Sunday, June 28, 2009


After our trip to Long Island last summer, I laboriously went through all my pictures on Picasaweb and geotagged them. I liked the result but not the effort!

So I've been investigating how to do this automatically. I searched high and low for GPS loggers. I looked at ATP PhotoFinder (original and mini), Sony GPS CS1KA, Qstarz BT-Q1000P, Canmore GT-730F(L), i-gotU GT-100, AMOD AGL3080, and more.

My key criteria were that I wanted it to be rechargeable via USB and to not require Windows drivers to get the data off the device.

The closest I came was the Columbus V-900. It recharged via USB and wrote KML files to a micro-SD card. That way all I needed was a micro-SD to SD USB adapter. Close enough so I clicked on "Submit" on Amazon.

Then I remembered my Blackberry Curve has GPS. Duh! I googled "Blackberry geotagging" and eventually found GPSLogger on some of the Blackberry forums.

It met both my criteria. Obviously the Blackberry is rechargeable via USB and GPSLogger creates standard format files on the Blackberry's micro-SD card.

The short version is that it just works. Surprisingly, it runs in the background. I've run it for 12 hours and it drew down about 1/2 the Blackberry's battery.

Here's the track in GeoLogger:

Here's the altitude:

And the speed:

Here's what I have for Options:

When you want to export the track, go to the path manager and "Export Path to Filesystem":

To apply the GPS data to the photos, I'm using GeoSetter. It's real simple but very capable.

Here's the result in Picasaweb.

Now I'm set for our next vacation. And I have to return the Columbus V-900.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I've been trying to find a use for the Astar MP-32HB HD TV that I got a couple of years ago. When I got the Sony KDL52W3000, I moved the Astar to my bedroom. I ran it on cable-ready for a while but that was all SD. Then I got a second HD DVR for it.

That had a couple of problems. First was the cost, about $30 per month to Comcast. Second was the noise. The hard drive kept spinning up and down. I replaced the DVR once but the second did the same thing.

Really, all I watch back there is the 10 o'clock news and the late night talk shows. It seemed silly to spend that much money for that but I had gotten where I liked the HD quality.

That's where I was when the digital TV transition happened. What that brought was that Comcast started carrying the local stations in digital format and in HD resolution. Unfortunately the Astar doesn't have a QAM tuner.

What I did is got a KWORLD SA290-Q LE from

Notice that it will also do VGA out so you could drive just an old PC monitor.

Read the reviews on Lots of people complain about it. The setup instructions are non-existent but the comment thread helps a lot. I bought a cheap programmable remote (GE 24950) and replaced the terrible remote that comes with it.

It has a bright blue light indicating power. That wouldn't do in the bedroom. I covered it with a 1/2 inch square of black duct tape. Perfect.

I feed the Comcast cable directly into it and get around 30 digital channels, no cable-ready although I had expected them also. Most of the digital channels that I've checked are HD, some 720p, some 1080i. I use component video to drive the Astar.

It'll pay for itself in 2 months.