Have to start off with – I AM LOVING THE NEW NOKIA !!!!
Let me remind you – all the specs of a Samsung or iPhone, dual sim, expandable memory, two cameras blah blah blah – machined from a single billet of aluminium so going to be tough as hell but here is the clincher……….since last saturday, that is now 6 nights ago, I have only charged it twice. I shit you not, two charges in a week. A smart phone that only needs charging twice in a week – that has to be something special. OK, so I am not a person that uses my phone heavily but I have used it for GPS tracking, text, calls and even for a while in the week, I used it as a wireless router so that I could play Xbox live!!
Still not convinced? well, it has that famous Nokia ring tone but the real show stopper – ⅓ the price of an iPhone or Samsung equivalent. So when that Gorilla glass on your Samsung breaks when a fly lands on it, or your kids drop your iPhone and the glass breaks and you are faced with a £200 repair bill (and a weeks wait while it is repaired if you choose Samsung), think about the Nokia. Break the screen on this little beauty and its cheap enough to go and buy a new one. Forget £80 a year to insure your phone against damage that is should realistically be able to withstand – GO NOKIA !!
I chose the uber sexy black and copper for my 6.1 plus and it looks slick, feels robust and runs sweetly on Android One.
A big thumbs up to the Fins !
There – done.
Now lets talk V8, more specifically V8 supercharged, and most precisely V8 Supercharged – shaped like a brick.
I left Bedworth last Friday afternoon heading for Falmouth at around 16:00. I tapped the post code into my SatNav and the route came up, something like 280 miles. Very shortly after that, the message appeared, ‘not enough fuel for journey’. Funny huh – my tank was full but the beast wanted to use it all. I did manage to coax it along though and arrived in Falmouth with 20 miles of spare fuel.
Next Morning I headed to Redruth. I thought ah, Tesco will have the cheapest fuel around here. I was wrong. They were 5p a litre more expensive than a local stop in Falmouth that I drove past to get there. I splashed £12 in quickly as I was off the bottom of the gauge, and that splash never even registered, still showing nada after a £12 tipple. I drove back to Falmouth and filled the little beauty up.
So now I sit in Falmouth Harbour all alone on a boat. The crew are all taking time off and I am enjoying relaxing and playing Xbox on my lonesome (yep , I brought my Xbox and TV with me). Its blowing a hoolie but I am relaxed – I mean, what could I do if it went tits up? I am all alone and being blown onto the dock. Safe as houses !!
Still looking for my new job – harder than I was expecting it to be with my newly upgraded licence.
Well not quite, although if North Korea have anything to say about that, I might be vaporised some time soon.
Firstly an apology. In the 12 year history of this blog, I don’t think I have ever suffered a silence this long – almost two months !! So, as you might expect, I have plenty to rant about and as my connection is shit and I need to be quick, I need to type fast so don’t expect it in any kind of relevant order what so ever.
Skype – lets talk about them for a minute. Couple of months ago, my Samsung auto updated overnight and gave me the all new Version 8 of Skype – what an abortion it turned out to be. I also took the update on my iPhone to equal disappointment. The android however, would let me roll back to V7 where it still comfortably sits until this day – making the android my extra special phone of choice again.
I would dearly like to hit the ‘New Skype’ team with a fully charged bolt of lightning – right up their ring holes. They have turned what was a very unique and life saving application into some pre pubescent teenager dribble, forgetting that the majority of their user base is probably over the age of 30. I keep checking in on the iTunes Store and also Google Play to see the hammering they are taking in the ratings but still they blindly plug on, forcing the shit that no-one wants on all of us. What was once a 4*+ experience on the iTunes store has now dropped to just above 1*.
Of course, I have tried half a dozen other applications for communicating with friends and lovers but none of them do what Skype V7 does. That got me thinking. See those developers at New Skype must have thought ‘we need to do what everyone else is doing’ and that makes no sense. If you have a product that is the same as 10 others , your market share is limited, people will choose which they use based on silly things, colour schemes, friends that use them etc. If you have a product that is different and no-one else does anything to rival it – you have something that, I remember from my corporate days, is referred to as a USP or a unique selling point. That alone will draw people in, away from those other 10 products in the market that don’t have your function. Sadly though, New Skype is giving its clients something they don’t want or didn’t ask for – a bit like ‘New Coke’ if you are old enough to remember that. Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.
Either way, its a loss for the consumer – even more so when I asked Skype to refund me the credit that is on my Skype account and they said no. For anyone like me who works away and likes to communicate long distance in relative simplicity – Skype was a godsend, now it is just a pile of shit. All of this at a time where I was seriously considering a move away from apple completely and back to Microsoft – but now that’s on hold. I hope I can eek out more life from my 7 year old mac.
The world is a changing place too, as I edge towards 50 I am feeling different. I put some proper grunge on this morning, Soundgarden, no, I am not a fashionista that recently got into Soundgarden when their lead singer recently died – (quick divert here), why is it, that when someone dies, iTunes suddenly doubles the price of their music? I can see it now, news breaks across the world and the iTunes admin staff go into overdrive to instantly hike up their prices, Chris Cornell was no exception, as were the Beastie Boys when Adam Yauch left us behind, even the mighty Bee Gees get the same treatment – it really pisses me off, these big fat corporations getting even bigger and fatter from other people’s misery.
I just mentioned to my second engineer, how about some real grunge? I put on Screaming Life and jokingly said ‘this is probably older than you’ – turns out , it was. After the whole album was gone, I turned to a little bit of Green Day just to spice things up a bit. then it hit me – these fuckers on here probably don’t even know Green Day, FFS.
The biggest frustration I have with the youngsters on board is their lack of caring and respect for the very vessel that keeps them safe and alive. They crash around, bashing and slamming everything, leaving every electrical device turned on with no thought for their actions. I have just had a frantic call from the chef about his freezers. From the sound of his radio call, you would think his freezer was on fire when in fact all that had happened was he had shut something in the door and damaged the door seal. Now call me a twat if you will but if you can close a walk in fridge door with two steel plates in the way that shouldn’t be there and NOT EVEN NOTICE – you shouldn’t be working at sea. Go and join a Facebook group or something, complain all you like but please, fuck off and leave me alone.
The other week, one of the stewardesses came to me with a door handle in her hand. She had slammed the handle down with such force that the shaft that runs through the door from one handle to the other had sheared completely. That’s a lot of force. Even better, I don’t think they know that door handles can also be used to close doors gently so that you don’t wake other people up.
Now of late, I have had more of a need to communicate while at sea than I have in recent years. I am of an age where we didn’t have full time internet connections. Transatlantic sailing was done from Mallorca to Antigua without any contact with the rest of the world, 16 or 17 days at a time. Now, everyone feels so privileged that they should have it all the time. This in turn causes the boss to have internet anguish as I like to call it. His speeds get so slow that he can hardly function. In fairness to him, if I was paying 4 grand a month for an internet service, I would want all the bandwidth too but it is making my life extraordinarily hard. On a work level, my boat computer gets shut down from the outside world. That can be a real drag. When the boss is on, I have to be very selective about what work I do, most of it is hugely invasive so it has to wait. While it waits, I normally catch up with suppliers, theories, paper work or just hunt out solutions for current problems. Cut me off from the outside world and it really hurts. Most of my shopping is done with suppliers in America who are 12-18 hours behind. Cut me off at the wrong time of day for a couple of hours and I can lose a whole day – not funny.
Then of course, there is the want and need to communicate with the squeeze. I am not talking about full on video conferencing here but just the need to send or receive simple messages or photos and that gets frustrating. Two days it took to download a recent video message the squeeze sent – as it happens it was a very important clip, a tearful squeeze explaining and sharing how she struggles with my absence – and it took me two days to see it. Looking at it from her side, she has bared her soul, sent me a message and I haven’t even bothered to respond – or so it seems. Knowing how things can spiral out of control, i get frustrated at the inability to communicate. Let me put it into perspective. When I am finished here today, I will click on the menu area at the top of my screen. i will then wait for around 30 seconds for the menu to appear with the ‘sign out option’. Now imagine trying to load a whole page? It ain’t pretty.
So change will come, change will happen, change is good – and if you oppose change there is always Facebook where you can say you protested your bit by joining a Facebook action group where once you have clicked ‘join’ no further action is taken.
So, change is good, unless you are the New Skype Team, in which case your product change was shit but nowhere near as shit as receiving your p45 when Bill Gates sees all the reviews people have left you.
Anyway – I want to leave you with a little grunge. Not my all time fave track but one you are more likely to recognise. As it happens, it’s not too bad either. This song deserves your attention so stop what you are doing and take a moment to enjoy it. Put your headphones in, turn up your speakers, lean back in your chair – just take a moment. Grunge is not dead – long live grunge
The other day, I very nearly took a step into the unknown. It would have been a momentous occasion too, no less spectacular than when Armstrong walked on the moon.
I almost wrote a blog from my phone. It would have been a first for me, if I am honest I find those little screens a bit fiddly. Can you imagine JK Rowling writing her next book on a smart phone? Aint gonna happen – genius needs comfort.
Anyway, not being a complete tech phobe – I did upload some photos from my phone to the blog. It also happened to be very easy too. I liked it. But there was method in my madness.
Around 6 months ago I finally took the plunge and bought an Android phone. Spurned on by Apples continued push to constantly take away all the functionality in their products that I like and thus force me to pay for a cloud account that I do not need or want. Better still, they take away functionality and then put it in an app that you have to buy. That can’t be right.
So, slowly I began to use the Samsung S7 Edge. What a beautiful phone – if nothing else, looks wise it was like comparing Florence Welch to Vera Duckworth, Florence being the Samsung. It sits in your hand with more ‘ooomph’ than an orphaned kitten, it really is something to behold.
The big drawback was something all Android/Mac users will tell you about – synchronizing. See, when you plug your iPhone 6S into your Mac, it syncs everything for you, writing data in both directions between your phone and your laptop. The Samsung has none of that, despite several apps claiming they will do it, I have yet to find one that really does work. So manually, I pull out the expansion card and write all of my data, music, contacts across once or twice a month.
It really was a bit of a drag – or so I thought. The more I used the phone the more I liked it. Yes, dragging the data across was a bit of a pain but I am happy to do it now and have much preferred to stick with the Samsung over the iPhone. In fact over the last couple of months, the 128gb iPhone 6 has become nothing more than a very expensive iPod.
Another nail in its coffin – I downloaded a music player to the Android the other day and have to say the sound is insanely good so the iPhone days are clearly numbered. With a 7 year old Mac beginning to creak at the seams, there could easily be a 100% move away from Apple on the cards.
Apple have left me miffed for a long time, offering updates with many new things but they never – NEVER tell you what they have taken away, and they always take away something I am very used to using. Now at this point I would normally push you over to the App store where you could read customers reviews of Apple software updates so you can see for yourselves – BUT – as their last 3 software releases got so badly slammed by the users, Apple decided to stop letting people leave reviews. That’s good logic right ?
Now, back to Samsung – technically, the phone is streets ahead. I won’t bore you with blurb but instead stun you with a master piece of a practical experiment.
In the photos section of my blog you will find a folder entitled ‘Asia’. In there are photos that have only been taken with a smart phone, my big camera hasn’t seen the light of day. If you click on one of the photos it will open it in full screen but also show you the source of the photo – i.e. iPhone 6s or Samsung (SM).
You will be stunned by the photos the Samsung has taken – stunned! You will be certain I am telling porkies and I used my big camera – but no, they are all phone shots – the Samsung not streets ahead, but motorways/freeways/autobahn ahead. The iPhone is an infinity away – it misses the mark by at least a Steve Jobs.
So there you are – Samsung over Apple every day of the week.
There is however, a sting in the tail. A sad ‘Steve Urwin’ style of sting that threatens to diminish all that the Samsung has achieved. Even the waterproof phone that I can use to Skype the squeeze while I am in the shower has a serious, loyalty threatening flaw.
I had the misfortune just over a week ago to be laying on the floor with the phone in my pocket. I heard that light and gentle crack that can only come from smart phone glass and knew instantly I had damaged my phone. I took it out of my pocket to see the back of the phone was shattered. I was pretty amazed if I am honest – I didn’t even realise the back was glass.
Anyway – it broke. I took it to the local Samsung shop here in Singapore. They told me as it was a UK phone, they could not repair it as the parts were different.
I got in touch with Samsung customer services in the UK. I got in touch with then 6 times in as many days. After 6 days of repetitive email it transpired that the Samsung ‘Experience’ store in Leicester couldn’t repair it for me, they could only sell me a new unit. It also came to light that there was not an approved Samsung repairer within a 50 mile radius so my only option was to have a courier collect the phone, have it repaired and returned to me. This would take 7-10 days.
I am lucky. I have a back up phone – the 6s. Could you imagine not having a back up phone and being without your whole world for a week or more?
Now here’s the real sticking point for me. If I broke my iPhone in the same way, I could walk into ANY Apple store worldwide, pay a small fee and take an exchange phone out of the store normally within 20 minutes or so of walking in. Samsung may just piss me off and direct me back to the Apple store.
Samsung please take note (but note a Galaxy note as they catch fire right ?)
Now, bug off over to the Asia photos section and see what I mean.
But they wont will they? Seems the BBC has employed more than their fair share – I guess that’s what you get for being politically correct? 5% of your employees must be one eyed lesbians, another 5% fucktards, 3% retired ice cream vendors with a dog named Patch who lost a testicle in the Vietnam War etc etc etc.
So the article in question – I was reading the news yesterday and saw a piece about an earth quake in Italy that had triggered an avalanche. I understand that I may not be the sharpest tool in the box but this……?
Earthquakes cannot be predicted with precision but seismologists had suspected this particular area of central Italy would experience another batch of serious tremors sooner or later
Now, if there were an award for vague predictions, this would definitely get second prize. Second only to a weather girl I watched once (on the BBC) who made the startling prediction that 2013 had a 50% chance of being a hotter year than 2012. I hope her parents hadn’t invested too much in her maths degree. To have the two options of hotter or colder clearly is a 50/50 situation, or in other terms 50%. Turns out she had told us bugger all.
But sooner or later ? Come on FFS – that isn’t rocket science. It isn’t really even a prediction is it. It’s reality.
Lightening the load a little. My Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge experiment has been boxed for now. I was trialling a very lush looking Samsung while here for two reasons. I have been intrigued by the Samsung for a long time now and secondly, having a local SIM in a different phone meant that I could still use iMessage to communicate with the rest of the world.
As beautiful as the Samsung is, I have struggled with its functionality. Not that Android is no good, my problem lies with the shite internet connections I have to suffer while working at sea. I need to investigate more about how to use the phone at its best and that just isn’t possible with a sht connection.
So now it is boxed, fully charged and ready to try again when in blighty or sell on to a lucky bleeder that will get a £625 phone for a smidge over £400 I suspect.
I went back to the iPhone 6s after trying for hours to get photos off the Samsung onto a work computer so that I could order parts. Certain that the flaw was the internet speeds but I couldn’t plug the Samsung into the Mac and draw the photos off and that pissed me off!!!!!
That said – I did really adore the Samsung – a very pretty phone and with an expanded memory of 232GB – plenty of music could be had if only I could figure out how to store it on the SD card !!!!!
It’s time to get a little controversial again I am afraid, so expect a good long read. Make a cup of tea and get back to your screen as quickly as possible. This is gonna take at least 30 minutes of your time.
Then, put your feet up and watch this little video of an Australian comedian debating gun control. It’s in two parts but don’t worry, part 2 is directly underneath part 1. When you are done watching, come back here and finish reading
So that’s Jim – a very clever guy, funny as hell and absolutely spot on with his remarks.
You know why I posted it right? Another attack in America with 20 reported deaths. I, like the vast majority of the civilised population will wonder for just how long this can go on – certainly after Obama leaves office, I think there will be little hope of any form of gun control for generations to come. It’s a sad form of politics where the most powerful man in his country is powerless to make meaningful change.
Which of course leads me nicely into Brexit. A step too far?
Well lets see. At the head of the European Union sits an appointed board of governors. This appointed board makes ALL of the decisions that affect all of Europe’s citizens, passes laws and membership requirements for all member states. Below them in the heirachy are the MEP’s or Members of the European Parliament. MEP’s are present from each country of the block and are voted for by each blocks citizens – but here is the cliff hanger – The MEP’s cannot propose, create or remove European law – that can only be done by the governors.
Tricky that, in a democracy! See, in whatever democratic society you live in, you have the option to vote in your representatives or equally vote out someone that has represented you badly. So if someone taxes you too much – vote them out, if life is good, vote them in again. But with the EU, there appears to be nothing you can do. if you don’t like what they propose and enforce on you – there is nothing you can do to protest or show your distain. That to me sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy.
Now I have to admit that sometimes in a democracy, we need a little bit of a dictatorship. See, all politicians, regardless of their colours want to get re-elected, they like the power and they certainly like the bigger pay packet that being in leadership provides. And this is where democracy fails us a little. There are times when a government MUST, for the longer term good of their country, MUST make unpopular short term decisions with a view to a longer term win – but they rarely do. A single term in Parliament is not long enough to make good, future building changes for your public, it needs longer. But who would re-elect a government that just increased taxes by say 2% to improve spending on healthcare or pensions? Both in the long term good of the people but no one wants to pay for it.
So go back to the EU for a second, if they propose and implement something that 75% of the public dislike – nothing can be done to stop it – it becomes EU law and EU law MUST be complied with by ALL member states.
Some of this could be good too – we all drive cars now that have a standardised diagnostics socket on board so that not only main dealers can fix your car but also independents can too – they don’t have to buy one tool for Jaguar, one for Mercedes, one for Volvo etc – they all have to be the same. But remember the oddities too – remember when cucumbers had to be grown straighter? or when they banned the UK from having different coloured fire extinguishers for different types of fires because they said it caused confusion? Imagine that one – you are on holiday in Spain say, and there is a fire. You have to read the extinguisher to see what type it is to make sure it is safe to use on that type of fire – BUT YOU DONT SPEAK SPANISH !
Nigel Farage once made a statement where he said something like –
‘If you think the EU is undemocratic, you have fundamentally misunderstood what the EU is about – It is Anti- Democratic’
Now that statement is absolutely cock on. He is 100% right.
Imagine for a minute, as individuals, we were not allowed to choose which bank we used, we were told which one we had to use, and the people that had the sole control on which bank we were forced to use, were the bankers themselves.?
OK, so now you think I am a Brexit campaigner right? Well understand my personal position. Those of you that know what I am about, the essence of free movement around Europe has been the backbone of my existance for the last 11 years or so. In those 11 years I have lived and worked in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal (lets exclude time in America and the Caribbean). The schengen agreement has been very good for me – the single currency has been superb for me – I have often complained about needing the £ and €’s in my pocket but always been mindful that anyone who gave up the pound would be committing political suicide.
So I have several personal reasons for staying in. A house in another EU country for one. A job that requires me to travel extensively within Europe for another. If the UK left, would I need a Schengen Visa to live and work around Europe for another 10 years? I currently have my car with me in Mallorca – will I still be able to do that? What would become of my house in Portugal – could I sell it and take the money out of the eurozone?
Moving around Europe has been fun, enlightening yet incredibly frustrating at times too. One thing I will always say is that going back to the UK is going back to a country that works, has great healthcare, excellent customer service, shops that are open when you can use them, a great Police Force and minimal corruption.
Now before you disagree with any of those statements – Firstly ask yourself how much have you travelled and experienced things outside of the UK? I have seen a lot over the last decade – let me assure you, of all of the countries I have seen, The UK has THE BEST answers – thats not to say they are perfect but they are certainly the best of all I have seen. Secondly – if you believe the UK is not all that, why on earth do you think so many Non UK Nationals want to get there ????
The big question for me is – how much does the EU want to dissolve the UK’s identity? Hollywood could make a film about it – the critics would call it a magnificent work of fiction, all the movie wankers in Cannes would quaff on about how good it was.
Imagine the UK getting absorbed into the EU to a point that our identity is lost for ever. Way back in the 90’s I was completing a staff survey at one of the best companies I ever worked for, a company called LeasePlan. They were conducting a survey of ethnic backgrounds for diversity. Way back then, one thing that stuck with me was when they asked me for my nationality and there was no option for ‘British’. I spoke to the H.R. director who was a very good friend of mine and of Indian descent and asked her where my option was and she told me I was now ‘European’. I marked ‘other’ and sent it back.
Think it is still unrealistic? Ask your parents who voted in the 70’s for joining what was then the common market. Back then it was just a trade agreement – already now, Brussels pushes laws and regulations at the UK.
I am often left with the feeling that the Eurocrats view the Brits as a troublesome bunch that just won’t come quietly. I know they fear us though too. Imagine, if the UK votes to leave, they will be shitting in their overpaid pants, waiting for the next country to call a referendum too. As I travel, I talk to locals. Where ever I am, the same fears apply. When the euro came in, prices went up, salaries went down – everyone is worried about immigration – EVERYONE.
If the UK leaves, it will survive. It is the 5th largest economy in the world. I don’t doubt that things will be a little tougher for a couple of years while deals are thrashed out, but it will survive. When other countries see this too – they will want out. Sure, economists are predicting doom and gloom but remember, these are the same economists that FAILED to see the banking crisis in 2008. It will be a step into the unknown to leave but also remaining will be an unknown step too – a step of not knowing how much control Central Europe will take away from this plucky little island. And remember, once it’s gone, there is no way of getting it back.
Greece is not in the headlines too much anymore – but it is still there – absorbing huge amounts of EU money on a daily basis.
I spent a lot of time in Brussels over the last 5 years or so. One thing that struck me was the sheer amount of EU money that is lavished there. Diplomatic cars, special parking places, houses rented to EU workers, lunch allowances, drinks after work – all paid for out of EU funds.
Consider this for a moment. Lets say Brexit happens, the EU throws its toys out of the pram and sets about making an example of the UK. Will all of the ex-pats in Spain and Portugal have to return home? If they did, it would kill those economies stone dead. Would the UK in return then kick out all of the europeans on a tit for tat basis? Maybe – but that would relieve the housing shortage right? Doctors waiting times would plummet and maybe you could then get an operation within a few days of diagnosis.
So the EU stops all trade with the UK. Something like 40% of our goods are imported from Europe. Could they sustain such a loss in sales? of course not. There would need to be a trade deal made – a deal that helped both parties, a mutually beneficial agreement. How long would that take? Well we know the EU is a big beurocratic machine that rumbles along slower than a snails pace but while their economies are suffering, it would also be in their best interests to strike a deal.
Will people stop flying to Europe? Of course not. Every time I fly into Nice or Palma my passport is checked anyway – EVERY TIME so what difference would it make to me? Every time someone lands in the UK – their passport is checked – no difference there either. If I have to get a visa, its not the end of the world. I have a visa for America – it was relatively inexpensive and simple enough to get, fits nicely in my passport along with an expired Russian Visa.
If the UK had intelligence of a terrorist attack in Paris, would they withold that information – of course not. Would the Germans warn the UK of an impending attack – Of course they would.
Politicians now need to give facts to the public instead of scare mongering or ‘Project Fear’ as it has been called many times. The Leave campaign needs to accurately publish the NET cost of EU membership rather than that all encompassing larger figure that they like to band around. The public need to trust their instincts when listening to the tripe that falls out of many politicians mouths and learn to dismiss comments that are clearly unsubstantiated nonsense.
There is a lot of wiffle waffle being spoken and it is damn easy to spot. Apply a little bit of common sense and you can easily work things out for yourself.
Personally, I am better off in but if you prefer to have a democratic, self governing land of opportunity you have to vote out. Merkel’s career is done – her people are vastly annoyed with her open door policy on immigration and as for Hollande, well, it wouldn’t be the first time the French have laid down at the feet of the Germans would it?
And just because you voice a concern about immigration – IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A RACIST. Remember the story about the boy who cried wolf? If people continue to misuse the ‘racist’ card it will be come so devalued that when it is genuinely need, it will be ignored by the masses – and that would be a very sad situation. People have a genuine concern about the physical load exerted by huge immigration on services within their countries. Let them voice their opinions and be heard. Immigration is not a bad thing – uncontrolled immigration is.
Phew – rant over
If you really didn’t think Big Brother is watching you – something very suspicious happened to me today……Apple.
So we have all heard the rumours that your smart phone microphone can listen to your conversations covertly and then target web & app adverts specifically from the conversations it has eaves dropped on? Well, this is true. A myth buster style trial took place a couple of months ago and it took some tech nerds just 3 days to build an app with readily available software that could do just that.
Imagine my surprise today when I pulled my phone out of my pocket to see a web page displayed. Ok, sometimes I may forget to screen lock it, we have all ‘butt dialled’ someone right ? But what I saw today was beyond spooky. Yesterday I received a photo on my phone of some paperwork for my rowing machine. Within that paperwork were the operators instructions and other stuff including the original sales receipt. I zoomed in on the receipt to get the invoice date and displayed above that date was the suppliers name, Fitness Superstore. Well bugger me, if the web page being displayed wasn’t for the same company.
Now, the receipt was a year and a half old, my phone is only a month old, I didn’t even know the name of the store I bought it from but could there be a spy in my software that scans my photos and directs me to those web pages?
As I plugged along on my very muddy 10k run this morning I had plently of time for thoughts. If I am honest, the run itself was far from perfect. The tow path was a mud bath and the woods at the back of Abbots Farm almost had me on my arse twice.
Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, not quite 2 minutes slower than my best on that route but it was muddy!
I slipped into thoughts. Lets talk about Apple for a moment. I read an article this week on the BBC that their latest iOS software for their phones has been permanently disabling phones that have been for repair by independent phone shops. You send your new phone away for a screen replacement or a new home button and it comes back with ‘error 53′. You might think this is not the end of the world but in iOS9 – this now means your phone is useless – it will never work again and any info on it is lost for good.
I have been experiencing similar bullish tactics with my Mac after recently upgrading to El Capitan. You see , the biggest problem with computer updates is you are always told what they have added but they NEVER tell you what they have taken away. If you knew which functionailities were removed, updating would never be an option for most users.
So now, if I want to email you a photo, I can no longer use the attach button from my mail browser and then go into my photo library and find it – nope, Apple want you to buy into their Cloud product, that lets you share easily (or more easily than the way they force you into if you won’t pay), so instead now I have to open the photo app, drag a copy to the desk top and then attach it from there. Hardly progress from what is one of silicone valleys’ giants now is it? The last software was better.
It doesn’t stop there. iPhone users that have the latest software will find that airdrop has changed too. No longer can you open air drop and make your phone visible to only people in your contacts list as with the older software, no, privacy on airdrop is now only available if your contacts are in the cloud.
Of course, there is a price for using the cloud.
As my Mac gets older, slower and clunkier and needs some financial input I find myself questioning the rational for moving back to a windows based pc and an android phone. See, a pc of the same tech specs as the Mac will be around half the price and comes with the freedom to source ‘stuff’ from outside of the world of the manufacturer. Its getting to be an easier choice to make. There was a time when I would have used that line of thought as a down side though. Have you ever been on the end of a windows based problem where the hardware manufacturer blames the software and the software manufacturer blames the hardware?
It did make me think though – some time ago the EU ruled that car manufacturers had to make all of their car computer diagnostics plugs the same as each others. The reason was to allow independent garages not to have to invest in different computers for all of the makes out there – or to put it in very basic terms, to allow more competition as to where you as a consumer can spend your money. I can’t see that this is any different than that?
Hark back to better times, when Apple products were wanted because they were revolutionary. Those days died with Mr. Jobs. Cancer affects more of us than you might believe.
Of course, a lot of Apples problems come from the ‘hipsters’ that just have to have the latest stuff. I was looking on iTunes the other day for info about Birdys new album when I noticed that although the release is not due for another month, 11 people had left reviews for it. The ‘I am so trendy crew’ had got there before the record company have even cut the final disc! Dont believe me? look at the screen shot below.
I got into a debate on the Apple help forums the other week with a guy called Terence Devlin. Terence suggests that people should stop complaining about when things change for the worse or stop working completely with Apple products because people aren’t running the very latest software. His solution was to ‘upgrade – its free’ As our debate raged on, I mentioned that over 50% of the product reviews on the Apple store for its last iOS release gave it 1 star out of 5 with the majority of those recommending that you don’t install it at all (more 1 star reviews than 2,3,4,&5 added together). Terence then suggested that those negative reviews should be ignored because people like to complain. At that point, I gave up with the fucktard and left him to his little world of what I suspect is a very wealthy family that pay for whatever his little hipster heart desires. I also suspect that he doesn’t work for two reasons.
He is always camped outside the Apple store to be the first to get whatever is new that week.
Daddy pays him a jolly good allowance each month so the reality of earning a living is left to the serfs and peasants on street level
So back in the UK for 10 days. It is cold and wet here. Sure, the South of France gets cold too but it is dry, the air is dry which makes for a different, almost warming kind of cold. Add to that I have allowed myself to be bullied into going to Bike Park Wales on Wednesday with The King of Touching Cloth himself – Mr Yates. The very next day I have my ships medical to give me the green light to set sail for the next 2 years and then early next week, a funeral – but more on that later.
I am expecting to sustain some physical damage on Wednesday, not only from being miserable from the cold and wet for hours but also because of the tricky or even treacherous conditions will lead to mishaps I am sure. Fingers crossed, it will be Yates this time. While he is in a bundle of pain on the floor, I will pull along side him and gleefully jib, ‘see you at the bottom dick wad’ as is the norm for our outings – I like to think of it as the ‘Top Gear’ style of caring for your chums. I have little choice though – it will now cost me as much to back out of it as it will to go – and I hate wasting money.
Thought it was an urban myth did you? An Orwell fantasy? Well no.
A couple of nights ago, I spilt a Belgian beer all over my lovely Mac. I know what you are thinking, what a waste of good beer – I thought that too. The other end of that argument is that it also shafted the afore mentioned Mac. Now, to cut a long story short, I called the Apple store in Birmingham for help. The automated answering service knew my name and pronounced it well, then asked me if I was calling about the iPhone 6 I purchased in 2014 or the Mac book Pro I purchased in 2010. Getting scary I thought. Then I realised, the Mac was bought in Sint Maarten and the iPhone in Florida – neither of which required my UK phone number!!!!
Think about that next time you are clicking away happily on Facebook, liking shit that you have no idea of its origin.
Now sadly, I am suffering a very old windows laptop from circa 2009, still back then Windows Vista was all the rage. My update history suggests I haven’t used it in almost a year and there were 79 updates that I needed to take – my verdict, it is shit. I will be more careful with my beer in future.
So I left Mallorca on Friday and had a long long drive to Dunkirk. As I left Palma and headed for Alcudia in the north of the island, I started to enjoy the drive. I decided to immerse myself in the local culture and found a local Spanish radio station to listen to. It took me about half a mile to realise that Spanish radio was in fact a load of shit and I found my own music shortly after.
Barcelona was the cluster fuck that I have come to expect from Spain, 8.30 on a Friday evening and it took me nearly two hours to make 4 or 5 miles onto the motorway but when I got free, it was simple cruising all the way. I really wanted to make the Millau bridge during daylight and stop to take in the sights but time and daylight were not on my side. Being honest, to make the bridge during daylight was a little ambitious on my behalf.
Needless to say – I made it safe and sound to the shores of blighty where the temperature was nice and cool. The first weather forecast I saw was warning me of an impending heat wave – something I really couldn’t care for – I was looking for some cool wet weather!
This weekend is Great North Run time – tending to an injury at the moment but wont let that put me off too much – so long as I don’t need to stop for a dump on the way round, I should be ok. You will fing coverage on the BBC.
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear November Archives, Happy Birthday to me
Whoop whoop whoop, yahoo, yay yay yay – whatever (as I am currently in the states, all the whoops, yays and yahoos are mandatory), fist bump, high 5 – fuck yeah!!! Goddamn .
It’s official – on May 8th (say that out-loud in your best Geordie accent!) The November Archives turned 9 years old and is now officially in its tenth year of publication, something of a milestone I think. Put that into a different perspective, my little blog has been around longer than the iPhone and will no doubt still be going strong when the iPhone has gone the same way as that old dinosaur The blackberry. If you need help in perfecting the ‘May the 8th’ in Geordie, may I offer three little words as practise – if you can master these three words, it is fair to say you are fluent in geordie – repeat out loud, or better still, to someone else in your house or work place, or just stand out on the street and bellow them at passers by
You are now fluent my friend – go forth and converse but be careful not to get ‘yer teeth kicked in man!’
Lots has changed since I first sat in the Bubble Lounge down in Sagres and penned my first blog entry. The bubble lounge is no more, replaced suitably by Warung. The iPhone was born and has also suffered 6 reincarnations since its birth. The whole world has become a place where people right now and for generations to come, are developing spinal damage as they constantly stare at their smart phone screens. People no longer go to concerts and watch the gig for themselves but seem to prefer to concentrate on holding the smart phone above their heads recording the whole thing, for what I can only assume is bragging rights – the right to say that you were there and prove it. This alone makes me gasp in disbelief. There was a saying I heard years ago about ‘Woodstock’ that went something like this ‘ If you can remember being there – then you weren’t really there!’ Whats more, can you imagine the pain of watching a music concert in its entirety on a phone ? These observations were made only recently in my life as I watched many of the iTunes music festivals that are broadcast live on the WWW. A sea of fans illuminated by their screens. Of course, there are concerts where hanging onto your phone would have been impossible too – The Offspring and Skunk Anansie are two that I remember partially.
Sound Garden, The Pixies, Katy Perry, Jessie J, Coldplay, NOCEREMONY/// have all been on iTunes for free. Of course, I wanted to be there for myself but never won the tickets – Yes, I did apply for free tickets for a Katy Perry concert, but equally too, I tried for the Pixies.
Most recently of course, I finally decided to spend a chunk of money on a quality car rather than the 300 quid junkers that I normally favour. This has caused some concerns when choosing a suitable parking place as I try my best to keep the body panels straight and dent free. I like the comfort but the worry keeps me awake at night.
Bringing you swiftly up to date, I am currently in Florida and next weekend will be setting sail for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – a good two weeks of hard sailing lay ahead but man am I glad to be back on a sailing boat with their coffin sized beds and work spaces made for midgets – a great new adventure lays ahead and lets not forget, this will be my first time sailing across the equator. Once I have crossed it, I will be able to watch the water go down the plug hole anti clockwise instead of clockwise.
I just bumped into a guy today that reminded me of Alex Faggotpants down in Kernow. Some of you will remember Alex as my lodger from Benn Street but for those of you that don’t, look for an old programme on the tv called ‘The Brittas Empire’ and there, disguised as Chris Barry you will see Alex Faggotpants. Faggot as he is more affectionately known by his closest Rugby chums, was a spitter for Gordon Brittas in looks and mannerisms so imagine my surprise today when I found another doppelgänger here in Fort Lauderdale.
At this point, some words of encouragement please – the missus is running a 20k next weekend, a quick hurrah for her, my sister is also clocking up the miles and Steve Brown has agreed to come and run the next Park Run (www.parkrun.com) so it will be a real gang bang for the next time I am in blighty, there will be me, Steve, Rue, Claire, Sis (still working on that one) and maybe even the missus if she doesn’t quit running the second she crosses the finish line.
For the more loyal readers amongst you, you may remember some years ago I ran a competition for the 20,000th reader to win a new 3 series BMW. You may also remember an old flame of mine winning the competition but then being disqualified for making me change her name on the blog. Well, Gary Lineke as I called her post op, won’t be running in this competition and I promise no more name changes ever but in an effort to break the 40,000 hits barrier before my 10th anniversary next year, I am offering 10 absolutely free T-shirts for the first 10 SUBSCRIBED users to leave a comment on THIS post suggesting why they deserve a T-shirt. There is no catch other than you can only win 1 shirt per subscribed user – I say this because I fully expect Connor to leave 10 comments before anyone else even reads this, you can’t beg one for your significant other, they should subscribe too, and yes, I fully expect Connor to get a shirt and the other 9 to remain in my wardrobe for the next 10 years. They will be sent P&P free so even if you are all the way down there in S.A. over in Oz, NZ or the Nordics – you will get one.
All up to you – usual rules apply – I make them up as I go along. Winners are required to send a selfie for posting on The November Archives of them wearing their shirts.