Morse code Used for a Man’s Last Patch to Gnome 3

April 12th, 2011

Morse Code. Many think that it’s no longer relevant. It is for many with disabling conditions. A collection of products called Darci Products are one group of inputs for the computer that let’s someone use paddles to input letters via morse code. If I understand correctly one paddle is short(dit) /the other long(dah). Anyway, there was a fellow named Adrian Hands who suffered from ALS. His condition was so bad that his hands were not usable. He used his legs and a Darci input device to type at his computer. To be more specific one of the last things he did at his computer before passing away was a software patch for Gnome.

This just says to me we need more assistive technologies so that people with severe illness disabilities can take an active part in society…. too many times they are written off as having nothing to contribute. This is a great story….

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Amateur Radio Marking the First Manned Space Flight Anniversary

April 12th, 2011

Arissat-1 is cranking up a bit earlier than planned to broadcast sounds from the first manned space flight. ARISSat-1 is on the international space station as an amateur radio antenna/relay/etc. It will be released as a standalone satellite in July 2011, but today is activated aboard ISS to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight.

For those of you with tuning equipment…. 145.950 Mhz is the transmitting frequency (remember there will likely be doppler effect as the spacecraft approaches and then passes over your location – so expect some frequency drift.) This page at can help you predict when it will be overhead at your location. (Remember those times listed are UTC.)

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2011 Charlotte Hamfest

March 1st, 2011

Sorry that I’m late getting this out. The preregistration deadline was February 26th on this, but the hamfest will be March 12 and 13th 2011 (Saturday 8:30am-5pm and Sunday 9AM to 1PM). It will be held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center which is 4751 Hwy 49 North Concord, NC.

Tickets at the door are priced at $10. There is free parking. They’ll have over 300 swap tables, all the major manufacturers will be there, over 75 commercial exhibitor booths, Ham License exams Saturday, hourly prizes, forums and bingo.

It’s sponsored by the Mecklenburg Amateur Radio Society and you can find more details on their web site at this page, or by calling 704-948-7373

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Registrations Disabled

February 9th, 2011

We’re under a registration attack of some sort I’ve got a ton of registrations in the last 8 hours – several a minute filling my inbox. Will re-allow registrations at a later point.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

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FIFA World Cup 2010 – Watching Online

July 10th, 2010

Yes – I know the World Cup has been going on for almost a month now….. But we’re up to the third place game today to see whether Uruguay (winners of the first World Cup) or Germany (won it a couple times as West Germany – never since reunification) will be our third place finisher. If I were to bet I would say Germany would be the winner today, but you never know – that’s why they go ahead and play the game! Anyway, online in the US has done something interesting. They have brokered deals with many high speed internet providers and if you browse to their site from a provider they have a deal with, you can get live streaming coverage of the FIFA World Cup, or a host of other sports. Coming in August they’ll be showing Spanish, German, Dutch, French, Italian and English Premier League football (fĂștbol) (soccer) by the looks of it, which I’m looking forward to…. It also looks as though Univision is running the Spanish language coverage of the World Cup Final and Consolation games.

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Strange Outage – Missing Pages Fixed – Broken Link Checker

July 10th, 2010

We had a strange outage here this week, the main page was up, but the interior pages were giving 404 messages. I saw that traffic had dropped off and checked the home page to see if the site was down. When I saw it was fine….. I just assumed that one of our inbound traffic sources had just stopped sending as much traffic and didn’t spend any more time chasing it.

Then last night – while checking broken links on another of my sites (that links here), I found a 404 page on a link that should have worked and that’s when I discovered that permalinks were broken (missing .htaccess). I think one of my plugins may have caused it, but am not certain yet. Anyway, it’s fixed now, sorry for the inconvenience!

Along the lines of broken links. I’ve installed a plugin to check the links on the site to see if they redirect or are broken. So, you may notice a strike through on some links. This is how the plugin treats links it thinks are broken. Now, I have seen a couple situations where the checker thinks a link is broken when it’s not. So, you may want to give the link a try anyway if it’s a media link. (I could see some of those failing even if they really are valid.) That’s all for the moment, more coming soon!

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Great Online Streaming Directories

May 31st, 2010

I’ve spent a bit of time making around 200 quick shortcuts for my own use to launch various online radio and video streams. As I was doing so, of course I noticed that many of the links I have here have become outdated. (Which is one of the things I hate about online video/radio… you would think that there would be an advantage to keeping your content at the same place over a long time – much like a radio frequency.) Anyway….. I may make this batch of launchers available here in the future, for the moment though I just wanted to make a note of some of the really useful sources in compiling some of these. Of course, I’ve used much of the content I have here….


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A Comprehensive Media Directory

March 18th, 2010

I remember years ago coming across a site that I was really excited about. It was a newspaper directory and listed all of the newspapers that had websites around the world. You could search by country, language, etc. Then of course, there have been the radio and tv directories. I have tried to glean some here of course. But recently I received an email that I just got around to reading with a link to a media directory that covers everything…. newspapers, magazines, video, audio, blogs, etc. I see a limited number of countries so far, but this is a good start at what could be one of the most comprehensive sites of it’s kind. Online media – is a Directory of media: newspapers, magazines, radio, blogs and
television. It deserves to be bookmarked and revisited and I’ll be adding it to the links in the sidebar here.

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GRE PSR-300 Scanner Signal Strength Meter

March 1st, 2010

One of the features I really like with the new GRE PSR-300 scanner that I’ve been testing is the signal strength meter. On the display there is a big S when your receiving a transmission followed by 0-5 bars to indicate signal strength. Why is this such a good thing. Well for starters it makes comparing antennas easier. Frequencies that you’re used to seeing one or two bars on you will be able to compare a second antenna and see if you get 2 or 3 bars or the same 1 or 2 bars of signal strength. I’ve already used this to compare two rubber ducky style stock antennas and concluded they were about the same. Subjective listening comparison is just not quite the same. maybe there’s more static but a louder signal on one or the other. It can be very subjective. Of course, 5 bars isn’t a perfectly well tuned and calibrated way to measure, there can still be subtle differences that aren’t picked up on a 5 bar scale. There is another VERY useful reason that I’m glad this is a feature though.

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Another Argument for Shortwave Radio and Amateur Radio Relevancy in Modern Society

February 16th, 2010

A while back I posted about whether or not amateur radio was still relevant and I think it is…. that post has had a fair amount of interest and I thought it would be worthwhile to dig deeper and look at some of the reasons why both amateur radio and shortwave are and should still be relevant today and need to be viable methods of communication for us in coming years. I can see why some may look on this as a “tinfoil hat” article. I really am working not to be paranoid, but realistic.

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