Friday, March 28, 2014

What a l ong strange trip it’s been…

In the moment, I am frustrated trying to print postage for my very first sale ☺ on eBay, of a 1919 1st edition of The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Alas, PayPal has not kept up with Firefox, and Canada Post has delegated postage to PayPal instead of integrating their own online postage system ☹

So why 1st sale? I am moving. Having spent the last 2 years in a shared household, the guy on the lease is fed up with my occupation of the house. While everyone else keeps mostly to their rooms with occasional forays to the kitchen, I live in the living room(I’m retired), where I have my laptop, or the basement where I have set up a 3D projector. So my landlord wants me out in order to reoccupy the house before his parents come for an extended visit.

I’ve preferred shared households since the 60’s when I lived on Alberni Street in Vancouver – up to 38 communards in a 3-bedroom house. We exported people to Galiano Island to make room. I eventually left to attend Ryerson in Photo Arts, but got entranced by computers and an interactive language called APL. Check out the programming, in a dozen characters or so, of Conway’s The Game of Life on YouTube. Then a degree in Computer Science at York University and work as a programmer, systems analyst, and systems designer at Sears, Canadian Tire, Bell, BNR, and consulting work around Ottawa.

Back to revisiting my childhood. I have been going through my dad’s science fiction collection and putting his old Tarzan, Barsoom and other books up for sale (Abacurial is my eBay cognomen). Among these are a fairly complete set of Astounding magazines from the 30’s to the 60’s – and there are boxes and boxes. Dad lived pre-internet. Now to try to sell them through the thicket of rules and limits eBay has placed to protect buyers.

I was into microcomputers since I got a TRS-80 I took to Saudi Arabia with me and programmed a system to optimise choice of swimmers – I was a volunteer swim coach. So I wanted to win in our meets, but I wanted all swimmers to have a chance to compete. That was 1982. But I wanted the colour, so stepped up to an Apple ][ clone when I returned. Programmed my taxes in a Multiplan spreadsheet that loaded in linked sections – 64K of memory (I had an expansion card) used 48K for Multiplan, so only 16K bytes left. 1 page/schedule per load… Now I have a 8-core i7, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash drive, 2 screens, and it’s the internet slowing me down. Hmm fibre? I do devote 85-100% of my CPU to various BOINC projects.

Then there’s my main preoccupation – Duplicate Bridge. I am “0 carbon” on BBO and direct tournaments for the BBO Fans club, as well as play bridge. I created a goulash bridge bidding system called KwikQ.

Summers I get out, walk my poodle, canoe, hike, bike. But then I always bike . I sold my Pathfinder 5 years ago and it’s bike, hike or bus for me now.

I enjoy photography. My OM system is now obsolete, but adaptors let me use the lenses on my EOS. Still, for eBay, I use an S710IS. Small sensor cameras are unmatched for their macro ability and convenience.

I haven’t found my ideal space in Ottawa (or anywhere) yet. Anyone who wants to live with someone with too many books and too much furniture and too much interest in Bridge should contact me.


tOM
listserve[AT]abacurial.com
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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