Tip: flip mirror can be handy for taking photos with telescope

I recently purchased a flip mirror and I find it very usefull when trying to take photos with telescope. In this setup one can both view the target visually and take photos. It takes some time to get the camera and visual eyepiece adjusted, but after that is done, then one only need to flip (turn) the mirror.

flipmirror1

When using high magnification, then eyepiece projection is good way to achieve that. The picture below shows the 2 eyepieces that are needed in this kind of setup. Camera is connected on the left (not in picture).

Eyepiece-projection-setup

 

The photo below shows other ways to connect a camera to an eyepiece. They do work, but are not as practical as flip mirror with DSLR. It is also possible to combine these two, and use these adapter to flip mirror in place of DSLR …

flipmirror2

Links

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loosing weight by walking, the first 1 million steps

With the help of an Activity tracker it might be easier to achieve your weight loosing goals. These trackers take care of the tedious work to log everything. Just place the activity tracker on your wrist, and start walking…

This blog will show some real results, when using an activity tracker during the first 1 million steps.

This huge number of steps came as pleasant surprise, and was a good milestone to write this blog. When buying the activity tracker, the intention was to loose weight; especially by walking.

In this period of 1M steps, one could loose weight for about 7-8 kg, which is close to 1kg/week.

The figure below shows the weight (kg) for the 56 days (close to 9 weeks).
looseweightwalking1

The figure below shows the number of steps for each of the 9 weeks.
looseweightwalking2

The figure below shows the estimated extra Calories (C = kcal), over BMR, for each of the 9 weeks. (The numbers are given by the activity tracker).
looseweightwalking3

Lessons learned:

  • One needs at least 2 different tracks: one for regular short walk (min 1h), and the other for longer exercise (min 2h).
    • If you can afford, then take the long track. It is more difficult to get started than to continue walking…
    • (in my case, my favorite tracks are short walk “1h15min” and long walk “2h35min”)
  • Don’t force the walking speed too much, the duration of walking is actually even more important as this is about fat burning and not competition
  • There is such a thing as limited speed of change (weigth loss), even if you walk a lot one day, you will not loose all weight in one day; the affect takes longer to adjust
  • Yes, you can eat. If you increase your exercise (walking), then there is less chance to get more weight. Yes, sometimes the weight jumps after party, but it is not permanent.
  • Yes, you can have day(s) without exercise as long as you try to maintain some routine and monitor that you don’t start to gain weight too much.
  • At the end, it is about routine and habits. Walk when you feel for it, it can clear your mind :-)

About activity meter

  • the activity meter on the wrist is only the data collector. The collected data is synced with the server, and that location varies depending on company. Some persons might prefer to choose to select a manufacturer that keeps the exercise data in EU…
  • The estimated calories varies depending on if you have HR (heart rate) measurement active or not.
    • With HR active, it records more calories
  • the battery does not last “long” if you have HR, GPS or bluetooth active
    • bluetooth can be used if you install an android app

Links

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Test, DIY tuning a piano key

I promised to “have a look” on a piano that did not sound “right” any longer; not for some time. A piano tuning professional had said that he does not know any piano with this name.

After opening the piano, it turned out that the manufacturer name is visible only in the inside, and that the outside name is something else. So no wonder the professional did not recognize this piano. I had already received the piano tuning key from a local music store, and as a good surprise one of the 3 key heads fit nicely to this piano, see photo below. In some pianos, there is an agraffe that is used to guide the strings (see the horizontal metal sheet).

piano-tuning1

After reading the instructions in the Links chapter, it finally was quite straight forward to tune one key.

In this piano, each key, on the right hand side of the piano, are connected to 3 strings. Before tuning, it is good to check how much the keys are out of tune, for example with and android application like Pano Tuner. Then in the tuning process, you need to damp the other strings of the same key either by finger or by home made tool (like photo below).

piano-tuning2

As the first timer, it took considerable amount of time for this one key. Even though I did fine tune some other keys, it would be totally another effort to try to fine tune the whole piano. At the moment, it would be way too much, as that would require a lot of “time and effort”, and coffee breaks…

Links

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DIY CRM: part 2 for personal task management

This is continuation to DIY CRM: part 1 for a small team, where the MS Access was used as a simple tool to keep track of tasks or cases for a team.

The same tool can be used for a simple personal task management or time management. It is focussing on maintaining the list and priority of the ongoing tasks, and this can be both work and private related. For added security, it is possible to encrypt the file (menu option File->Info). The figure below shows the main concepts.

CRMpart2-001

The screenshot below shows how 8 tasks could look like. Task 7 is opened, and in the details form one can select the details like Priority.

CRMpart2-002

About Priority

The possible values of Priority are:

  • 1 Urgent, Important
  • 2 Important, less Urgent
  • 3 Urgent, less Important
  • 4 less Urgent, less Important

If needed then these values can be modified. There are several articles about time management. As a reference, the picture shown in Wikipedia is used.

Timemanagementmatrix

“Task list report” (time management matrix)

The screenshot below shows the new report called “priority matrix” in the Task list or “Task list by prio to print” if looking the reports listed in the left menu. In addition to tasks, one could also list here the main personal goals so that they are always visible (see task 8 below).

CRMpart2-003-tasklist-fix1

Files

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DIY CRM: part 1 for a small team

MS Access is included in the MS Office set of tools. I was playing around with it, and discovered that it comes with several build-in templates for different tasks. One of the interesting template is “Customer service” template, that was close to what I have been looking for. The figure below shows how the original template Customer Service looks like.

CRMpart1-001

Even though the interface looks very technical, it is straight forward to use and one can stick into the main view “Case List”. Also it is possible to modify the file, and add additional data and reporting capabilities without any programming. The figure below shows the main concepts and what data fields was added in this DIY CRM.

CRMpart1-002

The screenshot below is after the modifications.

CRMpart1-003

I have created 2 new reports to cover those new data fields: “Open Cases 2″ and “Closed Cases 2″. And the 3 data fields “Company”, “Department” and “Functional Area” are included in the “Case Details” report. The list of values for “Priority” and “Category” can be changed. In this case, they are kept as in the original template. (I have also changed all the “dates” into “short form”; personal preference. You can easily modify this in the file.)

Files

  • DIY CRM for small team
    • This zipped Access DB file comes with sample data. (You need to unzip before using it.)
  • link to Access 2016 runtime
    • If you don’t have Access then it is possible to try this out with runtime license. One can add new data, change existing data and delete the data.
    • About the sample data. One can delete lines with “Del” key. However, with runtime version it is not possible to see the all the tables, queries and reports, and therefore one cannot delete the existing “Call” data. Any modifications need to be done in a computer with the normal Access license.

About Part 2

In the part 2, the same access DB is further modified so that it could be used as personal task or time management tool.

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Recovering files from broken NAS (network attached storage)

After few years, even after little use, my Lacie 1000 Gb NAS went broken. When powering it up, the hard disk did not spin, but a smoke started to come up from the back side of the box close to the power cord. The power connector melted, but there were no other visual damage.

The only way to recover files was to take the hard drive out from the box and get it directly connected with a PC. Luckily I had an USB to SATA adapter, so the connection was easy. When connecting it into a windows 10 machine, it showed that the USB drivers were working fine, but there were no new hard drive available. The figure below shows the opened NAS box on the right, and the detached hard drive on the center. (The usb drive on the left is to make the backup into that one.)

Broken-NAS

After a little search, the reason became clear: this model has a ARMv5 compatible SoC (System on Chip) which can run linux and that the filesystem in the drive is most propably xfs (ie. not recognized by Windows OS) . In this device, the CPU is 88F6281, which seems suitable for these NAS devices.

Broken-NAS02

 

And then after connecting the drive into xubuntu linux in VirtualBox, then files became accessable:-)

Broken-NAS03

The other USB drive was also connected to the same xubuntu, after which it was possible to copy the files. The printout below shows the xfs for sdb2 (NAS disk) and ntfs for sdc1 (USB drive).

traveler@TravelBox:~$ sudo lsblk -o NAME,FSTYPE,SIZE,MOUNTPOINT,LABEL
NAME    FSTYPE     SIZE MOUNTPOINT                     LABEL
sda                  8G
+-sda1  ext4       6,5G /
+-sda2               1K
+-sda5  swap       1,5G
  +-cryptswap1
        swap       1,5G [SWAP]
sdb              931,5G
+-sdb1               1K
+-sdb2  xfs      929,6G /media/traveler/537daead-0d83-
+-sdb5  swap       251M
+-sdb6             7,8M
+-sdb7  linux_ra   7,8M
+-sdb8  linux_ra 831,5M
+-sdb9  ext3       855M /media/traveler/2f3bc6b9-d96a-
+-sdb10            7,8M
sdc                1,8T
+-sdc1  ntfs       1,8T /media/traveler/Seagate Backup Seagate Backup Plus Drive
sr0               1024M

Other Links

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CryptSync, a simple alternative to protect your files for sharing

CryptSync is simple and easy to use tool to synchronize 2 folders, where the files in the destination folder are encrypted. (CryptSync is using 7-Zip for the encryption.)

CryptSync01

In this way, one can perform client side encryption when sharing several files. Each file is encrypted individually with the same password, and it is only the encrypted files that are stored in the untrusted media (see figure below). It is possible to use CryptSync in a portable way by copying the files without installation on the second computer.

Cryptsync

 

Depending on the use case, like which client operating systems need to be supported and which media is used to sharing, then there are several other alternatives like Cryptomator and Syncany. (It is possible to use cryptomator without installation, with jar file, if using JPortable from portableapps.). However, they are a little more complex than the CryptSync. One also could reuse the same idea, and DIY (do it yourself) with a scripting tool, like autoit

For sharing one file at at time over untrusted media or via email, then one could directly use 7-Zip or tool like AxCrypt, which is nicely integrated with Explorer (there exist a portable version as well AxCrypt2Go.exe).

Links

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