Month: December 2015

Technology moves on so fast.

I was watching ‘That’s so Last Century‘ last night with the bloke.

It was covering gadgets from the last few decades – gadgets that I grew up with.

I really enjoyed this program, but it made us both feel old. Which is interesting in itself, since I don’t think that the bloke and I, both being in our 30’s, are actually old.

It’s both wonderful and frightening how quickly technology is moving on. We reminisced about always keeping a biro handy to wind our cassettes back in. This also left me with the pet theory that the biro case is the shape it is for the sole purpose of winding cassettes back up.

Another thing that we considered is how small children won’t actually know what a floppy disc – and certainly won’t know why the generic save icon is a picture of a floppy disc. They just know it as the save icon.

Walkman, 5 1/2″ floppy discs, VCRs, BBC Micro. These are things that are now right at home in a computing museum. In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t that old.

I do miss some things about the older ways of doing things that were covered in the TV show – making mix tapes, the excitement of sitting at the single computer in the classroom (which was always on a trolley) to play a game called ‘Granny’s Garden’. The very first time I used the internet was in high school. That was only about 18 years ago.

 

I couldn’t imagine being without the internet now. It just makes everything so much easier. But back then, I would never have conceived that I would be sitting here, writing a ‘blog’, and sharing my thoughts worldwide.

It’s awesome. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring. Actually, with the pace of change, I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years will bring.

How to confuse children well into adulthood.

I wasn’t always the best behaved child. I’d occasionally get caught, and (rightly!) get in trouble for it. Sometimes though, we get in trouble, and the punishment is just … odd.

One instance that comes to mind is at junior school (I think I was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old). There were two play grounds, one for the smaller children, and one for the bigger. So, you’d have two adults on ‘playground duty’. I was on the larger playground, and the lady on duty had the surname ‘Sergeant’. I can’t remember the conversation that led up to this instance. Thinking back to my younger self, there probably wasn’t a conversation that led up to it. Regardless, I went up to her, smartly saluted, and shouted ‘Aye aye, Sergeant!’.

She did not take it well. Her face went bright red, and she gave me a rather sound telling off. In retrospect, it was probably a ‘joke’ that she’d heard all her life, so I can see why she’d be pretty fed up of it. The telling off was all fair enough – I’d been pretty disrespectful to her. I got that, so I owed her an apology.

However, her telling off finished with an instruction to apologise to the other teacher on duty – not to her. I clearly remember toddling off in a rather confused state to the other playground to apologise to the teacher there for what I’d done. He looked a bit confused as well, but accepted by apology.

The only reason I remember this incident so well is that I was so confused about the punishment. I still am. Surely I should have apologised to her?

I’m not even sure what the underlying message of this post should even be. Don’t give children confusing punishments that will still confuse them over a couple of decades later?

I still don’t get it, even today.

I still don’t quite get twitter.

I signed up to twitter as another stream to try and publicise this blog a bit more. I’m still not quite sure I get it to the point that I’ll ever post anything more meaningful on there.

However, in dipping my toes into the ‘twittersphere’, I have ended up following a few interesting accounts. Since I like my news, I follow a lot of the worldwide news sites. I follow accounts related to software development, tech, women in STEM, and such.

Then I started following UK MP accounts. Watching some of the rather public meltdowns on twitter has been both amusing and saddening. Amusing, because dirty laundry being aired cannot fail to be so. Saddening, because these people are amongst those who are apparently running the country.

That said, most do actually behave, so it’s not all bad.

It was through this that I discovered some of the parody accounts, which I just had to follow. They are hilarious. They’re all properly marked as being parodies, and they keep up to date with any breaking news to basically mock it.

I do like a good bit of mockery in the morning.

Here are my current favourites:

Jeremey Corbyn

Dave Cameron

Vladimir Putin

To the owners of the various parody accounts on twitter – thanks for giving me a laugh!

5 things I am smug about

Smugness overload. I am currently feeling smug about:

  • I have finished my Christmas shopping.
  • I have wrapped all the Christmas shopping.
  • I have plenty of homemade chutney to supplement all the gifts.
  • I even finished off the Christmas cards.
  • No more Christmas rush for me until next year! Hoorah!

The Great Pottery Throw Down

It’s not my usual television show choice. However, me and the Bloke have ended up following this.

It started when we stumbled across the show in the TV guide, when looking for something to brainlessly watch after dinner. I just wanted to see how my home town would be portrayed. The bloke, on the other hand, has a total man crush on Sara Cox.

We first watched it expecting to turn it off part way through out of boredom. This was not the case.

This show is hilarious – especially if you have a somewhat juvenile sense of humour, as the Bloke and I do. We giggled our way through the first full episode which was dripping unintentional innuendo. This is helped by the Blokes observation that anything Sara Cox says sounds dirty. The main stars of this are the contestants, though.

Some choice quotes from this so far:

‘The shrinkage of this clay is 17%. That’s almost as bad as VAT!’

‘It’s only a little crack!’

‘It is, and I’m filling that baby up!’

‘Who mastered pulling, and whose touch has let them down?’

The judges almost feel surplus to requirements. Keith Brymer Jones is a strange looking man. His gelled up comb over makes it look like he has horns from a distance, and he’s prone to bursting into tears. Which is uncomfortable, to say the least. I’m also convinced that the other judge, Kate Malone, is constantly stoned, she’s so airy and arty. Little innuendo comes from these guys, and really – the filth is the draw of this show. I think I’d quite happily watch this show with just the contestants and Sara Cox every week, just to see the banter.

Next week is the final, and I’m going to miss it. The bloke and I are hoping that Jim wins, as his Elvis hair totally steals the show. The man is a legend!

Brussels Sprouts

I came across an article in the local news this week – ‘Brussels sprout ‘smuggler’ mystifies staff at primary school‘.

In a nut shell, some enterprising child is smuggling their uneaten brussels sprouts into the bags of their classmates, in what is assumed to be a ploy to fool his/her parents that he/she has eaten the sprouts.

This is brilliant, on so many levels. I’ve never been a fan of sprouts myself. In fact, I remember the year when my Dad declared that we don’t like them anyway, so he was no longer going to add them to the Christmas dinner. It was awesome. As such, I’ve never been in a position of needing to hide my sprouts. But what this kid is doing is just genius.

I hope he becomes a secret agent when he grows up.

What makes me sad about this article is the reaction of the school. If the report is to be believed, break time has been cancelled for some until the culprit confesses. The school has apparently denied this, but then goes on to say that they are worried about food allergies. For sprouts. While experts say that as little as 1 in 50,000 may have a brussels sprout allergy.

Now, food allergies can be a real concern – especially for things like peanuts. Here’s the thing though – I’m pretty sure that most institutions these days (especially where children are involved) keep records of any severe allergies just in case. Unless they actually have a child there with an allergy to sprouts, then a letter home like this seems like a complete over-reaction. Then again, in a world where people will sue for compensation at the drop of a hat, I guess I can understand why the school has had to take this position.

It’s a bit sad. The sooner we get out of the whole compensation culture, the better, in my mind. I feel that it has gone a long way to stop people taking responsibility for themselves in many cases, resulting in an ‘elf and safety culture gone mad.

The place where everybody knows your name

First world problem ahoy.

I’ve been at my current place of employment for almost 6 months now. It employs somewhere in the region of 500 people, so although I remember the names of most of the people I work with on a daily basis, I don’t quite know everyones name yet.

Thing is, they seem to know mine. I’m not quite sure how, as I’m very sure I’ve never been introduced/introduced myself/had conversations with some of these people. Yet they greet me by name in the corridor when I say good morning!

This brings a dilemma. I’ve been here 6 months now, so I should know their names by now, right? I feel I’ve been here too long to get away with asking. Also, what if my memory has actually failed me, and I have been introduced to these people at some point in the past?

This problem is neatly illustrated by the below graph:

WhatsInANameIf I am remembering rightly, and I never have actually been introduced to these people – what on earth have I done to make my name stick in their heads?

So I now have no choice but to hide at my desk forever. Or work from home forever. I just know this is going to end in me wanting the ground to open up and swallow me at some point in the future. Gah!