John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Birding apps

When you first get started with birding it’s amazing how you start to see things you’ve spent zero attention to in the past. There are so many varieties of birds out there waiting to explore. Getting started isn’t that hard, and needn’t be that expensive. You can get started in your own neighborhood, or your own backyard with a feeder.

Identifying birds
Being able to start to identify specific birds can be daunting but there are a couple apps out there that can make this a LOT easier. Merlin and iNaturalist can take pics of a bird and attempt to identify it. iNaturalist can also do plants and animals too. iNaturalist has a website you can use as well as mobile apps. Both Merlin and iNaturalist are free by the way!

Where to go
Ok, your hooked, now you want to be able to find places to go … there’s a great web site that aggregates lots of users data eBird.org. it’s a little complicated to use, but you can find where a specific bird has been seen (if at all) in your area, you can see what birds have been seen at a particular location and so much more. There’s a mobile app to record your sightings that feeds this web site, but I’ve had no end of issues with that part of it.

A number of other apps use the back end data of eBird and then present it in different ways to you. There’s an app called Birders Nearby that has a much nice interface to record the birds you are seeing as well as you can see what others have seen. It pulls from eBird as well as it’s own database for entries people put on the app. It does not (I believe) feed your sightings back to eBird.

There’s another one called GoBird that pulls eBird data, and then filters into near you, as well as rare bird sightings near you. And it even allows you to define what nearby means.

Here a bird sound you can’t identify? Well there’s an app for that too, called song Sleuth that allows you to record and then identify the songs of birds.

I’m sure this is not all, but that’s enough to get you started!

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Samsung A51 review

Got a new work phone, so you get a new review. This is another work horse business model so expectations should be set at that. Personally I own a iPhone XS so that will, unfortunately, be my point of reference. I say unfortunately cause nothing does polished quite like an iPhone, that said, I also own a Samsung Tab A so that too is my reference point. I originally moved back to an iPhone from Samsung because I got tired or the bloated, slow experience. Inevitably the device has these pregnant pauses where the device goes off somewhere and comes back when it feels like it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with physicals:

158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm 172g (XS for comparison is 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm 172g)

Display wise 1080 x 2400 pixels ~405 ppi ( XS for comparison 1125 x 2436 pixels ~458 ppi)

As in the past this is an Octa core processor, sort of, it’s a dual quad core, two low power, two high performance 4×2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53. Android does a great job of using these and allows for very good standby power consumption. After quickly ramping up the number of processors for years, this has been max’d out at Octa core a LONG time.

This phone has a dizzying array of cameras, as well as a flash:

48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
5 MP, f/2.2, (depth) (Vs the XS having Dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras)

Oh, and a front camera 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm

Video wise the phone is capable of 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, Vs XS which can do 4K@60fps

The battery is 4000 mAH (2658 mAH for the XS), spec wise Samsung says 85 hrs of battery while Apple claim 60 hrs (it’s worth noting the battery on the A51 is 50% larger so this is comparable). The charger that comes with the phone supports 9V 1.67A=18W for quick charge mode, as well as 5V 2A=10W for normal charging. the XS by comparison can ONLY do quick charge if you pay money for an optional adapter. The A51 charged from 4% to 70% in 60 mins while the XS charged (using an optional iPad charger) from 19-84% in 60 mins. These charge speeds are comparable, which is notable given the added size of teh A51’s battery!

Security wise the A51 has both a finger print scanner as well as facial recognition while the XS can only do facial recognition, in the short time I’ve had this phone I’ve found the finger print scanner to be almost useless, very inaccurate.

The A51 uses a single nano SIM and can only support one line, while the XS supports a physical SIM, and an ESIM so can support quite a number of lines, a feature I use to be able to only carry one phone.

The A51 does NOT support DEX, it does work correctly with my USB3 Display link adapter however you immediately run into the same issue that is with a LOT of phones, the home screen does not rotate.

The phone is at Android 10

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment