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Tad Morgan (W7TAD)
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So, to get a bit more hands on experience with 3D printing I ordered a Folger Prusa i3 kit (https://folgertech.com/products/folger-tech-reprap-2020-prusa-i3-full-aluminum-3d-printer-kit) and started building it today. Got through mechanical construction and most of the electronics. A bit more wiring and then on to firmware updates and finally see if it works!

(If you notice the errors in the first few pics, uh just ignore them...)
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5/15/16
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Yes I've been saying this as well.
When Planetary Resources made their announcement, most people were hypnotized by the vision of platinum asteroids. Fans talked about trillion-dollar companies while skeptics pointed out how long it will take before the company turns a profit.

They are missing the details. Planetary Resources have developed the Arkyd telescope, which will probably give them an admirable revenue stream right now.
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I finally got around to watching "Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission". I'd been hoping it'd show up on Netflix, but I got tired of waiting and rented it on iTunes (its not on DVD yet).

+Richard Garriott de Cayeux is "Lord British", creator of the Ultima games and son of a Skylab astronaut. Stopped by nearsightedness from being an astronaut himself, he used the fortune he made in the computer industry to become one of the first space tourists. The movie follows his journey and gives a glimpse of the Russian program that we usually don't see (and some nice HD footage of inside the station, etc). Definitely worth the rental/ticket/purchase if you're a space enthusiast.
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A couple weeks ago, inspired by +Leo Laporte 's HamNation netcast series, I passed my amateur radio Technician & General license exams and earlier this week my call sign showed up in the FCC database: KJ6RNZ.

Naturally I've been chomping at the bit to get a radio and have been studying the various options. Because I'm interested in doing some satellite stuff in addition to the usual chatting on local repeaters, I decided on the Kenwood TH-D72A handy talky. Its strong point is that it supports full duplex send/receive (whereas most radios can only send or receive at any one time). This is handy so you can listen for your own transmissions being repeated by the satellite and thus know you're actually getting thru. Along with the HT, I also got a Pryme AL-800 high gain, telescoping antenna which also got good reviews for satellite work. Its not quite as strong as some of the highly directional antennas, but its good enough, a bit more convienient and useful in regular situations (like hitting a repeater across the bay).

The other big feature of the TH-D72A is strong support for APRS, a digital position and message beaconing system for ham radio. With it you can send out your position, receive other people's positions, send short messages and emails, get weather updates and various other things. Since I got the radio Saturday afternoon, I've mostly been playing around with the APRS functions (since as a shy geek, that's an easier first step that actually TALKING on the radio... :P ).

The intersection of the APRS angle and the satellite angle is that the International Space Station has an APRS receiver on board and can receive and forward your APRS messages. So your little 5 watt HT can send a position or email thru ISS when it passes above in orbit a few hundred miles overheard which can then make its way to the internet: http://ariss.net/index.cgi?absolute=1

I first gave that a try Saturday night when there was an ISS pass at my home. Alas after following the directions I found on the TH-D72A Yahoo Group, I didn't manage to hear anything -- much less send anything. Afterwards I discovered that the routing setting hadn't taken (messages are routed much like in regular internet traffic & you need to specify that ISS is supposed to handle your packet instead of anyone else). So, figuring those issues out, I tried again tonight. This time I could hear the packets from other hams loud & clear and see their messages appearing on my screen. I also managed to send off my position update after a few tries it was received & acknowledged! Here's the time & packet that showed up on the website:

20111010052301 : KJ6RNZ-7]SWSRSZ,RS0ISS-3*,qAR,W6MSU-8:`2+"l"xK\]"3q}=

Included in that gibberish is my call (KJ6RNZ-7) and ISS's (RS0ISS-3) in the routing. The rest is stuff like my position, etc. Afterwards when reviewing the website, I saw that someone, KF1BUZ in Reno, tried sending me a message but alas I didn't receive it on my radio. I did see data from 5 others in the 10 minutes of the pass (N6GYR-8, KH2FI, K6KMA-4, VE7CUU-7 &KE7MK-6) plus RS0ISS-3 itself. Maybe next time I'll try sending a reply. I'll also try experimenting with email & tweeting over APRS & ISS which many other people have managed. Pretty cool tho!
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Farewell to the Insanely Great Steve Jobs, you'll be with us so long as devices are made that embody a humane aesthetic of form is function...
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They really need a way to add people to Google+ from your twitter account, facebook, etc...
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