Amazing Shots of the DART Asteroid Impact

NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully collided with an asteroid yesterday to see if a kinetic impact can nudge a threatening asteroid away from a collision with Earth.

The target was Didymos – a twin asteroid system that’s not in any danger of hitting the Earth and is about 6 million miles away. The mission targeted the smaller rock in the Didymos system that is orbiting the larger one. Astronomers and scientists will now observe the orbit of the small rock around the large one to see if any changes, slowdowns, etc. happened as a result of the impact.

DART hit the asteroid at a speed of about 14,000 miles per hour – easily 8 times faster than a rifle shot. The spacecraft weighed approximately 1200 pounds at the time of impact. It also beamed back pictures all the way to its demise:

Check out the detail beamed back from DART right before it impacted the surface:

And this amazing shot from a South African telescope captured the impact from here on Earth (via Twitter):

It’ll be awhile until the full “impact” of the impact will be known. But scientists are pretty confident that they’ll observe enough of a movement to help inform a future deflection mission.

AMD’s Processor Model Numbers Explained

AMD announced their model naming scheme for their Ryzen processors today complete with a helpful chart below for consumers to figure out exactly what it is they’re getting:

The first number will be the model year, followed by the market segment. The most important number I think will be the third one which refers to the processor’s architecture. As we saw with the 5000 series Ryzen chips, some were running with the older “Zen 2” architecture while others had the newer “Zen 3.”

This chart should help make sense of what exactly is in the processor driving your PC in the years ahead.

The Week Ahead

After two and a half weeks of back and forth travel I am finally back in one place for a little bit! In addition to the NASA trip I went to NYC for the Lenovo event and took a family vacation to Nantucket. I do have another trip to NYC in two weeks but beyond that I am going to try and get caught up on my huge backlog of tech reviews!

The NASA trip was fun and productive but sadly there wasn’t much of an audience for the dispatch video from the Kennedy Space Center. A launch would have helped the video’s performance of course. Oddly the livestream I did from there did better. But these are the sorts of things I enjoy doing and I’ll keep doing them until I figure out how I can connect space content to a general audience. If you haven’t watched definitely check it out – we had some great interviews!

It’s actually kind of a bummer that my last couple of dispatch videos have performed so poorly. I really like getting out of the house every once and awhile!

This is a shorter week as today is Labor Day here in the USA and I’m going to take a little breather for at least a portion of the day. But I have three videos ready to go: a review for retro gaming fans of the 3DO FZ1-ODE, a review of a well rounded USB-C portable dock/hub, and another fun dispatch video from my visit to Retro World Expo! That video will have some interviews with RetroRGB, EposVox and the creator of the NESMaker !

I have a huge backlog of laptops to review from Dell, HP and Lenovo! So I’ll be working through that pile but also looking at that ARM based Mini PC, testing out the new version of Parallels for the Mac that simplifies ARM Windows 11, some new pro level external SSDs from WD and a lot more.

Stay tuned!

Update on my Artemis I Coverage

I am heading back from Florida following the scrub of the Artemis I launch attempt yesterday. I have a crazy travel story about all of the obstacles that were in the way getting down here which I’ll talk about on the next wrap up video :).

While there is an opportunity to try again on Friday the fact that NASA really doesn’t know what caused the engine issue leads me to think they’ll take some more time to troubleshoot. This issue involved one of the changes they made to the rocket engines powering the core stage.

The weather is also an issue – in fact the weather would have likely impacted yesterday’s attempt even if everything was working perfectly. The ocean water is quite warm this time of year so storms frequently pop up as they did at the press site yesterday around launch time.

If they do try a Friday attempt I will attempt to get back down but my money’s going to be on October.

Even though we didn’t get a launch the trip was still productive. NASA set up a media opportunity at the Kennedy Space Center and I was able to get some great interviews with scientists, engineers and an astronaut working on the mission. I also reconnected with a bunch of my content creator friends in the space community who I haven’t seen in quite some time.

I will be holding uploading what I recorded until I get a sense of the launch schedule. I’d love to have a launch be the end cap of the video :).

The shot above is a captured frame from my camera’s view of the launch pad from the NASA press site. Even though the rocket is three miles away it’s so big that the view we get is spectacular. Just imagine strapping some rockets onto the Statute of Liberty to get a sense of its size.

Out of This World Mobile Phone Announcements?

I’m interested to see what will be announced by T-Mobile and SpaceX later this evening. SpaceX posted this on their Twitter account yesterday:

My guess is Starlink backhaul for remote T-mobile towers to expand their footprint. It’ll be much easier for them to connect to Starlink than run fiber to hard to reach places.

Also yesterday Apple dropped the invite for their latest iPhone event. No, I was not invited but I did see what the invite looked like from what others have posted:

Apple’s Tweet announcing the event also alludes to an outer space theme:

My guess on Apple’s announcement is that new iPhones will work with the Globalstar constellation of low earth orbiting satellites. A few months ago Globalstar announced a major deal with a “global customer” for some form of connectivity from their satellites.

But don’t you need a huge dish for this? Nope! As I demo’ed the other day a handheld radio can get short messages (and sometimes full voice communications) back and forth to the International Space Station. Larger antennas make it easier of course but if there’s a satellite always overhead the challenge of getting a message delivered is reduced significantly.

I did a whole video about this a few months ago. You can check it out here!

The Week Ahead

This will most definitely be a busy week! I have a few videos “in the can” coming up including a review of a WD external SSD for gamers posting tonight, a VisionTek portable dock that I think works well for desktop use and a look at how a smartphones can send text messages through the ISS without a cellular network or Internet.

I also hope to shoot my next Plex video this week along with one or two other video reviews. I am overloaded with laptops again so I will try to get one or two of those done. I’m also eager to dig into the Unihertz phone that has a built in HAM radio.

On Saturday I’ll be at RetroWorldExpo in Hartford, Connecticut. From there I’ll be heading to the airport and flying down to Florida for the launch of Artemis I! After that we’ll get back to a more regular cadence here.

Stay tuned!

You can communicate with the ISS using just a handheld radio with its built in “rubber duck” antenna!

Now that the ISS’s digipeater is active there are several opportunities per day to try out different ways of confirming a radio contact with it.

Yesterday I wanted to see if it’s possible to get a data packet heard by the station 250 miles up with just the “rubber duck” antenna that came equipped with my super low-end 8 watt Baofang BF-F8HP radio (affiliate link).

Normally for satellite communications I use an Arrow Antenna designed specifically for satellite work. But is it possible to use something smaller and more portable? The answer is yes but it’s going to be much more challenging.

I attempted this contact when the station was almost directly over my location for the best results. I attached the radio to my computer with the BTECH-APRS-V01 (affiliate link) cable that converts the radio’s mic and headphone jacks into a three prong TRRS connector for smartphones and laptops with a single headphone/microphone jack on board.

After sending a ton of packets into the air while tracking the station with my smartphone it looks like one of them actually made it according to that listens for packets beamed back down from the station.

I was traveling when I did this so I didn’t have my Windows computer with me. I used an iOS app called PulseModem running on my Mac in its iOS compatibility mode. It was having trouble triggering the radio’s VOX so I probably sent less packets than I thought I did. I ended up holding down the PTT button on the radio and pushing transmit on the computer’s screen.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this works with a more reliable set up on future passes!

What’s On Tap This Week and Next

The next two weeks will be a little disruptive from my usual production cadence. I have a quick day trip out to New York City tomorrow for a product preview that you’ll see a little later in September and then taking a few days off for some family time. The following week I’ll be headed down to Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch of Artemis I!

You can hear about all of the stuff I have in the works in last night’s wrapup video.

The good news is that I’m working to make sure I have plenty of content to bridge the gaps in production. So I have a bunch of things already “in the can” and at least one more video today I’m hoping to get done. A few projects I started did not go the way I had expected so they require a little more work.

Tomorrow I’ll have a review of the new Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X (affiliate link) probably the nicest laptop I’ve looked at from Lenovo over the last year. It’s relatively small and light but has both a Ryzen 6900HS AND a Nvidia RTX 3050 inside. I tested things using both the built in graphics and the discrete 3050 to see how this new AMD chip performs.

I will likely pop up with a livestream later this morning / early afternoon tinkering with an Atari 2600 and a flash cartridge for an upcoming video.

The ISS Digipeater is Active!

The astronauts turned on a data packet repeater on the space station last week. When the station is overhead licensed amateur radio operators can send short messages to the station and it re-transmits those messages back to the ground. I had a successful transmission on my first shot!

Somebody from Virginia heard me through the station and sent a message back:

To hit the repeater I used a handheld radio, an Arrow Satellite antenna, and a Signalink USB soundbox that I talked about in this video. I used a piece of software called PinPoint to manage the data packet traffic which connects up with another piece of software called Direwolf that listens for the packets and passes them to Pinpoint.

Here’s a fun video from RetroRecipes where they made contact using a Commodore 64! This worked because the packet data protocol used is the same one that was used in the 1980s to transmit data over the radio. Sometimes when something works it doesn’t need to change all that much.

This repeater isn’t always active. But the voice repeater on the station is usually going all the time. Sometimes you can even catch an astronaut operating the station during their break periods!

You can learn more about amateur radio on the ISS by visiting the ARISS website.

The Week Ahead

We’ve got another diverse range of content ahead this week.

One of the most successful series of smartphones I do on the channel are for Unihertz phones. They have carved out a niche for themselves making tiny phones and Android phones with Blackberry style keyboards. All of their phones are exceptionally rugged too which leads us to their latest creation called the “Tick Tock.”

The Tick Tock is a more traditional Android phone but it has a nifty second screen that can do a few functions now with more to come. You can get a sneak peak at it from my livestream I did on Amazon the other day (tune to about the 90 minute mark).

Also this week we’re going to look at the new Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X (affiliate link) which is powered by the new 6000 series Ryzen processors. It’s always fun to see how a new processor performs vs. the previous generation.

And finally we’ll have an interview I did with Tyler the Antenna Man! We’ll learn his origin story and how he became YouTube’s TV antenna expert and explore why there is no single “best” antenna on the market – but there are certainly a lot of bad ones.

I’m sure we’ll have a few other things in between too. Stay tuned!

Jason Scott Unearths Another Internet Time Capsule

Jason Scott, aka textfiles, is a master digital historian who works for the Internet Archive. Jason is the man behind the BBS Documentary, Get Lamp, and countless other pieces of digital history that are safely stored on his website but also on the Internet Archive.

His latest find is a 1996 documentary entitled “Life on the Internet” and is hosted by NPR’s Scott Simon. Scott describes it as follows in a twitter thread as:

It is well-made, narrated by NPR voice of Weekend Edition Scott Simon, and, after those of us perform the requisite oos and aahs of memory and nostalgia for the 1990s, is most striking for its off-the-rails naivety about the effects the Internet would have on society and life.

I was handed the VHS tapes over the weekend and I got all 13 done in a day and a half, and I wanted you all to see it as soon as possible. Scott Simon is, and I can’t emphasize this enough, a beyond sneering skeptic throughout the entire series. Nothing misses his contempt.

But once you wade past his sarcasm and disdain, you run into faces like James Gosling, who created Java, and the founders of Yahoo, before they got a chance to ruin everything.

Each episode is 30 minutes, the names are strangely spoken and not given title cards, but if you were there, you’ll get a rush of memories; and if you weren’t there, see how much we got it wrong.

The Week Ahead

Another week is upon us! I already have two videos shot and recorded that just need a little editing and polish. The first one you’ll see is the Lenovo Thinkpad X13s, an ARM powered Windows laptop. Windows 11 appears to have solved many (but not all) of the compatibility issues we saw with prior Windows ARM laptops I’ve reviewed. The 3rd generation 8cx processor also appears to be an improvement. Look for that one likely tomorrow night.

Also ready to go is part 2 of my tour of the ARRL headquarters for amateur radio here in the United States. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more viewership for Part 1 but I expect this video to improve in performance over time as the algorithm puts it in front of people who have more interest in the topic.

Also on the docket for this week is a new NAS device from ioSafe that’s designed to be fireproof and waterproof! We’ve reviewed these in the past – they are Synology NAS devices repackaged into these fireproof boxes.

Additionally got in a bunch of quick hit items that we’ll unbox on an Amazon Live Stream later this week too.

I think I might also do an update on the Analogue Pocket as it now looks like their new firmware allows for additional cores to be installed in the device.

Playing with the ThinkPad X13s Today

Back in March I was at a Lenovo preview event for their summer releases and they had a very intriguing ThinkPad on display with a new Snapdragon ARM processor. They sent me a loaner unit this week so I’m going to begin playing around with it today on a live stream.

Set your notifications! I’ll probably pop on YouTube and Amazon.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be another busy week here at Lon.TV!

Tomorrow we’ll have the already completed review of the solar powered Eufy camera. It works pretty nicely and is already up to 100% charge just sitting out in my yard. You can see the review on Amazon if you want to watch it now.

Today’s projects will consist of me shooting the Wrapup video and a review of the Google Pixel 6a. I’ve been playing around with the phone all weekend and like it quite a bit.

Tomorrow we’ll be spending most of the day at the national headquarters for amateur radio here in the US! It happens to be located less than 45 minutes up the road from me in Connecticut. We’ll get a tour, play with some of their crazy radio gear, and learn about why amateur radio is still relevant in our broadband internet age! Look for that video later this week.

Also this week will be my monthly sponsored Plex video. It’ll likely be about managing audio books with Plex based on a viewer suggestion unless they drop a new feature before the week is out.

Lots to come so stay tuned!

Busy Weekend on WhatNot!

I’ve really enjoyed playing around with the live streaming auction and sales platform WhatNot over the last two weeks. It’s crazy addictive both for buyers and sellers. I sold and gave away a trunkfull of stuff this weekend!

Even with a small number of viewers I’m finding retro games selling at or near market prices. They’ve done a good job of building small niches of collector communities so there’s always buyers lurking. They tapped into the FOMO aspect of collecting for sure.

This weekend we did a cost of shipping giveaway with viewers that was a ton of fun. I’ll likely do another one soon so be sure you are signed up for my store alert email!

I’ll likely do a video on Whatnot this week. In the meantime sign up with my affiliate link and you’ll get $15 to spend on the site. Be sure to follow me there too as I’ll be doing more of these sales and giveaways !

Fake JWST Photo Persists

The other day I posted about a Texas-based meteorologist who misinformed his viewers about a photograph he claimed was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope but actually came from an artist interpretation of another mission.

That same photo is popping up all over Facebook, with the same verbiage, getting shared thousands of times. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been seen by millions of people at this point.

Many of the accounts sharing it are fake accounts pretending to be Neal DeGrasse Tyson and the James Webb Space Telescope itself.

Twitter is not the only platform with a bot platform.

I tried to correct the record on the post. See it here and then read all of the toxicity that follows. This is what Facebook profits from – the dumbing down of humanity.

Today’s Docket

I am getting in the new Pixel 6a a little later this morning so I figured I’d do a livestream unboxing it and testing it! From the specs this has much of the same guts as the regular Pixel 6 phone.

So far the only differences I can see in the specs on the 6a vs. the more expensive regular 6 is a lower resolution wide angle camera, no wireless charging, gorilla glass 3 vs. the more advanced victus on the regular 6, a 60hz vs 90hz display, and 6GB vs 8GB of RAM. Check out the full spec comparison here at GSMArena to see if I’m missing anything. 

The new phone sells for $449 here in the USA unlocked and at similar prices worldwide. Pretty reasonable I think given its capabilities. 

Look for the stream around 2 p.m.ish eastern time both on my Youtube channel and Amazon! 

ATSC 3.0 Video Coming Tomorrow Night

My video on ATSC 3 will be coming up tomorrow! It was a fun experiment that involved a huge antenna tripod I bought for my new amateur radio adventure. The video is shot and ready to go but I’ve found videos published on Friday night do very poorly here on my channel so you’ll have to wait a day :). 

My Cost of Shipping Giveaways to Return on WhatNot!

I have a lot of tech gear I’m looking to get rid of. I used to do “cost of shipping giveaways” that required a ton of logistics on my end to manage but I think I’ve found a new way of doing it that might be kind of fun too.

I recently came across a new platform called “WhatNot.” It’s a live streaming auction and sales platform that is beginning to get some traction in the retro gaming and collectors communities.

How I’ll be using WhatNot is putting up products for sale at a marginal $5ish price + shipping and the first click gets it. I have asked them to implement a random selection process for the buyer and once that’s implemented we’ll switch to that model.

If you sign up for Whatnot using my affiliate link you’ll get a $15 credit that can be used on any seller’s livestream. 

WhatNot might ask you to become a “verified buyer” using a government issued ID through their Stripe payment processor. For the cost of shipping giveaway streams I will not require that so you can skip that step. Other sellers may require that verification, however. I will be requiring verified buyers on streams where I’m selling items vs. doing these cost of shipping giveaways. 

The Lon.TV Store is not going away – I plan to use WhatNot mostly for the items that were provided free of charge to the channel for review. 

If you follow me on WhatNot you’ll get notified of upcoming streams. I will also be announcing the dates and times of streams in my Store Alert email blast.  

I may pop on with a test stream selling off some retro gaming stuff to that community later this afternoon. I’ll look at doing the first giveaway stream later this weekend. 

Looking forward to seeing how this experiment works out!