History part 3

Good day again. Beautiful blue sky day here, still a little cool at 20C but I can’t complain.

The two images above are from the web, and notice how they are different in flag patterns, cushion colours and crown types. Also:

The one on the left is the one currently on show, whereas the one on the right is very similar. I don’t know the answers. But wouldn’t it be cool to have two or more crowns to choose from?

I don’t know which location this NTV channel was broadcasting from, but I’m not sure Charles would appreciate being referred to as the new Queen.

Nor would Mr Musyoka have been happy to have previously withdrawn from the race [to be the new Queen?]


For my younger readers (almost everyone?) these are thermionic valves, or tubes as the Yanks like to call them. These were a common thing when I first started in electronics in the 1960s, these particular types (12AU7s) being used in audio frequency amplifiers. When I was working then, these were so cheap and common that when we tested them and found them weak, we just tossed them out and replaced them without a moment’s thought.

This picture is from an advert, maybe eBay(?) and the asking price is $125 each! Holy moley. Hi-fi nuts will pay a fortune these days for anything that seems in any way “special”. These are Mullard brand, common as dirt in the 60s, yet touted now as having some kind of magic properties. Crazy.


By the way, since the electrons within the glass envelope came from a heated wire cathode coated with a chemical that gave off a good supply of electrons, they “wore out”. That is, after a year or more, probably a lot longer, they gradually used up the chemical coating and became “low emission”, faulty. All valves had to be periodically tested and replaced as needed.

When transistors were invented, they didn’t need a heated cathode to supply the electrons any more. They are current-controlled variable current flow devices. The current (electrons) flowing from the emitter to the collector is regulated by the current flowing into or out of the base (depending on the type of transistor).

BJT = Bipolar Junction Transistor

A very small change in the amount of current in the base makes a big difference in the current in the collector, hence amplification.

Therefore, in theory, transistors, like diamonds, are forever. They don’t wear out, unlike valves. They don’t need “testing” unless there is an obvious fault. And they are CHEAP! They are made in such huge quantities and are so simple to manufacture that you can buy a bag of 200 of many types for a couple of dollars. For example:

A box of 200 common types that cost me about $3.
Cheap as chips – silicon chips.

Speaking of cheap and quantities, Large Scale Integrated circuits (microprocessors) use transistor circuits to simulate all kinds of electronic elements, as well as acting as switches and memory cells. The present day state of the art is to fit around three billion transistors on a die approximately 6-10mm square, with interconnection tracks as small as four nano-metres!

Present day CPUs on a large silicon die. These are multiple copies on a large wafer. They will be snapped apart along the lines above before being individually tested and packaged.


An advertising image from the web site of my mattress manufacturer. Notice the feet on the base? I didn’t need a base as I used my existing one, but I couldn’t use this one. I have carpet, so these flat feet would have been useless to me. I don’t like these false wooden floors, I like carpet.


Netflix chooses programs to recommend to me from time to time, and not surprisingly, they’ve put The Crown up for me to watch again. I’ve actually watched it twice already and I have series 1 and 2 on DVD, but it’s a good while since I watched it so I’ve started it again from series 1, episode 1. Like a good piece of classical music, you see new things with each performance and I’m seeing things I’d missed or forgotten since first watching it in 2016. Crumbs, there are many things I don’t like about “Great” Britain, but I do admire their television, on top of their pageantry, royalty and uniforms.

However, we should not ignore the capacity of the British for brutality and savagery down through history. Their pitiless, ruthless pursuit of their imperial goals led to endless massacres, torture, racism and complete disregard for human rights for many hundreds of years. They simply stomped on the heads of anyone who stood in their way to their empire goals.

They were even merciless in killing their own people! Don’t forget the English civil wars in the 16th to 18th centuries, the dissolution of the monasteries and the banishment of Catholicism, the wars against the Scots, “the Clearances”, the takeover of the Scottish farms and the cruel dispossession of the crofters, and the barbarity of the repression of the Irish during the potato famines. The list goes on and on. Barbaric cruelty against their own people, on top of the atrocities committed against people of “lesser” races and countries.

And never forget, the term “hung, drawn and quartered” was invented by the English – hanging a man but not to death, then taking a sword or knife, drawing it down the chest and abdomen and quartering the abdomen so that the guts spills out, then just leaving him for the crows to feed on while he dies. How could any human commit such atrocities, but the English did.

Until a few years ago I didn’t realise the depths of Scottish people’s hatred of the English, but I do now.



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