Author Archives: kristian tapaninaho

geoDefense Swarm Medium Level 7 Solution

As I’ve been writing my next yet-to-be-published blog post, ‘8 iPhone Games You Must Have’, I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into geoDefense Swarm. It’s really difficult as the dynamics of the game keep changing from level to level and each level often has a unique solution. I’ve been struggling with medium level 7 ‘Nucleotide’, it’s really hard. So hard in fact, that I haven’t been able to find a sure-fire solution for it online.

Well, I’ve just spent a part of my train journey back from Scotland trying to crack this nut. And you know what? I have prevailed. In the end, it was pretty easy; all I needed as to think of what does ‘Deoxyribonucleic acid‘ mean. (This is written on the starting screen of the level.) From that I started thinking that perhaps it’s a hint on the form of defences you have to build.

I first tried with missile towers but the rockets are too slow so ended up using thumps. Upgrade those to level 7 as soon as. I usually do them in pairs so that two will be maxed out before any of the others are upgraded at all.

First time I managed this level, I only let one creep go through. Not bad.

Update: To clarify a little, Deoxyribonucleic acid is, of course, DNA in everyday language. The form that your defences are to take, resembles its form.

Forecast for the Next Ten Years

It really is that time of the year when it’s fun to look back the past year and imagine what the new one will bring. This time, of course, it’s slightly different as the decade changes as well as the year. You can’t fail and be wrong about things unless you make claims and predictions first. Here’s my little list of what this decade will bring, how will the world change and what’s left of the great things that the first decade of the millennium brought.

1. Google will grow to be the most profitable and influential company in the history of mankind by 2013. As it grows too powerful, by 2015 we’ll see it being split into two different companies by US Federal Trade Commission and European Commission.

2. Talking about Europe, the Euro will take over US Dollar as the world currency by 2016. Oil and minerals will be mostly traded in Euro. By then, US Dollar will have gone through a devaluation.

3. IPTV will be the standard way of watching TV by middle of the decade, having to make time to watch TV at set times will be considered quaint and will remain as a past time of the upper-classes and the elderly.

4. In 2014, things like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other Internet skills will be tought to primary school pupils alongside with maths and literacy. How to write nice emails will replace the ‘what I did in the summer holidays’ writing lesson every pupil goes through every single autumn.

5. Travel. Domestic air travel will be so heavily taxed that it’s out of reach for most people. Trainline monopolies will be fixed by the end of the decade in order to encourage greener travel. Single fare on London Underground will cost £20 by 2020 but the service will still be terrible. There will also be tax breaks for companies allowing people to work from home.

6. We will still not have flying cars.

7. Mobile phone market will be dominated by Apple and Google with Nokia mostly selling handsets in developing countries. Who knew people would be fine with just one option for a phone. Of course, mobile phone is THE definitive computing platform people use in 2020. Laptops will go the way of the Dodo, or desktop computers.

8. In 2020, Microsoft will only be know for it’s gaming console, Xbox 1440 and the birthday party they had for Windows 7 when it passed Windows XP for years-in-production.

9. By the end of the decade, the Internet will not only come a commodity like water and electricity but like air, it’ll surround us and be so ubiquitous that it’ll be more or less free. Question between using cloud versus local applications becomes a non-issue as bandwidth limitation are lifted; everything is in the cloud and locally simultaneously.

Photograph by Martin Pettitt. Used under Creative Commons license.

10. Finally, two sectors that will change the world as much as broadband has changed it in the past ten year: Green technologies. This is an obvious choice, if you want to be rich in the 2020’s become an innovator or an investor in this area.

Bio-tech. In ten years, much of human body will be repairable and there will only be few things that’ll kill you. Bio tech innovations will also change the landscape for microprocessors, food production and even battery technology.

So, there we go, check back in ten years to see how right or wrong I’ve been. Or follow me on Twitter and I’ll keep you up to date. Thanks for stopping by and have a great year!

63 Days to Athens

This week marked the first solid week of training, uninterrupted by holidaying and was greatly helped by the fact I’ve been working from home.

What a week. I created my casual training programme in the end of last month and this was the first week I could follow it to the letter.

The week started with a long run – 22km @ 2:06:46 – on Tuesday. (Normally I do long runs on the weekends to minimise its impact on regular life.) It went really well, as the time shows, it was a marathon speed exercise. Taking in count that I stopped at a Weatherspoons to go to a toilet and twice to buy water and a banana, it was very close to the 2 hour mark for a half marathon.

Next up after a day of rest was the intervals. 3 times 1000 meters with the fastest burst at 4:08(!) and slowest just under 4:30. I tried to kick it for a fourth one but my legs just wouldn’t carry. Whole run with warmup, in betweens and cool-down came to just over 10km.

Another rest day in between although I really should have done this recovery run right after the intervals. This was a very slow 10km (@ 1:11:34), with a bit of walking here and there. Nice, hardly broke sweat.

To finish the week off, I did a fast 10km with a warmup and a cool-down. First time this week when running I had some pain on the fronts of both shins. This did go away by the time it was time to run faster but I’m a little worried it’ll get worse. I haven’t suffered from really any long term injuries since I started running. Fingers crossed. The fast 10km came to 48:56 and total distance was 13.41km in 1 hour 15 minutes.

Total for the week is 55.56km, longest I’ve ever ran in a single week. Feeling pretty good!

Athens Marathon Training Programme

As I might have mentioned, I’m now officially signed up for the Athens Classic Marathon in November. This THE marathon that starts from the coastal town of Marathon and ends in Athens.

Today is also the last day of my holidays which means I can finally go back into a good running routine which has been rather too hard to achieve during the holidays. I still haven’t had a change to upload my actual training I did for the Edinburgh marathon and that’ll have to wait for now. Instead, I’ll briefly describe what I’m thinking for Athens training.

Because of my un-routined work life, I’m going to try to simplify the programme so it’s not so day specific – more like, this is what I need to achieve during each week.

  1. Fast paced 12-14k at about 5:00-5:10 min/km
  2. Intervals. 3-4 times 1-2k at 4:00-5:00 min/km. Plus some squat-and-cry’s in the end.
  3. Long run every 2/3 weekends. And with ‘long’ I mean 20+ km. These should be at 6:05 min/km or faster.
  4. Slow recovering run.

I won’t be able to do all of these every week, that I know already, but as long as I aim to run three times a week and do two long runs for every three weeks and interval training every week, I’ll be much better of than last time.

–kristian

The Big Lunch Manwood/Salehurst Road

What a fantastic Sunday this was. Our streets took part in the national Big Lunch event where – to put it simply – you talk to your neighbours and have lunch with them. I haven’t got the precise numbers but there must have been at least 100 to 120 people taking part on our street. Everybody brought something to the party, whether it was pasta salad, sausages, a band or a cake to the cake competition, it was all great. We had neightbours like ourselves who’d just moved here and people like Joyce who moved here in 1929. It’s pretty humbling, really.

Darina and I took a few photos during the afternoon and here’s a small selection of them. Click to see them bigger and then use your left/right arrow to move to the next one.

For more info on The Big Lunch check out their website at thebiglunch.com

Milestone[sic]

Briefly,

On monday last week I passed a non-insignificant milestone; 1000 kilometers ran since I started in August last year. This has resulted in a fitter, healthier, smarter and, all in all, much improved me. Thank you all for the support, I will keep going (unless another brick falls on me and is more successful than the previous one and finishes me off).

Pano Versus AutoStitch – iPhone Panorama App Comparison

What follows is a quick comparison review of two of the most popular iPhone panorama apps. Both are in the don’t-need-to-think-to-purcase category, which is to say under £2 ($3). At the time of writing, AutoStitch (version 1.0.1) is £1.19 and Pano (version 3.2) £1.79 from iTunes App Store.

First main difference with these two apps is that Pano uses iPhones camera to take the photos while with AutoStitch you use pre-existing photos from your iPhones library. Pano also has a quide that appears after the first photo to assist in aligning the next shot. This is very helpful but turns out it reveals the applications biggest flaw. We’ll get to that through the examples.

Examples.

First two examples were taken inside my house resting the iPhone on a beer can to achieve relatively static position for the camera to rotate around.

Pano (fig. 1):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

AutoStitch (fig. 2):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Pano wins hands down. Panorama produced is ready to be tweeted or posted on a blog with out needing any cropping or adjusting. Both handle slight exposure variations pretty well, but if you look at the top right corner of figure 2, you’ll notice that there’s a considerable amount of bleeding.

These two examples were taken in my garden. Weather was almost overcast but light levels did keep changing between some of the shots. I also timed the process of creating these panoramas starting from launching the app – or in AutoStitches case, Camera – taking the photos, compiling the panorama and saving it to iPhone’s gallery. Both took about 3 minutes with only few seconds difference.

Pano (fig. 3):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

AutoStitch (fig. 4):

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Now, figure 3 shows Pano’s first flaw, in bright light or with a strange camera angle, it’s really quite hard to look at the alignment assist and get you photos to match. Notice how there’s a fair bit of ghosting and duplication in the photo. Not so good. Pano seems to solely rely on your alignment skills in making the panorama, rather than applying some crazy maths to do the job for you. Figure 4, while un-cropped, does a nice job of showing the scene with out any ghosting or other madness.

Other features worth mentioning

To use Pano in landscape format, you need to change a setting. AutoStitch does this by noticing that photos you’re loading are in landscape, as you’d expect. Pano only uses photos that are shot in the app itself and doesn’t save those separately, which I find quite annoying. Also, taking photos with Pano is slower than using Camera app – you can’t just click click click – each photo needs to be OKed before the app lets you take the next one. Not good when making a panorama with people as subject or if you’re in a hurry.

Meanwhile, AutoStitch is lot more flexible. You can take your photos quickly and process the panoramas later. You’re also not limited in making horizontal, one row panoramas, you can make things like this:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Pretty cool. It’s made of 22 photos! Can’t do that in Pano.

Conclusion

Get AutoStitch and then spend £1.79 on Photogene to deal with cropping and adjusting (see below) you master pieces.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Average Speeds Along the Marathon

Below is a graph of how my average speed varied along the route. Bare in mind that my target speed was about 10.5 km/h. I aimed to press for a new lap at each mile marker but as you can see there’s only 18 data points on the chart so I failed to do so. It’s surprisingly hard to see each of them although you know they’re coming.

The Dips

The first dip at 18.17 km is due to stopping in the pushes to relief myself and the second – between 32.68 and 35.95 – is when I arrived to the dry water/energy drink points. I’m surprised that I was able to climb back to almost 9 km/h after that, it felt a lot slower.

Lessons Learned

Starting the race at almost 1 km/h faster than the target speed is a mistake, I’m definite that the line would’ve been flatter if I had started slower. But, you know, it’s really hard to pace yourself at that point. Another lesson would be not to stop for a wee but that proved to be impossible.

Polar (RS200 SD, my running watch) proved to be very accurate, notice that the finishing line came at 42.75 km according to it. That’s only about 500 m more than the actual distance. Only just over 1% deviation. Nice

average-speed-marathon