I started out as a chemist, but due to circumstances moved into chemical plant management and engineering. Did a lot of energy conservation projects after the shocks of the 1973 oil embargo. Moved from chemicals to computers when punchcards were still common and 16 bit application spaces meant the program overlays for anything significant were huge, complicated and critical. [I was there when the Illiac sang ‘Daisy’ at the University of Illinois…] After many years as a systems programmer and tool designer I moved into computer operations and support in financial services. Interest in contingency planning, disaster recovery and large system performance (and the misuse of computers) pushed me into consulting in a variety of industries. To facilitate this I created Technology Strategists, Inc. This company is now dissolved. I am now mostly retired, occasionally helping folks with computers here on an island in eastern Lake Ontario — and continuing to pursue a life-long hobby of landscape photography, combining digital processes with the control of large format.
Large format film is still available — while large dynamic range digital processes can capture similar effects, the 10 stop range of colour negative is tought to beat. And the adjustments to perspective that a technical camera affords. Film processing through a Jobo machine. Then scanning the negatives at a modest dpi — 4×5 is almost 2 gigapixels. But I also use an Olympus 4/3 camera and the ubiquitous cellphones.
Of late I have re-kindled an interest in model railroading and am in the (long) process of building a layout based loosely on the old Bay of Quinte railway, which used to run on the mainland not too far from here. I have a small garden that provides some satisfaction. Built a small greenhouse to explore raising salad fixings over the winter. Its real interesting watching frozen leaf lettuce come back to life as the sun warms it.
A couple of years ago I decided that the fun of dragging my scope out at night and packing it back up was killing my interest. So I built an observatory so on those rare nights without clouds I can just walk out and look. And so I don’t need to work nights I added a solar scope to my existing rig. Its all technology — video astronomy as my eyes are aging. Amazing thing is that these video cameras are far more sensitive than the Mark I eyeball ever was.
Now I do get a regular stream of complaints from folks who read this blog and are looking for new ideas, not just complaints about existing ones. Tough… I have served my time, had a successful career, raised a couple of kids, married a wonderful woman. I write this blog because there is a frustration deep within me about what has happened to the world I grew up in. If I seem to be complaining about life and the reader is disinterested then go somewhere else. One thing I have learned over my life is that new ideas are not necessarily better than the old ones they displace. But we don’t have the courage to look at things and decide whether the latest leap forward has in fact taken us backwards. I think that is one role for us old crocks… been there, done that, got the tee shirt, burned it and moved on.