Jul 22, 2015

Jul - 09 2015 | By

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Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio today.

When New Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006, Pluto was still thought of as a planet. Shortly afterward it was demoted to planetoid. The some of the ashes of its discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh are on board.

Paul reminded us that comments are welcome at the Zen Tech website. You first have to show that you are not an automated bot by passing the captcha test. Captchas are meant to stop computers but don’t do so well against cheap overseas labor that’s hired to defeat them. Ultimately, they may not always stop the miscreants, just slow them down.
<I’ve had varying degrees of difficulty with the Zentech captcha. Paul has tweaked it to make it easier. Remember, you can keep reloading a different captcha image until you see one that’s less challenging.>

Jake called to say the word ‘planet’ meant wanderer in Greek. They wandered or moved among the stationary lights in the celestial sphere. Paul noted that if you live long enough, you’d see that the stars also move around. Paul’s found a free program called Celestia that shows what the sky looks like in the future or the past. You can use it to animate the stars’ motion over the eons.

JC called and asked Paul what surprised him about Pluto. Since it’s essentially an asteroid, Paul was impressed by its roundness. JC was surprised by the heart-shaped region.

A NASA researcher was repeatedly asked why the craft couldn’t linger in the vicinity of Pluto, instead of rushing by in a matter of minutes. It’s because it would have taken an Atlas 5 rocket, its original launch vehicle, to slow it down enough to enter orbit.

<Some resources for those interested in the Pluto mission…

New Horizons Delivers First Close-Up Glimpse of Pluto and Charon

Slide show including historic images:

A recent NOVA episode, “Chasing Pluto“, was about the New Horizons project.
Or see it on Youtube if you’re thinking about downloading it:

Because the signal from the craft is weak, it has to be transmitted at a slow pace. <About 4000 bps, I heard>. And since it takes about 5 hours for the signal to reach earth, the data is sent in big chunks before error correction is applied.

Glenn thanked loyal listeners who’ve supported KVMR. If you’d like to become a member, please visit the KVMR webpage.

Scott called from Topanga in Southern Calif. He once met and shook the hand of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto. He worked at Hughes Aircraft at the time and attended a lecture Tombaugh gave. Scott said Tombaugh had to flip back and forth between photos <in an image comparator> of the night sky taken at different times. If a point of light seemed to jump during the image flip, that would indicate a moving object and potentially a planet. There’s a good article about this in the current issue of the National Geographic, Scott said

Paul asked Scott how well he receives KVMR broadcasts. He said it’s pretty good now but he gave up listening yesterday because it was “dropping out” too often.

Scott said there is a delay between what he’s now hearing over the phone and the KVMR signal he’s receiving. Paul explained that what said in the studio is delayed by a couple of seconds as it’s digitally is sent to the broadcast tower and out thru the FM radio signal. If you listen over the internet, the delay is 15 to 30 seconds.

Marilyn called about a problem she’s since resolved. But last night she was getting an error and “cgiredirect.ha” in the address bar. Neither the Mozilla <Firefox> nor Chrome browsers would allow her to go to any website. She cleared her cache & cookies to fix the problem. She wanted to know what caused the problem and how to avoid it.

Paul explained that if her particular router loses the internet connection it will bring up a redirect page that says your broadband connection is down. It does this with a scirpt <a program in plain text>, which ends in “cgi”. CGI means common gateway interface and is a scripting language. The script, which in this case, “resides in the router whose purpose is to bring up a page saying there’s a problem with your internet connection”. When this script was created the programmer neglected to keep it from being cached so it persists in a browser page. That’s why it went away when she cleared the cache. Paul said it may also be necessary to restart the browser. This is a bug in a couple of specific types of routers that are provided by the company with whom she has a DSL account.

Marilyn also asked if router can wear out and needs to be replaced periodically. Paul said it can and there’s no good way to tell if it’s about to fail except to replace it and note if performance improves. They are reasonably inexpensive and he’s had good luck with buying them over the internet.

Paul asked Glenn if he’s done any upgrades recently. Glenn said he doesn’t do much upgrading and he just gets by with his iPad that he’s had for almost 3 years. He rarely uses a computer anymore. Paul said he’s recently been taking things apart, mostly because he likes to tinker and fix things. He suggested ifixit.com as a great source of information for such projects. There’s much info about taking smartphones apart.

Paul had a chance to tinker with a 2006 era Mac Mini. Original versions had a Motorola CPU. Around 2005 or 2006 Apple started using the Intel CPU. Paul discovered that the Intel Core Duo & Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs are pin compatible and there are instructions at ifixit to replace one with the other. Some salient points…
– Do not try this at home, it’s not for the faint of heart and you may break it.
– The difference between the 2 CPUs is that one can run in 64bit mode full time.
– You’ll need a silver thermal paste to use with the heat sink.
– You’ll need spring-loaded plastic clips to hold the heat sink down.

Paul bought a set of jewelers tools from china. The set included drivers for torque screws. He noted that tools are way cheaper than they used to be.

He suggested that hobbyists invest in a magnifying glass — one made of glass not plastic. He also mentioned a UVC USB microscope that magnifies 300X. It plugs into the USB port of a computer and doesn’t need any drivers. Most cameras are now UVC, too — he wouldn’t buy any other type.

During the show, Glenn encountered a problem with his iPad. He went online to do a search and it locked up with a square on the screen saying “facebook.com claim price dot click”. It said he won a price and to “click here to get it”. He couldn’t do anything, even after restarting the iPad and the Safari browser. He’s going to consult with Paul to resolve the problem after this show.

Glenn said Apple TV is coming out. According to rumor it’s “going to replace everything” — home TV, cable, satellite, all the way down to local TV broadcasters. All you’ll need is the internet. Apple is still negotiating with the major networks.

Paul talked a bit about IPTV and that Netgear is selling a device to providers like Netfilx to cache and stream video content from different locations around the country. This is to reduce the delay caused by sending data over a long distance from one central location.

By email, Marilyn asked for opinions about RabbitTV.
– The guy tried it at one time. Glenn paid $5, Paul $1.
– It’s a device that you plug in and it takes you to a page with a bunch of links you could just as well have found on your own.
– Many of the links don’t work. Many are worthless.
– It’s not really free TV, as advertised.

According to this review, Rabbit TV is dropping the USB stick and becoming online only as RabbitTV Plus:

<I haven’t tried and can’t vouch for this, but IPTV looks interesting.>

Last Updated 11:00 PM 7-22-2015

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