Archive for Technobabble

Getting Organized in 2020

Getting Organized

We finally got the new laptop and external display set up in the home office. Thanks to having some shelves to relieve the desktop clutter, we now have a better sense of organization. The photo above is preliminary since we have some desk lamps on order and we’re going to replace the aged speaker system with a new bluetooth system. The lamp in the left will be going away along with the old speaker system.

The shelf itself was advertised as a TV stand, but the literature it came with shows it is intended to be a shoe rack (for Imelda-wannabees, I guess). Regardless of that, the shelves are now serving as a desk organizing unit.

Frequently-accessed items and the wireless router/modem get the top shelf of the organizer, while less-frequently-accessed items get lower places behind computer monitors and such. It’s impossible to hide all the wires, but I think it is much better than it used to be. I’m sure that as time goes on, I will tweak things here and there.

I’m still installing applications and transferring files to the new machine as the need arises. I have the old computer set up in the motorhome out back and since it’s on the LAN, I can get most of what I need from the old system without having to go out there.

I sure like the new laptop computer. It is super fast compared to what I’ve been used to, although it isn’t in the supercomputer category by any means. Still, I’m enjoying the change.

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Clear Skies over the Southwest US

GOES East Map Image

A couple of weeks ago (10/22/2019), I captured this image from the GOES East weather satellite in geosynchronous orbit above the western hemisphere. GOES East showed this area of the southwestern US which I cropped to highlight Arizona which is centered, more or less, in the image. The image showed the area mostly clear of clouds at that time, hence the terrain features are mostly visible.

Late October and early November in our part of Arizona has the in-between hot summer and cooler winter temperatures which are still warm (80-90 degree highs) and we call “Second Spring” because of the flowers we have open this time of year. As I write this post, the early November temperatures are forecast for highs in mid-80s and lows in upper 40s or lower 50s. Soon, however, the temperatures will start to drop and we will be back in flannel and long pants.

Anyhow, back to the satellite image; you can clearly see the Mogollon Rim which is defined by the darker forested area at its southern side that extends from the inside the New Mexico border on the east and arcs toward the north across the northeastern part of the state and ends in northern Yavapai county in north central Arizona. The two darker forested areas continuing north are the Kaibab National Forest. The lighter gap between the southern Kaibab dark area and the northern dark area is where the Grand Canyon is located.

Other interesting features visible in the image can also be seen; over in New Mexico toward the right lower side of the image you can see the White Sands Missile Test area where WW2 Atomic Bombs were tested. On the left side, in California, you can see the Salton Sea. Finally, at the bottom left corner, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in Mexico is visible.

I look at the satellite images on a regular basis to help me identify our weather patterns. I use them in addition to radar and other tools to get an insight on our weather. You may click on the image to enlarge.

Looking at the enlarged image, you can identify Roosevelt Lake which is the flying eagle-shaped dark area below the Mogollon Forested area. West of that is Lake Pleasant, an oval-shaped dark spot. Lake Pleasant is just about forty miles east of our place.

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New Stuff: HP Win 10 Laptop and Savoy Patriotic Holster

New Laptop New Savoy Holster

First, regarding the laptop, we have been begrudgingly having to admit that our old machine is slow and cumbersome in the current market of faster on-line stuff. The memory in the old machine has to continuously cycle stuff around most of the time, thereby slowing everything down. There are a bunch of utilities and programs that I no longer need nor use, which slows things further. The time to upgrade has come.

The new laptop as described by the seller is a 2019 HP 15.6″ FHD IPS Touchscreen Laptop Computer, 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U up to 3.4GHz (Beat i7-7500U), 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD, 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.1, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 10. I purchased it through Amazon last week.

I have started migrating apps and files to the new platform on the “test bed” (literally the bed in the guest room) and integrating new peripherals to take the place of my antiquated setup in the office. The progress is steady, but with glitches and work-arounds as dictated by the new cyber environment. I’ll get there, but it will be a while before I change out the old laptop system.

Next, the new holster arrived today after a lengthy lead time of over fourteen weeks; I ordered it late last June from Savoy Leather Works. It is a custom made holster and magazine pouch for my Glock 30 Subcompact .45ACP pistol (I used to call this gun “FAT MAN” and the other Glock 26 “LITTLE BOY” on the old Minstrel Blog).

Damsel took the photo above right of me displaying the beautiful Patriotic American Flag and Three Percenter art work. It will take me a while to get it broke in. Although the holster has both IWB and Open Carry options, I figure to wear it for special occasions as an open carry combo. Why would I want to conceal the fabulous artwork?

You may click on either image to enlarge.

UPDATE 20191102: Added a 21″ external HDMI LED Monitor to the “test bed.” I will probably start moving the new stuff to the office next week and phase out the old laptop and display as soon as I get all the important stuff loaded to the new system.

Test Bed Updated

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Reunion - Ham Radio Style

Eating Meeting

Over the holiday weekend, we had house guests in the form of a couple that I have known since 1960 or so. I met Dick and Taffy on 2 meters AM in California when I was still in high school. We became good friends in those days. We also had a lot of mutual ham radio friends on the air and in person back then.

We got back in touch with them after a lot of years via email a couple of months ago when they found me and invited me to a reunion out in California of a bunch of other hams we knew. We weren’t able to go for a variety of reasons, but kept in touch hoping for a meet and greet opportunity. It so happened that Dick and Taffy were in Arizona to attend a grandson’s graduation from technical school in the Phoenix area on Saturday. We had previously offered to host them here at our place for an extended visit after the grandson’s grad event. They arrived here on Sunday afternoon.

The third party in the reunion was Jim, one of those mutual friends back then, who has recently relocated to the Prescott, AZ, area. Since we planned a Labor Day grilled steaks dinner, we invited Jim and his wife, Shirley, to attend which they graciously accepted. We all had a great visit, dinner and more visit before the confab broke up just before dark. Jim and Shirley headed back north, Dick and Taffy stayed one more night here and the latter departed this morning, returning to California.

We really enjoyed all the story swapping, getting caught up on other friend’s activities and learning about ancestry and genealogy tactics (we may soon use some of those). By the way, everyone present on Labor Day would be considered right-wing lunatics by the anti-constitutional left. Of course, normal people would consider us Patriotic Americans. It was a good and enjoyable reunion and encounter and we hope to be able to have a redux soon.

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Vernal Equinox

equinox.jpg

Archaeoastronomy’s Earth Clock Graphic shows Earth’s current position relative to the cusps of equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarters. As you can see, Earth is crossing through the Vernal Equinox cusp along its orbit around the sun. As of 14:58 Arizona Time, we are now officially in the spring has sprung mode.

Our early signs of spring have started. Damsel’s Flowering Plum is full of blossoms and her Daffodils are opening, no thanks to the colder late winter weather here. Wickenburg actually had three or four days of snow this winter which is highly unusual. The high temperatures were seldom above 60 degrees F. for much of February to mid March.

The rest of the xeriscape garden is also showing signs of spring, albeit later than normal. We have several beavertail cacti which all are sprouting flower and paddle buds. The Argentine Giant out front is showing flower buds and a new arm sprouting, maybe two. The other prickly pear cacti will be getting flowers later in spring. The giant saguaro out front should also be getting flowers in late spring.

I’m sure that with the cactus flowers opening and other springtime events, Damsel’s (and my) camera will capture some of it for posting here. Stay tuned . . .

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Happy Pi Day - 3/14/2019

pi.png

Before there was a PI key on our Bowmar Brains, many of us would approximate the value of PI using the formula 355/113. Some of us also memorized the first nine digits of Pi - 3.14159265 and input that into our calculators. Either way, the result would be off by less than 1 part per million, good enough for most applications short of space launches.

Scientific American has this offering about How Much Pi Do You Need?:

You might have observed Pi Day on March 14. It gets its name from 3.14, the first three digits of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Always on the lookout for excuses to eat pie, some geeky math types also celebrate the number on July 22. The fraction 22/7 has a value of 3.142857, so it has the same first three digits as pi.

Both 3.14 and 22/7 are approximations of pi, so the two days deserve the same title. In fact, 22/7 is closer to pi than 3.14 is. So if you’re an aspiring pedant, you can choose to celebrate July 22 as Pi Day and March 14 as Not Quite as Close to Pi Day. (Either way, you’ll enjoy more pie.) But what does it mean to be an approximation of pi—and why does it matter?

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This interesting article goes on to discuss how many decimal places of PI accuracy are needed for space operations, navigation (GPS) and quantum mechanics.

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New Arizona Ham Radio License Plate

W7GD License Plate

That was a pretty fast turn-around! I ordered the new plate 29 days ago and it was already in the PO Box this morning. The lady at the MVD that took the order said about 30 days while the literature on line said six weeks. Regardless, it’s here and already mounted on the Motorhome.

They only issued a single plate because AZ doesn’t require a front license plate. I think I can get one for the front of the RV, though. I will check on-line and see if that is possible.

We won’t be able to show off the new plate until springtime because we’re not going to go on our planned trip to Colorado until the weather changes. Maybe we will have some other place to go in the meantime, but we’re not planning on anything yet.

So, there ya go . . . a good-looking ham radio call plate on a good-looking Motorhome. Click on the image to enlarge.

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