Posts Tagged ‘website’

New Beginning

28 March 2019


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.

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.