Black Friday deals.. A bit of a splurge!

Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Lovely little words that mean decent deals on techie things, and an opportunity to get a few bits and pieces that I’ve been meaning to get for a while.

On the astronomy front, I’m ordering a Celestron AVX mount. After a year without a computerised GoTo system, I’ve been missing the ability to just select an object and have the scope slew to wherever that object was. Plus, I’ve got my low-light security camera all ready to do electronically-assisted astronomy, to get a look at all those little smudges of light.. So, I’m getting this mount to attach either of my two smaller scopes to. With the SCB-4000 camera and a portable screen, I’ll be able to get  colour images in a few seconds, and I’ll be able to show those faint objects to other people as well. This mount should have decent tracking capabilities, enough that I should be able to take proper astrophotos again and fill out my portfolio of faint things. I’ll be on the lookout for a nice low f/ratio Newt for the video astronomy, and I’ll go quasar hunting..

I’ve picked up a SkyFi box and a cheap Amazon Fire 7 tablet to run SkySafari on, so that I can click on-screen and get the scope to move to where I’ve requested – wirelessly. I had to find another rom for the Fire tablet, removing all of the Amazon-only cruft from it and allowing the apps I’ve already paid for to run correctly on the tablet. The original OS on it prevents apps from contacting Google license servers, which stopped SkySafari from running. I’m planning on doing a completely wireless setup at some point, with wireless control of the camera and mount, which should make for easier setup and use when I’m out in the backyard. It’ll also mean that I can observe from inside when the scope is outside!

To the behemoth desktop computer I’ve added another 16Gb of ram for a total of 32. I should have no issues with running virtual machines for the thesis display now – not that I had much issue in the first place. Still, for a machine that’s 4 years old, it’s still ahead of the curve and above the average, still in the top 2% of systems according to the Steam hardware survey. I may yet add another 16Gb to restore the quad channel memory access that I had, as I now have 4x4Gb and 2x8Gb, and two free slots. I’m not looking forwards to having to hibernate this!

It was also an opportunity to try out one of the reshipping companies in the States, as there’s a new series of astronomy books being published, that will effectively become a modern Burnham’s Celestial Handbook. Amazon’s listing for the book didn’t ship to Ireland, so I trialled the sending of this to the reship company for further shipping, akin to the Parcel Motel idea. Turns out that the postage is x2 the cost of the book, and I’m not hugely happy with that, but I’ll have the book for cheaper than Amazon UK were selling it delivered.

The Galaxy S6 will be getting a nice waterproof case. I’ll have to look into sourcing a new gorilla glass screen for the phone, now that it will be protected again. Still kicking myself about having ordered the wrong model, and cracking the screen the day that the wrong model arrived! That will be a fun day fixing that, getting the heat gun out and replacing the outer glass screen.

I also managed to pick up a few Christmas present items, that I know will be appreciated.

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