My favorite hobby is flying. I earned my Private Pilot Certificate with Airplane Single Engine Land rating in 1981 in Northern California. I now do most of my power flying in Piper aircraft, out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon, but also out of McClellan Palomar Airport in Carlsbad at times.
I added a Glider Category rating a couple of years ago. I belong to the Associated Glider Clubs of Southern California, and we fly mostly out of Warner Springs. I really enjoy flying gliders designed for aerobatics, like the LET L-23 Blanik, and our club's SZD 50-3. As you can see in this photo of me, the slot car like handling qualities can really put a smile on your face.
If you came directly to this page from another site, you might be interested in the freely distributable flight planning software that I maintain, called fplan.
I've been an active swimmer since my high school days. Although I'm down to only one or two races per year, I still swim for fitness and relaxation about 3-4 times a week. Working out in the pool is OK, but my lower back has some factory defects, so flip turns sometimes cause problems for me. I really look forward to the months of May, June when the local ocean water temperatures warm up enough to work out in open water.
My favorite place for open water swimming is at nearby La Jolla Cove. The Cove offers some protection from the incoming surf, so it's usually quite easy getting in and out of the water. (An exception is during the late fall and winter at low tide when the tidal and storm driven surge gets higher). Have a look for yourself, here is an aerial photograph I shot, or try this web camera for a live shot.
I enjoy ocean swimming so much more than swimming in a pool. There's no smelly chlorine to dry out your nose or ruin your hair and swimsuits. You don't get cramps in your feet or calves from push offs from turns. You ride a little higher in salt water because it's more dense. (I really notice this when I return to the pool in the winter, I feel like a log or something for awhile). Except in high wind coditions, you actually swallow less water than in a pool. This is especially true for small lap pools or pools without splash gutters or lane markers.
Best of all, open ocean swimming is so much more interesting. Swimming in a pool is very boring in comparison. How many runners do you know who prefer working out on an indoor track? I find the fish and other wildlife to be quite refreshing and renewing. On my swims, I often see large schools of California Grunion, Yellowtail, and Sargo. I also see the bright orange colored Garibaldi, usually alone or in very small schools. On occasion I've seen Bottlenose Dolphins and California Sea Lions. And yes, I do see creepy stuff like Bat Rays, Barracuda and Sharks on occasion.
If you ever visit San Diego, you can learn more about what wonders are found in our local oceans by visiting the Stephen Birch Aquarium located in La Jolla, near the campus of the University of California at San Diego. They have a number of exhibits of work being conducted at the nearby Scripps Institution of Oceanography, certainly much more interesting than a trip to Sea World.
I've been riding motorcycles for about 25 years, they are fun to ride and can be very practical (especially where parking is scarce, like down by the beach :^). My first bike was a brand new 1978 Yamaha 650 Twin. Although the 650 was a reliable bike, I was quickly seduced by the large displacement, 4 cylinder bikes that some of my friends drove. My current bike is a vintage 1974 Kawasaki 900 Z1, the grand daddy of today's super bikes. Like most other Z1's on the road, mine has been extensively modified; Kerker 4-1 exhaust header, Mikuni 29mm slide valve carburetors, K&N air filter, DYNA III electronic ignition, Koni adjustable rear shocks, and a high speed steering damper. I'll be the first to admit it, the coolest part of motorcycles is the sound, here's an audio clip of my Z1 going through the gears. Here are some links to pages devoted to the Z1;
The one aspect of the Z1 I really don't like is the teensy gasoline tank. The useful range of my bike (with modifications) is about 105 miles, and the reserve only seems good for about another 7-10 or so! I'm the fourth owner of the bike, and every one of us has run out of gas at least once.
I use my home computer for Internet access, document preparation, sending and receiving faxes, home finance, digital photography, entertainment, and as a tool for special aspects of my other hobbies. I also help develop, maintain and support free software, such as the fplan flight planning package. I do about 95% of my home computing using a truly unique operating system known as Linux. I also use IBM's OS/2 Warp operating system a little, but mostly Linux. If you've never heard of Linux, here's a quick sketch of what it's all about.
Linux is a freeware, POSIX compliant, multiuser, multitasking, multithreaded, operating system that runs on a variety of platforms, including the popular Intel 80386, 80486, and Pentium processors. It includes advanced features such as, high performance file systems, TCP/IP networking, virtual memory, strict memory protection between processes, and support for symmetric multiprocessing on multiple CPU architectures. Here are some sites to explore if you are interested.
Linux is very stable because it's based on technology that has been refined and evolving for over 20 years. My systems at home and work will go for months at a time between reboots, and they occur mostly because of a power glitch, hardware swap or similar situation. Memory protection makes it nearly impossible for a single buggy application to interfere with other applications or to disrupt basic system functions.
Linux makes very efficient use of your hardware resources. It's 32 bit premptive multitasking is quite superior to Windows and the Macintosh. You won't need the latest cryogenic cooled CPU running at near optical frequencies, or terrabytes of RAM just to have acceptable interactive performance. In fact, Linux will provide acceptable performance on a 10 year old 16 MHz 386 machine. If you think I'm pulling your leg, you can access one running Linux and the Apache web server and see for yourself.
Some of today's most powerful computers are large networked clusters of inexpensive machines running Linux, such as the Beowulf Project at NASA Goddard. A similar architecture was used in rendering most of the special effects for the hit movie Titanic. If you are curious, this article from Linux Journal tells the story.
With Linux, you have many choices as to how to configure your base system. If you are a user that places great emphasis on GUI look and feel, then you might find it interesting to know that you have well over a dozen choices for the type of desktop to use (or window manager in X11 terminology). You can get a good idea of your choices from the Window Managers for X page. Of course the downside is that all this choice generally means that system configuration will involve more work on your part.
No it's not a typo, Linux can be legally obtained for free (well, really for the cost of transferring it over the network). Although it is possible to get Linux for free, your best bet is to purchase a Linux distribution on CD-ROM. The commercial offerings run about 50 US$, and typically include printed documentation, as well as bundled, valued added commercial applications. If you're interested, here are some distributions to consider;
Actually, there's more to it than not having to shell out lots of your hard earned money. The Linux kernel is protected by a unique copyright which guarantees we will always have full access to the source code. Should I discover a bug, or decide that I want it to operate differently, I have the freedom to do it, (or hire someone to do it for me). Until now, computer software was really the only product we could not repair or modify to better suit our needs. Not anymore!
I've been a radio enthusiast for many years, listening to shortwave news broadcasts and so on. I finally got my Amateur Radio License in 1991, the call sign I was issued is KD6EKQ. I'm still only Technician Class, but I hope to learn morse code some day so I can get on the HF bands.
Amateur Packet Radio is one of my main interests. Of course, I do all my packet operating under Linux. It's perhaps the only operating system in the world that can boast native kernel support for the standard AX.25 packet radio protocols. Under Linux, it's also very easy to run TCP/IP over AX.25 in a transparent fashion. I can still use my favorite ftp, telnet clients or web browser to communicate with other packet radio stations. The ampr.org domain on the InterNet is reserved for TCP/IP based Amateur Packet Radio communications. If you are interested in using Linux for Amateur Packet Radio, see the AX25-HOWTO, by Terry Dawson, VK2KTJ. You can find some good general information on Amateur Packet Radio from the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio web site.
There is alot of other excellent Amateur Radio related software available for Linux; programs for learning morse code, contest logging, satellite tracking, transceiver control, circuit design, audio spectrum analysis, advanced DSP filtering and so on. For more details, see the excellent HAM-HOWTO, also by Terry Dawson, VK2KTJ.