It is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.
Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.
Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.
Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.
My guess is that there will be Continue reading
Either Windows has recently done something really tedious to stop Gmail working in Outlook. Just to annoy Google? Or Google has recently done something to the same effect. Just to annoy Microsoft?
I have four main email accounts. My personal one, which is a Microsoft-hosted one, which works fine and is easy. My chambers one for work, which involves a weird and wonderful exchange system which is German and therefore requires a degree in computer science and a certificate from the EU to do anything useful with. A Gmail account, to which all my exchange server stuff gets automatically sent so I can actually read it, even if I am using my tablet or my phone. And finally, a groovy family one, set up by my son Charlie, which ends in “io” instead of “com”. That is supposed to be for “Indian Ocean” apparently, but since there is relatively little demand for localised email addresses in the Indian Ocean, it has been adopted somehow by clever people on dry land with a quirky sense of style.
Anyway, after a considerable amount of faffing around, I eventually worked out how to fix the Gmail one. It turns out that buried within Google there is another password regime. Not your normal Google password. Oh no. A specially annoying second one. With 16 letters. I found the following advice. After five very annoying steps, here is the key to whole Continue reading
At the suggestion of my darling daughter Annabel Fenwick Elliott, I have added a follow button at the bottom of this page.
So, if you want to follow this blog, you Continue reading
I thought I might buy a Microsoft Surface (well, they run real Word and they have a USB port, so that ticks two boxes for me). They have had a hard time among the Applites, but the reviews of new Surface 2 seemed OK, and my old small laptop is now very long in the tooth.
Sold out in Adelaide. Never mind, I thought, since I was going to be in Brisbane last week for a retreat (see here), and could pick one up there. Still no joy. They are apparently sold out throughout Australia, and no new stock is expected for a little while.
Maybe this is a sign Continue reading
I have never liked the Hoover. As a child, my recollection is of endless holiday mornings being spoiled by the incessant wail of our “treasure” trundling around the house hoovering. Short of the sound of someone nearby using a blowing machine to sweep up their garden leaves (why can’t they use a broom?) there are few more annoying noises than that of a vacuum cleaner whilst one is trying to work.
Anyway, in order that my treasure these days spends more time sorting out the washing of my clothes and less time hoovering, I have acquired a robot. It is a Hoover Expert, and I bought it Continue reading
It must be hard for some people to work out which they hate the most: Steve Jobs and Apple or Bill Gates and Microsoft.
Bill Gates made the early running in terms of his fall from grace: it seems that the nerdy youth of today will do almost anything to avoid Microsoft, which has made the transition from young upstart (it started way after Apple) to international monolith. So Apple became the favoured underdog, with its cool minimalistic design ethos inspired by Steve Jobs.
Then Steve Jobs died, and people started dishing out the dirt. It seems that he was a complete shit, trying to Continue reading
Some time or the other, I suppose, I must have signed up to LinkedIn, since I get many notifications from people asked to be linked to me. Some of these people I know, and some I don’t.
Having recently got a bunch of requests from people I do not know, I clicked the button that gets to add people. Lots of them popped up on screen. I added some people who I know and like, just for balance really. After a few minutes, I realised that it keeps on and on suggesting names, with surprising insight into the extent of my acquaintance. If I had nothing better to do, I could have kept going for hours. But I really have no idea what useful purpose the whole thing serves, Continue reading
I have been watching the TV production of William’s Boyd’s Any Human Heart on Blu-ray. For me, it is one of those things that is so well done that it hurts. Not only is it taken from one of William’s Boyd’s best novels, but the acting (from an absurdly good cast) and the production are superb. It is quite long – 6 hours or so – and I have been trying to take it slowly. It is too rich and poignant to rush.
The main plot anchor is the love of the protagonist Logan Mountstuart for his second wife Freya. She and their child are killed in London during the Second World War by a V2 whilst Logan, captured whilst serving as a British Intelligence officer, languishes in a Swiss jail. Continue reading
Java is a bit of software one does appently not really need, although most of us have on our PCs. Some experts say it is security risk; others say it is not too bad. But more annoyingly, it keeps on asking you to update it, and by default, when you do this it will install a bit of scumware called Ask, which highjacks your search engine and takes quite a bit of work to remove from a computer. Continue reading