Archive for July, 2010

Time Out

Monday, July 26th, 2010

We’re just back from a fantastic week at Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall.  Great trip.  It really is the perfect place to holiday with a young family – they couldn’t do anything more for you.

It’s been a long time since we were in Cornwall and there’s no shortage of things to do in the area.  But as usual the most memorable were the simplest: crabbing off the quay in Looe in the lashing rain (8 crabs caught in 30 mins – lots more got away); feeding the animals at Bosinver everyday; fish and chips on the quay at Mevagissy.

And of course – the zip wire at Bosinver:

How to catch a small boy on a zip wire with no help: the fisheye lens

Lots more pictures to work through including some lovely ones from animal feeding and of course the ‘boy with gigantic poo shovel’ picture from the pony riding day!  Keep an eye out on Facebook…

The Clipper Leaves Cork

Monday, July 12th, 2010

After some glorious sunny days in Kinsale, the Clipper fleet left Cork in drizzle.  We had an image of sitting on the grass next to Blackrock Castle with a picnic and watching them sail past – but it was not to be.  Still, it was a great sight to see them motoring out to the harbour.

Bumper Crop

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Memory and Old Age

Monday, July 5th, 2010

I’m obviously feeling my age this week – the threat of a big birthday hangs over me!

Last Thursday I shot 20.8GB of images.

Now, this is probably nothing special for a wedding.  And I admit that in the heat of the moment I have a tendency to take an extra shot or two as insurance to bracket my settings and just in case someone blinked.  That’s one of the advantages of digital.

But creating 20.8GB of data in a day (albeit a long one) got me thinking about the data milestones in my life to date.

  • The first computer I ever used (on a school science camp) had 1kB of memory
  • The first computer I ever owned had 16kB of memory (which I later expanded to 48kB)
  • My first year at college the PCs we used had the luxury of 5.25″ floppy drives which took double density disks at 360kB – we had one of these with the OS on and a spare for our software projects
  • By the time I finished university we all had a small box of 3.5″ high density floppies which could take 1.44MB each.
  • When I started my first job in IT we didn’t actually all have a PC each.  Nor did we have e-mail.  I did the software bit so I just worked with UNIX based ‘Workstations’.  They were pretty responsive but I have no idea about the spec.
  • My first big project was based on a rack of embedded processor boards which had a memory ranging from 256kB to 1MB.  It had to go through a lot of certification so admittedly at that stage the hardware wasn’t state-of-the-art.
  • I then got spec a training and simulation system from scratch.  When we ordered the server we spec’ed a pair of 1GB hard discs (one for OS, one for data) and thought we had at least 50% spare capacity.  By the time the order was processed the 1GB discs were obsolete and they supplied 2GB discs.  I remember laughing with the hardware engineer on the project about how much disc space we had that we wouldn’t use.
  • I didn’t buy a PC for a long time because I worked with them everyday.  But about 7 years ago I got one so I could be on-line at home.  It came with a 20GB hard drive and shortly afterward I added a ‘massive’ 80GB second drive.  I discussed this purchase with a colleague at the time and we agreed it was likely to be all the hard drive I would ever need.
  • Around the same time I bought my first digital point and shoot camera.  It took 4MP Jpegs which ran at around 1MB each at best quality.  My first Compact Flash card was 128MB.
  • I now shoot with a 12MP camera.  The RAW images are just over 10MB each.  I use 4GB memory cards.  Last week I shot over 20GB of images in one day.  My data archive from the last 15 months is filling a 1TB drive.
  • Thankfully I don’t shoot video…

I have no profound comment to make on this (yet).  I am always impressed by breakthroughs in technology but at the same time somewhat staggered that someone thinks that there is an application waiting for this stuff (and in many cases there isn’t).

If someone had told me as a teenager that I would fill a 1TB drive with useful data then I would have wondered what kind of space-age cutting-edge job I was going to have.

It is not all good news.  It has taken all weekend to backup the 1TB drive (and still going).  Data is easier to create than manage.