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 Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.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