RE: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation


Apr 9, 2012

 


----------------------------

#59549 Apr 9, 2012

Hi all



Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)





A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.



I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.



Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?



I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.



Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?



----------------------------

#59561 Apr 10, 2012

this is a message thread from the AP-GTO group (more likely to get discussion on AP Mounts there instead of here). the thread is not dedicated to remote control but some open discussion on AP vs. SB.



tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto/message/35381



you are not likely to get an outpouring of info in the AP groups telling you a competing product is better. my impression of AP owners is they love everything about the company's products and support (me included).

>> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <



you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live without only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)





Lee

---

AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos



--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@...> wrote:

>

> Hi all

>

> Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

>

>

> A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

>

> I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

>

> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

>

> I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

>

> Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

>



----------------------------

#59562 Apr 10, 2012

FWIW, as a engineer who works on and supports professional robotic

and otherwise observatories for a living, I would much rather work

with AP mounts than SB mounts. AP is clearly superior in the areas

of software support, command and feature lists and especially when

it comes to customer support.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Orly

Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 5:46 AM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



Hi all



Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)





A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I

must confess some level of interest.



I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are

using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based

etc.



Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow /

equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can

share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?



I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using

Taks remotely.



Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?







---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links







-----

No virus found in this message.

Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4923 - Release Date: 04/08/12



----------------------------

#59564 Apr 11, 2012

hi Lee, thanks for the link.



I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live without Windows.



For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a fixed setup with very good polar alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.



Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.



A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...







--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@...> wrote:

..

> >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

>

> you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live without only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)

>

>

> Lee

> ---

> AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

>

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> >

> > Hi all

> >

> > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> >

> >

> > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> >

> > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> >

> > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> >

> > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

> >

> > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> >

>







----------------------------

#59566 Apr 11, 2012

National Instruments LabView is pretty-common in the big observatories for

controlling big and small electromechanical systems.



www.ni.com/labview/



It is a modular software and hardware system that allows users to create

custom controls and sensor systems to replace classical ladder logic

systems and PLC's (Programmable Logic Controllers.)



It comes in Windows/Linux/Mac versions but from what I have seen, the vast

majority of installations are Windows. In fact Windows seems to be

installed on a lot more observatory computers than one would first think.



Most all of the professional instruments require custom software for data

acquisition and control. That software seems to be a split between Linux

and Windows.



Most of the scientists these days seem to be using Mac laptops and bouncing

back and forth into Linux and using Python for manipulating collected

instrument data and images.



www.python.org/



For new observatories with scopes under about 3 meters is size, ASCOM and

Windows seems to be the generally prevailing platform of choice.

Especially if the observatory is being operated remotely or fully

robotically. Because of budget constraints at most colleges and

universities, there is a lot of emphasis on going with COTS (Commercial

Off The Shelf) products and software solutions to keep equipment and

support costs down.



There has been talk about porting ASCOM to Linux/FreeBSD but there have

been a string of big technical challenges that have prevented that from

ever really getting off the ground.



Many people talk about INDI but I can find very few operational

observatories actually using it and all of them are in what I would

describe as a "prototyping stage" of operation. The software

development seems to be moving along very slowly.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_Neutral_Distributed_Interface



indilib.org/index.php?title=Main_Page



www.clearskyinstitute.com/INDI/INDI.pdf



ASCOM, ACP Planner and Maxim DL seem to be the defacto-standard for

observatories using COTS mounts, focusers, cameras and instruments.



For better or worse, it seems that many of the smaller colleges and

universities these days aren't big risk takers when it comes to

investing in new science facilities and instruments.



I hope this helps.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Orly

Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 3:58 AM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



hi Lee, thanks for the link.



I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me

talking) I think it's possible to live without Windows.



For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a

fixed setup with very good polar alignment, you won't need it. PHD is

available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.



Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while

MaximDL is great, it would be good if there are alternatives. I am

personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.



A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run

on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a

Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as

pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...







--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@...> wrote:

..

> >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

>

> you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even

consider an astro imaging setup on any platform other than windows (but my

experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live

without only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking

for an alternative)

>

>

> Lee

> ---

> AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

>

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> >

> > Hi all

> >

> > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> >

> >

> > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and

I must confess some level of interest.

> >

> > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them

are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based

etc.

> >

> > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow /

equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can

share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> >

> > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using

Taks remotely.

> >

> > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> >

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links







-----

No virus found in this message.

Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4927 - Release Date: 04/10/12







----------------------------

#59573 Apr 11, 2012

All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and Android, Southern Stars is doing some amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.



Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers will be orphaned. How many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets will invest the time and effort to make the necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is going to be challenged and bypassed in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.



Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@...> wrote:

>

> hi Lee, thanks for the link.

>

> I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live without Windows.

>

> For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a fixed setup with very good polar alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.

>

> Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.

>

> A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

>

>

>

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> ..

> > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> >

> > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live without only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)

> >

> >

> > Lee

> > ---

> > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> >

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > >

> > > Hi all

> > >

> > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> > >

> > >

> > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > >

> > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > >

> > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> > >

> > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

> > >

> > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > >

> >

>



----------------------------

#59574 Apr 11, 2012

Yep.



There was a time when CP/M, WordStar and VisiCalc ruled the world!



I am currently finishing a full-featured, microcontroller-based observatory

controller that will slave a regular or Calotte-style dome or multi-part ROR

to any mount and is completely ASCOM/INDI/OS independent, yet fully

compliant and transparent to whatever hardware/OS you want to use in your

observatory.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 3:21 PM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon Windows

-- but -- I've seen more progress in the past year than in the previous ten

with regards to useful imaging apps for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally

getting there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera

control app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has even written an X2 driver

(beta) to allow the app to function as the "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark

has Nebulosity and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on

iOS and Android, Southern Stars is doing some amazing work with their

planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.



Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB

apps and drivers will be orphaned. How many of the smaller hardware and

software vendors for astro gadgets will invest the time and effort to make

the necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is

going to be challenged and bypassed in the next five years, and as a result

we will have even more intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.



Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@...> wrote:

>

> hi Lee, thanks for the link.

>

> I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner

me talking) I think it's possible to live without Windows.

>

> For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a

fixed setup with very good polar alignment, you won't need it. PHD is

available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.

>

> Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while

MaximDL is great, it would be good if there are alternatives. I am

personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.

>

> A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here -

run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a

Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as

pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

>

>

>

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> ..

> > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> >

> > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even

consider an astro imaging setup on any platform other than windows (but my

experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live

without only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking

for an alternative)

> >

> >

> > Lee

> > ---

> > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> >

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > >

> > > Hi all

> > >

> > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> > >

> > >

> > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing,

and I must confess some level of interest.

> > >

> > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them

are using Bisque mounts with MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based

etc.

> > >

> > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow /

equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if AP mounts do this.. anyone can

share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> > >

> > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone

using Taks remotely.

> > >

> > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > >

> >

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links







-----

No virus found in this message.

Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4928 - Release Date: 04/11/12







----------------------------

#59578 Apr 12, 2012

Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers will be orphaned.



Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported in Windows 8.



Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy apps for many years to come. As you probably

know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for all devices on OS/X has a long way to go. By

the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been another transition...



Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all with a

wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet may even

be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers on the cloud. The current desktop versions of

Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and is starting to adapt to that

eventuality with Windows 8.



IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not good, except for specialized applications and

maybe software development.



-Ray Gralak

Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

>

>

> All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the

> past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting

> there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has

> even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity

> and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and Android, Southern Stars is doing some

> amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.

>

> Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers will be orphaned. How

> many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets will invest the time and effort to make the

> necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is going to be challenged and bypassed

> in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

>

> Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly" orly.andico@...> wrote:

> >

> > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> >

> > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live

> without Windows.

> >

> > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a fixed setup with very good polar

> alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> >

> > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there

> are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.

> >

> > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as

> pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> >

> >

> >

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > ..

> > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > >

> > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any

> platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live without

> only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)

> > >

> > >

> > > Lee

> > > ---

> > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > >

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > >

> > > > Hi all

> > > >

> > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > > >

> > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with

> MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > >

> > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if

> AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> > > >

> > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

> > > >

> > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > >

> > >

> >

>

>

>

>







----------------------------

#59579 Apr 12, 2012

Ray,



Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)



The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is dated, and some might even claim it's broken. VB (and the associated programming sins it enabled) allowed nearly two decades of happy bit-diddling and blinkin' lights while the rest of the world moved on. Remember Lucent Technologies? They bet the farm on switched networks, but packet, and TCP/IP was the future. I see the same thing happening with ASCOM in our little corner of the software world. Yes, I know, ASCOM is supposedly not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has so much support on Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android. :-)



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

>

> > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers

> Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported in Windows 8.

>

> Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy apps for many years to come. As you probably

> know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for all devices on OS/X has a long way to go. By

> the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been another transition...

>

> Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

> computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all with a

> wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet may even

> be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers on the cloud. The current desktop versions of

> Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and is starting to adapt to that

> eventuality with Windows 8.

>

> IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not good, except for specialized applications and

> maybe software development.

>

> -Ray Gralak

> Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

> Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

> Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

> Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

> Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

>

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> > Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> >

> >

> >

> > All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the

> > past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting

> > there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has

> > even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity

> > and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and Android, Southern Stars is doing some

> > amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.

> >

> > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers will be orphaned. How

> > many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets will invest the time and effort to make the

> > necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is going to be challenged and bypassed

> > in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

> >

> > Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > >

> > > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> > >

> > > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live

> > without Windows.

> > >

> > > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a fixed setup with very good polar

> > alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> > >

> > > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there

> > are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.

> > >

> > > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> > W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as

> > pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > > ..

> > > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > > >

> > > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any

> > platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live without

> > only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > Lee

> > > > ---

> > > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > >

> > > > > Hi all

> > > > >

> > > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > > > >

> > > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with

> > MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > > >

> > > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if

> > AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> > > > >

> > > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

> > > > >

> > > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > > >

> > > >

> > >

> >

> >

> >

> >

>







----------------------------

#59580 Apr 12, 2012

Hi Jim,

> Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)



I highly doubt it but I'm guessing this has nothing to do with W8 and everything to do with moving to 64-bit operating

systems, which have become the standard. If someone writes a 64-bit device driver for a parallel port device then it

could certainly work on W8.



But that has nothing to do with most ASCOM drivers written in VB6 (like the AP V2 driver). It will be fully operational

on W8.

> The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is dated, and some might even claim it's

> broken.



Not sure I believe that. :-) There are literally thousands of hardware devices that work well, both astronomy related,

and not.

> Yes, I know, ASCOM is supposedly not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has

> so much support on Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android. :-)



Jim, not sure what you mean by the above. ASCOM has always been dependent on Windows. But based on the smiley face maybe

you ar e just being sarcastic?? :-))



-Ray Gralak

Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma



> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:51 AM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

>

>

> Ray,

>

> Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)

>

> The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is dated, and some might even claim it's

> broken. VB (and the associated programming sins it enabled) allowed nearly two decades of happy bit-diddling

> and blinkin' lights while the rest of the world moved on. Remember Lucent Technologies? They bet the farm on

> switched networks, but packet, and TCP/IP was the future. I see the same thing happening with ASCOM in our little

> corner of the software world. Yes, I know, ASCOM is supposedly not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has

> so much support on Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android. :-)

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

> >

> > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers

> > Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported in Windows 8.

> >

> > Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy apps for many years to come. As you

> probably

> > know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for all devices on OS/X has a long way to

> go. By

> > the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been another transition...

> >

> > Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

> > computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all

> with a

> > wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet

> may even

> > be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers on the cloud. The current desktop

> versions of

> > Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and is starting to adapt to that

> > eventuality with Windows 8.

> >

> > IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not good, except for specialized

> applications and

> > maybe software development.

> >

> > -Ray Gralak

> > Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

> > Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

> > Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

> > Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

> > Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

> >

> > > -----Original Message-----

> > > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> > > Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> > > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com>

> > > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in

> the

> > > past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally

> getting

> > > there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He

> has

> > > even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has

> Nebulosity

> > > and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and Android, Southern Stars is doing

> some

> > > amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.

> > >

> > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB apps and drivers will be orphaned.

> How

> > > many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets will invest the time and effort to make the

> > > necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is going to be challenged and

> bypassed

> > > in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

> > >

> > > Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

> "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > >

> > > > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> > > >

> > > > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just beginner me talking) I think it's possible to

live > > > without Windows.

> > > >

> > > > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have a fixed setup with very good polar

> > > alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac. Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> > > >

> > > > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal - while MaximDL is great, it would be good if

> there

> > > are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing software on Windows.

> > > >

> > > > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> > > W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the Mars rovers! - and things as

> > > pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> > > >

> > > >

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com>

> , "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > > > ..

> > > > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > > > >

> > > > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even consider an astro imaging setup on any

> > > platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know the numerous apps i could not live

> without

> > > only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for an alternative)

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > Lee

> > > > > ---

> > > > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-

> ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Hi all

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting. :-)

> > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory thing, and I must confess some level of

> interest.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of them are using Bisque mounts with

> > > MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow / equipment that supports INDI. Not

> sure if

> > > AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica drive their AP's?

> > > > > >

> > > > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone using Taks remotely.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > > > >

> > > > >

> > > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> >

>

>

>

>







----------------------------

#59581 Apr 12, 2012

ASCOM depends heavily on some quite-useful, object-oriented

programming features that exist under MS Windows but don't have an

equivalent in other development environments under other OS's and

that is what has made it so difficult to port the standard to other

platforms.



Many people would like to do it but nobody who has the prerequisite

programming skills under two OS's, available time and commitment to

do it all for free has come forward to do the work.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:51 AM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



Ray,



Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)



The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is

dated, and some might even claim it's broken. VB (and the associated

programming sins it enabled) allowed nearly two decades of happy

bit-diddling and blinkin' lights while the rest of the world moved on.

Remember Lucent Technologies? They bet the farm on switched networks, but

packet, and TCP/IP was the future. I see the same thing happening with ASCOM

in our little corner of the software world. Yes, I know, ASCOM is supposedly

not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has so much support on Linux, OS

X, iOS, and Android. :-)



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

>

> > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB

apps and drivers

> Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported

in Windows 8.

>

> Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy

apps for many years to come. As you probably

> know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for

all devices on OS/X has a long way to go. By

> the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been

another transition...

>

> Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to

tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

> computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk

up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all with a

> wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet

automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet may even

> be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers

on the cloud. The current desktop versions of

> Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing on

the wall and is starting to adapt to that

> eventuality with Windows 8.

>

> IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not

good, except for specialized applications and

> maybe software development.

>

> -Ray Gralak

> Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

> Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

> Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

> Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

> Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

>

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

> > Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> >

> >

> >

> > All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon

Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the

> > past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps

for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting

> > there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control

app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has

> > even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the

"camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity

> > and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and

Android, Southern Stars is doing some

> > amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control hardware.

> >

> > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy VB

apps and drivers will be orphaned. How

> > many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets will

invest the time and effort to make the

> > necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold is

going to be challenged and bypassed

> > in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more

intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

> >

> > Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly"

orly.andico@> wrote:

> > >

> > > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> > >

> > > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just

beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live

> > without Windows.

> > >

> > > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have

a fixed setup with very good polar

> > alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac.

Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> > >

> > > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal -

while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there

> > are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing

software on Windows.

> > >

> > > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights here

- run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> > W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like the

Mars rovers! - and things as

> > pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

"lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > > ..

> > > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > > >

> > > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even

consider an astro imaging setup on any

> > platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know

the numerous apps i could not live without

> > only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for

an alternative)

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > Lee

> > > > ---

> > > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

"Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > >

> > > > > Hi all

> > > > >

> > > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting.

:-)

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory

thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > > > >

> > > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of

them are using Bisque mounts with

> > MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > > >

> > > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow

/ equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if

> > AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in Antarctica

drive their AP's?

> > > > >

> > > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of anyone

using Taks remotely.

> > > > >

> > > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > > >

> > > >

> > >

> >

> >

> >

> >

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

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----------------------------

#59582 Apr 12, 2012

i wanted to invest time in a linux side to ascom.. i have the low level

skills but could never grasp a big picture of what pieces are necessary.

hopefully at some point someone will do the necessary high level design and

identify the parts that need to be worked on

On Apr 12, 2012 9:43 AM, "Christopher Erickson"

christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

> **

>

>

> ASCOM depends heavily on some quite-useful, object-oriented

> programming features that exist under MS Windows but don't have an

> equivalent in other development environments under other OS's and

> that is what has made it so difficult to port the standard to other

> platforms.

>

> Many people would like to do it but nobody who has the prerequisite

> programming skills under two OS's, available time and commitment to

> do it all for free has come forward to do the work.

>

> Christopher Erickson

> Consulting Engineer

> Summit Kinetics

> Waikoloa, HI 96738

> www.summitkinetics.com

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> gjwcac

> Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:51 AM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

> Ray,

>

> Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)

>

> The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is

> dated, and some might even claim it's broken. VB (and the associated

> programming sins it enabled) allowed nearly two decades of happy

> bit-diddling and blinkin' lights while the rest of the world moved on.

> Remember Lucent Technologies? They bet the farm on switched networks, but

> packet, and TCP/IP was the future. I see the same thing happening with

> ASCOM

> in our little corner of the software world. Yes, I know, ASCOM is

> supposedly

> not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has so much support on Linux,

> OS

> X, iOS, and Android. :-)

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

> >

> > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy

> VB

> apps and drivers

> > Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported

> in Windows 8.

> >

> > Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy

> apps for many years to come. As you probably

> > know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for

> all devices on OS/X has a long way to go. By

> > the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been

> another transition...

> >

> > Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to

> tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

> > computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk

> up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all with a

> > wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet

> automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet may even

> > be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers

> on the cloud. The current desktop versions of

> > Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing

> on

> the wall and is starting to adapt to that

> > eventuality with Windows 8.

> >

> > IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not

> good, except for specialized applications and

> > maybe software development.

> >

> > -Ray Gralak

> > Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

> > Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

> > Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

> > Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

> > Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

> >

> > > -----Original Message-----

> > > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf

> Of

> gjwcac

> > > Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> > > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon

> Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the

> > > past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps

> for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting

> > > there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control

> app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has

> > > even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the

> "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity

> > > and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and

> Android, Southern Stars is doing some

> > > amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control

> hardware.

> > >

> > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy

> VB

> apps and drivers will be orphaned. How

> > > many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets

> will

> invest the time and effort to make the

> > > necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold

> is

> going to be challenged and bypassed

> > > in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more

> intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

> > >

> > > Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly"

> orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > >

> > > > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> > > >

> > > > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just

> beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live

> > > without Windows.

> > > >

> > > > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have

> a fixed setup with very good polar

> > > alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac.

> Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> > > >

> > > > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal -

> while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there

> > > are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing

> software on Windows.

> > > >

> > > > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights

> here

> - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> > > W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like

> the

> Mars rovers! - and things as

> > > pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> > > >

> > > >

> > > >

> > > >

> > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

> "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > > > ..

> > > > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > > > >

> > > > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even

> consider an astro imaging setup on any

> > > platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know

> the numerous apps i could not live without

> > > only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for

> an alternative)

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > Lee

> > > > > ---

> > > > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

> "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Hi all

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting.

> :-)

> > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory

> thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of

> them are using Bisque mounts with

> > > MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow

> / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if

> > > AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in

> Antarctica

> drive their AP's?

> > > > > >

> > > > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of

> anyone

> using Taks remotely.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > > > >

> > > > >

> > > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> >

>

---------------

>

> To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

>

> -----

> No virus found in this message.

> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4929 - Release Date: 04/11/12

>

>

>





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







----------------------------

#59586 Apr 12, 2012

There is a Yahoo group called ASCOMcross that knocked this question around for several years without much

> progress. The problem I see is ASCOm is designed to control "dumb" devices with simple, bit-level interfaces that

> date back to the days of DOS.



Jim, it seems like you may have a misconception of ASCOM. I think that most ASCOM controlled devices (like telescope

mounts and cameras and even focusers) are not dumb. They often have real time embedded systems or at least some amount

of intelligence.



Can you give a few examples of "dumb devices with bit level interfaces that date back to DOS"?



-Ray Gralak

Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma



> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:49 AM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

>

>

> Mike,

>

> There is a Yahoo group called ASCOMcross that knocked this question around for several years without much

> progress. The problem I see is ASCOm is designed to control "dumb" devices with simple, bit-level interfaces that

> date back to the days of DOS. It does this well enough and over the years Windows has managed to provide APIs

> that facilitate low level hardware control. Other OSes (RTLinux is an exception) have moved to abstract themselves

> from the hardware and assume a world of smart(er) gadgets and network-level communications protocols. Ray

> points out that the W8 guys did an about face and decided to rescind the VB death sentence for another five years.

> Oh well, if 15+ years of spaghetti code didn't kill us, I suppose another five (or ten) won't hurt... ;-)

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , Mike C mike@...> wrote:

> >

> > i wanted to invest time in a linux side to ascom.. i have the low level

> > skills but could never grasp a big picture of what pieces are necessary.

> > hopefully at some point someone will do the necessary high level design and

> > identify the parts that need to be worked on

> > On Apr 12, 2012 9:43 AM, "Christopher Erickson"

> > christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

> >

> > > **

> > >

> > >

> > > ASCOM depends heavily on some quite-useful, object-oriented

> > > programming features that exist under MS Windows but don't have an

> > > equivalent in other development environments under other OS's and

> > > that is what has made it so difficult to port the standard to other

> > > platforms.

> > >

> > > Many people would like to do it but nobody who has the prerequisite

> > > programming skills under two OS's, available time and commitment to

> > > do it all for free has come forward to do the work.

> > >

> > > Christopher Erickson

> > > Consulting Engineer

> > > Summit Kinetics

> > > Waikoloa, HI 96738

> > > www.summitkinetics.com

> > >

> > > -----Original Message-----

> > > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of

> > > gjwcac

> > > Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:51 AM

> > > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com>

> > > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> > >

> > > Ray,

> > >

> > > Will W8 support those DOS-era drivers for parallel port cameras? ;-)

> > >

> > > The Windows device interface model used by most astro-gadget vendors is

> > > dated, and some might even claim it's broken. VB (and the associated

> > > programming sins it enabled) allowed nearly two decades of happy

> > > bit-diddling and blinkin' lights while the rest of the world moved on.

> > > Remember Lucent Technologies? They bet the farm on switched networks, but

> > > packet, and TCP/IP was the future. I see the same thing happening with

> > > ASCOM

> > > in our little corner of the software world. Yes, I know, ASCOM is

> > > supposedly

> > > not dependent on Windows, and that's why it has so much support on Linux,

> > > OS

> > > X, iOS, and Android. :-)

> > >

> > > Jim M.

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ray Gralak" groups1@> wrote:

> > > >

> > > > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy

> > > VB

> > > apps and drivers

> > > > Not yet! Microsoft has noted that VB6 runtime will be included/supported

> > > in Windows 8.

> > > >

> > > > Besides, O/S virtualization will make it possible for users to run legacy

> > > apps for many years to come. As you probably

> > > > know you can run windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. Full support for

> > > all devices on OS/X has a long way to go. By

> > > > the time it gets there (if it ever does) I think there will have been

> > > another transition...

> > > >

> > > > Over the next 10 years I think there's more likely to be a shift from to

> > > tablets/smart(er) phones than from Windows

> > > > computers to Mac computers. For instance I think you will be able to walk

> > > up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse, all with a

> > > > wireless interface, and have your super smart phone or tablet

> > > automatically interface to them. The phone/tablet may even

> > > > be able to use the computational power from thousands of shared computers

> > > on the cloud. The current desktop versions of

> > > > Windows and OS/X will probably fade. I think Microsoft sees the writing

> > > on

> > > the wall and is starting to adapt to that

> > > > eventuality with Windows 8.

> > > >

> > > > IMHO the long term prospects for desktop PCs (Windows/Macs/Linux) is not

> > > good, except for specialized applications and

> > > > maybe software development.

> > > >

> > > > -Ray Gralak

> > > > Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

> > > > Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

> > > > Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

> > > > Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

> > > > Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma

> > > >

> > > > > -----Original Message-----

> > > > > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf

> > > Of

> > > gjwcac

> > > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:21 PM

> > > > > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com>

> > > > > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > > All the pieces of the puzzle are not in place yet to finally abandon

> > > Windows -- but -- I've seen more progress in the

> > > > > past year than in the previous ten with regards to useful imaging apps

> > > for OS X. SkyX on the Mac is finally getting

> > > > > there, and Joe Shimkus has released a nice, scriptable camera control

> > > app for QSI cameras called QSEye. He has

> > > > > even written an X2 driver (beta) to allow the app to function as the

> > > "camera" for SkyX. Craig Stark has Nebulosity

> > > > > and PhD on OS X, with good support for many cameras. Over on iOS and

> > > Android, Southern Stars is doing some

> > > > > amazing work with their planetarium apps and telescope control

> > > hardware.

> > > > >

> > > > > Windows itself is about to undergo a huge transition, and many legacy

> > > VB

> > > apps and drivers will be orphaned. How

> > > > > many of the smaller hardware and software vendors for astro gadgets

> > > will

> > > invest the time and effort to make the

> > > > > necessary changes? I'm optimistic that the Windows/ASCOM stranglehold

> > > is

> > > going to be challenged and bypassed

> > > > > in the next five years, and as a result we will have even more

> > > intelligent and capable ways to image the skies.

> > > > >

> > > > > Jim (a reluctant Windows user) M.

> > > > >

> > > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-

> ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Orly"

> > > orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > > >

> > > > > > hi Lee, thanks for the link.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > I know a lot of software requires Windows but (and this is just

> > > beginner me talking) I think it's possible to live

> > > > > without Windows.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > For example, I use WCS-DSI a lot for polar alignment. But if you have

> > > a fixed setup with very good polar

> > > > > alignment, you won't need it. PHD is available on Linux and Mac.

> > > Pixinsight is available on Linux.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > Yes, there's no MaximDL for Linux, but that's part of the appeal -

> > > while MaximDL is great, it would be good if there

> > > > > are alternatives. I am personally just not comfortable developing

> > > software on Windows.

> > > > > >

> > > > > > A lot of the "big boys" - maybe Chris can contribute his insights

> > > here

> > > - run on Unix or a Unix-like OS (e.g. the

> > > > > W.M. Keck and Gemini all run on a Vxworks-based PowerPC board - like

> > > the

> > > Mars rovers! - and things as

> > > > > pedestrian as my Canon 40D DSLR)...

> > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-

> ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

> > > "lmbuck2000" lmbuck2000@> wrote:

> > > > > > ..

> > > > > > > >> Personally I am not a big fan of Windows <

> > > > > > >

> > > > > > > you may not be a fan of windows, but i can tell you i wouldn't even

> > > consider an astro imaging setup on any

> > > > > platform other than windows (but my experience is limited. i just know

> > > the numerous apps i could not live without

> > > > > only exist on windows so i wouldn't waste a minute of time looking for

> > > an alternative)

> > > > > > >

> > > > > > >

> > > > > > > Lee

> > > > > > > ---

> > > > > > > AstroPhotos: tinyurl.com/LBAstroPhotos

> > > > > > >

> > > > > > >

> > > > > > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> mailto:ap-

> ug%40yahoogroups.com> ,

> > > "Orly" orly.andico@> wrote:

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > Hi all

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > Hope this isn't considered a troll, considered where I'm posting.

> > > :-)

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > A friend of mine is looking into the whole remote observatory

> > > thing, and I must confess some level of interest.

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > I've used the commercial guys (GRAS..) and it seems most / all of

> > > them are using Bisque mounts with

> > > > > MaximDL. All of the scripting is Windows-based etc.

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > Personally I am not a big fan of Windows. I would like a workflow

> > > / equipment that supports INDI. Not sure if

> > > > > AP mounts do this.. anyone can share how those French guys in

> > > Antarctica

> > > drive their AP's?

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > I know the Tak Temma supports INDI, but I've never heard of

> > > anyone

> > > using Taks remotely.

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > > > Are there any other *serious* options for remote operation?

> > > > > > > >

> > > > > > >

> > > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > > >

> > > >

> > >

---------------

> > >

> > > To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> > > see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

> > >

> > > -----

> > > No virus found in this message.

> > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> > > Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4929 - Release Date: 04/11/12

> > >

> > >

> > >

> >

> >

> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

> >

>

>

>

>







----------------------------

#59592 Apr 12, 2012

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote: > No, I don't believe it's off topic as ASCOM is used in almost all good mounts.

>



Why is it that Software Bisque does not natively support ASCOM? They do not seem to like ASCOM.



Parijat



----------------------------

#59601 Apr 13, 2012

Rick,



Myoptic? More like fed up. Yes, I'm tired of the half-assed, barely-functional crappola that all too often gets foisted on people in this hobby. Go ahead and rationalize failure however you like, but in the end fail is fail. If Joe Bloe in the strip mall can't write a decent device driver or cuts corners and refuses to spend the extra 50 cents for a connector that works reliably, then good riddance to him. I've owned and operated a manufacturing business since 1987 -- I understand the pressures, and the value of happy customers.



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

>

> Jim,

>

> What an incredibly myopic point of view! How can you possibly compare a company producing tens of thousands of a model of consumer products and doing a billion dollars of sales a year with a small outfit making a focuser in a strip mall in back yard America turning over a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in sales? I am truly amazed. From your point of view, only those companies with the deepest pockets and able to support the costly hardware, firmware and software driver network interfacing should be allowed to make products for the astro community. Well, from me to you, here's to ASCOM then! I will take a small company's simple, yet to you, so outdated, bit level interface supporting superbly made hardware to any POS mass produced hardware with the fanciest new interface so that it can talk to my computer half a world away and have the hardware reliability of a Yugo. Yep, I can still "talk" to it, but the damn thing won't move "^&*%^&$%^"!

>

> Rick.

>



----------------------------

#59602 Apr 13, 2012

We should get Bob Denny's input on this. Marj and I attended the Remote

Imaging Conference in Hawaii last year. There were many papers on hardware and

software from professional observatories, and it was interesting to see that

amateurs were in some cases well ahead of the professionals. Denny was

there, and he had quite a few comments about the way things were done by the

various professionals.



Rolando



In a message dated 4/13/2012 2:13:20 PM Central Daylight Time,

trimil@... writes:



> Rick,

>

> Myoptic? More like fed up. Yes, I'm tired of the half-assed,

> barely-functional crappola that all too often gets foisted on people in this hobby. Go

> ahead and rationalize failure however you like, but in the end fail is fail.

> If Joe Bloe in the strip mall can't write a decent device driver or cuts

> corners and refuses to spend the extra 50 cents for a connector that works

> reliably, then good riddance to him. I've owned and operated a manufacturing

> business since 1987 -- I understand the pressures, and the value of happy

> customers.

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

> >

> > Jim,

> >

> > What an incredibly myopic point of view! How can you possibly compare a

> company producing tens of thousands of a model of consumer products and

> doing a billion dollars of sales a year with a small outfit making a focuser

> in a strip mall in back yard America turning over a couple of hundred

> thousand dollars a year in sales? I am truly amazed. From your point of view,

> only those companies with the deepest pockets and able to support the costly

> hardware, firmware and software driver network interfacing should be allowed

> to make products for the astro community. Well, from me to you, here's to

> ASCOM then! I will take a small company's simple, yet to you, so outdated,

> bit level interface supporting superbly made hardware to any POS mass

> produced hardware with the fanciest new interface so that it can talk to my

> computer half a world away and have the hardware reliability of a Yugo. Yep, I

> can still "talk" to it, but the damn thing won't move "^&*%^&$%^"!

> >

> > Rick.

>





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#59604 Apr 13, 2012

Rick,



Thanks for the suggestion, but my company only sells passive radar reflectors and broad band antennas now -- we decided to drop all products with 'dem-blinkin'-lights' content when the EU enacted its RoHS regulations some years ago. Our biggest headaches now are with ever tightening regulations for metal plating and painting.



Yes, the market for astro gadgets is tiny, and to me that means successful companies must use technology levers, both hardware and software, to get great products out the door. The two examples I mentioned in the reply to Christopher, the open source Bonjour network protocol, and that tiny, low cost wifi module, are perfect for a kitchen table entrepreneur. Look inside Starizona's wireless focuser (I have) and you'll find a pair of OEM radio modules that do the heavy lifting. Using that module saved Starizona a lot of time and money compared to designing something in house and getting FCC approvals. Modern networked interfaces aren't strictly the domain of large tech companies. Where there's a will, there's a way.



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

>

> Jim,

>

> I agree with what you are saying - to a point, and that point is economy of scale. The small companies building amateur level astro gear are working on these devices with small budgets, and some of them are barely staying afloat now. Adding a new level of complexity requiring several highly trained, skilled and experienced, and therefor expensive employees just is NOT going to happen in my opinion. Patience will have to be the order of the day for today and quite likely for most of the next decade as well. This gear will eventually be produced but it is going to take time - a lot of time.

>

> Of course, if you think there is a significant market, well, set up a branch of your company and hire the people to make the product. I am certain that were such products to be reliable and price competitive to the alternatives, that there would be a good, albeit small sales flow. Small as the amateur astronomy biz is a very small niche hobbyist market and the sale of the top end really expensive gear within it is an incredibly tiny niche of that.

>

> Rick.

>

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "gjwcac" trimil@> wrote:

> >

> > Rick,

> >

> > Myoptic? More like fed up. Yes, I'm tired of the half-assed, barely-functional crappola that all too often gets foisted on people in this hobby. Go ahead and rationalize failure however you like, but in the end fail is fail. If Joe Bloe in the strip mall can't write a decent device driver or cuts corners and refuses to spend the extra 50 cents for a connector that works reliably, then good riddance to him. I've owned and operated a manufacturing business since 1987 -- I understand the pressures, and the value of happy customers.

> >

> > Jim M.

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" JunkMailGoesHere@> wrote:

> > >

> > > Jim,

> > >

> > > What an incredibly myopic point of view! How can you possibly compare a company producing tens of thousands of a model of consumer products and doing a billion dollars of sales a year with a small outfit making a focuser in a strip mall in back yard America turning over a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in sales? I am truly amazed. From your point of view, only those companies with the deepest pockets and able to support the costly hardware, firmware and software driver network interfacing should be allowed to make products for the astro community. Well, from me to you, here's to ASCOM then! I will take a small company's simple, yet to you, so outdated, bit level interface supporting superbly made hardware to any POS mass produced hardware with the fanciest new interface so that it can talk to my computer half a world away and have the hardware reliability of a Yugo. Yep, I can still "talk" to it, but the damn thing won't move "^&*%^&$%^"!

> > >

> > > Rick.

> > >

> >

>







----------------------------

#59606 Apr 13, 2012

At 14:33 +0000 4/13/12, gjwcac wrote: >I realize some key developers have a tremendous investment in ASCOM,

>but again it's 2012, not 1999, who's zoomin' who? Are we stuck on

>stupid?



Jim:



First maxim: If it ain't broke ... DON'T FIX IT. If your software

works - don't touch it.



It is not so much that we are stuck on stupid as you fail to

understand the inertia of the "system". Let me start by pointing out

that this inertia is measured in dollars.



The other factor that need to be overcome is a lifecycle problem.



While the value of the installed base of printers is much larger than

the telescopes of the world, printers have a life expectancy best

measured in months. Just how many people do you know who are still

using printer that are older than 60 months (5 years).



High quality telescopes are more likely to have a useful life better

measured in decades.



Yes it is 2012 not 1999. But this is irrelevant. Astronomy and

computers move at different paces. Just how many people do you

suppose placed themselves on the AP waiting list in 1999 and are

still waiting in 2012? (A rhetorical question; no answers please. But

from peoples comments in this forum my guess is that waits are on the

order of a decade.)



It is a less than perfect universe. However, if you don't like it as

it is, you can change it. The inertia that needs to be overcome is

measured in dollars. So you can make things change with money. How

much money? I don't know how much money would be necessary to disrupt

the current amateur astronomy environment.



So you are going to end up spending a lot of money. You are going to

make enemies. People who are currently making a living in this

marketplace are not going to be happy to see you disrupting their

livelihood.



For you this must be an altruistic activity. If anyone currently in

this marketplace sees you getting any type of return from the money

you are spending, you will become just another competitor in their

eyes. If you are seen as a competitor you fail.



Still there is a place for a certain amount of world(universe)

shakin'. Don't let the amount of money you are going to need deter

you. Go for it.



One final point. I have not been following this thread as closely as

might have been warranted. So please don't take this message too

personal. While I am replying to one of your postings. My comments

here are to the thread as a whole.



Transparent skies and stable seeing,

TDJ

6"f/12 AP-Superplanetary

--

Take care,

Tom

Wilmington, North Carolina



mailto:tdj0@... KD4BFQ



---------------

| |

| Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, |

| lying in hospitals dying of nothing. |

| |

| -- Anonymous |

| |

---------------



----------------------------

#59608 Apr 13, 2012

Tom,



I understand the "inertia of the system", it's perfectly clear in many of the responses here and the dogged defense of the status quo. But I've invested years of my time and more than a few dollars into the notion of an automated/remote imaging system. At this point, "remote" can't be more than a 150-foot walk because the darned system is just not reliable. Individual components are rock solid (the PME, QSI camera, Starizona focuser, etc.), but the software "glue", and to a lesser extent the required cables and interconnects are IMO a sorry mess. Again, that is my opinion, YMMV, and if it works for you great.



Jim M.









> Jim:

>

> First maxim: If it ain't broke ... DON'T FIX IT. If your software

> works - don't touch it.

>

> It is not so much that we are stuck on stupid as you fail to

> understand the inertia of the "system". Let me start by pointing out

> that this inertia is measured in dollars.

>

> The other factor that need to be overcome is a lifecycle problem.

>

> While the value of the installed base of printers is much larger than

> the telescopes of the world, printers have a life expectancy best

> measured in months. Just how many people do you know who are still

> using printer that are older than 60 months (5 years).

>

> High quality telescopes are more likely to have a useful life better

> measured in decades.

>

> Yes it is 2012 not 1999. But this is irrelevant. Astronomy and

> computers move at different paces. Just how many people do you

> suppose placed themselves on the AP waiting list in 1999 and are

> still waiting in 2012? (A rhetorical question; no answers please. But

> from peoples comments in this forum my guess is that waits are on the

> order of a decade.)

>

> It is a less than perfect universe. However, if you don't like it as

> it is, you can change it. The inertia that needs to be overcome is

> measured in dollars. So you can make things change with money. How

> much money? I don't know how much money would be necessary to disrupt

> the current amateur astronomy environment.

>

> So you are going to end up spending a lot of money. You are going to

> make enemies. People who are currently making a living in this

> marketplace are not going to be happy to see you disrupting their

> livelihood.

>

> For you this must be an altruistic activity. If anyone currently in

> this marketplace sees you getting any type of return from the money

> you are spending, you will become just another competitor in their

> eyes. If you are seen as a competitor you fail.

>

> Still there is a place for a certain amount of world(universe)

> shakin'. Don't let the amount of money you are going to need deter

> you. Go for it.

>

> One final point. I have not been following this thread as closely as

> might have been warranted. So please don't take this message too

> personal. While I am replying to one of your postings. My comments

> here are to the thread as a whole.

>

> Transparent skies and stable seeing,

> TDJ

> 6"f/12 AP-Superplanetary

> --

> Take care,

> Tom

> Wilmington, North Carolina

>

> mailto:tdj0@... KD4BFQ

>

---------------

> | |

> | Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, |

> | lying in hospitals dying of nothing. |

> | |

> | -- Anonymous |

> | |

---------------

>







----------------------------

#59609 Apr 13, 2012

Ray,



And my system can potentially achieve 100% reliability... ;-)



Thanks for your comments and insights!



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

>

> > ASCOM drivers can talk to any type of device driver.

>

> Sorry, the above should have read "ASCOM drivers can potentially talk to any device driver".

>



----------------------------

#59610 Apr 13, 2012

In a message dated 4/13/2012 5:31:39 PM Central Daylight Time,

trimil@... writes:



> I understand the "inertia of the system", it's perfectly clear in many of

> the responses here and the dogged defense of the status quo. But I've

> invested years of my time and more than a few dollars into the notion of an

> automated/remote imaging system. At this point, "remote" can't be more than a

> 150-foot walk because the darned system is just not reliable. Individual

> components are rock solid (the PME, QSI camera, Starizona focuser, etc.), but

> the software "glue", and to a lesser extent the required cables and

> interconnects are IMO a sorry mess. Again, that is my opinion, YMMV, and if it

> works for you great.

>



What kind of system do you have? And what can run without cables? Certainly

not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

battery can supply for long.



Rolando



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#59613 Apr 13, 2012

Roland,



I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned if I can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...



The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew heaters are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #2

USB hub X2 ==> main PC



There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use when I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is that every now and then, it all works!



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

> And what can run without cables? Certainly

> not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

> battery can supply for long.

>

> Rolando

>



----------------------------

#59614 Apr 13, 2012

Although I believe that the desire to move everything away from ASCOM and to

a "highly-reliable, distributed-intelligence architecture" (my words but

Jim, I think they describe what you are looking for) is wrapped in some

biased perceptions and erroneous conclusions, it does bring up an

interesting concept that possibly should be explored on its own merit.



The concept of a "highly-reliable, distributed-intelligence architecture" is

not a bad one and in fact describes the Internet, most modern data-centers

and large manufacturing facilities.



This kind of automation and integration has indeed been attempted multiple

times in both large and small-scale observatories. Who remembers ACL

(Astronomy Control Language) and where is it now?



Presently ASCOM is easily the best (and just about only) game in town for

remote or robotic observatories but who knows when that will change. And it

will indeed change as technology gives us new tools and solutions to work

with. Many of those new tools will probably come from the field of

robotics. How computers electromechanically-interact with the real world

(robotics) is still effectively in its infancy but that will change with

time. Heck, we can't even make a good, intelligent prosthetic limb yet.



However whatever direction things go, there will inevitably be a requirement

for control programs, interface drivers and device drivers at many levels.



Jim, I would be very interested to hear about and potentially help you with

your ASCOM-related reliability problems. And I have a strong hunch that

they aren't because of ASCOM.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 12:32 PM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



Tom,



I understand the "inertia of the system", it's perfectly clear in many of

the responses here and the dogged defense of the status quo. But I've

invested years of my time and more than a few dollars into the notion of an

automated/remote imaging system. At this point, "remote" can't be more than

a 150-foot walk because the darned system is just not reliable. Individual

components are rock solid (the PME, QSI camera, Starizona focuser, etc.),

but the software "glue", and to a lesser extent the required cables and

interconnects are IMO a sorry mess. Again, that is my opinion, YMMV, and if

it works for you great.



Jim M.









> Jim:

>

> First maxim: If it ain't broke ... DON'T FIX IT. If your software

> works - don't touch it.

>

> It is not so much that we are stuck on stupid as you fail to

> understand the inertia of the "system". Let me start by pointing out

> that this inertia is measured in dollars.

>

> The other factor that need to be overcome is a lifecycle problem.

>

> While the value of the installed base of printers is much larger than

> the telescopes of the world, printers have a life expectancy best

> measured in months. Just how many people do you know who are still

> using printer that are older than 60 months (5 years).

>

> High quality telescopes are more likely to have a useful life better

> measured in decades.

>

> Yes it is 2012 not 1999. But this is irrelevant. Astronomy and

> computers move at different paces. Just how many people do you

> suppose placed themselves on the AP waiting list in 1999 and are

> still waiting in 2012? (A rhetorical question; no answers please. But

> from peoples comments in this forum my guess is that waits are on the

> order of a decade.)

>

> It is a less than perfect universe. However, if you don't like it as

> it is, you can change it. The inertia that needs to be overcome is

> measured in dollars. So you can make things change with money. How

> much money? I don't know how much money would be necessary to disrupt

> the current amateur astronomy environment.

>

> So you are going to end up spending a lot of money. You are going to

> make enemies. People who are currently making a living in this

> marketplace are not going to be happy to see you disrupting their

> livelihood.

>

> For you this must be an altruistic activity. If anyone currently in

> this marketplace sees you getting any type of return from the money

> you are spending, you will become just another competitor in their

> eyes. If you are seen as a competitor you fail.

>

> Still there is a place for a certain amount of world(universe)

> shakin'. Don't let the amount of money you are going to need deter

> you. Go for it.

>

> One final point. I have not been following this thread as closely as

> might have been warranted. So please don't take this message too

> personal. While I am replying to one of your postings. My comments

> here are to the thread as a whole.

>

> Transparent skies and stable seeing,

> TDJ

> 6"f/12 AP-Superplanetary

> --

> Take care,

> Tom

> Wilmington, North Carolina

>

> mailto:tdj0@... KD4BFQ

>

---------------

> | |

> | Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, |

> | lying in hospitals dying of nothing. |

> | |

> | -- Anonymous |

> | |

---------------

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links









-----

No virus found in this message.

Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date: 04/13/12







----------------------------

#59615 Apr 13, 2012

That was an excellent conference!



Did you see our group picture on page 60 of the March issue of Astronomy

Magazine?



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

chris1011@...

Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 9:39 AM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation





We should get Bob Denny's input on this. Marj and I attended the Remote

Imaging Conference in Hawaii last year. There were many papers on hardware

and

software from professional observatories, and it was interesting to see that



amateurs were in some cases well ahead of the professionals. Denny was

there, and he had quite a few comments about the way things were done by the



various professionals.



Rolando



In a message dated 4/13/2012 2:13:20 PM Central Daylight Time,

trimil@... writes:



> Rick,

>

> Myoptic? More like fed up. Yes, I'm tired of the half-assed,

> barely-functional crappola that all too often gets foisted on people in

this hobby. Go > ahead and rationalize failure however you like, but in the end fail is

fail. > If Joe Bloe in the strip mall can't write a decent device driver or cuts

> corners and refuses to spend the extra 50 cents for a connector that works



> reliably, then good riddance to him. I've owned and operated a

manufacturing > business since 1987 -- I understand the pressures, and the value of happy

> customers.

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "observe_m13" JunkMailGoesHere@...> wrote:

> >

> > Jim,

> >

> > What an incredibly myopic point of view! How can you possibly compare a

> company producing tens of thousands of a model of consumer products and

> doing a billion dollars of sales a year with a small outfit making a

focuser > in a strip mall in back yard America turning over a couple of hundred

> thousand dollars a year in sales? I am truly amazed. From your point of

view, > only those companies with the deepest pockets and able to support the

costly > hardware, firmware and software driver network interfacing should be

allowed > to make products for the astro community. Well, from me to you, here's to

> ASCOM then! I will take a small company's simple, yet to you, so outdated,



> bit level interface supporting superbly made hardware to any POS mass

> produced hardware with the fanciest new interface so that it can talk to

my > computer half a world away and have the hardware reliability of a Yugo.

Yep, I > can still "talk" to it, but the damn thing won't move "^&*%^&$%^"!

> >

> > Rick.

>





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

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-----

No virus found in this message.

Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

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----------------------------

#59616 Apr 13, 2012

In a message dated 4/13/2012 7:24:42 PM Central Daylight Time,

trimil@... writes:



> I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned

> if I can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...

>



Ya right, if you are imaging the sun. You know it sets at night and solar

panels, well, their output is a mite shy then ;^)).



Rolando



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#59617 Apr 13, 2012

In a message dated 4/13/2012 7:30:59 PM Central Daylight Time,

christopher.k.erickson@... writes:



> That was an excellent conference!

>

> Did you see our group picture on page 60 of the March issue of Astronomy

> Magazine?

>

> Christopher Erickson

> Consulting Engineer

> Summit Kinetics

> Waikoloa, HI 96738

> www.summitkinetics.com

>



Yes, I spotted you right off. I'm in there too, but Marj, being quite small

is hard to spot.



Rolando



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



----------------------------

#59618 Apr 13, 2012

I would be really curious about the brand and model of your USB hub.



Also the brand and model of any USB-to-Serial adapters.



The Chinese USB stuff is dreadfully unreliable and often comes with the

worst and least reliable device drivers I have ever had the displeasure to

deal with.



USB is an incredibly-complex interface and writing reliable device drivers

for USB-connected devices is time consuming and anything but trivial.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:25 PM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



Roland,



I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned if I

can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...



The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew heaters

are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub

#2

USB hub X2 ==> main PC



There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use when

I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is that

every now and then, it all works!



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

> And what can run without cables? Certainly

> not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

> battery can supply for long.

>

> Rolando

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

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Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date: 04/13/12







----------------------------

#59620 Apr 13, 2012

Jim,



How many systems can you name of the complexity of your setup can be run completely unattended by amateurs? In any

system component can fail so you would need redundant components and extremely complex systems to achieve close to 100%

reliability.



Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that it's not ASCOM per se that's causing your reliability problem. ASCOM uses

COM interop which is built into the core of Windows and is extremely reliable. It's the robustness (or lack thereof) of

all of the hardware components and software components are in a telescope imaging system. For instance if the control

software stops at the first error message from any component and you have 10 components then the odds that you'll have a

showstopper failure increase over a simpler system. I think that if software (drivers and applications) were to become

more robust in the face of hardware glitches reliability of the entire system will increase.



-Ray Gralak

Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma



> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 3:39 PM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

>

>

> Ray,

>

> And my system can potentially achieve 100% reliability... ;-)

>

> Thanks for your comments and insights!

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ray Gralak" groups1@...> wrote:

> >

> > > ASCOM drivers can talk to any type of device driver.

> >

> > Sorry, the above should have read "ASCOM drivers can potentially talk to any device driver".

> >

>

>

>

>



----------------------------

#59621 Apr 14, 2012

Christopher,



I'm using StarTech brand industrial 7-port USB hubs (ST7200USBM). The hubs are externally powered with feeds from a 20A, 12V linear supply and have their own built-in voltage regulators for each port. The serial converters are also StarTech (ICUSB2321F) and use the FTDI chip (for OS X and W7 compatibility). I believe StarTech products are made in Taiwan.



The current USB hubs replaced some Chinese (plastic) units that got flakey when the temperature dropped below 15F. Of course none of this stuff is rated to operate below 32F, but so far the StarTech hubs have worked as low as -5F.



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson" christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

>

> I would be really curious about the brand and model of your USB hub.

>

> Also the brand and model of any USB-to-Serial adapters.

>

> The Chinese USB stuff is dreadfully unreliable and often comes with the

> worst and least reliable device drivers I have ever had the displeasure to

> deal with.

>

> USB is an incredibly-complex interface and writing reliable device drivers

> for USB-connected devices is time consuming and anything but trivial.

>

> Christopher Erickson

> Consulting Engineer

> Summit Kinetics

> Waikoloa, HI 96738

> www.summitkinetics.com

>

>

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> gjwcac

> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:25 PM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

> Roland,

>

> I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned if I

> can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...

>

> The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew heaters

> are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

> Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

> QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

> Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

> Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

> Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

> Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub

> #2

> USB hub X2 ==> main PC

>

> There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use when

> I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is that

> every now and then, it all works!

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

> > And what can run without cables? Certainly

> > not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

> > battery can supply for long.

> >

> > Rolando

> >

>

>

>

>

---------------

>

>

> To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

>

>

>

> -----

> No virus found in this message.

> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date: 04/13/12

>







----------------------------

#59622 Apr 14, 2012

FTDI-based USB peripherals are the most reliable I have worked with

and the FTDI drivers are the best and most reliable as well. Most

of the Chinese USB-to-Serial adapters don't even bother to emulate

all of the 16C550 UART functions. That means that some simple

programs might work with them but programs that are depending on

some of the less-used 16C550 functions or on accurate behavioral

emulation could fail frequently or just infrequently.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16550_UART



Anyway it looks like you are using good USB components, which lowers

the odds that your ASCOM problems are USB-chip or USB-driver based.



If you are willing and have time, I would be interested in helping

you work on your ASCOM reliability issues off-list. Let me know if

that is something you might be interested in.



Christopher Erickson

Consulting Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, HI 96738

www.summitkinetics.com







-----Original Message-----

From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

gjwcac

Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:19 AM

To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation



Christopher,



I'm using StarTech brand industrial 7-port USB hubs (ST7200USBM). The hubs

are externally powered with feeds from a 20A, 12V linear supply and have

their own built-in voltage regulators for each port. The serial converters

are also StarTech (ICUSB2321F) and use the FTDI chip (for OS X and W7

compatibility). I believe StarTech products are made in Taiwan.



The current USB hubs replaced some Chinese (plastic) units that got flakey

when the temperature dropped below 15F. Of course none of this stuff is

rated to operate below 32F, but so far the StarTech hubs have worked as low

as -5F.



Jim M.



--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson"

christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote: >

> I would be really curious about the brand and model of your USB hub.

>

> Also the brand and model of any USB-to-Serial adapters.

>

> The Chinese USB stuff is dreadfully unreliable and often comes with the

> worst and least reliable device drivers I have ever had the displeasure to

> deal with.

>

> USB is an incredibly-complex interface and writing reliable device drivers

> for USB-connected devices is time consuming and anything but trivial.

>

> Christopher Erickson

> Consulting Engineer

> Summit Kinetics

> Waikoloa, HI 96738

> www.summitkinetics.com

>

>

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> gjwcac

> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:25 PM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

> Roland,

>

> I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned if

I > can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...

>

> The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew

heaters > are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

> Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

> QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

> Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

> Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

> Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

> Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB

hub > #2

> USB hub X2 ==> main PC

>

> There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use

when > I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is

that > every now and then, it all works!

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

> > And what can run without cables? Certainly

> > not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

> > battery can supply for long.

> >

> > Rolando

> >

>

>

>

>

---------------

>

>

> To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

>

>

>

> -----

> No virus found in this message.

> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date: 04/13/12

>









---------------





To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links







-----

No virus found in this message.

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Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4935 - Release Date: 04/13/12



----------------------------

#59623 Apr 14, 2012

Christopher,



Thanks for that info. After the next new moon I'm going to strip the existing USB cabling and rewire the mount and pier. My last imaging session was plagued with timeout and "command failure" errors in both Maxim and CCDSoft, so it's either a bad cable/connection somewhere, or conflicts in the software.



After ranting about ASCOM, I discovered that an online community of developers is working to create an open-source alternative for telescope controls. The INDI project has a way to go (v0.9 was just released), but among its goals are platform independence, distributed intelligence, and use of modern network interfaces. If you remember the old slogan of Sun Micro in the '90s, "The network is the computer", perhaps INDI will rewrite it as "The network is the telescope". ;-)



Jim M.

--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson" christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

>

> FTDI-based USB peripherals are the most reliable I have worked with

> and the FTDI drivers are the best and most reliable as well. Most

> of the Chinese USB-to-Serial adapters don't even bother to emulate

> all of the 16C550 UART functions. That means that some simple

> programs might work with them but programs that are depending on

> some of the less-used 16C550 functions or on accurate behavioral

> emulation could fail frequently or just infrequently.

>

> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16550_UART

>

> Anyway it looks like you are using good USB components, which lowers

> the odds that your ASCOM problems are USB-chip or USB-driver based.

>

> If you are willing and have time, I would be interested in helping

> you work on your ASCOM reliability issues off-list. Let me know if

> that is something you might be interested in.

>

> Christopher Erickson

> Consulting Engineer

> Summit Kinetics

> Waikoloa, HI 96738

> www.summitkinetics.com

>

>

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> gjwcac

> Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:19 AM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

> Christopher,

>

> I'm using StarTech brand industrial 7-port USB hubs (ST7200USBM). The hubs

> are externally powered with feeds from a 20A, 12V linear supply and have

> their own built-in voltage regulators for each port. The serial converters

> are also StarTech (ICUSB2321F) and use the FTDI chip (for OS X and W7

> compatibility). I believe StarTech products are made in Taiwan.

>

> The current USB hubs replaced some Chinese (plastic) units that got flakey

> when the temperature dropped below 15F. Of course none of this stuff is

> rated to operate below 32F, but so far the StarTech hubs have worked as low

> as -5F.

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson"

> christopher.k.erickson@> wrote:

> >

> > I would be really curious about the brand and model of your USB hub.

> >

> > Also the brand and model of any USB-to-Serial adapters.

> >

> > The Chinese USB stuff is dreadfully unreliable and often comes with the

> > worst and least reliable device drivers I have ever had the displeasure to

> > deal with.

> >

> > USB is an incredibly-complex interface and writing reliable device drivers

> > for USB-connected devices is time consuming and anything but trivial.

> >

> > Christopher Erickson

> > Consulting Engineer

> > Summit Kinetics

> > Waikoloa, HI 96738

> > www.summitkinetics.com

> >

> >

> >

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> > gjwcac

> > Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:25 PM

> > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> >

> > Roland,

> >

> > I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but darned if

> I

> > can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...

> >

> > The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew

> heaters

> > are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

> > Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

> > QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

> > Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

> > Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

> > Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

> > Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB

> hub

> > #2

> > USB hub X2 ==> main PC

> >

> > There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use

> when

> > I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is

> that

> > every now and then, it all works!

> >

> > Jim M.

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

> > > And what can run without cables? Certainly

> > > not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no tiny

> > > battery can supply for long.

> > >

> > > Rolando

> > >

> >

> >

> >

> >

---------------

> >

> >

> > To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> > see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

> >

> >

> >

> > -----

> > No virus found in this message.

> > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> > Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date: 04/13/12

> >

>

>

>

>

---------------

>

>

> To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

>

>

>

> -----

> No virus found in this message.

> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4935 - Release Date: 04/13/12

>







----------------------------

#59624 Apr 14, 2012

not a lot of ascom love going around here.. personally with maxim, my ap

mount , a variety of cameras and a robofocuser, i've had nothing but

success with ascom. On Apr 14, 2012 4:52 PM, "gjwcac" trimil@...> wrote:



> **

>

>

> Christopher,

>

> Thanks for that info. After the next new moon I'm going to strip the

> existing USB cabling and rewire the mount and pier. My last imaging session

> was plagued with timeout and "command failure" errors in both Maxim and

> CCDSoft, so it's either a bad cable/connection somewhere, or conflicts in

> the software.

>

> After ranting about ASCOM, I discovered that an online community of

> developers is working to create an open-source alternative for telescope

> controls. The INDI project has a way to go (v0.9 was just released), but

> among its goals are platform independence, distributed intelligence, and

> use of modern network interfaces. If you remember the old slogan of Sun

> Micro in the '90s, "The network is the computer", perhaps INDI will rewrite

> it as "The network is the telescope". ;-)

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson"

> christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:

> >

> > FTDI-based USB peripherals are the most reliable I have worked with

> > and the FTDI drivers are the best and most reliable as well. Most

> > of the Chinese USB-to-Serial adapters don't even bother to emulate

> > all of the 16C550 UART functions. That means that some simple

> > programs might work with them but programs that are depending on

> > some of the less-used 16C550 functions or on accurate behavioral

> > emulation could fail frequently or just infrequently.

> >

> > en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16550_UART

> >

> > Anyway it looks like you are using good USB components, which lowers

> > the odds that your ASCOM problems are USB-chip or USB-driver based.

> >

> > If you are willing and have time, I would be interested in helping

> > you work on your ASCOM reliability issues off-list. Let me know if

> > that is something you might be interested in.

> >

> > Christopher Erickson

> > Consulting Engineer

> > Summit Kinetics

> > Waikoloa, HI 96738

> > www.summitkinetics.com

> >

> >

> >

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of

> > gjwcac

> > Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:19 AM

> > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> >

> > Christopher,

> >

> > I'm using StarTech brand industrial 7-port USB hubs (ST7200USBM). The

> hubs

> > are externally powered with feeds from a 20A, 12V linear supply and have

> > their own built-in voltage regulators for each port. The serial

> converters

> > are also StarTech (ICUSB2321F) and use the FTDI chip (for OS X and W7

> > compatibility). I believe StarTech products are made in Taiwan.

> >

> > The current USB hubs replaced some Chinese (plastic) units that got

> flakey

> > when the temperature dropped below 15F. Of course none of this stuff is

> > rated to operate below 32F, but so far the StarTech hubs have worked as

> low

> > as -5F.

> >

> > Jim M.

> >

> > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Erickson"

> > christopher.k.erickson@> wrote:

> > >

> > > I would be really curious about the brand and model of your USB hub.

> > >

> > > Also the brand and model of any USB-to-Serial adapters.

> > >

> > > The Chinese USB stuff is dreadfully unreliable and often comes with the

> > > worst and least reliable device drivers I have ever had the

> displeasure to

> > > deal with.

> > >

> > > USB is an incredibly-complex interface and writing reliable device

> drivers

> > > for USB-connected devices is time consuming and anything but trivial.

> > >

> > > Christopher Erickson

> > > Consulting Engineer

> > > Summit Kinetics

> > > Waikoloa, HI 96738

> > > www.summitkinetics.com

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > -----Original Message-----

> > > From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf

> Of

> > > gjwcac

> > > Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:25 PM

> > > To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> > > Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

> > >

> > > Roland,

> > >

> > > I was hoping to power everything directly from solar panels, but

> darned if

> > I

> > > can locate an ASCOM compatible driver...

> > >

> > > The power cables for the mount, focusers, cameras, USB hubs and dew

> > heaters

> > > are obviously a given. The rest of the cable zoo is not so simple:

> > > Paramount ME ==> serial adapter ==> USB hub #1 ( on the pier)

> > > QSI camera ==> USB hub #2

> > > Lodestar AG ==> USB hub #2

> > > Nightscape camera ==> USB hub #2

> > > Starizona MT focuser ==> USB hub #1

> > > Feathertouch motorized focuser (older model) ==> serial adapter ==> USB

> > hub

> > > #2

> > > USB hub X2 ==> main PC

> > >

> > > There are some other cables as well, but they are not typically in use

> > when

> > > I'm trying to image with the main cameras. The most frustrating part is

> > that

> > > every now and then, it all works!

> > >

> > > Jim M.

> > >

> > > --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

> > > > And what can run without cables? Certainly

> > > > not the camera or the mount which both need gobs of power that no

> tiny

> > > > battery can supply for long.

> > > >

> > > > Rolando

> > > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > >

---------------

> > >

> > >

> > > To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> > > see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

> > >

> > >

> > >

> > > -----

> > > No virus found in this message.

> > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> > > Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4934 - Release Date:

> 04/13/12

> > >

> >

> >

> >

> >

---------------

> >

> >

> > To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-ug list

> > see groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ugYahoo! Groups Links

> >

> >

> >

> > -----

> > No virus found in this message.

> > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com

> > Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2411/4935 - Release Date: 04/13/12

> >

>

>

>





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







----------------------------

#59626 Apr 15, 2012

Mike,



My imaging system usually works with three devices (camera + AG camera + focuser). Those are good times. Anything beyond that level of complexity seems to be a crap shoot. Is it hardware? Software? A combination?. Maybe there's a log file buried somewhere with clues, but heck if I know. ASCOM was written by experienced guys so surely they put diagnostics and tracing capabilities in the code. Are these diagnostics available to end users?



Getting back to the original topic -- building a remote system, what are the options when some bit of hardware or software goes astray? My experience with Windows (XP and 7) says nothing short of a cold reboot will fix a USB bus problem.



Jim M.





--- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com, Mike C mike@...> wrote:

>

> not a lot of ascom love going around here.. personally with maxim, my ap

> mount , a variety of cameras and a robofocuser, i've had nothing but

> success with ascom.

> On Apr 14, 2012 4:52 PM, "gjwcac" trimil@...> wrote:

>

> > **

> >

> >

> > Christopher,

> >

> > Thanks for that info. After the next new moon I'm going to strip the

> > existing USB cabling and rewire the mount and pier. My last imaging session

> > was plagued with timeout and "command failure" errors in both Maxim and

> > CCDSoft, so it's either a bad cable/connection somewhere, or conflicts in

> > the software.

> >

> > After ranting about ASCOM, I discovered that an online community of

> > developers is working to create an open-source alternative for telescope

> > controls. The INDI project has a way to go (v0.9 was just released), but

> > among its goals are platform independence, distributed intelligence, and

> > use of modern network interfaces. If you remember the old slogan of Sun

> > Micro in the '90s, "The network is the computer", perhaps INDI will rewrite

> > it as "The network is the telescope". ;-)

> >

> > Jim M.



----------------------------

#59627 Apr 15, 2012

Jim,



The only problem that I saw you mention was with your Camera using MaximDl or CCDSoft. However, neither MaximDL nor

CCDSoft use the ASCOM interfaces to control the camera. Where specifically are your ASCOM problems?



-Ray Gralak

Author of Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC)

Author of PEMPro: www.ccdware.com

Author of Astro-Physics V2 ASCOM Driver: www.gralak.com/apdriver

Author of PulseGuide: www.pulseguide.com

Author of Sigma: www.gralak.com/sigma



> -----Original Message-----

> From: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-ug@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gjwcac

> Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 7:22 AM

> To: ap-ug@yahoogroups.com

> Subject: [ap-ug] Re: "Best" Mount for Remote Operation

>

>

>

> Mike,

>

> My imaging system usually works with three devices (camera + AG camera + focuser). Those are good times.

> Anything beyond that level of complexity seems to be a crap shoot. Is it hardware? Software? A combination?.

> Maybe there's a log file buried somewhere with clues, but heck if I know. ASCOM was written by experienced guys

> so surely they put diagnostics and tracing capabilities in the code. Are these diagnostics available to end users?

>

> Getting back to the original topic -- building a remote system, what are the options when some bit of hardware or

> software goes astray? My experience with Windows (XP and 7) says nothing short of a cold reboot will fix a USB

> bus problem.

>

> Jim M.

>

> --- In ap-ug@yahoogroups.com mailto:ap-ug%40yahoogroups.com> , Mike C mike@...> wrote:

> >

> > not a lot of ascom love going around here.. personally with maxim, my ap

> > mount , a variety of cameras and a robofocuser, i've had nothing but

> > success with ascom.

> > On Apr 14, 2012 4:52 PM, "gjwcac" trimil@...> wrote:

> >

> > > **

> > >

> > >

> > > Christopher,

> > >

> > > Thanks for that info. After the next new moon I'm going to strip the

> > > existing USB cabling and rewire the mount and pier. My last imaging session

> > > was plagued with timeout and "command failure" errors in both Maxim and

> > > CCDSoft, so it's either a bad cable/connection somewhere, or conflicts in

> > > the software.

> > >

> > > After ranting about ASCOM, I discovered that an online community of

> > > developers is working to create an open-source alternative for telescope

> > > controls. The INDI project has a way to go (v0.9 was just released), but

> > > among its goals are platform independence, distributed intelligence, and

> > > use of modern network interfaces. If you remember the old slogan of Sun

> > > Micro in the '90s, "The network is the computer", perhaps INDI will rewrite

> > > it as "The network is the telescope". ;-)

> > >

> > > Jim M.

>

>

>

>


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