When we’re out and about and I have both cameras, I’ve started offering the little Canon to our son, just turned eight, asking him if he wants to shoot a few. He almost always says “Yes” and if you will indulge the fancies of an indulgent Dad, I think he’s good. Here’s his take on Berlin.

First, some architecture:

Berlin architecture

Next, the family; that’s Lauren’s friend Carola walking along with us.

Tim Bray, Lauren Wood, and Carola

I was going through them with him and said “Hey, I like that one” and he looked at me and said “Why? It’s just a window.”

Window in Berlin

He likes shiny machinery. I am no connoisseur of motorcycles, but this one’s pretty.

Berlin motorcycle claiming to be a Lee Enfield


Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Bob Lee (Jul 14 2007, at 08:37)

That's so cool! Can't wait until mine is old enough.

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From: Tushar (Jul 14 2007, at 08:56)

My, those bikes do get around! They're still made in India, though I didn't know they were exported as far as Germany.

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From: Vamsee (Jul 14 2007, at 10:49)

That is a Royal Enfield (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Enfield) - has it's origins in the UK, but it is more or less an Indian company now, and is based out of the city I currently live in, Chennai. It is a very rugged machine, been serving the Indian defence and police forces for a long time. The engine note sounds awesome when it goes.

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From: Sean Cier (Jul 15 2007, at 11:22)

"Old enough"? What is this "old enough" of which you speak?

http://maevesearlywork.blogspot.com

-spc

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From: Pete Berry (Jul 15 2007, at 17:16)

What your perspicacious young lad picked out there Tim, is a Royal Enfield, as Tushar and Vamshee have said. This machine has been in production since 1955, it has one cylinder (did you notice that?) which helps it do 80+ mpg in the 500cc version - and how small a carbon footprint is that? And also it sounds like a motorbike - as opposed to lots of Japanese bikes which have twice the acceleration, 50mph higher top speed - and sound like sewing machines.

Let me suggest analogies between the motorcycle and IT industries:

At the time this bike was first produced, Britain was probably the world's leading m/c manufacturer. The Japanese m/c industry borrowed hugely from their banks and didn't make a profit for years. In general, British firms were I think, making profits and paying dividends right up to the time they went bust.

The Japanese were/are excellent production and development engineers, the British gave/give those areas low status. The Japanese have not really innovated: single/ multiple cylinder machines in every possible layout; chain, shaft and belt drive; liquid cooling ... and so on existed 70 years or more ago. It was/is quality, excellent processes, customer focus, finance that can put profits on hold for years, and probably management (ours cr*p - not necessarily theirs great), that allowed the Japanese to wipe us out.

Now I see Indian Software Developers showing big UK firms how to get CMMI certification by implementing processes and methods that go back 25-30 years but are not widely used because they have been seen (by management here) as an overhead - and alongside that they are moving their people in to the same firms to take on development.

The Royal Enfield is still in production after 50 years because it did some basic things right, it's known and trusted. COBOL and Fortran came in about the same time. What will be the Web's Royal Enfield Bullet - http? e-mail? And what the Honda Fireblade?

Good picture mind Tim - your nipper ought to have his own website ...

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From: Ryan Cousineau (Jul 17 2007, at 13:55)

Pete: it ought to be said that my father's motorcycle magazines from the 1960s incisively document the key reason the Japanese took over.

In a review of a new British motorcycle from the mid-60s (probably a big Norton, but it hardly matters what bike), it was lauded for having an engine that was "very oil-tight."

Once the Japanese started selling bikes, it was realized that "oil-tight" did not need an adjective.

As for innovation, while overhead cam engines and multi-cylinder engines may not have been new, the Japanese brought these (and other) innovations to the masses permanently, and without defective designs like the Ariel Square Four, which liked to overheat its rear cylinders.

The key landmark was probably the 1969 Honda 750, which must have seemed like a bike from the future when it was first released. It had disc brakes, for example, which the Triumph Trident didn't get until 1973. By then, the game was won.

The Enfield's key virtues (aside from the indisputable aesthetic considerations) are paid-for tooling and simple manufacturing that doesn't tax the industrial capabilities of India.

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From: Andrew (Jul 18 2007, at 14:49)

Of course the photo of the window is interesting. It exhibits some very classical elements of photographic composition, strongest of which are the rule of thirds and geometric shapes.

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July 13, 2007
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