Getting a bit more challenging…

My soldering is improving.

This is a DSO 138 Oscilloscope that I assembled from a provided combination of discrete parts. The purveyors only ensured two required SMD* chips were factory-attached.

At the US$22 entry price, including the housing, it was a fun and affordable project.

If you take one of these on as a project, be sure to do its calibration before assembling into the housing.

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I’m sure there are also 3-wire or 4-wire probe combinations that I can add on in the future.

Next: Maybe I’ll start on a QRP-Labs QCX transceiver and see about obtaining a CW paddle… or maybe just turn it into a WSPR beacon.

*SMD chips are so small that they are often beyond the ready ability of most kit-builders because; they’ll require specialized special equipment to make them visible and differing soldering techniques.

Run away!

Seen at Pissed’s place comes this video of cloaked alien space ship next to Mercury.

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

No, I’m not serious.

It is not a cloaked ship. It’s merely an image processing artifact caused by the averaging method used to gather more detail from photographs of subjects that have extremes in brightness.

Nobody on this planet has any idea what an actual cloaking device on an alien space ship will do when bombarded with solar plasma.

Google Reader – At It Again

Looks like Google’s at it again with a few more modifications to the Google Reader. I’m seeing site icons for followed feeds and sites, a little red thumper when refreshing feeds, and now a G+Share button.

Are they going to update keyboard commands for efficiency, too? Maybe bring back my shared items so I could at least harvest the data?

Nope, not yet.

Takeaway from the EAS

The Department of Fear’s (no, not that one) Emergency Alert System test today confirmed a few things:

– no matter how much planning goes into it, government employees will do the absolute least amount of work possible. What do I mean? Easy: that audio recording was crap. Couldn’t they at least put together something that people could clearly understand that didn’t have the digital signal overlay along with ambient background noise, and the terrible echo of the audio itself? Was that intentional?

– what’s the benefit of having a nationwide alert of anything? No, really — when was the last time there was a nationwide disaster where the whole populace had to be notified instantaneously that there was something horrendously bad happening? Do people not understand the scope of emergencies? Usually they’re isolated, regional issues. Hurricanes, tornado warnings, “we just had an earthquake” — that kind of thing. The whole country doesn’t need to know. Sure, I could envision a couple of scenarios where that would be helpful, but the odds of those (asteroid strike, a very laughable global EMP strike, a literal zombie apocalypse or very rapid disease outbreak, destruction of the nation’s framework as we know it) are astoundingly remote. Okay, that last one gives me pause.

– why even bother? I mean, none of this stuff is really automated anyway; any station can choose to simply not retransmit it. If you really wanted to get the attention of the populace, do a series of blast SMS messages to every single mobile phone. That, though, wouldn’t work very well either because you 1) don’t know what language to put it in so the recipient actually understands the message, 2) the people who don’t have a clue how to read an SMS message on their phones are probably the ones who would benefit most from the message itself, 3) it’ll piss people off.

Humor me: What, exactly, is the purpose of this? How might one of our all-knowing government drones envision using such a thing?

We’re waiting.

Feel free to challenge the EMP remark in the comments.