That Time of Year Again

..to bitch about Daylight Saving Time. Its my biannual rant against this stupid change. However, it seems some are thinking the same as I do. Several states are considering legislation to get rid of the time change. One state, Tennessee is actually considering making it year around. W.T.F?

As the allegedly American Indian quip goes, ?nly the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.?/p>
Couldn’t have said it better! That wonderful little saying I read just today from an article on Daylight Savings Time inIndian Country. Worth the read as its got some good informational links.

Summer Solstice: Solargraphy

Today I took down the solargraphy canister that Phil Anderson provided me in 2012. For six months it captured the path of the sun across my back deck. The image above is from scanning the print paper, inverted in photoshop and contrast enhanced. Click it for a larger version. Pretty cool old school picture.

Code Is Poetry

Happy 10th birthday WordPress! For the past seven years you’ve served me well. I’ve always admired thetag line “Code Is Poetry”. It’s true.

 

The Last Frisbee

This morning I had to make a hard phone call. One I knew was coming for days, the problem was I wasn’t ready. It’s not easy even though he told me it was time. Yes its true, I know this now, your dog will tell you when the time has come.

Last Sunday morning I awoke to find a look in Einstein’s eyes that I had never seen. But I knew right then and there what he was saying and what I had to do. After all these years the tough little guy was ready to go. The puppy Casey had chosen thirteen years ago, that I had seen grow up to be one of the finest dogs I’ve ever had was ready for the next step. I did all I could to make these last days good. Even before that I had known time was short. An outdoor dog all his life the past few months he’d slept in the house. He stayed inside through the brutal heat this summer. He got his favorite treats, even a fresh picked whole red tomato, which he oddly loved to eat.

Last night I threw his frisbee for the last time. He didn’t run and catch it like he did years ago but when he returned a few minutes later there it was gently held in his mouth. Although he was tired and in pain he still wanted to play. But he no longer wanted to eat. I knew that would be the last night. This morning the vet came and like so many days the past few years he went to sleep on the back deck.

There are no regrets, I’d done everything I could to ensure he was happy to the end. For me, I found there is a special finality when you’re the one to prepare the earth and lay your best friend to rest.

Milky Way All Night

This is the time of year to enjoy the most spectacular feature in our night sky. The Milky Way. From the moment its truly dark until the end of darkness the next morning the Milky Way is on display all night long. Saturday night I was out in the Flint Hills to soak in the starlight of this wonder.

For awhile the night sky was really good but as the night went on upper level moisture moved across the area. How ironic given the area, heck most of Kansas, is in extreme drought. What was a bit surprising was the strength, the intensity of the air glow that night. Clearly visible as the green color in the photo below (click image for larger version):

Milky Way From the Flint Hills

This single 40 second photograph using a Canon 5DMII (ISO 3200) with a 14mm Samyang @ f2.8 was taken just before midnight and is looking south-east. Yes the image is very noisy, temperature was in the mid 80s. Running the camera continuously really heated it up. The high that Saturday was over 100 degrees.

Along the lower right side of the picture the string of red dots are the blinking warning lights from the Beaumont wind farm some 30 miles to the south. Most of the white light to the left of the wind farm is from Eureka, KS, which is closer, about 16 miles away. From the right spot you can see a long, long way out here. All the way to the center of our galaxy!

Meteor Shower Guide Approved

The wait is over, early this morning Apple approved my app. Now the iPhone has a respectable meteor shower reference. You can read a bit more on the support page.

Don’t have an iPhone? An app is available on the Android platform from Chris Wilcox. This has a ‘feature’ I don’t like but understand the motivation for: ads. Another app is available for Windows 7 mobile but I have no idea how well it works or what data it contains (let me know if you try it out).

Obviously I’m pretty biased but I don’t think any other meteor shower app has all the features of Meteor Shower Guide. Now that version 1.0 is released I can start incorporating new features into future releases.

The Waiting Begins

Last year I searched for a iPhone meteor shower app and what I found was pretty poor. Pathetic actually. So I decided to write one myself. Thus began a journey that has taken up much, no, all of my spare time the past months.

In the beginning I had grand ideas carried over from an unfinished web project. Along the way I scaled back my expectations. I don’t have the expertise yet. Just learning the intricacies and quirks of Objective-C was enough to keep me busy for many months. This has been fun, I’ve not been so immersed in code and algorithms as this for a long, long time. I focused my attention and skills on a simple goal: write the best meteor shower app.

Over this time I have learned much more than I ever knew about meteor showers. I can’t even count the number of technical articles I’ve read on them. Sometimes I wonder if that has changed my outlook. Before I simply enjoyed watching them, perhaps trying to capture them in a photograph. Now I ponder how to incorporate various data points into a table, how to quantify the duration of a meteor showers peak, why there is conflicting data on shower timing and intensity.

Tonight though I’m happy to say I have submitted version 1.0 of Meteor Shower Guide for approval in the Apple app store. The waiting for approval begins.