Tuesday, March 12, 2019

NASA Computing from the 1980's

Also in This Issue:
  • Cameracraft Lens Surprises
  • Geeking with Gary
  • Vegas Seminar!
  • And more...

JPL Computing Section Added to the Friedman Archives Website

I recently added a "NASA Computing in the '80's" category to the www.FriedmanArchives.com website. Check it out!  (Last category.)  Many of these computers were put into place in the 1970's and earlier (when the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were being built) and were kept in place simply because they still worked.

Of course that's not everything I have... few pictures of me with hair, for example.  For that, plus some videos, you'll have to look at this collection of images in Google Photos. :-)

Voyager Family Portrait

You think you've got problems? This video from my NASA days should put things into perspective.

Once upon a time the Voyager 2 spacecraft was so far away that it could see the entire solar system from where it stood. Carl Sagan told them "You should program the spacecraft to take a family portrait!". And so it did, and the results were displayed on this auditorium wall. At first I thought they left some dust on the negative... then I realized that this was a digital image start-to-finish, and that piece of dust I thought I saw on the enlargement was actually the earth!

Vegas, Baby!
From the archives.  This is Las Vegas' Fremont street from the 1980's, before it was turned into a pedestrian mall.  Like fine wine, even boring pictures can become more valuable with age.  
The next Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminar will be happening in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 26-27, 2019!  Hey, you've always thought about attending one of these, and now it's at a destination city everyone wants to visit!  Sign up here and join the fun.

(And don't forget the Classic Cadillac car show after the seminar - a great and unique subject matter to practice what you've learned!  More details in last month's blog.)

The date for the seminar in Copenhagen has now been nailed down - it will be September 14-15, and other events will be planned around it.  Email me at Gary at Friedman Archives dot com if you'd like to be put on the notification list.

Want to bring the Seminars to your area?  Tell your local photo club that I'll speak at one of their meetings FOR FREE!  Ask me how.

In the Pipeline

The new ebook on the fast-focusing Sony Alpha 6400 is in the works - Pre-order now at a special price!

And the ebook for the A7 III is being translated into French!  Watch this blog for details.

Cameracraft Lens Surprises

Some of you may have heard that I'm Associate Editor of Cameracraft magazine.  :-)  And while I tend to emphasize the 'art' aspect of the magazine whenever I talk about it in this blog, there's a whole 'nuther technical side to it thanks mostly to the publication's legendary editor, David Kilpatrick.

David's technical knowledge of photography goes way beyond most camera review sites, especially in the world of optics.  And David's review of lenses (new and old) in the magazine provides insights you just won't find anywhere else.

Like what, you ask?  How about the only place in the world where you'll see a problem with Sony's legendary 58mm f/1.8?  Or how about a new E-mount walkaround lens that's faster, cheaper, and otherwise just as sharp as the Sony 24-70 GMaster lens?

So let's have some fun.  Below are free links to the online edition of Cameracraft magazine.  Click on them and look for the lens review mentioned.  (And marvel at what a great magazine it is in the process! :-) )

What's better than the 24-105 f/4 G (plus 3 other lens reviews)  https://issuu.com/iconpublications/docs/cc_janfeb2019

Guess which Macro lens offers the greatest lens-to-subject distance?  https://issuu.com/iconpublications/docs/cameracraftmayjune2018

7Artisians 7.5mm fisheye https://issuu.com/iconpublications/docs/aprilrevision

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 and Fujinon 200mm f/2 OIS https://issuu.com/iconpublications/docs/ccnovdec18

Flaws in Sony's halo'd 90mm Macro lens (we dare you to find someone complaining about this online):  (Will be published in the next issue.  Subscribe to learn what it is!)

Next Time in Cameracraft

We profile Joe Edelman, who dared to enlarge this Micro Four Thirds image to billboard size.  Also, I interview a Getty staff photographer who specializes in shooting presidential campaigns and wildfires.  (Wait, they have staff photographers?)

Nothing At All To Do With Photography
(I do this from time to time.)

NeXT computer writeup

Remember when Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, and he started a new, visionary computer company called NeXT (with funding from Ross Perot)? Well, back in the day I got to evaluate it for its suitability for processing spacecraft data. If you'd like to geek out about Unix, Mach, the Interface builder, Objective C, and arrogant error messages, read this scanned .pdf file.

More on my NASA history...

And of course what romp down memory lane would be complete without this youtube video describing My Decade at NASA and the Inventions that Got Me There?

Fun with Statistics

Think your intuitions serve you well?  Here are some very unintuitive things which have been proven true via simulation and formal mathematical proofs.  Makes quantum mechanics seem not-all-that-unreasonable:

·       The Monty Hall problem – picking door #3 changes the odds for the remaining doors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem

·       If you have a child born on a Tuesday it changes the odds of future children being born on the same day of week http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2011/11/08/the-tuesday-birthday-problem/  

A Practical Guide to Buddhism  

I would like to announce the publication of a very concise book for which I was co-editor.  It's called Enlighten yourself and others - A Practical Guide to Buddhism.

I think one of the things that resonated with me as I worked on this book is its straightforward use of basic principles that can be applied right away to a myriad common problems we all face; plus it provided a great overview of the essential texts and pointers on where to go for further, ummm, enlightenment.  In reading it, I realized that I've been applying these basic principals in my life for a few decades now.  I guess I understand why my close friends always said I possessed Buddhist tendencies. 

The book is available from Amazon in paperback.  (And I get no compensation for endorsements nor sales).  

Next Time - LA-EAx Adapters; Part 2

Until then,
Yours truly, Gary Friedman


  1. Gary,
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I worked in QA for a software company and was part of the testing when we ported our product (WingZ) to the NeXT platform. Seems like ages ago when pointing, clicking, dragging and double-clicking were not the most common way to interact with a computer!!

  2. You worked for NASA? You are a god...


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