Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Moving On


It doesn't happen suddenly.

It's like the infinitesimal dy/dx changes in Calculus that imperceptibly move the direction of the curve. Your world of three dimensions is beautiful until that dread fourth dimension of time comes along and erodes the perfection on every level. What looked so desirable now appears faded and lacklustre. Your constant companion that you have cherished and lavished affection on for years has changed.

It's a funny thing about relationships. What used to be intuitive sympatico - just knowing what the other wanted or was thinking - has become so much more confused and complex. A synergistic relationship has turned into one which is unbalanced and unsatisfactory. The grass on the other side appears lush and promising.

So today I'm moving on.

Yes, this morning my new Google Nexus 5 arrives and my romance with iPhone is over. 

Like a lot of relationships we have partially split over money. Six Hundred and Twenty Quid for a new iPhone 6 with sufficient memory (32 Gb) is what would be described in olden days parlance as "taking the piss" (excuse my French). Plus the clarity and beauty of the iPhone concept has been gradually ground away by the proliferation of Apple's range from iPhone 4S, 5S, 6, 6Plus, iPod Touch, iPad Mini, iPad Air through to desktops and laptops. Apple have tried to make their software seamlessly integrate all these different screen sizes which has led to compromise and complexity where once was beautiful simplicity.

Why, for example, has Apple joined the clamour for larger screens and hand-held devices that are too large for the hand and pocket devices too large for the pocket?  They have gone, it seems, from focus to focus group. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 to save it from looming bankruptcy one of the first things he did was cancel about three quarters of the new product schedule and focus all resources on clear, simple but hugely demanding product goals. In 1997 he said: "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."

Anyway my Google Nexus cost less than half a new iPhone. I'll let you know whether I'm happy in my new relationship or sheepishly returning to my ex with a bunch of flowers from the garage and a list of excuses.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Parallel Universes


The other morning I was listening to my favourite Radio Station, Four Extra (no News or annoying presenters - apart from Arthur Smith), and enjoying a step back in time to simpler days in an episode of "Marriage Lines" starring the redoubtable Richard Briers and the lovely Prunella Scales. Those lovely clipped English accents and that innocent flavour of the 1950's. Black and White Radio at its best!

It was an episode which included a neighbour's party and I was suddenly taken by the record they used in the background. "She Loves You" by the Beatles. Yes, the 1950's had morphed into the swinging 60's before my very ears. Fortunately Wiki help was at hand and I could clarify the fact that Marriage Lines series 1 was broadcast in 1963, the same year that the Fab Four achieved their first three number ones.

False memory syndrome is obviously at work here. It is easy to build up a mental picture of a period in time as an amorphous lump, only to find that it is a complex web of competing threads of history which just don't seem to marry up.

Digging down through the strata of events one finds that 1963 was the same year that Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday premiered, Harold Macmillan and Alex Douglas Home were both Premiers and John Profumo was in the dog house. The Dartford Tunnel and UEA opened. Mersey Madness may have been sweeping through the charts but that didn't stop Frank Ifield from yodelling his way to number one twice.and spending months in the charts.

The same odd mish-mash-memories can be found at any age. We are programmed to believe 1976 was a Punk Revolution, yet checking the charts for that year reveals not a single Punk "hit" but just a Middle-of-the-Road continuum of Brotherhood of Man, Showaddywaddy, Abba and (yes) The Wurzels. Production of the Hillman Imp ceased and the Cortina Mk IV was launched. The Queen opened the NEC in Birmingham (I was there!).

Anyway that's enough conflicting nostalgia. I'm off to listen to the brilliant "North by Northampton"  on 4Extra.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mystery Object

As Mike keeps humiliating me with my lack of basic knowledge of antique items, I thought I'd attempt to get my own back with this MYSTERY ITEM which recently came our way.

It comprises two turned wooden parts of approximately 3½" in length and a 1¾" metal spring which fits in between them.

I believe it offered a useful service in bygone days and would like to know what it is and approximately when it was made.

I had intended to scatter logical clues but Mike's clues are normally so abstruse I thought I wouldn't bother....

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Baton Rog

Well, now I'm in retirement and spending my days fussing over refuse bins, watching Loose Women (neighbours, eh?) and chewing Werther's Originals with my three remaining teeth, I can settle back in the knowledge that the mighty baton of blogging has been safely passed on to two of my children.

Eldest daughter Lucy in Lucy's Stories is producing wry and touching tales of life and loves.

James is starting to write about his experiences as a stay-at-home Dad in the wittiliy titled Paternity in the UK

Anyway I must dash - it's Bin Day tomorrow and I need to get our Green in position before those so-and-so's an number 7 usurp our place or even try to switch bins.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Luckily we all saw the funny side...

It seems that Smartphones have been with us for decades now yet it was only June 2007 when the very first iPhone was launched, since when the Apple brand alone has sold upwards of 500 million units. You need to discount the first Star Trek Communicator which made its first appearance in 1964 of course:

Or the Motorola Dynatac from 1984:


The brilliant business Guru Alan Sugar (Now Lord Sugar) was the genius behind the ground breaking Amstrad Emailer which became such a success in the world of high speed communicators (once you had mastered the 478 page manual of course):


Anyhow, my point is merely how successful 21st Century communicators have become and we all seem to spend an inordinate proportion of our lives staring at their tiny faces and jabbing at them with our inelegant fingers. Perhaps its just me then....

My regular reader may remember the hilarious story of the time I packed a very large parcel for delivery to Scotland and whilst we were awaiting for the courier to collect it I noticed my iPhone had gone missing. Frantic searching and "where was it when you last saw it" inquisitions proved fruitless until in desperation I got Mrs Rine to ring my number. The large parcel waiting in the hall started giving out my distinctive ring tone.

Well here is a follow up tale. At the weekend I spent some time digging over the side garden which involved lots of bending down to pluck out weeds and roots. I was nearly finished when it occurred to me that the iPhone in my top shirt pocket was not there any more.

Looking at the large expanse of neatly tilled earth I once again went into lost-iPhone panic mode and started running the fork across the soil in search of my constant companion. Remembering my previous tale I called Mrs Rine out to ring my number and sure enough I could hear a muffled ring tone coming from the soil. We started digging but nothing appeared. I moved nearer the centre of the bed and we repeated the excercise - once again a muffled ring tone but nothing but earth and worms.

This frustration went on for 20 minutes, with the elusive ring tone appearing to come from all corners of the newly dug patch.

I went into the kitchen for a drink of water as I'd become so hot and bothered. As I filled a glass I heard my distinctive ring tone, but this time it was coming from the inner lining of my cardigan.