2014 minus 41: Bits and bobs

Posted: 21 November 2013 in media, personal
Tags: ,

Well, so far in this experiment of trying to write a blog a day in the final fifty days of 2013, I’ve written some words on politics, syuck up some stories, and told some tales from my past.

I’ve managed to avoid subjecting you to any of the ‘question and answer’ memes which so populated my last blog, but fear away – there’ll be at least one coming in the future.

And there’ll be some other stuff as well.

But today, I was writing something that wouldn’t quite come together; I’m not sure if it will tomorrow or the next day either. When I publish it, I want it to be ‘right’.

And today, I had several things I could have written about, but nothing that would have been 800 to 1,000 words minimum, which is the target I’ve set for these blogs. certainly a couple of things… and it occurred to me that I should write on those two things and see what happens.

An Adventure In Space and Time
I’m writing this not long after having watched this draatised reconstruction of the creation of, and the making over the first three years of, Doctor Who.

It’s no secret to friends of mine, or even people who even slightly know me, that I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since…. well, since I was aware of the show. Like so many early influences, this one came from Michael, my older-by-some-five-years brother. But also from the first three ‘novelisations’ published, which were bought for me by a neighbour as a get well present when I was off school with some bug or another. I was immediately hooked, and although I barely remember Patrick Troughton, “my” Doctor was Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor. I don’t really remember ‘liking’ Liz Shaw as an assistant (as they were called in those days), but I certainly remember her. I think – looking back – I never took to her because she wasn’t ‘nice’, at least not to a young boy – I was far more interested in The Doctor, and The TARDIS and The Brigadier and… well, anything and anyone other than Liz Shaw. Maybe I was missing something – I don’t know.

I do know, however, that once Jo Grant and The Master both arrived, I started getting much more interested in the effects The Doctor had on those around him. Someone much smarter than me once commented that The Doctor was the perfect name for the lead character as he did tend to make people better around him, to bring out the best in them. I think, in most cases that’s true.

Anyway, back to the show tonight. It was superb. Simply that – superb. I’m not about to spoil some of the more surprising revelations or things that happened, except to say that if, like me, you’re not sure how a well-known story can have surprises in it, then you like me will be suitably astonished.

Every performance was spot on, the casting was excellent, the writing barelled along, and the direction and camera work (including the lighting) could not have been better. Yes, there were the occasional things that made me think “hold it, that’s not quite what happened”, but you know what? Nitpicking about Doctor Who is also part of the tradition for fans; until I’m told otherwise, I’m stating that’s the reason for the opportunities to nitpick, and no other.

Congratulations to Mark Gattis, and to David Bradley, Jessica Raines and the other actors for superlative acting.

Watch this show – it’s lovely. And clever. And fun. And heartbreaking. And fun again.

Budgie in 3D
Now, I think of myself as a fairly easy to understand bloke. There’s not that much too deep about me, and on at least a couple of occasions, I’ve been described as ‘flat’ or having views that are too simplistic and two-dimensional. And how’s THAT for a fake segue, since a couple of nights ago, I went along with Mitch Benn to see a recording of the BBC World Service version of Click!, for once in front of a live studio audience… and it turned out to be on 3D printing.

When we got there, Bill Thompson from the BBC (who’d kindly invited me and Mitch along) introduced us to some blokes from 3dify… who offered to scan us and produce little 3D models of us.

And they did…

My scan:

The “print”:

The print of mitch and me:

The low resolution renderings had, for each of us, roughly 500,000 individual vertices, with roughly a million individual ‘faces’; high resolution would double that. Two million individual surfaces. That’s two… million… surfaces. And how long did the scans and rendering take? Well, the scans took about 90 seconds each, the rendering the same time.


The printing currently takes about 90 minutes, and the materials? About 60p per model.

It’s a proof of concept, put together using a Konnect scanner.

I give it five years before it’s offered as an option to replace/supplement school photos.

And that’s your lot for today… more tomorrow.

  1. Statues to replace photos?

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