25 August 2008

Command & Control

Knightware has been working recently on providing support for a new partner's upcoming product. While the official announcement will have to wait a bit longer, I can divulge that this bit of work has allowed me to return to my roots - back into the realm of data acquisition and control work.

Maybe it's a summertime thing...
The last data acquisition and control work that came through the office was about 15 months ago when support for DSC and telescope control was added to Deep-Sky Planner. Testing different ASCOM driver implementations was a reminder of how differently device manufacturers design their products' communication and control capabilities. Synchronous telescope control? Yuck.

For most of the first 20 years of my career, I worked on data acquisition and control with various devices ranging from the US Navy's NavStar satellite navigation system (a predecessor to today's GPS), to F-14 air combat simulators, to electronic power meters. Fortunately, the 'control' part of my experience applied only to power meters. Power usage and substation relays are not as exciting (grin) as F-14 weapons systems and navigation satellites.

Although working with telescope control was fun, testing this upcoming product has been a joy. Communications are very clean and stable. Torture testing has been a real disappointment - no big hang ups even with Vista. A little more testing and we'll call this a wrap.

More to come!
Please tune in to this blog Sep 13-14 or visit the Knightware booth at the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show. We'll be talking about Deep-Sky Planner and putting it through its paces, and we plan to announce support for the mystery product too.