12 May 2019
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This Will Be the Talk I Will Have Given Yesterday

Time Travel Tenses

If time travel ever becomes possible, grammar will go out the wormhole. How can one say I plan to have done something in the past? As I write this, I'm planning to give a presentation to my local radio club later in the week. But, since I don't want to give the talk here on my blog before I do it live, I plan to publish this blog after the talk. Hence the somewhat convoluted title.*

This was to have been the introduction:

I'm the Luckiest Guy in the World!

Instead of giving a talk on some technical subject, which is merely interesting, I've been asked to give a talk about my two favorite subjects in the world. The first, as mentioned in the announcement, I'm to talk about Eventide, the company a couple of associates and I founded about 50 years ago. The second subject, sort of implied in the invitation, is ME! Who isn't his own favorite subject? If I founded a company 50 years ago, I must be, well, "elderly." I got my ham license back in the late '50s, and I suspect most of you did, too.

When I'm Puttering Around in My Ham Shack

I usually listen to 20 Meter phone. This weekend, as I have many times before, I heard a guy discussing his audio. In fact, he not only was concerned by his audio, he mentioned that he had a professional recording studio in his home. Which leads me to the belief that many of us are concerned with our audio. Show of hands?

No Show, No Hands

Well, that's how I would have begun had I continued to "over-think" this talk. But I realized, unsurprisingly, that I was quite capable of babbling for an hour (or, perhaps, indefinitely) about me and about Eventide. I scrapped the notion of preparing text for my talk, and instead went through the ancient photographs that I had scanned into the computer over the past couple of decades and organized them more or less chronologically. The biggest challenge turned out to be getting my laptop to talk to the club's projector. Here are a few of the pix.

WA2IKL "Ham "Shack" ca. 1963 Digital Voltmeter I Built for Popular Electronics Magazine
The Inside of the Hern Titrator/Dispenser for Nanoliters of Liquid
Experimental Microsecond-Variable Delay Line ca. 1973 Even Hardware has Bugs!

There were a lot more. But I was talking to a seated, captive audience. You can click away whenever you like.

My second biggest challenge was reactivating an almost unique skill that I possess. One of my favorite products is our "broadcast delay" which is used to keep profanity off the air. I thought it would be fun to demonstrate it at the meeting, so I brought along a system and did just that. The demo consists of pressing the REBUILD button and then continuing to explain how it works while the delay gets longer and longer. The audience can hear me talking along with my delayed voice as long as the room isn't enormous. When the delay is long enough — a few seconds — I utter a mock profanity, wait for a second or so, and then press the DUMP button. Immediately the delay goes to zero and the mock profanity disappears. Gasps of awe from the audience! OK, smiles of amusement at least.

The skill I reactivated is my long-practiced ability to talk while listening to my own delayed voice. Try it sometime!

They Didn't Leave In Groups

Eventually, even more pictures later, I was done, and we all went home. My presentation was reasonably well-received. A few people came up to speak to me afterwards with questions or comments. And during the talk people weren't leaving in groups**.

* Not that this is a big deal. Time travel is probably impossible, and 150 years ago who will have cared anyway?

** It's about time I gave The Limeliters credit for that one-line joke.

Richard Factor


"Going to California"

Led Zeppelin




Colorful fishes in a frame, unknown age, unknown provenance.

Maybe it's an art?

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