Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The click of death

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

“Please submit your meter reading”, said the insistent email from Faceless Autobot Utility Corp ( “We save you money by having no staff” ).

I opened the dimly lit meter cupboard to inspect the ticking box and scribbled the reading onto the back of an envelope. Logging on to the Faceless Autobot Utility Corp ‘Customer Service Portal’; [ ie: a poorly designed, cheap looking website ] I entered the reading which was swiftly rejected as being ‘error in submissino’. Suspecting a technical glitch I refreshed the page, logged in again and re-entered the reading. ‘Error in submissino’. I decided on a whim to enter ‘error in submissino’ into Google Translate which actually translated it correctly. Those clever Googlies. Looking closely at the back of the envelope and the last reading on screen from sixth months earlier I realised that they were identical. My brain began to hurt. I returned to the cupboard and double checked the reading then looked again at the screen. Both readings were clearly the same. Instantly I realised that the new, but now familiar, click I had first heard several months earlier probably indicated that the meter was broken.
[ To be continued. ]

Email morons

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

*Blows dust off of blog*


I was one of the early ones. Those who got wind of something new and different and signed up even before they restricted sign-ups to ‘by invitation only’.  My ‘real name’ domain name had long gone. Snapped up by some cybersquatting bar steward who’s sat on it for more than 10 years without doing anything with it aside from trying to sell it to me for forty thousand dollars. You have to be fast in cyberspace, the prime spots go cyberfast. My gmail address is pretty special; it could only be me.  All the others have to add a number to their names or mix up the characters when they sign up. Only I get to be me.

This was all well and good for the first few years. Slowly but surely, gmail has signed up thousands more of my namesakes, each of whom has had to choose a little addendum to make their gmail address unique.  At first the mistakes seemed quite interesting; “Hi XXXX – remember me? We met at *bar in remote foreign city I have never visited* – fancy meeting up?”  Now, email abounds with pork luncheon meat (meet?) like this, but this is not spam – this is the real deal. A real person in *remote foreign city I have never visited* is sincerely and genuinely sending an email to that fanciable chap with the same name as me hoping for a hook up.  The only problem is that they are using the wrong gmail address. They forgot to add the little bit on the end that would get their message to Mr Gorgeous and not Mr Absolutely Gorgeous But Fed Up of Getting Duff Gmails From Strangers; AKA: me. Next came the subscription to The List From Which There Is No Escape. Somebody with my name is a member of the residents association of a small community of luxury properties in a far flung corner of The Empire. For five years I have been receiving monthly updates on the petty, backstabbing and politically manipulative goings-on in this “idyllic place”, proving that the rich and not-famous are just as vile and scheming as the rest of us.  It was actually quite interesting being on the The List From Which There Is No Escape, albeit in a dull sort of way.  They had me hooked after the dog fouling episode outside Mr Huge-Wonga’s mansion and the ensuing twelve months of passive aggressive recriminations in the form of Association Meeting Minutes that attempted to steer a line between a factual record of discussions and a badly disguised condemnation of Mrs Enormous-Pile’s habit of leaving her two Pekingese off the leash (against community regulations) when out and about in the early morning paradisical sunshine. In fairness, I tried clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link in their messages but whoever had set up The List From Which There Is No Escape had failed to set up the escape route. So I kept getting the updates until recently. I’ll never know now what became of the plan to erect passive aggressive signs next to the community playground and whether they might have succeeded in getting the Enormously-Fertile’s to control their prolific offspring’s vocalisations echoing around the community at “all hours” tut tut.

Sadly, the soap opera component of gmail misaddressing has been far outweighed by the moron component.  These are the individuals for whom email appears to be some sort of magic, the rules of which they don’t fully grasp. There was the toastmaster who kept sending me snotty demands that I complete my training or he would strike me from the register of toastmasters. My protestations of non toastmasterdom where sneered at as ‘evasion tactics’ leading me to the conclusion that to be a toastmaster requires submission to a cult of discipline similar to that of the Ninja.  The estate agent who sent me a demand for back rent and refused to believe that I was not the XXXX who had done a bunk with the fixtures and fittings, jeopardising my deposit. My deposits in his inbox were dismissed with a threatening sneer and an aggressive response to my suggestion that his failure to check his information reflected badly on his business. This, after the third erroneous email from him. I ended up filtering out his techno-crap so it goes straight to trash where it and he belongs.  One of my namesakes appears to have a child at an exclusive Irish school. Try as I might, I have been unable to stop them from sending me parents’ newsletters. Apparently they do not have the technical expertise in-house to remove my details from The System.  Today a fourth of July e-card arrived from Mom & Dad.  My polite response that I was not their son met with incredulity and a brief exchange of further messages in which they probe me to see if I might be lying about my parentage. I feel that there might be a book in this somewhere. I know Dave Gorman did his Thing but this is my Thing. I’m the only real one you see. I got there first. Only I could write this particular book.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


Thursday, October 6th, 2011


Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I can’t help feeling that things will never be the same again with the ending of the shuttle program. The era of big US publicly funded space projects is over and the modernist imagery which can trace its lineage back to the Third Reich will be supplanted by corporate logos, lean pared down ground support operations and a wholly more functionalist approach to space. It’s the privatisation culture finally going cosmic. Testament I suppose to the success of the pioneers that space technology is now sufficiently reliable to be commoditised in this way.

Finally, a shot of Atlantis, post-landing and its virtual equivalent from Google Earth. I tracked this last mission for most of its journey these last days via the amazing real time telemetry stream that NASA supplied for Google Earth. FAB.

Fifty years in space

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

This has to be the nicest Google doodle I’ve seen.

Massive tossers

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
“Sent from my iPhone.”

[ie: I’ve got an iPhone – envy me for I am rich enough to own a black shiny thing that you don’t have]

“Sent from my Blackberry”

[ie: I’ve got a Blackberry – envy me for I own a fruit with magickal powers of instante messaging. Quake before me oh serf.]

“I got my iPad in LA when they first came out and I’ve used it every day without fail ever since. ”

[ie: I’m a massive tosser who went to America to buy an Expensive Shiny Thing and then smuggled it through customs to avoid paying the duty]

Update: Apple asked for help by workers ‘poisoned’ whilst making touch screens.


Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Lucky seven
… just over seven years ago when I started this here blog that I’d still be drivelling on seven years later. This year is already shaping up to be relatively momentous with at least two life changers in da pipeline. Here’s hoping that this time next year, a. I’ll still be here and b. It’ll all be good then.
Lucky seven? We hope so.

Popular Science Magazine covers
137 years of Popular Science Magazine archives now online for free access.
Good old Google.

Fag break

Friday, March 5th, 2010

In-car USB

Finally, a use for the most redundant feature in most cars; the cigarette lighter. How many of them are actually now used to light actual cigarettes? Like a bizarre hangover from a bygone, nicotine stained age, there are millions of these completely unused, expensively specified and manufactured mini-fag cookers riding around our highways. What could be more helpful than a handy plug-in convertor so that you can recharge your mobile phone or USB enabled sex toy whilst on the move? Remedial design at its superficial best; nearly, but not quite, as out-there as those stick on vinyl wheelie bin covers. Buy yours here.