Saturday, October 27

Panorama fiesta

I've spent this evening creating a few panorama images from recent vacations in Canada and New York.  Be sure to click on each image to get the full scenic impact that smaller images don't really do justice to.  The post opens with a view of Niagara Falls, followed by a couple of stunning panoramas from the Canadian Rockies.  I've then finished the post with a view of Yosemite Valley.


Sunday, October 21

Up close and personal with the U.P.C

George J. Laurer is considered the inventor of U.P.C. or Uniform Product Code, more commonly known as the scanner barcode.  His linear design of fat and thin lines was launched in 1973, adapting an earlier bullseye-shaped design developed by Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland in 1948. Interestingly, none of these inventors successfully commericalised their creation. It took the likes of IBM to transform the barcode into the tool it is today. Although Woodland ultimately joined IBM helping it embed barcodes into the pioneering reaches of the retail trade.

Fast forward two score years and it's  hard to imagine modern commerce without such a ubiquitous symbol. These days you cannot buy a grocery product without a barcode and their use has spread well beyond retail. You'll find barcodes now managing worldwide freight shipping, preserving national archives and protecting sensitive hospital data.  I've even noticed them make an appearance on airport boarding passes and bus tickets.

Why a blog post on barcodes?  For the last two weeks I've been helping Garry plaster barcode stickers on much of his company's inventory. Garry's decided to outsource its warehouse logistics, which in turn requires each stock item to have a unique code.  Frustratingly, most of the stock he acquired lacks this fundamental item.  As a result, we've been forced to individually "touch" tens of thousands of products, adding coded stickers before they can be shifted to a third-party warehouse. It's certainly made for an intensive, but highly accurate, stock take.

I must confess that the focus on barcoding stock has distracted me from serious job hunting.  However, I've had more than one headhunter tell me that the market is unusually quiet.  They feel things are unlikely to pick up until the New Year. I'm now switching my focus to building out my professional network. While it's early days I'm somewhat encouraged by the connections I've started making.

Wednesday, October 3

Rockies postscript

As promised a few additional photos from our two-day excursion by train through the Rocky Mountains of Canada.  I've opened the photo with a couple of images from Vancouver, before taking you east with the Rocky Mountaineer's GoldLeaf Class carriage.  That's the Olympic flame from the 2010 Winter Olympics behind my parents.

In between the reflecting lakes is the famous "last spike" memorial.  The stone cairn commemorates the completion of the first trans-continental railway linking Canada's east and west coast.  The new line fulfilled a promise to British Columbia that ultimately encouraged it to join the Canadian Confederation, rather than respond to overtures to join the USA.  The last spike was driven on November 7, 1885.

Finally, a random images of trains and canyons that simply swept into view on every turn.  It really was a breath-takingly scenic journey.

Monday, October 1

Canada in pictures

We took literally thousands of photos during our Canada vacation. Here's a few that didn't made it into earlier blog posts. Enjoy!

The post opens with a wonderful shot of Mum and Dad in Manhattan as we were about to board our helicopter flight in perfect flying weather.  You can then see my parents in the helicopter waiting to take off.  The yellow objects are life vests that we'd have to pull over our heads in an emergency. 

Below are photos from Niagara Falls including a wonderful shot of my parents standing at the edge of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.  Dad thought these were by far the best of the three falls that make up the Falls area. I couldn't agree more which is why we made it our first stop of the day.

The next three photos were taken in Vancouver at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which includes a fascinating tree-top walkway. Can you spot my father in the second image?

Here's Mum dropping in for a quick coffee with the Canadian Suffragettes in Ottawa. Sadly, her extra large Long Black was made entirely of bronze.

Marman, the sculpture that dominates the plaza outside the National Gallery in Ottawa makes for a great image no matter which angle you choose.  Sadly, we were a week too early to see the best of the autumn colours in the Thousand Islands, but do revisit these fantastic autumn images we captured in Ottawa.

Liberty Enlightening the World is the perfect model. She never moves and her pose is always consistent.

Here's the George Washington Bridge; a real highlight of our Manhattan helicopter tour, followed by Central Park from the north and a classic view of the island's wall of skyscrapers.

The 9/11 memorial was a sobering reminder of the tradegy that enveloped the city eleven years ago.  I was suprised how closely my photos resembled artist impressions that were published when the design was first announced.  As you can see in the middle photo, the memorial includes the name of every person who died on 9/11, along with those killed in the 1993 bombing of the North Tower.  Ladder 24 was a fire house whose men responded to burning South Tower.

Stay tuned for more images from our Rocky Mountain train journey. Some of the images are breath-taking.