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Geeky Fun

Entry 936, on 2009-01-29 at 20:37:32 (Rating 1, Computers)

I didn't write a blog entry yesterday, and today's entry is quite brief, because of two things. First, I am working on a programming project and its coming along really well (I've got some very nice, efficient AJAX code working) and I am spending more of my spare time on that instead of writing blog entries! The second is that I visited the local astronomical observatory last night to look at their new telescope and didn't get back until quite late, so that used up time I might have used to blog as well. I hope to write a full entry on these two matters in future but will just comment on them briefly here first.

So the programming thing first. Well this might sound terribly geeky (for which I offer no apology) but I actually really like programming. Its a creative and technical process which also results in something useful that people can use. It also gives you a sense of control because, if you follow the rules the computer will do exactly what you want. I love that! Of course, when you don't quite follow the rules or some of the other parts of the process you need to interact with don't follow the rules (Internet Explorer for example) it can get a bit frustrating but overcoming those issues is just part of the fun.

On to astronomy. When I was a student, and for a while after that, I was a very active serious amateur astronomer. I was the official education officer for the local society and I showed many groups through the observatory over the years. I also participated in some research projects (astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs still make valuable contributions).

I have spent a lot less time on astronomy recently - even though I have a nice telescope I don't use it as often as I should. Its been many years since I had anything to do with the local astronomical society so it was really nostalgic to visit last night. Sure the new computer controlled Celestron 14 is a much nicer 'scope than the old manually pointed 12 inch reflector we had, but a lot of the old place is the same, including the 14 inch Dobsonian I used for many observing sessions, which is still there.

The weather wasn't so great last night so I didn't get much of a chance to use the new 'scope but I must go back soon and have a better look. While I'm there I should seek out the old log book and look at the many entries in there made by me during my observing, education, and research sessions over the years! That will be real nostalgia!

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