A “Leap Second” was added to our clocks at 12:59:60 on Dec. 31, 2008 (12:59:60 is not a typo). Leap Seconds are added or subtracted every so many years, to keep our clocks in sync with the actual orbit of Earth around the sun. There are several different methods to capture the leap second, and I took the opportunity yesterday to see if I could do the same without fancy or expensive equipment.
And, HERE is a page about how to watch a “Leap Second”.
This is how I did it. I tuned into WWV on my Ham Radio receiver, and set up a camera to record the time on my GPS. After looking at the Leap Second web site, I should also have connected my computer to my GPS to capture the NMEA output from it. Click on the picture to the left to see my setup. View the video below, and you will see that 12:59:59 lasted for two seconds on the GPS.
I have recently stumbled across a new podcast that has peaked my interest.
I am a Ham Radio operator, and my computers run on Ubuntu Linux. So, when I came across a new podcast called “Linux in the HAM Shack“, I knew I had to check it out. So far, they have five episodes out, so it is not too late to download them and get caught up easily.
Two Hams, Richard – KB5JBV and Russ – K5TUX, produce “Linux in the HAM Shack“. Check it out and let them know what you think. For now, they are specifically targeting new Hams, or new Linux users who are Hams, or both. It sounds like it is going to be a great netcast (podcast).
It is very rare that I delete a post after it is published. I made this rare exception yesterday.
The post was about a school teacher that reprimanded a student after he shared Linux disks with his fellow students.
The computers at my house run under Ubuntu Linux, NOT Windows. Many Many people believe that computers only run on Windows or Mac OS/X. These people also believe that all software costs something and if you give it to someone, you are doing an illegal activity. Linux operating systems are almost always FREE, and many times out perform Windows. If you want to see a computer desktop that puts Windows Aero to shame, let me show you Ubuntu Linux with Compiz. WOW! And VERY cool! Most of the applications that run on Linux are free also, and the process of installing the applications is usually a matter of a click or two.
Up to this point, our main computer printer has been a HP Photosmart D5360 inkjet. It is a very nice printer, but as you probably know, the price of ink is outrageous. I refill my own ink cartridges, which helps; but, that is a pain, and the whole deal is still expensive.
99 percent of what we print, does not need to be done with color. My boss bought an old laser printer from the state surplus, and it works great to print those everyday things that don’t have to be in color. Yesterday, I went to the monthly state surplus garage sale and picked up a huge behemoth old HP Laserjet 4Si laser printer for twenty bucks. It also included a new toner cartridge that was still in the box. I figured, if it happened to work, it was a steal with the extra cartridge included. I found prices for used Laserjet 4Si‘s on the Internet for $400 to $550 dollars refurbished, depending on what accessories were included. This printer has the duplex module, and high speed parallel interface modules included, along with 8 megabytes of RAM.
I got some help putting it into my car. When I got home, I used a hand truck to haul it into the house, and into our “library” where our family compter is located. I dug around my junk box and found a centronics style parallel printer cable (since this computer interfaced with a parallel port), and plugged it in. The printer seemed to power up correctly, and my hope rose.
I do not run the Windows operating system on our home computers. They run on UbuntuLinux. I ran the printer configuration utility on Ubuntu, and it immediately recognized the printer as an HP Laserjet 4Si, and downloaded the proper driver for it. Wow, “it just worked”!
I ran some test pages, and the printer ran perfectly. Other than the paper cost, now my kids can print the stuff they want to print, and we have enough toner to last the life time of the printer.
I found the user manual on the Internet. This printer prints on both sides, has slots for two paper trays. I have two “letter” size trays and a “legal” size tray that will fit in it. It has a slot for hand fed items like envelopes. What a deal! We have a small table with a lamp on it next to our computer operating desk. The printer fit nicely on the floor under the table.
Now, we can print all the stuff we want to, and use the more expensive inkjet printer when we need a nice color report or photo. If you need an inexpensive printer for day to day printing, consider one of those old laser printers you see at that garage sale or auction. If you can get it working, it will be well worth it. John.