointment from concert filming was the huge audio clipping & distortion.  We were miles back so I suspect this is not going to be a camera to use at any concert.  That said, the video quality was great.

Outside of these dark concert shots, the camera has some pretty cool features for photos of people.  Back in about 2006 I saw an IEEE magazine article talking about the “next greatest thing” where they had camera prototypes that would take a series of shots, perform facial recognition and let you choose which face shot to use for each detected person in the photo.  This camera can do that! If I can hang on to it a little longer I’ll grab some shots and share some samples.

The other feature worth mentioning is that this is a full Android device.  The camera takes a micro-SIM and has WiFi, so you can use it on the go.  Being a Samsung, it comes pre-installed with Dropbox to keep your pics in The Cloud™, as well as Instagram and some pretty fun photo manipulation apps that will probably never get used.

I’m a Flickr user and keep my phone pics backed up using Photo Mule (it appears to be missing from Play these days, but I keep the APK here).  The Flickr app is also unsupported for this device – a huge bummer, but I installed from APK.  Once  past these annoyances, the rest of the important photo apps were next: Add A Cat & Rage Face Photo.

The Android OS interface is snappy and keeps a “Camera” icon on each of the home screens; handy for flicking back to Camera mode with short notice.  The battery life is OK – it is by now means excellent but considering what the thing is doing, it lasts a decent while.  I was taking photos or videos & had the the running for about 3-4 hours, with regular passes to friends to play, and had 54% remaining after the gig.

I am by no means a photo nut and this camera is not for photo nuts.  It is a networked camera, of medium complexity, for people looking for a point-and-click device.  At $439 (from Kogan, not my employer) I would buy one for myself.

Link Shrink 0.2

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Just a quick one this time, Link Shrink 0.2 is in the market.  Should hit the “100 downloads” mark soon, woo :)


  • Links can now be shared out through the clipboard (i.e. copy & paste)
  • App handles already shortened URLs gracefully
  • Slightly more sensible logic around the API credential validation

Github. Market.

Link Shrink 0.1

Posted: May 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I’ve just put together a 0.000000001 version of my URL shortening tool for Android, called “Link Shrink”.

It integrates into the Android OS fairly tightly, at the moment only through the “Share Page” actions (technically speaking, android.intent.action.SEND + android.intent.category.DEFAULT + text/plain, copied straight from the Android browser) so when browsing (or doing anything else that supports URL sharing) you can hit share, hit Link Shrink & it will generate a URL and send it back through the Share Page “intent” again so you can pass it on to SMS, email, delicious or whatever tickles your fancy.

Since it’s only a 0.1, it only supports the basics.

  • URL shortening using (and only
  • Users can optionally provide their own login & API key to add URLs to their account
  • The only option for what to do with the shortened URL is re-sharing

There are plans for the future though and I’m kinda sweet on this tiny little app so it’ll probably be sooner rather than later.

  • UI improvements
  • Better error handling (e.g. detect when attempting to shorten an already shortened URL)
  • More shortening services (if anyone has preferences please let me know, I only use
  • More things to do with shortened URLs, such as:
    • Provide text boxes with long & short URLs for copy & paste
    • Send directly to the clipboard
    • Open stats page
    • Prompt user every time for one of the above
  • Better configuration screen to support the above
  • Your idea here!

Ultimately though, the most important feature (URL shortening) is done & working fairly solidly on the emulator & my phone so I think I’ll let it loose on the market.  Please whack a comment in or email me if you have any feedback, problems, ideas or suggestions.

As always, the source is on Github, plus you can get the latest APK from my Dropbox, plus it’s on the market (scan the barcode below or click here if you’re on an Android phone).

Link Shrink QR code

Meat in a Park + Layar Integration

Posted: December 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

BBQs are awesome.  Augmented reality is awesome.  Imagine (if you will, nay, can) the awesomeness unleashed by combining the two.  Well brace yourself, it’s been done.  Combining the oh-so-great Meat in a Park API with the augmented reality browser Layar for Android (and yes, iPhone too), I present “the meat in a park layar” (thanks, I know it’s a great name). Use it to find a BBQ near you (although the MiaP service only has data for Australia – if this changes then I’ll lift the country restrictions).

Meat in a Park Layar Screenshot Meat in a Park map view Meat in a Park list view

It’s been approved, so first get Layar from the Android Market or the iPhone App Store and you can find it listed under ‘Eating and Dining’. As always the code is on github.