- The basement is almost done. Almost all the tools are out and I took a huge load of ceiling panel scraps to the dump last night. Tonight I'll take a huge load of random debris. Then I'll take the insulation sheets that have been sitting in there for aegis and install them in the future bathroom. That will leave the floor clear for the carpet dudes some time early next month. I can't wait to move in.
- The 3D graphing system I'm working on for our app is almost done. I found that rotation was very choppy with high (>1000) numbers of datapoints, so I had to override the pure Tcl matrix multiplication method with one in C. Incredibly, it takes 100x less time to translate Tcl to C, multiply and translate back all with strings than it does to multiply directly in Tcl. Also added arbitrary axis scaling and a couple minor features.
In the 2D version of the graphs, if you hover over a point and press Shift, it draws lines down and over to the axes and labels the exact values of that point. This is a little tricky to emulate in a meaningful way in 3D. I finally settled on a three-integrated-prongs approach: Draw a rectangular solid with the origin in one corner and the point in question at the opposite. The three lines that touch the point are in thick black, the three lines that touch the origin are in thick red and the other 6 lines are in thin black. The numbers will go right on the axes at the ends of the red lines.
- You can tell which point you've selected byt the thick black lines
- The points values are labeled on the axes, which is the natural spot
- ...but the point is still "connected" to those values by the thin black lines
- You can tell, without rotating, where the point is in 3D by how the different colors are oriented.
- It's a little busy, but not too bad
- The telescope I'm building is almost done. If you can't get to that page, don't worry, there isn't much there. I'll move it to a more accessible site when I'm done. The pictures show all the pieces cut out, the tube mostly assembled and part of the mount. I've done more since then, including the base of the mount and laminated the bearing surfaces (which I tried out last night and it was "buttery smooth" as Berry puts it--woo!). If I didn't have to work on the basement tonight, I'd put the rest of the mount together and then put wood filler in the cracks and holes in preparation for painting.
I've spent only about $50 so far but I don't have any of the optics. A 6" f/8 (i.e. focal length of 48") mirror is ~$100. Then I need a secondary mirror, a "spider" to hold it in place and a focuser to hold eyepieces. Those 3 things cost about another $100. (I'll also need eyepieces, which can vary widely.) I've been holding off on ordering any of that because I'm such a cheap bastard, but I'm getting to the point where I can't do anything without them.
Actual tasks that remain:
- Attach mount bearing to mount (can do)
- Build mirror cell (need optics)
- Attach mirror to cell (need optics)
- Locate and cut hole for focuser (need optics)
- Attach secondary to spider and spider to tube (need optics)
- Fillerize, prime and paint mount and outside of tube (can do)
- Prime and paint inside of tube black (need optics, because depends on cell and focuser hole)
My yard is a pretty crappy observing site, not just because I'm in (small) town but also because there's a huge tree to the north, tall buildings to the south and a bright streetlight to the west. East is where the town lies. However, I realized this weekend that I also live right across the street from a large field. I checked it out last night and there are some bright lights to the west but if I stand in the lee of the ice cream stand I get a great view. (I heard some scary rustling out in the grass, but I'm assuming it was a chipmunk. Or beaver. Definitely not a wolf or a murderer. Definitely.)
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