My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Surfin’: Going to the Source

This week, Surfin’ visits a website that is the host for thousands of free software applications.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Surfin’: Tricks Are for Hams

This week, Surfin’ demonstrates how ham radio can be a tricky, but well worth it.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nerdy People Trick

I own a TomTom XXL 550 GPS and have a subscription for quarterly map updates. I bought the GPS from Woot for $60 --- the map subscription costs more than the hardware.

Anyway, I get an e-mail a few days ago informing me that a new update was ready for me to download. So I connect my GPS to the Mac and run the update software, which downloads the update via the Internet and installs it in my GPS.

At DSL speeds, this is a few hour process, so while the download was in progress, I noticed that the GPS had an icon on my desktop as if it was another disk drive. So I decided to poke around and see what was stored in the GPS.

I found a folder called "Art" and in that folder was a subfolder called "Cars." I opened that folder and saw that it contained bitmapped images of the various vehicles you can choose to represent yours on the GPS. My choice was a green SUV that kind of resembles my green 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

The nerd LED lit up over my head and I wondered if I could take a photo of my Subaru, Photoshop it so that it matches the size and format of the other images in the Cars subfolder. I took a few photos, played around with the images in Photoshop for about a half hour, and added a new image into the Cars subfolder.

After the map update was downloaded and installed, I checked to see if I could select my Subaru image from the TomTom options. My image was one of the options, so I selected it and tested it by and sure enough, my Subaru is now represented exactly by the GPS.

I can almost read the call sign on my car's license plate, but not quite!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Like Watching Paint Dry

I was planning to watch Venus transit the Sun this evening. After dinner, I took my telescope outside, but the western sky was overcast and it did not look like it would clear up before it got dark.

So I went inside and checked the NASA Television channel on the old Sony and there was the Sun with a small dot at about the 1 o'clock position. Two hours later, it is at about the 3 o'clock position.

It is like watching paint dry, but I find it more interesting than most of the other fare on the hundreds of channels the DishNetwork offers.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Surfin’: Analog Ham

This week, Surfin’ dusts off the Victrola to spin some platters (or queues up the MP3 player to play some tunes).