Archive for September 2012

Solar Decathlon 2012

Spent the afternoon at the Solar Decathlon Exhibition in Casa de Campo. The final few photos a band playing using pedal powered amps etc. By coincidence, my brother is running a couple of pedal power workshops in October at the Sunseed Desert Project in Andalusia – more info.

Looking at replacement smartphones…

I’ve just bought myself a new smartphone. Well, not so new as I got it secondhand on ebay (although it’s in perfect condition)… an HTC Sensation. On our projects we’re currently using HTC Hero phones, these have been working really well for us, but we need to start looking at some alternative options. Specifically looking at models which are a year or so old, so the prices aren’t too high (my top limit was £150), but are still going to work well for the next few years.

It was basically a choice between a Samsung Galaxy S2 or an HTC Sensation and the HTC won out on price.

Although I’ve only had it a few days, so far I’ve been really impressed, it feels like a big step up from the Hero. It had already been unlocked and updated to Android 4, but I’ve not rooted it yet. For us, looking to provide video content on the phones and other content and activities, the larger screen size will make a significant difference. Also the faster processor avoids the stuttering I was getting when trying to run some videos on the Hero.

I’m sure that as the prices come down over the months, and we still think they’ll work well for us, they’ll make a great option as alternatives to the HTC Heroes. To give an idea about how quickly the prices are coming down, the first HTC Hero we bought (secondhand) around Easter 2011 was about £150, then a few months ago (May 2012) I got one for £40.

A point to note for those interested, the Android 4 (or at least the version I have) will display Ge’ez text by default, I didn’t need to install a new system font. Plus the font that it has looks much smoother/cleaner than the one we needed to install on the Heroes.

Sistema de la Cubada Grande

It’s been a couple of months since I was last caving, as I was away most of July and during August there was only the exploration trip, which unfortunately I couldn’t go on, so good to get caving again. This weekend we were in Sistema de la Cubada Grande, on the border between Burgos and Cantabria. A group from the caving club in Burgos joined us, so there was 12 of us in all. There are 3 (perhaps more?) entrances to the cave, one of which (CM6) is over 150m pitch to enter, so we opted for entrance CM20. Once inside there is a choice of 35m or 50m pitch, so we divided into 2 groups for this since there were so many of us. The section with the crystals was very impressive.

On Sunday we had a short walk up into the mountains nearby.