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I need a holiday!

It's been over a month since I last updated my blog. I wasn't getting stressy over the Brexit responses, not even the one about the size of parts of my anatomy ☺... it was much simpler - it was just too damn hot. I'd come home from work, be tired, and could I sit outside with an ebook? Nope. I'd collapse into a dishevelled heap in bed and know I'd probably have a bad night. This adds up. This takes its toll.

So in my final days at work, I was cleaning on top of the lockers and I found a discarded latex glove. I tossed it behind me, to pick up later. I looked down...

That's it. I'm now being flipped off by inanimate objects. I need a holiday...

So, here we are. Three weeks of holiday now. Three weeks to not have bee-bee-bee-bee every morning. Three weeks to brew a tea when I feel the need.


Luna and friends

So the biggest bestest most epicest lunar eclipse evah happened. And, for the first time in weeks we had a thunderstorm in the evening. It left heavy clouds all up the Mayenne river, which is far off to the east, but that's where the Moon rises...

I had my telescope ready. Here's a view of the top of a power pole about a kilometre away.

How did I get this photo? A little bracket that clips to the eyepiece of the telescope and holds a mobile phone in place over the lens. It's not perfect...
  • The view as seen by the camera is a small circular area. Using the digital zoom is obligatory to fill the screen.
  • The expected problems with shake. Thankfully it's easy to set up the phone to trigger the camera by hands-free volume button, by a keyword like "smile", or with a timed delay.
  • The picture is not very bright. Dark-adapted eyes can see a lot through a telescope, but how well the phone does depends upon the camera quality. Thankfully my S7's camera excels here.
  • The focus is hard, mainly because it simply isn't possible to focus between the left and right of the image at the same time. This is likely due to the telescope's design, it uses a curved mirror (you can see it here) to bounce the light out of the telescope at a right angle (it's a Newtonian Reflector). When using your eye, such things would not be readily apparent as your eyes only see a point at a time. The camera, however, sees everything at once. It may also be that I need to check the optical alignment...
That being said, the bracket has allowed me a much less stress free viewing experience than trying to hold the camera to the eyepiece manually (how I got that crappy photo of Saturn's rings).

Some of you may be wondering why I'm taking photos of the sky rather than simply looking through the telescope. Various places say I should have hundreds of hours of visual observation before I consider photography.
Here's why:

Okay, it's pretty crappy. However, that big blob is Jupiter. If I had more time and skill, Jupiter might even look like something other than a big white blob. But the important thing isn't the planet. It's the three little points around it. They are the larger moons of Jupiter. It's really hard to see them visually with a telescope like mine, however the camera has much less problem resolving the dimmer dots around the bright planet.
I've flipped the image to be the right way up, so they are Europa on the left, Ganymede close to Jupiter, and Io on the right. Callisto is too close to Jupiter (sort of behind to the upper left) to be distinguished.

It's the first time I've personally seen the moons of Jupiter, so while I couldn't see the Blood Moon, it wasn't a complete loss. I'm inclined to think that pointing my telescope the other way turned out to be more interesting.

If I get a good night, I'll try more Jupiter and Saturn. But it may be a while, a cold winter sky is better than a turbulent summer sky. Twinkly stars may look good, but air like that is useless for seeing things. I won't expect to get much from a three inch telescope. If you want good pictures, you're looking at an 8-14" scope. Mine? It would be like a Cessna next to an Airbus...

Another thing to keep an eye out for is Mars. It's at it's closest in a long time (won't be this close for around 30 years). Mars is the one that looks like Venus (yes, it's that bright) but is clearly reddish and rises in the south east in the late evening.


Anaglyph 3D

I watched a 3D movie on my little DVD player the other day. If we gloss over the obvious colour disturbances as a result of the red/cyan lenses, the 3D effect was actually quite good. The plot, rather less so...

Anyway, I wondered if I could do such a thing. It turns out, there's an app for that. Just take two photos (with a displacement between them) and stitch together to create a 3D photo...
If you have any of those little cardboard 3D glasses from the eighties or a DVD release from whenever, this is the time to rummage in the bottom of your drawer to find them. ☺



Time to add some new features to my award winning ☺ Manga software. Actually, I had planned these for a while, but it was too hot... This time, I'm looking at increasing the ancillary features of the package. It does well with the reading manga part, so why not add some extra bells and whistles? Here they are:

Anyway, the first thing was to kill off the bizarre selection of system variables and command line flags and create a proper configuration system:

Then, since provides a list of changes on their index, it seemed like it might be useful to show this to the user:

It was written in such a way that the exact same mechanism could be recycled to allow a list of most popular manga to be shown:

That's not a typo. One Piece goes on forever. Bleach and Naruto are also epic-taken-up-to-eleven bookshelf breakers.

Since I had a window that could list stuff in an uncomplicated way, it wasn't too hard to implement a History editor:


And finally... Avast! network scan failure

I let Avast! scan my network looking for vulnerabilities.

You're right. My Livebox is accessible from the internet. It's the NAT redirection that pushes all traffic on port 80 (http) to the server running on the Pi. Yes, the Pi. The device at that the scan completely failed to notice. Not to mention the Android phone (.11), the iPad (.16), the IPcam (.18), the printer (.14), and the Vonets bridge (.19).
So, uh, yeah. I'm supposed to have any confidence in something that scans my network, detects the router (probably by asking the OS what the gateway is) and fails to notice anything else on the network? Congratulations guys...

But, wait, it gets better. I had to run the network scan four times before it detected the other devices on the network (except the printer). This time, it told me the PC "KURONEKO" was problem free (what happened to the Wannacry vuln?), it failed to notice the open HTTP port on he Pi (not to mention a telnet server, and NetBIOS as I have Samba running!). Yeah, definitely congratulations...



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David Pilling, 7th August 2018, 01:25
These days one can combine photos to improve results. Which is how amateurs get amazing astronomy photos. Focus stacking is one similar technique. I have seen the moons of Jupiter - through binoculars. Patrick Moore used to go on endlessly, that bins are better than cheap refracting telescopes.
Jason Cockcroft, 9th August 2018, 20:57
On the subject of manga, have you read "please don't bully me, Nagatoro"? I've been reading it and it's pretty fun.

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