Good Time Had By All
Our Christmas party was an enjoyable get together and it was great to see all the new faces. Thanks to Larry Shimerka KC8VZZ for organizing the evening. The event gave us the opportunity to pay special recognition to the club officers, net control operators, and Field Day organizers who have made this another successful year.
Ken Osicki’s (K8AOE) photos can be seen at Christmas 2015
December 21st Meeting
Due to illness and other reasons we did not have a quorum for the December 7th meeting. We’ll wrap up business at the December 21st meeting. It will be a short business meeting. Note: If you will be paying 2016 dues, please do that before the meeting begins so the records are up to date at treasurer’s report time. At this meeting the current treasurer will turn his records over to the incoming treasurer. We’ll also be discussing programming plans for the incoming year.
We’ll follow the business with a couple fascinating short videos on the Mars Rover. This new time-lapse video, NASA’s Mars Opportunity takes an 11-year journey across 26 miles of the red planet. You won’t want to miss it.
What in the world is that spotted square all about? We’re seeing them everywhere with little explanation as to what it is or what to do with it — until now. A clue – it’s not one of those frustratingly evil graphics you stare at until your eyes cross and then you might see a picture. This square is called a QR Code and it’s similar to a barcode except better. You can store many more characters, about 230. Read on and I’ll tell you how you can make your own. You could even write secret messages to your friends! But first the brainy stuff:
According to Wikipedia: QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. A QR code uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji) to efficiently store data; extensions may also be used.
The QR Code system became popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.
A QR code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera, scanner, etc.) and processed using Reed–Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted. The required data are then extracted from patterns that are present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image.
If you have a smartphone you can download a free app that uses your camera to read QR Codes and most barcodes. How could you use it? Let’s say you purchased a product that you like but have no idea where it was made or where to buy more. Just scan the QR Code and it will give you the option to go to the manufacturer’s site or to a vendor like Amazon where it’s can be purchased. QR Codes might only contain a web site address.
Now here’s the fun part. Go to www.goqr.me and make your own QR Code for free, then send the picture to your email address to use later. By the way, what does the above QR code say?
What’s the Connection?
Lately, I’ve been challenged by the need to upload large video files (5-7 GB) to a server. I was disappointed to discover that with my current DSL speed it would take nearly 40 hours! So I started looking into the speed issue. I found a free site called www.speedtest.net where you can check your connection speed. You can find the nearest volunteer server or let it take a pick from their map.
First, it does a “ping” test. I think this is similar to shouting into a well, or like sonar and radar. It sends a signal to the server then waits. Upon the signal’s return it the graphic displays how long the “echo” took. I assume that the bigger the number, that worse the connection. Readings will vary. One time I got 8 and the next time it was 98! Next it downloads a file then uploads a file and displays the travel speed in each direction in Mbps megabytes per second. Try speed test for yourself. Nothing against radio, but Wi-Fi connections might be slower and are dependent on signal strength. I’d be curious as to your speedtest results and what service you use. Mine are pathetic. Be sure to take several readings and average them out.
Hal Rogers K8CMD
Communications Director & President