Astrolight 1.2 Update

My Astrolight red flashlight application has been updated to keep the screen from locking. I had heard from users that sometimes they wanted to set the phone down while playing with cameras and eyepieces – but when they went back to the phone they’d have to unlock again. Which could be pretty bright depending on your wallpaper! Get it from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

New Moon in March 2012

Last night I went to Scarborough for some ‘Astro Dog Astronomy‘ and took these lovely pictures of the New Moon in March 2012.

This photo was actually taken with a lens borrowed from Annette Newby – thanks! It looks great, and you can see a close up below.

As well ask the new moon, Jupiter and Venus were pretty close by giving us the fantastic view of these two great planets that we have been used to for the last few months. Venus is on top in this photograph…

And how could I resist getting a close up picture of Jupiter with three of its largest moons in view.

I had a great night, and I also managed some firsts. While I had seen the phases of Venus before, I’d never seen them with such clarity, and a definite first was seeing detail on Mars (including ice caps and dark features!) Very impressive.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

I’ve been using the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse around three weeks now, so I feel like I’ve got a good idea of what I think about it.

Overall, it’s a great little mouse. Very portable, very simple – however it has one weak spot which really annoys me, though I should be used to it by now…

Here are the mice I use today from left to right:

Out of these three mice only the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 has good and consistent middle click capability. While the Arc Touch Mouse does actually support middle click, it’s not very good.

When you want to scroll (the equivalent of the mouse wheel) you slide your finger up and down the touch strip. I’m quite happy with this, it works pretty well. There’s even a vibration built in to give you some feedback. You can also tap at either end to page-up and page-down, or give it a swift swipe to enable kinetic scrolling to speed things up.

But to middle click you need to double tap right in the centre of this touch stip, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work. I find this most frustrating when trying to close multiple tabs in Visual Studio or Internet Explorer – you’re doing twice the clicks and half the time it doesn’t work as expected.

However, seeing as the magic mouse doesn’t even support middle click, I should be used to it by now. I just think it’s a shame that the touch strip isn’t a clickable button too. That would solve the problem.

Now that’s out of the way, lets get onto the good stuff. The mouse is small and light which suites me just fine – and it works really well with the strange way I hold a mouse (-90 degrees). The design is fantastic with a really nice touches like the magnetic dongle holder on the bottom.

Because the mouse flattens out, it’s really easy to fit into any bag. I’ve noticed an improvement here, because I used to use a Wireless Mouse 5000 which is still pretty small, but gives a noticeable bump in my work bag. This Arc Touch Mouse is a lot more sleek, which is very cool.

Overall I’d definitely recommend the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse to people who like small mice. And finally, if you are worried that having a big gap is a problem for you, see if you can try it out in a store. I was worried at first but after a while I’ve really grown to like the light feeling.