2020

1 January 2020

2020.

Hindsight.

Is this going to be the year of hindsight? Will this be a year we spend looking back trying to remember the lessons past?

That’s just what popped into my mind last night: 2020 hindsight.

One thing’s for sure, this year is going to be, to put it politely, “interesting.”

Keeping in mind this is MY blog, and these are MY thoughts and opinions…

The last year has been one that just seems to scream “HELP!” and “Get your facts straight!” Even now, people, news (and so-called news) outlets are showing they don’t have a clue right off the bat.

For one thing…this is NOT a new decade. Get it right, folks! The new decade doesn’t start until 2021.01.01. There is no year 0, so decade, century, millennium counts do not start at years ending in 0, they start with years ending in 1. Think about it clearly and without bias: The first year we start counting in AD is the year 1. So, when is ten years later? Year 10, of course! Years 1 through 10 are the first decade, years 11 through 20 the next and so on to now where this decade consists of the years 2011 through 2020 and the next decade will be 2021 through 2030.

Back to hindsight, the original topic of this post.

Every start of the new year we really should spend some time looking at the recent past and comparing it to pasts even older. What have we learned? What have we applied the lessons of history to? What have we failed to apply the lessons of history to?

Those and other questions are the reason why it struck me that 2020 Hindsight should be the name of this particular year. It fits the saying, ‘20-20 hindsight,’ after all.

Unfortunately, 20-20 hindsight refers to things being clearer after the fact and does not refer to actually learning from that clarity.

I have to admit that a lot of what I’ve witnessed this past year, especially in the last half of the year, scares me. Knee-jerk reactions without thinking. An increasing feeling of empowerment to attack anything different. Strident calls to clamp down on liberties in the name of safety. Refusals to take responsibility. A president and a public national appearance I’m ashamed of. Ignorance of scientific fact because they don’t match an agenda. Lack of care for the needs of future generations. Lots more like this.

Ah, but then once I get past my own knee-jerk reaction to all these things mentioned in the previous paragraph, I see a glimmering of hope.

Looking at known history, as best I know it to be true, humans as a whole have managed to survive this far. It’s not been a clean, trouble-free journey, that’s for sure. Our past is littered with carnage of our own design, and likely our future will be as well. At least for a while, relatively speaking. But the thing is, there is hope.

I see it in the Renaissance. I see it after most major wars. I even see it in the more recent past. I even see, faint though it be, hope from 2019.

And there, friends, is another thing that helps us humans survive despite the odds against us.

Optimism.

New Beginning

28 March 2019

Perhaps.

Google Plus was taking up a lot of my “free” time, but now it’s going away as of 2 April 2019. Already, there are perhaps six or so people left of those that I was following. As people left, and left directions where they went, such as MeWe, Facebook, and so on, my thoughts turned more to my blog.

Thinking about the blog and the potential for writing more there, I was surprised to see that my last blog entry was apparently 2018-10-24 and here it’s already 2019-03-28.

As a result of Google+ shutting down, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the point of my G+ participation. Sure, for a while I was sharing pictures, but I’ve drifted from that activity as well. I blame the Idaho weather…whenever anything interesting was happening in the night sky, we usually had bad weather. Clouds, rain, snow, whatever. Enough that I’d use that as an excuse to not be able to post images.

I’m thinking how I used to enjoy writing here on my blog, sharing my stuff. Sure, I had enough followers to be able to count them on one hand, but what was I writing for, anyway? Like any human, I’d like more followers than that, sure. “Not going to get them if I don’t post,” I know that very well. Nor if I don’t put word out there about my posts, and there’s the conundrum. Originally, G+ was part of my method of putting word out, but it slowly became my blog replacement. Twitter was the other, and I’ve not been on there in years other than an automatic post when I blog.

So, what now?

Do I migrate to MeWe? Return to Twitter? Start hanging out in Pintrest? Somewhere else? Definitely NOT to Facebook, there’s no way I’ll ever have an account there. I could argue that moving to another social medium gives me the chance to study other people’s astrophotography and learn what settings and setups they’re using, but that doesn’t push me to get out and shoot my own images. Or to actually work on my own post processing.

Then there’s the site itself. I’m thinking of redoing it a little. Not drastically, I actually like this layout. Just remove old stuff, remove the Pa’adhe stories, the short stories, the poetry. Perhaps wipe out all my past posts and truly start over? Maybe just focus on writing about my explorations, photography, and ham radio. Outdoors and technology? Music? Long indeed has it been since I did anything with music.

I don’t know.

It all seems futile now. Well, maybe not futile, but pointless. Just something to do to toss away time. On the other hand, if I didn’t ramble so much in my posts, but kept them to just those three topics, maybe it’d be more focused, more useful to the wandering passers-by? People don’t seem to really care about any of my ham radio posts, so I could just focus on the other two, exploring and photography.

I feel like Scrooge early on: Bah, humbug.

So…what’s with this new beginning? Do I or do I not, that is the question.

Update 10.10.2018

24 October 2018

It has been a while since I posted here…once again. I don’t know why that is, but it certainly hasn’t been for lack of anything to post.

Photography-wise, most of my focus lately has been on my old 400mm Tokina. Getting it into sharp focus seems to be an almost impossible task. “Almost” because I refuse to believe it is impossible. For the longest time, I’ve been trying to get “focus trap” to work on the lens with the Pentax K3. No matter what I tried, it just wouldn’t work. It worked with the K10 and *ist, so it was frustrating not being able to use that method.

Then I came across something on the internet that made me search with some terms I would never have thought of using. Sure enough, it turned out that with the K3, Pentax created a setting in the Custom menu to allow or disallow that. Not only that, the name of the menu item, at least to me, isn’t intuitive. Sharp Capture. In hindsight, the name does make some sense. So, now I have the ability to use focus trapping.

Even with that, though, it’s still not locking in with the sharp image I remember. Note to self: put the 400mm on the K10 and/or *ist and verify it works like I seem to remember.

I think ,however, that there is a slight difference where the focal plane is compared to the K10 and *ist bodies. That doesn’t make much sense, but right now it’s the only answer I have. Even with the other manual lenses that I remember working properly on the other two bodies, I have to focus past the subject to get a sharp image.

Right now, my plan is to combine focus trapping with the multiple shot mode. That way, when the focus trapping triggers the rapid sequence of images taken while still adjusting focus manually should hopefully include at least one image in which the image is sharp. Or at least sharpest.

We’ll see.

Well, that idea of focus trapping plus multiple shot mode didn’t work. I guess I’m going to have to try and find another way to do this.

The ham radio arena is the next area to bring up to date. Here, the use of the straight key for Morse code as my computer input keyboard has indeed taught me most of the characters. BUT that only taught me to transmit. Recently, a ham who agreed to be an Elmer (aka Mentor) for me sent me a simple device that activates a LED to the tune of the dits and dahs of Morse code.

I bring that up because once I got this hooked into my radio and everything tuned, I had a chance to actually see some Morse via the LED. I was able to, for the first time, clearly and without any of the usual difficulties of differentiating them, see the Morse code. And that segues nicely into I was able to see the dah-dit-dit but I had absolutely no idea what dah-dit-dit stood for. I actually needed to mentally imagine sending dah-dit-dit with a straight key before I could make the connection to the letter D.

And so I found out what I was afraid of actually happened.

I can now transmit a lot of the characters without even having to think about their dit and dah components. The reverse, however, is not true. I could not decipher that visual representation with the same ease I can send it.

Oh, boy.

Now I’m going to have to add a LED to the straight key I use with the computer. There’s a LED on the Teensy board that flashes as I key the characters but it’s under the board holding the key and not visible. Rats! That would have been a perfect solution.

At least it’s a relatively easy fix and since the onboard LED already flashes while keying, I can use that same pinout, so no code modifications needed. I just have to figure out what color LED to use.

Writing. This is where I hang my head in shame.

I’ve done some editing for other authors, but I’ve done precious little writing of my own. As I mentioned last time, I did start a new Pa’adhe story, but nothing past the opening scene and setting up the tale. I have a reasonably decent story for this one, and it’ll provide the backstory for Scarle, but just sitting down and writing just hasn’t happened. With any luck, writing and posting this will get me going on it.

Unfortunately, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time programming. Unfortunately because otherwise I might have been writing instead.

I bought a cheap 3.5” TFT LCD display that came with NO instructions or paperwork at all. It took me several months to finally locate what seemed to be the same display being sold by another vendor with tutorials and examples. So, that’s now up and running on one of my Arduino Unos.

Plus I’m waiting for a part for a 2004 display (20 chars x 4 lines) so that I can use IIC protocols to program it for use with ham radio. This will be a potential display for viewing and decoding Morse code that comes over the air to my radios. It’s intended to just plug into the headphone jack of the radio and display the detected audio and Morse. Eventually I want to modify that to provide the option of showing, selectively, the following: (1) a bar graph or “LED” display of the dits and dahs, (2) a string of dits and dahs such as …. . .-.. —, or (3) the actual translation of the code to display HELLO. Maybe even other modes, although at the moment those three seem to cover all bases for me.

UGH! That’s enough, this is already longer than planned and there’s more like trips. I’ll save those for another time.