Archive for November, 2007

nu York State

nu York State

Jazz and Blues society arranged for York’s nu York State to perform a gig in Leeds

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Linux Install Fest

On Friday 30th November, the School of Computing plays host to the CompSoc Linux install fest – a chance for new users of Linux to get a copy of the operating system on their own machine so they can use it at home and further their learning and enjoyment of the OS.

The event takes place at 2pm and goes on until the School closes at just after 5pm. During that time we hope to offer a full range of opportunities for attendees.

  • Have a Linux distribution of your choice installed on your machine
  • Dual boot setup with Windows will be supported
  • Talks on secure computing and Linux basics from staff and students
  • Linux experts available to answer all your Linux orientated questions
  • Demonstrations of a range of Linux and KDE/Gnome window manager features

There will of course be the usual trip to the pub after the event, and I’m hoping line up of things we are offering is going to persuade many people its worth coming along and giving Linux a try.

I’m proud to be doing my bit to spread the use of open source software and am looking forward to showing people that it really is easy to install and use Linux. Every since the day I first used Linux I’ve never looked back.

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Reading Roadsigns

Recently I decided that it would be a good idea to not only keep a paper journal of my thoughts on my final year project and a BibTeX file of my academic reading but also to blog about my progress on the project. I find that writing things down by hand is all well and good but a lot of the things I read to do with the project are online (downloaded from the web of knowledge etc.) and it would be nice for people to comment on my findings when I make them.

I therefore present to all, Reading Roadsigns, the blog for my final year project which is all about researching and implementing a method of reading and recognising roadsigns in a static image. If you are interested in computer vision or are working on an object detection or recognition project, please add the blog feed to your RSS reader.

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Scale Invariant Feature Transform

Recently I’ve been experimenting with the Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) algorithm. I began by downloading the open SIFT implementation for Matlab and then used it to gain an understanding of how the algorithm worked.

Since first using the implementation I have been able to demonstrate how to find objects that have previously been seen by the system in a completely new image, and have also managed to make use of the SIFT algorithm in a more generic fashion by applying it to one of my coursework tasks – to find faces and cars in a set of images.

The power and potential in this algorithm becomes immediately apparent after using it on test image for an hour or so and indeed my reading since first use of it in Matlab indicates to me that the use of this algorithm in the kind of task I am researching is highly recommended by a number of academics. I certainly intend to use my findings here as an important component in my interim project report.

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Chornobyl Exclusion Zone

In a recent web browsing session I came across some superb blog posts from Ann Merrill on the Chornobyl exclusion zone and her visits to it. These postings served to remind me very much of the dangers we face in the use of nuclear technologies and how much respect they deserve from human beings when dealing with them.

As I looked through the images and read the descriptions I suddenly gained a very real feeling of what it would be like to wake up and walk outside a couple of weeks after all out nuclear war. Its really rather harrowing to say the least.

The following blog posts are most apt in detailing what it is like inside the zone and how the effects of the nuclear disaster are still very prevalent today.

I would like to thank Ann Merrill for sharing her experiences on these visits in such superb detail on her blog. This kind of writing is why blogs are so important. They open up areas and issues to people who would never have hoped to gain such a great insight into them. Those who listen to Radio 4 might be interested to know that Ann made an appearance on Woman’s Hour. You can listen to the program again via the link at the top..

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Welcome to the project blog of Reading Roadsigns. I wanted a place where I could quickly pen my thoughts about my project and share my findings with the world when I hit upon something I feel is worthy of a mention. I hope that though this site I can keep myself focused on the project by feeling I need to have something to say about what I’m doing and also by receiving input on my work in progress from the community at large.

I welcome any and all comments on my work and if you have something more substantial to say I encourage you to drop me an e-mail.

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Facebook Fresh

It can’t have escaped the attentions of those that read my blog that I don’t like facebook being littered with applications. Not that I dislike the idea of an API or the ability for developers to interact with facebook but I simply preferred the API when external applications were kept as just that, external to facebook and only visible on an external URL, not on the pages and profiles of facebook its self. The “clean” look of facebook was what made it appealing to me.

Given that facebook refuse to make it possible for individuals to disable viewing the stupid applications some people decide to add to their profiles leaving frustrated users like myself in a hell resembling MySpace (note my comparison to a network I did not join due to the awful looking profiles), someone else has stepped into the breech and produced a solution.

Meet Facebook Fresh (TM), a novel solution for all firefox users such that they never have to look at an application on facebook ever again. Screens will suddenly look as nice and neat as they did the day you joined the site. Refreshing? You bet.

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Bonfire Night

BonfireOn 5th November I headed out to the Hyde Park public bonfire and firework display with Heather. It was a really enjoyable evening and the heat from the fire made it almost feel like it was a summer day – I certainly didn’t need my full winter coat! It seems amazing that over a year has gone by since I was last at the display, but its still as good as I remember.

The smell of bonfires and the thick air that comes with firework smoke always remind me of growing up in St. Albans and the huge firework display laid on in Verulamium park every year. Its amazing how vivid a memory such smells can conjure up.

I decided to take my camera along and setting the ISO up high I tried to take some night time shots of the bonfire and the fireworks afterwards. I was rather impressed with the results considering I wasn’t taking all that much care with my photography (I was too busy watching things with the naked eye!) and have thusly shared them with the world in my gallery.

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Cherie Gears

Cherie Gears play mineOn Tuesday evening last week Jazz and Blues Leeds played host to Cherie Gears and her band at the mine bar in Leeds Union. Support was provided by a recently formed student jazz band, Eat More Fruit. The event was most certainly a success and enjoyed by all who attended and being the first major event put on solely by my society I feel rather proud of our achievement.

The event started off fairly slowly with a few people arriving at a time but shortly before the support band started up a fair number were drawn in by the superb jazz being played out by the DJ and the club filled up somewhat. Eat More Fruit, despite being a newly formed student band with a minimal amount of practice under their belt, put on a most enjoyable performance. I was put completely in the mood for a good night of jazz by their introduction and in fact realised how long it was since I had seen some live jazz performed. Their display of various pieces of fruit on stage for each of their musical numbers was a nice and amusing touch to the proceedings. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in getting them to come along and play at future Jazz and Blues events.

Cherie Gears didn’t disappoint either and after a brief break between the bands while the stage setup was changed we were instantly delighted by refreshing jazz vocals and superb accompaniment from Cherie’s jazz band. Despite her brief time in the music business Cherie’s vocal sound is already right up there with some of the other female jazz singers on the scene and her vocal range and conviction with which she sings her pieces are superb. Recommendations are certainly the order of the day here and if you have the chance to catch Cherie and her band live then I’d certainly recommend getting s ticket. Its refreshing to know that this is the kind of talent coming from graduates at the Leeds University School of Music and I certainly look forward to hearing other musicians that go into the music scene after graduation.

Our next event major event sees Danny Gough’s nu York State play the mine bar on 27th November with support from a fantastic funk/rock band, “ape”, so do remember to keep the date free, book your tickets and stay tuned to our website and mailing list for regular updates! If you want to read a review of nu York State you can read one I wrote a while back but they have most certainly got better since then.

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Bonfire Night 2007

Bonfire Night 2007

A smattering of photos taken at the public bonfire and firework display in Leeds

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