Saturday Scenes

Wed 26 January 2011

Back to Square One

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 23:23

On the 22nd of January in 1927, Arsenal played Sheffield United at their then home ground in Highbury. Henry Blythe Thornhill Wakelam (Captain Teddy), a former rugby player, sat on the sidelines in a small wooden hut that “largely resembled a garden shed”. He had a microphone and a plan of the pitch dissected into a grid of eight numbered squares, designed by producer Lance Sieveking. A copy of the plan was printed in the Radio Times so that Wakelam could refer to the squares and listeners could follow the action from home.

The BBC produced a world first that day: the first live radio commentary of a football match.

BBC SPORT | FOOTBALL  | Radio football down the years

The Division One clash between Arsenal and Sheffield United provided the entertainment for many families, who had eagerly tuned to their radio sets to hear the action. The match, played at the Gunners’ current ground Highbury, ended 1-1.

Indeed, this activity would have occurred much earlier if not for strict sporting authorities and Fleet Street – convinced that the new medium would draw away paying customers and newspaper readers alike.

Sieveking’s grid became a popular means of explaining a game on live radio. You can hear a recording of Wakelam using the numbered squares at the start of this clip from BBC Sport (.ram file). These early broadcasts may even be the origin of the phrase “back to square one”.

And on the 22nd of January in 2011, a very different grid was begun – a three-by-three grid of wonderful photographs so that we could enjoy seeing all the Saturday Scenes in one place. And here it is!

And these are the photographers who filled in the blanks:

Can I ask everyone who has participated this year to check the new Saturday Scenes list and make sure you are listed? It’s acting a bit odd and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out.

(If you submitted last year, you should be in the 2010 Saturday Scenes list.)

And if you haven’t submitted yet – join us! Just take a photograph on Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with the location! It’s easy and fun and we love seeing new sights.

Wed 19 January 2011


Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:46

On the 15th of January 2001, Wikipedia was formally launched as a publicly editable encyclopedia. I love Wikipedia as it makes for a great starting point for gathering information on a new subject. I regularly use Wikipedia’s “On this day” pages for SatScenes’ inspiration and, in more formal writing, the Wiki page can often help me to understand a common understanding of a subject before I sit down to write in detail about it.

However, in this case, I was a bit nervous. My initial reaction was that searching for Wikipedia on Wikipedia might cause a black hole and implode the Internet. Luckily, it seems they’ve broken down the Wikipedia resources pages on Wikipedia into several separate pages, no doubt to avoid exactly such an occurrence. I stuck with the basic history.

Wikipedia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia, Sanger is usually credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal. On January 10, 2001, Larry Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a “feeder” project for Nupedia. Wikipedia was formally launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition at,and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list. Wikipedia’s policy of “neutral point-of-view” was codified in its initial months, and was similar to Nupedia’s earlier “nonbiased” policy. Otherwise, there were relatively few rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia.

Doesn’t Nupedia sound like something straight out of an Orwellian dystopia?

Anyway, a decade later, on the 15th of January 2011, photographs were taken around the world in order to create this edition of Saturday Scenes. Look!

These are the extra-special Saturday Scene submitters who are just waiting on Twitter to make new friends so say hello!

Why don’t you join in?

We’d love to see your photos! Just take a picture on a Saturday and send it to SatScenes with a location.

See you next week!

Wed 12 January 2011

Mechanised Tabulation

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:28

On the 8th of January 1889, Herman Hollerith was granted Patent 395,738 for An Electric Tabulating System to be used for compiling statistics.

Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) was a mining engineer from New York who was not good at numbers but did have an eye for mechanical processes. His tabulating system was based on coding data numerically and punching specific locations on a paper card in order to sort the data mechanically. Although two other inventors released tabulating systems at the same time, Hollerith’s system was by far the fastest. His machines were used by the US Census Office for the 1890 census, which took the processing time down from eight years to one. Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company to lease custom built machines to census bureaux and insurance companies around the world.

In 1906 he added a control panel which allowed the Tabulator to do different jobs without being rebuilt. In 1911, the Tabulating Machine Company merged with the International Time Recording Company, The Tabulating Machine Company and the Computing Scale Company to become the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), an early conglomerate. CTR had 1,300 employees when salesman Thomas J. Watson Sr. came on board.

IBM Archives: Herman Hollerith

CTR was in deep trouble when Watson joined the company in 1914. Competition’s tabulating machines by then performed better and rented for less than Hollerith’s, and CTR salesmen were either hucksters who knew little about their products or repairmen who knew little and cared less about salesmanship. Some changes were needed. Watson set out immediately to make them.

He assigned Clair Lake and Frank Carroll the task of producing an improved machine that would print results automatically. Hollerith refused to have anything to do with the resulting machine, which was a modification of his, or the men who designed it.

Hollerith retired to his farm on the Chesapeake Bay, raising Guernsey cattle. Watson revamped the sales team and quickly rose to General Manager and then president of CTR.

In 1924, the corporation was renamed International Business Machines Corporation, now commonly known as IBM.

And on the 8th of January 2011, the following photographs were digitised, stored on computers and shared around the world, just so that all of us could see Saturday Scenes:

And here are the computational experts who brought you the colourful bits and bytes above:

You can find out what all of these great people are up to simply by checking the Saturday Scenes list which includes all participants from 2011.

And if you’d like to join in, just take a photograph on Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with the location! It’s easy and fun and we love seeing new sights.

Thu 6 January 2011

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:10

The first Saturday of 2011 fell on the 1st of January. What a perfect time to look back at the past year and the Saturday Scenes submissions. drewbenn wrote a clever little script and CliffStanford played with it some more and now we’ve got the top submitters of Saturday Scenes in 2010.

(I should note that these figures are not absolutely exact. I am not as consistent as I should be with people’s names, which has skewed the data by one or two points for a few people.)

There were 52 Saturdays in the year. Over a hundred people took part in 2010. Only one person submitted every week. Are you ready for the countdown?

Drumroll please!

Top Submitters in 2010:

12th: Pewari with 30 submissions
11th: drewbenn with 31 submissions
10th: robdavies with 34 submissions
joint 8th: timewind and elibrody with 36 submissions
7th: twasntme with 38 submissions
6th: akrabat with 40 submissions
5th: akaSylvia with 48 submissions
4th: sahfenn with 49 submissions
3rd: RAFairman with 50 submissions
2nd: JanetIsserlis with 51 submissions
and the top submitter of 2010 who didn’t miss a single week was:
1st: raumsinn with 52 submissions!

I hope someone brought leftover fireworks for the celebration!

Interestingly, the list of top submitters overall is not quite as similar to 2010 as you might expect.

Most Submissions Ever:

12th: JanetIsserlis
11th: sahfenn
10th: carocat
9th: ingridf
8th: pixelfreund
joint 6th: raumsinn and drewbenn
5th: Pewari
4th: akrabat
3rd: RAFairman (who could forget the first ever SatScene of baby Lily?)
2nd: elibrody
and somewhat of a relief, I have to admit:
1st: akaSylvia

And finally, the first submitters of 2011:

The first members of the shiny, new 2011 Saturday Scenes list are:

This year starts and ends on a Saturday so we’ll have 53 Saturdays in which to create our scenes! Be sure to take a photograph on Saturday and join in!

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