Digitized Decade 7: She Turned Me Into a Newton!

James Newton on the ferry across the Firth of Clyde

A decade ago today we made a very special Director pilgrimage. I’d had the luck to be hired as a contractor to write code for the Behavior Library on versions 7 and 8 of Director. What made it a real honor was that the other contractor for on the project was James Newton, who even then was a font of Lingo wisdom that I could only aspire to.

We had worked on our chunks of code separately (as should be obvious from any comparison of James’s tight programming style to my more haphazard messes) but there was a certain amount of contact through a variety of channels, and when I knew we were headed to Europe in 2001 I contacted him to see if we could get together in person. At the time, just after the release of Director 8.5, he was living in his native Scotland, a fair piece outside of Glasgow in a town called Dunoon.

Barbara and I hopped across the Irish Sea from Dublin to Glasgow, where James picked us up in his van, then drove us to his home via the ferry at Gourock (this picture was taken 29 April 2001) where we had a delightful couple of days visiting with James and his family, eating paté, pizza, and an after-dinner apertif of chocolate and Scotch.

You couldn’t ask for a nicer host. Or guide to the vagaries of Director.

The Digitized Decade is a look back at the first year of my entry into consumer digital photography.

Digitized Decade 6: River Liffey

Barbara in Dublin over the River Liffey

After the wedding in southeast Ireland, we drove back to Dublin in our Fiat Punto and stayed for a couple of days wandering around the city at the height of its economic boom. This is Barbara on one of the bridges over the River Liffey, ten years ago today.

The Digitized Decade is a look back at the first year of our entry into consumer digital photography.

Digitized Decade 4: Wexford Harbor

Wexford, Ireland

Our first trip outside the US with the camera was to Ireland for the wedding of our friends Eric and Annie in Annie’s hometown of Wexford. It may be impossible to take an unlovely shot of Wexford harbor.

The Digitized Decade is a look back at the first year of our entry into consumer digital photography.

It Figures

I’ve known for a while that my great-great-grandfather Plant was born in Cork, Ireland in the 1850s. The working theory—which we haven’t completely verified—is that his English father was involved in some sort of business there, got married there, then moved back with his young son to London in the 1860s.

What I hadn’t realized was that another member of the same genration of my ancestors, my maternal grandmother’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Armstrong, was also born on the Emerald Isle. Certainly, I would never have guessed from the name, because it’s about as un-Irish as Plant is, but apparently he came from a Methodist enclave in what is now Northern Ireland named Ballinamallard, which Wikipedia informs me is from the Irish Béal Átha na Mallacht, meaning “ford-mouth of the curse(s)”.

A Matter of Storage

Bought a new hard drive for backups today, a 2-terabyte Seagate that cost me $99.95 at Office Depot. That’s 2,000,000,000,000 bytes, roughly. As I’ve mentioned before, my first Mac hard drive was 30 megabytes; it cost $300. The comparison there is pretty easy: The drive from 1989 was one cent per thousand bytes (300 / 30,000,000 * 1,000). The price of my storage this afternoon? 0.000005¢ per thousand bytes (100 / 2,000,000,000,000 * 1,000) or 200,000 times cheaper than it was twenty-two years ago.

Ic Factor

There was a time several years ago when former Virginia Governor (and current Senator) Mark Warner was all the rage in national Democratic circles because he was…well, I don’t know, I just never figured that part out. He was rich, and managed to get himself elected, but his politics seemed screwy and counter-productive to me, plus he seemed like a bit of an a-hole. I’d lost track of him after the buzz about him running in 2008 died down, but apparently he’s on the “Gang of Six” senators “concerned” about the national debt. So that’s not promising.

Another thread from several years back was that Republicans seemed to have a problem with the English language, being seeming unable to properly differentiate between the noun “Democrat” and the adjective “Democratic.” Do they do it because they’re stupid? Do they do it knowing that it drives people with any education and knowledge of the English language a little nuts? I don’t know, but Hendrik Hertzberg wrote about it in The New Yorker nearly five years ago.

From “Morning Edition’s” lead story today: “Obama to Reveal Deficit-Cutting Plan” by Scott Horsley. Transcript begins at 3:36 into the report.

HORSLEY: Virginia Senator Mark Warner [D-VA], who joined [Georgia Senator Saxby] Chambliss [R-GA] in Atlanta yesterday, says politics imposes its own deadlines.

WARNER [recorded from press conference]: I think our window is closing. I think we’re literally talking within thirty days. Or even sooner. Because, you know, if not, people gonna default back; there’ll be the Democrat plan and the Republican plan.

I don’t know what to make of Warner here. I already thought he was sort of a stooge. It just seems as if one of the guys who’s been plumped as a big shot in the party ought to have a little better handle on references to his own party.