Around the world

In the previous post I made reference to theĀ NEW Unofficial Blu-ray Audio and Video Specifications Thread thread on the AV Science Forum. For a long time this showed only titles which were from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and Germany. Since then people from Russia, Japan, various other European countries and, lately, India have also been contributing. This morning I noticed a post for a Turkish title.

It reminded me of perhaps the first tech-head assist I everĀ did. Most of you reading this would be thought by acquaintances and relatives as someone to ask if they were having trouble with their TV or whatever. Which is what I was, even though my work at the time was in a very different area.

At the time I was an Australian Federal Police personal protection officer (aka bodyguard) for the Councillor to the Turkish Embassy here in Canberra. This would have been 1982. A year or so before this the head of the Turkish Consulate in Sydney had been assassinated, thus the need for personal protection. Indeed there were two terrorist outfits killing Turkish diplomats all around the world at the time, typically getting one or two a year. The one that did the Sydney job was called The Justice Commando for the Armenian Genocide, and the other mob was somewhat redundantly called the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia.

I rather hoped that if we did encounter one or the other, it would be the former. Their modus operandi was to ride up on a motor bike when the target’s car was stopped at lights and shoot him through the window. I figured my partner and I would have a very good chance of stopping that. I usually drove the car in which we followed our charge, while my partner carried the 12 gauge shotgun on his lap. Between the car as a weapon and the shotgun, I figured we’d hurt the attackers before they got our guy. (My partner carried a .38 Smith and Wesson as his side arm. I preferred a 9mm Browning Hi Power with 13 rounds in the magazine, alternately loaded with hollowpoint and high velocity ball, and a five round .38 S&W in an ankle holster.)

ASALA worried me more, because its MO was to use bombs to blow up its targets.

Anyway, our fellow asked me one day if I could set up his new VCR. Which was fun but scary. I was a near complete novice. I think I may have owned my own Sharp VHS one by then, but that was it. So, my contributions towards fraternal relations between Turkey and Australia weren’t limited to merely being ready to shoot bad guys.

The VCR was a Sony Beta. Even by then it seemed that VHS was going to win that particular war, but the Councillor assured me that back in Turkey Sony was regarded as the consumer electronics equivalent of Mercedes, so there really was no choice. (It didn’t occur to me at the time to even ask, but checking now it seems that he lucked in with his purchase: Turkey has power and TV standards with which Australian-sold products should be compatible.)

The tuning involved removing a plastic panel and then whirling the fiddly adjusting screws, one by one for each of the selectable channels, to tune it into the local stations. In those days we only had two in Canberra, so fortunately it didn’t take too long.

Thanks goodness that nowadays we have on screen displays and automatic setup wizards.

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