Scope review

My largest scope up to buying this one was a 12″ manual Dob, with some lovely views and memories from it. I had been hankering after an upgrade for some years though with the intent of getting a scope that would satisfy my aperture fever.. I wanted the largest aperture I could handle by myself, without needing to have it stored assembled. I’ve not got the room to keep a really large scope fully assembled so I needed to make sure I could assemble and disassemble whatever scope I got in a fairly short space of time given Irish weather, …

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New toy arrived..

It arrived.. It’s a Skywatcher Stargate 500p Dobsonian truss-type telescope. The primary mirror is a full half-metre wide, it has a 2 metre focal length. It’s an absolute light bucket. It comes with a computerised goto drive, and it takes me less than about 10 min to set it up and have it running. It came in 4 large boxes, with a shipping weight of about 95 kg. I updated my eyepiece collection to suit the f/3.94 focal ration, with a Paracorr, a few Ethos 100-degree eyepieces, and a widest-field Explore Scientific 25mm 100 degree eyepiece. I now understand exactly …

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PC update – new hardware in the main desktop

I got my hands on a Xeon E5-1680V2 processor last week. This is about the best CPU that I could get for my motherboard, and it’s an overclocking monster. Comfortable at 4.7Ghz at <80 degrees, currently at 4.6 and staying under 75 after extended benchmarks. Adding to this the fact that I finally jumped 4 generation of graphics cards by updating to a Zotac 2080 Amp MAXX card, gaming and GPU computations are now impressive. All games at max details at 1980×1200 (none of that tiny HD resolution) now are pretty much stable at 60 FPS, and oh *so* pretty. …

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More retro PC updates

So, the Optiplex 960 bios does not boot with a Xeon e5450 chip, and had I done my homework on that, I would have been able to find that out. However, I sourced an Asus P5KE motherboard with 8Gb of DDR2-1066 and a Q9550 chip in it for a decently low price, to further my retro PC ideas. The Core2-Quad q9550 dropped straight into that Optiplex, making that a quad core 2.83 instead of the dual 3.0 it had been. Now I can install XP-32bit on that and get the mid-Naughties retrobox up and running properly. The Xeon e5450 works …

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A lovely little telescope, resurrection and refit.

I answered an ad on one of the astronomy forums I regularly peruse, where someone was getting rid of a badly water-damaged telescope. I figured it would make a nice project for myself so why not reply and see how much it was going to cost me. A mate of mine picked up the telescope from the owner, and warned me that it appeared to be in relatively bad condition, so I was a little apprehensive. When I collected the scope and paraphernalia from my friend, I recognised the scope as a Celestron CPC800 – a Schmidt-Cassegrain design with 8″ …

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A little retro PC work and upgrades

Last summer, I used my big box of PC bits’n’bobs to build myself a few retro gaming PCs, each genre with hot hardware for its time. I wasn’t restricting myself to being time-specific with the hardware available during the time at all, I just wanted to build myself some machines that ran the software of a particular type very well. The DOS/Win3.11 machine is a Dell desktop with a P3-600 and 64Mb of ram, a tiny ancient 2.1Gb harddisk, a Matrox G400MAx graphics card, and an Audician32 soundcard with a great wavetable board on it from (). There’s a lovely …

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Euro trip 2018

Here’s my little Euro road trip from early summer 2018: Statistics: 19 days 7 countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia) 4300 km driven. 17 border crossings or customs areas. 5 days of kayaking. 1 night slept in car. 1 night slept in hotel. 3 nights slept on a floor. 5 nights spent under canvas. €154 in tolls (approx), including Swiss and Austrian vignettes About 6 fills of diesel or so. The idea behind the trip was simple enough. That I would drive over to Slovenia with the 3 kayaks of myself, Dave, and John; with any camping gear …

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“Of” is not a verb.

Note to internet people that speak English – the word “of” is not a verb. Phrases such as “should of”, “could of”, and “must of” are all simply incorrect.. Those errors are understandable from kids or those with English as a second or third language, but it’s inexcusable from mainstream websites or media outlets. Please proofread your writings more thoroughly.