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Wednesday, 18 September 2019


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I come to pick a nit. On the subject of the outdoor park, I am confounded by your description of Klipsch horn as theatre speakers. Yes, they are of the same design of some theatre speakers, but totally made for the living room. I don't even begin to understand how he makes the corner horn part work outdoors.

Theatre speakers today? Sound to me like crap, but in the day of the great theatres they were made primarily br Western Electric, and by Altec Lansing. They were remarkably efficient, and could be run to painful levels with but 10 watts!

[Who said anything about Klipschorns or corner horns, Bill? You did, I didn't. His were Klipsch theater speakers. They were under blankets in a shed, not being used. --Mike]

Yes, Mike, I too am surprised sometimes by how good some shots are from an iPhone. In fact, a couple of my favourite shots (by subject matter) are from camera-phones.
And isn't that the whole point?
It is the subject that matters. (Or, what one puts in the frame.)

Clearly you never shot a Zenit B. The back latch had no secondary lock and easily caught on straps, popping open and ruining an entire roll of film. The shutter speed dial spun during exposure, so you needed to keep your fingers clear. The only good thing about it was that it used Pentax screw mount lenses, which were all I could afford....

I still have that same model Contessa which my dad bought to take my baby photos 64 years ago!

Hi Mike,
A fun post if you ask me. I often find your diversions off topic entertaining and informative. Not that I will ever use this information, but had I not read this post I would have never known of A.E. Schmidt. (I like old family companies)

As for that Tim fella, he sounds like a cool cat. And finally the iPhone can indeed be fun to shoot with. I use mine more than I should :)

A family-owned business (A.E. Schmidt pool tables) operating continuously for 169 years is impressive. Offhand, the only older U.S. family-owned business I know of is the Martin guitar company, which has been operating for 186 years (since 1833). Sometimes, specialization beats diversification and consolidation. May both companies continue to thrive.

If someone perfects a small sensor camera with the software to defy the laws of physics, I’m all in.

I’m as much of a fan of big film/sensor fast lens with optical personality up the wazoo as anyone who’s build a 11x14 camera with a f/4 single element lens is, but actually I find that what I really want now is lots of depth of field and enough resolution for say 24x36 inch prints. A really high quality everything in focus camera is what I’d like now.

I’ve been working on a scene where I can’t get things sharp enough because things turn to mush at f/16 and 1/2 mile to 20 miles isn’t enough DOF, never mind 6 inch to 20 foot DOF garden photos.

That XapShot was sort of fun, totally silent but the flash made it jump. The camera was pretty expensive but the Targa computer video capture card was two or three times as much, and Photoshop didn’t come out for another two years. We returned it to the store after a couple of weeks and used a video camera or a slide scanner for input. No one could figure out what Canon thought it was good for, but it was a cool toy.

You might be wrong about iPhone 11…

Some old-tech hangs around for a long time. I was born-at-home, at the end of the Great Depression.

During WW2, my grandmother darned-socks and sewed every day. She also cooked a lot of rabbit, during the war.

My wife (a book-keeper) sewed clothing, including T-shirts, for the family. She also was a good mechanic. One time she overhauled a Honda 750 four motorcycle engine.

Some people are problem makers, while others are problem solvers.Guess which ones will survive?

My teenage years were spent with an A.E. Schmidt pool table and a Bally Eight Ball Deluxe pinball machine in the basement. One day my brother and I will have to fight over who gets to inherit them.

Some people no longer know how to repair things, but the information on restoring things has spread with the internet. I have an Eight Ball Deluxe manual with circuit diagrams that you can find online. There are videos online on camera repair.

I have dreams of restoring mechanical things in retirement, such as clocks, watches and cameras, but I am the opposite of Tim- I have always been lethargic and unmotivated. Also I've been scared of failure and ruining something of value. I'm learning that it is all due to undiagnosed ADD. I just started a dopamine supplement that is helping and I may try a prescription stimulant. When I've tried them, they have magically given me self-confidence, energy and motivation!

Carpenters/joiners were commonly undertakers in U.K. too. In my small town the office of one undertaker (now only the office of a multiple) is in the corner of what 25 years ago was still obviously a very large former joinery workshop but was then being used as a doctors surgery and is now a firm of solicitors — doctor -> undertaker -> solicitor , interesting conjunction of trades. In a nearby rural village there is a wood/fencing supplier who tells me they used to do undertaking too at one time.

Re Steve Jacob’s comment and your response.
In the late 70’s there was a tv series called ‘Connections’ hosted by British science and technology writer James Burke. If my memory is correct the first episode was titled ‘The Technology Trap’ and featured a sobering reminder of just how dependent we have become on our devices. More true now than ever.

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