Author Archive: Tracy Davis

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By August 24, 2006 Read More →

Atlantis Crew arrive in Florida

[color=#6200aa]The Crew for STS-115 arrived at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida this afternoon ready for scheduled launch on Sunday 27 August at 4.30pm EDT (9.30pm BST).[/color]

Mission STS-115 Shuttle Atlantis

[color=#6200aa]The offical countdown began at noon EDT at T -43 hours and will hopefully conclude at 4.30pm EDT Sunday with the sucessful launch of Atlantis. The Offical countdown includes build in hold times varying in length from 10 minutes upto 12 or more hours.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]NASA’s weather officer is currently predicting a 30% chance of the weather stopping the launch on Sunday – which is very good for Florida at this time of year as afternoon thunderstorms are the norm.[/color]


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By August 20, 2006 Read More →

Atlantis ready for STS-115

[color=#6200aa]At a press conference late Wednesday, following the two-day flight readiness review at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA’s senior managers announced an Aug. 27 launch date for mission STS-115, resuming construction of the International Space Station. Launch is slated for 4:30 p.m. EDT.[/color]

Atlantis STS-115 Crew Photo

[color=#6200aa]NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said, “This was another great review and I’m looking forward to a great launch.” [/color]

[color=#6200aa]The Shuttle Mission Management Team conducts the review two weeks prior to the opening of the launch window for each space shuttle mission. The group conducts a comprehensive evaluation of all activities and elements necessary for the safe and successful performance of shuttle mission operations — from the prelaunch phase through post-landing — including the readiness of the vehicle, flight crew and payloads.[/color]


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By August 19, 2006 Read More →

Tracy reviews the Orange SPV M3100

[color=#6200aa]Matt has given you a run down of the technical stuff in his review so this is going to be my view of using and living with the Orange SPV M3100![/color]

[color=#6200aa]My previous phone was a T-mobile MDA (Jam) which is pink – very girly! [/color]

Hermes vs MDA

M3100 vs MDA

[color=#6200aa]The main things I use my phone for, apart from making calls, are text messages, email, calendar and the task list. I also browse the web and play games while out at shows with our dog Bailey. I therefore made these top of list when testing the device 😛 [/color]

[color=#6200aa]Obviously the biggest differences are that the SPV M3100 is slightly larger than my MDA mainly because of the slide out keyboard. I decided that the size issue was not too much of a problem as it still fits in the phone pockets in both my handbag and briefcase. [/color]

[color=#6200aa]The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to, while it is much easier than having to type using the stylus on the screen I found that the ‘Backspace’ key is in the wrong place! I keep typing ‘P’ instead but I am sure with time and practice I will get over this small problem. I’ve also noticed that two of the keys (the ‘T’ and the ‘S’) are a bit lazy and require a bit more pressure to make them work. When typing this is a real pain.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]Having the keyboard has made using the email and text messaging easier and quicker. I really miss pocket MSN though, as I like using MSN messenger but I don’t like Agile Messenger much. Bearing in mind that the M3100 uses a Microsoft OS I can’t see why they have removed MSN. Very strange! So now I can type nice and fast but have no MSN to chat on! :([/color]

[color=#6200aa]Being an Orange phone the SPV M3100 comes with an Orange toolbar on the today screen which is enabled by default. Initailly I did find this useful but then I tried to customise the today screen as I wanted to be able to see my upcoming appointments and if I have any unread messages or active tasks. Using the Orange today screen plugin means that you can have one or the other but not both so I ended up with the screen looking exactly like my old phone! So someone somewhere has really wasted their time with that, surely it could and should have been able to do both![/color]

[color=#6200aa]My second disappointment came when I discovered that they still haven’t bothered to change the standard games – I am completely bored and fed up with the existing Solitaire and Jaw Breaker (cunnigly renamed Bubble Breaker!) and had really expected something new by now but apparently I am going to have keep paying for games to play![/color]

[color=#6200aa]I can’t comment on video calling as other than Matt, none of my friends have 3G phones 🙂 and we don’t have 3G coverage at home (we barely have any coverage so 3G would really be an upgrade!!) but then I can’t say that it is anything that I would ever really use but might be fun to play with. [/color]

[color=#6200aa]The 2.0 mega pixel camera on the phone is excellent and much better than any phone camera on the previous phones I have owned. The ‘flash’, however, is a complete waste of time.[/color]

[color=#6200aa]I also found the little scroll wheel on the phone very useful when browsing the web and email. It is very neat, and reminded me of the wheel on the Blackberry! On the other hand the stylus is quite frankly a pain in the bum – it is just too small and fiddly and, on the device I have, is actually very difficult to get out as it always feels like it’s stuck!![/color]

[color=#6200aa]As for the case that comes with the SPV M3100, while there was a temporary enjoyment factor, flipping it open to see how strong the magnet is for closing it, I feel that the case is actually worse than the case that came with my MDA and I still won’t be using it day to day. The only time I can imagine using is when I want to clip it on to my belt when I am working outside or out with Bailey, the rest of time I will do as I do now and just put the M3100 straight into my bag! I find all of the cases for these phones too fiddly and when its ringing you just can’t get to it quick enough to answer the damn thing![/color]

[color=#6200aa]In conclusion, the only thing that would sway me in to swapping to the Orange SPV M3100 over keeping my nice pink MDA is the slide out keyboard. When I consider the things I use a phone for there’s just not enough improvement over my existing phone and I certainly would not pay £150 for the M3100![/color]


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Posted in: Reviews
By August 5, 2006 Read More →

Review of Sony DCR-HC35 Handycam

[color=#6200aa]Matt bought me the Sony Handycam DCR-HC35 for my birthday this year and as I have now had it a couple of months I thought I would write a review of it. [/color]

Sony DCR-HC35

[color=#6200aa]The Camera is very small and light, and has been easy to use. But I will come back to those things later. [/color]

[color=#6200aa]In the box you get: [/color]

  • [color=#6200aa]The DCR HC35 Camera [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Handycam station [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]AC-L25 AC Adapter [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]AV Cable Stereo AV [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Lens Cap [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]NP-FP30 Rechargeable Battery Pack [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Picture Package Editing Software [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]USB Cable [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]USB Driver [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Wireless Remote Commander RMT-830 [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]The first thing you need to do when you get the camera is charge the battery – for this you have two options you can either put it in its docking station or you plug the charger into the camera direct. The battery that is supplied with the Camera takes less than two hours to charge. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The only thing that is a bit annoying is you do not get any tapes in the box – so if you buy this remember to pick up a pack of tapes at the same time! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Once the battery was charged and I had a tape I picked the camera up and started using it without looking at the instruction book at all – it is that easy to use! The camera runs through a quick set up which just involves entering the date and time and then you can start using it. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]It has as ‘Easy’ button on it for first timers to use but I didn’t find this necessary at all as it is easy enough to use anyway. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The viewing screen flips out and also swivels up to 180 degrees and has a touch screen facilities for using the menus. It also has record and zoom buttons next to the viewing screen. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have used the camera at several dog agility shows to video my friends and it is so lightweight that it is easy to carry around and I have really nice footage of this fast moving sport! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have since bought an extra battery and a carry case to keep it all in! But although I have bought another battery I have not used it until I have run out of battery and needed to change and I have used it quite a bit in one day! Although I think that when we go to Florida that may well change! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have also installed the software on my PC and copied it on to there so at some point in the future I can edit it or put it onto DVD. The software supplied is very basic and if you are into editing you may wish to look at different software. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]You are also supplied with a cable for viewing on a TV and this can be plugged into the camera direct or to the docking station. The video I took looked great on a large screen. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]As well as video the camera does take still photos. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Overall I think this camera is excellent – I can’t fault it! I love my birthday present! 😀 [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Tracy [/color]

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    Posted in: Cameras
    By August 1, 2006 Read More →

    Atlantis rollout postponed

    [color=#6200aa]The rollout to the launch pad of the Space Shuttle Atlantis has been postponed for a second time due to unfavourable weather conditions.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The rollout is now schedule to start no earlier than Wednesday at 2am EDT.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The launch window for this mission to resume construction of the International Space Station opens Aug. 27. During their 11 days in space, the astronauts will install the integrated P3/P4 truss segment with its two large solar arrays that will provide one-fourth of the total power generation capability of the completed station.[/color]


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    By July 30, 2006 Read More →

    Atlantis ready to move to Launch Pad

    [color=#6200aa]Space Shuttle Atlantis has now been mounted on to her Solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank and it set to move to launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Monday.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Atlantis will make the 4 mile journey from the vehicle assembly building to the pad on top of crawler transporter and it will take approximately 6 hours. The shuttle’s planned move is scheduled to begin at 12.01am EDT (04.01 GMT) on Monday 31st July.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Final preparation will then be carried out in preparation for launch of mission STS-115 due on 28th August. The mission will continue the construction of the International Space Station.[/color]


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    By July 20, 2006 Read More →

    Discovery takes 93 Hits

    [color=#6200aa] After Discovery’s safe landing on Monday from mission STS-121, the Orbiter was towed to the Obiter Processing facility where it will be prepared for it’s next mission STS-116.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Preliminary inspection of the heat shield has identified 93 hits with 11 being over one inch in size. During the post mission press conference it was said that Discovery’s heat shield was ‘One of the cleanest [in terms of tile damage] that they had ever seen’. 93 hits sounds like a lot to me. Does anyone have data for previous missions? [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Meanwhile Atlantis is still being prepared for its next mission STS-115 due for launch on 28 August 2006.[/color]


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    By July 17, 2006 Read More →

    Upcoming shuttle flights

    [color=#6200AA]According to the post-flight press conferences for STS-121 they have the following shuttle flights planned:[/color]
    [color=#6200AA]Atlantis – STS-115 due for launch on 28th August at the earliest[/color]
    [color=#6200AA]Discovery – provisional launch date of 14th December.[/color]

    [color=#6200AA]Atlantis is due for Rollover to the vehicle assembly building on Tuesday 25 July (maybe monday 24th) followed by rollout to the launch pad a week later.[/color]

    [color=#6200AA]The next shuttle flights are concentrating on construction of the International Space Station. ISS is due to be completed by September 2010.[/color]

    [color=#6200aa]NASA are also looking into the possibility of doing a service on the Hubble telescope during one mission as well. The decision regarding whether this will be possible will be taken this Autumn.[/color]


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    By July 17, 2006 Read More →

    STS-121 Crew have left Discovery

    [Color=#6200AA]The STS-121 crew have disembarked the space shuttle Discovery after it touched down safely at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 9.14 EDT. The crew are taking a walk around the shuttle before returning to their crew quarters.[/color]

    [Color=#6200AA]Discovery’s mission covered more than 5 million miles and the Shuttle came to a stop at 9:15:49EDT with a mission elapsed time of 12 Days 18 hours 37 minutes and 54 seconds.[/color]


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    By July 17, 2006 Read More →

    Discovery Home Safe

    [Color=#6200AA]Space shuttle Discovery has touched down safely at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.[/color]


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