SdrDx 2.14o for Windows and OS X Available

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The 2.14o version of SdrDx for OS X ** and ** Windows is
now available and the online documentation has been updated
to reflect the changes that have been made.

SdrDx is free; it supports RFSPACE SDRs, both FunCubes,
the Andrus MK 1.5, and the AFEDRI.

The SoftRock/Peabody SDRs will also work, but it takes
some technical knowledge of scripting to make that happen.
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News at 11

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Dateline: Millions of light years (even faster parsecs than the Kessel run)

Lede: Scientists in the Dark; Does it Matter?

Today scientists announced that they can’t see anything happening with stuff they can’t see, but think is there, because otherwise the math is no good. After receiving directions to his laboratory on the phone, I went to see an authority on dark matter.

During the interview, Dr. Seemore Lichspittle told this Any Paper, Any Time reporter that the thing about dark matter that one has to understand is that “it goes to eleven.” When confronted with the observation that the sensing instruments only had scales from 0-10, he responded “Yes, yes, that’s exactly it. The numbers… the numbers only work out in the dark. When the instruments are off. Matter of fact, it’s all dark, really.”

At that point the interview was cut short as two lab assistants in white coats hustled Dr. Lichspittle into his own custom white lab jacket. Late for an important meeting, no doubt. As he left, nodding, he called back “it’s really quite dark.” Food for thought!

Leaving Arkham, I was struck by the picturesque beauty of the stonework, and very appreciative of the tight security. We can rest easy, knowing that national treasures like Dr. Lichspittle work in such a safe enviroment.

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SdrDx 2.13w for OS X Now Available

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The 2.13w version of SdrDx for OS X is now available and the online documentation has been updated to reflect the changes that have been made. The Windows version remains at 2.13e BETA, however I hope to have an updated release for Windows shortly. I still have more testing to do there.

SdrDx is free; it supports RFSPACE SDRs, both FunCubes, the Andrus MK 1.5, and the AFEDRI.

The SoftRock/Peabody SDRs will also work, but it takes some technical knowledge of scripting to make that happen.
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Cat Watering System

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cdishSo. Watering cats is always an issue. They go to the dish with food still in their mouths which inevitably falls in, they clean themselves with their tongues, then drink with them, cat hair gets in there, and when you have several, as we do… well, it just gets worse. Then they can — and do — get sick. Mouth infections, general degradation of immune systems, passing bacteria and viruses from one to another… it’s not good at all.

This is my final solution. I cut an adequate hole in the floor to install a drain plus some extra room, then built a drain into a watering dish and “plumbed” it with some adapters and a garden hose that drains into a utility sink in the basement almost directly below.

Then I drilled the side of the dish, dropped the assembly into/over the hole in the floor, routed the hose to the sink, and inserted a small diameter pipe/hose into the bowl that connects back to our reverse osmosis system. The water flow from that pipe to the dish is gated by a 12 volt DC valve.

To control the valve, I bought a commercial infrared proximity sensor that has an AC outlet on it, plugged the 12 VDC power supply — just a run of the mill linear wall-wart — I use to activate the valve into it, and set the IR sensor for a one minute recycle.

So the way it works is, cat walks up, IR sensor sees them, AC turns on, 12 VDC power supply comes up, valve triggers, fresh water comes out of the pipe, they drink from the arc of water — almost never from the dish — which runs for one minute, and the dish drains immediately.

This way, the water doesn’t stand. Doubly important with an R/O system, as there is almost no chlorine left in the R/O water, so the water is less able to sit around in the first place without “things” growing in it.

The IR sensor, and therefore the valve power supply, is powered from a UPS in the basement. This was done so power outages, quite common in the summer here, won’t deny them the opportunity to drink. As the UPS only has this one load on it, and the power demand is extremely low as well as intermittent, the up time, that is, the amount of time the UPS can power the system without the AC returning is many, many hours, almost the same amount of time the UPS can run without any load at all other than its own internal workings. Due to the massive explosion of UPS designs for computers, the UPS itself was surprisingly inexpensive. It cost about what the dish, drain, valve, hoses and IR sensor driven AC outlet did all taken together, which let the entire project cost come in under $150.00 USD. I consider that a bargain.

This system works extremely well. The cats figured it out within just a few minutes, there was no significant adaptation period. This, or something like it, is something that can really benefit your cats health and well-being, which in turn will extend their lives, while saving you a ton of effort, time and attention that you can put into working so you can buy better quality cat food and more cat toys. That’s why we all work, after all!

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NewBurgers!

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NewBurgersOk, here’s the deal. I was sitting around one day recently, contemplating having some hamburgers for dinner, and feeling kind of “meh” about it, because I never get them right. They’re too big, they’re too small, they aren’t cooked right in the center, or if they are, they’re overcooked on the outside, they’re too thick, too thin, they shrink too much (some burger is made by mixing shaved ice in during the grind down process in order to increase volume; if that’s been done, the burger will shrink quite a bit when cooked as the water evaporates out.) Anyway, it just never works out. Burgers have been my cooking downfall forever. And I really don’t like those frozen patties much, either. So I thinks to meself, see, “can this be gotten around?” Well, as it turns out, yes, I figured out a way.

The result is fabulous.
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Making Python’s sqlite3 import easy as 1 2 3

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Lurking within the normal Python 2.x distribution is the sqlite3 import, which is an amazingly powerful, no-server-required, mostly SQL compatible database engine that can be used in any project without restriction.

That’s the up side. The down side is, as a fairly complete database, there are many options and varied ways it can be used, and managing actual database transactions isn’t all that simple — to do it right, even a single query takes about sixteen lines of code. And yes, if you want maximum flexibility and the ability to use every feature in sqlite3, that’s how you should do it.

But. Most database operations are very straightforward. You want to issue a single command to the database, or a query. Perhaps you want to write a bunch of data and then commit it all at once so that the database doesn’t contain part of the data from a more complex transaction. You need to know if something went wrong, and if it did, what it was. Those are by far the most common use cases for me, and I suspect that’s true for others as well.

Frankly, it’s difficult enough dealing with the SQL query language itself. Why make actually using it harder than it has to be?
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Median net worth of congressmembers: 1m. Wonder Why?

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Congress, under pressure from their constituents, after continuously taking advantage of insider trading law exceptions to enrich its members, made insider trading by its members illegal in 2012 (this was known as the STOCK act, bill S.2038) The mechanism to enforce this was public access to the records of the members of congress.

Then, the 113th congress quietly passed bill S.716.ES into law (how quietly? Unanimously, no debate, no recorded vote, total voting time: 14 seconds), which eliminated public access to the records of the president, vice president, any member of congress, and any candidate for congress.

Naturally, members of congress are in the perfect position to know about many advances and changes with regard to corporate value fluctuations. They make the laws that cause many of those value fluctuations, and then of course there are the lobbyists.

If I had access to this information for several years, as do congress members, I’m sure my net worth would be quite different from what it is now too.

But hey, no one cares. ‘Murica, right? Let’s get those tech jobs sent overseas while we stop the Terrible Threat Of Immigrants. Perhaps then I’ll be able to utilize my extensive programming skills doing… yard work. Thanks, congress. Thanks, corporations.

Congress: 14% approval rate, 94% re-election rate. You explain it. I can’t.

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