While writing this entry I’m trying to decide how much of the last few days is really important to relay. Since I’ve been disconnected from the ‘Net I’ve realized how important a communication medium it is. I just hope I still have any readers left. In fact, I may still not be the one actually posting this. Emily our crew alternate may actually be the one doing it, if she agrees. Right now we have a 2400 baud connection that works sometimes, so I may have to email this to Em and have her post it. Emily, if you are reading this via email first, please remove the password and log-in information before you post it. ;) Paul has been really diligent about writing every day, even though he couldn’t post it, so I may just give y’all a link in my next entry to his blog so you
can catch up there.
OK, this is day six on Devon. I used the phrase “couple of days” in my last post, which in the Texas vernacular means at minimum two and at most many days. In my last I said I was leaving for the island for the rest of the summer. Well, we made it, and things have been rolling. Since we got here Sunday morning it has been mostly non-stop, except for sleep and meals. Tonight will be night six. We have had challenges and triumphs, but it has gone well overall. Things are taking shape, albeit slowly. The Hab is a mostly warm 50-60F, and some of the plumbing works, but the high speed net connect is still not up. Paul and I fried my sat-finder on Sunday and any manual alignment is all but impossible according to the Netkaster tech we talked to, basically the same as hitting at keno in ‘Vegas. The tech actually used more colorful language to describe it. We have a better suited sat-finder and fine adjustment rods coming with the crew. We think that will be Tuesday of next week.
I used even more colorful language while configuring the MSAT backup link. It seems that while we have gone back in time to 1989, 2400 baud modems with raw AT commands in serial terminal windows, the rest of the world has not. We went through 3 ISP’s before we could get one that worked at that slow rate. Everyone claims they can do it when you ask the salesperson, yet when you try it fails, and the techs don’t even want to go there. I did get one good tech at the first place we tried. He refreshed me on the Hayes AT command set, but was quickly removed from the case and replaced by a tier 2 tech who would have nothing to do with it. Thanks for trying Wane, I do appreciate it. Paul and I did finally succeed with, of all ISP’s, Earthlink. They can do a 2400 baud link when their DNS doesn’t time out. Not much of a selling point unless you are on an Arctic desert island. We may have the newer 4800 baud MSAT later tonight. We’ll be stylin’ then, just like 1990!
Otherwise all has gone well; Paul and I made a couple of new friends in our “guides” James 2 and Steve. They told us they found a little bit of bear sign yesterday about 10km from the Hab. Just like “a couple of days” means more in Texas, apparently “bear sign” means more to the Inuit. They actually got pictures of the bear when they followed the tracks. As it turns out the bear was also looking for them too. Steve said was a young male, “only 8-9 feet” (yikes!), and it ran from them when they went after it. Steve said it was too small for him to want to shoot and waste the bear tag. They just chased it off. The pics belong to Steve so I won’t post them without his permission (even when we do get the high speed up), but I will have them to show off privately when I get home, just in case I don’t get to see any bears of my own. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad wish, maybe a little of both - good and bad, just like most of this week.
[Yup, this was posted by Emily. Their web still isn't fast enough to allow for anything but text.]