2007 — Day 87 - scanning the horizons

I mentioned (long ago) Big Bro's desire to get his 70,000+ aircraft slides (35mm) into his computer. The project is firming up as I have now been commissioned to buy the requisite slide scanner (a tasty model from Nikon) for him to scoop up on his next flying visit. Personally, I think he'd do better to entrust the tedious task21 to a tireless Maxwell's demon but I can see that they are on the pricey side! Perhaps I will get a little chance to play with the snazzy toy before it disappears downunder. I still have a slide or two knocking around here and there (though precisely where is a good question).

Framed again

Next excitement is today's eye test, and my usual attempt to wriggle out of buying yet more new frames. Ounce for ounce (damn! that dates me) glasses frames must be right up there in what used to be the luxury Purchase Tax (damn! that dates me too) bracket alongside mink fur coats. Yep. As I feared, bang22 goes £249 which includes the rather cheeky fee for re-using my existing frames with a fancy-schmancy 'varifocus' lens to get rid of the irritating line of the bi-focals. Given that lenses are made from the single most abundant chemical element on the surface of the planet, it seems a bit rich. Some amusement value, however, when Madame Assistant Optician mocked up a pair of varifocus glasses for me to try, and set them up for a far-sighted person23 rather than a near-sighted one. Nice (inverted) try.

Must try harder (to please) department

Alas! Neither Brick nor Mr Grisham's The Rainmaker engaged our interest. In the former's case, I suspect wilful obscurity is deemed to pass for arty cleverness in some circles. The latter was just too "painting by numbers" in its character drawing. Maybe the book is, too. I haven't read any Grisham, so cannot judge.

So it's just as well Mr Postie has just dropped off The truth about Charlie — Jonathan Demme's 2002 remake of Charade. Once again, here's hoping, though I must admit the IMDB votes are fairly dire. It will take second place, however, to tonight's BBC Radio 4 interview with Troy Kennedy Martin, superb writer of Edge of Darkness (and The Italian Job, though that's another story).

Worthy of Ernest Bramah department

As I've said, you live and occasionally you learn. How's this for a rejection letter?

We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.

Robert Fulford, National Post, Canada

29 January 2007  


21  According to one review I read: At max resolution, 14 bits per channel, TIFF format, you can expect to produce 150Mb files! You will need lots of storage space, and about 3 minutes to scan each image. Let's see, now, 3 minutes per slide times 70,000 slides... Assume he can manage 12 hours per day (Big Bro is capable of a tad greater hobby commitment than Little Bro). That's 240 slides scanned per day, occupying about 36 GB. Merciful heavens, he'll be at it until well after sundown, nine months from now. It will at least give him time to save up for a 10.5 TB hard drive.
Come to think of it, how long did it take me to record about 3,000 vinyl LPs to cassette, and to minidisc, let alone transcribe well over that number of CDs to MP3 format? Or several hundred LaserDiscs to DVD? (Thinks, maybe Big Bro is not that different after all!)
22  Spectacularly!
23  While I naturally regard myself as both clear-sighted and far-sighted the sad fact remains that my vision's far-point (optical infinity) is now clearly within arm's length! Big Bro, meanwhile, is still able to read the emails he gets on his Blackberry unaided — his lips barely move.