by Anura Guruge
I had meant to write this ever since I saw that he was running. I like Ray. He, on most topics, makes sense though suffice to say we don’t agree on everything but that to me is not a major problem. Ray is a good guy. I used to see him and talk to him often. I even have his phone number though we haven’t spoken in a long time. Yes, I know and appreciate that he probably considers me a downright, unwashed liberal. He is probably more than half right in that. That is OK. We don’t have to agree 100% on everything, plus us not agreeing on some issues doesn’t detract from Ray being a good person and that I respect his integrity.
He once gave me some elk burgers which were delicious. And in general I try to be nice to anybody who has fed me. So that is another reason why I am endorsing Ray. Maybe now that hunting season approaches I might see him on my run like I used to. Maybe he will try to run me over like so many try to do on a daily basis. It is kind of a game. But, for now, lets wish him all the best in his run. I hope he wins. I would like to see him in Concord along with my other friends. I think they will like Raymond, though I am not sure whether the converse will be true.
But, vote for Raymond on the Republican ticket. He is a good, decent man. You could do much, much worse.
P.S., Yes, I know the name but I have no idea who Elaine Swinford is. I know she has run before and is quite well known. I just don’t know her and she has never come to my door with venison or elk. Hint. Hint. I am easy to please.
P.P.S., Does Raymond have a Website? I can’t find one but I am not good at that stuff. I know that other candidates do have Websites. Maybe I should help him create one. Will only take me less than an hour.
August 27 — An Important Anniversary For Me, And This Year I Will Talk About John Fairclough, Managing Director, IBM Hursley.
by Anura Guruge
>> 46th anniversary … — Aug. 27, 2013.
++++ Search ‘Hursley‘ for many other related posts about IBM Hursley >>>>
August 27, 2014, marks, continuing from what I talked about last year:
>> the 47th anniversary of me leaving Ceylon in 1967, a week ahead of my 14th birthday.
>> the 40th anniversary of me joining IBM Hursley, as an ‘Junior Associate Programmer’, in 1974, a week ahead of my 21st birthday.
August 27, 1974 was a Tuesday. My official start date had been the Monday, August 26, 1974. That happened to be the August Bank Holiday Monday. But, that was my first day as an IBMer. I had never had a days employment prior to that! So that was my first day of paid employment. So I started working on a holiday and got paid for it, since I was salaried. I spent much of the day watching cricket, on a small b&w TV, in a hotel room in Winchester. Nice way to start work. That I started work on August 27, the same day that I left Ceylon was a coincidence.
Yesterday, knowing that I wanted to do this post, I went looking for pictures of Katunayake Airport in the 1960s and any pictures of IBM Hursley from the 1970s (other than the ones that I have posted). I, to my dismay, couldn’t find any of Katunayake Airport from that era. Shame. There are pictures of Ratmalana Airport but not Katunayake. Katunayake was still a military airport at the time though most of the jet services were from there because it had a longer runway. That is where I left from. Katunayake, when it was but a small, brownish, very intimate, single story building …
In the case of Hursley, I cam across this picture. Of course I recognized it at once. That was EXACTLY what he used to look like. John Fairclough, the Managing Director of IBM Hursley during the time I was there, viz. August 1974 to November 1979. So I decided I would write a bit about John. I had NO IDEA that he was knighted or that he was dead. Poor John. He died in June 2003 aged 72.
So in away this story that I am about to tell, #3 below, will serve his memory well. Here is his obituary in the U.K. “The Guardian“.
OK. Three things I want to say about John.
1. He was the Managing Director during all of my time at Hursley. I cannot say I knew him. I am sure, given that this was IBM, that I was introduced to him at some point and shook hands with him. I would, however, see him, a fair amount, walking around the many miles of corridors and walkways we had at Hursley — including some beautiful glass enclosed walkways. John would typically be on his own — without an entourage. That was the IBM way in the 1970s. He would, of course, smile and say ‘hello’. Very handsome, dapper gentleman. Immaculately dressed in nice suits. I would note, because I notice things like that, that he would check out the ladies, appreciatively. Nothing wrong in that. He was a good Brit. We are expected to do that. Yes, I had heard from some of the ladies that they were aware of getting checked out by John — but it being Britain, and Britain in the 1970s, nobody minded.
2. In those days John had a very nice, dark green Jaguar XJ6. John travelled a lot — as would have been expected of him given his job. So he wasn’t at Hursley all that much. Much negotiations and battering would have had to have been done in the U.S. to ensure that Hursley got enough plumb assignments. But I would notice that when John was at Hursley he would park his Jag in the prime parking area, directly in front of the historic Hursley House, that was explicitly designated for visitors. We weren’t even allowed to look at those spaces. So I being who I was, I one day called up his secretary, introduced myself, and asked her whether John planed to be leaving Hursley soon. She was confused. She asked me why I was asking her that. I said because I keep on seeing John’s car in the visitor parking lot and was wondering whether he was trying to tell us something. There was silence and something like “is that it?” But, I never saw him park in that area again. I don’t know whether this in any way impacted my career at IBM. I guess I didn’t stay long enough to find out. I, however, don’t think so. I can’t see John has having been petty or vindictive.
3. GREAT John story and I hope it is not apocryphal. John, as I already mentioned, had to spend a fair amount of time in the States. Actually ALL of us at Hursley made at least one trip to the States, to a sister lab, whether it be Poughkeepsie (NY), Kingston (NY), Raleigh (NC) every year. That was the IBM way in the 1970s. On one of his trips back to the U.K. John had to bring back a deck of punched cards. Now remember we are talking the mid-1970s. Punched cards were still widely used. We had these nice carrying cases for punched cards. [I still have one of these, possibly two. I used to use them to store my model trains. They were perfect for that. Now I use it as a tool carrier]. Why he had to bring back a card ‘deck’ as opposed to a tape I do not know but carrying cards around, at IBM, pre-SNA, was not uncommon — and I talk as one who managed to drop at least one metal container of punched cards in the corridors of Hursley. [I think they they had sequence numbers at the end and that I was able to use a collator to put them back in the right order. People just don’t know the fun you could have with punched cards.] Thinking back he might have been bringing back some very important CICS code — Hursley just having received the charter for taking over the development of CICS.
Well those were also the days when everything had an ‘excise duty’. Going through airport customs was never easy. They tried to tax you for everything. John was not immune and neither was ‘data’. It appears that in those days British customs taxed you on imported data by its weight! Again, remember we are talking very early days — way before PCs.
So John got stopped. They established that he was carrying data. So he had to pay some duty. Not a big deal. John worked for IBM. But, John was clever, very clever. He got the customs officer to agree that the duty was based on the weight of the data. Once that was confirmed John, quite correctly and cutely, pointed out that the data was in the HOLES rather than in the cards. That is very true. So he told the agent that he will pay for the weight of the holes! Honest. This is the story that circulated around Hursley as to our ingenious M.D. That he told British customs that he would pay for the data by weight but that they had to remember that the data was in the holes. Suffice to say he walked out without paying anything. Apocryphal or not I like that story. That is what I remember about John Fairclough. A very nice man.
by Anura Guruge
0. Nikon Coolpix L820 — Aug. 22, 2014.
1. Bob Ness photography — Aug. 19, 2014.
2. Thomas Lavoie photos — July 31, 2014.
3. J. Richard Hale photography — July 31, 2014.
4. Alton photographer, John Bishop — Dec. 12, 2013.
Click to ENLARGE.
As I intimated, in a roundabout way, in this post last week, I have, of late, been dabbling in ‘new’ — meaning ‘new’ to me, though they are manufacturer refurbished — DSLR cameras. As I mentioned in that post, I, last Friday, August 22, got delivery of a Canon refurbished Canon EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55 mm IS II. My life is such, and I am NOT complaining, I did NOT get to try the camera out, not even attach the lens to the body or put the battery in, until yesterday, Tuesday, August 26. That in a nutshell sums up my dilemma about getting into, AGAIN, ‘serious’, i.e., interchangeable lens (D)SLR cameras. I don’t really have the time!
Anyway I took about 20 pictures yesterday. All in JPEG at the 18MB maximum resolution. The above two were among the firsts. I was using fully automated mode.
Not sure I am 100% happy, especially when I compare them to the first pictures I took with the refurbished Nikon L820 I had for a weekend at the start of this month. The L820 just did not have the ‘non-automated’ functionality I think I want.
I am no stranger to Canons. I had an A-1 with a lot of ‘stuff’ for a very long time. Last night we also discovered, when I was rooting around looking for old camera bags, that we also have a Nikon N6006. That is a film camera. I checked on eBay just for fun. Cracked me up. They have NO value. Sad.
I did do some research on the T3i before I bought it; but not that much. Time. That is the problem.
That is also the reason I am sticking with refurbished, though unlike computers (which I insist on buying refurbished) DSLRs do have some critical mechanical parts, e.g., mirror and shutter. BUT, I don’t want to spend too much money. For one I don’t have much money and the second being that I don’t want photography to become a consuming passion. So, in my perverse mind, what I am hoping is that IF I don’t spend as much I will not take it that seriously.
I used to be BIG into photography for about 3o years starting in the early 1970s. Had all sorts of Olympus and Canon cameras. Given that I was a ‘diplomat brat’ I could get cameras duty free (and not from airport shops) — and that, in those days, made a big difference. Plus, once, while in Bangkok (Thailand) I flew to Hong Kong to buy a camera. I think that is how I got the A-1. But, now I don’t want to get serious. Just want a better camera than the 2006 Panasonic DMC-FZ5 I have. It has a 1.5″ LCD screen and will not support memory cards larger than 2GB. But it can take some stunning pictures. These Paul Warnick STILL pictures were taken with it and I was amazed at their quality. For the last 6 – 7 years I would buy point-and-shoots for Deanna. So she had the newer cameras.
The T3i feels OK. The ergonomics are good. I am using a wrist strap rather than a neck strap — though I ordered a detachable neck lanyard, that I can attach on the other side, when I need both hands free — such as when I am clamouring on rocks.
Right now I am so, so. Not that thrilled with the picture quality. I really don’t want to start shooting in RAW. Time. Hhhhmmm.
Life’s little problems I have to contend with — but I know better than to complain. These are nice problems to have.
by Anura Guruge
This is my main blog and yes, I will readily admit, that each of these milestones amuse me. Actually it is gratifying. I write because I have a unquenchable desire to share information. That to me, from day one, has what it has been all along. Dissemination of information. There is, if you have experienced it, a curious sense of satisfaction doing so. A public service of sorts. Plus my business cards, for the longest time, used to say ‘raconteur’. So blogging, especially on this my ‘anything and everything goes’ blog meets that requirement. Telling stories.
I just checked my ‘popes and papacy’ blog. 656,833 hits as of today. So just between these two blogs, not counting my ‘Windows 7‘ & ‘papam‘ blogs, which between them have close to another 400,000 hits, I have crossed the One Million hits mark. Yes, as my son points out regularly a million hits is nothing. I know that. But, at least I now have a million hits. It is like in cricket. It doesn’t matter if you got a short-hop, unless you put it away for a boundary it does not count.
While fame and fortune is what all writer’s aspire to, though I gave up on that long time ago in exasperation, having your writing read is kind of nice. Plus it is good to know you are helping people. I know that my N.H. Property Tax Rate posts are extremely popular. I just went and had a look. I have had over 16,000 hits on those posts. I am delighted. I know people find my tables of use. This is something the State should do. They don’t; so I do. Ditto with the ‘no sound‘ problem on DirecTV. DirecTV denies, lying through their teeth, that there is a problem. But, I have had 5,000 hits on that posts. My post about what I think of the talk of Sri Lanka leaving the Commonwealth has had 4,000 hits. I am gald. And then some funnies. The ‘Trading Options‘ book and why it is not available online. That is what I consider a ‘throw away’ posts. [Yes, there is a method to my madness when it comes to these posts. There are various genres of posts and I have a formula by which I mix them up!]. That post has had 4,000 hits. My annual ‘Red Poppy‘ and ‘Beaujolais Nouveau‘ posts in November get thousands of hits, while just one of my Malaysian Air MH370 posts got 5,000 hits in a day. So it is nice that I am providing information that people are looking for. [That actually is another story that I should tell. On any given day I know what people are interested in finding out about.]
Oh, in case I forget, the math works out at over 700 hits a day, on average, in 2014 — with the 1,000+ days compensating for the 500 days.
As some of you have cleverly worked out, this blog also serves as my own private electronic journal. It is always easier for me to type than to write by hand and dashing off a blog post is as easy, if not easier, than creating a Word document. Plus, WordPress, automatically takes care of archival etc. These WordPress blogs are magic. So convenient. Thanks to this blog I now have, electronically searchable, preserved ‘forever’, log of my activities. If I want to know what I was up to on June 23, 2014 I first check this blog. Even if I had done a post about everything I might have done that day, the encoding I have, jogs my memory. Aaah.
As I wrote 11 days ago I created a ‘Documents’ page for my new and still incomplete ‘guruge.com‘ Website. That was sobering. Next week is my 61st birthday. So it was time to take stock of what little I have managed to achieve in life, other than the 4 lovely kids: 21 published books (readily available on Amazon, with another done and awaiting proofing and yet another half written in my head), 3 or 4 (maybe 5) other books (on Amazon) with my name on the cover, 370+ publications and now 1,000,000 hits. I could, of course, have and should have done better. But, I think — maybe I should say, I hope — that this puts me in the 51 percentile of the world population in terms of actual words published and SEEN by folks. I really should do better. So, I am going to end this post, because I really, really, really must work on the books.
Thanks for the support. It is much appreciated. Keep on trucking.