29 April 2008

NEAF 2008 - Post Mortem

The show was really a lot of fun. I've returned to the office with a pile of business cards and a sheet full of notes taken while discussing additional features for the product. My head is full of ideas - it's a good thing I wrote them down!

I will continue the blog - it has been received well and it gives me a chance to communicate a little more informally.

A Special Note to Friends and Customers in Southeastern Virginia
We drove on I-95 through the Richmond-Petersburg corridor yesterday and wondered why there were SO many accidents, including a HAZMAT team addressing an overturned truck. Now we know that tornadoes ravaged the area. Please know that you are in my thoughts as you recover from the damage.

27 April 2008

NEAF 2008 - Day 2

Day 2 at NEAF brought a lighter crowd, more speakers and more new and existing customers.

Today I had the good fortune of speaking to many media people - Charlie from Amateur Astronomy, both Parkersons from Astronomy Technology Today and Tom Trusock from CloudyNights. I enjoyed discussing the show and their particular corner of the astronomy world. All of these gentlemen bring something special to astronomy. If you haven't checked out their part of the world, do so!

A real highlight of the day came when I met Roger Sinnott of Sky & Telescope. I tried to catch him several times at the S&T booth, but always missed him. The word got out and by mid afternoon he came and found me. Roger helped with Deep-Sky Planner questions as far back as 1993. I've always enjoyed our correspondence but had never had the opportunity to meet him in person. We share an interest in the mathematical side of astronomy and of course his stellar cartography skills are well known. He is a gentleman indeed.

Other editors from Sky & Telescope visited as well, including Rick Fienberg. My business dealings with Rick go back to about 1995 - longer than it seems possible. As with Roger, Rick is a gentleman who has played a vital role in astronomy. It was a pleasure talking with him.

The show was a huge success - both from a business standpoint and from a consumer standpoint. I have befriended vendors in neighboring booths, learned about a bunch of wonderful new products (I have my eye on the new SolaREDi telescope from Daystar), and discussed potential uses for Deep-Sky Planner that sound very useful. This has been a long weekend but a very rewarding one. Now to get back into the office and work on these good ideas...

Bill Burgess of Burgess Optical was in the neighboring booth. He might have been the most animated vendor in the building! He and Tammy were lovely folks from Tennessee so surely our paths will cross again soon.

Photos by Mark Lang

26 April 2008

NEAF 2008 - Day 1

Day 1 started with some excitement at the Tele Vue booth. If you haven't heard yet, the 8 mm Ethos has been announced. The photo above shows the announcement being made just before the show opening.

The Knightware booth was busy as we met some existing customers and many new ones. Friends and business associates stopped by making for a fun day, and seeing people that I haven't seen in years was particularly gratifying. Our putting faces to names continues to be a highlight of the show. We have fielded lots of questions and some interesting uses for the software. Creative ideas really seem to flow at events like this one.

All photos by Mark Lang.

25 April 2008

Setup day at NEAF 2008

Vendors were setting up all afternoon here at NEAF. The weather was sunny and warm.

After setting up the Knightware booth, I wandered around to check out vendors and all the wonderful wares. It seems that refractors and observatories are very well represented. A roll-off roof display was being setup that had an operational roof. I could really go for one of those. Maybe after the kids finish college.

I had a great discussion with Normand Fullum of Quebec about mirror making and Dobsonian telescope building. Too bad the 16 inch blank he had was not for sale. With a cool down time of 20 minutes, it's just what I've been looking for in my next scope building project. This is definitely on my to-do list.

I spoke with lots of other interesting people - some known to me only by e-mail or telephone and some not known at all. I had a great talk with Mike Bieler of Astronomics, mostly about Telecaster guitars. He's got one, and I want one. A kindred spirit I think.

It's a wonderful atmosphere here - just like being a kid in a candy store! I'm delighted to be here.

All photos by Mark Lang.

17 April 2008

Preparing for NEAF

Getting things ready for NEAF next week has been a lot of work - setting up computers, making handouts, producing discs, etc. I noticed that CloudyNights will be broadcasting interviews with attendees, and it occurred to me that my doing a blog for the event might be fun. Hopefully customers and friends will enjoy attending vicariously. If wireless networking is available in the building, we'll try to upload some reports and photos during the day. If not, we'll post in the evening.

Husband and I aren't looking forward to the long drive, but driving seems more reliable right now than flying. My recent flight to Florida went without a hitch, but then there's all the gear we plan to bring. I'd hate for computers and monitors to end up somewhere other than New York...

If you're at NEAF, please come by the Knightware booth and say hello. I really enjoy putting faces to names known to me only from the ether.