Thursday, October 18, 2007

Flightsim in my pocket

OK, so I lied. Here I am posting just days after I said I would be on hiatus. However, this is an unusual occasion as I am away from home (and the guitar) for a week, on a business trip. Of course, one of the benefits of this trip is that I got to fly for the first time in a few years. The experience was glorious, and I am really looking forward to the trip home.

But the main topic of this post running FlightGear from a thumb drive. This is a really neat thing you can do with FlightGear, and I've been meaning to post about for a long time, but somehow never got around to it. The truth is, you can easily get the entire FG base package, about 500MB, on a 1 Gig thumb drive. And then you can run FG off the drive without installing anything on the computer. These drives are really cheap nowadays: I got my 2 GB drive for less than $20. Of course, if you want to add more scenery areas, that will quickly take up a lot more space. Another option, with slightly less cool factor, would be to burn a CD. But then you couldn't fit it in your pocket.

The beauty of this is that you can fly FG on any eligible computer without installing it. This is especially valuable to me, since my employer keeps very tight controls on their computers and won't let the common folk install anything without going through IT. However, with the flightsim on the thumb drive, I can fly on my laptop any time I want to. This has been especially nice this week. Being away from home, I finally have my evenings all to myself, and no guitar to tempt me, so I've taken a bit of those evenings to enjoy some flying time again. The photo above shows FG running on my work laptop, from the thumb drive on the right side of the laptop, attached to my keychain.

My parting shot is a nice evening cloud effect that I never saw before in FG, until this evening's flight. I think it's awfully nice, and a fitting image if this is really my last post (for a while, at least).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hangar time

If you've been following this blog recently you may have wondered why I haven't written lately. Actually, you're if you're a regular reader more likely to know why, since the writing has been on the wall pretty much, in my last few posts. The truth is, my renewed interest in guitar playing has sucked up just about all of my meager supply of free time and I have hardly flown at all for weeks now.

I have actually set out a few times recently to have a little flying time, but have ended up hitting Control-C after 5 minutes or so. I'm not sure exactly why I feel so "unhooked" on flightimming. I think the fact that the hobby has a rival has made me much more sensitive to using my time as productively as possible. And flightsimming definitely demands a dedicated chunk of time to do it right. Right now, I find it's hard to justify spending even 30 minutes on a flight, when I have a to-do list as long as my arm for the guitar. Thirty minutes of scales could do me a lot of good.

It's not that the stuff doesn't interest me anymore. I still check in on the forums, and I've been following with great interest the news about FSX SP2 (see here for example). I will download that patch when it becomes available, though I won't be staying up late to do so this time. And of course I still love aviation, and still look skyward just about every time I hear something piston powered going over my house. Just the other day I was lucky enough to catch a good look at this beauty at low altitude right over my house!

So, a little shy of 100 posts, I feel I need to put this blog on indefinite suspension. I can't promise to post on any regular basis. I can't promise I won't post either, so if you've found any of this blog to be diverting, then check back every month or so. I've you've been a regular visitor, please add a comment or drop me a note. My site meter tells me I get a certain amount of traffic every week, but I still wonder whether they are real people or spam-bots. I'm sure I'll get back to flighsimming regularly, I just don't know when. I've enjoyed writing this blog, and I hope some of you have enjoyed reading it.