Farnsworth Fusor

Fred's Fusor

About Fred

Fred Fox

Who the heck is Fred?

Well, in the first place the creator and author of this website.

Fred is not a fan of Facebook or social media in general and therefore this page will not give you an exhaustive description of the person and his personal circumstances, neither will it be loaded with private photographs.

Fred is retired but still has a professional job (but also lots of spare time), he changes half-yearly between two residences, located respectively in the Netherlands and in France, he is not very good in electronics but he has some technical skills.

Originally trained as an analytical chemist, Fred specialised in radiochemistry research and changed after over ten years in a university institution to a management job in the radiopharmaceutical industry, which he kept for over twenty years. After his retirement he is still active in his private company as a consultant providing advisory services to industry, ranging from radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, over nuclear medicine departments in academic hospitals to radionuclide producing nuclear reactors.

Working on the linear accelerator in the 1980's

Needless to say that Fred is in favour of more implementation of nuclear energy in society. His opinion is based on rational and scientific grounds, contrary to most opponents of nuclear energy who base their rejecting ideas mostly on emotions or on faulty information. However, here we shall have no further discussion on this subject because this website is not dedicated to political discussions about nuclear energy. On the world wide web you can find another website written and maintained by Fred dealing exclusively with factual particulars about nuclear energy. A totally different subject which can also be found on a website by Fred is about his 3D-printer project from 2013-2014. Google for: Fred's RepRap Blog.

Fred is more or less fluent in four languages and he can deal with some more; he is co-author of a few scientific publications and co-inventor of a couple of inventions, covered by international patents.

Apart from the Fusor project and a RepRap 3D printer project Fred has photography as a hobby and he prefers analogue photography over digital. It is not a total rejection of digital techniques that causes his preference, but he has the opinion that nothing can be appreciated more than a classical black and white print on barita paper.
Fred is using the following camera's:

Contax RTS III
Olympus E-1 and Olympus E-P1
Rolleiflex 3.5F
Kodak DCS Pro 14n
Rolleiflex 6006
Sigma DP1
Contax 645
Phase One digital back for Contax 645
Plaubel Makina 67
Pentax Optio
Horseman 970

Deardorff V8

Fred's dark room is equipped with a Durst Modular 70 enlarger, an Omega D2 with Ilford Multigrade head and a Leitz Focomat V35. For digital work he uses an Epson 2100 printer and an Epson F-3200 scanner.

Computers are well-known to Fred (his experience dates back to the early 1970's starting with a PDP-8) but they are absolutely not his hobby! His knowledge is based on the principle: "know your enemy!" The fact that Fred hates computers is a reason to dive into the subject somewhat more extensively:

Fred's preference is clearly for Apple computers, with which he is familiar starting from the Apple II. Currently he uses a
1999 PowerMac 3,1 G4, a 2002 white iBook G3 (A1005, only for connecting to his Phase One digital back), a 2005 PowerMac 7,2 G5, a 2010 4,1 MacMini, a late 2010 3,2 13" MacBook Air and an early 2013 10,1 15" MacBook Pro Retina (16 GB RAM and 500 GB SSD). He also makes use of a 2013 iPhone 4, a 2016 iPhone 5S, a 2009 160 GB iPod classic 6th generation and 2nd revision, a 2010 Airport Express base station, a 2013 2 TB Airport Time Capsule, a 2015 Apple TV 3, two 2005 M8817FD/B iSight videocameras and a 1996 Apple Newton Messagepad 130.

"Once you buy your first Apple product you're hooked on!" Correct, but unfortunately, in Fred's opinion, Apple Inc. exercises a conspiracy against their customers by offering free Operating System (OS) updates for their products, which slowly makes your beloved computer more or less useless due to increased complexity of the OS. This increased complexity turns your somewhat aged computer to running slower, it increases the download times on the internet and it is meant to irritate you in such a way that you feel obliged to buy a new computer (anyway, that is what Apple probably hopes). From a commercial point of view this concept is not very uncommon (this practice may be called "programmed aging") but the malicious character of this policy is in particular demonstrated by the fact that the user has never been and will never be offered a possibility to downgrade to a lower OS version for your system after such an unsuitable OS upgrade.
The intelligent observer can learn from the listing above of Fred's computers by looking at the
issueing dates that the renewal cyclus of his Apple computers is about five years and that might be in practice the timespan that Apple probably has in mind for its progammed aging.
And indeed, after the current update of his MacBook Air (yes, also five years old now) to the El Capitan OS, the MacBook is suddenly considerably slower than with the previous Yosemite OS and it does take ages to download webpages!
Another personal complaint about Apple's "war" against the customers is the fact that hardware increasingly becomes less service friendly. Another fine example of programmed aging!!! One should here think about the impossibility to hardware upgrade models because of soldered in components, the impossibilty to open casings for repairs, the impossibility to replace batteries in iPhones, etc. Not to forget the lack of quality of some installed components, e.g. the screen of the iPod Classic, which has been changed twice in Fred's iPod, the optical drives that break down prematurely, etc. All this in combination with Apple's lousy one year limited guarantee (US: warranty) policy where you have to pay to get additional coverage exceeding that first year, whereas consumers in the EU by law have a right on two years hassle-free guarantee.
Summarizing we might conclude that Apple, Inc. is more dedicated to "shareholder-value" than to "customer-satisfaction". In Fred's opinion a life-threatening disease that many companies with an anglosaxon business model suffer from.

The image below shows the 1999 PowerMac G4 in Fred's computer collection, which is running on OS 9. It has a 400 MHz processor and amazingly it runs faster than a Windows machine with a 2 GHz (i.e. five times faster) processor and it even runs far more faster than the 1.86 Ghz MacBook Air after its most recent OS upgrade! In order to prevent misunderstandings: running faster means here the start up time from zero to fully alive and loading and executing programs aboard of the system.

G4  G4 monitor  HK soundsticks

For almost 15 years this particular Power Macintosh G4 has been used in hospital nuclear medicine as the powerful and fast acquisition computer of a Siemens Gamma Camera system, running Siemens ICON software. It is in a mint condition and absolutely complete with the appropriate vintage (i.e. acrylic glass) cinema screen, keyboard, mouse and a Harman Kardon Soundsticks speaker system (see images). Currently, it runs abandonware software from the 90's, in particular a relational database, it contains a music collection but also it is the parent machine for the Newton MessagePad.

For job related (professional) use Fred is more or less obliged to use Windows operated computers and he has several machines on operating systems like Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10. Again, some machines have to operate on outdated operating systems because this is required by some programs and/or attached equipment.

In the image on this page (top) you see a portrait of Fred taken on the Russian Sheremetyevo International Airport, returning from a business visit to a nuclear reactor site in the Ural. And yes, the trapper's hat is real fur (silver fox), simply because it needs to be. In temperatures below minus 35 °C synthetic fur becomes hard and brittle and the hairs will break and therefore loose its protective properties against cold. For those who might worry: the material used for the hat is guaranteed to be real BioFurŪ.

Questions? Remarks? Use the feedback link!

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Last Updated on: Sat Jan 2 00:18:17 2016

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