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Re: Open Source Moved the Cheese


In my case I picked up a 286 computer sitting on the curb on garbage day and
used that for the CPU.  The RAM had been pulled, but no problem...FODtrack
runs just fine in less than 640k !!

Later "upgraded" to a 486.  FODtrack is great!

Grant Zehr AA9LC
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Davis" <ke9v@comcast.net>
To: "amsat-bb" <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 10:56 AM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Open Source Moved the Cheese

> For the longest time I have lamented the demise of the TrakBox. It
> seemed to make so much more sense as a device for tracking and tuning.
> I liked the fact that it was independent from the shack computer, was
> platform independent, and didn't need a hard to find ISA slot, etc.
> In fact, I had started to work on a single board controller that would
> handle the tracking/tuning chores. I figured that instead of switches
> and an LCD display for a user interface, it should include an onboard
> Web server and I could connect it to the home network (tcpip). It could
> then be completely configured via the Web browser on my shack computer.
> That would give me a tracker/tuner box that would operate without using
> my shack computer, be platform independent (anything on the network with
> a Web browser could configure it) and being "connected" it could even
> fetch fresh Keps on it's own.
> Looking at the available hardware (JStamp, etc.) I figured that such a
> contraption could be built for under $350.
> I was about to send a note to this list asking if anyone was interested
> in collaborating on such a project until I discovered the $199 PC from
> Wal-Mart...this is not an advert for Wal-Mart, but...
> For under $200 I get a pre-configured 800 MHz VIA C3 processor with
> 128 MB memory, 10 GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, Integrated 10/100 LAN and
> Linux pre-installed. The box has no monitor, but who needs one?
> I install Predict and FODtrack and assemble the FOD interface, and I have
> exactly what I was looking for for about $250 (PC, sales tax, FOD
> interface hardware).
> It's an independent box that sits on the home network. A simple cron job
> fetches fresh Keps everyday. I can telnet into the box from my main
> computer and run Predict to track whatever I want and/or to configure
> the system remotely. Plus it has enough spare horsepower to search for
> extraterrestrials (SETI client for Unix), serve up Web pages, and route
> email. From my office or from a hotel on the road, I can SSH into the new
> box and update software, run pass predictions, schedule jobs, monitor
> what my rotors are doing, etc.
> It would seem that the falling price of computing gear, coupled with
> open source software will continue to obviate the need for certain,
> custom hardware applications and it needs to be considered when looking
> for a "custom" solution.
> Many thanks to John, KD2BD (Predict) and Manfred, XQ2FOD (FODtrack) for
> their hard work available for us all.
> --
> 73, Jeff Davis
> ----
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