Tag: Roger Davis

Our modern connected world!

A delightful conversation with Amit Roy.

Way back in 1978 I started a company called Dataview. It was based in Colchester, Essex and I sold Commodore Computers; the ‘PET”, standing for Personal Electronic Transactor.

A photograph of a very early PET.

Now I was a word-processing salesman for IBM previously and didn’t know a thing about computers. I operated out of a small shop at first in Church Street and people came into the shop and played around with my demonstration models. Unbelievably I sold some!

Later I got involved with a software program known as Wordcraft. The first comprehensive word processing program for the PET. Indeed, I had the exclusive world distribution rights to Wordcraft. One thing lead to another and soon I was operating from much larger premises down at Portreeves House at East Bay, still in Colchester.

I appointed a Head of Marketing, Amit Roy, and the company grew and grew. I focused on appointing distributors across the world, and that included Dan Gomez in southern California, and he became a close friend being my best man when Jeannie and I were married in 2010.

Anyway, back to the story of Dataview. Eventually I sold out and escaped the country (and taxes) by moving to a yacht in the Greek side of Cyprus before April 15th. I went to Larnaca Marina. That was in 1986.

On Sunday, through a link from a mutual friend, I called Amit, the first time we had spoken since 1986. We had the most delightful of telephone conversations.

Amit was born in Burma, he is now 79, and lost his wife some 13 years ago. The counsellor who saw Amit after the death of his very dear wife said that he had to be strong and to take up something he could become passionate about. Amit joined the Colchester Photographic Society and took up studying again, in photography, and became a very good photographer.

With Amit’s permission I share some of his photographs with you.

The Red Arrows Flying After Dark

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Firstsite At Dusk

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Mischievous Boys of Bengal – India

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Orchid Isabelia Pulchella

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Felixstowe Docks at Dusk

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Horse Study

These are just a few but they are superb; absolutely marvellous.

That is the most welcome of connections – thanks to Roger Davis for suggesting it!

Doesn’t time fly!

Up, up and away!

Apologies in advance for this being possibly of limited interest to others.

A couple of years after I left IBM UK and formed my own company, Dataview Ltd., based in Colchester, Essex, I formed both a personal and business relationship with a Roger Davis.

That relationship exposed me to gliding, or sail-planing in American speak, for Roger was a volunteer instructor at Rattlesden Gliding Club in Suffolk that flew from an ex-wartime aerodrome of the same name.

Thus on the 7th June, 1981, I was taken up for two air-experience circuits in a two-seater glider known as a ‘K7’. I was immediately hooked! Those experience flights leading to a 4-minute flight (flight number 46) on the 6th September, 1981 that has the remark in my pilot’s log book: Solo!

Now fast forward to October, 1984 and my log book shows me attending a gliding instructor’s course at Lasham, resulting in me being issued with a British Gliding Association (BGA) Assistant Instructor Rating on the 14th October. (105/84).

 

A K-7 two-seat glider.
A K-7 two-seat glider.

A few days ago, Roger sent me a link to the following video.

It’s a compilation of photos, cartoons from the pen of dear Bob White, and videos. A little over eleven minutes long I do hope some of you find it of interest.

Published on May 29, 2017
Slide show produced from photos and images produced by Mark Taylor for Rattlesden Gliding Club’s 25 anniversary in 2001. Shows a collection of members involved from those early days, including some cartoons produced by Bob White whenever there was a notable event, or incident as well!

Let me close with this photograph!

Roger Davis with Sheila, his lovely wife, gliding over Lake Taupo in New Zealand.

(All those years ago, Roger and Sheila had a beautiful Old English Sheepdog. His name was Morgan and he was a wonderful, loving dog.)

So is there anyone reading this who has experienced gliding?

This is dog’s love!

More fabulous examples of the love from a dog.

Yesterday, I offered the account of physicist Paul Dirac falling in love with Margit Wigner, the sister of a Hungarian physicist.  It was my way of opening a window into the mind of one individual, albeit a very clever one, falling in love. However, the conclusion, that won’t surprise anyone, is that the state of love in us humans is more mystery than fact!

Dogs have no such problem in showing their state of love!

A few days ago, in comments to a recent post, the author, John Zande wrote:

We were so heartbroken after losing Arthur so unexpectedly (an astonishing dog we found with a massive tumor in his eye) in Sao Paulo we literally moved cities. I couldn’t stand being in the same neighbourhood. Too much reminded me of him.

Then in response to my reply went on to say:

They are amazing creatures. The dog across the street from us died almost a year ago to the day. Beautiful dog, not so good owners (never paid her any attention, fed her crap… we’d sneakily feed her mince and chicken and treats every night). She had many male visitors (they never neutered her), but one in particular, Hop-along, a crippled dog from a street over considered her his wife/girlfriend. When she died it was only us and Hop-along who grieved. It was amazing. He held vigil outside her house for 2 weeks solid after she died, day and night. He never left. He just stood there. 

More than thirty-five years ago, when I was working in Colchester, Essex, England, I met Roger Davis. It was Roger that introduced me to gliding (sailplaning in American speak!) courtesy of Rattlesden Gliding Club. Roger and I have stayed in touch ever since including, of course, keeping in touch with Sheila, Roger’s wife, and much of the family.

Yesterday, in an exchange of emails, Roger sent this:

Just back from taking Ralph (now 89) to day surgery at Broomfields.His companion since Freda his wife died two years ago is Sasha, a blonde Alsatian. He always had Alsatians so no surprise when this one appeared.

The love and companionship offered by Sasha.
The love and companionship offered by Sasha to Ralph.

I was moved equally by John’s love for Arthur, Hop-along’s love for his female canine love, and the love of Sasha for Ralph.

The power of thinking

It’s easy to underestimate just how powerful the brain can be.

Last Friday’s post was called Instinctive behaviours and explored the notion of instinct, coming to the conclusion that almost everything the brain does is a result of learning rather than genetics.  Yet acknowledging the vast amount of brain activity that runs in ‘background’ mode or subconsciously.

That was brought home to me in spades as a result of being introduced to the flying of gliders, or sailplanes in American speak.  The year was 1981 and working near to me in my offices in Colchester, Essex was a gentlemen running his own company, like yours truly.  His name was Roger Davis and we were sharing a beer one day when the subject of flying came up.  It piqued my interest so, as my logbook declares, on the 7th June, 1981 I had the first of two flights in a glider with Roger at the controls.  The place was Rattlesden Airfield, an old wartime airfield near Felsham, Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.  The gliding club was Rattlesden Gliding Club.

RGC header

The glider we were in was known as a K-7, a high-wing, two-seater (naturally!) glider with the instructor sitting behind the student.
A K-7 typical of the glider I first flew in at Rattlesden GC.
A K-7 typical of the glider I first flew in at Rattlesden GC.

Anyway, some 43 flights later, I was signed off to conduct my first solo flight in the K-7.  The date was 5th September, 1981 and my flight time was just 4 minutes!  I was hooked.

In over 10 years of flying amounting to more than 1,400 flights I had the great fortune to experience much of the magic of flying relying on nothing more than the currents of air.

Ahh! Memories!  Over 10 years of glider flying, amounting to more than 200 hours of flight-time, 17 different types of glider.  Longest flight was 5 hours, 16 minutes including a climb to over 6000 feet above sea-level on the 7th July, 1985 in a single-seater LS4 glider type.

So what’s this got to do with subconscious thinking?  Simply this.

One quickly learnt that once the decision had been made to land, most frequently because one was unable to find further, or any, rising air currents the brain had a major computing task in hand.  As the aircraft descends, the air currents change and the direction and velocity of the wind changes.  There is no engine to allow one to abort the landing; to do a ‘go round’!

One of the key visual judgments was determining the point of touchdown: not too early that might risk a ground contact before the start of the runway, and not too late which might risk running out of landing space.

Thus the brain was operating clearly in two modes.  Consciously, computing second by second where the touch-down point was going to be and, subconsciously, the flying of the glider as in operating the joystick and rudder pedals in support of the touch-down ‘computations’.

Moving on.

In last Friday’s post, I also wrote this: “Plus something that could just possibly be the key to mankind having a long-term sustainable future on this planet: The Power of Thinking.

That ‘something’ was me reflecting on an article in the October 7th edition of FORTUNE magazine.  Not something I read on a normal basis but just happened to come across that edition – and glad I did.  Because there was an article about IBM’s new supercomputer Watson.  The link to the summary is here, from which I republish this:

Dr. Mark Kris is among the top lung cancer specialists in the world. As chief of thoracic oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York City, he has been diagnosing and treating patients for more than 30 years. But even he is overwhelmed by the massive amount of information that goes into figuring out which drugs to give his patients — and the relatively crude tools he has to decipher that data. “This is the standard for treatment today,” he says, passing me a well-worn printout of the 2013 treatment guidelines in his office. We choose a cancer type. A paragraph of instructions says to pair two drugs from a list of 16. “Do the math,” he says. It means more than 100 possible combinations. “How do you figure out which ones are the best?”

It’s a huge problem. More than 230,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. Almost all of them will receive chemotherapy. As crude as the existing guidelines are, says Kris, they won’t be followed more than half the time. If we bumped up adherence by just 10% to 20%, he says, as many as 30,000 people might live longer. Never mind curing cancer — shouldn’t we be able to get the best available combinations of medications to sick people now?

That’s the question that led Kris to IBM. He saw that more information was not the answer. What doctors needed was a better brain — one that could instantly vacuum up facts, draw deeper connections between data points, and remember everything. They needed Watson.

Just read that last paragraph again.  That it’s not about information, it’s about offering humanity computing power that can see things that humans might not easily see.

Thus, I mused that when mankind gets to the point where there is total and complete commitment to finding a non-carbon-burning way ahead for every living thing on this planet we won’t have the luxury of countless years working out the new journey directions.  Maybe, just maybe, computing power a la Watson might just be our saving grace.

Curious to learn more about IBM Watson?  Then here’s the relevant website.