Rich Hay with the Vaonis Vespera Passengers and a look at the Vespera II and Pro for the Night Sky Observer – HGG610

In one of my favorite episodes yet this year, we catch up with Rich Hay. Rich talks about his decision to purchase a VW EV and all that he has loved about it (that was in preshow, now at the end). In the show, we catch up with Rich and talk about what he has been up to over the last 2 years. He talks about his purchase of the Vaonis Vespera Passengers and how much it has made looking at the stars so much easier. We also talk about how Jim found his idea of a pop-up drone security device that he has been talking about for years. We wrap the show with a little talk about the new Microsoft Surface. Thanks for listening!

Full show notes, transcriptions (available on request), audio and video at

Join Jim Collison / @jcollison for show #609 of Home Gadget Geeks, brought to you by the Average Guy Network.


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Show Segments

  • Leaving Microsoft job for full-time ministry.[0:00]
    • Rich Hey returns to the show after two years, now at Microsoft as community manager.
    • Rich Hay reflects on his 2.5 years at Microsoft, deciding to leave for full-time ministry.
    • Hay plans to resume blogging and podcasting, focusing on technology and space topics.
  • Podcasting, Microsoft, and space exploration.[4:28]
    • Rich Hay discusses his role as a deacon, including baptizing babies and marrying people.
    • Jim Collison congratulates Rich Hay on his work with the church and invites him to return to his podcast.
    • Rich Hay and Jim Collison reminisce about their experiences as Microsoft MVPs and solar eclipses.
    • Rich Hay plans to watch a total solar eclipse in northern Spain in 2 years, while Jim Collison is interested in the upcoming eclipses in the US.
  • Using smart telescopes for astrophotography.[10:07]
    • Rich Hay discusses the recent solar flare and coronal mass ejection, mentioning that it was visible in some parts of the US but not in others.
    • Rich Hay uses a new microscope to observe space, which he finds fascinating and a dream come true.
    • Rich Hay discusses his experience with the Vesper telescope, praising its ease of use and high-quality images.
    • Hay highlights the telescope’s ability to collect images every 10 seconds and stack them for more detailed views.
    • Rich Hay demonstrates a telescope that captures high-quality images of nebulae and stars with ease.
  • A portable telescope with remote control and solar filter for astronomy enthusiasts.[16:36]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discussed the use of a remote-controlled telescope for stargazing.
    • Rich Hay shared images of the Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula, and other celestial bodies captured with the telescope.
    • Rich Hay demonstrates the capabilities of a new astronomy app, including planning observations and using a standard tripod.
    • Jim Collison is impressed by the app’s features, including battery life and power options, and mentions price ranges ($1,800-$2,000) for the device.
    • Rich Hay explains how his telescope works and its features, including a light pollution filter and solar filter.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience using the telescope during a total solar eclipse, highlighting its ability to track the sun and capture images of the coronal ejection.
  • Space exploration and astronomy with a focus on satellite technology and solar eclipses.[25:14]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the quality of phone cameras for stargazing and the ability to track celestial objects like the International Space Station and Starlink satellites.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience of accidentally spotting a Starlink train while observing the night sky with a new telescope, and Jim Collison finds it fascinating that there are apps available to track these satellites.
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the solar eclipse and their experiences watching it in Dallas.
    • Rich Hay shares photos he took of the eclipse using his Vesper camera, including shots of the Cowboys practice facility with office lights coming on as it got darker.
  • Astronomy and astrophotography, including totality and stalking images.[30:53]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the path of totality for the solar eclipse and how it affected traffic and viewing locations.
    • Rich Hay talks about the capabilities of the telescope he built, including its ability to collect images over multiple nights and stack them for better quality.
    • Rich Hay and Jim Collison discuss the process of cleaning up astronomical images, including adjusting colors and removing artifacts.
    • Rich Hay encourages listeners to use binoculars to observe the Orion Nebula, noting that it appears gray and requires multiple images to get a truer image.
  • Using a telescope app for astronomy enthusiasts.[35:21]
    • Rich Hay demonstrates how to use the Telescope App on a tablet or computer to stream live images of the night sky.
    • Users can connect to the telescope’s WiFi and see the results in real-time, potentially with privacy settings for granting access to others.
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the solar eclipse and its impact on local businesses.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience attending an event in Dallas during the eclipse, noting the large crowd and economic activity.
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss drone flying as a hobby, with Rich sharing his experience with the DGI mini for Pro.
    • Rich has been having fun with time-lapse photography and capturing sunset/sunrise shots in his neighborhood.
  • Autonomous telescopes and home security systems.[42:21]
    • Jim demonstrates a home security system that opens a drone to capture footage.
    • Rich Hay discusses the possibility of a telescope that can be controlled remotely and automatically observes celestial objects.
  • Using drones for security and automation, with potential for tracking packages and identifying unknown persons.[45:50]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the potential of using drones for security purposes, such as detecting and identifying unknown objects in the sky.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience with flying drones and the importance of following recreational limits and obtaining a license for higher-weight drones.
    • Jim Collison discusses the progress made in AI detection on security cameras, mentioning the ability to identify packages and track drones.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience with using a drone to track his Tesla, with flight time ranging from 30 to 40 minutes per battery.
  • Home security systems and package delivery experiences.[50:18]
    • Rich Hay discusses drone technology and home security systems.
    • Rich Hay mentions that he rarely uses his Ring doorbell to talk to people who come to his door.
    • Jim Collison shares his experience of having a delivery person ask if it’s okay to leave packages on his step.
  • Microsoft’s new ARM-based devices and AI features.[53:56]
    • Rich Hay shares insights on Microsoft’s AI features, including an AI-powered Q&A tool.
    • Rich Hay is excited about the potential of ARM-based devices, particularly with Microsoft’s upcoming Surface RT launch.
    • Rich Hay is excited about new Surface hardware, particularly the 13.8-inch and 15-inch models with high-end specs.
    • Hay believes the new hardware represents a turning point for compute, with Intel and AMD facing competition from multiple OEMs.
  • Apple’s ARM architecture and Microsoft’s experiments with arm technology.[1:00:04]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss Apple’s M1 chip and its potential impact on the tech industry.
    • Rich Hay shares his experience working at Microsoft and how it has influenced his perspective on podcasting.
    • Jim Collison discusses Microsoft’s approach to innovation and experimentation.
  • Electric cars, charging, and long trips.[1:04:07]
    • Jim and Rich discuss upcoming episodes, guests, and tech topics.
    • Rich Hay researched electric cars and bought a VW e-Golf, which he charges at home with a level 2 charger.
    • Rich Hay plans to take a long road trip in July, using VW’s network of chargers called Electrify America, which he gets free for 3 years with his vehicle purchase.
  • Electric car charging and solar power.[1:07:53]
    • Rich Hay compares his gas and electricity costs, finding that charging his car electrically is cheaper ($200-$250/month) than using gas ($400/month).
    • Rich Hay sets preferred charging times in his car’s app and schedules them to charge during off-peak hours to receive a $7 monthly rebate from the electric company.
    • Rich Hay purchased a Tesla Model 3 and received a rebate for the installation of a level 2 charger.
    • Rich Hay has had one issue with charging, where he ran out of charge on the night of the aurora and had to wait 24 hours to make the drive to the dark sky site.
  • Electric cars, charging, and maintenance.[1:13:07]
    • Jim Collison and Rich Hay discuss the possibility of using a solar generator to charge an electric vehicle on the go.
    • Rich Hay mentions seeing more electric vehicles on the road, including Teslas, since he started driving one himself.
    • Rich Hay has had his VW e-Golf for almost a year and has driven it 19,000 miles, with good mileage.
    • Jim Collison notes that the dealership tried to mess with Rich Hay when he bought the car, but VW has been good overall.
    • Rich Hay discusses his experience with Tesla charging, including the convenience of charging at home and the importance of having multiple charging options on long trips.
    • Jim Collison adds to the conversation, sharing his own experiences with charging and the benefits of having charging stations along the way.

More from Chat GPT

Rich Hay and Jim Collison discuss their personal journeys and upcoming changes in their lives, including Rich’s decision to focus more on his ministry and Jim’s interest in space exploration. They also discuss their experiences with solar eclipses, smart home technology, and electric vehicles, highlighting the benefits and challenges of these technologies. Rich shares his recent trip to Texas for the total solar eclipse, while Jim reveals his interest in space exploration. Both speakers express optimism about the future of Microsoft’s innovations, particularly in AI and ARM-based technology.

Some of the key products mentioned include:

  • Vesper telescope – The smart telescope that Rich Hay uses for astrophotography. It can automatically track and capture images of celestial objects.
  • DGI mini 4 Pro drone – The drone that Rich Hay uses for aerial photography and videography as a hobby.
  • VW ID.4 – The electric vehicle that Rich Hay purchased and has been driving for almost a year. It’s a VW crossover SUV.
  • Microsoft Surface devices – Specifically the upcoming Surface devices with ARM processors, which Rich Hay pre-ordered two models of to test out.
  • Ring doorbell camera – Mentioned briefly in the context of home security systems and package delivery notifications.
  • Sunflower Labs home awareness system – An autonomous drone-based home security system demonstrated in a video during the discussion.

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