Weekend Star Party Recap.

Well, not much to report.  The weather gods still hate me.  First, cloud cover during the lunar eclipse earlier this month (of course, only during totality, it was perfectly clear on either side, just blocking out the main event).  And now this weekends wind storms ruined another opportunity to image the Universe.

New Roof 20140412~ (1)

I did manage to get some work done on my new roof for remote observing.  I have what I think is a better idea for the roll off roof for our climate.  I thought that I had come up with a great new idea, but it turns out that other people have been making wedge shaped roll off roof observatories for a while (at least one other person has, that I have found).

The frame construction is made from Unistrut(r) and all the bracing as well.  The roof will be covered by either 1/4 or 11/32 inch plywood sheets to add rigidity and keep it safe from the elements.  I am going to waterproof the wood exterior and then cover is with a self adhesive rolling roof base sheet for additional protection.  I have a 1hp DC garage door opener that I will use to open and close the roof remotely.

I still have to install the internal cameras to make sure that the scopes are clear before the roof opens and closes and I am still working on remote waking the computers so that I don’t waste electricity.

I am trying to set up a Raspberry Pi to remote wake on lan the other computers, because it runs at about 0.8 watts when operational and lower when just sitting there.  However, to date, I haven’t had much success using a reverse autossh tunnel to bypass my ISP’s firewall to give the commands.  If anyone out there can help me with this, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hopefully, by the end of May, I will have a fully functional remote observatory.  I’ll post some images and some video when it is done.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  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

Santa IS Real.

He must be, because months after ordering my Raspberry Pi’s and cases…they arrived today!  I can hardly wait to start tinkering.

20121204_144539

When the mail was dropped off to my office this afternoon, I could not figure out what was in the large package.  Then, a slow creeping realization hit me when I saw the RS logo:

Could it be! I wondered.  Where the computer elves playing tricks on me?  But no! It was the two boards and the cases I ordered.  Quickly, I ripped opened the envelope and gleefully destroyed the bubble wrap separating me from my destiny like the popping portents of fun.  And then they were free.  I quickly grabbed the nearest camera and snapped these images, so the you, too, would know that Santa is real.  I must have been paroled off the naughty list!

I hope your holidays, whether you believe in the Clause or not, come early and often.  As an attorney, I believe in clauses, they are most helpful.

If you need help getting off someones intellectual property naughty list, or you need to add someone to your naughty list and need my help, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.  Santa does not need to know.

– 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

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

Guilty Pleasure.

Ok, so I may have been holding out on you, but one of my favorite guilty pleasures is an online comic strip called xkcd.  Below is one of the strips that has been getting attention (more than usual) by the likes of NPR.  I, however, find that I will read the strip of the day and burst out laughing.  But when I show it to the non-technical people in the office (read non-geeks, yes I speak geek fluently), they give me a perplexed look.  Much like I get when I say that there are only 10 types of people…those that understand binary and those that don’t (I love that old joke too).  I may be revealing too much, but part of being a patent attorney is being a geek in your field first.

up goer

However, in the never ending battle of labels, I don’t want to leave out my nerd brethren.  Although the debate rages on, the infographic below attempts to differentiate between geeks and nerds.  I must admit to being bi-nerdal (part geek, part nerd), I just can’t help myself.  There is too much science, science fiction, math, computers, games and other interesting things in the universe.  I just wish I had time to learn it all.

Geeks vs Nerds

My latest obsession is with the Raspberry Pi (if I ever get my order!) and Arduino (now that the new Arduino Due that was just released).  Between astronomy and trying to keep up with all the changes in the law, I just don’t have enough time to devote to my pursuit of learning.

I always wanted to be a professional student, but the pay as an attorney is much better.  Although the hours are longer and not as much fun, I just have to remember my favorite thought: “A day without learning something new is a wasted day.”  Strive to improve yourself a little bit everyday and you’ll surprise yourself.

So what does this mean to you.  Well, if you have an invention that you need help to patent, a brand or logo to trademark or copyright protection for the next science fiction bestseller (like battlespace), you will know that a passionate, caring person is there to help you make your ideas a reality.

– 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