The world has gone insane

Preston Maritime Festival

It’s official the world has gone completely insane – or is it just me.

A work colleague has just pointed out this little gem on the Maplin’s web site. It’s an Electronic Fly Swatter. For hundreds and thousands of years man has used various objects to kill the various annoying creatures that have buzzed around our heads. Each of them has been successful without the need for electricity. So why did someone, somewhere decide that adding a bit of technology would greatly enrich our experience of insect death. What’s more, each of the none-electronic versions didn’t have to come with a disclaimer that makes you weep.

“Please note: This item is not a toy. Keep out of the reach of children. Due care and attention should be exercised if using this item in the presence of pets, the elderly, or those fitted with a pacemaker device.”

I can hear it now:

“So madam how did your husband die”

“I hit him with an electronic fly swat and it disabled his pacemaker”

It’s not even very ego friendly because it only works on none-rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable ones aren’t powerful enough.

Technology is great, technology is useful, but why are we wasting it on resolving problems that don’t need resolving and not using it to resolve the real problems of our age.

Count Your Blessings #9 – Creativity

Stone Wall

I love being creative.

I know that for some people it can be both a blessing and a curse. They get the urge to create something and it overtakes and overpowers them. I’m not one of those people thankfully. I love being creative, but my creative urges are easily pleased.

As I grow older the thing I have come to realise is that being creative is definitely a state of mind.

There are times when my job connects with my creativity and I love it. There is no logic to when this is though.

There are times when simple house jobs connect too. If only this could be all of the time.

There are times when writing a blog is easy because the creativity just flows.

There are times when my creative side is pricked by doing some exercise. Unfortunately for my waistline this isn’t that often.

There are other times when I go out for a walk with a camera and my whole being changes. I feel like a child capturing a butterfly and gazing at the vastness of all creation.

Sue and I try to take a couple of days each year when we get away and spend time in quiet. Sometimes this is to an organised retreat, sometimes it is with some like-minded friends. in these times God pricks my creativity as a way of deepening our relationship.

For me that is what creativity is all about, it’s about deepening relationships. My relationship with myself, my relationship with God, my relationship with Sue, my relationship with Jonathan and Emily, my relationship with all humanity.

Smart Parking

Now That's Smart ParkingA friend of mine has just sent me these two pictures. They were taken at their place of work.

One of the reasons that I love working from home is the lack of parking hassle. When I do go into the office there is never enough room to park so I leave early to make sure that I get a space.

Now That's Smart ParkingIf we all drove cars like these, it wouldn’t be quite the same issue.

Sue Reading Blogs – how well do I know my wife?

Cordeline

Sometimes it’s good to give a relationship a bit of a test. this time it’s me that has set myself one – how well do I know my wife? This is also a test in the maturity of blogs, or more specifically RSS. If Sue can get into it, then they are probably good for almost everyone. If she doesn’t see the point, then so will many others in the general population. I’ve used Sue as this type of benchmark before and she is great at keeping my feet firmly on the ground.

I have set her up with an aggregator built into Outlook (RSS Popper) so as not to confuse her with another application to learn, and she spends all her life sending emails about this that and the other (that took her a while, but once she caught it she was away).

But then what to point her towards to get her started. There is no point in putting this site in, because she isn’t interested in anything technical at all.

She likes Oak Grove Happenings because that’s about us.

Ummm.

Well what does she like, what interests her. Well she really loves stories about people so Sand in the Gears seems like a good place to go. And she likes pictures so it’s worth putting our Flickr set in there, and perhaps it’s worth putting the Lake District pool in too, because that’s where she grew up.

But then after that, umm, not sure, time for some research I think.

(Any ideas would be gratefully received, as usual).

Count Your Blessings #8 – Paddling pools

Water

Today is a rare day in my particular part of the world. It’s sunny and it’s warm. Lancashire is not renowned for either of these two things, though partly it’s an impression we like to give in order to keep the numbers down.

Because this weather is generally unexpected we all react to it by going a little crazy. We also feel it is necessary to fit everything into a single day that people in warmer climates know they can spread across the whole summer.

In warmer climates people have water fixed into their gardens as a permanent feature. For those of us in Lancashire spending money on such extravagance seems like a pointless activity . We have a much better more cost effective mechanism for enjoying water in the sun, we use a paddling pool. In our case a paddling pool is simply an inflatable puddle, not much bigger than the average car tyre. The great thing is that size doesn’t matter; it still manages to delight half a dozen primary school children.>

As a parent it is a real blessing to see your children having fun, being children. Seeing a face light up when it’s been covered by a splash of water gives a completely different perspective on the world. Hearing children revelling in doing the same thing over and over again makes us adults want to regain that type of joy.

Installation Idea

IMG_1472

It’s only just occurred to me how much time I spend looking to see if something is installing OK on the various machines around the house, and I know it must also be the case in smaller businesses where they don’t have a big deployment infrastructure to rely upon.

You set something running and then go off and do something else because you know it;s going to be a while. When you come back 10 minutes later you realise that the installation stopped 30 seconds after you left it.

What I would really, really like is a way of flagging the installations to send me an alert (email, SMS, etc..) whenever it wants a question answering without me needing to go and find that out.

(Just going down stairs to look at Sue’s computer because it’s installing some patches)

It’s great on Windows XP Professional devices to be able to remote control them. But on Windows XP Home and Media Centre devices that luxury isn’t available. 

Upgraded to flick pro

AcerI have upgraded to flickr pro because I got above the 200 photograph limit of the normal account.

I’m not altogether happy with paying for something that is still marked as BETA, especially as all of the pictures in my blog point there. But that’s the risk you take.

I love the way that flickr generates community, I get far more comments on my flickr photos that I do on my blog. perhaps there is something to be learnt from that. I also like the concept of favourites too, there is definitely as need for the Internet to have a layer placed upon it which adds a level of confidence to a particular article or site. del.icio.us partly gets there, but the idea of marking things as favourites is also nice especially favourites that are visible to all. I have found myself doing searches over-and-over again because I can’t remember where an article is.