Now for a story about that Ceremonial Name. After four visits to Thailand over a period of more than two years, I learned of this ceremonial name while reading a travel article on the city. I was reading in bed late one evening and I turned to Supattra and informed her of my new discovery, with a pretended air of Aren't I soooo smart? Within seconds she began to recite the name out loud for me, in a beautiful light way that sounded more like singing than reciting. I still had my laptop open to the article (she couldn't see it, so she wasn't cheating) and I followed along and confirmed that she got it all right, 100% correct. Wow!
Then she told me why it sounded like she was singing. Because she was.
Asanee–Wasan is a popular and well-known rock band, formed by two brother's, Asanee "Pom" and Wasan "Toe" Chotikul. When my wife was still a teenager they had a hit song that put the Bangkok ceremonial name to verse in a song. Just like we learned the lyrics to our favorite songs as kids, she and her generation learned the lyrics to this song. But the lyrics consisted only in the recitation of the complete ceremonial name!
It's a beautiful song. Listen to it here, play it on repeat and maybe you'll end up knowing the complete name like she did and like the little girl in this video. If the pronunciation isn't clear enough for you, listen to this version.
I especially love the fact that the recorded song begins with the crow of a rooster. That is the first sound I heard in the early morning from my bed in a hotel in the ancient part of Chiang Mai, on my very first morning in Thailand. That sound is a good memory for me!
Once you're reached Bangkok, maybe you should know it's real name, as Bangkok is a name for the foreigners there, not the Thai people, who call the city ‘Krung Thep' or the longer version, ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakhon’ which means City of Angels. But nothing like the one in California. But even those two versions are not it's full name, as it has a Ceremonial Name, which is much longer. In Thai script it is written as:
‘กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์’
or in English text as:
‘Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit’
which consists of Pali and Sanskrit root words which could be translated as:
The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.
We will take you to see the Emerald Buddha while you are there, at the Royal Palace, of course!
I am following the great BBC documentary with my favorite film about Thailand in modern times. I believe it was produced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and appeared on Facebook. Supattra sent it to me to watch in the months before I traveled to Thailand for the first time. I watched it many times! Eventually I visited some of the places featured in the film. I won't say anything else about it, so you can experience it for yourself. It took me a long time to find it again on the Internet. I wish I could have found it in one piece, but the best I could do was to find it in three parts, as follows. When you watch each part, you will have to end that part and come back here to start the next part, or YouTube will start an unrelated video instead. It's very annoying, but it was the best I could do.
Part 1 of 3 : Part 2 of 3 : Part 3 of 3
Anyway, I'm very glad I found the film again, it was full of happy memories for me!
This is the most important movie ever made about Thailand, made in 1979 for the BBC and first broadcast in 1980. It made me reallllly appreciate the love the Thai people have/had for their Royal family. The real power in Thailand rested in their King Rama IX, who reigned for more than 70 years and earned huge respect from his people, long before he passed away one day before my father passed on in October 2016. I saw this film after I had already been to Thailand, but I think it would be a good one for anyone to watch before actually going to Thailand for a visit.
I looked for the simplest Thai learning video I could find. In all such videos, recognize that the spelling of Thai words in English can vary. Soooo just as in learning Morse Code, learn how it sounds, NOT how it is spelled. Remember, for the Thai person, they learned to spell it with their own Thai script, which we don't know. Wellll they might not know our English script either! If you ask them how a word is spelled in our language they could easily NOT be able to answer you. So see whether you can learn to duplicate the sound they are making. Here's a video to teach FIVE words. I don't think #3 or #5 are essential at all. I never learned either one of them. The others would be good to learn and she also shows you how to do a proper Wai, a bow of the head with the hands held together. Being polite is fundamental in communicating with Thai people. Check it out!
In traveling with Supattra, I never had to rely on my ability to say any of these words! She took care of everything for me. But somewhere along the way, I learned to how to do a Wai and to smile a lot. That took care of pretty much everything. It will work for you too.
I'm putting a reference here, naming provinces that I have not yet visited in Thailand. The full details can be found here, but this listing is just shorthand to suggest new provinces we might want to visit in 2019, if they turn out to be nearby, or are on the way to somewhere else we are going. But many of these may be ones that we'll be unable to visit this year. Back up two postings in this blog (left arrow) to see a map that labels all 77 of the provinces (including Bangkok) in Thailand.
Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Prachin Buri, Ratchaburi, Sa Kaew, & Saraburi.
Chanthaburi, Rayong & Trat.
As you walk inside the airport (the main Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in this case), you soon discover Thailand has gorgeous public art everywhere. This tug-of-war is right in the middle of a wide walkway to and from the airplanes. You may notice it is also right in front of a Gucci retail store! But no worries, there will be plenty of affordable places to spend your money all over the country. This may look like a picture of real people, but it is actually a life-size diorama with amazing detail. If you want to learn how to pronounce the name of the airport, go here. If that's too hard for you, no problem. Just say B K K.
Today I noticed that Andy Sylvester's River of 1999.io Bloggers now consists almost exclusively of Doc Searls and Frank McPherson. But Doc is on fire and posting often. Well I certainly don't mind being tangled up in that stream!
How do these tools go in and out of fashion? Maybe some just want to be using the newestfangled tool possible. (Yes, I made up a word.) I tend to go in the opposite direction. I like old tools that are easy to use and produce nice looking results. Like 1999.io.
There's no character count here. No knowledge of markdown required, but you can still use bold and italics, not to mention titles and other formatting niceties.
Maybe the youngsters would say I'm Old School . . . or maybe just Old.
BUT I'll let you in on a secret, Jack Baty has started using 1999.io again as well. Maybe Andy will add him to the stream. I hope so.
Will my Thailand Compendium still survive, when Fargo dies, because of the change at Dropbox? The information in the compendium was compiled as an outline in Fargo and now that outline has been copied into Little Outliner 2. The compendium was always viewed by using Dave Winer's Small Picture Reader software. I'm pretty sure that Dave wrote that this reader will still work once Fargo is killed off by Dropbox. I'm looking for where he said that . . .
Okay, I Found It!
It's in his original announcement about the upcoming timing out of Fargo. Last line: "This change should not affect smallpict.com sites. They should continue to function after the Dropbox API change."
The good thing (and bad thing) about Small Picture Reader is that the URL doesn't change when the OPML file changes. So whenever I would edit my compendium file in Fargo, the same URL in Reader would still read it, with the changes. So my compendium should survive after Fargo times out, even when I make changes in it with Little Outliner 2.
But what if I create a new outline in LO2 and I want people to be able to view it in Reader? Up to now, one would select "View in Reader" in Fargo and then one could save the resulting URL to hand out to others, so they could view it too. But once Fargo is not working, that won't be possible and LO2 does not have a corresponding "View in Reader" command. Then what?? Well the answer may lie with the "Get public link" command in the File menu of LO2. I used that command on my compendium file and when I opened that link in a browser window, I got my Thailand Compendium, looking pretty much like it does in Small Picture Reader! So that should work for any LO2 outline, as long as I don't mind the link being a public link. The only difference I see is that Small Picture Reader provides a button for sending the URL to Twitter, which is not present when using the LO2 public link. No big deal.
One other detail to tidy up. Above, I wrote, "The good thing (and bad thing) . . ." I explained the good thing, but what is the bad thing? Well it's a little more complicated than my short-hand of including "(and bad thing)" in that sentence. When I first discovered this connection between Fargo and Small Picture Reader, I was very excited that it seemed to offer a super easy way to add information to the compendium, but then providing a simple way to publish the new version immediately. But as the father in The Graduate said, "this whole idea sounds pretty half baked." Think about it. I had compiled a ton of information of all kinds about Thailand. But there was only ONE URL for that entire file and for all that information on many different topics! I could not send a URL to someone who might be interested in a subset of all that data that pointed to just that part to say, "Here, look at this." I was going to publish it on the World Wide Web, but without the key brilliance of the web, which was links being used to point to particular parts of all that information. Half baked, indeed!!
Paul Signorelli, W0RW, has advanced the art of operating a ham radio in the HF bands while walking around with the rig on his back more than anyone else in the US, maybe in the world. He mostly operates from the mountains in Colorado and I've had the pleasure of working him in the past in QRP contests. Ed WA3WSJ learned a lot about operating "pm: pedestrian mobile" from Paul, collected forty-seven stories about Paul's adventures and published them as an e-book for others who might like to learn how to do this unique form of ham radio.
Tonight I started reading Ed's book. The third article in the collection is W0RW 2004 FYBO Report. FYBO stands for freeze your butt off, as it is an outdoor contest held in February and it awards more points for contacts depending upon how cold it is outside. This was dreamed up by some hams in Arizona, maybe a lot easier for them in Arizona, than for Paul in Colorado!
In the article Paul describes his operating that day, walking six miles in the snow on a bright and sunny day at 9,000 feet on the west side of Pike's Peak, running his Elecraft KX1 rig at three watts into an eight-foot whip coming out of his rear pocket. It was 20F when he started and it warmed up to 25F. He worked thirty-five stations on CW that day, in at least fifteen different states. He thanked every operator who worked him and listed them all at the end of his article. At number twenty-four on that list is
Three things stand out in my mind about that day. (1) It was very cool contacting Paul, knowing that he was tromping around in the snow on Pike's Peak, a unique experience only possible with amateur radio. (2) The drive up the mountain was a lot more harrowing than I had been expecting, as we went around narrow turns on the crooked road, peering down steep drop-offs just past the edge of the road. (3) Some of the ride was scary, but overall, it felt so good to be out in nature, doing ham radio on a Saturday with two good friends. These good memories are still with me more than thirteen years later.
Of course I can recommend Ed's e-book without reservation after reading only the first three stories. Even more important, I urge all hams to get outside with some friends to do some ham radio together! Great times together, later, memories that may stay with you for the rest of your life.
In August 2016 Dave Winer announced that near the end of June 2017, Dropbox will be disabling a feature that Fargo requires to work and this will mean the end of Fargo outlines. No worries, he had already designed and built LO2, which can work with the same Fargo outlines. They just need to be imported into LO2. I have tried this and it works!
Here is the procedure I followed to get my Fargo outlines into LO2. I will preface this by saying that I started using Dropbox at a time when it came with a Public folder. It is my understanding that newer Dropbox accounts might not have such a folder. In that case, the user would have to discover how to get the public URL for a file in Dropbox.
Open four tabs in the (Chrome in my case) browser, as follows.
(1) Little Onliner 2 (LO2) where you want your outlines to be.
(2) Dropbox at Dropbox -----> Apps -----> Fargo which is where the Fargo opml files are stored.
(3) Another Dropbox tab, pointing to Dropbox -----> Public.
(4) Fargo at fargo.io which contains your Fargo outlines.
Go to tab (4) and find an outline you'd like to get into LO2 and make a note of its title at the top of Fargo. e.g. Planning Activities. Jump over to tab (2) and find the opml for that outline, which will be a file with that title ending in opml. e.g. PlanningActivities.opml. If there are several, be sure to pick the most recent one. On the line for that file, click on the square box around the three dots and in the choices that pop up, click on Copy. Dropbox will want to know where to place the copy, so navigate to the public folder at Dropbox -----> Public and click on the Copy button.
Now switch to tab (3) and find the opml file you just copied into that folder. On the far right for that file, click on the square box around the three dots and in the choices that pop up, click on Copy public link, which will open a new Dropbox window with that public URL. Click on the Copy to Clipboard button.
Now you're all set for being able to import that outline file into LO2. Jump to tab (1). At the top of LO2, click on File -----> New. Enter the Title you want for this outline in LO2. It doesn't have to be the same title that was used for it in Fargo. After you enter the title you want, click on the Okay button. A blank outline will appear.
At the top of LO2, select File -----> Import OPML. Paste in the public URL you got from Dropbox, which is in your clipboard, and click on the OK button. There may be some delay while the file loads and then Boom, the outline appears.
Look it over. Once you are satisfied it is correct, you could switch back to tab (4) and delete the outline from there [optional]. Just select the outline from the choices at the top of Fargo and pick the one you just copied to LO2. Go to the very top node of that outline, select it and hit delete on your keyboard and poof, it and everything below it will be gone. Or go to tab (2) and just delete the opml files there. Or just wait until 6/28/17 and Fargo will stop working anyway.
Right after the end of tax season, one of my clients on extension asked me for advice on how she could get hatted on the subject of taxes. In 33 tax seasons she was the first client who ever asked for a way to get herself informed about taxes. I was impressed, but not surprised. She has worked for decades at a private school where the kids develop learning skills and discover they can learn anything. Some people don't know this, but she does. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]
Since this had never come up before, I didn't have a list of recommendations ready for her, but I did some searching and came up with three recommendations for her.
There is a lot of jargon in taxes and that can have its pitfalls, a barrier to study. One can always google any term one comes across and then look for definitions and explanations in the results at the IRS website (irs.gov). I also found a well organized compilation of such things, a Wikibook with eight chapters on income tax. Its a bit academic, but presents all the key topics in taxation in a well ordered way with good definitions. It might be useful to keep it as both a primer and then as a reference.
I found a book that looks like it might be good. The usual tax time books that come out every year by Lasser and others are 800 page door stops with much more detail than the average person needs or wants. I found a simple book that is 100 pages, available for $5 as a Kindle book, $14 as a new paperback or $11 as a used paperback. It got 4.6 stars out of 5 stars from 158 reviews on Amazon. I have only seen the few pages in the preview of the book and read some of the reviews, but it looks good.
Of course tax matters are changing all the time, so some details in the above can be out of date. If you use any or all of these choices, please let me know your experience with them. So if someone else asks me again in the next 33 years, I can include some data about whether these are really very good or not.
I took a look at Andy Sylvester's river of 1999.io bloggers for the first time in a long time. I was pleased to see that Doc Searls is still using Dave's tool and enjoyed his comments about blogging, with its brilliant phrase "all have the permanence of snow falling on water," which is where I got the title for this posting. I thanked him for it and realized I am reticent to post here, as I don't have my own server yet, so I feel my using Dave's server creates an out-of-balance exchange with him.
And as I type this, I am reminded what an easy tool it is for blogging!
Doc Searls has started blogging with our favorite tool, 1999.io, giving it well deserved credit for its easy to use interface, much better than Wordpress or Medium, as well as for handling headlines correctly. I haven't used Wordpress in years and I've never used Medium, but I agree that 1999.io is super easy to use. And I totally agree about headlines. I often write my headline at the end, after I find out what my blog article is about. Dave's software lets you put the headline there when you're done and apparently other platforms make you decide on the title before you've written a word. It took an expert and frequent blogger, Dave Winer, to write the software the right way, and then for another one, Doc, to come along and notice this big advantage of 1999.io, which he then pointed out to us.
I don't know him personally, but with a name like that, you gotta call him just "Doc," right? I've noticed him using very early versions of Dave's blogging platforms in the past, before anyone else but Dave could use them. But this time he's using the same officially released version of the software, on the same server Dave provides, that I'm using here.
He always has interesting things to write about, sometimes way over my head, but still very informative, so he's definitely worth following, just like Dave. His very first 1999.io posting was a real humdinger about a recent talk that Maciej Ceglowski gave about surveillance capitalism. MC developed Pinboard, an essential tool I use every day to collect bookmarks for great stuff I find on the Internet. I've read other talks he's given before and they were brilliant. This one is too.
It's obvious from the start that he knows a lot more about this computer stuff than most of us and he always writes with humor. But he has a conscience too and this time he's warning us to pay attention to what is happening with computers. It's very illuminating, but kinda scary too. Go read it!
See, it's not just about keeping the web open, it's also knowing where to look in the nooks and crannies of the web to find the good stuff.
We took four days off from work and the Internet for road trips to Berkeley and Santa Barbara to see shows by Bob Dylan, with an opening act by Mavis Staples. Bob gave up guitar playing some years ago, but still plays the grand piano & mouth organ, and has really been concentrating on his singing, which is marvelous. He seemed very comfortable standing at center stage and singing in a loud & confidant voice with clear articulation of the lyrics, especially on the several covers of classic old songs he did in both shows, inspired by the Sinatra renditions of them, and still showing us that he's "as good a singer as Caruso."
In Berkeley one impatient fan cried out with the modern version of the Judas shout during the second half of the show: "Rock & roll!!" Unlike more than fifty years ago in Manchester, it elicited no direct response from Bob, who continued along with his standard set list for this tour. But there was plenty of fine rock & roll, capped off with the final encore, a searing Love Sick, no Soy Bomb this time, and then a big surprise exploding out into the darkness of the final applause, the instrumental portion of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," with a blazing lead guitar solo to freedom. It was unexpected and brilliant and perhaps some of the longest minutes for Bob, who only got to stand center stage during the big surprise. Through the end of June 2016, it remains as a one-time event, the first time I've ever witnessed a one-time only performance, as far as I can recall.
These were the first two Dylan shows for my wife, who has a great ear for good music. When I played Freewheelin' on her Isuzu stereo as we drove down the road in Thailand, the first Dylan album she ever heard from beginning to end, she burst out in laughter when we got to Bob Dylan's Blues, correctly declaring "He's not singing, he's talking!" At the Santa Barbara Bowl, she leaned over near the end of Spirit On the Water to whisper in my ear, "He talk a lot!" Impeccable observation once again. After the show she voiced surprise that he didn't talk during the show, concluding that he did all his talking with his songs.
One of my favorite things at a Dylan show is to sit near someone who is seeing their first ever Dylan show, to be able to witness their reactions. In Santa Barbara it was a pretty young girl in her early twenties with long black hair and a short thin frame in tight jeans, perhaps one hundred pounds at most, in the row right in front of us, four rows back from the front of the stage. At intermission she apologized to those around us for standing and dancing during the songs. "But I can't help it. It's probably the only chance in my life to be able to see Bob Dylan perform in person!" I told her I didn't mind in the least and she should just enjoy the moment. I was very pleased that she seemed to be very familiar with ALL the songs and when the first few bars of Blowin' in the Wind were played, after a violin introduction (!), she let out a loud squeal; it was clearly the song she had been hoping for! Surely it is sounds like that, that keep Dylan out on the road, fulfilling his destiny, and once again ensuring that one more person will never have to say, "I never got to see Bob Dylan perform."
Suddenly there are new tools for embedding Tweets inside blog posts at Twitter Publish.
I put in the URL for one of my tweets, copied the code that it gave me, plopped that into a blog posting using the Insert HTML command and . . . got a mess that didn't look like my Tweet at all. So it's not working (for me at least) in our favorite blogging tool, at least not right out of the box.
Of course I can link to the Tweet easily enough, but embedded in the blog posting would be nicer. Hey wait, there's always been a way of doing this. If you click on the More button for a Tweet and then click on Embed Tweet, Twitter gives you the code to paste into a blog posting for that Tweet. But following these old fashioned instructions don't work for me in 1999.io either. Drats.
I'll bet Dave Winer will be trying these Twitter Publish tools as well. Perhaps we'll get an update to 1999.io that makes it work for us. OR . . . I might just be doing it wrong! That's possible too.
The golden age of QRP (low power radio) might have been in the late 1990's. The Norcal QRP Club was very active with monthly meetings after every Livermore Swap Meet, where radio designers and builders met to discuss and demonstrate the latest radios. Their quarterly journal, QRPp, was still being published, which made it possible for people from all over the US and the world to participate. This was a period of great creativity, sharing and frequent new milestones being achieved in the radio arts. Eventually Las Positas College stopped making their parking lots available for the swap meets and then the Norcal meetings nearby stopped happening.
Now in 2016 there seems to be a resurgence in low power radio among some of those same people, as well as a new generation of radio adventurers. Tons of hams are hiking up mountain tops to activate new Summits on the Air and others are operating from National Parks all over the country to help celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service. This trend is likely to continue with the recent release of the Elecraft KX2 trail friendly HF radio.
There are still many hams who want to learn about how these radios work and a very popular training program from 1998, the Elmer 101 Series, is being revived, this time with a SW30+ CW Transceiver being the focus for learning. The latest incarnation of this very popular learning program is being presented by Joe Everhart N2CX and George Heron N2APB on their Chat With the Designers website. This looks to be a reprise of the time they did it starting in April 2015, but with a gorgeous red enclosure this time from AA0ZZ and the Freq-Mite frequency readout (which was also a Dave Benson design) at a special discount price from the Four State QRP Group. True VFO: 35-40 KHz coverage [10.1-10.135 MHz], so you have all but the very top of the band, the last 10-15 KHz to 10.15 MHz. Output power is adjustable to 2.5W max. If you'd rather have more power, it would be easy enough to add a power amplifier between the SW30+ and the antenna, for a full ten watts out.
The original Elmer 101 Series was developed and rolled out on the QRP-L mailing list in 1998, and documented in the Autumn 1998 issue of QRPp, the Journal of the Northern California QRP Club.All of the documentation for these exciting times has been preserved and is now being presented again online. The entire run of the QRPp journals have been scanned and are available for free on their own website. This is a fantastic resource, as the original copies of the journals have become much harder to find. The original course materials are still available from the website of KU4QO, and Dave Benson, K1SWL, has assisted with a revised edition of his SW40+ transceiver which was used in the original course, but this time for 30 meters.
If you didn't get to participate in the original days, now is a good time to get involved in these new activities. There is still a good spirit of sharing and cooperation and the QRP-L mailing list is still active. Join up at QRP-L and the CWTD website and get involved!
This video is painful to watch for ham radio folks, as it shows the destruction by explosion of the vast Voice of America Site A antenna farm in Greenville, NC in April 2016. The 2,800 acre site was opened in 1963.
What may seem even more amazing than these visuals is the fact that this was one of two identical VOA antenna farms taken out of service in 2006. Its identical twin system is still in service at another nearby site. In 2012 Thomas Witherspoon (K4SWL) of the awesome website, the SWLing Post, published an extensive article about his five-and-a-half hour tour of the site that is still in service, The VOA Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, North Carolina. It is an excellent antidote to the unnerving destruction shown in the above video.
Thomas wrote, "The messages conveyed by these powerful antennas travel every day, every hour, across closed borders with no regard for those in power, into remote areas with no power or basic services, inviting those with radios to simply listen. Radio, I reflected, is free speech in its most available, equitable form."
May it continue.
I stumbled onto this video of the original Freewheelin' performance of Dylan's brilliant Don't Think Twice, It's All Right paired with some lovely 20th Century B & W film footage. Very very nice. One reason it works is that there is no original music video that goes with this song in our minds. There was no such thing in those days. So this doesn't clash with our expectation and the visual seems totally appropriate to the song.
Vintage Film would actually be a more appropriate title. I went to their You Tube channel, thinking I might find a lot of other great films. I discovered the Dylan video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. There are 35 other videos in the channel and the next most viewed of them has been seen a bit less than 6,000 times, most of them less than 1,000 times. I watched two of the others. They were clearly not in the same class as this one. I have often found that the number of views of a musical performance is a good predictor of the quality of the video.
When Dylan went electric, his already visual music exploded into brilliant colors.
Robert Scoble has returned to his blog with a shockingly open long read about his financial challenges living in Silicon Valley. I remember years ago being verrrrrry impressed that this guy gave out his cell phone number on his postings on the Internet. Now he's gone way beyond that in openness. Surely he has one of the most extensive contact lists in the entire field of technology, so it seems to me he will surely find a new gig that will work for him. For years he has seemed like a little kid in a candy store, describing new technologies with an enthusiasm and spirit that seemed contagious.
I used to read him on Google+ but then he switched to writing mostly on Facebook and I fell off the sled. He mentions that "Fred Wilson was right that I gave up something when I left my blog." Wilson has been blogging since 2003 and doesn't plan to give it up. I've been listening to an interesting interview of Wilson from the Iowa City Public Library.
Big news today in the QRP (low power) ham radio community! Elecraft, the premier designer of QRP radios for many years released their latest radio, the KX2, at Four Days In May (FDIM) and the Dayton Hamvention. It's very close in size to the KX1, but much more capable, with the same display as used on the KX3. It doesn't have 160 m or 6 m like the KX3, but for $300 lower cost. That's a trade-off that is well worth it to me and it may be the first brand new full featured ham transceiver I will buy since my Icom 751 back in the early 1980's. I discovered this when I woke very early this morning and found an article about it from Thomas (K4SWL). I couldn't even find the new rig on the Elecraft website yet. I'm sure they were waiting to make the official announcement at Dayton. But now it is up and can be ordered on their website and Thomas has also posted more pictures on his other website, the excellent SWLing Post. Wayne Burdick, N6KR, the designer of the radio, posted an announcement about the radio on the Elecraft reflector. Years ago, Wayne was one of the regular attendees of the monthly meetings of the NorCal QRP Club and designed the hugely popular NorCal 40 QRP rig.
The KX1-KX2 image and the following video are from WG0AT, who was one of the radio's field testers, as shown on the excellent website of K0JGZ. Another video here with this microphone used at about 0:30 in the video.
Updates, one day later and after
HamRadio 360 Podcast from Dayton (1:12:12) - Eric Swartz WA6HHQ interviewed about the new KX2 (25 mins), then his full presentation at FDIM, Dayton (8:20 am on 19 May 2016), starting at 28 mins into the podcast. The interview was actually recorded after the FDIM presentation. Then during 2016 Field Day, the chief designer, Wayne N6KR, spoke for about 25 mins about the KX2. The interview starts at 32:44 in this podcast. Page down to get to the podcast player. It's a very informative & interesting discussion.
eHam product reviews of the KX2, including the first five from field testers of the radios.
Comparison of the KX1 vs KX2 vs KX3 by a ham who owns all three.
After market KX2 Side Panels will be shipping soon.
The KX2 paddles have now begun shipping.
How the airline rules apply to the KX2. Do not check spare batteries in baggage; carry them on board.
KX2 Software Page - for KX2 Utility, USB drivers and KX2 firmware updates.
Support group for the Elecraft KX Line on Yahoo.
KX2 can be used for AM SWL broadcast listening.
Ken, KE4RG, reported on his successful Field Day operation with the KX2.
Review of the KX2 by Thomas Witherspoon, K4SWL.
Read a thread comparing KX2 to other Elecraft radios here. If you listen to the N6KR interview (above) you find out that the KX2 came about as a down-sizing of the very popular KX3. But from the other end, you could see it as a major upgrade to the KX1, providing both SSB and digital modes which the KX1 did not have, plus up to five times as much power. It seems to me that this is all a natural progression in the evolution of trail-friendly radios. Elecraft now refers to it as the KX Line, this lineup of the KX1, KX2 and KX3, in which the "X" refers to eXtreme operating conditions or eXtremely small. If you study the history of Wayne's career in designing rigs, the KX2 is realization of his dream rig going back even before the Norcal rigs he designed, into the 1970's and his being inspired by the early pioneers of QRP, such as Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, Doug DeMaw, W1FB, and Adrian Weiss, W0RSP.
A quote follows from the designer of the KX2 and CTO of Elecraft, Wayne N6KR:
In his book The Joy of QRP Ade Weiss famously said: "If there is a place, and you can get to it, you must operate from there." This is the motivation behind the KX2.
Bob Dylan began his amazing career in 1961, so the last several years have seen the 50 year anniversaries of many important milestones in his career, for example, yesterday was celebrated by some as the 50 year anniversary of the release of Blonde on Blonde, the album that turned me into a lifelong fan, even though there is some question about what date it was actually released.
But for many of the most dedicated Dylan fans, an even more important event is the 50 year anniversary of one of the most legendary performances of Dylan's career at Manchester Free Trade Hall, the Judas concert, in Manchester, England. There is no long-term Dylan fan who doesn't appreciate what an important event that was, which some have compared to the Stravinsky premiere of the Rite of Spring, which incited a riot in Paris nearly 103 years ago.
Its importance is illustrated by the fact that both the BBC in the UK and Rolling Stone in the US published major articles about the event today. Dylan's record label also tweeted a link to the official recording of the concert. In 1998 it was my pleasure to greet one of my Dylan friends, the music historian C. P. Lee, at a book store in the SF Bay Area, who was there to promote his new book about the concert. He revised and updated it in 2004. C.P. had been at the concert and did extensive legwork years later to find others who had been there as well, to reconstruct every moment of the event in great detail. Reading the book while playing the recordings of the performance is a worthy and very pleasurable endeavor.
Rolling Stone used the adjective "infamous" in its clickbait title [defn: well known for some bad quality or deed], when legendary or brilliant would have been more appropriate terms. The shouting out of "Judas!" was certainly a "bad deed" at the time, but it turned out to be a very good deed, as it spurred on Dylan and his band to one of the greatest performances of Like a Rolling Stone of all time.
Maybe the best line Greil Marcus ever wrote was the one they put on the cover of Lee's book: "C P Lee was there, but the point is that he can put you there too."
I forgot there was a Warriors game last night, so we left for home too late and missed most of the first quarter in Game 2 of the series against Portland. The Warriors were behind by double digits by the time we found the game on TV, near the end of the first quarter. Portland was playing great, very much in the style of the Warriors, making lots of 3's, moving the ball really well. Portland was ahead by 13 points at the end of the first quarter and this game was not in Portland, so if they could steal a game in Oakland it would be a big deal.
I wasn't too worried, even though Curry is injured and has missed a few games. I told my wife it would be okay. The Portland team was playing great, but "they can't do it for four quarters!"
They did it for three quarters. They were ahead by 13 at the end of the first quarter, by 8 at half-time and 11 at the end of the third quarter. It would have been only an 8 point lead at that point, but Portland's best shooter got off a 3-pt shot just a second or less before the buzzer sounded to end that quarter.
The Warriors had struggled all game long without their MVP, Curry. But they have one other advantage over other teams, the best coach in the NBA, Steve Kerr. Near the end of the third quarter, Kerr brought in Festus Ezeli to play center. He had not played at all in Game 1 of this series and very little in the Houston series, but Kerr had told him to stay ready, his time would come. This was his time.
As soon as he stepped onto the floor, Ezeli made a huge difference and afterwards Kerr said he saw "phenomenal effort from Fezzy to really change the game.” The Warriors were down by ten when Ezeli came in with 4:09 left in the third quarter. He played for thirteen minutes and when he came out they were ahead by three points, never to trail again in the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored 34 points. Portland scored 12 points, losing the game by 11. They couldn't do it for four quarters.
But in Game 3, Portland was able to do it for four quarters. And in Game 4 they were able to do it for four quarters (to a tie), but not in overtime, when Curry scored seventeen points!
He lived in Bangkok for three years, making funny videos about life in Thailand which the Thai people loved. The first one in his Bangkok 1st Time series has been viewed nearly four million times. Now he's back in Brooklyn and a friend of mine who used to blog from Thailand, but now writes from Cambodia, posted one of his NYC images, which led me to his Facebook page, which has received over 150,000 Likes. I suspect a high percentage of those are from Thai people.
This NYC image reminds me of the street people drawn in the 1960's by the great R. Crumb.
On Facebook he is described as a dance performer and teacher. Based upon his work from Thailand, I wondered whether this was a spoof. But not so, as there is video of him doing Latin dances, as well as reviews he wrote on Amazon about Latin music albums. As he wrote in 2014, "I'm 78 years old but still fabulous baby!" And he is! My role model for retirement!
I was scanning Dave's Guardian River and was a bit shocked at what I found. Alanis Morissette has become an advice columnist for the Guardian, what they call an Agony Aunt in the UK. No kidding.
NPR interviewed her about it in January and she sounded very self-assured and ready for this new role. From the number of comments on the Guardian Ask Alanis Morissette page, she seems to be getting quite a lot of engagement. Good for her. Maybe she will become the new Ann Landers.
On her own website, she is also featuring a new graphic image, the one at the top of this page. It reminded me a little of the symbol Prince created to replace his name, so I was looking for what it was supposed to mean. I found a fan website where they explained it is her initials, AM, with a large letter A sitting astride a smaller M.
There was a period when I listened to a lot of Alanis Morissette, her music, not her advice, mostly her album Jagged Little Pill, over and over. Then I drove to LA one day and played nothing but her next album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, along the way. Suddenly on the way back, I had had enough of her kvetching! It was like I woke up and couldn't take it any longer. I turned off the music, breathed a sigh of relief and continued my trip in silence. I hope her advice column doesn't have a similar effect on people.
The original video for Ironic from her Jagged Little Pill album is really quite playful and charming.
Frank McPherson posted a link to an excellent resource for news about Prince: his hometown newspaper. Excellent because you get content there from those who actually care and are on the scene, those in his own community. It's more authentic and respect for Prince pervades their coverage.
Before July 2008 I never had a car that included a check engine light. The Porsche 911 I bought that year has one, but I never saw it come on while driving in the more than seven years since then. But last Friday, we came out from shopping, started the car and there it was, still shining at me after the car had finished the boot-up process of ensuring that everything was in order with the car. I drove half a mile to a gas station, got out the manual and looked up the check engine light. It advised taking the car to a mechanic to check it out. And it said that if the light started blinking, it might be best NOT to drive the car until it was sorted out. Of course I was worried about disaster scenarios, not loose gas caps. I had filled up with gas and knew the gas cap was on securely.
We drove a little over a mile to get home. Along the way, the light remained on but started blinking briefly two times, only very briefly. It was after 5:00 pm and Tony Heyer, my trusted Porsche mechanic, was already closed, not to open again until Tuesday. I had a troubled Friday night, tossing and turning, and then managed to put it mostly out of my mind for the weekend. I talked on the phone with Tony on Tuesday and got some reassurance that I'd probably be able to drive it to his shop. Early Wednesday morning I was driving the seventy miles to Tony's shop. I was really worried that the light might start blinking, but it did not.
Mystery is the worst part. Is it something minor like bad plugs or more major, even a blown head gasket? Well it seemed to be driving just fine, so blown head gasket wasn't likely. It did seem to be running a little bit rough, but I wasn't even sure of that. Idling at 800 rpm, the tachometer needle was jiggling a bit, but I didn't know whether it was excessive. I arrived at Tony's right on schedule for a 10:00 am appointment. Soon I would know what it is. Whatever it is, I knew Tony could fix it.
After a fifteen minute or so wait, Tony plugged his computer into the car. He fiddled with the computer a bit, and thankfully, gave no gasps of alarm. He walked away briefly to attend to something else and I quickly took a peek on the computer screen. There were four lines of text and each one contained the word "misfire." Misfire! Well that didn't sound too disastrous and it also seemed to fit that feeling I had had about it running a little rough.
Tony came back and asked me, "So did it seem like the car was running rough at all?" Welllllll, yesss!! I had even mentioned this to him when we talked on the phone on Tuesday. Yes, he remembered that. He looked on his computer at the history of my car's maintenance and then told me he wanted to check the coils on the spark plugs. The plugs only had nine thousand miles on them, so they were probably just fine. But he had no record that we had ever replaced the ignition coils. They last a long time, but it had been long enough that they might need replacement.
He had Wes get the car up on the rack, put a fan on the engine to cool it down, and when it was cool enough, he started pulling the six coils. It gets really hot inside the engine where the coils sit and eventually (maybe 60,000 miles) the plastic housing begins to degrade, with tiny cracks appearing. The electrical charge can then make it out through those cracks, shorting against the metal casing of the engine. That is a misfire! Sure enough, there were some cracks in the plastic housing of my coils.
Soon my car had six new coils installed. Wes took it out for a test drive, saying it was fine when he returned. When Tony came back from lunch, he took it for a test drive too, confirming all was well. After some chatting with Tony and Wes, I was soon on my way. I did a little U-turn in the parking lot to make my way toward the street and in that thirty feet of driving it was immediately obvious to me that the car was driving sooooooo much better, smooth as could be! I stopped and called out to Wes, thanking him for his work.
After a scary start, the Check Engine Light was my friend in the end, not a digital gadget torturing me with a mystery about my car. It had detected a problem before the problem was even obvious to me as the driver. In the old days a car would be obviously shaking and in need of a tune-up before we would know to take it in to the shop. The Porsche technology helped me get the car tuned up beautifully, long before I could detect even the slightest ruffle in the driving of the car.
You may not recognize that slogan. It belonged to The Heath Company, makers of the legendary Heathkits for decades. My first ham radio transmitter was a DX-20 Heathkit (about $36 in 1959) that I assembled myself. It worked perfectly from the first moment I turned it on after I finished the kit building process.
Heathkits helped grow the ranks of ham radio operators considerably. Their gear was affordable, simple proven technology, not fancy, but stuff that worked. There were two keys to the success of this company: (1) their products were affordable and (2) the assembly and operating manuals were outstanding. They were so well written, that even a fourteen year old boy was able to build one without a single problem in the entire process.
Take a look at the Heathkit manual for the DX-60B transmitter, a product from 1967. This one is typical of all of their manuals. It includes sections that give the specs of the rig, a description of its circuit, a full parts list, the exact step-by-step procedures for building the rig, with very detailed drawings and clearly written instructions on what to do. If you didn't know how to solder, no problem, they had a chapter (p.8-9) devoted to teaching you the ropes on soldering. Take some time to look over the manual. Doesn't it make you want to grab a soldering iron and start building?
Just do what the manual said to do and the equipment would work. They wouldn't let you fail. If it didn't work, you could ship it to the factory in Benton Harbor, Michigan and they'd fix it for a "minimum service fee." I don't know how much that fee was, because the kits I built always worked and I didn't know anyone else who ever had one that didn't work.
I grew up with these manuals as the standard in my mind for ensuring that technology was properly conveyed from the experts to the beginners. This is a VERY high standard, but it was a huge part of the success of Heath, as well as the growth in the ranks of ham radio operators.
Watch this video to see what Steve Jobs thought about Heathkits & their manuals (3:57 to 8:24).
"It gave one an understanding of what was inside a finished product and how it worked because it would include a theory of operation. But maybe even more importantly it gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries any more." - Steve Jobs
Here we have a legendary performance by Bob Dylan.
When interviewed about working with Dylan, the conductor gave one of the most eloquent descriptions of Dylan's art I've ever heard:
His chords are beautifully simple. His words are deliciously complicated and heartrendingly pure.
We stopped to get a picture of this temple on Thamma-Chak Road in Chianat, Thailand, with rice growing in the foreground. At one stage of the growing season, rice has this gorgeous bright green color. That is not a pipe that seems to be coming down the mountain in the middle. Actually it's a staircase, for those who want to visit the Buddha image at the top. We decided to be happy with just having the picture.
There has been a gradual migration from people posting on their own websites or blogs to posting inside walled gardens or silos, like Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes the reason I hear for this is "that's where the people are." That is, there is more engagement on Facebook.
But why is that? I think Facebook's killer feature, that has made them so successful, is their notification system. Sure, people like to get Likes on what they post, but it is the notification system that gets people interacting with each other.
I remember when I first got onto Facebook. My Dylan friend from Cambridge University had sent me an email, saying I HAD to get onto Facebook, because that's where all our old friends from the long gone days (mid 90's) of the rec.music.dylan Usenet newsgroup (FAQ #1 & FAQ #2) were now congregating. He wanted my voice in the room. With some reluctance and reservations, I signed up and went to the Facebook group he had created. Almost immediately I started seeing red numbers at the top of Facebook and when I clicked on them, I was told about many people who wanted me to "friend" them, names I recognized from a decade or more earlier, other Dylan fans who I used to chat with on Usenet. It was like a class reunion, except these were people who shared an interest in Bob Dylan, people I already knew and liked. Soon we were chatting about the latest Dylan news and my reservations dropped away. It was the notification system that had gotten us communicating again.
So far we don't have something like that on 1999.io, or on the Open Web in general. Blogging on the open web can be a lonely activity. If someone reads one of our articles, they might click Like on it, but there is no notification system to tell us they did. In fact, someone might even Reply to one of our postings and we might not even notice it.
People have worked on building a notification system for the Indie Web Camp, but things get pretty geeky when you read about it. Facebook already has a system working. It seems to me that is the thing that makes Facebook easy to use and it is the reason "everyone is there."
Tonight I did a 1999.io posting about the Prince performance at the halftime show of Super Bowl XLI. It included some text about the rain and I had purposely set the enclosure so that the video would start right at the beginning of Watchtower, to focus on his dramatic performance from there to the end. I was very pleased with the way it came out.
I decided to post something similar on Twitter, using Radio 3. But when I looked over there, I found there were tons of postings about Springsteen doing Purple Rain in Brooklyn. With very few characters allowed on Twitter, I couldn't include what I posted with 1999.io and I didn't want to just link to the posting I had just written. So in the Tweet I suggested that maybe folks should watch Prince do his own song, and then provided the link to the same video, to start at exactly the same moment. This'll get 'em, I thought to myself!
Wellllll, when the readers clicked on the video at the bottom of my Tweet, it said the NFL had banned it from being watched there, so the reader had to click through to YouTube to watch it. The readers still got to watch the video, if they clicked through, but on YouTube the video started at the beginning, with a bunch of talk, talk, talk. Not at the point I had selected, the start of the very dramatic performance. It totally killed the mood.
For me it was 1999.io that provided the impact I was going for, NOT Twitter! To me it is a very stark contrast, a clear win for 1999.io.