Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

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.


Time Out

2 April 2014

I’m a bit ambivalent about this particular post, as I don’t know if it’s what I really, really want to do. Perhaps it’s driven by Spring fever, cabin fever, or the constantly overcast, sun-robbing weather. Whatever the reason, I’m walking away from this blog for a bit.

This blog, Bill’s Meanderings, just weighs on me more than I like right now. I’m always aware of it in the background, the constant, albeit self-imposed, weekly deadline, but most of all, I’m very much aware that it has no “direction” at all.

I’ll still post here from time to time, for example if I put out the new Pa’adhe short story. If there’s something I really want to share I’ll post it. I’ll check for any comments awaiting moderation. But that’s all I plan to do for a while.

It feels like I need to take some time away from here and think about where I really want to go with this blog. Astronomy/Astrophotography? Ham radio? Photography? Writing? Outdoors? Continue rambling? Drop it entirely? What?!?!?

The same goes for my Tales of Pa’adhe.

Yeah, I heard those groans from all three of you that actually read any of the Tales on your own. Sorry about that, truly.

This latest tale has the final feedback in to me, but I just have no interest in doing the last bit of editing and getting it out there. I’m sure I will, eventually, but right now…meh.

Maybe it’s tied to the same reasons as walking away from this blog. Only, in addition to that, it seems like I’m now writing for the three readers I have and not for myself or for the Tales. It’s not quite so much fun any more. I used to love looking at the map of Tenalpa and dreaming about new voyages, new challenges, new places to add to the map. Maybe there’s an unknown island here…that kind of stuff. Now, I look at the map and just think how pretty it is as a fantasy map. I don’t see any new voyages in my mind like the map is a real window into the Captain’s world. I haven’t added any new Pa’adhe story ideas to my idea file in almost a year. I used to add one every two months or so.

Yet, I don’t see myself giving up either the blog or the Tales, at least not right now. I need a respite, a Caamora or a Walkabout if you will.

When things like this are no longer fun, it’s time to step aside and try to find out why they’re not and how to make them so again. If there’s no way to make them fun again, then it’s time to move on to a new whatever. I’m at that point, I think, and since I don’t want to quit writing these yet, I’m hopeful that indicates there’s still an enjoyment factor and I just need to get away for a bit.

So, I’m going to focus on some other things like Morse code, astrophotography and time lapse projects, staying up with a tub of icecream reading into the wee hours until I can no longer stay awake, programming the Arduino or Raspberry Pi or Android phone for some ideas I have, re-reading some old favorites, re-watching the entire Lord of the Rings in one go, exploring the Owyhees…just random fun stuff.

For the serious side, I want and need to focus on studying for my Extra ham license. This General is ready to upgrade.

Check in from time to time, if you’re not automatically notified, as I’ll probably post something every once in a while.

In a while, crocodile.

When should I post

21 August 2012

I’ve been working on the latest Pa’adhe short story the last week or more. As a result of that writing and thinking about the stories I have in mind for the future, I may also be introducing a new recurring character. I’ve not yet decided on that but the current story has set itself up as a perfect introduction. Maybe I am supposed to introduce you to this new character in the current WIP. Maybe not, though.

This time the character is a bad guy. I’m not even looking for a running bad guy in these tales, or even a bad guy in this particular tale, but somehow that’s what I seem to be winding up with. So far I’ve not written any more than a brief bio to let me know what I’m dealing with. I have his personality, character, and something of a description but even I, the god of the Pa’adhe universe, have no idea where he lives, how large his forces are (if any!), or even what he fully looks like yet. Heck, I’m using “he” as a generic pronoun here since I don’t even know for sure yet if this character is going to be male or female. One thing I do know, this character is cold blooded, ruthless, and evil.

That’s it for my Pa’adhe update. If that’s all you care about, you can stop reading now. The rest covers, first, how I came to a decision about when I want to post to this blog and second, my astrophotography plans for this weekend.

Not to make any excuses or anything about last week, but I’ve been so busy that it wasn’t until Thursday I realized I had a blog posting due my readers. That put me in a quandary, but also kind of sorta maybe gave me an out. The previous post had been put up on a Friday, so I wasn’t going to post again the first part of the week. I didn’t want to post too soon, but I did want to post once a week. Obviously, I blew that last week. Thursday last I could have put up a quick post since I did have some things to say, but it would have also have had to be a quick and dirty post. I don’t want to do that to you readers.

When I post, the only quick and dirty posts I intend to make are those that do one of two things: introduce a new story or provide a short update related to my blogging or the inability to do so. Every other post I do should and must have some meat to it.

So, if I had something to post why didn’t I? One of the things I’d been thinking about that day was how to avoid a posting so close to a previous posting. In my mind, given how I write for this blog, that means posts a week apart or close to that. I believe that gives my readers time to pursue other things without missing what I post that might interest them. That in turn made me think about when would perhaps be most convenient to my readers. This train of thought had me thinking that if I posted Thursday evening as I was planning, my next post would be Tuesday and that was too close to the previous posting. Maybe it wasn’t really, but in my mind that day it was and meant that the post for next week wouldn’t be as good as it could be. So what days should I focus on from here on out?

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are no good. This is the weekend, people want to get off work and have their weekend. Also, Fridays are sometimes the start of a long weekend.

Monday is the first day back at work, and the day people try to organize their week, recover from the weekend, and tackle the things they put off the previous Friday. So, another day that doesn’t work well. Also, Monday, like Fridays, tend to be utilized for long weekends.

So clearly Friday through Monday are not good days to post. Extending this logic, Wednesday is the ideal day to post: Tuesday is a recovery day and Thursday a prep day for the long weekends.

The end result of this is that I will try to post no later than Wednesday from now on, ideally on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursday will be my backup plan.

Yeah, my wife says that too, about how I tend to over-think things. Blame my dad, he taught me how to argue both sides of anything.

Now for the photography stuff. Three weekends ago I spent several hours cleaning my DSLR. I had dust showing up in the pictures and test photos confirmed it had to be dust on the sensor filter. Cleaning that off was at once an interesting and a nervous undertaking. In the end I got it clean and am very glad that I did it. The next time I think I have to do this I’ll be much more comfortable doing so. It wasn’t all fun and games, though.

There was one point where I thought I had scratched the filter. Oh, the horror! I’ll never ever clean the camera sensor filter again! I was very disappointed in having potentially lost my best camera and having to drop back to a very good but still second string DSLR. Both DSLR bodies are great cameras and meet my needs: one is my *ist-DL and the other is my K-10D. It was the K-10D I was cleaning and I’d scratched it. I’d made a bad situation worse. Later, sitting on the couch feeling bad, I realized my test photos weren’t showing the scratches (by then I had two scratches). I ran into the computer room and studied the pictures, this time not only looking at them full size but also moving them around. Sure enough, the two scratches were marks on the monitor, not in the test photos! You can imagine how relieved I was. And how much happier I was with my cleaning efforts. It was also a good lesson in how you can become so focused on finding all the blemishes in the picture that if you’re not careful you may fail to see the difference between something on the screen and something actually in the picture.

This weekend I hope to head up in the mountains, back to the place where I took the picture that adorns the top of this blog site. This time I want to do astrophotography there and capture the Milky Way as well as Blue Lake. The plan is to head up there about 3 pm Saturday, be in place by 5 pm, and head back down around 3 am. I’m keeping an eye on the weather and the smoke from the various fires nearby. I’ll be emailing some people I know that live in the area to find out what the skies are like up there. Word right now is that one of the roads I would usually take is blocked. I’d really like to make it but just in case, I’m tentatively setting Leslie Gulch, or at least out in that general area, as my fallback plan. That will let me shoot the Milky Way but it also means I won’t get the photo I really want. If I make it to Snowbank, the downside of all this is I won’t get to bed that night until 5 am or later. YAWN! That also means I’ll spend much of my Sunday sleeping and wandering around in a daze after a little bit of sleep. If things are bad enough I might just wind up going somewhere else during the day. There’s a place I want to show my dad, anyway.

We’ll see how this all works out.