Doing a bit of “revamp”!

I got off of the purpose of my blog here for a time. That is changing! I’m getting back into my wilderness photography soon and will be adding in the aspect of doing things from horseback.

I’m still working toward getting settled on the property I bought in north central Nevada so, you’ll be seeing a lot of posts having to do with that.

Please accept my apology for starting to “commercialize” this blog! There is no excuse! I have other blogs to do that on!

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More of why X-Plane 10 flight simulator still sucks ass!

Laminar research now has an update from version 10.31 to 10.32. I had hoped that the update would fix some serious operational flaws…. it DOESN’T!

Let me explain.

Depending on which airport you want to simulate a flight out of, the ATC may or may not EVER give you clearance to take off. If you remove ALL OTHER aircraft in your situation, you have a much better chance of ever getting clearance to take to the runway and take off. That’s problem #1.

Once you manage to take off, you just might be directed to fly UNDERGROUND! I don’t mean fly in a stealthy fashion either! Oh, no, I mean quite literally UNDER THE SURFACE OF THE GROUND! That’s right, I took off from Reno International that sits at an elevation 0f 4,015 feet and was told to descend to an elevation of 1,000 feet!

Of course, the very second you leave the ground of the runway, you are also IMMEDIATELY “off course” and the ATC will tell you that every two seconds until you manage to get PERFECTLY aligned with your planned course.

So, even though X-Plane has the best coding to run on modern hardware and has the best flight dynamics, it has NOTHING ELSE that is native to the program that’s worth much. Yes, it does have autogen scenery that is much better than the autoge scenery of either FSX or Prepar3d but that isn’t saying a whole lot.

You MUST find addons for everything from basic scenery to airports and even to towns and cities if you want anything close to an immersive experience simulating a flight.

Count on HOURS UPON HOURS of downloading additional scenery files and adding those to your custom scenery folder.

 

Forget any possibility of using the native ATC as it quite simply is worse than useless! I have found exactly ONE addon ATC program and it is 100% voice activated so and is payware.

 

Would I reccomend other people go out and buy X-Plane right now… NOT A DAMN CHANCE! Go get FSX (There is a Steam version now) or, if you want to learn more about flight, the academic license for Prepar3d! Yeah, they both depend almost totally on CPU power and won’t take much advantage of your heavy duty video graphics cards but, at least you can USE them with much less frustration and the airports actually HAVE BUILDINGS!

 

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Flight simulator X-Plane… impressions and thoughts

First things first… X-Plane is a GOOD flight simulator. In my honest opinion, for simulating flight, X-Plane by Laminar Research is huge leaps and bounds beyond any of the Microsoft simulator packages and that of Prepar3d by Lockheed Martin.

 

Now, before you get all excited and go making a purchase, there are things you need to be aware of:

  1.  X-Plane comes on 8 DVD disks and takes one hell of a long time to install. This is because of the more highly detailed terrain scenery.
  2.  You will find exactly TWO airports that have ANY buildings. Both of these are in the Seattle area and are used for the demo of X-Plane. No other airports in the world have buildings…just runways, ramps, and taxiways.
  3.  Initial setup takes time and attention to detail! You’ll find that this process can be daunting at first but, it’s worth the effort
  4.  X-Plane scenery is 100% stuck in summer. You won’t find that it changes according to time of year like Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d do.
  5.  Cities are auto-generated and DO NOT look anything like what you would expect them to…not one little bit.
  6.  The camera that provides your various views is a bit of a pain in the ass to use. There is no facility to assign a joystick button to cycle through views either so, you’re stuck with using a keyboard “hotkey” assignment.
  7.  The native ATC is almost useless. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and call it useless since it’s so difficult to use without constant errors anyway. You’ll be “off course” through most of an IFR flight which is the ONLY kind of flight that the ATC will let you use. At present, I can’t find ANY good ATC addon for X-Plane unless you want to go online and fly that way.
  8.  X-Plane does a much better job of simulating EVERY environmental and aircraft variable and the effect it has on your flight. Don’t try to taxi behind a 757 in a light aircraft!
  9.  To get X-Plane configured and modified so that you’re really happy with it will take many hours and days. I’m not fully there yet and I’ve been working on it several hours per day for the last week and I am certain I’ll be working on it more from time to time. Right now, I’m trying to get seasons to change and get PAPI lights to work at runways that have them.

Now for the good news:

The default terrain scenery that comes with X-Plane is so much better than anything Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d has to offer that it almost makes those two flight simulator programs laughable but it’s not the best yet. There is a site called X-Plane.org where you can find FREE addon scenery and aircraft. You’ll find there is a TON of it! I spent many hours downloading high resolution terrain scenery for all of North America. It’s pretty easy to install too.

There are lots of addon airport scenery that will put buildings at airports and they seem to be very well designed. The whole world isn’t covered yet but, you will be surprised at how many large, medium, and small airports are covered.

As for cities and towns, there are quite a few addon scenery packages for many of those too…not all, just some.

Bottom line is that I would NOT suggest X-Plane for anyone’s first flight simulator! However, after spending time with Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d, X-Plane is a good and very interesting upgrade. You’ll be frustrated at first with the setup…then you’ll start adding scenery and becoming more satisfied as you see the changes.

 

Oh, as for that “stuck in summer” thing, I’m trying to get another free addon to work that is supposed to switch seasons according to month and temperature…we’ll see.

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Land I looked at

I tried to post this yesterday but, had problems with the images. These are slightly reduced in size…OK, a LOT reduced… from 6,000X4,000 to 3,000X2,000.

To see the full sized image, just click on it and you’ll go to just the image where you’ll be able to see it full sized. To get back here, just use the “back” button of your browser.

 

Views from the property:

looking_northeast_001looking_south looking_west

Views of the property itself:

 

Small game trails like this are all over the property.

game_trail

Jackrabbits abound!

jackrabbit looking_from_ne_to_southwest southeast_corner

The native rock is mostly volcanic. There is also some sedimentary rock to be found on the surface.

native_rock

The land slopes from the south down northwards. The slope is pretty gentle but there are hills and gullies you won’t find on the USGS topo maps. I saw a couple of spots that would be good for a pond dam if the soil will allow for water containment.

From the appearance of the vegetation, and the surface rock, I don’t think the useable water table would be too deep to reach with an affordable well. That’s ONLY my non-expert opinion though. I could easily be wrong.

Access to the property is not terrible but, for the last mile of travel, I would suggest a high clearance vehicle with 4X4 capability until a good road surface can be managed. Up until the main road turns in to the ranch property to the east, the road is pretty good. After that, it is a seldom traveled “two-track”.

 

Here is the road:

road_in

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Starting over! Almost all was lost! Thank you Yahoo hosting!

Due to the fact that Yahoo hosting could never keep a reliable database connection, I have had to start from scratch here on my blog. I’ll try, over the course of time, to rebuild my posts but, no guarantees!

 

I did manage to rescue some of my posts but not all of the images.

 

Thank you readers!

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A “watergate” of my CB radio use today….

I am using a used Cobra 148GTL that I got off of Ebay…the radio is one of the older units and works GREAT! My antenna is an “inverted V” that I constructed out of an extension cord and have up a mast that’s made out of two painter’s extension poles and mounted on my balcony.

People I talked to were “178” in Mount Vernon Washington, “887” in British Columbia, and “Trapper 642” in Colorado.

Have a listen!

Watergate of my radio traffic on 7-11-12

 

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Monitor Range…first look

Monitor Range of mountains seen from road on west side

Monitor Range

I just got back from a little exploration. This time, I went into the Monitor Range in the Toiyabe National Forest. On this trip, I made a very quick, two-day, look at the northern portion of the mountain range. As with all my posts, you can click the photo to get a larger version… Continue reading

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Before, during, and now…how Dany D. Dog is progressing!

I put this video together to show my fearful dog’s progress from just before I got her until now…it’s a slow process but with patience and a little help of a small dose of Prozac, we are getting there!

I almost gave up on her a couple of times…now, I’m very glad I didn’t!

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Working with a “fearful” dog…helping Dany D. Dog get used to air pistols and rifles

This will be an ongoing kind of subject since I adopted a rescued 2 year old Australian shepherd dog that turned out to be VERY fearful. I found Dany (Dany D. Dog) at the Northern Nevada Humane Society shelter here in Reno. At the time, there was no indication of a problem at all…she seemed perfectly fine and seemed fine for the rest of that day and the next…it was on the third day when the big trouble with her fear got started! I dropped the handle of the retractable leash and the nois scared Dany…she jumped and that caused more noise…that is when she took off like a shot trying to get away from the noisy thing following her. It took me about three minutes to get into a place where I could tackle her and get the situation under control. From that day, I have been dealing with the most fearful dog I have ever seen! Below is a short video I took of her soon after the leash incident… Continue reading

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I needed a camping buddy so….I have adopted Dany D. Dog!

It took some time for me to adjust after losing Lassie the beagle but the last week of July, I spent some time at the Northern Nevada Humane Society…the end result is that I brought Dany D. Dog home.

 

She is reported to be an Australian cattle dog and about 2 years old. What I had no clue of when I met her at the shelter was that she had some serious generalized fear issues. That particular thing manifested the third day I had her and I have been working on helping Dany deal with life in general ever since.

Here is a short video of how she was when I first got her…you’ll notice that she is two different dogs depending on whether she is on a leash or not…

You can find a facebook page dedicated to Dany’s progress at Dany D. Dog

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