Archive for June 2009
While researching the NiteCore SmartPD EX10 R2 I was also looking for a 2nd flashlight that took AA batteries. The AA battery form factor is bulkier than the CR123 batteries that the NiteCore uses but the advantage is that AA batteries are far cheaper and easier to find. The low cost and easy availability of AA batteries makes a AA light an excellent companion for traveling. After some research I found a light I felt was perfect, the Fenix LD10, and decided to purchase it from Outfitter Country on Amazon.com.
The Fenix LD10 is a follow-on to the popular Fenix L1D, the LD10 features a redesigned exterior and improved reflector. I don’t have a L1D so I cannot compare the change in the reflector. However, looking at pictures of the L1D I can see that the exterior has been updated to put a multi-sided surface around the head of the flashlight. The surface makes the flashlight easier to hold and it prevents the light from rolling around when you put it down on a flat surface.
The LD10 still uses the Cree Q5 LED that the L1D used and doesn’t come with the R2 version used in the NiteCore EX10. I can see a definite but not significant difference in brightness between my NiteCore EX10 and the LD10.
A really cool feature of the Fenix L series is that the heads and bodies are swappable with other L series lights and most of the P series lights. So, I can use the head of my LD10 with the body of a 2xCR123 Fenix P3D or PD30. This will give me longer runtime and up to 220 lumens out of my LD10 head because the CR123 battery can source more current than a single AA. So I can pack different bodies and carry what I need based on my plans.
Features of the LD10 include:
Conventional push button switch.
Durable aluminum body.
Access to 6 light levels – min, med, max, turbo, S.O.S, and strobe.
The strobe mode only works at the turbo light level. This video shows off the different modes available on the Fenix LD and L1D series of lights.
I’ve have the LD10 for for a few weeks now, almost as long as I’ve had my NiteCore EX10, and I’m happy with it. Just like the EX10, the LD10 is solid, well built, and gives me loads of light on a single battery. However, unlike the EX10, the LD10’s controls are easier to use and are much more reliable. I always know where the light is going to start and I can easily switch between modes by soft-clicking the tailcap switch.
The fact that AA batteries don’t store as much power as CR123 batteries is readily apparent in this light. I can get barely 20 minutes of light out at turbo mode before turbo mode is dims down to be just as bright as the high light mode. The battery type doesn’t seem to matter, I’ve seen the same result using both lithum and eneloop brand rechargable batteries. I don’t think we’ll see an improvements in the duration of light output until large gains are made in LED efficiency.
The low mode is great for getting around the house and the high/turbo mode is good for night walks and general outdoor night tasks. In addition, The strobe mode is great for biking or walking at night – it really grabs attention which ensures drivers will notice you. For hands free operation, Fenix sells both a bike mount and headband that you can use to attach the light to your bike or body. Strobe mode is also great for alerting other drivers when you have to pull off the road in your car – the anti-roll design means that you can just turn the light on and put it on your car trunk or roof to alert fellow drivers.
I really like the fact that Fenix offers a variety of acceseories to modify their lights to fit your needs. Besides the interchangable bodies, headband, and bike mount I mentioned earlier; Fenix also has diffuser tips for general lighting, filters for night vision, and a pressure switch for remote activation. It would be nice if they had a magnetic mount I could use to attach the light to my car or other metallic surfaces for when I need both hands free and don’t have a flat surface for the light.
While a little bulky to use as a everyday carry light, the Fenix LD10 is great for travel and general use around the house and outdoors. The AA form factor makes it cheap to operate but it also means that the maximum light output is unsustainable for long. I really like the strobe mode and available acesseories – I plan on at least getting the bike mount or headband for night biking during the winter.
- Variety of accessories – headband, bike mount, bodies, and diffusers.
- Uses easily available AA batteries.
- Amazing light output for a 1xAA battery light.
- Reverse polarity protection.
- Very short lived turbo mode.
I’ve been using Komodo ever since version 3.5 came out several years ago. I first found out about it while looking for a Windows Perl distribution and happened upon the Activestate website. So, what is Komodo? Komodo is a IDE geared towards dynamic languages like Python/Perl/Tcl/Ruby that runs on all 3 major OS platforms (Windows, Linux, and OSX). It is put out by Activestate, the same company that puts out the most widely used Windows Perl distribution – Activestate Perl. I bought Komodo because I liked the built in Perl debugger and syntax highlighting. I purchased the upgrade to version 4.0 because it added VI keybindings. Version 5.0 didn’t have any features I thought were compelling, but I purchased the upgrade anyway because I wanted to support Activestate.
Komodo is a feature rich editor. Besides the required syntax highlighting, it has editing of remote files over FTP and SFTP, version control integration, VI emulation mode, a very nifty graphical debugger, http request and response inspector and editor (HTTP inspector), source control integration, a regex constructor (RX toolkit), and an interactive shell that lets you try out commands on the fly. These are just the features I use on a regular basis! Komodo is also extensible via scripts, supports macros, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and much more.
Komodo is very user friendly. Besides the VI keybindings, you can also customize the menu by assigning your own key combinations to the commands you use the most. The interface stays out of your way until you need it, the main typing window takes up most of the screen with the quick link buttons listed along the top. You can bring up the debugger or your source control windows at the bottom and there are side tabs to let you quickly access files in your project, variables, and functions. One area that is lacking is the help – it is sparse in some areas, especially on how to access the API and so sometimes I have to resort to trial and error.
The syntax highlighting is great, it makes the code readable and there are little red squiggles show you where you have errors in your code. A little drop down pops up when you access member variables, however it is not as comprehensive as Microsoft’s intellisense in that it doesn’t perform the drop-down for every variable.
A great feature I use regularly but is not found in most IDEs is the ability to edit remote files over FTP and SFTP. This allows me to get syntax highlighting, code folding, code completion and all the other nifty features of the IDE on files that can only be accessed via SSH or telnet. This is great because a lot of my work is done on UNIX machines that don’t come with fancy editors but allow access via SSH and telnet.
I mainly use Komodo for Perl and C/C++ development but I have dabbled with Ruby on Rails using Komodo and it also shines in this area. It has shortcuts to automatically generate scaffolding items and you can watch your site execute using the built in debugger.
I’ve discussed the features I use the most and like the best but Komodo has many more features that will interest others who work with different languages or with different needs. Check out their features page for a full list of everything Komodo can do. Activestate also offers a trial version and has a lite version of their IDE in Komodo Edit.
Overall, Komodo is great software and I would highly recommend it to anyone who works with dynamic languages. I don’t regret buying it since it has paid me back many times in saving me time and reducing the frustration of debugging code.
- Versatile and feature rich
- Easy to modify to suit your tastes
- Advanced debugging support
- Great code editing features
- Works on all major platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux
- Only supports dynamic languages