The Majesty of Analogue

Dunedin has very pronounced seasons... however this year has been an exception... summer has just gone on and on and on and we were beginning to wonder if it was ever going to rain. Our big underground water tank was almost empty and we had been counting the days before we had to order a tanker load of water. I had just planted 300 small flax and toi toi bushes to cover a newly formed bank... and we had been watering each one daily to ensure they didn't die.

The cool autumn season has finally arrived with a bang. We need to put hats and coats on now to take our dog Harry for his daily walk... the children complain a bit at first, but once we get walking, everything seems to come right and by the time we're back at the house, our jackets are often tied around our waists and cheeks are glowing.

On Saturday morning I enjoyed a little extra sleep and a relaxed start to the day. The children have started the fire and there is a big log in the wood burner giving off a steady heat. It is a cheery sight and there is nothing quite like your first cup of tea sitting in front of the fire.

Stepping out the back door onto the lawn, the light is still low and the colours are not too pronounced yet. Thrushes and blackbirds are standing still on the lawn... listening for the sound of a worm. Bellbirds are perched in a nearby tree pecking at the last of the pears. What a wonderful analogue world we live in. What incredible analogue sensors we have.

Think about the Thrush as he stands motionless on the lawn in the early morning calm. His head tilted directly at the ground as he listens intently for the sound of a worm in his burrow. Does the Thrush hear the worm, see the worm or feel the worm or does the Thrush employ all of these analogue inputs in combination to catch his prey. Think of the complexity employed to be able to pick up the minutest signals, to amplify them, and to decode the prey signal off from the background.

As I walk in the garden, a Bellbird leaves his perch high in the tree and speeds past close by. He is an agile sleek aerial performer, with small strong wings that beat at a blistering pace. The sound of his wings are like those of a humming bird. My ears hear the fluttering of the stirred up vortices and reinforce the light images steaming into my eyes.

Society is rapidly adopting a digital standard... however we are right to expect ever higher standards of digital performance, as only when we are using the richest streams of digital information and highest grade digital to analogue conversion (DAC) can we begin to get close to being able to mimic the enormous complexity, detail and dynamics of our analogue world.

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