What am I doing?

“If you have a purpose of helping others, then why are you helping people that only help themselves?”

That’s a good question. One that I’ve been asking myself lately. There are some definite pros to helping athletes and others who compete. The results are easily measured and so clearly visible. A placement, a rank, a medal. And my contribution can be discerned. But to help someone win competitions implies helping them to focus – on that specific result, to the exclusion of almost everything else. This is the essence of Two Lengths of the Pool when applied to people who compete. To help people focus on competitive results is to help people become more egotistical. Because so many other parts of life and empathy need to go ta make place for that top position. For glory. For The Win.

I help all kinds of people – from athletes to housewives. And that is why I have come to ask myself this question. Because I can compare so many people I’ve helped. And while helping an athlete win gold is really fun, helping someone with a purpose to help others is far more rewarding in the long run – for the person I help. If the person wants to win a competition, I have to help him become more focused, more egotistical. If the person wants to help others, I have to help him to open up and become more empathetic.

This is the moral dilemma inherent in the question. But it’s not quite a rhetorical question, as maybe a balance is needed?

Creating the AstroCalc

My requirements: Being able to do astronomical calculations while observing through my telescope during cold nights while not hurting my night vision.

With a smart phone, I’d have to use touch gloves or take off my gloves to press “buttons” on the screen. And then I’d have the hassle of filter programs to dim the screen and make it red to keep it from impacting my night vision.

With my HP-41, I’d have to use a led light to see the screen.

But with an old red led calculator, I could get all my requirements at once. Except there are few of these old pre-1980 calculators that would be capable of doing all the calculations I need; Date -> Julian Date -> Date, Sun rise/set, Moon rise/set, Moon Phase, Field of View calculations fro various eyepieces, etc. Fiddling with magnetic cards for the HP-67 would not be ideal.

hp-25e

HP-25E to the rescue! Bernhard Emese (Panamatik) has created a true piece of art with his “brain transplant” for the old HP-25 calculators. His HP-25E boast a 100x increase in programming memory, on-board GPS with time, Latitude, Longitude, heading, speed and more as well as a stop watch, chess clock, hexadecimal conversion and much, much more. It’s the ideal calculator for my requirements. Except it still had only 50 program steps memory per program. Although it had the possibility of storing 100 HP-25 programs in a constant memory (not lost when you turn the calc off – unlike the original HP-25), you couldn’t write programs with more than 50 steps. And this was way too small for the programs I need.

Talking to Berhard about the possibility of “stringing together” different “pages” of 50 program steps, we came up with a neat way of solving this issue. By using some available rare codes, the HP-25E can now jump between various programs – potentially creating programs with thousands of programming steps.

hp-25e_open

And so I embarked on the journey of creating the AstroCalc – the ideal tool for the amateur astronomer. So far, the GitHub repository only includes the calculation of Julian Date from a date and time and the backward conversion, from Julian Date to date and time. With the HP-25E’s possibility of constantly updating the time, this makes writing down the exact Julian Date on my observations a breeze.

I will add the Sun/Moon rise/set, Moon Phase and eyepiece calculations soon. Just check my HP-25E_astro Github page for updates.

I fucking love this calc.

The best deal: Everyone first!

Business people, salesmen, game theory mathematicians, Donald Trump and negotiators would advice you to get the best deal possible. And the best deal would often amount to getting the biggest share of the pie that you can possibly get.

While that strategy may get you rich when selling refrigerators to Eskimos, it is not the best long term strategy for a partnership.

salesperson

Whenever you try to get a bigger piece of the pie, the other parties gets less. And their motivation for baking pie suffers proportionally.

Trying to get the “best deal” by getting an unfair portion may be a viable short term strategy. But in the long run it kills partnerships.

The best way to ensure affluent pie making and long term profit is for every party to insist on a fair deal for everyone involved.

The best strategy is not to simply cater for one’s own interests. It is to cater for everyone’s interest. Putting my interest first hurts the other parties’ interests and kills off that much motivation to make the partnership work in the long run.

The best strategy would be to impress as much as you can by delivering value to the partnership as often as you can. Give life to the partnership by continually giving and insisting on a fair deal for everyone involved. Empathy, transparency, putting all cards on the table and dropping all chess gaming are keys to a good partnership. Don’t do tactics. Don’t do strategies. Just ensure everyone succeeds.