Some days, when all perspective fails me, I wander over to the MEA Museum and just hang out with my memories.
There is something calming about pondering these shelves of obsolete gadgetry.
We lived and breathed this old technology, made it work, sold it to folk, and kept it going. We got data back from the bush. We survived as a company and built a respected ‘can-do’ reputation.
Yet it makes a man wonder when he too will become obsolete.
Will the wellspring of new ideas suddenly and mysteriously dry up?
Will the thrill of clever designs disappear suddenly or just fade under a pall of weariness or outmoded thinking?
Maybe the answer already lies in a smaller second museum?
It is there – in my old-fashioned home workshop – where I have discovered that ‘fixing things’ is a fertile source of new ideas.
Down the back shed is where I live my craft after my working day is done, pottering happily of an evening amidst the ideas of all those engineers who went before me. They left their thinking behind for me to discover decades later.
I get to rethink all the fundamental principles embedded in the vintage electronic test equipment that I purchase so cheaply on Gumtree and eBay. No-one else wants this stuff, yet it is eminently serviceable, well-documented and approachable.
I wake each morning, refreshed and raring to go.
No matter how modern MEA technology becomes, understanding its essence allows a design engineer like me to wield it in new ways, to the benefit of those folk still out in the bush and needing measurements.
|Dr. Skinner enjoys the fruits plucked from Gumtree.|