Steve's blog

A blog about what's going on in Analysis UK...

Heli Fun.

Some weeks ago I (and three others at my day job) purchased a ESky Lama V3 Helicopter, if you are thinking about trying remote control helicopters then this one is just so much fun you should go for it!

This is one strong and fun helicopter, you are best off flying indoors, in an area with some reasonable space and nothing valuable around. The battery charge lasts about 10 minutes but that seams like a long time and whilst you are learning to fly most of the time you will be picking the heli off its side and placing it back in a position you can fly it from.

I have repeatedly crashed the Lama and it’s incredibly strong, so far I’m on my second set of blades (both A and B !), fortunately it comes with a spare set in the box and I’m also on my second tail, this didn’t come as a spare but only cost about £8.

BuzzFlyer do a great range of spare parts for the V3 Lama and with their being 4 of us at work I just see what every body else needs and do a big-ish order which helps with the postage.

Various connectors for the blades, balance thingy and what not take some serious grief but these just pop back into place without to many problems, I expected these to be the first things to break but they have done amazingly well. Just moments ago I hit the ceiling with the heli, which landed badly on the sofa, the balance hammer on the top came out and was actually bent, but all connectors are in one piece and I was back flying again 20 seconds latter.

The Tail broke some time ago and was a similar crash, I was trying to back away from the window when I got it all wrong and the heli came down backwards from the ceiling and hit the rowing machine on it’s way, so no great surprise the plastic tail broke! This was easy to replace, just 4 small screws.

If you are looking for a fun present for someone this x-mas then look seriously at the LAMA, I put some serious thought into the purchase and wasn’t sure if Id done the right thing, until I started flying it, then it instantly became my favourite toy!

Unfortunately the manual’s not to hot for getting started, but it’s quite simple. Switch on the remote control handset, set the throttle (left hand lever + trim) all the way down, place the Lama on a flat surface, plug in the battery, don’t touch it until you see the red flashing led go solid green. Pick up the controls and start flying. You will need to adjust the trims and these change with battery charge, I find getting it a few inches from the ground to get the coarse adjustment then fly it properly and you can then get an idea of the fine adjustment.

One big tip I was given and I would suggest the same, keep it pointing away from you, it gets very confusing working back to front and the Lama reaches the scene of the accident very quickly normally but if you have the controls back to front you end up making it even quicker!

There are some good RC forums around with more tips on flying the Lama.

ESWC 2006 Day 1

Well here I am trying to focus on the screen to give a summary of day one from the European ShareWare Conference 2006 here in Cambridge although very tired at present so the spelling and grammar are probably going to be even worse than usual.

Well first of all if you were at the conference then Hi and if not, well shame on you as you are missing a very interesting and informative conference.

This is the first one of these I’ve been to so I was unsure as to what I should be expecting, how many people would be their and all that. Numbers were good today, a nice big turn out but no to large that it was difficult to see/hear, although given this is a Europe conference then I guess that actually very few of the micro ISV’s/ShareWare authors have come along.

I think calling it a ShareWare conference is selling it a bit short as today covered SEO, email marketing and goggle adwords which were really interesting to me for both my web based products (Dollars to Pounds exchange rates and as well as windows applications (i.e. Dinner Timer for timing your cooking), where "ShareWare" tends to conger up the thoughts of a standalone application that installed on your computer.

All the talks from today were very interesting, some to know as background and to be aware of for future developments and others for here and now.

I was pleasantly surprised by Thomas Wetzel’s talk of “Grow your Google Adwords account successfully”, I’ve used Adwords for some time now and whilst I’m no expert I did think I understood a fair amount. I learnt a lot from Thomas’ talk, not least about his analytics tool for adword tracking which I’ve downloaded already and I’m about to go and play with. I also learnt that I’m not alone by loosing money with adwords, although to be fair I did expect this from the way I have it configured and how I want to attract customers.

I was also very impressed by the presentation Sinan Karace from InstallAware. Installers are the first thing your customers get to see of the product for windows applications and it’s critical for the success of the product that it goes better than just OK. At other companies I’ve worked at I’ve purchased the well known installer that is a competitor to InstallAware, which I ended up having to use to create installers for the applications I had written and I have to say how much I hate that other companies installer application and upgrade pricing!. InstallAware’s product looks really good, having written installers I know it’s no stroll in the path and to see the examples and the flexibility of the InstallAware product I was impressed. I shall be downloading that very soon and running it through it’s paces, their pricing also looks very impressive and a much more friendly upgrade policy!

I couldn’t end the post without mentioning Bob Walsh of My MicroISV and author of Micro ISV, From Vision to Reality of which I am half way through, this is a great book, full of useful links and interesting interviews. Anyway, it was great to see him talk in person, and very interesting as well. You may also want to check channel 9 as their are a couple of interviews with him under the micro ISV section (sorry no link, it's a nightmare to navigate channel 9, maybe I'll post the links in my next post when I have a little more time).

I’m looking forward to Sunday’s presentations, although dreading the 9am start, I mean, a 9am start on a Saturday and Sunday I’m a night person and this is one major shock to the system!

Partial outage of Analysis UK web sites.

Apologies to all those effected earlier today by the outage of a number of the Analysis UK websites, including and Dollars2Pounds as well as the other exchange rate sites.

This outage occurred on the main web server and was caused by a power supply failure. The hosting company were quick to get the problem identified, however unfortunately their was significant delay in finding a replacement power supply, hence the sites were off line for a number of hours.

All sites are now back up and running.