Layman's Lens

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Archive for May 2010

Floor flowers

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There were 3 performances that occured in and amongst the exhibits...

Made a trip to the ROM to watch my cousin in a dance performance.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 31, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Posted in ROM

A real English pub

with 3 comments

The real thing is much cosier...

This was a pub I found near the Keele University. I found it interesting to see the real thing and compare to “English pubs” in Canada.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Posted in UK


with one comment

I wonder how well punks can sell stuff...

A popular marketing tactic in London: Punks with placards.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

Posted in London, UK

Bikes and Horses

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I guess the royals like riding things...

This was taken near Buckingham Palace.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

Posted in UK


with 4 comments

In recognition of my 300th post, I decided to move my blog over to WordPress. I love nearly all things Google, but blogger is not one of them.

(BTW, the process of moving a blogger account to wordpress is super easy. Just setup a wordpress account, and then use the import function in the tools menu. It automatically does everything for you. I’ve noticed the only problem is some videos are not linked properly.)

I guess it has to be big since they 'borrowed' so much from other cultures...

This picture was taken at the British Museum in London. It is huge. I barely scratched the surface. But, like many museums in the UK, it was free to get in, so I’ll go again I’m sure.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Posted in London, Museum, UK

The Rock

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My favorite part is trying to figure out what hits are legal and which aren't. Apparently, an opponent is allowed to wail on you with their stick as long as you have control of the ball. Crazy.

Tonya got us spectacular front row tickets to a Toronto Rock playoff game through Groupon. We were so close I kept thinking the goalie was in the way. After trailing the Bandits for most of the game, they came back to win it 13-11.

They went on to beat the Orlando Titans 15-10. Unfortunately, the Rock came up short last Saturday in the final against the Washington Stealth where they blew a 10-6 lead to lose 15-11.

The Rock have held the National Lacrosse League title for the past 5 years in a row.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Lacrosse, Toronto Rock

Tube Stairs

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For some reason I felt like running up these stairs...

Some stairs from the Tube in London.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Posted in London, Stairs, Tube


with one comment

I think most people end up wearing half their meals...takes practice to eat with your eyes closed...

Tonya and I have decided we will go to this restaurant some day soon. You get to experience what it’s like to be blind. The whole restaurant is pitch black. Most of the servers are blind.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 18, 2010 at 2:15 am

Posted in Blind, O Noir, Restaurant


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I love being in the museum at closing...

Tonya and I were at the ROM a week ago…just before it closed. We had the place all to ourselves.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Museum, ROM

Videos in PowerPoint 2003

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In the UK they like using 'point' to name things. This is a help point. They also have cash points instead of bank machines.

Getting videos to work in PowerPoint on a PC can be frustrating. Here are some things to try if you’re stuck.

The key is your video must in a compatible format (e.g. avi, mpeg, mp4 (also called Quicktime), wmv, mov…) AND it must be compressed with a compatible codec (CoDec – stands for compressor/decompressor e.g. Cinepak, DivX, Xvid, huffyuv, wmv1, wmv2, x264…).

PC users are best off working with avi files that have been encoded using the Cinepak codec by Radius.

What if you’re given a video that doesn’t work in PowerPoint? There are two free tools and one you have to pay for that I’ve found can help convert a video to make it work:

I always try VideoMach first. It lets you save an avi using the Cinepak codec directly. VideoMach can not read mp4 files.

If Videomach can’t read the file, I try Any Video Converter. Export to avi using the wmv1 codec. This mostly works in PowerPoint but is not as nice as a Cinepak avi. A Cinepak avi will play in PowerPoint whether your in ‘slide show’ mode or in the ‘edit’ mode. A wmv1 avi will only play in ‘slide show’ mode. If you want the wmv1 avi to work in edit mode, resave it as a cinepak avi using VideoMach.

Or, if it’s a Quicktime (mp4) movie (from a Mac user let’s say) I’d suggest paying $38 to get Quicktime Pro. You can use it to convert you mp4 to a Cinepak avi. Any Video Converter works too, but with the limitation that you’ll have to use the wmv1 codec.

Note 1: Just because a video plays in Windows Media Player does not mean it will work in PowerPoint. PowerPoint hands videos off to Windows to play. Windows uses something called the Multimedia Control Interface for playback. It does not use Windows Media Player.

Note 2: Here’s a good reference for more info.

Note 3: There are probably a million other ways to make videos work in PowerPoint. These are just the quickest and easiest methods to the most common issues I’ve come across.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in PowerPoint, Video

Stair clarification

with 2 comments

Normally, this isn't seen as a problem since most people won't fall...but just misstep a little if anything. However, someone with compromised balance will fall and likely be seriously injured eventually.

I’m told not everyone understood the top of flight defect issue. Perhaps a sketch will help. The problem is the missing nosing on the top stair. This causes a person coming down the stairs to expect the 3rd stair to be just as long as the 2nd stair. But since a>b due to the nosing, people often overstep the 3rd stair.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Stairs

Big Ben

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I get sad thinking about how awesome the tube is compared to the TTC...

Gratuitous tourist shot from London.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 12, 2010 at 1:33 am

Posted in BigBen, London, UK

Stairs and Doing what you love

with 4 comments

It's mostly older people that fall on stairs...

The conference I was at in the UK was on stair design research. Apparently stair related hospitalizations are on the rise. In Ontario, 10 people are hospitalized every day due to a stair related injury. The funny thing is people generally blame themselves if they fall even though the problem is often with the stairs.

Most injuries occur on the second or third step down due to overstepping that's caused by us thinking the third step should be as long as the second one was.

One reason for the increase in falls may be due to a ‘top of flight’ defect as Jake Pauls calls it. The irregularity at the top step is caused by builders not putting a nosing on the top step. Jake says 75% of homes in Canada have this problem. It’s easy to check. Just sight along the stairs and you’ll be able to see if spacing changes as it does in the photo above at the top step. I was shown many case studies where people broke hips, cracked their skulls and died as a result of this defect. Often this problem can be solved by simply adding a nosing to the top step for minimal cost.

Go check your stairs now.

Graph and Photo credit: Jake Pauls.

Link of the day:

I don’t agree with everything he’s talking about…but it’s worth a listen.

Ok…really…go check your stairs.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 11, 2010 at 1:15 am

Posted in Stairs, TED

Puppies and bias

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How does one get a dog tree?

I saw these puppies in the front of a photography studio in Windsor.

Link of the day:

Everyone should know about the different types of bias we can fall victim to. Thanks for the link Em.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Posted in dogs, puppies, UK

Hooters and Net Neutrality

with 3 comments

Hooters musical instruments
Real Hooters

The similarity is uncanny. The instrument shop is in Windsor.

It looks like Bell has won a ruling to bill users based on how much they download each month. Thanks to Alex for posting this.

I don’t particularly like Bell or their service, and generally agree that if it’s good for them, it’s bad for us. But perhaps this is the best solution for keeping the net neutral and avoiding the selective throttling Bit Torrent users that Bell is doing now.

The link of the day is another one from the Vlog Brothers that deals with net neutrality.

A good hot long shower is truly awesome.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Mind the Gap and Chrome Speed Test

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Not to be confused with the 'tubes'...

A photo in the Tube in London.

Link of the day: Google Chrome Speed Test
Thanks to Luca Ragogna for posting this.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Horse at Sunset

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I waited and waited...but the horse would not lift his head up...

Another ash laden sunset at Keele University.

In other news, here’s a 4 minute explanation of the Greek debt crisis that Mike posted. Thanks to Mike and his fancy pants.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm


with one comment

I did notice that most of Windsor was very well kept up. Most buildings tended to have a fresh coat of paint.

These were a couple of painters at Eton College in Windsor.

Written by Tilak Dutta

May 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Posted in paint, UK, Windsor