Regular readers (ha!) will know that I tend to keep track (or a copy) of significant postings I make elsewhere on this site so that I have a consolidated view of my various ramblings. Don’t ask me why.
Earlier today my friend Austin sent me a link to the video embedded here. My original response was on Facebook but I’m saving it here because the video makes me smile.
Austin Scott shared this video today. It brought back so many memories. It’s funny to think that we downloaded programs from the television & radio in the way that’s shown towards the end of this video. “Stand by for the software transmission” (at 5 mins 30) is very funny but it’s really how we used to do it. Who could have foreseen the app stores? I remember recording programs from the radio which was much easier. Who had a TV that connected to a cassette recorder?
10 years after this TV programme aired, somebody asked me “why do we need email when we have the fax”? Naming no names here to protect the guilty.
Seeing the old BBC Micro really reminds me of my final years at school. My O-level computer project was to design a piece of software and I developed a contact & mailing management system. It was too great a task to undertake in BBC Basic. I finished it but only managed to submit the coursework thanks to my parents spending an evening printing the code (yes, we had to do that) and helping me file it properly. Today, I guess we’d call it CRM. If only I’d kept at it. Perhaps it could have been Salesforce.
I took another tour of a hidden London Underground station last weekend. This time it was of Aldwych (formerly, Strand) station which has a fascinating history. Originally planned as the terminus of the Great Northern and Strand Railway, even by the time it opened in 1907 it was a little used spur of – what is today – the Piccadilly Line. Closed in 1994, Aldwych can still be seen in films and TV programmes and, very occasionally, as part of a Hidden London tour.
Fearing that the station would be little used, economy was sought during construction. Only one set of stairs & passages to the platforms were completed, and only about half the platform area (at the south end where the short trains would stop) were tiled. The remaining passages were left incomplete and never opened, all passengers using what would have been the exit passages to access platforms and lifts …
The Aldwych branch was never well patronised. Before the time of its closure only 450 people were using the branch each day. From June 1958 the line began operating only in rush hours as off peak traffic was almost non-existent. The line was considered for extension to Waterloo on many occasions throughout its history but due to financial limitations and lack of demand, this extension never came to anything.
Something I learned this week about the complexities of managing London’s smart-card ticketing system,
Starting with 700 stations, Oyster does not know the destination when you tap in. So the system has to hold 700 times 700 possible fares.
Then there are alternative routes, where you have to allow for people doing ‘weird and wonderful things’. As a result Oyster allows for up to 32 different routes between any origin-destination pair.
Then there are peak and off-peak fares. Here Oyster has built in ‘stretch’ which could accommodate up to 16 different time bands over the day.
Add in adult, child plus youth, senior, unemployed and other concessionary fares and the total number of combinations in the system comes to 216 million fares. That is, of course, irrelevant to the customer, who knows that, however he or she travels between Zone 1 and Zone 2, the peak fare will be £2.90.