Saturday, 20 March 2010

Linux - R.I.P.

Here we go again, another anti-Linux rant ...

Well not _exactly_, but here is an illustration of how "naff" Linux is to a long-time Microsoft DOS/Windows user :-

When I set out to learn about Linux, I had two objectives. The first objective was to learn about Linux, obviously.

The second was to run a web server (ie host web sites on my own equipment in my own home).

Both of these objectives were achieved up to a point, but when it came to hosting web sites I also wanted to learn about the analysis of traffic associated with those sites.

To that end I installed "Webalizer" and that is where the problems with Linux really came to a head.

The darned program kept the access logs created by Apache so locked up that Webalizer was unable to access them. No matter what I tried the result was always the same.

For the sake of comparison I then decieded to load both Apache and Webalizer onto a Windows XP machine.

I got Apache up and running on the Windows machine in probably not much longer than half an hour (I was familiar with the way the Apache configuration files worked, so I wasn't exactly starting from scratch), and Webalizer was installed and activated in pretty much the same amount of time.

Webalizer on Windows is now happily producing the web stats I was trying to get from the Linux installation, all with about an hour's worth of effort.

Well at least I tried!

Linux seems to me to be a bit "exclusive", rather like a Golf Club.

Golf Clubs don't really like to see the "ordinary bloke on the street" cluttering up their courses and facilities, so they make membership difficult to achieve (by charging lots of money, or by imposing conditions on would-be members, etc etc) whilst pretending that membership is "open to all". The reality is different, it's a hobby for the "chosen few".

Am I referring to Golf Clubs or Linux in the last statment? I'll leave the reader of this to be the judge of that!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Band I TV - Liege E3 - R.I.P.

Well I've known it's been coming, but today I have finally realised that one of my "favourite" sources of meteor reflections, the Band I TV RTBF-1 transmitter on Channel E3 near Liege (Belgium) is no more.

It was there the last time I checked last month, but today, having a day off work when I though I would just have a little tune around to see what was going on, I received no signals from that transmitter. Fearing the worst, I did a Google search and found out very quickly that the transmitter was turned off for the last time on March 1st.

The YouTube link in the heading points to a recording of the last minute or two of programme from this transmitter.

I expect the equipment is going to be dismantled and be recycled into razor blades or whatever, such is the fate of electronic equipment once it has ceased to be of use.

This transmitter not only was the source of meteor reflections, but its distance from me made it ideal to display the effect of aircraft reflections. I have captured many "waterfalls" of these phenomena.

Now that the digital TV bandwagon is rolling relentlessly through Europe, it's only a matter of time before the remaining Band I TV signals are quiet forever. Digital TV will never be broadcast on Band I, so there isn't even that prospect to look forward to.

On the plus side, as these TV services close down across Europe, it appears that more countries are acquiring Amateur allocations in the 70MHz region. As I will hopefully be joining the ranks of 70MHz users in the future, once my homebrew 70MHz "Eden9" transceiver is up and running, that is a bonus.

R.I.P. RTBF-1 Liege, E3