Life, The Universe and Small Things all covered in one friendly blog.
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28 September, 2009

Techno Kids.

Talking to a neighbour at the weekend he told me that as a reward to his son, for something, he is buying him a playstation 3. They have a playstation 2 but a playstation 3 will do whatever a playstation 2 does but better, or was that faster or in more colours or something.

What is it about technology that gets people so hooked that as soon as a new Xplaymultibox3LCD comes out they have to buy it even though they have just bought the Xplaymulti2LCD.

When computers first became the thing to have at home, as a toy, there was the ZX80 then things like the BBC computer, Commodore64 and so on. We were quite happy spending an evening typing in lines of Basic code from a computer magazine then delighting in trying to run it, changing the mistakes, re-checking it and eventually playing a game as simple as say battleships against the computer. It was excellent fun to us then so why would a child today if told to type the code first be so put off with the idea. Why was something so much fun not even be considered today.

People have not changed but technology has. I feel a little, I don't quite know what it is , annoyed or confused or something along that ilk that today any child can turn on his computer and instantly have access to the entire world but he knows nothing about computers.
I spent hours with a modified ZX80 hooked into my 2metres amateur radio kit desperately trying to get radio teletype to word and establish a contact with someone in the USA. I spent just as long writing Basic programs to make the computer do really quite pointless things but learning the fundamentals of how a computer works, how programing had to be structured etc and how a computer calculated decisions.

Do children today even know what Basic as a programming language is, have they the slightest idea how their Xbox works. Does it even matter, are we better people for having to learn computers from the start.
It goes deeper than computers it is now part of life that children and young people have to have the latest flashiest fastest gizmo as soon as it comes out even if they have a gizmo that does exactly the same thing already.

It may be progress but what progress is it, is happiness really just about the latest games machine or would my neighbour be better off rewarding his son with something less transient and less material.

I don't know the answers but there must also be a problem on the horizon in the future. Many of us played about writing computer code yet today children only play about with computers with no knowledge of its code.

Who will be the creative forces of the future when everything is switch on and play today, how long will it be before children will be taken from the maternity ward and plugged straight into a computer, how long until The Matrix comes true?

23 September, 2009

Broadband Tax

You could not make this up, the latest daft idea by the twits running the country is to tax everyone who has a landline broadband. As soon as they can pass the legislation we are all going to have to pay £6 a year broadband tax so that broadband can be made available to everyone. Well it is starting at £6 but like road tax I am sure that within a year or two it will be linked to your broadband speed or the size of your hard-drive and be around £100 a year at least.
Also like road tax you can guess that it won't be used for its intended purpose and will go to ensure the bonuses of some banker or BT executive.

Which brings me to another point on this broadband tax, did I miss something have BT, Virgin and the rest all been nationalised? If not then why the dickens is the tax payer going to give money to private companies yet again.

While they are at it why doesn't the government re-introduce window tax, maybe even extend it to include the windows in you car , that should raise a few bob.

OK rant nearly over, I would write more but it will probably take 5mins to upload this, it is 8pm and at this time of night my 8Mb broadband, that costs me £17.50, runs slower than an old modem (no really it does). Still when its £18 a month I am sure it will be much faster.

Right where did I put those details on wireless broadband.

18 September, 2009

Eats, Shoots and what the hell!

There is a book that sold millions of copies by a woman named Lynne Truss which professes to tell us all how to use punctuation. At the time it came out I thought what a good idea and nearly bought a copy but today I am rather pleased that I didn't waste my money.
I have never been very good with the rules of english writing and if you tell me that I have split an infinative I will find you a plaster and I don't have a clue what a prepositoion is, but I could probably google it if I cared.

My views on all this proper and correct writing stuff changed today when I listened to a pod cast by my hero of English language Stephen Fry on, funnily enough, language.
Stephen, to my mind, was the last person to be saying that punctuation and grammar doesn't matter. I doubt there are many English speaking people as eloquent as him but I always thought that he would be one of the first to complain if I ended a sentence with a, whatever it is that you must not end one with.

When you think about it, what does it matter if you have a comma in the right place or an apostrophe misplaced as long as you write something that is worth while and can be understood by the reader.

My reason for telling you this is that I won't be spending so long worrying about my punctuation and correct use of words in my blog in future.
It will have another advantage, for me anyway, I will be able to write blogs at the same time as drinking wine. Which as it happens has just been passed to me so I will close on this entry.

If you decide you have a free half hour you might wish to listen to the pod cast which is in typical Fry style an enthralling listen and covers a lot more on language that I have touched upon here. I would be pleased to read your views by way of comments to this blog. Or should that be will be pleased, whatever.

02 September, 2009

Thanks for the plastic bags - Please stop!

For some reason sending out plastic bags has become the latest craze where I live, save the children, heart foundation, save the something else , protect the lesser spotted nutter, stop cancer you name it they are all sending me plastic bags.
What do they want from me in these bags, my clothes.

Some people might have unwanted clothes, but not me, other than underpants I haven't bought many clothes since my last trip to New York 8 years ago. I am not an avid follower of fashion and don't believe in throwing clothes away just because someone tells me they are "so last years colour". Having received 8 bags in a month I don't think I would have anything left by now anyway.

It would not be so bad if these bags were actually for a charity, but as a lot of them are run by con artists and nothing to do with any genuine good cause I wonder why they are not subject to the "10p a bag mate" syndrome that some of the supermarkets bug me with.

If I was a little more organised I could take the bags with me for my shopping but as I have said before a plastic bag won't save the planet.
So charity bags go straight to landfill along with my unwanted underpants, well they can have them if they really want.