Skywatching Feb 2017
HUBBLE : Hubble Space Telescope — Highlights of the February sky.
NASA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory — What’s Up for February 2017.
NIBIRU: Astronomy Live — Nibiru to Arrive in October 2017?
LIVE: timeanddate — Live streaming. May require subscription.
An annular solar eclipse will occur when the Moon’s diameter is smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like a ring of fire. The eclipse will take place on Feb. 26, 2017.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a backyard stargazer on Earth.
Where will it be visible? It will be visible across southern South America in the morning and it ends in south-western Africa at sunset.
The annular eclipse will be visible at these locations.
Is the Nibiru cataclysm an internet hoax?
What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto — starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon — and leading up to an eventual ride in for a “landing” on the shoreline of Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planitia.
On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft became the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto.
Mid-size Microwave Oven 1100 Watts Black
The old tank finally stopped working and it was time to quickly grab another. The last one worked flawlessly for about 15 years. It was a GE product and based on reliability, ease of use, and the chic presence, I considered another GE product. So the GE 1.4 CU. Ft. entered into the fold. Model number: JES1460DSBB. Here’s the link: GE JES1460DSBB 22″ 1.4 cu. ft. Capacity Countertop Microwave in Black.
The modern family requires a microwave oven and that’s it. Personally, I’m an occasional user, reheating coffee, pizza, and the like.
After several weeks of usage, here are my thoughts. So far, there’s not much to complain about. It’s not really a problem, but the door on this unit seems a bit flimsier than the last one. And this could just be my imagination. It’s not an issue.
The interface is different than the last one. It’s hard to pinpoint the differences but I’ll try. After punching in the time, the microwave does its thing and you get ‘The End’, which I find a bit odd. I prefer to get the time being played out. The old one had a quickset button; this one has a 30 second timer labeled Add 30 Sec, which isn’t really a problem, just different.
The major difference is wattage. The old microwave operated at approximately 600 watts; the new one is 1100 watts. Well, the 1100 watts thoroughly cooks the food but it’s almost too hot, and I wonder if this will impact the electric bill. Probably not that much.
The new mid-size is bigger than the compact one. It doesn’t bother me at all, in fact more room is nicer. Some may not like bigger and may choose the compact.
Would I recommend the GE 1.4 Cu. Ft. Microwave Oven? Yes, without hesitation.
For owner’s manual here’s the link: GE 1.4 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave Oven.
1. Insignia – 0.7 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave – Black. Highly recommended. Economical.
2. GE JES1072SHSS 0.7 Cu. Ft. Capacity Countertop Microwave Oven in Stainless Steel.
3. LG LCS0712ST – 0.7 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave – Stainless-Steel.
UPDATE: Feb 17, 2017
This is one month after using this edition GE microwave and there have been no problems at all. I do not foresee any issues in the future. I would highly recommend this unit. I realize the rumor about the China buyout, but all I can say is the quality has not been compromised as of yet. Satisfied camper on this end.
Doomsday Eclipse Carbondale Illinois August 21, 2017
Are you serious? Be sure to mark the calendar for The Great American Eclipse. A total solar eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. There’s something spooky going on in Carbondale, Illinois, aka Little Egypt. Whaaat?
The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds at 37°35′0″N 89°7′0″W in Shawnee National Forest just south of Carbondale, Illinois and the greatest extent will be at 36°58′0″N 87°40′18″W near Cerulean, Kentucky between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky.
The eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918.
Southern Illinois is also known as “Little Egypt”:
The nicknames for this region also arose from the political tensions prior to and during the American Civil War, as regions of the state allied differently with North and South. Because southern Illinois was settled by southerners, they maintained a sympathy for many issues of their former states. They supported the continuation of slavery. They voted for Democrats, at a time when the northern part of the state supported Republicans. The meaning is expressed in this description of the 1858 campaign of Douglas and Abraham Lincoln:
“In 1858, debating in northern Illinois, Douglas had threatened Lincoln by asserting that he would ‘trot him down to Egypt’ and there challenge him to repeat his antislavery views before a hostile crowd. The audience understood Douglas: overwhelming proslavery sentiment and Democratic unanimity in Egypt had led to the nickname.”
Are you serious? Whaaat?
It was the first Wednesday in the month of January. The year of 2017 ushered in some very pleasant weather for much of the United States, just as Quebec and Vancouver in Canada had been hit quite hard with layers of snow. There was a report indicating that the city of Vancouver had no more free road salt to offer?
As of today, we are receiving a good amount of snow in the states. No problem. I’ve heard of one incident where there was a 3-to-4 car pileup nearby, so it sounds treacherous for highway traveling. It’s a bad situation out there. The accidents keep coming on the radio. Meh.
HF propagation is not all that great today either. Forty meters is almost empty. Eighty meters is showing some limited activity.
The Icom in my mobile has been programmed with the downlink frequency, which is 145.800 MHz if my memory serves me right.
The voice of the ISS astronaut was registering a decent signal; probably peaking at around a 6 or 7. I don’t think he ever hit a full “5 9″ signal report, but he was very readable.
It seems like the operator said that he was the only American on board. Several other comments were interesting fodder for wintertime conversation.
He mentioned that laundry was not likely in space. Instead, the clothes are worn until no longer tolerated.
Emails can be instantly sent and received. The operator voted while in space.
Everything in space floats.
Good day and stay warm. 73
The Raspberry Pi is a neat little gadget which is hooked up to my HDMI port on the new television set. But what about RPi in the bedroom? How to connect Raspberry Pi to an old style TV? Is this possible? A simple adapter is required: Parts Express 3.5mm Plug (4 Pole) To 3 RCA A/V Cable 6 feet. The answer is a confirmed yes as observed by me personally, that the adapter works as stated.
The red and yellow wires may have to be switched.
2/22/17 UPDATE CONFIRMED: The adapter does work with Raspberry Pi and Kodi. At first, the technical problems seemed hopeless. Turns out that it was just a settings issue; edit the configure file in both Raspbian and OpenElect, or LibreElect. It will take some leg work for someone not easily intimidated by a tech challenge and it’s not a quick process, but very achievable.
Raspberry Pi with Kodi is fully functional on an old TV screen. Obviously, there will not be HDTV on the old dinosaur but who cares.
For the remote I am experimenting with this option: Shadow SH T16 Mini 2.4GHz Wireless Touchpad Keyboard. We’ll see how it goes.
What you have is a 3.5 mm jack, similar to the headphone jack, and this adapter plugs right into the Pi. On the opposite end you’re using RCA jacks, the red, white and yellow. These will plug into the old CRT type TV. The 3.5 mm supplies the audio and video feed. And you may have to switch the wires, which are marked by colors.
Obviously if you have access to the new style television, then you will need the HDMI cable.
There’s one more thing to mention. A memory card will be necessary in order to transfer the software to the Pi box. Here’s the link: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter, Grey/Red, Standard Packaging (SDSQUNC-032G-GN6MA).
Yes you can score the latest of technology in the den, kitchen, or bedroom, and enjoy the latest programming that’s on the market.
How much entertainment can you handle?
Grasping today’s technology is invigorating if not, shall we dare say, enlightening. We’re entering another phase of technology if you will, and it’s easy as saying Raspberry Pi 3. If you want to discover the future of computing, then here’s the action kit: CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Kit with Clear Case and 2.5A Power Supply.
A memory card is what it takes to transfer the software to the Raspberry Pi box, in order to initiate the startup. One must download the software from a computer.
Also, the user really needs a wireless mouse and preferably a wireless keyboard, and FYI, this particular wireless mouse does a fantastic job. Some may prefer the Raspberry Pi remote control to keep it simple.
Here’s the combo package: Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo, Logitech Wireless Mouse USB (Black).
While utilizing the HDMI cable, the user can employ a monitor or a television set that is equipped with the port, and most modern sets do have the port.
“Raspbian is a Debian-based computer operating system for Raspberry Pi.” It is now officially provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as the primary operating system for the family of Raspberry PI single-board computers. It is Linux based, however, there are versions that use Windows instead of Linux.
To begin with, the Noobie may consider the NOOBS format, as well as LIBREELECT. Add-ons are too numerous to mention. What is fashionable today may be out of vogue tomorrow.
When the unit first arrived in the mail, I was not exactly enamored with what was entailed. It seemed like a hopeless cause, yet I plowed on, realizing that each step would be incremental in nature, and not giant leaps.
And I would like to emphasize that the kit is a fantastic deal; I am referring to the setup process, which became easier and equally rewarding with the bumps.
As time elapsed and progress moved forward, I began to realize what a gem I had received. While I still consider myself in a learning curve, I envision the future of technology embracing this gadget, as well as other gadgets just like it.
Education, entertainment, computing, and other lists will probably travel in this same direction, as technology becomes more available in various forms. The units are becoming smaller, faster, and more mobile.
Basically, what you have is a mini-computer without the luggage, and without the price tag I might add. The kit is reasonably priced, especially when compared to other high-priced gadgets on the market.
The USB ports, the electric adapter, and everything else worked fine. Nothing is perfect and I do recommend the user be gentle with the outlets, just like any other computer. The unit is wireless and it does have a port for the ethernet cable. The wireless part worked flawlessly, but in the future I may acquire the ethernet cable to see if there’s a difference in speed, which I doubt will be significant.
Would I recommend this unit to other enthusiasts? You bet! The tech level is just a bit higher, so having someone tech savvy at arm’s length is going to be a must, at least until the setup is finished. From then on it’s pretty much smooth sailing.
Forgive me for the pun—it’s easy as raspberry pi—and raspberry pie is delicious…
While trying to cast a video in Chrome on Ubuntu I discovered that the system wasn’t recognizing my Chromecast device. So I did what any techie would do: I tried turning the Chromecast off and on again. After that didn’t work I scavenged the Internet for answers. To my avail a savvy user had a quick solution to the problem.
Go to chrome://flags/#media-router in your browser and under Media Router change the setting from Default to Disabled. You will then need to reboot the Chrome browser for the changes to take place. You should be able to cast videos to your Chromecast again.
It seems that Google is no longer supporting 32-bit based Chrome on Linux systems anymore. You must have a 64-bit system to download the latest version of the browser. Oh well, at least I got my Chromecast to work again.
The slot antenna can be made out of any metal surface or plate, with the length of the slot being cut out by a frequency determined in advance. It can be designed and constructed using a discarded TV dish reflector. Believe me when I tell you that it works.
In essence, what you have is a half-wave dipole, and I suppose a quarter-wave. At roughly 12 inches, I was aiming for the UHF scanning range. The 12-inch edition worked quite well on VHF frequencies also.
I don’t know why, but when I cut the slot longer, the signals started to weaken. On this particular day band conditions were not ideal. Go figure.
If you look at the design of the satellite dish, you’ll see two main bolts in the center that hold the frame together. I grabbed one of the bolts, after cutting a 12 inch slot with my saw blade. (Safety glasses are recommended.)
(Be sure to stay clear of the frame when sawing, because you’ll bite into the frame and ruin the dish, like I did. It’s good that I had a spare. Actually, a piece of metal flashing might work better anyway.)
I drilled a hole opposite of the other bolt that was still holding the frame. So what you have is a 12 inch slot and 2 bolts on each side of it. In my experiment, I chose to go dead center of my 12 inch slot, which I found out later was not the proper measurement. The feed point is supposed to be off-center. What can I say.
When I used the feed point in the center it worked great. Matter of fact, when I lengthened the slot, receive was not as strong.
The correct measurements (VHF 2 meter band) call for 24 inches on the horizontal line, with 7 1\2 inch line on both sides of the cut (39 inches total). The feed should be about 4 1\2 inches from one of the 7\12 inch sides.
The horizontal slot will offer vertical polarization by the way, if you can wrap your head around that one!
Make your own balun using 6 turns of coax, or grab a TV transformer balun, if you are using the dish for receive. I was in the scanner listening mode.
To my surprise this project did work. With my 12 inch slot fed at half point, I received frequencies a good distance away from my shack.
Those that live in a homeowner restricted area could opt to use their satellite dish as a 2 meter antenna! This sounds like a crazy idea, but I think that it might be pulled off.
Give it a try!
Power outages are here, there, and they’re everywhere. Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the middle of something and the black screen stares at you? Boom boom, out goes the lights! Can you save the data? Won’t you?
Thankfully, there’s battery backup for desktop computers, wireless networks, gaming consoles, and more. Here’s what you need: APC Battery Backup & Surge Protector (BE750G) – 750VA 10-outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
The UPS will not make your coffee for you, nor will it make breakfast for you, but it will supply battery backup power during nasty power outages and save the equipment in the process.