A New Direction…

I have flirted with Open Source Software (OSS) for many years.  I am a big advocate of OSS, not everything, but I do like the concept.  So I have finally found the last couple of pieces to my puzzle and I am about to go off the MicroSoft(r) grid, so to speak.

I have been using various parts of OSS for years now, but I decided last week that I am going to try to do something I have not attempted before.  I am going to use nothing but OSS to do my work and my astronomy.

I have played with this idea for years, but work has always been a matter of doing the fastest, most expedient thing to pay the rent, buy food etc.  But easier isn’t always better.  I miss learning new technologies and stretching myself mentally.

I have alre

I started a while ago when I ordered two Raspberry Pi devices (a looooonnnngg while ago), and they should be delivered this month.

With these devices and some Arduino boards, I am going to attempt to roll my own time lapse system.  Before, I would have just looked at what was available and bought it off the shelf.  Now, I want to learn not only how to work it, but how to make it work.

At work, I finally have all the software that I need.  The sticking point was always Outlook.  Without a competent replacement, I could not break away into unfettered territory.  But this past week, I was finally able to get Thunderbird, Seamonkey or any other IMAP mail client to effectively work with our hosted Exchange server.  In fact, I like a lot of the features in some of these clients much better than Outlook.  I really appreciate the fact that I can customize these programs to work how I work best.  Not how Redmond thinks I should work.  It has been liberating.

Python has been my programming language of choice for some time now, but you never really get good at programming in a language until you use it consistently.  I have written a few shell scripts to do repetitive tasks, but nothing major.  I hope to change that this next year.  I want to write an astronomy program that will work on any machine that will capture images, control the mount and camera and process the images.  I doubt I will get all of this done in one year, but many people have already contributed the code that accomplishes these tasks.  All I really have to do is build an interface that hides the gory details and makes it easy to use.  We will see.

So what about you?  Have the ambitions of your youth gone away with the responsibilities of being an adult?  I watched three young ladies at a holiday party this weekend take great pleasure in winning some educational toy that they REALLY wanted.  The eagerness in their eyes at learning new things made me stop and wonder where that passion had gone in me.  I hope this season of making resolutions that you rarely keep gives way to a resolution to find your youthful passion again and grab it with both hands to wring every bit of joy out of the pursuit of that passion.

‘Tis the season, so give yourself a present from your past and spark that fire once again.  I will post regular updates here to keep myself as honest as possible.  I hope this ember catches hold an burns inside me for years to come.  I hope you find that spark as well.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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