I’m a Retro Kiwi

Hi, I’m Doug.

My introduction to computers was in 1980 - spotting a Commodore PET in my High School Math teachers office. From there I got my first computer in 1981 and I’ve been writing software since.

This is the place where I share my thoughts and notes about things that I’m excited about and working on and hope to connect with people having a similar mindset. I’d love to hear from you!

If you use my driver and would like to send me a little thank-you, please consider the “Buy me a Book” link on the right.

Sony Focus Support Part 2

It seems that the new support for focusing is quite popular! The Beta version of the driver now supports four more lenses. This brings the total number to ten. Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS Sony FE 2.8/70-200 GM OSS II Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS Sony FE 2.8/90 MACRO G OSS I’d like to thank Kimmo Manninen from Finland for providing the data for these lenses, and for helping test out and improve the focus support.
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Sony Focus Support

This is a follow-up to the prior post where I introduced the ability to control a camera-attached lens through the ASCOM Focuser interface. It turns out that while it did indeed work, there isn’t a lot of support out there for the mode of operation (Relative) that the focuser supports. APT has partial support, but I had no joy in getting it to actually focus properly. As such, the focuser code has done-away with the Relative mode of operation and now emulates an Absolute focuser.
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Sony Driver Refactor

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made some pretty dramatic changes to the Sony ASCOM driver. One Thread To Rule Them All# Up until this point, the driver has communicated with the camera in multiple threads, with locks in place to ensure A doesn’t talk to the camera while B is. The updated version isolates all camera communication into a single thread, with a simple work-queue so that A will just wait until B is complete before running.
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Acorn Archimedes PIO Podule

This has been a very long-running project! I started it back in 2016 (or was that 2017?). The aim is to produce a classic Archimedes Podule that provides many things! I started the project when my old Acorn Archimedes A5000 failed to boot after the CMOS battery leaked and chewed through part of the PCB preventing the HDD from working. To date, there have been two revisions of the Podule.
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Sony Camera Driver for Astrophotography

My most recent project - it started off as me trying to find a solution for a problem, and has since taken off. It seems there are many folk around the world with Sony cameras who would just love to have a tool that lets them take photos of the night sky. From initial support for just one camera (mine) it now supports over 30 models of Sony Digital camera.
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ASCOM Sony Driver Revisited

A couple of quick updates on the driver. Some of this is in my prior post, but it seems that not everyone gets to the end of that :) It supports a whole bunch of Sony cameras, at the time of writing the list has 24 models on it, and I’ve just had someone confirm that the α1 works. Adding new cameras is super easy, just run the provided utility and email me what it prints out - as soon as you have done that I can add the camera definition to the next version (and the list).
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Sony Dslr Mirrorless Camera Control [Part 3]

Sony take a very programmer-unfriendly approach to taking photos (any many other aspects of camera control). Most actions involve taking the same steps as the user of the camera would take. TAKING A PHOTO# The process of taking a photo via the USB connection involves a number of steps: Push the shutter button half-way down - this will engage auto-focus if enabled. Push the shutter button all the way down - this will actually start the image acquisition using the camera’s current settings.
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Sony Dslr Mirrorless Camera Control [Part 2]

At this time, I’ve been able to map around half of the reported properties to their actual camera setting. I’ve deciphered the meaning of the different values for most of these. However, some values will be missing as my camera doesn’t allow me to use some of the possible values (i.e. Some of the flash settings appear permanently disabled on my camera - either that or they only become options when other settings are set “just so”)
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Sony Dslr Mirrorless Camera Control [Part 1]

As mentioned in my ASCOM driver post, Sony doesn’t seem particularly interested in allowing third-party access when it comes to remote control of their cameras. This was very disappointing to me after I forked out US$1,000 for a new a6400, only to find that the only way to control the camera remotely was the Sony “Imaging Edge” suite. It seems they (Sony) definitely thought about letting people control their own cameras for a while, as they released a camera SDK (it can still be downloaded) that allows control of a number of cameras over their built-in WiFi.
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ASCOM Driver for Sony Cameras

Recently I moved to an area of the country where the night skies are much clearer. I can now actually see celestial objects bigger than the Sun and the Moon! After purchasing a relatively cheap tracking telescope bundle I discovered that although my friends outwardly appeared to be interested, that didn’t translate to a desire to spend their evening stargazing - especially as temperatures dropped towards, and then below, freezing. So I thought I could at least show them the awesomeness from the comfort of their living room (or, more likely, their cellphone).
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