Update for our friends and family:
Solar Logging Software
We are nearing completion on our solar logging software. This is my test site.
...and this is the main site.
Automated Camera Scripting and KAP Robots
I have been experimenting with loading CHDK scripts on my Canon point and shoot A700 camera. You can read more about CHDK at http://www.hackaday.com/2008/05/27/how-to-expand-your-camera-with-chdk/ . My first attempts at time lapse using the scripts can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FICIKSYeioA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8p2V8bOGNM&feature=related . Needless to say this also involved an exploration of Mencoder in Linux to create the video clips. Video clip creation from series of stills is pretty easy in Linux but the editing is still maturing.
All of this CHDK stuff is in preparation for launching an automated KAP rig based on the old one but using a small circuit board that automates all of the pans and tilts. http://skyware.fam-engels.de/aurico/overview_en.htm This in combination with CHDK KAP scripting eliminates the need for radio transmitter and receiver. It also eliminates the need for a shutter servo. Removing those two components should lighten the rig quite a bit. Bench testing proved flawless operation of all components. Flight testing needed next. It will be fun to just fly the kite and get the photos as a side benefit.
Router Soup Ups
That spare Liniksys WRT-54G router has now been put to good use. I loaded the DD-WRT software on it thereby enhancing greatly the capabilies of the router. DD-WRT is open source router software that replaces the Linksys firmware. http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page My goal in doing this was to create a repeater that could be used in the motorhome to enhance weak signals in campgrounds. I got that working today and the repeater now resides in the motorhome providing an extra benefit of filling in the north side of the house with solid wifi signal. I will add a high gain antenna to the motorhome and we will create our own ad hoc networks on the fly with this setup. No more struggling to aim the laptop to acquire a signal blocked by trees or poorly located antennas. It works and it works great. Next time WRT-54Gs go on sale you might consider picking up one to use as a repeater.
Linux and Our PCs
Running Kubuntu Linux quite comfortably on all machines now. I have kept my desktop as dual boot to use for the Microsoft Flight Simulator. My laptop has KDE 4.1, under developmant, and KDE 3.5, rock solid.
"The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore. This book is taking me longer to read than any I have read recently. I read a few pages, get pissed off and put it down for a while. Then I go back to it. I feel like a "Pawn in Their Game" as made famous by Bob Dylan's song.
While watching some YouTube videos of places we have visited and one town in Colorado in particular I found a video that took scenes from "True Grit" and found the real life locations where scenes were filmed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EUP9rOLf30 They all were in our favorite town in Colorado, Ouray. Now "True Grit" is at the top of our Netflix que followed by "The Kite Runner." Gotta get those Dalai Lama videos back in the mail so I can move on the John Wayne. The other one is old concerts of "The Grateful Dead."
Photos and Videos
I have been working on my project of getting all my old color print negatives digitized. Walgreens does such a good job at such a reasonable price. I have been taking them to the new store at Forest Hill and Congress. Finally getting a lot of my valuable travel photos and aviation pics on CD. I have also been pumping them up to Flickr to share with others. http://www.flickr.com/bbbrown Scanning the old photos myself is a long and tedious process that I have not given due diligence to.
Random Day Trips
About to ressurect our old one random trip a week thing. Not sure how we are going to do it but Ikea is on our list and I have a set of waypoints named "Mom and Pop Burger Joints" loaded in the GPS. There is also that barbecue place in Fort Peirce. Too bad we have to travel that far for reallly good barbecue.
So far I have just boiled water in my solar oven. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsWZ0sLubXU Hope to cook a meal in it when the sun comes back out.