Posts Tagged ‘Colchester’
The amazing development of electronics over 50 years.
(A republication of a post first shown on the 13th August, 2009)
The calendar reliably informs me that this is my 65th year. My brain, of course, lags somewhat in accepting this!
My step-father during my early teenage years worked for Elliott Brothers (the link goes to an interesting history of the firm that started in 1804) in Borehamwood, just north of London. He encouraged me to fiddle with ‘steam’ radios and
try and understand how these basic circuits worked. It was then a small step to deciding to become a radio amateur, popularly known as a radio ham! In those days it was a case of some pretty intensive studying to pass a Theory exam as well as being able to pass an exam in sending and receiving Morse code.
So joining the local radio society seemed like a sensible idea. That was (and still is!) called the Radio Society of Harrow. That it is still in existence after all these years is truly delightful. Those Friday night sessions at the Society and extra-curricular classes on Sunday morning at Ron Ray’s (G2TA) house, an hour’s bicycle ride away from home, ensured that shortly after my 16th birthday I was granted a Licence, G3PUK. It was a very proud moment.
Anyway, once granted a licence it was time to build my own radio transmitter. Most of the details have been lost in the mists of time but what is recalled was that the final amplifier was a pair of 803s driving an 813 (These are radio valve numbers). It sounds like something from the ark! But again ploughing the inexhaustible files of the Web, it’s possible to see what these radio valves looked like. Thanks to the National Valve Museum.
Here are pictures, courtesy of the National Valve Museum of those two radio valves:
803 – The substantial wide glass tube envelope is 58 mm in diameter (2 1/4 in) and, excluding the special five pin base pins, is 216 mm tall (8 1/2 in).
813 The classic envelope is substantial at 60 mm diameter (2 1/3 in) and 170 mm (6 2/3 in) long excluding the special base pins. The anode is 53 mm long and 48 mm wide. The metal is 1 mm thick.
It’s difficult, today, to imagine devices which are essentially diodes (well, technically the 803 was a pentode and the 813 a tetrode) being between 6 and 8 inches tall!
My own self-build transmitter had not really been successful emitting more heat than light, so to speak. Literally, in the sense that these large radio valves kept me warm in my converted garden shed at the bottom of the garden. They also completely wiped out TV reception for those households with a 1/4 mile range that had invested in early television sets! It was time to move on to the R1155.
Around this era, less than 20 years after the end of the War in Europe in 1945, war-surplus equipment was widely available including ‘compact’ transmitter-receiver units.
One popular one was the RAF R1155 which had been fitted to RAF Lancaster bombers and RAF marine craft. It was also fitted to the Sunderland flying boat. This information plus the photos below is from this fascinating web site for those wishing to be ‘geeky’ about this.
Just compare the view on the right to the inside of your domestic radio or your cell phone.
A lot happens in 50 years!
My personal journey now leaps to 1978 and I have just left IBM UK having had 8 fabulous years with them as an Office Products salesman. My fledging company, Dataview Ltd, has just become the 8th Commodore Computer (CBM) dealer in the UK, based in a small office in Colchester, Essex, about 50 miles north-east of London.
The CBM PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) released in 1977 initially with a calculator type keyboard was useless for any business application but soon came out with a typewriter sized keyboard, making it a more viable business
machine. Today, as this is typed on an ‘old’ laptop with 2GB RAM, it seems unbelievable that these CBMs were sold with between 4k and 96k of RAM (memory) and no hard disk, although one could purchase an add-on that comprised dual 5 1/2 inch floppy disk drives.
YouTube obligingly finds a short video on the Commodore PET for those really wishing to enjoy the nostalgia!
So to turn to the 21st century and to run out of understanding. We appear to live in a world of multi-later printed circuit boards of unimaginable (to me) component density, assuming that the word ‘component’ is even relevant today.
What an amazing period it has been!
Now let me see was it Pin 920 to Pin 140, or Pin14 to Pin 860 connected to Pin 56 ………?
A plea to those who understand climate science so much better than I do!
Background to this Post.
Among my friends, two go way back. One of them, Dan Gomez, a lively, ebullient Californian, was indirectly responsible for me and Jean meeting in Mexico back on December 17th, 2007. I first met Dan at a dealers’ conference in Boston way back in the early days of Commodore Computers. That was the Spring of 1979 and I had flown to Boston as the owner of the 8th Commodore Computer dealership to be appointed in the UK, based in Colchester, Essex. Later, I became the global distributor of an English word processing program known as Wordcraft, written by Pete Dowson in the UK, and appointed Dan as my US West Coast Wordcraft distributor. It gave me a wonderful reason to come out to Southern California several times a year; on business, of course!
Dan and I therefore go back 33 years! Dan’s sister Suzann has a house down in San Carlos, Mexico. Suzann invited me out to Mexico for Christmas 2007 which is where I first met Jean and, bingo, Jean and I then fell in love with each other! How life flows! (Two years ago yesterday, Jean and I moved into our house in Payson with our, then, 13 dogs and 6 cats!)
OK, to the Post!
Dan has been a climate change skeptic, as in caused by man, for many years. Regular readers of Learning from Dogs will know I see things very differently. But Dan and I agree fundamentally on getting to the truth. This Blog proudly claims to seek “The underlying theme of Learning from Dogs is about truth, integrity, honesty and trust in every way.”
So when the other day Dan sent me a number of links supporting his view that “My point remains that climate change is an enormous, complex process that no computer model is going to predict and no human activity modify significantly. Big money is now at stake here and as the article shows, even trusted scientists will produce fraudulent information to further their goals as well as fill politician’s coffers.” I found my faith in my own views slighted dented. Dan is a smart guy, a good thinker and not beholden to any firm or organisation with a vested interest in denying anthropogenic global warming.
Here are some of the items that Dan referred to,
IPCC Scientist Admits Fake Data Used To Pressure World Leaders
A scientist responsible for a key 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warning Himalayan glaciers would be completely melted by 2035 has admitted that the claim was made to put political pressure on world leaders.
Such was revealed by the British Daily Mail Sunday in an article destined to further reduce the credibility of the world’s so-called leading authority on manmade global warming.
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, the IPCC acknowledged earlier this week that its claim concerning these glaciers was based on junk science.
Read it in full here.
Then there was this,
Oregon Chapter American Meteorological Society
Anthropogenic (Human Caused) Global Warming – Is This The Greatest Scientific Myth of our Generation?”
January 25th, 2012, Portland, Oregon
First Speaker - Gordon Fulks, PhD Physics, University of Chicago
Dr. Fulks said: “My thesis tonight is simple: virtually ALL of what climate alarmists put forth as science is not. Some is half correct, some is incorrect, and too much is just plain nonsense or worse.”
This led him into what he called “one of the central problems with Anthropogenic Global Warming,” “the integrity of the data.” He discussed a variety of temperature data from land surface data that shows various manipulations and biases to the best global data from NASA satellites to the excellent ice core temperature proxies going back 450,000 years.
Second Speaker - Chuck Wiese, Meteorologist – Oregon State University
Mr. Wiese finished his presentation with the following conclusions:
1. There is nothing in the REAL atmospheric record that supports the recent temperature rise of the last century to carbon dioxide induced anthropogenic warming.
2. The tropospheric water vapor optical depth is remarkably stable but has declined recently over the last 70 years of record as carbon dioxide rose substantially in the atmosphere during the same period. This is a consistent outcome as expected by the first principle founding physics and inconsistent with atmospheric climate models.
3. Without water vapor acting as a positive feedback ( growth pattern ) to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, the projected radiative forcing on the earth’s surface is but a grossly exaggerated calculation of what the earth’s temperature will actually do in response to carbon dioxide.
4. The earth’s “greenhouse effect” is NOT controlled by atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is modulated and governed by atmospheric water vapor and clouds, where the warming modulation is controlled by the amount of vapor and optical depth. Clouds with the hydrological cycle act to trim out water vapor into a hydrostatic, convective equilibrium. The stable atmospheric optical depth likes the earth mean temperature of 59 deg F without further solar or planetary modulation.
5. The Anthropogenic warming hypothesis by atmospheric CO2 is falsified by the real record and radiation physics.
Third Speaker - George Taylor, former Oregon State Climatologist
His presentation finished with his conclusions:
1. Human activities DO affect climate, in a variety of ways. Greenhouse gases are just one parameter.
2. Natural variations affect climate. I believe that they have been more significant influences on climate because they do a much better job of explaining observed variations.
3. Effects of future changes in CO2 are likely to be modest and manageable.
4. Many aspects of climate remain poorly understood.
The full transcripts and supporting materials may be seen here.
Then, in stark contrast, this week’s edition of The Economist has a leader about the problem of overfishing. “Of all the sea’s many problems, overfishing should be the most fixable. ” What jumped off the page at me was how that leader article started,
ACIDIFICATION, warming, the destruction of coral reefs: the biggest problems facing the sea are as vast, deep and seemingly intractable as the oceans themselves. So long as the world fails to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, cause of the global warming behind these troubles, they will grow.
So a newspaper of the standing of The Economist is clear, “So long as the world fails to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, cause of the global warming behind these troubles“
So if, dear reader, you can offer good supporting evidence as to why the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society seems to contradict what so many now believe, that mankind is changing the Earth’s climate, please comment or, better still, consider writing a guest post.
An amazing find near Colchester in Essex, England
Once again indebted to Naked Capitalism for including a link to a piece on the BBC website about a unique Roman find in that part of England known as East Anglia. It caught my eye because during the 80′s my business was based in Colchester quite close to the Sudbury, the place mentioned in the BBC report.
But before going to that report, yet another compliment from me about Yves’ Blog, Naked Capitalism. Here’s what James Kwak of Baseline Scenario wrote on the 5th explaining that he was going to have to make some other areas of his life a greater priority than the Blog.
In my defense, most of the high-volume economics bloggers are either tenured professors (Cowen, Thoma, DeLong, Krugman) or people whose job is to blog (Salmon, Klein). (Yves Smith is an exception; how she finds the time I don’t know.)
Anyway, I digress somewhat. Here’s an extract from the BBC report:
Rare Roman lantern found in field near Sudbury
A metal detecting enthusiast has found what is believed to be the only intact Roman lantern made out of bronze ever discovered in Britain.
Danny Mills, 21, made the find in a field near Sudbury in Suffolk.
The area was dotted with plush Roman villas and country estates in the second century.
The object, described as a rare example of Roman craftsmanship, has been donated to Ipswich Museum where it is now on display.
In the autumn of 2009, Mr Mills, a metal detector user, found a large bronze object whilst metal detecting in a field near Sudbury.
Read the full report here.
Here’s a picture that the BBC included.
By Paul Handover