Why I stick with Apple

16 04 2008

I’ve always known Microsoft didn’t really have their finger on the cultural pulse but this video surprised even me (well at least the 15 seconds I managed to watch before cringing into a huddled ball in the corner of the room anyway).

It’s all particularly painful as I rediscovered Bruce’s live version of Tom Wait’s “Jersey Girl” this morning. That song never gets tired.


What’s wrong with this blog

16 07 2007

One of the side effects of all this humid weather is that I seem on occasion to be completely unable to sleep. The plus side is that having this time awake but staring at the ceiling means that in the gaps between stressing that I really should be getting to sleep because I need to get up early for work and not piss away half my day barely awake, my mind seems to have occasional creative bursts. And so I find myself blogging on here…

Something of an achievement that it seems. I started this blog about seven or eight months ago with really good intentions. Back in my university days and for brief times afterwards I kept a diary and, while most of what went into it was navel-gazing nonsense, if nothing else I was prolific. I think it was with that spirit of expression that I had the idea to start writing this, plus the romantic notion that regularly updating it with what I am up to would cover for my shocking inability to keep in touch with friends and family in the last few years.

And then of course, there’s the fact that what goes on here is, by design, for the world to see. In the last few years, since I’ve been with Helen probably, I’ve become conscious more and more about how much we all (and me probably more than many) keep private; not deep dark secrets, past emotional gremlins and bank details kind of stuff, but more mundane day to day things. One of the interesting lessons I think I’ve picked up from being in a long-term relationship is how much I had grown over the years to keep things to myself under the false flag of self-reliance. Getting to a point where it’s natural and instinctive to be open about things was quite an effort. Helen of course might well argue that I have some way to go.

Anyway, it sort of led me to the thought of what would our lives be like if we did the opposite. What would our lives be like if we made a conscious effort to articulate who we are, what we are thinking and let our whole lives, our plans, our friendships, our hopes and fears, all of it, out into the world? What would happen? It’s a romantic notion I think and fraught with some serious obstacles; there are things that we legitimately keep secret for good reason. But still, that idea has fascinated me and was certainly in the back of my mind when I started this.

In the last few days I’ve been reading Authentic: How to Make a Living by being Yourself by Neil Crofts, a book that I semi-discovered a couple of years ago and have returned to, which has some interesting things to say about some of these thoughts and how the pressures of conformity that are instilled into us from an early age make us naturally disguise who we are, what we want and what we believe and offers a process for moving away from that and learning to express ourselves. At the same time, I’ve recently attended a conference in London for work where I had a number of discussions that talked about the whole social networking phenomenon and led me to ponder the psychology behind and the effects of things like Facebook. Since I started using Facebook I have grown accustomed to daily, even hourly updates about friends that I haven’t seen for several years, I’ve got used to the idea that when people move away and leave your day to day life, that while they log in every day they never really leave, and I’ve slowly got into the idea of putting more and more of myself online for the world to see. I am fascinated by the question of what social interaction will be like for a generation younger than ourselves, young people who are just starting to enter the world just as Facebook and MySpace become ubiquitous, even if I don’t feel qualified to give an answer.

Anyway, to return to the question that the title of this blog posed, basically, for all my lofty ideals, I simply don’t have the stones for it. I could post more about what’s going on in my life but even as I type the feeling of self-consciousness is bearing down. If this blog were anonymous it would probably make for a much more interesting read, but instead it’s amusing snippets from the web mixed with political rants and rarely, insomnia-fuelled whimsies such as this one. And let’s face it, even this post is asking many more questions than it’s attempting to answer. Sorry about that.

Thanks for reading though.

And in today’s lesson…

16 07 2007

If you’re using iChat at work, be careful when you’re playing 2Pac.

Careful with the iChat

New iPhone range released

20 06 2007

Tee hee…


Cheers Ward, by the way.

WiFi: The new moral panic

21 05 2007

It’s a quiet monday night and as good a time for a rant as any. I’m watching TV at the moment and there’s some half-baked documentary about how wireless internet is bad for our kids and how we’re all going to get cancer.

Dancing back and forth between various scientific studies is a tedious game with this sort of thing. Spurious correlative studies are not good science, but they do make for good headlines in the less reputable press.

This moral panic is just starting to come to the mainstream, so I’ll just say the following things.

1. The power of wi-fi signals is ludicrously low. We build houses under pylons, we broadcast radio and television from massive towers over our cities, we bombard the skies with radar telescopes so powerful that standing close to them would almost certainly kill you. And yet here we are, mysteriously all still alive. At the same time, most wi-fi routers give out a signal about the electrical strength of a light bulb.

2. Did we all go blind from sitting too close to the TV? Did we all go deaf and walk in front of cars when we started wearing Walkmans? Did we get tumours from our mobile phones? Psychotic from our video games? Every new technology gets its moral panic, and it seems we never learn the tediousness of it all. There’s a wider question about the perception of science in the public eye here but the point is that we as a public don’t seem to be able to even use the benefit of our own memory.

3. Even if there was a potential health risk from wi-fi, even if there is a level of health risk, it’s insignificant next to the massive benefit to our society that these technologies will bring us. The power of what the internet can do for our world, the full scale of what a revolution it represents for knowledge, for democracy, for society is something that we probably don’t even recognise ourselves and will probably manifest itself with the benefit of our grandchildren’s historical perspective. Put that against these health risk claims and it puts them in their tiny questionable place.

As the newspapers get their hold on this, expect the usual cries about how we have to ‘protect the children’. Wi-fi gives them freedom to learn and explore, to be part of a generation with more access to learning to ourselves, to do more and be more. Taking it away harms our children way more than a little low background radiation ever could.

* Turns out it was Panorama actually. How low has that fallen?

Die Freehand Die!

17 05 2007

Hot on the heels of Scumbag Falwell’s demise, here’s another passing that I am pretty sure I won’t be wearing a black armband for.

Even ten years since I started using it, my frustrated hours trying to use this horrid little drawing program still haunt me.

I won’t be missing it.

43 things

22 04 2007

Just a quick note to shout about a new site I have come across called “43 things”. From what I can tell the basic idea is that you start shouting about all the things, big and small, that you actually want to do with your life and it will both keep reminding you of them by email and help you along the way with them.

Anyway, I signed up to it and started thinking of things I want to do, a quite cathartic exercise in itself.

So far, and far from finished by the way, here is my (edited) list.

  1. Learn XHTML.
  2. Learn to fly a plane.
  3. Be more confident.
  4. Get an HDTV.
  5. Get in better shape.
  6. Drink more water.
  7. Get out of debt.
  8. Relax and not be so uptight.
  9. Put a design portfolio together.
  10. Shave my head.
  11. Learn to play backgammon.
  12. Earn more money.
  13. Learn photography. Properly.
  14. Blog more.
  15. Go to Glastonbury.
  16. Figure out what to do with my life.
  17. Be cool.
  18. Write for a magazine.
  19. Buy an Apple TV.

This is of course, just what I’ve come up with after about 20 minutes of play. With more time I am sure the list will be even more hilarious.

Anyway, I recommend the site. And I recommend inviting ridicule upon yourself by publishing your list on your blog. It was pretty therapeutic for me.