22 Mar 2011

The Warwick Rescue Robot Project

A team of engineering students at the University of Warwick is currently developing a rescue robot controlled via Microsoft's Xbox Kinect.

According to reports, the Xbox Kinect is much cheaper and has many advantages as compared to the laser-based equipment which was used to control earlier versions of the robot.

The students are supported and assisted by two PhD students, three University academics and they along with some technicians make up the Warwick Mobile Robotics team. They won the first place and best in class for mobility in the RoboCup Rescue German Open 2010 in Magdeburg, Germany.

The current team is looking forward to retaining the top position in this year's Robocup Rescue German Open 2010/11 as well. They are also working on a second robot along with the Computer Science Department in the University, to programme the autonomous robot.

The Warwick Mobile Robotics team are trying to raise sponsorship for the project so that they can make it to Istanbul for the Robocup Rescue World Championships in July.

20 Mar 2011

Blogger Adds New Features

Blogger has been quietly adding some new great features. These include some which have been on my wish list since 2007 (Read 'New features in Blogger that we want to see').

New widgets you can add to your Blogger blog include

  • Follow by Email which makes it easy for your readers to follow your blog via email. 
  • Popular Posts which displays a list of popular posts on your blog. 
  • Blog's stats: Just to show off I guess. Not a good idea unless you have a good number of visitor.
The great news is that there are more features on the way. Really makes me feel happy that I stayed on with Blogger rather than jump ship to Wordpress powered blogs.

Anyway, here is a video of What’s New With Blogger.

16 Mar 2011

3D Assisted Tours on Android

By Malik Arman Morshidi

Interactive digital map

A couple of weeks back, I went to Oxford for a day out with my family. As usual, my wife researched the “must visit” places around the area a few days before the trip. Upon arriving there, I took out my new HTC Desire HD which I bought last January to test an application called Locations.
This app is the perfect travelling companion and you never have to worry about carrying your guidebooks or maps around anymore. Nearby “Places of Interests” are sorted according to distance and are indicated by arrows pointing out from where ever you are standing. If you tap on the “Show on map”, you will be shown the map of the surrounding area. What is even more appealing is that as you turn around, the map will automatically reorient itself. So, you don’t have to worry about finding which way to turn, thanks to the built-in compass and the GPS receiver. Without them, this application won’t work.

3D assisted tour

Another appealing feature I used during the tour was the map with virtual 3D buildings.

The Maps application on my HTC Desire HD, features the latest Google Maps 5.0 for Android. This version supports 3D mapping, vector-based mapping, offline rerouting, and navigating. I was so amazed by this app as I walked down the streets in Oxford. It can show you the exact location of where you were standing with the virtual 3D buildings surrounding you.

Now, in case you are wondering, how on Earth Google manages to model thousands of buildings on the surface of the earth? I will be blogging about that in my next post.

Malik Arman Morshidi is an entrepreneur who loves technology. He is currently researching 3D object tracking at the School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry.

12 Mar 2011

Samsung Galaxy Ace

The new successor to my phone the Samsung Galaxy Portal is out. It is called the Samsung Galaxy Ace and features include a 800MHz Application Processor, 3.5”Capacitive touch screen and 5MP Mega Pixel Auto Focus Camera and LED flash.

It runs on the Android Froyo+ version 2.21.

Check out the video about the Samsung Galaxy Ace:

9 Mar 2011

Excited about TeamViewer

One of my friends was really excited about a conferencing software which he had just came across  called TeamViewer and he was telling everybody about it on Facebook. My friend is now using the free (non-commercial) version  to provide online lectures/teaching to students and interested individuals (including videos, audio and of course powerpoint slides). It also allows online discussions and lots more.

Apparently a lot of other guys have used it and I wonder why I have never heard about it.Everyone seems to have positive reviews about the software. One guy said that it was really user friendly.

The one negative comment I read was from a guy in India who mentioned that Internet speeds in some regions affected it's quality due to the lag. I don't think I should have any problems here and I am downloading it right now.

I am really excited about it as well as this is something I can bring up when I meet up with the other blended learning project team at the Warwick Business School. I hope to have a review up soon.

If you have tried TeamViewer, I would love to hear your comments about the software. Is it as good as everyone is making it out to be?

UK Personal Blogs

This is a list of personal blogs in the UK. When I initially started out my PhD research, I had a really hard time trying to find a database of personal blogs in the UK. So I decided to make my own list and hopefully other researchers would find this helpful as well.

The list is an ongoing project and if you are a blogger based in the UK, do drop me a line if your blog is not on the list.

NOTE: This is a list of personal blogs. It does not include corporate blogs, newspaper blogs and blogs of British expats based in other countries. Blogs with explicit adult content and any other blog which I find offensive won't be on this list. 

Please email me if you don't want to be on the list.

List started officially on 18th April 2010.

This page will be continuously revised.


    3D Technology Research

    By Malik Arman Morshidi

    3D technology is now becoming an active area of research in recent years. Like it or not, more and more devices, state-of-the-art gadgets are embracing this technology. A good example is the 3D movies.

     While you may think that people might not like the idea of wearing any stupid looking glasses while watching a movie. But, guess what, more and more people are flocking to the cinemas showing 3D movies and even willing to pay more, with probably a single reason, which is to bring the motion pictures’ fantasy closer to reality.

    Mimicking Nature

    All this while, we have enjoyed stereo sound technology. We can see the success of how the sounds from the actual filming scenes are brought into the cinema. Believe it or not, both technologies -the sound system and the 3D technology are based on the research that mimics our own senses namely the pair of ears and eyes. 3D imaging is basically based on the simple idea of how we perceive the real world. By using two cameras and having them arranged just like our eyes, we are going to have a pair of pictures for every scene viewed on a slightly different angle. But the trickiest part is to have them reprojected back into the viewers’ eyes, so that they get the feel of the 3D vision.

    My following posts will cover the research on 3D technology and the benefits.

    Malik Arman Morshidi is an entrepreneur who loves technology. He is currently researching 3D object tracking at the School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry.

    8 Mar 2011

    When Should You Transition to a Dedicated Server?

    Is your website hosted on a shared server?

    Were you were getting enough space, bandwidth and security you needed, except when you realized that you need more than what you were getting?

    With a dedicated server, not only do you get effective server management, but you also garner speed provisions along with the space and bandwidth improvements. If you’re wondering when you should transition to a dedicated server, here’s what you need to know.

    Importance of Having a Dedicated Server

    A dedicated server allows you to host your website solely on a given server where no one else can. This is effective for a huge network of websites that require continuous up time without sharing of resources. If you want security and great space provisions, you should consider transferring to a dedicated server.

    Here are the advantages that will help you decide whether you really need to transfer your site to a dedicated server:

    Growing Websites
    If you realized that the traffic you’re getting requires more resource use, then your website or websites are growing. With this in mind, you should consider transferring to a more stable server with more space, especially if you are hosting an e-commerce or a corporate business website. With space provisions present for a more secure server, you may need the transfer.

    Sudden High Traffic
    With proper marketing techniques, you may experience sudden high traffic for your website. This can be good most of the time, but if your shared server overloads, then you may face some downtime. This can really hurt your visitor inflow, so you should transfer to a dedicated server that can handle these sudden spikes in traffic.

    Root Access to Server
    Most shared plans seldom allow you tap into their server, especially since it may affect other websites involved. With a dedicated server, you can sustain control over the server since your website or your network will be the only ones present in that specific server. More control means more improvements in server performance. The advantages present in having a dedicated server give you the element of control, capacity and sustainability that will keep your network of websites afloat in the bustling internet.

    4 Mar 2011

    Steve Jobs is back - with the iPad2

    Contrary to what all the nay sayers have been reporting, Steve Jobs is still leading Apple. Here he is with the new iPad2.

    What do you think?