Monday, 13 May 2013

Nokia Lumia 920 review: Two Weeks with a Lumia 920

I have had a few years with a Blackbery phone and a year with an iphone, this year toying with Android and I was keen to see the difference that Windows Phone makes and was genuinely surprised!    The tiled interface is far simpler than iOS and android without seeming childish. Font's and transitional effects are smooth the live tiles appealing,  Email and messaging Worked well and didn't take long to adjust to using,  The hardware being Nokia was excellent.  I have large hands and found the size perfect, not too large at all.


I took the phone on a three day course Bowl carving with Robin Wood,  pictures and information in my previous blogs,  I was camping in an area where my Network could not get reception, the side effect of this was the Lumia's battery lasted three days without charging while taking photos and using it.  At home I would get well over a days use with the phone.  If you get this phone I think the wireless charging mat would be well worth it too.

Making a video with the Lumia

With the camera on the 920 the important thing is to change the mode to allow tap to focus and to allow screen photos, you want to use stabilization in the right places!
Filming this tutorial video for YouTube I made a simple phone stand to fit on my tripod.   This was a block of softwood  sawn to hold the phone at an angle.   You can improve on this by attaching this to the threaded screw and using Velcro to hold the phone in place

The quality in the low light of my Workshop at full 1080p was outstanding.  

Using the Video files
On Ubuntu, my main desktop OS the Wndows Phone is seen as a camera storage device and it was simple to drag and drop,   I had less luck ironically trying the same on my Windows 7 install to recognise the device,  I have put that down to my older hardware and a newer device. 
Editing 1080p was hard on my 5 year old laptop(normally edit in 720p) but the results were worth it.

If the video isn't showing click here:  
(BTW I normally use an iPhone or iPod touch 5th generation for making these kind if videos.)

Criticisms and  afterthoughts
there were a few apps I use everyday on ios and android that have not been ported over yet.   Flipboard for one.  And some features I use all the time, like sharing photos via messages within Facebook were absent still.  Things are changing all the time though,   Just as I was finishing my trial Windows announced a new YouTube app with added features.  What the next update to Windows phone 8 needs for certain is the drop down notification menu on the home screen, ( hint to MS: Just borrow it from Android like Apple did,  Google wont mind at all, really!!)   

Nokia Lumia phones represent better value than equivalently priced android phones,  even the Lumia Low end phones (Lumia 520 for example) have the same swish experience, no lag at all and for the money are far better than even old iPhones of the same price.

I left it a week before writing up my blog so could be a little more impartial. It was a positive experience, I may have chosen it for its camera but typing on it was really easy to type on the large screen and its predictive word learns from you and is really good, so  by now I really miss the phone.   Do give the Nokia Lumia range a try out when your next in the phone shop, Apps aside, If you like your phone to be easy to use and reliable or you have tablets or ipod Touches to satisfy your latest game urges then it could be a good option!  Let me know if you have any questions or feedback!

My Skydrive public folder is here for a few more photos

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Rubens - Elektrische ukelele made to my plans!

Rubens handmade Elektrische ukelele, a rare chance to see One of my MJK Electric Ukulele designs in action!

Electric Ukulele/Mandolin: Making the bridge. By Michael J King (video ...

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield

 If you are passing near Wakefield, west Yorkshire then the Hepworth gallery is a great place to visit, a custom made modern building with contemporary art and a collection of the tools and work of Barbara Hepworth.   I Studied stone carving while at University, immersing myself in the works of the early 20th century British Sculptors like Moore and Hepworth,  Its been a long time since those days!

Photographed on the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows phone
(thanks to Nokia Conversations for the loan of this device)

After the Bowl carving course.......... tool making

I am readying some tools to thin out the soundbox of the harp I recently made,  including a tool to get into the end grain at the top end of the harp and another to slice wood off the inside edge,   Its more tricky working this way but the rewards will be a richer and more balanced instrument.
 I made an extra long Olive Ash handle after the ones Robin Wood uses for my Bent blade, 
This tool is used two handed and slices across the grain.   Most effective on green wood! 
Alongside this is another tool, a commercially available hooked knife by Mora. Still a few more tools needed to do the work I need to do.  Updates in a few weeks!

Day Three on Robin Woods Bowl carving course

Day Three was the consolidation of the other two days work,  I didn't finish my second bowl but roughed it out to finish it later at home.

In this picture you can see the Hans Karlsson bent gouge, adze 
and the Gransfor Axe I used.  The very best kit and razor sharp.

This chisel is one I am looking into getting for my harp making
Martin Hazell demonstrating one of the north American Indian Style Adzes by the Kestral company
This lightweight adze balances perfectly in the hand and makes less tiresome work
Kestral adze side view
Rough profile of double headed bowl
Some of the bowls made by the students on the course

My completed bowl

Robin's bowl carving course teaches you all the hand skills for splitting, cutting, hollowing and shaping
and the safe ways to do this and much more.   For beginners to this way of working the Spoon carving courses are a really good way to start on a smaller scale.   
I had a really enjoyable time in good company and in a fantastic location, just need sometime to unpack what I have learnt and how to use it.   I now have a bent knife blade from Robin that I am making a handle for  and using for a harp re-voicing in a few weeks so I will blog again when I do that!

Day 3 blog course summery taken outside Edale Village hall on the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows phone(thanks to Nokia Conversations for the loan of this device)

Day Two on Robin Woods Bowl Carving Course

The second day was half spent finishing the willow bowl from the day before. We were taught different safe ways to use the Mora carving knives and two different strokes,  One, the reverse hold I had not used before.

First bowl rough shaped, ready for push spokeshave and nordic knife whittling

Robin Wood demonstrating how to safely axe out a bowl blank.
I chose Lime for my second bowl which was a joy to split and work!

Day 2 blog taken in my tent on the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows phone(thanks to Nokia Conversations for the loan of this device)

Stick Dulcimer Making Theme tune Tutorial and Tabs!

As promised here is the video tutorial(and Tabs) for the Stick Dulcimer Making Course Theme!
I am playing this on one of my new simple plain mahogany Stick Dulcimers(available for sale)

If you need a Tab sheet to print out please go to my Stick Dulcimer music page on my website where you can download this tab and the morrowind tabs
Note: There was an error in the strumming section where I missed two notes but I corrected the tabs.

This video was filmed all on a Nokia Lumia 920 Windowsphone and edited on Openshot on Lubuntu Linux.


Day one on Robin Woods Bowl Carving course

This is something I wish I'd done 10 or 20 years ago,  Learning how to carve wooden bowls from green timber using nothing but very sharp traditional hand tools.  Even though I trained as a cabinet maker my skill set was mostly modern hand tools and small power tools and apart from whittling there was a gap in my knowledge working fresh green timber.   If you are thinking of starting out yourself then the Spoon carving course is an ideal introduction with minimal outlay.  I was interested in bowl carving specifically as I am branching out into carving out Harps, lyres and Nyckelharpa from logs that are green so I can get a clean smooth interior( cutting into 4" deep kiln dried timbers, and especially the end grain is very hard without using a lot of machine work and sanding)
Robins Woods Bowl Carving course is over three days in the Village of Edale in the Peak District.  One of the locations of the recent BBC TV series "the Village"   I was camping a short walk away.
Edale, from the Campsite

Wearing my old Barbour jacket!

First stages of carving the inside of the bowl after initial axe work.  
Here I am using a lovely adze made by Hans Karlsson

The Simple Bowlcarving benches developed by Robin Wood over the years. Very effective.

My evening video blog, taken with the front facing camera of the Nokia 920 Windows phone

Thanks to Nokia Conversations for the loan of the Lumia 920 Windowsphone