Yesterday I showed a technology book produced in the late 1940s that I picked up at a local car boot sale. In the same car boot, but on a different stall I found this curious looking book titled Infantry Training Training and war 1937 which has two date-of-issue stamps on it dating from 20th January 1941. I can’t read the stamps properly, but they say “home guard” on them which is probably why it has survived 73 years as it doesn’t look to have been read much, contains all its pages and is in very good condition considering its age. Someone has scrawled “P I G S Are snobs” inside the first few pages in white chalk for reasons unknown.
The book has a rather serious warning on the front cover stating
“Not to be published. The information given in this document is not to be communicated, either directly or indirectly, to the Press or to any person not holding an official position in His Majesty’s Service.”
Here is another book I found in a local car boot sale. Coming from a time when education and intelligence was assumed and the dumbing down disease hadn’t yet taken hold How and why it works is a book that does exactly what it says on the cover. It tells you how things work, and explains why they work that way using neatly labelled diagrams and paragraphs of text. Everything from how a coal mine operates to electricity generation.
The fascinating part is the section on the television receiver. According to Wikipedia, television was first transmitted in 1932 by the good old BBC but this was a mechanical system at first, eventually using an electronic scanning method by 1936. Then it all stopped during the war and wasn’t resumed until 1946. The book I have was published in 1948, and the television is introduced by relating it to a radio set and to a cinema, making it look to be a fairly new concept compared to the radio on the preceding pages which starts with “The programmes you listen to on the radio” where it’s assumed everybody knows what a radio is. I scanned the television section in as a series of images, and have also created a PDF from it.
The book is really interesting, it contains a mix of brand new technology such as the TV and very old more traditional technology like the plough, electric torch and ratchet screwdriver. It’s a snapshot of time before the transistor existed, everything electronic contains valves and there is no mention of computers whatsoever.
Tomorrow – Infantry Training and mortars in the attack.
It is Sunday, that means it’s car boot day, and since it was dry the car boot was quite large. Amongst the junk I managed to buy an Apple Pro Mouse for £3.
The Apple Pro Mouse has two major failings; 1) It has one button and can only function with one button and 2) Its cable is really short. I am right handed, the USB ports on my Macbook are on the left. The cable reaches, but only just. In OSX problem 1) can be overcome by pressing the control key for left mouse (but you still don’t get a scroll wheel, leading to comical stroking of the mouse) and 2) can be solved by not moving the mouse very far from the computer.
It has that crap Apple cable that gets all kinked inside. I don’t know how Apple make cables, but they all kink in horrible ways. I saw my cousin’s Macbook charger melt its cable after it became twisted inside to the point where the outer covering came off.
Coming soon in the short series “people’s crap I bought from the car boot” – Some 70s “How things work” type books and a 1940s army infantry guide that says I’m forbidden from publishing its contents. I also gained another Amiga (when the economy collapses, I hope these become legal tender, I have quite a few now) and a new cordless phone. In return I got rid of a mini fridge and some breakfast bowls. I can also get rid of a table and weird Ikea shelf thing.
Right, I’m off to learn how to prepare a minefield and what the correct way to do a beach landing is.
Still at Beerman’s, we’re having another barbecue before going back home. Earlier today we all went to a car boot sale up the road. We got there pretty late, the only things left were market stalls, a few tables of stuff and people foraging through the bins for stuff.
We came back with some plastic chairs, wind chimes and BB guns. For £3 you can get a BB gun, but it won’t last very long. Amy is currently learning how to strip and repair hers, she’s spent half an hour on it so far, but since it jammed after a few shots, I’m confident she’ll be quicker than Forrest Gump at stripping guns and fixing them.
Amongst Vikki and Jonny’s belongings I found a hammer from Tesco with a slightly weird safety label telling us to ‘play safe’. With a hammer…
My god, what a haul of goodies we managed today! It was like someone knew we were going and got out the goodies ready for us. I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have a second XBox running XBMC in my bedroom, but never thought it worth the £40-odd for a second hand XBox.
Well… how does £10 grab you? No? Well after taking advantage of our technical knowledge and bamboozling the seller we got it for £8. People’s brains fuse if you start prodding their stuff and saying “ahh the labels are intact, it’s not been opened. This one would be ideal”. It also helps if you have a female counterpart 😉
The XBox even works. I’ve had to order a video cable from eBay, and a Modchip is now in the post too. Looks like I’ll be spending a fun hour with my soldering iron again soon. I get to go cross-eyed soldering SMD components again.
I also bought a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for 20 quid, including two controllers and a light gun. The light gun won’t work on my TV, but this is OK since the NES itself doesn’t seem to work either. It flashes the power light at me. Yes, this means the cart isn’t connecting properly and I need to repair the contacts. I’ve added that to my list. I’ll swap the cartridge slot from a working NES just to make sure the main circuit board isn’t faulty though.
I then bought a couple of books (a Red Dwarf book and a William Gibson), a cheeseburger and managed to block the toilets. Amy bought several of those TV games units that contain an FPGA emulation of an old console and its ROMs. She’s got a Sega Megadrive one that has Sonic the Hedgehog, Columns and other games, and a bizarre Tetris game.
We very nearly bought an Amstrad PCW1512 word processor, but having no money and no desire to carry it across the field stopped us. We also successfully resisted buying another Sega Megadrive, but David did buy a Sega Saturn. There were also many Gameboys for sale and those amusingly illegal “52-in-1” games carts.
We will return another day looking for games and junk. I think I’ll have to start looking for a bigger house too 😉
After eventually surfacing and regrouping the troops the now, rather tired partygoers decided to visit a giant car boot sale in an old RAF base. Most car boots are held in fields and consist of paste tables laden with crap, junk and stuff of unknown origin. This one was massive! We arrived late, so all the traditional car boot gubbins was mostly gone with people packing up, but we went off to explore the rest of the site too.
The place is known as Hemswell Market, and from this Google Maps image you can see it’s a little bit large. The whole thing is open to walk around and bigger than some villages I’ve lived in 🙂
In addition to the field with the car boot in, there was an indoor section, held in a huge barn. This part had items of furniture and by the look of things, an auction. It was like walking around the contents of someone’s house.
And then there was the road lined with burger vans, dodgy blokes selling pirate DVDs and bits of mobile phone. The usual market crap and just as interesting to wander amongst.
Not content with a square kilometre of market stalls and car boot, the associated buildings housed small commercial outlets (the kind who sell things on eBay too), one being a computer shop that we mistook for a museum the contents being that old 😉
Speaking of museums, there was a building claiming to be a book shop that turned out to be an interesting antiques shop. Ten-odd rooms of utter junk with amusing price tags and no obvious way of buying stuff. I found nothing I wanted to buy in the whole place, which was just as good since I spent my only Â£1 on some sweets.
Went to Scunthorpe car boot sale today. It was really cold and windy and we arrived about 11am so most of the potential bargains had potentially gone. Still, it was fun walking around looking at the tables full of crap.
I bought some Terry Pratchett books, a milk jug and some dish cleaning sponges (the coloured sponges with green scratchy pads on). Amy bought an entire dinner set for Â£3 and some rolls of tape.
I then spent the rest of the day writing lesson plans while Amy installed Windows on a PC for someone.