May 21, 2006
Computing history at Bletchley Park
Scoble describes 'a museum of love for computers.' I have to mention the computer museum at Bletchley Park. Geeks will know Bletchley Park as the talismanic birthplace of modern computing, and the computer museum there begins with the World War 2 Colossus codebreaking machine and goes on from there. I'm not sure what state it's in at the moment -- when I visited in 2004, it was wonderfully shambolic with ancient minis and mainframes cheek by jowl with weird homebuilt micros, usually in bits. They were also busy on a reconstruction of a working Colossus machine, a terrifying engine with spinning wheels and flapping tapes and enough room for the bloke working on it to walk around inside it. It was so like every 70s television sf computer rolled into one, I was tempted to ask it "Why?" and see if it exploded.
The museum, by the way, is a tiny part of the Bletchley Park visit: there's much more about the wartime experience, both the codebreaking stuff and more generally about the period including some interesting exhibitions on the home front (love those "Dig for Victory" posters), communications, etc., plus a museum of strange inventions. Well worth a day of anybody's time.
February 10, 2005
Leave the penguins alone!
Under New Zealand law it is illegal to "disturb or harass penguins" according to this sign seen at Curio Bay in the Catlins:
Mr Evans, Ms McGowan, I'm looking at you.
April 25, 2004
I love small nations
I love small numbers
The world will be saved by the few.
-- Andre Gide
September 22, 2003
National Birds of Prey Centre
I visited the UK's National Birds of Prey Centre last weekend: a tremendous day out, especially in the Indian summer we seem to be enjoying at the moment. Until recently it looked as though the centre was going to close in the next few weeks, but now a potential buyer has come forward. The director, Jemima Parry-Jones, is still leaving, however, which is a shame as she is a great presenter and full of infectious enthusiasm -- so visit this year if you get the chance.
"If you are keen on taking photos," says the Web site, "you could not come to a better place. The trained birds are out on the lawn in good weather and are within feet of the paths, with no wire. The daily demonstrations give ample opportunity for both static photographs and if you are really good - photos of the birds in flight."
Unfortunately, I'm not "really good," but I did manage one or two shots where I got more of the bird in shot than out of it... And on the rare occasions when they stood still, I even managed to get some of them in focus...
I'll try to put more photos up over the next few days.