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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Still no idea what uni course I'll be doing in 2013

Since the shock announcement that JCU was closing down its Centre for Astronomy (probably at the end of this year, although there's been hardly any official information from the uni administration), I've been looking at my options for continuing my astronomy post-grad studies 2013. I've started investigation prospective supervisors for a higher degree by research at the three local unis that have strong astronomy research departments, but in case I'm not accepted into a higher research degree (MRes, MPhil or PhD) at any of them, I've also contracted Swinburne University to check what unit credits I might get towards their MSc(Astronomy) course.

If I can get credit for 6 units at Swinburne (based on similar subjects I completed for the JCU MOA), that would leave another 6 units to complete for their MSc. These units would include four 'research project' units in various astronomy topics. Completing more 'research' courses might help with any future applications I make for PhD candidature (and will be a lot of fun). Unfortunately each Swinburne unit will cost me 50% more than a JCU subject did (despite being only half the credit point value), so even if I'm granted credit for half the Swinburne MSc units the MSc degree would end up costing me 50% more than the JCU MOA did.

There's also a possibility that the entire 'Centre for Astronomy' staff and courses will move to another uni in 2013. The prospective uni does cater for part-time, distance education HDR students, so there may be an opportunity for me to do my PhD there (if the move goes ahead). In the meantime I'll just have to keep all my options open.

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MIssed my Nexus7 Delivery. D'Oh!

The Fedex tracking page for the Nexus7 I pre-ordered from Google Play Store on 28 June got updated to change the expected delivery from Thu 19 to Fri 20, and on Friday morning it was showing that the package had been put onto a Fedex delivery truck just after 9am. Since DW was home until lunchtime I was hoping that it might get delivered while she was home. Unfortunately it didn't arrive until just before 5pm, and no-one was home to sign for the package, so it won't arrive until the re-delivery attempt on Monday. In the meantime I have to content myself with browsing the web for interesting Android Apps...

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My Nexus is on its way

I noticed yesterday afternoon that the Nexus7 I pre-ordered on 28 June had finally been charged to my CC, which usually means that an item has been 'shipped'. The tracking number appeared in my Google Store info later that night, so Fedex should be delivering it tomorrow - exactly three weeks after I placed my order.

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Sunday, 8 July 2012

File transfers from Windows PC to Google Nexus 7

After a bit of confusion about whether or not you can transfer files (such as your photos, home videos and pdf files etc.) from other storage (eg. a HDD connected to a Windows PC) to the Nexus 7 without having to send the files via 'the cloud', the *final* word appears to be that yes, you can transfer files from USB HDD to the Nexus 7, but you have to have the HDD connected to use a computer (eg. Windows PC or laptop) to handle to file transfers ie. you can't just plug the USB HDD directly into the Nexus 7. The official response from 'The Google Play Team' I received last night was:


"Thank you for contacting me today about the ability to transfer
information from the computer to the Nexus 7. I guess that I misunderstood
your underlying question.

It is true that the Nexus 7 can be connected to a computer and files can
be transferred via the USB cable using MTP. So you are correct in what you
have quoted directly from the guidebook.

However, direct transfer to or from an OTG USB device is not possible
since the Nexus 7 uses the MTP that is native in the computing device.

The only peripheral devices that will work with the mini USB port are
joysticks, keyboards and a mouse.

With that said, if your Nexus 7 and your USB device were both connected to
a computer, you could transfer files to and from those two devices, but
the computer would be completing the transfer process, not the Nexus 7
device."

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Another HD! Hurray!

The results for last semester just came out, and I managed to get a 'high distinction' grade for the subject 'Astronomy Literature Review'. This came as a very nice surprise, as I'd found some of the literature on quasar variability highly specialised and therefore difficult to evaluate and sensibly critique, given my limited knowledge of this topic. So I'd expected to get a 'Distinction' or possibly just a 'Credit' in this subject - but I guess the other students must have found the literature just as challenging to review!

This result boosts my overall GPA to 6.4, and if I manage to get another HD for the final subject (the 'Pilot Research Project') next semester I might just qualify for an academic medal (the requirement is a GPA of 6.5 or above). In any event, having another HD on my transcript will help when my applications for admission into a MRes, MPhil or PhD course are being evaluated later this year.

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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Nexus 7 may be more limited than I'd hoped

Since I'll have to wait 2-3 weeks for my Nexus7 to arrive (if it gets delivered on schedule), I've been trying to get some more details by browsing more of the reviews. It appears that the mini-USB port doesn't support 'OTG', which I *think* means that while I could connect a USB mouse or keyboard to the Nexus, a USB stick or USB HDD won't work? This might mean that when I have offline content (eg. pdf files previously downloaded and stored on my PC, USB stick or HDD) that I want to move onto the Nexus I'll have to first upload it to the 'cloud' (eg. via my Google Drive folder on my desktop that is synced with my online Drive storage) and then download it onto the Nexus, or else download it straight onto the Nexus from the original source website. Aside from this upload/download cycle being slower than simply transferring files through the USB port, it would also mean using up some of my monthly WiFi internet bandwidth allowance! That's probably not an issue (unless I want to transfer lots of photos or home video files), as I currently use about half of my 6GB bandwidth allowance most months. But it would be a lot more convenient to be able to just connect a USB stick to the Nexus.

I don't know enough to work out if the WiFi connectivity can be used to access files via my Windows home network, or just connect to the WiFi modem at home and WiFi hotspots outside (eg. at the library). So I've sent a query to the Google Play helpdesk about this - hopefully they provide good customer service for device queries.

** Correction **

I've since found the Nexus 7 Guidebook in the Google Play store. After several unsucessful attempts to 'buy' this free book (and getting a 'technical error' message each time) I realised from some of the reviewer comments that the book is only viewable using Chrome, which explains why I couldn't 'buy' the book using IE9 (although I had no problem placing my order for the Nexus 7 tablet using IE). So I downloaded and installed Chrome for Windows and then had no problem getting the Guidebook!

From the guidebook it appears that you can indeed connect to a Windows PC using the miniUSB port. And I can probably also 'pair' the Nexus with my Windows laptop using Bluetooth for data transfers. I'll confirm this once my Nexus is delivered...


** Re-correction **

Well, maybe. The answer I got from Google Play Support said that I will have to transfer files to the Nexus 7 via 'the cloud', as the USB port doesn't support OTG! I've sent back a response asking if this advice is correct, as it contradicts the info in the Nexus 7 Guidebook (although in parts the guidebook appears to be a cut&paste job from a phone manual, and elsewhere the manual is still in draft form with "content to come" in secions on Changing the Wallpaper etc. So maybe the information about file transfers using the miniUSB port is not correct for the production version of the Nexus 7. Hopefully I'll get a definitive answer from Google before my tablet arrives -  otherwise I'll just 'suck it and see'. ;)

** see latest update **

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