How amazing?


A friend sent one of those email collections of curious images and this was one of them. I thought it was surprising, but then I also wondered, “Who makes a 9 like that?” When I looked a little more, I saw that the figures could easily be manipulated to change the number of angles, making for less amazing results.


So now the question is, “Who has time to waste, counting the angles in geometricized numerals, in the first place?” And who has time to undo their work? Same type that does this to another photo from the collection …


WARNING from the Feds

do-nothingA friend just shared a scan of a document received from the Government of Canada’s Ministry of Industry. In all caps, bold lettering, underlined for further emphasis, the heading reads WARNING.

Two possible options are offered:
1. Fill out a form
2. Do nothing

Ohhh, the drama! How exciting it must be, to work under Minister James Moore at Industry Canada.

It’s probably time for Yosemite


The first update to Apple’s newest Mac operating system is available. I’ve installed it and all went smoothly. This should take care of the initial bugs, or most of them anyway, so if you’ve been waiting to try Yosemite, I think it’s time to move up from Mavericks.

If your new system seems sluggish for a while, the computer is indexing all of the files on your hard drive in the background. Once the indexing is complete and the new, improved Spotlight Search feature knows where all your stuff is, you speed should return (or even improve). The indexing can go on for many hours, depending on the size of your hard drive and how much stuff you have stored.

Here’s a link to slides telling about Yosemite features.

Fun with the family album


This is a blow-up from an old photo that was so faded and faint, we could barely see an image in it. Photoshop has revealed a little girl, circled in the centre … my mom, then Helen Anderson.

I have shown the enlargement for the faces, but the whole photo is of more general interest, if you’d like to see what an electric car looked like in the 1920s …


Man, look at that headroom! And it was so clean and quiet that my mother always said it was superior to any of the internal combustion cars that followed. If I recall, she hinted darkly about oil company conspiracies crushing the better electric technology. Probably so, it turns out.

Father and son


In an earlier post, I showed a picture of my father as an RCMP recruit and noted that we had lost track of him after he and my mother divorced. This seemed unsatisfactory, and I became curious about what had become of Dear Old Dad.

But first, the photo above explains where the idea to sign up with the RCMP came from. My father’s father was Chief of Police in the tiny town of Shaunivon, Saskatchewan. Chief Jones Ross commanded a constabulary of at least one officer, other than my father who he apparently also put on the force. Nepotism.

Jones had been a farmer but he lost his wife in childbirth and was stuck out in the countryside with two boys to raise. Becoming Chief of Police probably looked like a good idea. Later, when Jones moved to B.C., he took up farming again … his first choice really … and I remember he was good at it.

Anyway, my Dad must have gotten the policeman idea from his dad, and then signed up for the national force. He never really became a working Mountie, though. There’s a family story about what happened. It’s amusing, but not for here.

Dad became a salesman and did very well. He was a good provider and I remember him as a caring father and a good influence. He taught my brother and me about fishing, hunting and camping.

Obviously, it was not all domestic bliss in our house, though. When my parents went their separate ways, the kids stuck with Helen and Bob forged a new life for himself. He went back to university in mid-life, studied to be a school teacher, got certified and went to work in Powell River. Great hunting and fishing around there. He remarried and apparently spent the rest of his days there.

The internet helped me discover how things ended. Jones lived into his late 80s and died in New Westminster in 1975. He was pretty old when I last saw him, still living on the front 5 acres of the farm. He’d sold the rest, figuring he wouldn’t be around forever. New Westminster was the nearest city and would have offered the hospital he needed. Bob lived to be 72 and died in Powell River in 1991. I haven’t located an obit yet.

Before computing went electric

As we minimize our devices and hand off control to the our masters in the Cloud, it is amazing that computing was once done without so much as an electrical connection.

I am surprised to see that one of Michelson’s machines was purchased by the government of Canada in 1909. I wonder what it was used for and what became of it.