How to take it apart:
and how to put it back together:
How to take it apart:
and how to put it back together:
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A more complete list of Windows Alt Key Codes.
It is many years ago that I read the Lensman series by Doc E. E. Smith, the precursor to all space opera that came after it. Even when I read it the technology was dated as these books were written in the 40s and 50s, but that all did not matter because I loved the stories.
I am pretty sure that then I read them in a German translation and I believe that I read a few of them in English after I came to the US of A. But these books were hard to come by as most of them were out of print and I believe still are, as you can’t really find them on Amazon in – form of inexpensive paperbacks at least.
I had given up for a while to find a complete set, but discovered the first, Triplanetary, as an ebook a while ago and am about to finish it on my tablet (apparently the only good application for a tablet.)
So, as I am in the last few pages I needed the next one – First Lensman. Quite a bit of googling but I finally hit the mother-lode at Arthur’s Bookshelp. He had them all and as I was at it, I also got the Skylark series for the time when I’m done with the Lensmen which could be a few years at the slow pace I am going.
Just in case you need the sequence of the book, because it is sometimes hard to figure it out the chronology:
And here – as we are at it, the sequence of the Skylark series:
Today the wait was over – the second half of season 7 of Dr. Who has started.
I bet that most views of the show happened on the official channels like BBC America here in the US of A, but, as we are out in the boons, with the cable left behind, we depended on the good old pirate bay to get our fix of Dr. Who (obviously this is a lie, as we would never download any tv show illegally.) Had we actually looked at the torrents we would have been surprised by all the buzz on the interconnected pipes that make up the internet. Way over 2000 seeders is rather rare, and still, download speed would have been – had we done that – still rather slow, so there would have been many, many people as excited to find out about the Doctor’s new adventures and all with a new companion.
Had we been able to watch the show after downloading it illegally we would have been able to actually watch it on the west coast before it officially aired. As I write this, it’s only a bit after the show ended and we would have finished it hours ago – way ahead of all the people waiting for the BBC to start it – Man – are time zones cool, or what?
I’m really curious if the Doctor will get lucky with this companion, but I’m not really holding my breath as one of the big tensions in the series is that that never happens. Strange things can happen if time travel is involved, like Amy turning out to be the Doctor’s mother in law – who comes up with those things?
Thanks, Steven Moffat!
I have mentioned the spaceship Orion previously in my post about Living Under Water. The German science fiction TV series Space Patrol (Raumpatrouille) follows the crew of the space ship Orion on their adventures through the galaxy.
I remember waiting very excitedly for the première of the series and then every next week’s show. It came out at about the same time in 1966 as the original Star Trek, but it was much later that I finally watched my first Star Trek episode and it confirmed the German arrogance that we (the Germans) are better at creating things but it also confirmed the other stereotype that America is much better in marketing. Orion lasted seven episodes with a remastered movie version in the early 2000s, while Star Trek is still going strong after nearly half a century. Sets and special effects were so much more creative than the original Star Trek even though some people dared to make fun of some of the props, like the electric iron used to do some mysterious tuning task on the navigation console. In my mind then, those people just didn’t get it.
I do have the whole series on DVD and it is about time to watch it again, but today I enjoyed running into another fan of the series who took his admiration for the show a bit further than just buying the DVDs – he created stunning illustrations of the adventures of the star cruiser Orion.
I discovered Crossvalley Smith through a post on Facebook that featured one of his illustrations from the Perry Rhodan universe, another sweet memory of mine, a science fiction series published as weekly pulp novellas.
A scene from a landing of the Orion on a desert planet has for now replaced an anime illustration as my computer wall paper – go check out Crossvalley’s site, maybe you find something you enjoy.
Sometime in the dark ages – more than 15 years ago – I invested in a Nikon SLR 6006 with a nice 35-135mm zoom lens and it served me well until the dawn of the (reasonable) digital age. Early DSLRs were way too expensive and not worth the money, so I went with a few consumer digital cameras, one of them also a Nikon, albeit not with exchangeable lens.
For many years my old 6006 sat in the closet losing value but I always had in mind that at one point I would invest in a DSLR and then I could use the nice lens which was about five hundred bucks then.
The time of the DSLR finally came in for of a Canon T4i. I had strongly considered waiting for the perfect mirror-less camera, but the deal I got on the Canon – I just could not pass up. I did not go with a Nikon DSLR because I also wanted to use the camera for video and Canon seemed to be superior in that department. This, I still had that good Nikon lens sitting there without any use. The idea of selling it on eBay shattered quickly when I saw for how little these cameras were traded – it really appears the time of the 35mm film is over.
Finally I found a reasonable offer for an adapter for Nikkor AF lenses to EOS bodies and it arrived today.
First test with that ‘good’ Nikkor lens were rather disappointing. It appears that lens technology has made long strides over the last decade and a half. The lack of transfer of data to and from the lens through the adapter (none) was no big deal, as I grew up, focusing manually and with the camera set to aperture priority the exposure was still pretty automatic – if I wanted. One feature of the Nikkor lens I was looking for was the macro range – at 35mm I could push one little button and extend the barrel quite a bit further, thus getting much closer to the subject.
Here the closes with the Nikkor
and the closest I could get with the Canon 18-55
That was pretty good, but then I wanted to see how it fared when I looked closer, and this is where the disappointment took hold.
Big bad color fringes on the Nikkor lens
at least in the out-of-focus areas of the image while the Canon lens showed no such faults
I will have to make some more test to see how the aperture will affect this behavior as, I believe, the Nikkor was wide open, while the Canon was exposing with the lens closed to 11. Now I start to imagine how the quality will be for a modern lens for the price of the old Nikkor, and even more so for a modern lens that I can not justify to buy.
What this little experiment really drove home to me is that the experts are right when they say that glass is more important than body.
I have (probably) never seen one and I don’t remember being ever abducted by one.
Still, it makes sense that they are around and all the evidence is hard to ignore. Additionally, I ran into a web page today that has lots of video footage of testimonials of rather credible witnesses. What I like about these witnesses is that they just report their observation and don’t try to mix it with their own interpretations and opinions.
Take a bowl of popcorn and a beer because some of that stuff is long…
I know, when you think about ‘adult toys’ usually have something different in mind, but I think, these here are the real adult toys.
But then again – maybe not – because men never really grow up…
Presentation will open in new window when you click the image…
I really wonder why I’m such a sucker for all things space.
From early teen-hood on I looooved science fiction, I still miss anything in this genre to this day and would really like to become one of those space tourists to the international space station, even though, looking over my finances, I’m a bit short at this time.
For quite some time I was sure the reason was simply experience – that I had lived all that space opera stuff in previous, long past, life times, but currently I am not so sure anymore. It might still be true, but I wonder if this explanation might have been a bit too easy and obvious.
Still, I enjoyed these two time lapse videos from the International Space Station, even though low earth orbit does not compare to some proper hyperspace travel or inertia free space drives (yes, I am re-reading Doc EE Smith’s Triplanetary right now.)
Serious programming in the olden days mean to deal with Unix – the father of today’s ubiquitous Linux running bigger part of the internet.
The first bigger project I was involved in was still the good old DOS with Turbo Pascal – anybody remember that?
As soon as I could, and we had to build something less of a hack but more of a software-engineered application, I steered my client into Unix, first the X86 version of Xenix, which turned out to be too flaky, and then a nice hundred thousand dollar HP Workstation. As it was an application involving graphics, an important order of business was to get familiar with the principles and techniques of the X11 windowing system.
This was not a very long-lived project and with the advent of more powerful x86 hardware and a finally decent piece of software from Microsoft – Windows NT – the develoment was moved to that new platform. The fact that the port from X to NT was not terribly difficult was a nice testimonial for proper application of software engineering principles. Hacking mentality as promoted by something like Turbo Pascal would have required a complete rewrite.
System administration, I had become familiar with during that time, was helpful when I started to maintain a few linux web servers years later. I always considered X11 far superior to all the other graphical windows software but I really had never anything to do with it any more – until a point in time a few days ago.
First of all, I finally succeeded in getting Ubuntu running on an old laptop. A flaky DVD had never gotten me through an installation properly and the machine was so old that it could not boot from a memory stick. I ultimately succeeded when I found a utility I could burn on a CD and boot from that made my USB bootable. Now I could load Ubuntu from the USB stick.
So, there I finally was again with a computer with a proper graphical user interface. But that computer was tucked away somewhere with little physical access. It serve as a local testing machine for web development – did not really need that X Windows for that!
But it was sitting there, teasing me, so I finally got XMing – an X Server running on MS Windows – installed on my main computer where I sit all day and I could finally connect to that old laptop remotely with a graphical user interface. In my early days of X11 there was not too much concern about security – it was all on the local network – yes, a coax ethernet cable – and to have an application display on an xterminal you just had to set the DISPLAY environment variable to the IP address of any X-Server, like a xterminal, and authorize its use.
That is all different now. I learned that from a remote machine you start an ssh connection on my workstation (windows 7) to the remote host (old linux laptop) using putty. If the putty session had X Forwarding enabled then a secure tunnel for all the X traffic was created. This tunnel could even go through a router with NAT without a problem. Initially I had wondered why I saw the value of the DISPLAY variable set to strange things like localhost:10.0 – but I finally understood that this was how the ssh tunnel worked: the ssh server on the old laptop pretended to be a local X server on display number 10; then it transported all the X traffic it received securely to the machine I was sitting on and fed it into XMing. It all worked perfectly.
Two weeks later I received my first Raspberry Pi and that little wonder did behave the same way as the old laptop, a bit slower I have to admit, so the old laptop is still a bit more powerful than the miniature linux box sitting over there on my speaker. Both are full LAMP systems and are even accessible from the rest of the world through the magic of DynDNS and port forwarding.
But then my trouble began.
As I had all this so nicely and easily set up, it was suddenly not enough any more that I logged into my real web servers only with putty, SCP, and DirectAdmin. Nostalgia had me in its grip and I just had to get X running on them as well.
First of all there was no X-stuff installed on those servers as they were web servers in some remote data center. But a “yum install xterm” got this handled. Still no go – starting xterm from the ssh login gave me the error message that the display was either not there or could not be opened.
The next step, I found out, was to enable X11Forwarding for the sshd on the remote server – but still no go – the DISPLAY variable was still not set. Lots of Googling around but no solution – everything I tried made no difference.
But I learned about the -vvv parameter to ssh. It would give me insight into what was happening during the establishing of the ssh connection. Unfortunately, putty does not have it! But I found that it has a logging function and after turning this on and comparing the logs from connections to my local old laptop and the remote web server I finally saw the light:
After I had it yum-installed and run to generate a new .Xauthority file for a local X server my quest for the xterm running on that web server and displaying on my local machine behind a NAT router in my office had come to a successful conclusion.
Not that I will use that much – putty and SCP have done the job for me for years – but I now could, potentially, install firefox on that server and start browsing through that server located at a very different place on the planet.
Hmmm – why don’t I just try that: yum install firefox……………………….
finally, after installing a gazillion dependent packages, the installation is – complete!
Now: firefox& – wait – wait – wait…
But it is clear that I have to file this away under ‘education’ as it is so slow to make it more or less unusable.