Ten years ago this week I got my first digital camera: a Canon A70. I’d held on until the price seemed right and they did a half-decent job of video recording (as my old Video-8 video camera had given up the ghost a couple of years before).
I assume I only started with a fairly small memory card, as it looks like I deleted my first ever digital picture — and the second (what we now know as a “selfie“) was at low (640×480, or about a third of a megapixel) resolution.
The second batch of photos that I still have are from a party from then-flatmates Josh and Catherine’s place in St Kilda. Or was it Elwood? At some point I let Josh play with the camera, and he took a bunch of photos of people I don’t know, and don’t recognise.
Some better/more interesting photos from later on in April (when I’d got a memory card and started using the camera’s full mighty THREE megapixels) include these from an expedition around Melbourne with my friend Danielle when she visited from Sydney:
The Espy — back before tall buildings loomed over it
I just realised my iPod is nearly nine years old. That’s an age in the world of computers and electronics… does that make it a retro item?
It’s a third-generation iPod, back from before they had silly features like apps, movie playback, and colour screens… And yes, it’s still going strong, though admittedly most of its use is at home in its cradle, playing music into the stereo.
And yeah, the ear phones aren’t in such good shape, which is why I’m not using them currently.
I’m not a great cuff link wearer, but recently I inadvertently bought a shirt that needs them, and I couldn’t find any at home.
I noticed the school Old Boys association sells them, so (I guess to mark 25 years since I did VCE — gulp) I bought some.
I don’t mind these… they aren’t too obvious when seen from a normal distance. I’m glad I got the plain pewter design though, not the coloured enamel ones… for an old boy design, I think I prefer it to be subtle rather than SHOUTY.
I don’t wear ties anymore. One commenter on a previous post about shirts noted the idea of collecting differing cuff links instead of ties. I’m not sure I’d go down that path, but I would consider getting a few more of different designs.
PS. Any other MHS ’88 people reading, apparently the 25th anniversary dinner is on 31st of May. Hope to see you there!
With most kids going back to school this week, Andrew was blogging about the first day of school.
I don’t remember much about my first day either, though I do have a photo that I believe was snapped that morning:
Long-haired hippy. It was the 70s though. And I was obviously in a good mood… or it may have been my usual “I’m being photographed” face — lots of kids have those.
What I do remember is that (possibly on enrolment day rather than the first day of term) I decided that I wasn’t capable of spelling “Daniel”, and went by the name “Danny” instead… that lasted for 9 years, until I switched high schools to Melbourne High and decided I liked “Daniel” better. (My surname changed at the same time.)
I also recall early in that first term of Prep an older kid bullied me about something (possibly race-related, or perhaps about the odd appearance of my right eye), but I can’t remember any of the other details. Hopefully I wasn’t too upset about it. Back then there wasn’t a school buddy programme, which probably would have helped.
But as far as I recall, no other issues in Prep, and most of my primary school years are filled with happy memories.
Myself and my mate Brian got out of uni at the end of ’92, and looked for IT jobs. In early 1993 I landed a contract at a Big Company and Brian came on board too, and we wrote the first version of system “X”, using Visual Basic 2 (the application running on Windows 3.1), and a database backend using Netware SQL (virtually unheard-of now).
(It wasn’t really called “X”. It was a slightly-awkward backronym made up by the guy who thought of the whole idea in the shower, and who had managed to get us inexperienced graduates in to make it happen.)
The software was primarily used in a centre in Burwood, by several hundred users, many of whom had never used Windows and a mouse before. Being a small team, we were able to be very responsive to user feedback, and as well as being more productive, hopefully our user base enjoyed using the software, despite our garish screen designs.
It was an awesome sight walking around the centre watching hundreds of people using the screens I’d designed.
I do recall one funny moment one day when the power went out momentarily. Hundreds of PCs all rebooted at once, accompanied by a collective “ooooooh” from everyone in the place.
A less-funny moment was the day when one of the LAN administrators accidentally wiped the shared drive with all our source code… and then we discovered the most recent backup was several weeks old. This incident inspired Losing My Connection (sung to the tune of “Losing My Religion”.)
Later in 1993, or possibly the next year, the team was expanded and system got a re-write, which we unimaginatively called “X2″.
The re-write used Visual Basic 3 (still on Windows 3.1) with an Oracle database backend. We had some fun naming the Oracle server after computers from Red Dwarf — the main server was Holly, the dev server was Kryten, and the test/staging server was Hudzen.
I left the project towards the end of 1994. Brian left a little while afterwards. His experiences inspired an awfully funny superhero sproof called “ContractOr”, which exaggerated the different worlds of contractors and permanent staff for comic value. Alas most of it has been lost in the mists of time.
A permanent believes that…
Contractors are dangerous, mercenary, rogue coders who don’t take orders, make up their own rules and cause havoc for the fun of it. In addition they’ll happily switch to another job, regardless of the consequences, if they get a better offer. Oh, and obviously, they are vastly overpaid.
A contractor believes that…
A permanent employee is a lazy, unimaginative, shiftless, paperwork-following WIMP. They are only concerned with covering their arse and care nothing for improving work practices – only for making sure they don’t get blamed when things fail to happen YET AGAIN.
Brian went on to be one of the first employees of Sausage Software, who released the first major web page designer.
I did ask around about 10 years ago and was surprised that system “X” was still running. It sounded like it had undergone a re-write into Delphi, so I doubt by the end that there was any of our original code left. Perhaps only the name was still remaining from what we worked on. But it was still called “X2″.
Only this week did it apparently get decomissioned.
Given how fast technology moves, I’m still surprised the system lasted 18 years.
Clearing out some old books, I found this from 1997. It’s a Telstra brochure explaining a new product they’re introducing: the “SMS Text Message Service.”
Everything was new once upon a time, right?
From the brochure (and this matches my recollection), initially messages could not be sent between operators. This didn’t come until April 2000, and predictably resulted in exponential growth in messages sent.
When I was a kid, I liked to kneel on the front seat of the (W-class) tram, looking out the front, and watching the driver, trying to figure out how it all worked.
I reckon the front still gives you the best views.
Back in the day I recall a control to apply the power, another to brake, with a big wheel as the backup brake (akin to a handbrake I suppose — I was once on a tram whose main brake had failed, and we rolled slowly up Carlisle Street, with the wheel being used to bring us to a halt at every stop).
Many trams didn’t have doors, but those that did had an extra lever to open and close them. These days there are various other newer controls in the cab.
Yes, it’s true: I paid extra money to get a magazine about old video games sooner. I truly am a sucker for nostalgia.