Thursday, November 13, 2014

Visual Studio: "Build Tools x86 Element Not Found"

Microsoft has released a free, full version of Visual Studio for hobbyists and small businesses called Visual Studio Community.
Neat. The previous Visual Studio "Express" has many features disabled and the professional versions are pretty expensive.
I attempted to install VS Community via the web installer and kept coming up with "Build Tools x86 Element Not Found." Searching for a solution to this didn't give me any answers that solved this problem.
I managed to solve it on my own. Here's how:
Dump the web installer and download the ISO. It is a little less than 7 gigabytes.
In File Explorer, right click on the C Drive and create a new folder. I used "VSCommunity" as the folder name.
Open the ISO you downloaded with 7-Zip or your favorite unzipper and extract the ISO to your VS Community folder.
Find your way to the "Packages" folder, then the "BuildTools_MSBuild_x86" folder. There you will find the "BuildTools_MsBuild.exe" program. Double-click it and it will install.

Now go back to the top level of your VS Community and double-click "vs_community.exe" and the program suite should install without a problem.
You're welcome.

Friday, September 19, 2014

High resolution weather satellite pics with RTL-SDR

Russia launched a weather satellite last July that downlinks LRPT digital images on the same frequency band that NOAA broadcasts archaic, poor APT analog pictures.

These LRPT (Low Resolution Picture Transmission) actually are superb compared to their analog counterparts, 12 times the resolution. They can be decoded using a simple RTL-SDR radio and some free software. Full instructions here.

It takes quite a bit of fussing to get the gain settings on your RTL-SDR correct, you're lucky to get a good, high pass of the Russian satellite, called Meteor M N2. I finally managed a good shot of the Great Basin (mainly the state of Nevada) today. Clearly visible are the lakes of Tahoe, Great Salt Lake, Mono, Walker, Mead, and many others. The contrast of the basin-and-range of the Great Basin is visible clearly.

Currently (Sept. 19, 2014) the satellite is using only the red and green channels so the picture is tinted funny, but still quite striking.

Great Basin USA