Poppy Payne IS The Sexy Techie!

Technical Help and Opinions on Just About Everything Else!

Sneaky Toolbars

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Hi, everyone! My medical adventures continue as now I’m laid up wit a dicky leg, but otherwise I’m feeling better, so it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to the business of blogging, this time about Sneaky Toolbars. Or should that be Snarky?

Java & The Ask ToolbarOK. Let’s get techie. I’ve blogged about malicious toolbars and totally unrelated applications being installed along with the software you want, but things most certainly have gotten worse since then. It’s not so much that there are more toolbars and inane applications, but they have gotten more sneaky in how they trick you into installing them. For years, applications like Java, which frequently issues updates, had included the Ask toolbar and search app but the dialog box was obvious and there was a tick box (already ticked, of course) for the install and all you need do was to untick it. Now, the dialog box has become a bit more insidious. There is no overall tick box to clear. You must now untick both of the option boxes, neither one of which says it will prevent the installation. There is a tiny bit of text at the extreme bottom of the box that says unticking the two boxes will allow the Java update continue without the nasty little search app and toolbar. They are counting on confusing people into clicking the “Next” button without understanding to what they are agreeing. After all, they get paid by Ask for each installation even if it is unintentional. Who knew that Oracle needs the money sooo desperately.

Another bit of trickery is brought to you by a video editing application I use quite often called “Super C” by eRightSoft. Allow me, first off, to state that “Super C” is a fantastic audio and video conversion application and is totally free, so I do not begrudge them making a bit of money from imbedded installations as long as you knowingly agree to it. They are counting on us not taking the time to read the things to which we are agreeing. Keep in mind that the disclosures that are there for the reading are legally binding contracts.

List of NastiesWhat they do is to throw up pop-up dialog boxes that look pretty much like they are the next in a line of install boxes stating which app is about to be installed. The first box gives a list of legalese which says you agree to install all sorts of things, including a download manager which will stay installed even if you uninstall “Super C”. This will happen if you click “Next”. To stop it from installing, click the Custom Install button then click “Next”. The next dialog box lists nine (Yes, 9!!) items of useless software they are about to install unless you unclick each and every box separately. But pay attention because the sneakiness is not done yet!

Abort the Install? Fuck, Yes!When you unclick a button, you get a dialog box that reads you removed the app and that it will affect your computer (which it won’t as it hasn’t been installed yet) and asks if you want to abort. Ones natural inclination is to click on OK, but that leaves you with the app still selected and ready to install! What you need do is to counter-intuitively click on “Cancel” which then unticks the selection in the main dialog box. Then you get to do it eight more times. Sigh.

Evil, Evil, App!But are you done with the nasty little apps you don’t want? By no means. The next dialog box tries to install one of those performance boosters which make all sorts of unknown modifications to you system which rarely do anything but muck things up. But if you click “Next” you’ll get it. You must click on the little word “Decline” under the last line of text. Next is a dialog box for some weather alert program. Click “Decline”. Then something called “KNCTR” which is a social media organizer. Again, click “Decline.

Weather ReportThen comes the real tricky part. Even though you are not installing any of the 13 bits of trashware, it says it is installing your applications when it is not and then says that the installation is complete when nothing has been installed. This is a gambit to get you to click on cancel in the original licencing box so you will then have to go through the whole thing all over again. Click “Next” to begin the installation of the package you wanted all along.

Social Media Organizer? The next box allows you to select whether or not you want a desktop icon and to then click “Next”. Go ahead. It’s safe. Finally, it’s ready to install. Click “Install”! The last dialog box which says the last step may take a couple of minutes to complete pops up (for me, anyway) after the install is complete. Click “Next” to finish the ordeal. Next pops up a harmless dialog box that announces once again that it is done and asks if you want to run the app. Whether you do or not, clearing this box brings up one last box recommending you reboot. It then launches your default browser to it’s webpage.

Hardly seems worth it, but the app does work very well, is powerful and is otherwise free. Thank goodness you do not need to go through all this kerfuffle when updates are issued! In the end, please read dialog boxes carefully when you install things and do not reflexively click “Next”. You never know what you’ll end up with!

Recovering From Neurosurgery


Perhaps I should have titled this ‘You Have No Idea What Pain Is!’… Don’t worry; I’m not going to whinge about it. The surgery turned out to be more complicated than the surgeon first thought and instead of correcting three vertebrae, five had to opened to relieve pressure on my spinal cord. They filled in the openings in the vertebrae with bone taken from my pelvis and then bolted everything together with titanium plates. As a result, my neurosurgeon had to call in one of his partners to assist in the surgery and I was on the operating table for eight hours instead of the anticipated four hours.

MorphineWhen I awoke, the doctor made sure I could move my toes and fingers and such and that I could feel them. I was in absolutely no pain then. Thank you, whoever found a way to produce morphine! Couldn’t talk tho, as when they go in through an incision on your throat, the use a special tool to move your esophagus and trachea out of the way. As a result, you end up with one hell of fucking sore throat and a pronounced inability to swallow. Liquid foods only.

EDK PumpMy doctor said once the morphine wore off, I would likely have a lot of pain. Was THAT an understatement. I was so glad that they gave me a button to press that metered out a dose of morphine into my IV whenever I pressed it. I should say, however, that it wasn’t entirely under my control; I could get morphine as I needed it, but it kept track of how much was dispensed per hour and would not exceed the maximum dosage to which it was set. But I’m not greedy. It met me needs the way it was set up, but there were times when it got close.

Ok. let me start off by saying that I have had many different things inserted in one orifice or another, but I have never, ever had a catherer stuck in me. I can understand the reasoning; you don’t want someone knocked out for more than eight hours spraying piss all over the operating room. I get it. But they stick this tube up your urethra into your bladder to continually drain urine.You have no control over it and it feels like you’re constantly wetting the bed. Then comes the day you’re being released and it’s time to remove it. My issue was I was unconscious when it was inserted and fully awake when they intended to pull it out. I asked the nurse if it was going to hurt. He looked at me (yes, it was a male nurse) and said “It’s not going to be pleasant.” he saw the look of terror on me face and said he’d go talk to the doctor on the floor. A couple of minutes later he returns with a small plastic cup and hands to me. I looked at him and he said “Seconal. Take them and I’ll be back in 20 minutes.” I was never so grateful! He came back in along with a nurse’s aide and asked how I was feeling. To be honest, I was a fucking space cadet. He lifted the sheet, spread my legs (that sounds so much more sensual than it was!) and it was all over in a few seconds. I was so glad I was stoned out because I could still feel the pain, but I didn’t care. He covered me up and said all of my discharge papers had been approved and I could be picked up by my family as soon as I could pee on my own. I drank about 3 pitchers of water but I finally managed to squeeze some out! Yay! I was free!

OxycodoneThey sent me home with a script for a hundred Oxycodone (otherwise known as hillbilly heroin) and a warning that once the morphine shot they game me just before leaving wore off, I was going to be in a lot of pain. For me, anyway, the morphine didn’t wear off gradually with the pain easing in. No, it was more like someone hit the light switch. BAM! My entire back from my waist upto and over my shoulders was on fire with pain. It was like how muscles feel the day after you first start working out and you overdo it. Only more so. A lot more so. Funny thing about the Oxy’s. At least for me, they don’t get rid of the pain. If you concentrate, the pain is still there, but you don’t give a shit, which is fine. But you know, these days when you walk into a chemist’s and hand them a script for what is basically legal heroin, you automatically get the stink-eye. Right. I’m wearing this fucking collar as a fashion statement and I have a 4 inch scar across my throat because I was shaving me armpits and the razor slipped. He stared at the script, stared at me and stared at the script some more. My script called for 2 pills every 4 hours. That’s 12 pills a day. If you do the math, 100 pills is an 8 day supply. It took summoning the manager, forcing him to call my surgeon’s office and threatening to file a formal complaint with their corporate office calling the local newspapers but I finally got my meds. The whole experience left me outraged that everyone assumes the worst of everyone else by default. I will never spend another cent in that establishment and I will file a complaint with their corporate drones. Fucking morons.

Rigid Neck BraceAnyway, after about a month, I was able to give up the painkillers and my doctor put me in a soft collar instead of the rigid plastic neck brace. I go back on Tuesday for evaluation and I hope I’m healed up enough to get some more privileges back. Like driving. Wearing the collar I can’t drive because I can’t turn my head. I can’t interview for work looking like a refugee from a whiplash scam. I can’t even get laid due to the rapid repetitive motion! I do admit, however, that it hasn’t stopped me masturbating…. (grin)

Almost Ready For Surgery.

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Yeah… Saw a neurologist on Wednesday to have the Nerve Conduction Study (the electric shock one) and the EMG test (the 2 inch needles one) redone as the results from the first go around were ‘inconclusive’. The first time I had it done, the thought of the needles freaked me out, but to tell the truth it didn’t actually hurt until the next day. THIS time it hurt. A lot. But at least we have results. The doctor mentioned half a dozen nerves and muscles that weren’t fully functional and I have the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome. I was like, “Yeah, but those things aren’t bothering me. My left arm being little more than a paperweight does!”

The neurosurgeon is going to remove bone from 4 vertebrae (C4, C5, C6 &C7) to relieve the pressure on my spinal cord. The gap will be filled in using bone from my hip which should fuse to the vertebrae more readily than using cadaver bone. Then titanium plates, rods and bolts will be used to hold it all together whilst it heals. Everyone tells me that my hip is going to hurt a lot more than my neck after the operation and I really want to believe that, but…

All this fun is scheduled to take place on Monday, June 9th. At 5:30 in the morning. I just hope the surgeon will be more awake than I will be as I didn’t think doctors ever got up that early unless they got to grip a golf club. The operation should take between 2 and 4 hours and barring any complications, I’ll be sent home on Tuesday the 10th. Then I get to wear one of those rigid neck braces for a month. I’m REALLY looking forward to THAT!

I will be glad to finally get this over with.

Love, Poppy xxxxx

Rumors of My Demise Have Been (Somewhat) Exaggerated!

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Hi! It’s now late April and I haven’t updated this page since last August. Truth is, since that time, I have been in and out of hospital with one thing and then another. Very early one morning, I was walking my Akita during a light rain. It was around 4:30 in the morning and I was not all that alert. Something darted across the lawn and all 135 pounds of teeth, fur and muscles took off after it. Unfortunately, I was attached to the other end of the lead. My left arm was wrenched backwards and I felt something pop. I knew right away that it couldn’t be good. Under-fucking-statement of the bloody year.

I go to see my doctor because my shoulder really, really hurts and I can’t move it voluntarily. He checks a few things and refers me ti a specialist who checks a few more things and further refers me to yet another doctors, a specialist’s specialist. He checks a few more things and sends me for an MRI. Off to hospital I go for the test. If you’ve never experienced an MRI, it is somewhat akin to having your head in a metal rubbish bin while someone who doesn’t like you very much bangs on the side of the bin with a bat.

Torn Rotator CuffMRI result? I partially (mostly is a more accurate term) separated three tendons in my shoulder, an injury that is most often referred to as a Torn Rotator Cuff. Ouch. And of course, being 41 years of age and never having had a general anesthesia in my entire life, I get all the ‘concerned looks’. I can almost hear them thinking ‘tsk, tsk’ as they knit their eyebrows together. One of the suggestions was to ‘learn to live with it.’ EXCUSE ME???? Well, due to my advanced age and seeing as how I’ve had a stress test, that was next to determine if my heart is strong enough to survive having me shoulder stitched back up. Since I was sort of off balance with my useless arm just hanging there, they scheduled me for a nuclear stress test where they have you lie on a gurney and inject you with a drug that makes you feel like you’ve just run a bloody marathon. You’re short of breath, panting, sweating and your heart is pounding. Fun.

Naturally, I fail the stress test. Only one parameter, but in a stress test, failing even one is as bad. Cardiologist tells me it is indicating a blockage in one of my arteries. This just keeps on getting better and better. So of I go then, back to hospital for an angiogram. On a Saturday. At 5am. I never knew doctors were allowed to be up that early on a weekend without a golf club in their hand. If you’ve had an angiogram, you’re taken to the operating room where you’re injected with what they refer to as ‘joy juice’. You remain awake, but you don’t give a fuck about anything. At all. Which is a good thing, because the procedure consists of shaving your pubs (at least I saved them that little job… ) and inserting a fiber-optic camera into a blood vessel in your groin and snaking it up through your torso, across, down and stopping at a point where they can see where the artery enters the hearts.

AngiogramThankfully, me arteries were completely clear! Fuck you, stress test!!

We schedule the operation to repair my shoulder. It only took about an hour and then I awoke with my arm in a high-tech sling with straps all over my torso and bolsters and buckles… They told me to keep the sling on, don’t get the incisions wet for a few days and to change the dressings daily. Four weeks later, I have an appointment with the surgeon to see how I’m healing. He checked the range of motion, tells me I don’t have to wear the sling unless I go outdoors and starts me with a physical therapist. While all this was going, somehow Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s crept up on me and slipped past. I start physical therapy the third week of January.

I see the doctor once or twice more and he is not pleased with how long my recovery is taking. It is now mid March and while it has improved, I still don’t have full voluntary control. I can’t bend my arm against gravity. I can’t raise it over my head. No pain, no loss of sensation, but no control. He feels there is another problem going on, most likely nerve damage in my neck. Next stop, my old friends in the Radiology Department at hospital for yet another MRI. I stick me head back in the steel rubbish bin and that git that doesn’t like me very much begand with the bat. Back to the surgeon’s office. You know it’s going to be bad when he comes in and goes to the whiteboard and begins drawing.

GE Signa MRIThey found I have a condition called Cervical Spinal Stenosis in four of my neck vertebrae, C4, C5, C6 and C7, of which C7 is described as ‘severe’ and the others as ‘moderate’. What stenosis means is that the left nerve canal in the vertebrae through which the nerve bundles run in experiencing bone growth in the canal that is not supposed to be happening and is pressing on the nerve bundles, causing them to no longer transmit signals from my brain to the muscles correctly.

Looks like I will need an operation called a laminectomy where using minimal incisions, the surgeon goes in with a fiber optic scope and micro tool or lasers through a half inch long opening and removes layers oof bone to relieve the pressure on the nerve bundle. AS long as the nerves haven’t been permanently damaged, recovery can be in as little as a few days.

Nerve conduction studyBut before THAT can happen, I needed, wait for it… MORE TESTS!!! Off I go to a diagnostic specialist who ran a Nerve Conduction Study that was supposed to determine the ability of the downstream nerves to carry signals by applying electrical stimulation to nerves through the skin, say, at the elbow and measuring the signal at the fingertips. Well, that is what it is supposed to do on people with normal nerves and skin. Uh-uh. Not me. Five times the amperage was applied, me arm was flopping around like a deranged fish and the signal at me fingers made no sense whatsoever. He told me according to those readings, none of the motor control nerves were working even in me good arm and yet, I was moving about just fine.

ElectromyogramNext came the Electromyogram, or EMG test. This consisted of inserting a two inch long double needle with a sensor in the tip to measure the electrical levels in the muscle when you attempt to contract it. Yes I said ‘inserting’. All the way to the center of the muscle. From the base of me skull down to me thumb. Forty two times. Over the course of two hours.

This brings us to today. Tomorrow, the 23rd, I meet with the neurosurgeon who will go over all of the test results and the reports from five different specialists and discuss what the surgery entails, if that indeed is one of the available options. And it damn well better be. But somehow, I have the sneaking suspicion he will read everything, go through the MRI films, turn to me and say “Well, one option is you could learn to live with it.”

Thanks for putting up with me! I’ll post an update tomorrow afternoon as to what the surgeon suggests. Also, in the days to come, I will be re-inventing my blog an re-vitalizing it, something for which I hope you’ll join me.

Love to all, Poppy

Ladies! Mount Your Bikes!

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Bike AdvertWe all know that exercise is the best way to lose weight and get back into shape, but let’s face it. Most exercise is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Naked Blonde On BikeTake bicycle riding, for example. Sure, it’s better for the environment than popping out to the store in your car. And there’s no question that it’s better for your health, not to mention being economical. But it’s boring as hell. Now, you may ask, what can be done to make bike riding less boring and more exciting? What would you like? Do you want your bike to get you off, too? Well, OK. You can now have multiple orgasms while riding your bike! No lie!

Vibrating Seat CoverThe Happy Ride, made by Sexshop365 (which sounds like a Twitter username but it actually is an UK adult toy store), is a battery powered bicycle seat cover that vibrates while you pedal around. The controls are hidden in a discreet pocket in the back so you can adjust it to your preferred level of stimulation, from “Ooooo, this is NICE!” to “OH GOD THE LIGHT’S TURNING RED, FUCK IT, I’M CUMINNNNNG!!”

Naked Bike Riding RedheadIt looks like a pretty standard black bike seat cover — no rabbit attachments or 9″ purple dildos sticking out (although that could be an exciting accessory…) — so nobody needs to know how much you’re truly enjoying your ride. The fact that you’re riding your bike is a perfect explanation of why you’re red-faced and panting uncontrollably. Or that when you take the seat off your bike and bring it into work with you, that its not just a theft-prevention measure. Of course, it may be more practical to forgo wearing spandex shorts and instead, wear a skirt that nicely covers the seat, but make sure to leave your knickers at home so you have good pussy-to-seat contact! If you’re real daring, ride the bike in the nude, although this may draw unwanted attention in some locales.

Naked Group of GirlsSo there you have it! Get some solid exercise and save the environment whilst riding to the store, work or to church on Sunday! That’s all for now, sweethearts! As for me, I think I’ll spend the $40 and upgrade my bike seat!

Poppy xxxxxx

I’m Sorry For Not Updating More Often!

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My sincerest apologies to one and all for being away from my blog for so long. There is no excuse, really, except that I was busy with work and family issues to the point where I simply couldn’t force myself to sit down and do the research required to write a worthwhile article.

Well, that has changed. Maybe I just needed a break. I feel re-energized and raring to go. I will be writing and posting new technical, editorial, funny and of course, sexual articles. Matter of fact, a new article will follow this one in a matter of minutes.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see explicit photos of me that I can’t show here, check out my Twitter account by clicking this link or the button in the sidebar.

Love all you guys!

Poppy xxxxx

Being a Scot is all about attitude!

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True. Being a Scot is not just an ethnicity or a nationality, it is really all about attitude. Scots like to cut through the bullshit and get to the heart of the matter, and they have little tolerance for fools. Here’s a Pic Of The Day that shows exactly what I’m talking about!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Love ya, Poppy

Fucking Keep It!

A Space Oddity – Chris Hadfield

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When I first saw this version of David Bowie’s ‘A Space Oddity’ performed by Commander Chris Hadfield from the International Space Station (ISS), I must have watched it a dozen times. First off, it’s a brilliantly creative idea, it’s certainly well done and the views from the ISS are nothing short of spectacular! The editing work of the Commander’s brother, Evan Hadfield, is also first rate.

David Bowie himself has given Commander Hadfield the thumbs up for the Canadian astronaut’s zero gravity version of Space Oddity. The five-minute video was praised on Bowie’s official Facebook page: “It’s possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”

Cmdr Chris HadfieldThere you have it. Commander Hadfield, Canada’s top astronaut, had a brilliant idea. David Bowie, the original composer and performer of the song is fully in favour of it. The 15 million (and counting) YouTube hits show that the people of Earth approve. HOWEVER, as you might assume, there is somebody who has gotten their pubic hair in a twist over it. Copyright attorneys. Yup, the bloodsucking leeches of the entertainment industry. They are attempting to figure out which country’s copyright laws may have been violated by the unapproved (1) video recording, (2) audio recording and (3) – wait for it… this is a killer.. performance before a live audience, i.e., the other astronauts and cosmonauts onboard the ISS.

Bloody hell! When the composer, original performer and OWNER of the copyright, namely David Bowie, has no problem with it, where the hell do these greedy tossers get off opening their pie holes about it!

Pisses me off! And I say, Live Long And Prosper, Commander Hadfield! Uh-oh.. I think the Paramount attorneys are knocking at me door…

Love ya all
Poppy xxxxxx

Time For A Tablet?

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Apple_iPadI’ve been involved with technology for quite some time. It all began due to my interest in old Sci-Fi movies on the Telly. Not to mention Doctor Who, Star Trek, Space 1999 (remember that one?). I also latched onto astronomy and physics sites as they became available on the Internet. I’ve worked with computers for quite some time, predominately in graphics design, and more recently, data center and server farm design and setup. I own desktop PCs, servers, laptops, smart phones, storage arrays…. You get the picture.

So_Many_TabletsNow it’s confession time. I do not own, nor, until recently, have I ever seen a reason to own, a tablet PC. I can hear the gasps and cries of “Heretic!!”. I’ve always been from the school of buying equipment that was designed to be upgradable. You need a larger hard drive? Buy a larger one and replace the drive. Perhaps get rid of the hard drive altogether and install a Solid State Drive, like I’ve done with my laptops. Same thing holds for faster CPU’s, more memory, higher resolution displays; the list goes on. However, none of that is possible with a tablet. What you buy is what you will have until you decide to replace the entire unit. And when they were introduce, tablets were rather on the expensive side for something I would want to replace six months later.

Kindle_Fire_HD_8,9All that being said, I am starting to come around, mainly because competition has increased the choices available and prices have tumbled to a fraction of what they were s few years ago. So, I am thinking it may be time to pick one up. I so have a Kindle Reader which I use while flying. Perhaps a good way to start would be to upgrade to a Kindle Fire. I’ll keep you posted on my experience.

Comments? What are your recommendations?

Let me know!

Love you all, Poppy xxxxx

Why Are Space Probe Photographs in B&W?

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Hi, my dears;

It would seem I’ve been neglecting you, but I have been terrifically busy with other projects. I know that isn’t an excuse, but i did want to let you know. But onto the subject matter for today:

Space Probe Photographs

Cassini-HuygensI subscribe to several tech astronautic websites. You know, the ones that report on ongoing space missions, new developments, future projects; that sort of thing. I was reading through an article about the Cassini-Huygens mission to the moons of Saturn which has been sending back photos and data since its arrival in 2004. Simply amazing stuff. As is my habit, I scanned through some of the comments and one caught my attention, mostly because I’ve seen similar comments in numerous other articles. As I intend to refute everything in the comment, I’m not going to give out the gentleman’s name, nor the article to which his comment was submitted. Here is his comment:

“How is it possible that in 2013 when even the cheapest phone has a color camera, all the public gets is a black and white photo from a mission funded by tax payers!”

It appears that many people assume that since a spacecraft is performing a mission in 2013 that it is equipped with 2013 technology. But let’s look at a few facts. Cassini is not on a pleasure drive through the park. Since the Earth and Saturn are moving through space and orbiting the sun at different velocities (Saturn takes 29.1 earth years to complete 1 orbit of the sun), you cannot get from the Earth to Saturn by traveling in a straight line. I’m not going to give a lesson in Celestial Mechanics, but all you really need to know is that as in the American sport of Football, the Quarterback does not throw the ball to where the wide receiver is, but to where the receiver will be when the ball gets there. So while Saturn is, on the average, 868 Million miles from the Earth, Cassini has racked up 3.6 Billion miles in it’s journey.
Huygens_ImageThat journey took Cassini almost 8 years. It has been orbiting Saturn and visiting its moons for the last 9 years. During that time, it has sent back to mission control at JPL, 444 Gigabytes of scientific data and 300,000 hi-resolution photographs, all the while traveling in different orbits around Saturn, visiting dozens of its 60 moons. The Cassini spacecraft also launched the Huygens probe which landed on Titan in January of 2005. Huygens survived its plunge through the huge moon’s thick atmosphere and sent data back to Earth for about 90 minutes after landing. But let’s get back to the issue at hand. Why are all the photographs in black and white?

Cassini-Huygens_AssemblyCassini was launched 16 years ago, in 1997. So your iPhone today can take great colour photographs, right? How well did your cell phone do that in 1997? Oh, wait. Cell phones didn’t HAVE cameras in 1997. Back then, cell phones had enough trouble making phone calls. But Cassini doesn’t even have 1997 technology. That was when it was launched, NOT when it was engineered and built.

The engineering design began in 1979 and wasn’t finalized until 1986, due to budget cuts along the way. By canceling another planned deep space probe, NASA was able to build the 3.8 Billion dollar, 22 foot long spacecraft by 1995, although the launch window wasn’t until October of 1997. (Remember all that nasty little Celestial Mechanics stuff and the Quarterback?).

saturnmethaneSo basically, due to a combination of Cassini being designed using 40 year old technology and colour photographs needing many times the bandwidth to transmit than does black and white, we get black and white photographs.

The system that controls the taking of the photographs, the collection and analysis of dust particles and the flight trajectories, is a 1970s era 16-bit MIL-STD-1750A computer designed by the USAF for flight and weapons control systems of aircraft during the Vietnam war. A 16-bit computer address bus can address a maximum of 64-Megabytes of memory. That’s it. My laptop computer has 8-Gigabytes of memory. A typical smartphone has at least 1-Gigabyte of memory. (Keep in mind that 1-Gigabyte = 1,000-Megabytes.) Also, the 1750A has a single CPU running at a speed of 1Mhz. My desktop system has 2 quad core CPUs, which is 8 CPUs, each running at 2.4Ghz, or 2,400 times faster than the 1750A CPU. The USAF discontinued use of the MIL-STD-1750A computer in 1996.
True_Colour_SaturnI can hear the faint echoes of readers saying “What the Fuck? I’ve SEEN colour photographs of Saturn!” Ummm. you have and you haven’t. When NASA and JPL want to release a colour photo, a black and white image is taken 4 times. First, a full B&W image, then an image through a red filter, an image through a blue filter and lastly, an image through a green filter. The computers at JPL the examine the B&W image, followed by each filtered image. The data missing from each filtered image that is in the B&W image represents the colour data blocked by that filter. Using this data, the computer then creates a RGB composite colour photograph. To further complicate things, they sometimes arbitrarily select colours to make the images easier to see, or to intentionally highlight a particular aspect, such as a storm.

False_Colour_SaturnIf you look at the colour images on the NASA or JPL website, they are religiously marked as ‘True Colour” or “False Colour”. The problem arises when the media publishs these photographs leaving this little detail out so that people believe they are seeing something real when what it does depict is a technician’s idea of a pretty colour purple. I’ve even seen ‘latest photograghs’ shown on news shows that are clearly marked on the JPL website as an ‘artist rendition’. Do yourself a favour; go to the source and be sure.

Saturn_Tilt_NASASo before making wisecracks about why the pictures aren’t in colour, give a little thought about how much you could get done at work if your system were to be replaced with a 40 year old computer that has 1/125th the memory capacity and runs 2400 times slower. Sort of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

Love ya, Poppy xxxxx

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