Sunday, October 19, 2014

The "Beach"

As I mentioned in one of the comments, I went ahead and wandered onto the beach on my way to dinner. This is the Arctic Ocean. The snow on the beach is obvious but the white out on the water is not an artifact from slow shutter speed or something. That's really how it looked. I think it was the wind blowing droplets of water which froze as soon as they were airborne. I can't think of another reason but the result was really interesting.

I didn't stay out of the truck too long (I left it running) as the wind has picked up somewhat. It almost ripped the door out of my hands when it was opened. In town, the houses do a pretty good job breaking the wind. There were quite a few drifts across the road out from town towards NARL and I was glad to have a ¾ ton 4WD crew cab to plow my way through. Most of the drifts were around a foot deep. And the wind is now around 35 knots. Almost a blizzard…

I just got off the phone with another Ural rider in southeast Alaska who is planning a road trip around Alaska beginning sometime in January. Now there is a tough rider...

A Short Walk

I decided to outside for a short walk outside of the BARC (Barrow Arctic Research Center) right around solar noon. After all, we all need to take advantage of whatever daylight there is, right? Blowing snow, temperatures in the high teens (°F) and 25 knot winds. Needless to say, it wasn't a very long walk. This is the view towards the rest of the NARL (Naval Arctic Research Lab) campus. The new line of poles on the right were put in to replace the older infrastructure on the left. The buildings shown aren't more than a couple of tenths of a mile away and even though it almost looks like a road between the poles, you'd bog down pretty quickly in the mud.

Looking to the south towards the BEO (Barrow Environmental Observatory), it wasn't looking too much better. This snow fence has seen better days but when there is a lot of snow, it does a pretty good job of keeping it from moving.  Today, there isn't enough snow to worry about. The snow fence on the other side of the road was dismantled last July and I thought that it would have been replaced by now but the mounting posts are still empty.

Looking to the east, you can just see the radar dome. Earlier this morning, it was difficult to make out. There weren't enough contrasting edges in this picture for the autofocus on the camera to work. The weather service is forecasting similar conditions for the next couple of days. Hopefully the Alaska Airlines flights will still be running.

Maybe I should have gone for a walk on the beach...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Going To Yosemite

This post will possibly be of interest only to those running OS X. On Thursday evening, the newest version of Apple's operating system for the Macintosh was released and they named it Yosemite. I guess they ran out of large cat names. I must be a geek as I couldn't wait to try it out on at least one system. After downloading the 5.18GB installer, I followed the directions readily available on the Internet to make a bootable USB stick to avoid having to download it more than once.

The in-place installation went without a hitch and took a grand total of 18 minutes on my Macbook Pro from start to finish. (SSDs are wonderful things) By comparison, on a 27" iMac with a much faster processor but a spinning hard drive took almost 3x as long and an older Mac Mini took well over an hour. So far, the only non-compatible program appears to be an old version of Printopia that I don't need or use any longer. Most of the changes seem to be cosmetic with the exception of Continuity which is only significant if you also have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad running the newest version of iOS.

One really cool feature using the cell service on the iPhone is that I can send and receive SMS messages and voice calls. This may sound rather useless but I, like many others, usually spend much of the day staring at the computer screen and now I can answer calls or respond to text messages without digging the phone out of my pocket.

No complaints, everything seems to work and the hand-off features between iOS and OS X seem to work pretty seamlessly. I've upgraded several of the Macs here in Barrow and all have been seamless upgrades.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Heading North

A parting shot of Fairbanks as I head north once again. I wasn't planning on visiting Barrow until next month but a few things have come up and I've been absorbed in a programming project. The project was fixing an online nomination and election system for the staff governance office. Over the years, I've been annoyed by some aspects of the system and set out to fix them rather than just whine about it. I now know a lot more about Perl, MySQL, Shibboleth and JavaScript. 


Shortly after leaving Fairbanks, I tried an HDR photo showing the fog in the valleys. This photo really demonstrates a major shortcoming of a phone camera. The small sensor results in a lot of digital noise in low light situations such as this. But I still like the colors of the morning sky. Winter-like temperatures arrived in interior Alaska today with temperatures of 11°F. I think that Barrow is much warmer.


By the time we got to the Brooks Range, there was more light so not quite as much digital noise. This is also a HDR photo and both photos were made using the Pro HDR iPhone app. (My favorite one to date) Prudhoe Bay and Barrow are overcast so I'm not sure if there will be any photos from the flight.


Coffee with plain yogurt with granola and fruit. A reasonably healthy breakfast served on the flight up. But it's always a challenge for me to eat healthy while in Barrow. I believe that there would be few, if any, in the science building so I should be able to get a lot done.