Give My Creation Life!

Life • Dec 3, 2016
Throw the third switch

I see you there.
No, not the two of you reading this. I see you too on Google Analytics (hello!).

I mean this blog. Neglected and forgotten. It’s been calling to me. Maybe because of things happening in the world, or my life, but I’ve been feeling… aspirational lately. Among a lot of other things, I guess. And blogs, by their very nature, are aspirational. Everyone seems to start one with the best of intentions, and eventually they sit, abandoned.

Maybe it’s the season. But whatever it is, I’m in the mood to take action. I’m overwhelmed by aspirational thoughts.

  • I want to read more
  • I want to be more focused
  • I want to eat healthier
  • I want to exercise more
  • I want to learn to play chess
  • I want to learn more about Astronomy
  • I want to be a better dad
  • I want to be a better husband
  • I want to take action on the environment
  • I want to volunteer and make a difference
  • I want to meditate
  • I want to have a creative outlet (or three)
  • I want to hustle more and make money
  • I want to be more financially responsible
  • I want to be better at public speaking

The list goes on. Or, you could say the list piles up, if you don’t do something about it. So, as the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Time to start taking bites, no matter how small. Thus, a blog post. The first of many more bites? You’ll have to wait and see.

And So It Begins…

Astronomy • May 17, 2014

A few weeks ago, I posted a message on our local community Facebook group asking about telescopes. I’ve always had a deep interest in Astronomy and been curious about it. Lately I’ve been watching the new Cosmos, and along with a few other realizations and alignment of stars I decided the time was right for me to look into it further. But I was hesitant. A hobby? Time? Money? Thanks a lot Neil…
Neil deGrasse Tyson

So I posted on Facebook, hoping anyone could give me advice on where to start, what to buy, where to learn stuff. And secretly hoping someone would have a telescope they weren’t using that they’d be willing to sell me. Amazingly, someone turned me on to the Orange County Astronomers, the largest Astronomical society in the country in my own backyard. Who knew? Even more amazing, someone offered me their telescope! For free!

This was ideal. For one thing the specs of the telescope were beyond what I could afford if I was going to buy one new or even used. And I could try out amateur Astronomy at no cost and see where I go with it. I met up with the generous donor and picked up the scope, an old Meade 127NT/500 5″ Newtonian Reflector. But as soon as I got it home, I noticed something was wrong with it. After investigating it further I started to get some idea of why it was free.

secondary mirror holder missing mirror

Besides missing a spotting scope and eyepiece, at some point in its 20 year history it lost its secondary mirror. Ugh. I was stuck. If I could repair it, it was still nicer than what I could afford. But how much of a headache would it be to repair? I knew nothing about telescopes. After doing a lot of research I decided swapping out the entire spider assembly with mirror holder along with the mirror from another old telescope was the best way to go. Luckily I found one for sale online at Astro Parts Outlet.

Once I had the donor part from the other scope, I had to manufacture my own arms to attach it since the ones that came with it were for a different telescope, and the old ones that came with my scope didn’t fit. After visiting a specialty hardware store, I found some bolts that were the same diameter and thread and long enough, then cut them down with a hack saw. After screwing it in and aligning the mirrors, I finally took the scope outside for a trial run.

I half expected it not to work. This is a precision optical instrument that I hacksawed parts onto. I pointed it at a tree in the distance and focused in on it. It worked! After sundown I went outside again. Pointed it at Jupiter, a faint point in the night sky and looked through the eye piece. And there it was! Not only that, three or four of its moons clearly visible. Amazing! I felt like Galileo.

After that I pointed it at Mars. Then Saturn with its rings clearly visible but fuzzy. And then a little after midnight, I held my iPhone up to the eyepiece and snapped this picture:

the moon

Move Along, Nothing to See Here…

The Internets • Oct 3, 2013

I’ve been doing what I do for a while now. Since at least 2001 in some capacity. And it’s not often I come across a new piece of information that blows my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, this is an ever changing field and learning the newest developments is a daily activity. Things change rapidly and you have to adapt. And there are definitely topics I’m aware of that I’m not an expert in or totally well versed in anyway. But I posted a question in a forum today and someone responded with something I had no inkling of which, at first, blew my mind.

The question was in regards to crawling and indexing (if you aren’t familiar with those two SEO terms you can stop reading now). Somebody pointed me to googleon/googleoff comment tags. Go ahead, read that page. I’ll wait…

CRAZYNUTS right? My first reaction was how have I never heard of this? Then upon closer inspection I saw this was for the Google Search Appliance. However the individual swore that googlebot honors these tags and has the same intended effect on’s index. So, my ever-inquisitive nature couldn’t help but propose a simple experiment to either prove or disprove the theory.  Hence: Googly-faddah.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, I can carry on with the rest of my day.

UPDATE 10/16/13: Well I”m sure I could have looked it up elsewhere online but it was just too easy to test the theory and I had to see for myself. Not surprising but Google indexed this page. All of it. Including my clever attempt to hide the nonsense term above from being indexed. So there you go. You can’t use Google Search Appliance tags to affect Google’s index.

Update 06/12/04: Check out their costumes look cool.


A Handy SEO tip

The Internets • Jun 18, 2013

As someone who spends a lot of time working in the area of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I find it very handy to be able to view the source code of webpages as googlebot would see them. Because I was always doing this, I created a handy alias in Terminal on OS X to do that very thing and I thought I’d share for anyone out there who’s interested. To create it open up a terminal window and type the following:

sudo pico /etc/bashrc

Now in the Pico editor add this line to the bottom of your file

alias googlebot='curl --no-sessionid --user-agent "Googlebot/2.1 (+"'

Use Control+X to exit and save, you will need to type in your password. Now close and restart Terminal. Now to view a webpage as Googlebot would see it type:
googlebot and voila!

This is very handy if you check websites for potential SEO problems and also to detect spam link injection hacks. (especially in WordPress)