Monday, July 31, 2006

How Many List Members Does It Take...

Anyone who has participated in or helped run any sort of on line forum or BBS should get a smile out of this.

(I apologize in advance that I do not know who originally wrote this. I wish I could claim it was me but alas, I am not the author. I found it while cleaning out some old emails.)


How many forum members does it take to change a light bulb?


One to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been

Fourteen to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how
the light bulb could have been changed differently.

Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

Seven more to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

Three to correct spelling/grammar errors.

Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb".

Another six to condemn those six as stupid.

Fifteen to claim experience in the lighting industry and give the
correct spelling.

Nineteen to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb (or light bulb) forum.

Eleven to defend the posting to the group saying that we all use light
bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this group.

Thirty six to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior,
where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best
for this technique and what brands are faulty.

Seven to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

Four to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the
corrected URL.

Three to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group.

Thirteen to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety
including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too".

Five to post to the group that they will no longer post because they
cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

Four to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

Thirteen to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting
questions about light bulbs."

Three to tell a funny story about their cat and a light bulb.


One group lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now with something unrelated and start it all over again.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Simple RF Propagation Tool

Some times you're not interested in knowing how a watch works, you just want to know the time. I find it's much the same with RF propagation conditions. I want to use the radio to work another station but don't want to necessarily become a propagation expert to do it.

Julian Moss G4ILO has a wonderful tool called HFProp. He sums things up pretty well: "HFProp was written to satisfy my needs for a program that would show me whether conditions are likely to be good or bad on a particular day on a particular band."

HFProp is free to use although you might consider donating a few bucks to Julian for his efforts. I find that it's pretty good for figuring out useful things like when 17 Meters will be open to California from Illinois, when I can expect to start hearing European DX on 80, etc.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Things I Wonder About Linux...

About people who've "tried" Linux actually.

I have no doubt that Linux vs. Microsoft debates will rage on for years to come. It disapoints me however when someone declares absolutely that one is better than the other with no supporting argument. How could anyone take those people seriously? Proclaiming "XYZ is better!" with no reasoning to substantiate their view is barely even an opinion. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Lately, you read that more people who use a Windows platform have tried Linux. Some seem to give it a fair shake, others seem to quickly give up in frustration over one thing or another proclaiming "Windows is so much easier." For those that quickly dismiss Linux because Windows is easier I wonder how many months or years they've spent becomming accustomed to Windows vs. the amount of time they've spent learning about Linux.

I use both Windows and Linux (Ubuntu) and like them both for a wide variety of tasks. If I were forced to only use one I imagine I could live with either for most of my day to day needs. Both have so many features, options, and possible configurations that I don't think a valid case could be made for saying either one is absolutely better in every single application and situation.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Radio Can Keep You Humble

Over the July 4th holiday I assembled a Wilderness Radio 30 Meter SST CW rig. This is a nicely done kit with great instructions. I asked myself "How hard could it be?"

Well, I'll report back once I figure out why it won't transmit. I've checked and re-checked and have talked with "QRP Bob" Dyer on the phone for suggestions. I'm confident it will all turn out just fine. One comment for now is that Bob seems like a super nice guy and it's really a pleasure to deal with him. I'm looking forward to putting this on the air.

[Update July 10, 2006]

It seems that somehow during assembly or initial power up tests I have managed to kill the 2N3553 final output transistor. I hate it when I do stuff like that! Anyway, a replacement is in progress and again Bob has been very helpful and patient through the troubleshooting process.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Email List Etiquette

With as common as email has become in our world today I would think people would take a bit more care in what they write. Post an original message or a comment to a mailing list and several things happen. First, usually within minutes, your message is sent to hundreds or perhaps thousands of people around the world. Second, it is probably archived without your ability to edit it somewhere for all to see for years to come. Hmmm. Let's think about that for a minute.

Have you ever been irritated by a newcomers question? Did you post some snide remark about them looking up the answer themselves? Perhaps you sent along a comment to the effect that anyone that would ask such a question is not even worthy of belonging to the group. I propose one of two alternate responses:

Response 1: Why not actually help them? You don't necessarily have to go into a long detailed analysis of their question and a solution but you might point them to some resources that will let them find the answer they need. Just writing "Ever hear of Google?" is not a proper response.

Response 2: Never miss an opportunity to shut up. Yes, I'm actually suggesting that if you can't be helpful or don't know the answer you just skip to the next message and say nothing.

In this electronic age with nearly infinite amounts of storage the likelyhood of our words staying around for many years is certain. How do you want to be remembered?

Hello World!

Nothing exciting here. I guess making your first blog post is akin to a computer programmer creating a "hello world" program in a new programming language.