SQM Serial Driver

Background

Unihedron produces a device called the Sky Quality Meter. This device produces measurements for the quality of the sky (i.e. presence or lack of light pollution)

A number of companies produce astronomy automation software. This software can manage the mount, imaging camera, focuser, guide camera, and potentially any other equipment connected to the installation.

The ASCOM standard provides a link between automation software and the equipment being controlled.

Before now, the Unihedron Sky Quality meters have not had ASCOM drivers to allow access from astronomy software. As a result, I blew the dust off my PC, and wrote an ASCOM driver for SQM devices that present a serial COM port interface or a TCP interface. I.e, the devices in the SQM-LU, SQM-LR, and SQM-LE families.

Notes

You are installing this at your own risk.

As of version 2.2.0 of this driver, it should function on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

The configuration window allows you to select the COM port (SQM-LU or SQM-LR), or IP Address/Port (SQM-LE) - it also offers "Simulate", which simulates readings rather than connecting to a real SQM device.

The option to return the temperature in Farenheit has been removed as it is not an ASCOM standard.

Parsec - Sinclar ZX Spectrum

Background

Parsec is a classic game developed by Jim Dramis and Paul Urbanus of Texas Instruments for the TI-99/4A computer in 1982.

The TI-99/4A was an interesting machine, ahead of its time. It used hardware developed for minicomputers, to be the first 16-bit home computer.

As an owner of the humble 8-bit Sinclair ZX Spectrum in the 1980s, I had hoped that this game would be released for the system. Unfortuntely it was not to be. Until now.

With the generous permission of Texas Instruments, I have developed a version of this game for the Spectrum. It's as close to the original as I could make it.

Notes

I am distributing this game in TZX and TAP formats. It should work on real and emulated ZX Spectrums. However, the custom loader is somewhat ambitious. It may cause difficulty loading on a real Spectrum, depending on the accuracy and condition of the ageing hardware.

It was written primarily for 128K flavours of the Spectrum. It works on 48K spectrums, but with minimal audio. And the audio is central to the immersion. So I'd advise playing on a 128K Speccy.

For instructions on how to play, please see the original manual. It can be found here

This Spectrum port of Parsec was not developed by Texas Instruments. But it is courtesy of Texas Instruments that I can make it available here.