StarSense Update


charles jagow
 

I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.

 

I had to open the mounting holes on the intermediate (flat) bracket a very small amount with a drill and then used three #8 screws to mount it to the centerline of the mirror box on my 18” dob.  The 18” dob used to be an Obsession UC, but its guts (optics and electronics) were transplanted into an Astro-Systems Quantum enclosure earlier this year.

 

The operation of the StarSense is straight forward.  You place your cell phone in the cradle and start the StarSense app on your phone.  You poke the StarSense button on the app and it walks you through aligning the phone’s camera with the StarSense cradle, then you align the StarSense app with your telescopes FOV.  Very similar to aligning a finder scope with an OTA.  If you leave your phone installed in the cradle and don’t inadvertently move the phone or cradle assembly, you don’t have to align everytime.

 

Use of the StarSense involves selecting an object either on the app’s display or searching for an object.  The app is based on the Sky Safari app.  I have been outside with both my 10” and now the 18” scopes outfitted with StarSense and it is amazingly accurate.  The accuracy improves as a result of taking care to align the app with your scopes FOV.  While doing that alignment one must “Zoom” the display in while centering the crosshairs of the app with the center of the scope’s center of FOV.  A couple of iterations of zooming and centering results in the StarSense app placing the object in the scope’s FOV consistently.

 

It is actually easy to use.  The only negative I have found is that the StarSense app’s catalog of astronomical objects is light.  They don’t include SAO stars. 

 

And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes.

 

When it warms up a bit, it was 9 degrees this morning, I plan on moving the StarSense cradle from the mirror box up to the upper cage assembly and nixing my finder scope.

 

I am quite sure that whoever wins the telescope next year will LOVE it!

 

I am hoping to get my observatory pad and garage built this spring, I am going to buy five of the 10” StarSense dobs and offer a stargazing class/session three nights a week up on the mountain that people can come experience the beauty of the heavens and the joy of actually seeing the objects.

 

On a different subject, here in Westcliffe at our Smokey Jack Observatory once a month during the summer on a Saturday night we open up the observatory and do Electronically Assisted Astronomy for the public.  This involves installing a Canon full frame digital camera on the C-14 SCT’s Fastar on the front lens.  The output of the camera is fed through some software that in real-time stacks up to 10 images and then we display the results on a 10’ x 4’ outside screen.  We have bench seating for about 70 people outside.  When I first heard of this, I thought it would be an epic failure, So much for my thinking.  It has turned out to be our most popular event here at the SJO.  People get to hear us describe the object and talk about it while the camera and software are collecting the images.  The first time we did it last summer several of us brough additional scopes out and setup on the external pads.  I set up the 18” in case anyone wanted to ACTUALLY look at the objects in the eyepiece.  With 60 some odd guests, I only had three or four different people want to look through the scope as opposed to the large screen.

 

Our Dark Skies campaign seems to be a never-ending project.  We just helped the towns enact real lighting ordinances specifying that all lights must conform to IDA recommendations.  We also got the towns to adopt 2,700 K temperature, full cutoff lights and a maximum of 1.16 Lumens per square foot illumination.  All 83 streetlights in Westcliffe will be swapped out, with Silver Cliff following suit soon afterwards.  The biggest challenge is convincing the agriculture community (ranchers) to swap out their high/low pressure mercury vapor yard lights to LEDs.  But it is something to work on.

 

A more professional review of the StarSense can be found HERE

 

I sure miss Sky Watch, Night Watch and SUN Day on Saturday, as well as missing everyone out there! 

 

There is a really great Star Party out here in the summer called the Rocky Mountain Star Stare.  It is in Gardner CO which is about 35 miles South of where I live in Westcliffe.  Last summer we had more than 400 registered participants.  Dale would love all of the door prizes they give out!  It would take about four days to drive out from Virginia.  Afterwards you could swing down and pester Ted about 10-12 hours away to the South!

 

 

 

From: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>
Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7:48 AM
To: CHARLES JAGOW <chuck@...>
Subject: Re: FW: Order #102037884 Confirmed

 

Thanks Chuck. Did you get the StarSense put on your telescope yet? Don't forget to let us know how it goes. I hope you and what's her name have a good holiday season.

 

Shawn

 

On Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 09:35 Charles Jagow <chuck@...> wrote:

 

From: Avery Store <avery@...>
Reply-To: <yourorder@...>
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 9:51 PM
To: CHARLES JAGOW <chuck@...>
Subject: Order #102037884 Confirmed

 

Chuck, thanks for your purchase! Your order is being processed and will ship soon. View your order now. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

AVERY

 

ORDER:

#102037884

PLACED:

Nov 29, 2022

 

 

Hi Chuck. Your order is being processed. You will receive a confirmation email when your order ships.

 

 

Order Summary

 

Shipment 1 of 1 via “Free Standard Shipping - Standard”

Estimated Delivery Date: Dec 8, 2022

 

WePrint Two Sided 5-1/2" x 1-3/4" Ticket Right Stub Wide

Material: Matte

Qty: 400 tickets

$76.00



Sub Total:

$76.00

Shipping:

$0.00

Tax:

$4.56

Total:

$80.56

 

Customer Information

 

Shipping Address

2701 DERRY DR

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia 23323-1727

US

7578421269

Payment Method

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Ted Forte
 

>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<

 

Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 

 

We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 

 

Ted

BBAA Southwest

 

From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

 

I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.

 


Jeff Goldstein
 

Chuck,

Thank you for these updates on StarSense.  It make great sense to use technology, right!

Jeff G

 

From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 12:55 PM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

 

I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.

 

I had to open the mounting holes on the intermediate (flat) bracket a very small amount with a drill and then used three #8 screws to mount it to the centerline of the mirror box on my 18” dob.  The 18” dob used to be an Obsession UC, but its guts (optics and electronics) were transplanted into an Astro-Systems Quantum enclosure earlier this year.

 

The operation of the StarSense is straight forward.  You place your cell phone in the cradle and start the StarSense app on your phone.  You poke the StarSense button on the app and it walks you through aligning the phone’s camera with the StarSense cradle, then you align the StarSense app with your telescopes FOV.  Very similar to aligning a finder scope with an OTA.  If you leave your phone installed in the cradle and don’t inadvertently move the phone or cradle assembly, you don’t have to align everytime.

 

Use of the StarSense involves selecting an object either on the app’s display or searching for an object.  The app is based on the Sky Safari app.  I have been outside with both my 10” and now the 18” scopes outfitted with StarSense and it is amazingly accurate.  The accuracy improves as a result of taking care to align the app with your scopes FOV.  While doing that alignment one must “Zoom” the display in while centering the crosshairs of the app with the center of the scope’s center of FOV.  A couple of iterations of zooming and centering results in the StarSense app placing the object in the scope’s FOV consistently.

 

It is actually easy to use.  The only negative I have found is that the StarSense app’s catalog of astronomical objects is light.  They don’t include SAO stars. 

 

And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes.

 

When it warms up a bit, it was 9 degrees this morning, I plan on moving the StarSense cradle from the mirror box up to the upper cage assembly and nixing my finder scope.

 

I am quite sure that whoever wins the telescope next year will LOVE it!

 

I am hoping to get my observatory pad and garage built this spring, I am going to buy five of the 10” StarSense dobs and offer a stargazing class/session three nights a week up on the mountain that people can come experience the beauty of the heavens and the joy of actually seeing the objects.

 

On a different subject, here in Westcliffe at our Smokey Jack Observatory once a month during the summer on a Saturday night we open up the observatory and do Electronically Assisted Astronomy for the public.  This involves installing a Canon full frame digital camera on the C-14 SCT’s Fastar on the front lens.  The output of the camera is fed through some software that in real-time stacks up to 10 images and then we display the results on a 10’ x 4’ outside screen.  We have bench seating for about 70 people outside.  When I first heard of this, I thought it would be an epic failure, So much for my thinking.  It has turned out to be our most popular event here at the SJO.  People get to hear us describe the object and talk about it while the camera and software are collecting the images.  The first time we did it last summer several of us brough additional scopes out and setup on the external pads.  I set up the 18” in case anyone wanted to ACTUALLY look at the objects in the eyepiece.  With 60 some odd guests, I only had three or four different people want to look through the scope as opposed to the large screen.

 

Our Dark Skies campaign seems to be a never-ending project.  We just helped the towns enact real lighting ordinances specifying that all lights must conform to IDA recommendations.  We also got the towns to adopt 2,700 K temperature, full cutoff lights and a maximum of 1.16 Lumens per square foot illumination.  All 83 streetlights in Westcliffe will be swapped out, with Silver Cliff following suit soon afterwards.  The biggest challenge is convincing the agriculture community (ranchers) to swap out their high/low pressure mercury vapor yard lights to LEDs.  But it is something to work on.

 

A more professional review of the StarSense can be found HERE

 

I sure miss Sky Watch, Night Watch and SUN Day on Saturday, as well as missing everyone out there! 

 

There is a really great Star Party out here in the summer called the Rocky Mountain Star Stare.  It is in Gardner CO which is about 35 miles South of where I live in Westcliffe.  Last summer we had more than 400 registered participants.  Dale would love all of the door prizes they give out!  It would take about four days to drive out from Virginia.  Afterwards you could swing down and pester Ted about 10-12 hours away to the South!

 

 

 

From: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>
Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7:48 AM
To: CHARLES JAGOW <chuck@...>
Subject: Re: FW: Order #102037884 Confirmed

 

Thanks Chuck. Did you get the StarSense put on your telescope yet? Don't forget to let us know how it goes. I hope you and what's her name have a good holiday season.

 

Shawn

 

On Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 09:35 Charles Jagow <chuck@...> wrote:

 

From: Avery Store <avery@...>
Reply-To: <yourorder@...>
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 9:51 PM
To: CHARLES JAGOW <chuck@...>
Subject: Order #102037884 Confirmed

 

Chuck, thanks for your purchase! Your order is being processed and will ship soon. View your order now. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

AVERY

 

ORDER:

#102037884

PLACED:

Nov 29, 2022

 

 

Hi Chuck. Your order is being processed. You will receive a confirmation email when your order ships.

 

 

Order Summary

 

Shipment 1 of 1 via “Free Standard Shipping - Standard”

Estimated Delivery Date: Dec 8, 2022

 

WePrint Two Sided 5-1/2" x 1-3/4" Ticket Right Stub Wide

Material: Matte

Qty: 400 tickets

$76.00

 

Sub Total:

$76.00

Shipping:

$0.00

Tax:

$4.56

Total:

$80.56

 

Customer Information

 

Shipping Address

2701 DERRY DR

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia 23323-1727

US

7578421269

Payment Method

VI

 

Please Note

You only have 30 minutes to cancel your order after receiving your confirmation number. After the 30 minutes your order has been processed.

If you need to cancel, log onto My Account and go to Order and click "Cancel Order".

 

Questions?

Order & Shipping FAQ
Contact Us

For Assistance Call:

800-GO-AVERY800-462-8379

 

 

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T

I

P

L

 

© 2022 Avery Products Corporation
50 Pointe Drive, Brea, CA 92821

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--

v/r

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verde Mont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory

 

 


galacticprobe
 

Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)

That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.

I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)

In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.

At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)

None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.

Okay. Rant over.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


preciousmyprecious
 

Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 

Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean


On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:


Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)

That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.

I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)

In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.

At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)

None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.

Okay. Rant over.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


galacticprobe
 

Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.

*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.

I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 

Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean


On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:


Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)

That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.

I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)

In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.

At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)

None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.

Okay. Rant over.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


charles jagow
 

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.

 

I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.

 

One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.

 

 

 

From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

 

Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.

 

*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;

*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;

*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;

*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";

*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;

*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;

*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;

*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;

*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;

*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);

*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";

*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.

 

I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.

 

"Keep looking up!"

Dino.

 

-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 

 

Carpe Noctem

Bill McLean

 

 

On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:

 

 

Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)

 

That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.

 

I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)

 

In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.

 

At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)

 

None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.

 

Okay. Rant over.

 

"Keep looking up!"

Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<

 

Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 

 

We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 

 

Ted

BBAA Southwest

 

From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

 

I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.

 


--

v/r

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verde Mont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory

 

 


galacticprobe
 

What I didn't mention because I got so caught up in my rant over this "software-related limit" issue, was that I did forward my modification through our Engineering Department. They were the ones responsible for making sure all of our stuff was accredited. (As Coasties we are responsible for ensuring maritime safety, and our Navy and even our Merchant Marine used that same radar system. So we had to remain accredited.) We were also the SMEF (System Management Engineering Facility), and responsible for keeping ships operating safely; but when the radar locks up because it needs to track more than 10 targets, from lock-up to power off, count to 20, power up again, wait for the standby time to go by (1 to 3 minutes whether X- or S-band radar respectively), to getting the radar back to normal operation, you're looking at between 2 and 5 minutes with a military vessel having no collision-avoidance capability. When you have ships of varying sizes, from our "puddle pirate" sizes to large Naval warships to huge NOAA and Merchant Marine behemoths, being put in harm's way and at risk because a company (Raytheon) won't even consider looking into increasing the number of contacts ships could track, you sometimes have to take matters into your hands - especially when you are the SMEF and carry the title of "Fleet Support" - and do the work a lazy corporation refuses to do.

Keeping ships from colliding and keeping their crews safe came at the top of my list. When the company wouldn't look into the problem that task fell to the SMEF. So I looked into it, found the solution, and our Engineering Department sent things out as a "Beta Test" while they went through the accreditation process. In short, we never violated our accreditation.

As a side note, a different company actually won the bid for the new radar system, but Raytheon being Raytheon bought out the other company thereby keeping their quasi-monopoly on our radar systems.

What I've learned from dealing with companies like that, who say they can't do anything about a problem - be it software or hardware - is that 9 times out of 10 is because they're just too lazy to look into it... or... they say they will look into the problem and the cost to the military is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars - tax-payers' dollars.

More than once I encountered this, and more often than not I managed to solve the problem at no cost to the tax-payers. I was a hardware guy so that side of things came easy to me. The software side? I always went in with great caution and made sure I had a backup handy before I started fiddling with the code. Once I'd solved the problem the company said they couldn't do anything about (again 9 times out of 10 it was Raytheon), I sent my work through our Engineering side and they took care of the "Beta Test" and accreditation, and the fix that went out to the fleet as an official Field Change (if it was something small like the software issue, or a small hardware alteration), or an Equipment Alt (Alteration) if the fix was very involved. And it all went out with a mountain of pages with instructions so the techs in the fleet could make the alterations with ease... and they also got my number so they could call if they ran into problems, had questions, or needed anything else. (I usually wrote up those instructions, and re-wrote things until they were as easy to follow as possible. When I thought I had it foolproof, I would borrow a 3rd Class Yeoman from Admin and have that poor slob go through the procedure in our lab. They usually had no problems following things from start to finish so I knew those instructions were ready for the fleet electronics techs.)

But my whole point with that story was that saying there's a "software-related" something or other that limits how many times something could be expanded (or how many targets a radar can track before it locks up) is their lazy way of saying they don't want to be bothered altering their software's code to increase the number of times, and that's what they pay their IT crowd to do: look into software issues and correct/adjust them in order to resolve customer complaints.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: charles jagow <chuck@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 12:55 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.
 
I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.
 
One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.
 
 
 
From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.
 
*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.
 
I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 
 
Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean
 
 
On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:
 
 
Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)
 
That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.
 
I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)
 
In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.
 
At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)
 
None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.
 
Okay. Rant over.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


charles jagow
 

As working as both a civilian and active duty technician as well as eventually both a contractor and finally government System Engineer I have seen many hardware and software problems.  If a contractor says they can’t do anything. That actually equates to we can’t fix it because we have not been paid to fix it.  Contrary to popular belief, defense contractors only are allowed to make a profit between 7 and 8 percent.  They hide a lot of things in “cost to do business” but then so does the guy who drives around with a lawn mower and cuts people’s lawns, they can write off the cost if their $80,000 pickup and all of their gas and maintenance expenses as a cost of doing business.

And for the folks who always complain about the $300 hammer, you have no idea the limitations placed on the contractor such as all materials used to make the hammer must be made in USA, the steel must be certified for hardness and that the ore was mined domestically, and the contractor must provide replacement hammers or parts for up to 10-15 years after the company decides to move on to the next version of the hammer.  I learned all of that working as a contracting officers representative my last ten years working for the government.  Shortcuts usually (always) end up in additional expenses and or lives down the road.  Just ask the GIs and Marines who were exposed to IEDs in the Middle East after the government was forced to reduce the floor shielding in Humvees when Congress said cut costs so they could spend the money aged on programs for crack geads.

Sent from Chuck's iPhone

On Dec 2, 2022, at 11:05, galacticprobe via groups.io <LambuLambu@...> wrote:


What I didn't mention because I got so caught up in my rant over this "software-related limit" issue, was that I did forward my modification through our Engineering Department. They were the ones responsible for making sure all of our stuff was accredited. (As Coasties we are responsible for ensuring maritime safety, and our Navy and even our Merchant Marine used that same radar system. So we had to remain accredited.) We were also the SMEF (System Management Engineering Facility), and responsible for keeping ships operating safely; but when the radar locks up because it needs to track more than 10 targets, from lock-up to power off, count to 20, power up again, wait for the standby time to go by (1 to 3 minutes whether X- or S-band radar respectively), to getting the radar back to normal operation, you're looking at between 2 and 5 minutes with a military vessel having no collision-avoidance capability. When you have ships of varying sizes, from our "puddle pirate" sizes to large Naval warships to huge NOAA and Merchant Marine behemoths, being put in harm's way and at risk because a company (Raytheon) won't even consider looking into increasing the number of contacts ships could track, you sometimes have to take matters into your hands - especially when you are the SMEF and carry the title of "Fleet Support" - and do the work a lazy corporation refuses to do.

Keeping ships from colliding and keeping their crews safe came at the top of my list. When the company wouldn't look into the problem that task fell to the SMEF. So I looked into it, found the solution, and our Engineering Department sent things out as a "Beta Test" while they went through the accreditation process. In short, we never violated our accreditation.

As a side note, a different company actually won the bid for the new radar system, but Raytheon being Raytheon bought out the other company thereby keeping their quasi-monopoly on our radar systems.

What I've learned from dealing with companies like that, who say they can't do anything about a problem - be it software or hardware - is that 9 times out of 10 is because they're just too lazy to look into it... or... they say they will look into the problem and the cost to the military is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars - tax-payers' dollars.

More than once I encountered this, and more often than not I managed to solve the problem at no cost to the tax-payers. I was a hardware guy so that side of things came easy to me. The software side? I always went in with great caution and made sure I had a backup handy before I started fiddling with the code. Once I'd solved the problem the company said they couldn't do anything about (again 9 times out of 10 it was Raytheon), I sent my work through our Engineering side and they took care of the "Beta Test" and accreditation, and the fix that went out to the fleet as an official Field Change (if it was something small like the software issue, or a small hardware alteration), or an Equipment Alt (Alteration) if the fix was very involved. And it all went out with a mountain of pages with instructions so the techs in the fleet could make the alterations with ease... and they also got my number so they could call if they ran into problems, had questions, or needed anything else. (I usually wrote up those instructions, and re-wrote things until they were as easy to follow as possible. When I thought I had it foolproof, I would borrow a 3rd Class Yeoman from Admin and have that poor slob go through the procedure in our lab. They usually had no problems following things from start to finish so I knew those instructions were ready for the fleet electronics techs.)

But my whole point with that story was that saying there's a "software-related" something or other that limits how many times something could be expanded (or how many targets a radar can track before it locks up) is their lazy way of saying they don't want to be bothered altering their software's code to increase the number of times, and that's what they pay their IT crowd to do: look into software issues and correct/adjust them in order to resolve customer complaints.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: charles jagow <chuck@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 12:55 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.
 
I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.
 
One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.
 
 
 
From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.
 
*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.
 
I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 
 
Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean
 
 
On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:
 
 
Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)
 
That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.
 
I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)
 
In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.
 
At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)
 
None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.
 
Okay. Rant over.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


Dale Carey
 

Well, speak of this device, I can't get parts anymore for the Orion 12" Star Quest go-to, so the go to system is shot. I figured I would just use it as a push to on the boardwalk and around the house for quick views.
Along comes Star Sense, thanks for the heads up Chuck. I also bought the 114mm and "stole" the bracket and mounted it on the 12.  I was able to mount the bracket on the cage next to eyepiece. With just 3/4 stars 
up in my light polluted yard it took a pic and immediately showed me the sky with no pollution. It showed me what way to move scope as I zoomed in on object. Pretty neat, can't wait to try it out in a dark site,  SSSOOOO
no need to replace motors, main board, hand paddle, This gadget is neat. Solved my problem for $300. I'll give the scope away to someone who wants a moon scope.
Dale Carey


-----Original Message-----
From: galacticprobe via groups.io <LambuLambu@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Dec 2, 2022 1:05 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What I didn't mention because I got so caught up in my rant over this "software-related limit" issue, was that I did forward my modification through our Engineering Department. They were the ones responsible for making sure all of our stuff was accredited. (As Coasties we are responsible for ensuring maritime safety, and our Navy and even our Merchant Marine used that same radar system. So we had to remain accredited.) We were also the SMEF (System Management Engineering Facility), and responsible for keeping ships operating safely; but when the radar locks up because it needs to track more than 10 targets, from lock-up to power off, count to 20, power up again, wait for the standby time to go by (1 to 3 minutes whether X- or S-band radar respectively), to getting the radar back to normal operation, you're looking at between 2 and 5 minutes with a military vessel having no collision-avoidance capability. When you have ships of varying sizes, from our "puddle pirate" sizes to large Naval warships to huge NOAA and Merchant Marine behemoths, being put in harm's way and at risk because a company (Raytheon) won't even consider looking into increasing the number of contacts ships could track, you sometimes have to take matters into your hands - especially when you are the SMEF and carry the title of "Fleet Support" - and do the work a lazy corporation refuses to do.

Keeping ships from colliding and keeping their crews safe came at the top of my list. When the company wouldn't look into the problem that task fell to the SMEF. So I looked into it, found the solution, and our Engineering Department sent things out as a "Beta Test" while they went through the accreditation process. In short, we never violated our accreditation.

As a side note, a different company actually won the bid for the new radar system, but Raytheon being Raytheon bought out the other company thereby keeping their quasi-monopoly on our radar systems.

What I've learned from dealing with companies like that, who say they can't do anything about a problem - be it software or hardware - is that 9 times out of 10 is because they're just too lazy to look into it... or... they say they will look into the problem and the cost to the military is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars - tax-payers' dollars.

More than once I encountered this, and more often than not I managed to solve the problem at no cost to the tax-payers. I was a hardware guy so that side of things came easy to me. The software side? I always went in with great caution and made sure I had a backup handy before I started fiddling with the code. Once I'd solved the problem the company said they couldn't do anything about (again 9 times out of 10 it was Raytheon), I sent my work through our Engineering side and they took care of the "Beta Test" and accreditation, and the fix that went out to the fleet as an official Field Change (if it was something small like the software issue, or a small hardware alteration), or an Equipment Alt (Alteration) if the fix was very involved. And it all went out with a mountain of pages with instructions so the techs in the fleet could make the alterations with ease... and they also got my number so they could call if they ran into problems, had questions, or needed anything else. (I usually wrote up those instructions, and re-wrote things until they were as easy to follow as possible. When I thought I had it foolproof, I would borrow a 3rd Class Yeoman from Admin and have that poor slob go through the procedure in our lab. They usually had no problems following things from start to finish so I knew those instructions were ready for the fleet electronics techs.)

But my whole point with that story was that saying there's a "software-related" something or other that limits how many times something could be expanded (or how many targets a radar can track before it locks up) is their lazy way of saying they don't want to be bothered altering their software's code to increase the number of times, and that's what they pay their IT crowd to do: look into software issues and correct/adjust them in order to resolve customer complaints.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: charles jagow <chuck@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 12:55 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.
 
I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.
 
One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.
 
 
 
From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.
 
*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.
 
I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 
 
Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean
 
 
On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:
 
 
Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)
 
That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.
 
I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)
 
In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.
 
At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)
 
None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.
 
Okay. Rant over.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


charles jagow
 

Glad I could help, Celestron should offer the StarSense cradle for $100, they could make  a fortune!

Sent from Chuck's iPhone

On Dec 2, 2022, at 11:43, Dale Carey via groups.io <vbstargazer@...> wrote:


Well, speak of this device, I can't get parts anymore for the Orion 12" Star Quest go-to, so the go to system is shot. I figured I would just use it as a push to on the boardwalk and around the house for quick views.
Along comes Star Sense, thanks for the heads up Chuck. I also bought the 114mm and "stole" the bracket and mounted it on the 12.  I was able to mount the bracket on the cage next to eyepiece. With just 3/4 stars 
up in my light polluted yard it took a pic and immediately showed me the sky with no pollution. It showed me what way to move scope as I zoomed in on object. Pretty neat, can't wait to try it out in a dark site,  SSSOOOO
no need to replace motors, main board, hand paddle, This gadget is neat. Solved my problem for $300. I'll give the scope away to someone who wants a moon scope.
Dale Carey


-----Original Message-----
From: galacticprobe via groups.io <LambuLambu@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Dec 2, 2022 1:05 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What I didn't mention because I got so caught up in my rant over this "software-related limit" issue, was that I did forward my modification through our Engineering Department. They were the ones responsible for making sure all of our stuff was accredited. (As Coasties we are responsible for ensuring maritime safety, and our Navy and even our Merchant Marine used that same radar system. So we had to remain accredited.) We were also the SMEF (System Management Engineering Facility), and responsible for keeping ships operating safely; but when the radar locks up because it needs to track more than 10 targets, from lock-up to power off, count to 20, power up again, wait for the standby time to go by (1 to 3 minutes whether X- or S-band radar respectively), to getting the radar back to normal operation, you're looking at between 2 and 5 minutes with a military vessel having no collision-avoidance capability. When you have ships of varying sizes, from our "puddle pirate" sizes to large Naval warships to huge NOAA and Merchant Marine behemoths, being put in harm's way and at risk because a company (Raytheon) won't even consider looking into increasing the number of contacts ships could track, you sometimes have to take matters into your hands - especially when you are the SMEF and carry the title of "Fleet Support" - and do the work a lazy corporation refuses to do.

Keeping ships from colliding and keeping their crews safe came at the top of my list. When the company wouldn't look into the problem that task fell to the SMEF. So I looked into it, found the solution, and our Engineering Department sent things out as a "Beta Test" while they went through the accreditation process. In short, we never violated our accreditation.

As a side note, a different company actually won the bid for the new radar system, but Raytheon being Raytheon bought out the other company thereby keeping their quasi-monopoly on our radar systems.

What I've learned from dealing with companies like that, who say they can't do anything about a problem - be it software or hardware - is that 9 times out of 10 is because they're just too lazy to look into it... or... they say they will look into the problem and the cost to the military is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars - tax-payers' dollars.

More than once I encountered this, and more often than not I managed to solve the problem at no cost to the tax-payers. I was a hardware guy so that side of things came easy to me. The software side? I always went in with great caution and made sure I had a backup handy before I started fiddling with the code. Once I'd solved the problem the company said they couldn't do anything about (again 9 times out of 10 it was Raytheon), I sent my work through our Engineering side and they took care of the "Beta Test" and accreditation, and the fix that went out to the fleet as an official Field Change (if it was something small like the software issue, or a small hardware alteration), or an Equipment Alt (Alteration) if the fix was very involved. And it all went out with a mountain of pages with instructions so the techs in the fleet could make the alterations with ease... and they also got my number so they could call if they ran into problems, had questions, or needed anything else. (I usually wrote up those instructions, and re-wrote things until they were as easy to follow as possible. When I thought I had it foolproof, I would borrow a 3rd Class Yeoman from Admin and have that poor slob go through the procedure in our lab. They usually had no problems following things from start to finish so I knew those instructions were ready for the fleet electronics techs.)

But my whole point with that story was that saying there's a "software-related" something or other that limits how many times something could be expanded (or how many targets a radar can track before it locks up) is their lazy way of saying they don't want to be bothered altering their software's code to increase the number of times, and that's what they pay their IT crowd to do: look into software issues and correct/adjust them in order to resolve customer complaints.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: charles jagow <chuck@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 12:55 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.
 
I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.
 
One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.
 
 
 
From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.
 
*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.
 
I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 
 
Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean
 
 
On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:
 
 
Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)
 
That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.
 
I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)
 
In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.
 
At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)
 
None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.
 
Okay. Rant over.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.
 


Jeffrey Thornton
 

People on the Cloudy Nights site are looking for 3D printers to make adapters that fit into the finder base. Follow this link: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/848348-so-my-new-celestron-starsense-explorer-114-az-came-today/?hl=%20celestron%20%20starsense


Dale Carey
 

To all, ment to saY , "I'll give away the 114mm" not the 12", think I'll keep that with the Star sense>
Anyone would like it for their kid or grandkid, hit me up. it's a reflector, with tripod and 2 eyepeices.
Brand New
Dale


-----Original Message-----
From: Dale Carey via groups.io <vbstargazer@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Dec 2, 2022 1:43 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

Well, speak of this device, I can't get parts anymore for the Orion 12" Star Quest go-to, so the go to system is shot. I figured I would just use it as a push to on the boardwalk and around the house for quick views.
Along comes Star Sense, thanks for the heads up Chuck. I also bought the 114mm and "stole" the bracket and mounted it on the 12.  I was able to mount the bracket on the cage next to eyepiece. With just 3/4 stars 
up in my light polluted yard it took a pic and immediately showed me the sky with no pollution. It showed me what way to move scope as I zoomed in on object. Pretty neat, can't wait to try it out in a dark site,  SSSOOOO
no need to replace motors, main board, hand paddle, This gadget is neat. Solved my problem for $300. I'll give the scope away to someone who wants a moon scope.
Dale Carey


-----Original Message-----
From: galacticprobe via groups.io <LambuLambu@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Dec 2, 2022 1:05 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What I didn't mention because I got so caught up in my rant over this "software-related limit" issue, was that I did forward my modification through our Engineering Department. They were the ones responsible for making sure all of our stuff was accredited. (As Coasties we are responsible for ensuring maritime safety, and our Navy and even our Merchant Marine used that same radar system. So we had to remain accredited.) We were also the SMEF (System Management Engineering Facility), and responsible for keeping ships operating safely; but when the radar locks up because it needs to track more than 10 targets, from lock-up to power off, count to 20, power up again, wait for the standby time to go by (1 to 3 minutes whether X- or S-band radar respectively), to getting the radar back to normal operation, you're looking at between 2 and 5 minutes with a military vessel having no collision-avoidance capability. When you have ships of varying sizes, from our "puddle pirate" sizes to large Naval warships to huge NOAA and Merchant Marine behemoths, being put in harm's way and at risk because a company (Raytheon) won't even consider looking into increasing the number of contacts ships could track, you sometimes have to take matters into your hands - especially when you are the SMEF and carry the title of "Fleet Support" - and do the work a lazy corporation refuses to do.

Keeping ships from colliding and keeping their crews safe came at the top of my list. When the company wouldn't look into the problem that task fell to the SMEF. So I looked into it, found the solution, and our Engineering Department sent things out as a "Beta Test" while they went through the accreditation process. In short, we never violated our accreditation.

As a side note, a different company actually won the bid for the new radar system, but Raytheon being Raytheon bought out the other company thereby keeping their quasi-monopoly on our radar systems.

What I've learned from dealing with companies like that, who say they can't do anything about a problem - be it software or hardware - is that 9 times out of 10 is because they're just too lazy to look into it... or... they say they will look into the problem and the cost to the military is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars - tax-payers' dollars.

More than once I encountered this, and more often than not I managed to solve the problem at no cost to the tax-payers. I was a hardware guy so that side of things came easy to me. The software side? I always went in with great caution and made sure I had a backup handy before I started fiddling with the code. Once I'd solved the problem the company said they couldn't do anything about (again 9 times out of 10 it was Raytheon), I sent my work through our Engineering side and they took care of the "Beta Test" and accreditation, and the fix that went out to the fleet as an official Field Change (if it was something small like the software issue, or a small hardware alteration), or an Equipment Alt (Alteration) if the fix was very involved. And it all went out with a mountain of pages with instructions so the techs in the fleet could make the alterations with ease... and they also got my number so they could call if they ran into problems, had questions, or needed anything else. (I usually wrote up those instructions, and re-wrote things until they were as easy to follow as possible. When I thought I had it foolproof, I would borrow a 3rd Class Yeoman from Admin and have that poor slob go through the procedure in our lab. They usually had no problems following things from start to finish so I knew those instructions were ready for the fleet electronics techs.)

But my whole point with that story was that saying there's a "software-related" something or other that limits how many times something could be expanded (or how many targets a radar can track before it locks up) is their lazy way of saying they don't want to be bothered altering their software's code to increase the number of times, and that's what they pay their IT crowd to do: look into software issues and correct/adjust them in order to resolve customer complaints.

"Keep looking up!"
Dino.


-----Original Message-----
From: charles jagow <chuck@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 12:55 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update

What you don’t understand is that software delivered to the US Government DoD or Civilian is STRICTLY controlled by a Version Description Document and a Software Description Document.  Deviations from these standards will result in the software becoming unaccredited.  If the software becomes unaccredited, the entire weapon system is unaccredited as well.  For a ship whose sole purpose is to push a very complex weapon systems around the ocean is defeating the purpose of the ship.  A Commanding Officer is not allowed to release weapons without the system being certified.  Doing so would end the career of ANY officer in the firing chain.  So since your RADAR software that you modified so gallantly put your entire command structure in jeopardy and the ability of the ship to perform its mission.
 
I too was in a position similar; software limitations prevented our system from actively engaging more than 12 targets if the weapon systems hard drives became inoperative and the system switched to run from magnetic tape drives.  I found where in the software using the onboard listings where the limitation was and brought it to our CO’s attention.  I was then schooled on what the ramifications would be if I changed the code.  The entire weapon system would have become uncertified.  To be recertified would require a new redelivery of the software from the accredited software library, the ship would then have to undergo recertification on a live range for torpedoes, Tomahawks, and Harpoon.  That would have cost the NAVY nearly a half a million dollars and a fully combat certified platform to be out of service for a minimum of six months awaiting recertifications.
 
One of our smarter FT3 (SS) technicians also figured out how to release a nuclear Tomahawk from the ship WITHOUT the Commanding Officer’s launch key.  The missile would not have ignited the booster, but a release of a nuclear weapon from the ship without CO authorization could have occurred.  Our rather smart FT3 (SS) was flown to the Joint Cruise Missile Program headquarters where he showed the eggheads how a simple paperclip across a relay in the torpedo room would bypass the CO’s launch key and someone could then manually impulse (eject) a loaded weapon into the water.  The FT3 received a Navy Achievement Medal for his reporting and recommended solution.  And yes, every active ship in the fleet with a nuclear Tomahawk capability had to be retrofitted with a hardware change and recertified.  For a brief period, nuclear Tomahawks were all recalled and stored until this was fixed.  Big kerfuffle many, many years ago.
 
 
 
From: <BackBayAstro@groups.io> on behalf of "galacticprobe via groups.io" <LambuLambu@...>
Reply-To: <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 9:47 AM
To: "BackBayAstro@groups.io" <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
Well, in short, Celestron saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times [iPhone registrations - or maybe any phone] could be expanded" is pure BS.
 
*This is what they're supposed to be paying their IT guys to look into;
*All they need to do is find the line of code in their "software" and change the limit by making an edit and changing that "5" to a much higher number;
*Even a "software idiot" like me was able to do this in the code that ran the computer-controlled radar I supported while on active duty - the radar would lock up when if was auto-tracking 10 targets (other boats) and someone tried to acquire an 11th target;
*A call to Raytheon about this resulted in roughly the same answer: "That limit is set in the software and nothing can be done about it";
*I cautiously went into the radar's software, found the line of code that set the target auto-track limit at 10, and changed it to 10,000;
*The new auto-track limit stopped the radar from freezing up, even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets;
*I told Raytheon what I did, read them the riot act about their laziness when it came to this issue and told them I was releasing my updated software version to the fleet to solve the problem Raytheon refused to look into;
*Raytheon never gave me another problem when I called them about a software-related issue and fixed the issue themselves;
*Celestron and/or their IT staff seem to be exhibiting laziness with their statement; they just need to find that line of code in their software that sets the limit and change the number from 5 to as high a number as they can - if not remove the limit altogether;
*Celestron would get a fee from anyone registering a phone with their StarSense, so the more the merrier for Celestron's wallet (something they also seem to not care about);
*Like I did with the radar software, if someone with some software savviness can get into the StarSense software code and find the line that sets the registration limit, they could change the number - see how high they can set it - and if it works give Celestron the riot act about their IT crowd's laziness and tell them what they need to do to correct the "software-related limit";
*Chances are that Celestron wouldn't spout off BS answers about "software-related" issues again.
 
I'm a self-professed software dunce, and if I could do it with radar operating software, then someone with more software knowledge than me could very possibly get into the StarSense software, find that code line that sets the limit at 5 and see just how large of a number they can change it to. If that line of code is needed and can't just be deleted, then something ridiculous like as many 9s as you can squeeze in would solve the problem with library scopes. Such scopes could be loaned out to 9 trillion library patrons and each one would be able to register their phones. Someone just needs to find the line in the software that limits registration to 5 and raise that limit, something Celestron seems to be too lazy to look into.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: preciousmyprecious via groups.io <preciousmyprecious@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:20 am
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
Could you summarize your last Dino? Bullets are helpful. 
 
Carpe Noctem
Bill McLean
 
 
On Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 12:18:53 AM EST, galacticprobe via groups.io <lambulambu@...> wrote:
 
 
Saying "...there's a software-related limit on how many times it could be expanded" is like saying "there's a mechanically-related limit on how many times you can replace your car's tires", or "a biologic-related limit on how many times in a week you can hit the head". (It's politely called "felgercarb".)
 
That's what their IT specialists, programmers, and code-writers are there for: to make changes to such "software-related" issues as required. When a customer points out a flaw in your code - especially when it hampers such good causes like "Library Scopes" that get loaned out to dozens of people - and you give that "software-related limit" excuse, it's your way of letting the customer know that you or your IT crew are lazy and don't want to be bothered modifying the code to allow for unlimited expansion, even though you would get a fee for every phone that's registered. All one of those IT people needs to do is go into the code, find the line that sets the numerical limit, and if you can't set it to "infinite", you either delete the line that sets the limit, or you put in a ridiculous number like 999,999,999,999,999 - or as many 9s as you want.
 
I'm no software genius, but I do remember some of the computer programming courses I took for two semesters in college before joining the military. And then when working on a computer-controlled radar, there were many times when I had to go into the manufacturer's code, find the line that was causing problems, and make edits to correct the problem even though the manufacturer said something like "Well, the limit is set in the software. There's nothing we can do about that." (I won't mention their name, but their initials were Raytheon.)
 
In that case, the radar would freeze up and have to be hard-rebooted if the computer was auto-tracking 10 targets, and you tried to acquire an 11th. (If anyone's ever tried traversing the Elizabeth River from Waterside to the open ocean, you'll know there are far more than 10 targets - i.e. other boats - that you need to keep your eyes on.) So, not being a software genius, I went into the code with some trepidity and when I found the line that set the auto-target track to limit to 10, I changed it to 10,000.
 
At first I tried deleting that line, but another subroutine somewhere in the software looked for that line and the thing wouldn't boot up without it. So I used one of the many copies of the micro-discs we had on hand to ship out to someone whose software became corrupted, and made the change to 10,000. It worked; I saved the changes; made a copy onto the original disc I tried changing, and that worked as well. So I made a hundred or so copies of the disc and sent the necessary number out to our ships and had them replace their existing discs with the replacements, send the replacements back to me, and then I modified them and added those to my stash of spares. (And then I got hold of Raytheon and gave them a taste of my howitzer. Never again did they tell me they couldn't alter their software when I told them we'd encountered a software issue.)
 
None of our ships ever had to keep their eyes on 10,000 targets, but with the new limit in there the radar never froze up even when ships were tracking 50 or more targets. So, limits can be increased. You just need someone with ambition to make the alteration to the code. Obviously those at Celestron have no such ambition or they would get their IT people working on the issue.
 
Okay. Rant over.
 
"Keep looking up!"
Dino.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Forte <tedforte511@...>
To: BackBayAstro@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Nov 30, 2022 9:12 pm
Subject: Re: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
>>And you can only register 5 different cell phones with the app.  I have heard there is a way around this limitation, but I have not investigated it yet.  I use an older iPhone XR for both scopes. <<
 
Our local library purchased a Star Sense reflector about a year ago and asked me to set it up for them.  When I discovered the 5-phone limit I spoke to both Orion and Celestron customer service about it. They eventually put me in touch with a tech at Celestron. He admitted that they never considered a situation like the scope serving as a loaner or “library scope”.  They explained that the license could be extended, but there was a software related limit to how many times it could be expanded. I don’t remember now (I’ve slept since the conversation) but it was only possible to extend the license a limited number of times (twice I think, or maybe only once?). 
 
We discussed purchasing an Android phone to loan out with the scope and determined that we could ‘probably’ make it work without a SIM card and phone service; all it needs apparently is the phone’s GPS and the Star Sense program.  Management dropped that idea and they just loan the scope out without the Star Sense cradle. 
 
Ted
BBAA Southwest
 
From: BackBayAstro@groups.io <BackBayAstro@groups.io> On Behalf Of charles jagow
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 10:55 AM
To: Shawn Loescher <shawn.loescher@...>; BackBayAstro@groups.io Notification <BackBayAstro@groups.io>
Subject: [BackBayAstro] StarSense Update
 
I originally bought the 10” Celestron StarSense scope in late October and after using it a few days I went ahead and ordered a 114mm Celestron StarSense reflector telescope, which I harvested the StarSense from.  The StarSense hardware consists of three physical pieces: a StarSense phone cradle, an intermediate bracket, and a scope mount bracket.  The scope mount bracket is curved to match the 114mm scope.  The intermediate bracket is flat on the bottom and attaches to the scope mount bracket.  I wanted just the cradle and the intermediate bracket.