Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

Today is the observed 448th birthday of the Bard.  To celebrate, I scanned portions of a May, 1964 National Geographic article penned by the then director of the Folger Library in Washington, D.C.  In classic National Geographic fashion, the magazine included an amazing map which could not be scanned as a whole.  I hope you enjoy some of the details.

I love this rendition of Puck.

There be monsters here.  This reminds me of the old flat Earth maps that assumed the presence of huge and menacing sea creatures lurking the depths near the edge of the world.

Only a nerd would be excited at finding a vintage magazine featuring Shakespeare's Britain.
Artist's rendition of the Globe.

Of course, there are always the haters that say Shakespeare didn't write the collected works of Shakespeare.  Some say he didn't even exist.  Some point to his signature as being a sign of illiteracy.  I guess that means the majority of doctors can't actually read.  I could say the same for most of my peers in the regulatory compliance world.  My signature is beyond illegible.

I have something special for the Shakespeare deniers: a reminder that on this blog he has some muscle behind him.

As an aside, I am becoming reacquainted with an old friend after the utter failure of a new one.  I've owned an Epson Perfection 3170 Photo scanner for a number of years.  It is a single purpose device with a more complicated interface than most of the family prefers.  It had been supplanted by an all-in-one scanner/printer combination, a HP Deskjet 4480.  The latter is now declared the worst recent piece of technology I have owned other than Windows Vista.  It won't recognize refill cartridges.  Expensive high capacity cartridges work for a dozen or so pages and then are reported as empty or start overprinting lines.  Worse yet, when there is a cartridge problem, the scanner also stops working.

In contrast, the old Epson still works perfectly and the company has supplied updated drivers for Windows 7.  Bear in mind that this scanner dates to Windows XP.  Kudos to Epson!  I wish I could say the same for Adobe's Lightroom (they never updated RAW profiles for 1.0 and force users to buy new software) and the ColorVision Syder2express (no software updates since Vista).   Please bear with me while I get used to the controls and optimize scan file sizes.

For the HP Deskjet 4480, I present an Epic Fail award photo.  I will never buy another new HP printer, even if it is tossed in free with a computer package.

Vultures await the carcass of the HP 4480.  Long may it rot.


  1. Good work on Shakespeare.

    I too find Epson printers and scanners superior to HP. After only using HP products for years I switched to Epson and there is no comparison. Epson outperforms HP my miles.
    Besides, neither brand is made in the U.S.

    1. I hope HP finds its way again. In the meantime, I will pull out my ancient Epson C86 and see if it still works. The cartridges don't have chips that talk to the printer and it is supposed to be Windows 7 compatible.

  2. The Wikipedia notes the following: "It is not known exactly when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592. He was well enough known in London by then to be attacked in print by the playwright Robert Greene in his Groats-Worth of Wit:

    " ...there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country."

    Scholars differ on the exact meaning of these words, but most agree that Greene is accusing Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match university-educated writers such as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe and Greene himself (the "university wits").

    Me now: As a sometime academic I can confirm that this down-the-nose posturing by Greene is quite familiar stuff. Wouldn't be at all surprised if Old William was simply a creative genius who had the misfortune to be born non-noble. I recommend Bill Bryson's "The World as Stage" for a good history of the man (and heartily dis-recommend Ackroyd's bio, which seems to create data whole cloth).

    1. I skimmed the Wikipedia entry on Shakespeare controversies. Thanks for distilling it down to core issues. I personally would not underestimate what a dedicated creative genius could do in a lifetime.

      As for academic dissing, it is par for the course in the corporate world as well.

      MEK also enjoyed the Bryson book which I will now have to add to my reading list. She recommends a book she picked up at the Folger Library, "Contested Will" by James Shapiro.

  3. I bought an HP All-in_One about 10 years ago.
    It made a marvelous boat anchor.
    Then I got rid of the boat.
    Years later, I bought an HP b&w laser printer.
    It works great.
    (Knock on wood.)


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