Nick’s Blog

Archive for September, 2010

Tatuk GIS

by Nick on Sep.25, 2010, under GIS

I’ve been using Tatuks DK.Net version 9 for about a year now. The choice to use Tatuk was not mine but rather it appears to have been financially driven by predecessors and I have to say price performance is very good. You pay only for a license for each developer and are then free to distribute the applications to as many users or customers as you want.

The DK includes a control for the display of maps within the application that is capable of displaying data from a wide range of spatial data sources (http://www.tatukgis.com/Products/InternetServer/Features.aspx) including all the major ones such as ESRI, Oracle Spatial, WKB, WKT, and most common raster formats. The control also supports printing templates allowing the map to be printed with a border and text adornments.

Along side the visible mapping capabilities, the DK also includes an amount of spatial processing capabilities. You can filter spatially or create buffer zones and much more. It all adds up to making creating a map with Tatuk quite easy.

There are, however, some downsides. While the DK is very fast with shapefiles this appears only to be because it loads vast amounts (or possibly all) the data into memory. This really does give us a very fast map but as we add data from other sources the memory usage builds up and the map slows down. Performance with Oracle Spatial is currently proving a headache for us as clients are insisting on adding every layer available to them and making map rendering times to say the least sluggish.

To add to this problem we find that the DK cannot share layer information between map instances. We wanted to build an application with maps in several places. The main screen contains a map and the fact that startup time is not quick is not really a problem, however we would have liked to have had auxiliary maps on various other forms in the application. However those instances cannot be made to share information with the main map and so have the same memory usage and startup time.

Another weakness of the DK appears to be that it only operates on the GUI thread. I did some tests early on with running the DK on another thread and I was able to get it to do some work but not by doing anything that was Tatuk approved. The reason I wanted DK to run on another thread was simply that every time the map renders the entire GUI stalls. I had hoped that the slower layers could be rendered on a separate thread while the faster raster layers gave context to the user.

In all I think Tatuk is a great product and for the price you’ll find it hard to do better. The guys at Tatuk are supremely helpful and willing to look into most problems. However you can try to push it too far and perhaps our product is doing that.

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Humax 5050

by Nick on Sep.08, 2010, under Blogging

This device is a digital PVR with a fair sized hard disk capable of recording from digital channels. I would like to write a full review but really there is enough information out there to let you know what the machine is technically capable of. So really I’m only going to summarise the things I like and the things I dislike about the device.

Overall the device is an improvement on the Panasonic device that I’ve owned for years. For a start you can schedule two digital channels for recording at the same time and watch a third. However the Panasonic device was never intended for digital recording and is already 8 years old.

Given the intervening years I would have expected some major improvements but ignoring the three tuners for a moment and that it picks up programme information over the air there is little to recommend the device. Let’s start with setting the device up. (continue reading…)

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