Posts Tagged ‘website’

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.

Year’s End 2012

19 December 2012

As I will be on vacation beginning tomorrow evening, this will most likely be my last post to the blog for 2012. I do not expect to post here again until the week of January 9, 2013.

So, allow me to wish you the best of the holiday appropriate to your beliefs and also my best wishes for the coming new year.

I have no New Year’s Resolutions. I tried once to set and follow a New Year’s Resolution but failed miserably…I simply forgot about it until September of that year and by then it was too late for that particular Resolution. So, I simply take the time around January first to evaluate my regular goals and see how I might want to adjust or update or discard or add to them for the year. That way, I seem more able to meet those goals I set. Why that works and a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t I have no idea, but there it is.

Over vacation I plan to concentrate mostly on three things: family, writing, and reading. I have a series or two that I’d like to get into, and that will take a few days. As a Tolkien fan, I want to go see The Hobbit but will do so only if the theater has the closed captioning glasses. If not, I’ll have to bide my time and wait for the BR release to get the captions. I know the story well enough to enjoy it on the big screen but being able to read what they say contributes to the experience. And anyway, I’ve got some other movies I want to watch.

My granddaughter and I have been building a Theremin-like instrument driven by an Arduino. When it didn’t work properly, the first thing I discovered was that she’d put one of the jumper wires into the wrong pinhole. Other than that she did a perfect job wiring it up. However, I found that there was an error in the schematic provided online – one of the connections went to an unused pin on the amplifier chip. On top of that, it turned out that the replacement amplifier chip I used wasn’t really a pin-for-pin replacement so I’ll have to re-do that part of the schematic from scratch. Once that’s done it should work and we’ll just need to box it up for her.

I also want to take care of some ham radio stuff. There are a few antennae I “need” to order for both mobile and home (QTH) antenna systems. QTH wise, I’m currently set up for 40m and 20m receiving but the transmitting side leaves something (a lot!) to be desired. I’d like to fix that and provide discrete 40m and 20m capacity. For both 40m and 20m I plan to use two HF Sticks as center-fed shortened dipoles for the QTH system. I also want to add a 20m HF Stick to my Geo Tracker for mobile ops as that frequency seems more active during the times I’m mobile. I haven’t decided if the 20m will replace the 40m already on the vehicle or will be in addition. With all the reading, writing, and other stuff I have in mind, actually putting up the antennae will probably have to wait until spring, at least.

I also want to monitor the PSK bands for a while, see what I can pick up. I tried that during Field Day and at that time I had a good range of signals from around the world, including Russia, Japan, Florida, New England, Caledonia, California, Canada (Ontario and BC), New Mexico, and a few other states. The next time I tried I didn’t seem to be able to find anything at all. So, I want to play around with this over vacation.

As you can see, I’ve got more plans than time, as usual. It’ll be interesting to see just what of all this stuff gets done.

The Apocalypse is scheduled for the 21st but I have a strong feeling it “aint gonna happen”. (See my last blog post.) But it does give me the opportunity to close this post with…

See you on the other side…

…of the New Year!