It seems every time I write about an event or star party, I want to say it's my favorite event of the year. It's a sure sign of how much I enjoy my job. I'm home now from my last adventure, shared with Steve and Tom Bisque to the Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC), and of course the Northeast Astronomy Forum and Telescope Show (NEAF).
These shows can be long days on your feet, but it’s really great to get out of the office and to meet customers face to face, as well as other vendors. Sometimes, I’d swear these events are for no reason other than the vendors to get together! It's great how even competitors can sit down and have a drink or meal together and chat about the hobby and industry we mutually love. There’s also a lot of deals made, partnerships formed, and lasting friendships forged. NEAIC is a smaller affair, with only a handful of vendors and attendees in comparison to NEAF. It’s a bit slow in the exhibit hall when there are talks going on, and while the attendees are taking notes and listening to speakers tell them about imaging techniques, I was doing the same thing in the vendor hall. Vendors are of course customers too, and I spent some time at the Canon booth talking with Fred Mertz about how I love imaging with the L series lenses on my CCD camera, and we talked tech about the 60Da, etc. I visited Kevin Nelson and got a hands on preview of the QSI 700, and of course discussed how we are going to add support to the X2 plug-in. I snapped the above shot of Steve next to the Paramount MX and the Paramount ME II talking with one of the organizers of the event during one really slow session.
Man, is X2 getting some momentum. Two years ago there was some interest in getting X2 plug-ins going, but now there are enough that vendors who don't have them are starting to feel the pressure from their users. The Camera Add On is making some waves, too, and people want to ditch using several different programs and/or want to do their imaging on the Mac. I spoke with three camera vendors who are committed to getting X2 plug-ins out, and I'm going to help them get it up on at least one camera going so that their developers can easily add the rest of their camera lines. Ha, it also means I get to play with a couple new toys…I'm such a gear head!
NEAF was MUCH busier this year. This was my tenth consecutive trip (hard to believe isn't it?!), and I have to say possibly the best one for me personally. Lots of excitement about X2, the Camera Add On, the Paramount ME II, and some other deals we are working. I also did some shopping of course, and picked up some pieces parts for my tinkering back home. It's really refreshing to talk to customers face to face, too. The latency of the internet is gone, misunderstandings are identified immediately, and in person everyone realizes that everyone else is just a person trying to make things work, or people just trying to make a living by really, and honestly, trying to make their imaging easier. Another great shot I took was Steve showing some customers how to do something in TheSkyX. Tech support, questions answered, and well, duh, a few sales leads ;-)
There is a saying about “beware of programmers who carry screwdrivers”. This saying was never truer than when applied to me. I damaged my Veloce when trying to put their autofocuser on it, and the guys from Officina Stellare fixed it for me at the show, and of course put the new upgraded focuser on it. I stripped the threads pretty bad on the main plate and they had to cannibalize one off the demo they brought for the show. Gino reassured me that back in Italy, they can possibly still repair the big plate and reuse it...something about melting it down and starting over... Maybe it's best if I leave making mounts to Steve and I'll stick to software and imaging ;)
04-23-2013 9:27 AM