Lazy, cold, cut up

Last night was beautifully clear. Was I out enjoying the evening, perhaps imaging a couple of astronomical delights? Hell, no! With the temperature bumping at the −6°C mark most of the night, I wimped out. Time was I would go out when it was ten degrees colder than that, but not any more.

I can claim some disincentive was operating, since for the past couple of months I’ve been dealing with a cut on my foot which refuses to heal, and yesterday I opened it up again climbing stairs at a local mall. The broken toenail which precipitated the thing is over, but the malady lingers on. Even a minor foot wound can discourage you from walking around, but hey! I still feel guilty about not going out to observe. Maybe it’s time to give more thought to an automated observatory – at least for winter….

Image restoration

I’ve been playing hide-and-seek with the clouds for the last little while, so I’ve spent a bit of time taking some old and damaged family photographs and restoring them in Photoshop. Here’s an example. First, the original:

Mel Horsman and his mother, Florence Gudgin Horsman

It’s pretty beat up – both dusty and torn – but after several nights work, I managed to retrieve this:


The original was about 1 5/8 inches square (the old 127 film size) so this took a while…. but the finished output prints quite well at 6×6 inches.

One question remains – I had to guess at the number of buttons on the uniform, and though this image now shows three [an increase over the original guess of two visible], more are certainly possible. Suggestions are welcome….

And, since this is an update to a previous note, if you visited this page previously and don’t see three buttons on the uniform, try refreshing the page. I found on my home system it took a couple of refreshes before the cache was cleared and the new image (which uses the same name as the old — part of the problem) showed up.

Emptying the phone

My cell phone has a built-in camera, but it’s a little difficult to get the images out – the phone company would prefer that you send the pictures to someone instead of saving them on a hard drive someplace. After all, they make money when you send the pictures, but not otherwise. Still, there are tools to get pictures off the phone, and I managed to get some of them onto the hard drive after a very long delay.

Some of them bring back memories, some of them a little peculiar, such as this one of a drain in the middle of the company parking lot after a storm passed through on June 29 of this year:

drain the lot!

The grate all that water is pouring into is probably 30 or 40 centimetres across, and at that time the water was at least 20 centimetres deep – there was a lot of rain in a short time!

I can also understand taking a picture of this little snack

a smidge for me, please

but why take a picture of Daniella choosing vegetables?

Buying vegetables

Busy busy

The last couple of months of the year and the first four months of the new year are my busiest times at work, so it’s been a bit annoying having my ADSL modem fail every so often, requiring me to go into the office for even minor updates. It appears that my GNet BB0040 was unable to synch with the ADSL signals and whenever the noise level (due to ??) rose high enough, the connection would be dropped, often for several hours at a time. Thanks to an offer on Freecycle I obtained a SpeedStream 5200 as a replacement, and so far it has done an excellent job of staying ahead of the noisy line.

Something else which just came up recently was an update to the local Clear Sky Clock (see the top of the page) which now has a forecast history section (sponsored locations only). It’s based on the forecasts, not the actual weather, but gives an indication of the quality (or lack of it) of observing weather. It looks as though September is the best time to observe, and December is one of the worst. No surprise there, but at least I don’t feel quite so badly about missing observing during this, my busy time.

Network irritation

On Sunday my network was down for fifty five minutes. The ADSL light on the modem just blinked away irregularly. On Tuesday (yesterday) my network was down for seventy five minutes, with the same symptoms. Today my network was down for eight hours fifty minutes. This time around after a long conversation with the tech support person at Magma I got the ADSL light back on steadily, but still no connection with the internet From time to time I or my daughter would log in to the router and tell it to try reconnecting, but for many hours this had no effect. Cycled the power on the ADSL modem a few times, too, but zip. nothing. nada. Then just after six I cycled the power and the tx light flashed. I did it again and the TX and the RX lights flashed a couple of times. I told the router to reconnect, and bang! we were back up and running. Almost two and a half hours now, and so far, so good.

Since I don’t know what happened I have no way of telling whether this is going to happen again in the near future. I am not a happy camper, sitting here with my fingers crossed.