Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend Projects

I just did a few little projects on Sunday, one of which should be patently obvious at this juncture. I started out just to replace the banner picture, and during my protracted search for a good picture to use I came across one from the Middle Bass Island trip. There's something about the bike leaning against the wing that encapsulates the amazing abilities of my recreational transportation gadgetry. I took that picture not more than one hour after lifting off from the home field in Columbus. Had I foolishly attempted the same trip by car, I'd have been just barely outside of the northern influence of the "big city," settling in for another three hours of travel. Wow!

I was looking for a way to dress up the picture a bit, and after experimenting with many different filters, effects, and distortions, I came across the Sepia filter. I thought it looked pretty good, but it was so much wider than the old banner picture (which never really fit correctly inside the box surrounding it anyway) that it made the rest of the template look pretty bad. Oh well, that's what lazy Sunday mornings are for: I dug down into the code that generates the pages and found the places I needed to fix to get the sizing right. It still had the white background, though, so it was too contrasty. I re-opened the sepia image in the picture editor and sampled the beige color around the edges of the picture, noted the Red, Green, and Blue values, converted them from decimal to hexidecimal, and found the spot in the code that sets the background color. It looks much better now since it isn't so stark, in my opinion.

Moving on from there, I used a pair of borrowed ratchet style wire crimpers to fabricate a small cable to run from the power adaptor I installed for the Wx Works box to the Avionics Master bus. Once I install that, I will be able to leave the Wx box plugged in all the time since the Avionics Master switch will protect it from the voltage and current spikes at engine start that were lobotomizing it before.

Finally, I made a trip to one of the mini-Best Buy stores known as Radio Shack. I was looking for a cigarette lighter power plug that I could splice onto the power connection on the $30 lipstick camera I bought for my camcorder. The idea is to be able to mount the little camera on my headset or somewhere on the airplane to take airborne video.

Radio Shack, which has been a big disappointment to me ever since they dumbed down their catalog, actually came through for me this time and I was able to find an adaptor cable that already had the correct plug on the end for the camera. The camera wants 12 VDC, which is perfect: once I liberate that power port from servicing the Wx Works box by installing the new power cable, I'll have the front-of-panel 12 VDC plug open for use with the camera. I tested the power adaptor using one of the cars, and everything worked great. Next step: acquire a lapel microphone small enough to nestle into the ear cup on my headset.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new look - very nice, indeed! Also congrats on the successful "wheelies". I had trouble with those at first, too, and still find them much easier on a grass runway.