Lunch & Learn: Digitizing the Universe From Your Backyard with Robert Vanderbei

horsehead.jpgSays Robert Vanderbei, chair of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton, the modern digital world is making it possible, and almost easy, for amateurs to take astrophotos in their own backyards that are as good as or better than those taken at professional observatories only a generation ago. The key enablers are computer controlled mounts for very precise pointing control, CCD cameras, and modern image processing tools.
In his February 27 Lunch ‘n Learn talk, he shared many of the images that he captured with his own equipment from his Montgomery, NJ home, as well as a working methodology to guide amateurs who wish to pursue astrophotography affordably.

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Lunch & Learn: Portable Media: Fun Players and Phones with Doug Dixon

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At the Lunch ‘n Learn seminar on March 15, Douglas Dixon demonstrated dozens of small portable storage devices, media players, and multi-function devices. Mr. Dixon is a technology consultant with Manifest Technology, the Editor-in-Chief of the International Recording Media Association‘s Mediaware Magazine, Technical Editor for Camcorder & Computer Video Magazine, and a frequent contributor for many information technology publications.
Many of you have used or seen flash sticks, essentially removable hard disks with built in USB ports all on a chewing gum-sized stick. As Mr. Dixon demonstrated, these devices are becoming smaller and smaller, less and less expensive, and are now beginning to come with reloaded content in their Read-only memory (ROM). Newer models have LCD displays with capacity meters, offer security including fingerprint readers, and come in different colors and styles. Imation provides flash memory on a wristband. Swissbit has even added it as a component on a Swiss Army Knife!

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