That most insightful of bloggers, Gerard Oosterman, has penned a compelling piece. You get insight yes, but incite too. He wants a revolution. Turn the clock back to the days when people communicated directly with one another. Do away with phones that have no copper wire attached. Reject the new E-goggles. Or should that be E-Googles. I confess I am not entirely sure what the spectacle is all about. It must have passed me by. My vario-focals are challenging enough without being wifi’d.
I have a degree of sympathy with Gerard. The modern world is definitely not for the faint-hearted and technophobic. I have recently bemoaned the car I bought last year. Everything is electronic. Whatever happened to tappets and feeler gauges? Bring bank the crank handle for this old crank.
Am I the only person who never, ever backs up their phone? I only ever did so once – for Mrs. Ha. She lost everything. I have never heard the last of it and I have never been near a back-up button again.
Why is it that one of my laptops allows me to print PDFs quite happily and the other does not? Why is it so damned difficult to update the firmware on my camera? On my new one I have not even managed to discover what version I have installed.
But pause a moment. Would you, as Arty Old Bird Val might ask, wish to return the days of the variety show on the television? Would you prefer a Cathode Ray Tube to a flat screen? Supposing Slade made a come back? Or The Bay City Rollers? Do you really want carbon paper back in your typewriter? Copper wire was always good for one thing. Being nicked. Same as the lead on the church roof. Perhaps we can turn the dial back just a little bit or, to mix horribly my metaphors, stop the pendulum swinging the wrong way too far too fast.
Could we eliminate just the iPad? Let me keep my Kindle at least. Maybe Facebook could be disposed of quietly. But then where is my daily dose of Painted Trillium? Could we revert to the Walkman rather than the iPod. The shortcut might be to send Apple to join its maker, Saint Steve. But what of Google? As a kid we had googlies. If you are not up on your googlies, shame on you. Here, lifted from Wikipedia, is the essence:
While a normal leg break spins from the leg to the off side, away from a right-handed batsman, a googly spins the other way, from off to leg, into a right-handed batsman (and is distinct from anoff break delivery). The bowler achieves this change of spin by bending the wrist sharply from the normal leg break delivery position. When the ball rolls out of the hand (from the side near thelittle finger, as in a normal leg break), it emerges with clockwise spin (from the bowler’s point of view). A googly may also be achieved by bowling the ball as a conventional leg break, but spinning the ball further with the fingers just before it is released.
Do you want to go back to the age when a search engine was the train into town to check if the local library had a reference book on the topic puzzling you? (The answer was always either a) no or b) The book is out. Come back in 4 weeks.) Finishing The Times crossword could take months!! We might be back with Subbuteo instead of Sudoku.
I think the compromise may be that we simply do away with the mobile phone. I vividly recall the first mobile phone in our office. Mobile was something of a misnomer. It was the size and weight of a brick. It came in a leather case. It was then that the infamous phrase was invented “I’m on the train”. Well skewer me sideways, what a useful piece of kit. Now Mrs. Randall could collect Mr. Randall from Platform 4 bang on time even if there were a delay at Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh for points failure. Once the thing shrank to the size of a fag packet and let us all play Tetris during conference calls the world was doomed. Now I can even ask my phone to direct me to the nearest Big Mac. It will speak to me and occasionally it may even get the answer right. Now I have never asked Siri how to get to the Golden Arches because if I want to eat cardboard I’ll chew a chunk off my IKEA study table. But I did ask once whether there was a YSL locally for Mrs. Ha. Fortunately Siri hadn’t a clue.
The only downside would be that I couldn’t see how much my pension fund had lost on a daily basis. Perhaps however that might cheer me up. I am, by the way, the ultimate contrarian indicator. If I buy, SELL!!! If I sell, BUY. I am invariably right but 3 weeks too early. Or late.
Gerard is, as I write, fomenting revolution down under. Of course it may take some time. He has despatched a pigeon to me with the details of where to meet so as not to be late for the start. I am getting rid of my culottes now. If the pigeon survives H5N1 bird flu and does not choke to death as it enters Hong Kong’s air space then I shall be ready. Failing which, I shall wait for the text message. Let’s hope it doesn’t say, “I’m on the train”.