Category Archives: Uncategorized

Neat Video noise reduction test

A quick comparative test of the Neat Video noise reduction plugin, mostly because YouTube does its own noise reduction so I can’t host it there. You probably want this full-screen to see the effect.

Notice the slight noise increase on the left hand side, and more signficantly the herringbone pattern caused by RF interference with the composite video over the long (ish) cable run and the not great analog performance of the cameras anyway.

The source isn’t really going to improve at all as the equipment it runs through is very old, but the plugin has pretty much completely removed the noise!

The astonishing connected world

Ever looked at a vision of the future from, say, 30 years ago? According to those 1980s authors, our future contains such excitements as flying cars, living in space and colonies on the moon. Unfortunately, none of these things have really materialised; although we’ve made progress in quite a few of them. However, one thing almost never predicted is every individual wandering around, always connected, always linked to the sum of human knowledge, able to share thoughts and experiences with the entire world as a matter of course.

Naturally I’m talking about the Internet, and the evolution of the smartphone and the widening spread of mobile data, all of which add up to rich, connected applications pervading our daily lives. For many of us, we can’t imagine life without always-on connectivity, and are completely stuck when our phones/tablets/whatever break or run out of power. Going beyond the mundane desire to tweet pictures of what I had for dinner, connectivity has even played a part in overthrowing dictatorships and corrupt regimes in the Arab Spring. If I want to know the situation in Mali, learn how to fix my car, or just watch a cat falling down the stairs repeatedly, its available near-instantly, wherever and whenever I want it.

Today I’ve worked with people I’ll never meet, on a product they’ll never see, I’ve pair-programmed with a friend 80 miles away as if he were sat next to me, and I’ve watched a music video performed by 40 people, from radically different backgrounds, scattered all over the world. The likes of YouTube have made unlikely celebrities (Numa Numa guy anyone?) and launched countless careers and forced the music and broadcasting industries to turn established ideas on their head to stay relevant in today’s connected world.

Looking to the future, I’m hesitant to speculate what will come given the start to this post; and there are a great many terrifyingly plausible visions of our future, however I think its safe to say that it’ll be interesting.

That Friday feeling

Traffic is a strange thing. I’m unfortunate enough that my 30 mile commute requires me to take the M4, or one of a number of similar, parallel roads, all of which get jammed up far too easily. Most mornings the motorway is busy, as is the exit sliproad in to Bourne End where I work. Whilst I struggle to make sense of this (why does every man and his dog want to go to Bourne End?) the weirdness is in how busyness changes across the week.
Naturally on a Monday morning and Friday evening traffic chaos is above average, which makes sense as people travel home for the weekend on a Friday and back to work on a Monday, but why is there less traffic on a Friday morning? This morning it took me half as long to get to work as on this weeks wet Wednesday and there was barely any traffic anywhere. What’s that about?

I need a new theme…

This one doesn’t really work, ideally it should go all the way to the bottom of the page and not look so naff in the bottom bar. In an ideal world I would roll my own, but sadly I don’t have anything like the time.
On an interesting aside, after suggesting in a discussion about serial protocols for small processors that if for better speed than SPI you’d need to roll your own I was told the expression originated from writing your own kernel drivers or other low-level code to solve a problem, rather than using a pre-existing library.

However, I suspect it actually refers to rolling your own cigarrettes from parts rather than buying them complete. I’m curious, has anybody in the software circles ever come across the former definition? And does anyone have suggestions as to a better high-speed serial bus than SPI for microprocessor interconnect (parallel buses are out).


I’ve finally set up a blog, something I’ve been meaning to do for about 4 months! Over the next few weeks I’ll start writing all the posts I’ve had ideas for over the last few weeks and months and actually put them up here, so watch this space!

In the meantime, a little about me: I’m currently studying for a degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of York, going in to what should be my third, and penultimate year, however I’m taking a year out at the moment to do an Industrial Placement with Renesas Electronics Europe through the UK Electronic Skills Foundation scholarship scheme. In my free time I’m also a techie at York Student Television where I do hardware/software development and maintenance on various bits of broadcast equipment, although more in a supporting role this year since I’m “in exile” as it were.

It goes without saying that everything written on here represents my own opinions, not those of my employer, York Student Telelvision nor anyone else I am related to.

Find me on LinkedIn as Sam Nicholson and on twitter as @samdnic