Astrophotography with Mac OS X

M42 - Orion Nebula

It's been a good three years now since I swapped my HP laptop for a Macbook Pro. In the mean time, I've started doing a bit more astrophotography and of course the change of operating system has affected the tools I use to obtain and process photos.

Amateur astronomers have traditionally mostly used Windows, so there are a lot of Windows tools, both freeware and payware, to help. I used to run the freeware ones in Wine on Ubuntu with varying levels of success.

hardware upgrade (continued)

Hmm. It seems I was a bit too enthousiastic in proclaiming the virtues of the X3500 chip when playing UrbanTerror.

Although it manages around 50 fps (which is fine) when I run around my local server, it manages less by an order of magnitude (2 to 4 fps in a busy area) when connected to a public server, with 15 others players running around as well.

So perhaps I need to invest in a new GFX card.

my long awaited hardware upgrade

In part of my line of work - web application development - you tend to develop software that needs to work (properly) on an awful lot of different web browsers. If these all adhered to web standards, a simple run through the W3C Validator would suffice. Unfortunately life sucks, and as such there is a need to test all sites on as many browsers as possible.

I use virtualisation to run a bunch of windows browsers in their native environment. However, testing this way took an awfully long time, as my desktop computer had a "mere" 1.5Gb of ram and only a single (Athlon64) CPU core. By the time you add GNome, Evolution or Thunderbird and Firefox to this, not a great deal is left for virtual machines.

What with DDR2 ram prices being pretty much at an all-time low and CPUs not being far behind in cheapity (wrong, but sounds nice) I decided it was time for some new tools of the trade.

hard disk economy

Over the past few weeks I've bought a handful of Western Digital 500GB hard disks for various clients to use as rdiff-backup targets and also for use with mythtv at home. As a kind of might-be-interesting exercise, I kept an eye on hard disk prices at my local CPL to see if there might be more or less opportune moments to buy disks.

The prices used in the price per GB calculation are for the cheapest SATA model of a specific size.

The resulting graph is mainly unsurprising: