Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice!


Is it the solstice already?  Yeah, guess so.  Here's a pic of a unique sundial, from over at APOD:

Holy cats, it must've taken some serious CAD work to get the shadows and light to line up like this.

ps: it's also Hike Naked Day, at least in some parts of Colorado.  Don't forget the sunscreen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Eclipse Mid-Day, Monday Aug 21, 2017


Here's the expected total eclipse path:

Of course, there'll be plenty to see across most of the CONUS even if you're not in the direct path.  Here's a simulator showing what you can expect to see, given your zip code.  Dig around at that web site, theres a lot of good info there.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Silca Bike Pumps – the news is better


Specifically, 48% better.  After December-before-last's post about the $450(!) bike pump, it looks like Silca has heard the mockery from Fly-Over Country and come out with a more reasonably(?) priced $235 model.

To be fair, this is a big step in the right direction and it really does look like a darned nice pump.  Is it worth it?  Only you can decide.  For me, it's close...er, but I'd still go shopping eBay for a decent used one.

Hey, at least it's serviceable and you can get parts.


ps: bonus post at PM – an introduction to gravel biking.  Not nearly as terrifying as the author makes it out to be, and far, far less terrifying than most traffic riding.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Florida Trail Article


Over at the Tallahassee Democrat: 
http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/06/03/our-slice-florida-trail/361859001/

Some text, lots of pictures, and if you turn your ad blockers off, there's an interesting 10 minute video.  (Don't worry, you won't have to install Adobe Flash yet again.)

I'm gearing up for at least the northern part, but in no particular hurry.  First off, this is no place to be during the summer, nor during deer season.  After that, I've got lots of practicing to do on the far shorter and far closer Tuxachanie Trail.  So file this one under "we'll see," "real soon now," and "working on that one."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Innovation vs. Regulation & Outdated Management


NPR ponders the question "Why didn't Silicon Valley happen in New Jersey?" and actually stumbles across some of the answers.  But they quickly pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing had happened.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Of Lemons and Lemonade


With the mountain bike stuck in the shop for some unspecified period while the rear shock is sent off for factory service, and the weather finally clearing enough to go mountain biking without scuba gear, there's an obvious problem.  But I'd been wanting to take the CX bike to the woods again for a while now, so off we went this morning.

Overall a good time, if not a lot of miles.  That thing is a handful to handle when the trail turns sandy.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

This Day in Awesome


Stumbled across a new-ish blog recently, This Day in Aviation – Important Dates in Aviation History, and I must say that it is an entertaining and enlightening daily ride.  For example, just up for today June 8th:

First X-15 drop test (1959):

and the infamous XB-70 photo shoot & subsequent crash (1966):

And there's something just about this amazing posted every single day.  You might consider making it a daily visit of your own.  Certainly one more good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

A 4WD Mustang?


Sure, it sounds good to me.  Evidently it was part of an experimental development effort that ultimately lead to nothing.  Read all about it over at Fox.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

SSTV: It's Getting There

Rainy weekend, so it's time to play with radio hardware – and curse at linux software, all relating to slow-scan TV (SSTV).  At least the software is free.  Note that this is not "TV-TV" as in moving pictures and all that, but more akin to faxing color still photos over high frequency radio waves very long distances.  Sending moving pictures (boy, does that phrase sound old-timey) takes a lot of bandwidth, about 5MHz.  Sending these low-res stills takes less, about 3KHz.  That's more than a thousand times less, and about the same as voice communications.  Again, pretty similar to faxing over a telephone voice line.  Just without the telephone or line.

Here's a typical, moderately strong SSTV signal on 20 meters.  The call sign indicates that it was sent from Michigan.

hard-linked to Linux laptop ($150+headache), SignaLink ($100+mostly harmless), QSSTV software (free+headache)... 

over-speaker audio linked to iPhone ($50 special+easy), Black Cat CQSSTV app ($3+easy):

Hmm.  These two images are off of the same signal, same radio, acquired at the same time.  The first one is definitely better, but the second one was definitely easier.  Not sure I'd want to conduct a conversation while editing text on the iPhone on the fly, but it is at least a viable backup.

On the whole, both are pretty good and each has its advantages.  Still a few more things to do before I'm ready to hit transmit however.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

More About Linux and Ham Radio


Found an interesting youtube channel that discusses this stuff at just the right level:

https://youtu.be/TxSPgVr98N8
This is linked and not embedded so that you don't have to watch a tiny image here at this blog or do a bunch of clicking through.  21 minutes of getting started basics.  I'm sure I'll refer to this many times in months to come, so you get to see the link too.

I know, compared to the usual slam-bang mountain biking around here, this is pretty quiet stuff.  It's been raining for a week now, but hang in there.  Forecast only calls for about another week of rain, then it's back into the woods.  Probably with a snorkel.