Q. How much does the IAClient Suite cost?
A. $199.00 for educational institutions, $495 for individuals or businesses. School's should submit orders on school letterhead or provide a purchase order to qualify for the educational discount.
Software Bisque's contact information is listed at the bottom of this
Q. What software is
included with the IAClient Suite?
The following software is included with the IAClient Suite:
- TheSky Astronomy Software Level IV version
- CCDSoft CCD Astronomy Software version 4
- IAClient software for remotely accessing telescopes and cameras
via the Internet. (Mt. Wilson has a 14-inch telescope that can be
controlled via the Internet).
- 16-bit Remote Astronomy Software (RAS) for controlling the Mt. Wilson 24-inch
telescope via modem.
Q. How does my
school proceed to purchase the IAClient Suite?
A. Fax or mail
your purchase order to Software Bisque (see bottom of this page for
contact information). Please include the following:
- Your name.
- The product(s) you
wish to purchase.
- Your mailing
Q. Do I really need IAClient/IAServer?
A. If you are not interested in controlling remote telescopes or if your astronomy hardware is located close to your computer, you do not need IAClient/IAServer. Use TheSky and CCDSoft to control your astronomy related hardware.
If you have networked computers, where one is located close to your astronomy hardware, and the other is not and you want to be using the distant computer to control your astronomy-related hardware, you probably want to use IAClient/IAServer.
Q. Does IAClient/IAServer work over a local area network (LAN)?
A. Yes. Even though IAC/IAS is designed to be used over the Internet, it may also be used over a LAN. Whether the LAN is a college network or a simple home network of two computer, the IAC/IAS software still applies and is functional. For simple LAN's, some of the advanced features of IAC/IAS are probably "overkill," never-the-less it does work.
Q. Can the the server-side be used unattended?
A question we commonly get asked is if our Internet Astronomy solution can work without human intervention on the server side. Unattended use may be desirable when you have an observatory located at a remote site and its not likely or feasible that someone can always be there to administer the remote site. While it is possible to run IAS unattended, for liability reasons, we do not support, or recommend unattended server-side use. This type of operation is beyond the scope of the IAS server software. If you do use IAServer unattended, you must do so at your own risk.
Q. Why not just use "remote control" software?
control" software is software that gives a client the ability to
control a remote computer by reflecting the server's screen back to the
client and having all the client's input (mouse clicks, keyboard presses)
sent to the server. This essentially puts the client in control of
the remote computer. An example of a popular remote control
package is PCAnywhereTM. While it might be feasible to use a "remote control" package to accomplish the IAC/IAS functionality, there are several fundamental problems to this approach.
- Screen redraws are typically slow, especially in graphical-user interface applications. The client spends more time waiting for screen refreshes than doing astronomy.
- Security is difficult to maintain for multiple users (without substantial consideration, there is nothing to prevent a client from deleting the application he is using or formatting the server's hard drive--among dozens of other security issues).
- Software Bisque's license agreement prohibits multiple clients access to a single licensed copy of its software.
The IAC/IAS approach side steps the problem of slow screen refreshes because the applications run directly on the client machine and only the necessary information is passed between client and server. For example, when the IAC connects to an IAS, the IAC receives the location and time information of the IAS. From that point on, TheSky that is running *locally* on the client machine is then displaying "the sky's" for the server's location, without a single piece of information being passed across the network. This is an elegant, efficient solution that gives the client a very responsive, graphical user interface from which to control the remote observatory. There are dozen's of other examples like this where the minimum necessary information is passed "across the wire" to enhance the client's experience.
Security is inherent to the IAS/IAC
approach--the only services offered are those to control the hardware of the observatory (there is no direct access to the server's hard drive). Even if the encrypted protocol used by IAC/IAS were broken by a malicious hacker, about all the hacker could do would be to slew the telescope or take a CCD image. Moreover, the server's side security settings cannot be overriding by client calls. For example, if the server has turned off the ability for remote client's to focus the CCD camera, its impossible for that to be done remotely. The secure nature of the IAS/IAC approach cannot be overstated.