Mmmm... nice new monitor.
I've taken up the hobby of railfanning, or if you prefer the British terminology, trainspotting, and my first 3 weeks of this activity have yielded over four hundred pictures and nearly 30 short video clips the camera I am borrowing takes.
But I kept missing something out there, on the tracks, often in good Canadian weather of 50 km/h winds and blowing snow.
What I kept missing was the trains.
So yesterday, I went to downtown Guelph to find a scanner. Freight trains emit a signal every 30 seconds from what's called an "end of train device". They also make extensive use of clear radio signals to communicate, relaying their positions to the trains in front and behind them and to dispatchers. Every so far along the tracks are detectors, devices that look for dragging equipment, overheated wheels, and even derailments. All of these broadcast in the clear, and I wanted a scanner.
After searching two pawn shops in town, not wanting to pay full fare for a brand new scanner, I stopped in at the sole remaining pawn shop and asked the employee (yes, there's only one - the employer and one employee run the store) if he had any radio scanners, not wanting a flatbed scanner which seems to be the first thing people think of.
He didn't but on the way over to check, I passed a couple of flat screen 21" monitors - Trinitron p1110 with Dell labels. After much ponderance, I bought them both - one for me and one for my roomate - at a combined total of some CAN$630 after taxes.
I never thought that I would find anything that would make my 17" monitors - or my television for that matter - look puny, but damn.
But I'm still without a scanner. I want to get a scanner and GPRS, plug the laptop into my inverter and camera into laptop and the gps on my dash to my laptop and scanner to line in and GPRS in... and then I can keep accurate audio-visual-scanner video and pictures with date/time/lattitude/longitude stamp and immediately upload them to my railfan web page. And I can work (telecommute) from the tracks at the same time.
Except that then I don't get to use my new monitor.
Them's the breaks.