AfrikaBurn and Other News

Okay, so I’ve been crazy busy and haven’t posted all the cool stuff I said I was going to post, so here is a brief summary of what has happened and what I still need to get up here again.

Most recently I have survived the multifaceted experience which was AfrikaBurn 2015, most people keep asking me what it was like. The best I can come up with is “an interesting experience”. Not the most descriptive, but the whole thing was such a mindfuck (for the lack of a better less profane word) that I’m still processing it, I wrote a daily diary while there which I will be transcribing onto here at some point with my favourite photos.

Astrophotography news! My composite of Eta Carinae which I took during the Southern Star Party was chosen as the photo of the month by the Astronomical Society of Souther Africa which you can take a look at here. My astronomical mount is finally back in action after an extended wait for a replacement RA drive motor from China, it’s interesting to note that the replacement is of a slightly different, more no-name brand than the original. It’s quieter at low speeds and sounds like an asthmatic dinosaur in the mating season at high speeds compared to the original, I guess I’ll have to wait and see how it performs in the field. It turns out that my adventure in reverse engineering the firmware of the control hardware was unnecessary as a firmware update was finally released after 23 months fixing the Southern Hemisphere bug!

In addition I’ve also received a new telescope and guide camera, so a lot of tinkering lies ahead in that field, especially now that I have my new plate solving software setup. Expect a tutorial on that as soon as I have field tested it.

I’ve gotten the go ahead to publicly release the code I wrote for my undergraduate thesis on the Raspberry Pi, not that it is particularly wow or groundbreaking, but big multinationals tend to be weird about stuff like this. Included will be a complete guide on getting OpenCV working with realtime video feed from the standard Raspberry Pi camera. That turned out to be a surprisingly non-trivial process which would’ve been much easier if I setup a proper cross-compiler on a Real™ computer. I would like to get my hands on the new quad core model of the Pi first though and add some optional compiler instructions to take advantage of the multiple cores, I haven’t really had a look on whether or not the new Pi has TBB libraries.

That’s it for now, I’ve probably forgotten something but it’ll pop up again by the new post.