Some bike maintenance work, and a shiny new XC helmet

After my little ground collision at speed in Wicklow before Christmas, I decided I had to retire the helmet that I was wearing on that trip. CRC were doing clearance sales on a few bits, and included was a Cratoni Terrox helmet at 70% off. I wanted a helmet that I could use with my goggles and this looked as though it should work okay with them. Opening the box I saw that the helmet has a carbon fibre frame, a range of foam inserts to velcro on for fine tuning the fit, and there’s a net insert to prevent bugs and crap getting to your head. The fit is pretty good, the ratchet adjustment is perfect for me thankfully. Plus I can fit my goggles around the helmet without too much hassle and they are held by a little notch at the back. A very shiny helmet for sure. Would I have paid full retail? Hell no, but it’s better than what I was going to get at the price I wanted to pay. CE certified as well.

I got a new goggles insert as the shiny one I was using got badly scratched on the floor of the Sprinter heading over to Chatel last summer and my vision was being impaired by the gouges inside and outside directly in my field of vision. I got the double-skinned and vented persimmon visor. Appears to work well enough when I was wearing it around the house and in the back yard today. Tearoffs are on the way to minimise the chance of getting the visor gouged again.

There was also a set of finned SLX metal pads to install on the Reign, and they went in with ease. Got to love Shimano brake systems for that!

I also shortened the rear Zee brake hose on the V10, and both brake hoses on the Reign so there should be a lot less flapping at the front of the cockpit now.

All in all, a good hour or two sorting things out that I wanted to get sorted.
Now to actually go ride the damned thing :D

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Charlie.

Just because you may take offence is no reason to persecute. The issue is with you and the lack of acceptance, not the entity you take offence at.

That is all.

New telescope!

I saw a Skywatcher 12″ FlexTube Dob for sale on DoneDeal recently, and managed to scrape together the cash to go and get it.

For once the new astro equipment curse did not hold true, and I had a clear night sky to play with. First light was with M35, M1, and M42. M42 is beautiful with 12″ aperture.

Then I decided to go and clean up and start the modding process. I took the mirror out and gave it a good rinse, carefully using fingertips and hydraulic pressure to remove the crap that had built up on the mirror while the scope was in storage, I cleaned and lubed the poles, then I recollimated the scope.

Back out and I left it to thermally stabilise again. Target list includesM81/M82 (M81 is bright! M82 has structure), M65/66, M95/M96, NGC2903, NGC2392, M97/M108, M51 (can definitely see the spiral structure), Sunflower, M94, Cocoon galaxy, NGC 4565 for the first time in a decade or more. Seeing Jupiter through it was a real eye-opener, with finely detailed belts with bays and festoons. A beautiful sight.

This scope is so easy to set up and take down, it’s pretty much a grab’n’go scope for me. I’ll be moving onwards my 6″ and 8″ scopes and a few of the eyepieces that I no longer use to make room for the new scope. I do foresee an equatorial platform in my future though, especially if I’m going to do video astronomy with this scope.

Elite Dangerous – removal of offline play – looks like they lied to get the Kickstart backing..

So I backed Elite Dangerous some time ago on Kickstarter, and I was looking forward to a modern interpretation of the old Elite games.

However, the developers have made a design decision to completely remove the offline play component of the game, meaning that all in-game interactions with planets and other ships and systems absolutely require interaction with an online server to complete. This means that there is no opportunity to pootle about in a true single-player mode, as the universe is constantly updating as other players (who likely will have lots more time to play and advance) explore and interact. For some this is not a bad thing, but seeing as I am not going to be a 40 hour a week player I am not expecting this game to be as fun as I was expecting it to be.

Shame on you David Braben, and shame on you Frontier Developments, for lying to your fans in order to get the backing.

It smacks of greed that there’s a requirement for always-online. In-game advertising, micropayments for “upgrades” and all of the crap that comes from always-online.

If I wanted another Eve online, I’d have bought Eve online. I wanted an improved Elite, and it looks as though I’m no longer going to get that. Shame!

New astro camera arrived..

I sourced a nice Samsung SCB-4000 video camera through one of the video-astronomy Yahoo groups, and the camera arrived from South Africa recently.

Testing it has been eye opening as to the sentitivity of this camera, and how well it performs under light pollution. It easily pulled about 2 magnitudes deeper than my naked eye could see in moderate moonlight, using a cheap f1.4 zoom lens working at about 8mm. The 1/2″ chip does make it harder to get wide angles without vignetting. I haven’t yet attached it to a scope, partly as the tv that I was using for viewing just gave up the ghost and also I have to figure out the cabling and control. Remote control is possible with an RS485 connection

I’ve also got a connector to attach my camera lenses to the camera, which will give me the capability of having a super-finder.

Now to wait for clear skies that I am free for..