Logs, Diaries and ‘Zines

Has Google jumped the shark? Every good IT company sooner or later does a odd thing which may herald a downturn of its fortunes. Didn’t Xerox give away windows in the late 60’s because it would never work. Didn’t IMB give away the PC as, surely, no one could reverse engineer their stuff. Apple – well, Apple will overcome one day…

Google may have entered that lofty pantheon as it has started “Googlewashing” by which they are ridding searches of their bloggy results. Why they would care to is a bit understandable – it seems people want “real” answers not opinions on the topic they are looking for…so they go…to the internet. That hotbed of fact. Go figure. Beyond the problem of identification of the media it works within, how will Google know what to wash out of the search? What is a blog?

Some blogs are like the pre-webs topical ‘zines. After friends got married in 1995 or so, I realized I wanted a way to keep in touch collectively after everyone was married off. I started a photocopied ‘zine called “People Who Know Al” – one and a half issues made it to print before I took the on ramp to the information super highway and got email and a browser to call my own. Fellow travellers AOV and CEO Blues are pretty much interactive ‘zines on their relative topics of web related innovation and business theory. Others, like Ian William’s are pretty much a personal exploration through a diary. Still others, such as Tomalak’s Realm, continue the original links concept.

What I don’t get about Googlewashing is this – if I wanted to know what it was like to try and put a movie together, Ian William’s site would be a great resource. If I wanted to know what was new in web related things, AOV is a great resource. Apart from the hubris of believing that it should direct the web substantively based on its definition of what is a blog, what does Google think it is doing making it difficult to find one of the best things the internet does well – provide opinion.

Radio Boy

There are certain personal interests one is wise not discussing during courting. One of mine is the habit of listening to long distance radio in the middle of the night. I have about ten radios including a real nice wind-up model originally designed for third world listeners to BBC World Service, a Sony ICF-2010 as well as the little Sony I got in grade 4 with which I listened to reports of the raid on Entebbe in ’76 from my bed in the Annapolis Valley care of a New York all-night news station, hockey and baseball games from the US Mid-West fading in and out on waves of propagation, coal miner shift bulletins from WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia.

It was not until 20 years ago that local all-night radio was becoming common in the Maritimes. CBC’s night service started with the old CBC Stereo service’s Brave New Waves which used to be formatted in the early 80’s with increasingly obscure and hardcore music as the show moved deeper into the night. By four in the morning, during a King’s campus police shift, we would be well beyond Bragg, past punk and listening to Berlin industrial an hour and a half before Mac Campbell came on at 5:30 am with the Maritime Fisheries Broadcast with an update of conditions on the Sable, Fourchu and Banquareau Bank.

During really nerdy phases, I have even been a member of DX clubs like CIDX, BBC World Service Listeners Club and ODXA. Meeting other members of such groups in person can be quite uncomfortable. Once a guy on vacation driving around the Maritimes listening to every broadcast band transmitter – AM to the uninitiated – stopped in at the manse at Bible Hill. All I can remember about the event was that he wouldn’t stop picking at his ears. I was something of a celebrity at the time having logged in the CIDX monthly news letter and confirmed via a casette tape of my reception of a local East German am station on 1044, just above CHUM. [Are you starting to get the point about not talking about this before she says ” i do??].

Since Archimedes, radio is the second most important technological advance after the harnessing of electricity. With the growth of the unfortunately named WiFi – with its echoes of 1960’s suburban rec-room parties around the stereophonic Hi-Fi and Mitch Miller sing alongs – the internet is catching up. I came across the term RLAN last week, radio local area network. Now I want a dedicated RLAN internet radio player so I can listen at work where Bell apparently has a public hot spot. Something with good sound for about $59.99 would be good, thanks.

Trip to Trana

I haven’t taken a short haul train trip since Mulroney killed off the local trains in NS. Ah, those were the days – summer job in Truro, hop on a 7:00 pm train Friday, a couple of cold Olands Ex’s in the bar car with Capers and a short hop from the train station in Halifax to the Seahorse to rub elbows the other regulars.    Trains are great – 3 hours from my house in Kingston to downtown Big Smoke. Snacks on route. A good look in everyone’s backyard for 230 km past towns with OHA teams.

Anyway, I was in the land of my birth to go to the IT.Can course at the LSUC for two days. Had dinner with Chip and Jenny at this place.    Talked about Phil Sedor, The Guys at the Library, Blackpool and Kearney Lake Road.  Over all, however, Toronto is not looking so good.   Hotels are cheap and empty.   The homeless are as utterly abandoned as I have ever seen.   People running by me at 5:02 pm down Bay to Union Station to catch their 5:15 pm GO train.   My VIA train sat in Oshawa station for a few minutes as a GO train unloaded – a thousand people as one rushing from the train they rushed to get to, to get into their cars in the mega mall sized parking lot to rush to the traffic jam at the parking lot exit.

VIA has first class and coach.  GO is steerage.

CB Radio for Today

Jevon has recently written about egos and blogging. This made me consider what writing on these things is like and I keep coming back to that wonderfully dead-end technology of the 1970’s – CB radio.

In both, you get on the medium, yap about what ever comes into your head and use funny names and other stuff inherent in the medium to abstract who you want to be seen as from what you are – “Foxy Lady”. Also like CB radio, you have to lug one bit technology around [PC or Mac/Chevy van or Mack] to get at the communication media [blog/CB radio].

So who will be the Red Sovine of bloggetry?

Paddy Roy

CBC.ca says “according to the newspaper report, Roy’s house in Littleton, Colorado has been for sale for the past couple of months.  Jacques Demers says he packing it in.  If so, it is the end of something that should be noted.

I have never liked the Habs, mainly due to living through the ’70’s liking the Leafs and Red Wings listening to the divine right of Les Canadiens.  The Colorado Rockies is another team that should have won many more Stanley Cups in its own mind.  But I have always liked Roy.

In the spring 1986, I came back from Europe with $2,000.00 still in my pockets with no other excuse than the playoffs were on TV.  I could have gone to Spain or Italy.  Instead, I went night after night to rec rooms to watch the playoffs.  Glad I did.  He talked to his posts, wiggled his head like his helmet was too big and won the last all Canadian finals.  Europe is still there, I understand. Think 'curse of the babe', Habs fans

My favorite memory, however, was from 2 December 1995 when, as described by one web wag, “Habs coach Mario Tremblay left Roy in the game for 9 Detroit goals before yanking him. When Roy finally skated to the bench he screamed at Tremblay and the team president Ronald Corey, vowing never to wear the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens again.”  You gotta like it when the greatest goalie ever to play for the Habs does that.

2002 C.J.J. Berry Obituary

[Source not recorded]

It is as though a chapter has closed in the annals of the winemaking movement with the death of Mr. Cyril Berry in Spain on the morning of Friday, 8th November 2002.

Cyril was a wonderful man, as anyone who knew him well will endorse. Without doubt he did more for the winemaking fraternity than anyone else. In fact there probably would not have been the unison of so many winemakers in Great Britain and overseas had it not been for his energy and acumen.

After World War II, when sugar came off the ration, Cyril founded the Andover Circle, which still flourishes today and of which he was still a member. Then Cheltenham, Bournemouth, Harrow and Hertford Circles sprang to life and gradually the bubbles of wine spread all over the country. Clubs learnt about each others’ events through a little magazine which Cyril and his dear wife Peggy produced in the upstairs bedroom of their house in Andover. This was for sale to Clubs at 6 pence a copy.

Cyril had an ebullient personality and energy which not only embraced his family and social life but also gave him the courage at a mature age to give up his safe, professional life as Editor of a local Andover paper in order to concentrate on producing the Amateur Winemaker magazine on a National scale. He also wrote the best-ever selling winemaking book ‘First Steps in Winemaking.’ Not only was the title very clever and appealing but it gave people the chance to make wines from fruits, flowers and vegetables in an easily explained manner. Yes, the recipes were ‘country’ style, often using a lot of sugar, but they gave the encouragement necessary to try them out and, in those early days, it was THE book to own. When a chicken was really a treat to be eaten just at Christmas and a bottle of wine had to be sought out and afforded only once in a while, the idea of making one’s own wine was very attractive. No rows of wine in Supermarkets then.

The main names at that time which readily come to mind after Cyril were Cyril Lucas of Bournemouth, Ben Turner of Harrow, ‘Andy’ Andrews of Hertford; they and some others got together to form a nucleus to start the National Conferences. A little later, after a Conference in Brighton, the Amateur Winemakers National Guild of Judges was formed (now N.G.W.B.J.) In those very early days Cyril was asked to assess vast volumes of competition wine at one sitting, which he manfully attempted. No wonder the Judges Guild was formed!

Clubs proliferated and prospered, friendships all over the country were cemented, winemaking graduated from granny’s country brew to commercial quality counterparts, all in essence due to Cyril Berry’s original initiative and drive. Winemaking queries were answered, informative articles published and Club News kept everyone informed. Someone once sent in to the Winemaker a recipe for a Yorkshire Pudding wine as a joke (Jack Dixon I believe – now no longer with us) and to keep the joke going Cyril printed it. He was taken aback some months later, however, when a member of the Andover Circle asked him to taste just such a ‘wine’! Many books associated with wine and beer making evolved from Cyril’s printing presses until he eventually retired and bought a holiday flat in Nerja, Spain, so as to enjoy the winter sunshine.

Although Peggy, Gay and Natalie, their daughters, and the grandchildren, were the heart of Cyril’s life, he found time for other interests such as gardening, viticulture, music and painting. He even had time to be on the local Council and received the honour of being Mayor of Andover at one time.

He was a warm, friendly, very special person, who will never be forgotten by those who loved and admired him – always with a smile and a joke on his lips – truly the Father of the winemaking movement. Blessed he was to leave us, sitting having a pre-prandial drink in the Spanish sunshine, but our heartfelt sympathies must go to Peggy and his family for his passing and the abruptness of this sad farewell. May he rest in peace.