Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

International Space Station over Australia and New Zealand

See the International Space Station (ISS) fly over Australia and New Zealand. 

Source: Chris Hadfield
There are many good viewing opportunities of the International Space Station this week for people in Australia and New Zealand.  Below is a list of links that take you to the end of this article where there is a list of several major cities in Australia and New Zealand listing times and where to look in the sky to see the Space station. 

The image to the right is of a Sunrise as viewed from the space station, the astronauts would see several of these per day.

We have included the following locations


Since my first Space Station post many people have asked me how can they work out when they can see it for their location, there are several ways to do this I have listed a few here 
  1.  This is a NASA site that lets you see when the ISS and other satellites are flying overhead, you can enter GPS coordinates or your city name, and this site will show you when the next several over passes are happening. This site also will show you when about 400 other satellites are passing over head as well. 
  2. This is an email alert service from NASA and will email you for your location whenever the ISS is going to over pass your area. 
  3. There are many small apps that you can get for iOS, Android, Windows and many other phones / tablets that will show you what is in the sky above you. Many of these will also include alarms that will warn you as the ISS or other satellites are about to pass.
  4. Stare at the sky, until you see the third brightest object move overhead ;) although this sounds silly, its not really, this was meant to encourage people to look up at the stars. If you do it often enough you will eventually notice the ISS.
For the last few weeks I have been following Chris Hadfield on Google+ and his amazing photos that he takes from the space station, and the geek in me thought it was pretty cool to watch a twitter conversation between Captain Kirk and Chris Hadfield.

Take a walk outside, look up at the stars, wonder what is out there, show the kids and explain to them that there are 6 men living up there inside a Space Station, a space station that is a combined effort of many planets of Earth. Hopefully this will encourage them to become curious and want to learn more about the stars, space and what can be done out there.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Why do I have 6 monitors ?

Why do I have 6 monitors on my desk ?

The short answer is to make me more efficient, and the WOW factor when people / clients walk into my office. Nearly everyone that has been here remembers seeing my desk and monitors ;), I will run into people and they will not recognize me, or my name, but once I start talking about what I do, they will often remark, I remember you now, they guy with all those monitors.

It was originally set up to show clients that our water management software, Jobs2Crews was able to scale to a large multiple monitor setup, and is still often used for this scenario.

I have a good stand up desk, that has many levels, which allows me to have monitors on multiple  different levels, I have four different swing arms of which three are attached to my desk at the moment, allowing me many combinations of monitors.  This post is a discussion of varying setup and what I have found has worked for me

For the last four or so years, I have had my current monitor setup and a fairly used to it now, there are basically four configurations that I use, namely

Dual landscape 24" monitors - normal every day use, used with every scenario. This uses the least amount of power, generates the least amount of heat, which can be a factor in a Queensland summer. One problem with this layout is that the mouse can disappear into the top three monitors, which are still connected, but are just powered down. I am very used to this happening and know if I lose the mouse to move it down and it will reappear, it is interesting watching first time users of my setup lose the mouse often when in this mode ;)

Dual landscape 24" monitors, 1 portrait landscape 24" monitors normal use, monitoring a few other processes. I rarely use this setup.

Dual landscape 24" monitors, 3 portrait landscape 24" monitors usually used for demonstrating mapping software. This is Demo mode or impress the clients mode. This would be my second most used option. Unfortunately this configuration does not play movies well I have tried but its more annoying and just better to watch it one either the TV, the projector or just on one of the 24" monitors.

Dual landscape 24" monitors, 3 portrait landscape 24" monitors, 1 19" monitor rarely used.This Layout is only really used if we are doing demonstrations of Australian maps, as the very western point of Western Australia sticks out into the 19" monitor.

At the moment I only have 4 of my monitors connected as I have not had the time to replace a broken video card, but will do soon. I have 5 Dell 24" monitors 2 at eye level in landscape mode and three above that in portrait mode. There is a sixth monitor on a swing arm to the left.

The top three monitors are slightly tilted horizontally relative to the bottom three so that the cursor lines up better when I go from the top to the bottom or go back to the top.

I have tried various combinations and find that this current setup is best for me, and my work style and what I do. Others may find that different setups work better for them.

I have tried just using two of the 24" monitors in landscape mode and two 19" monitors on swing arm either sides that were swung in so that they were about 65' to my left and right, but I found this very awkward to use and felt very claustrophobic to use. I originally thought that this would be a very good setup where I was 'surrounded' by monitors but it just didn't work for me, and I have not seen many people that have set up multiple monitors this way.

I can not physically reach or really read the information easily at the very top of the top three monitors, the top of these monitors would be about 8 foot high, which is higher than the ceiling height in modern average homes in Australia, luckily my home has 12 foot ceilings. The top three monitors are generally used for review, so if I am running a process that I have to check on regularly, I can put the window up there, and if I need to interact with that window drag it back down, I often have the weather radar maps there. They area also to show large maps. The reason these monitors are so high, is due to the fact that they are on a stand up desk and I am over 6 foot tall.