Big Brother B.B.C.

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I’m beginning to think the first two initals of BBC stand for Big Brother.

Today I wanted to catch up on an episode of “The Archers” that I’d missed. Previously you could simply click on the schedule for a  programme and listen again. Not any more. You now have to be registered and and each time you want to use the catch up facility you have to sign in with an email address and password.

How long I wonder before this extra piece of unnecessary bureaucracy is spread to all BBC radio and TV services? I bet it won’t be long before we will sign in with username and password to watch BBC News or Eastenders. We’ll probably have to identify ourselves just to check the weather forecast or the traffic reports on local radio.

What will happen to people who don’t use a computer? (There are such folk, though they are rapidly dwindling minority!)

The BBC seems to be following in the wake of Google – they say they are going to “personalise” my “account”. In other words they will look at my record of listening and viewing (incidentally as I don’t have television my viewing figures should be zero – but I bet it won’t be!) They will then decide what I am interested in and push these programmes at me. No thank you, Big Brother, I prefer to make my own choices.

I’ve has enough of clever computer algorithms deciding what I want to see – Facebook gets some very odd ideas about what sort of articles are suitable for an elderly pensioner.

When I was asked for personal data for my account, date of birth, gender etc., I admit I was very tempted to put in false info just to be awkward. What would the computer make of an obviously fictitious date of birth? January 1st 1066 for example? Probably just send me a patronising “Oops, you’ve got it wrong again!”

ESME

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Bereft

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Bereft – that’s the only word I know to describe how I felt. All the things the that had been there, that I took for granted were suddenly swept away. I couldn’t get at the things I wanted – the information, news, pictures. statistics. It was a crippling blow, a tragedy. 

What was? Yesterday when our phone line and broadband internet went down. 

Made me realise, though, just how much I rely on the web. Even for little trivial things like checking the programmes on the radio or the weather forecast when I’m going out – do I need to wrap up or take waterproofs – how can I tell unless i look at the local weather forecast? I want to find out about, say, places to eat in our nearest large town, or look for Christmas presents for my family. All things I’ve done using the internet without thinking about it. “Address” now is more likely to be an email address than a postal one. 

I’m much too old to count as a “digital native” but I reckon I might apply for naturalisation!

Plastic Bags

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We’re constantly urged to avoid the used-once-and-discarded plastic bag. My local supermarket encourages shoppers to bring their own bags by giving you extra nectar points for using your own bag. (As opposed to pinching someone else’s?) Seriously, though, I’m all for fewer plastic bags destined for landfill. As long as they keep producing and selling or giving away enough of the blasted things for me to have one when I want to line the kitchen pedal bin. 

But why tell me why do they have small polythene bags on the self-service fruit and veg aisles? These are the most user-unfriendly and  non-recyclable packaging ever invented. It takes me ten minutes to get the damn things open. I sometimes in desperation have to  ask one of the staff to do it for me. Why don’t they use PAPER bags for heaven’s sake? Paper is easy to use and biodegradable. Unlike plastic it can be burnt or re-used – I can think of numerous possible uses for discarded paper, all you can do with plastic is chuck it in the bin so it ends up in landfill.

 

Mobile Phone

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I have one of these lovely mobile phones from Doro (no,they are not paying me!). It is easy to read, nice big buttons and so simple to operate, even I can use it. I can make and receive phone calls and send and receive texts. And that’s all I want from a phone. I don’t want to use it as a web browser or a Satnav, I don’t want to listen to music on it or watch TV. It’s a phone and that’s what I want. I carry it with me most of the time but rarely use it. I’m on a pay-as-you-go tariff so if it were lost of stolen the lucky finder would have less than £10 worth of calls and a list of half a dozen numbers.

Today I found its one fault. Once you switch it off the only way to switch on again is by trial and error. There is nothing in the instructions leaflet as basic as “How to Switch Your Phone On”. I’d switched it off when I went to the theatre last night. Eventually I discovered you switch the thing on by pressing the “off” key (the little red picture of a phone being put down) and holding it. Silly of me not to think of that! Now I know why I always keep it switched on.

Typical of modern technology, Here’s another instance:

My computer is said to be “smart”,
But logic in this has no part,
You’ll see what I mean
To turn off the machine
You must click on the button marked “start”.

The Tribulations of Texting

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I love email, so easy, so convenient and none of the faff of searching for a stamp, finding an envelope and trekking to a post box.  But I can’t stand some of the abbreviations used in email and especially in text messages.  I’m happy with “CU” for “See you.”  Though four key strokes hardly counts as a massive saving in time or energy.

But textspeak using numbers I find irritating.  I don’t mind the use of 2 as in “Come 2 tea” or “Bring your friend 2” because two, to and too are homophones, they sound the same when said aloud.

But what I don’t like is the use of 4 to mean for.  “Go 4 it” or “Time 4 bed” have the same effect on me that a misplaced apostrophe has on Lynne Truss.  Why?  Well, the words “for” and “four” aren’t homophones, at least not the way I pronounce them.  “Four” rhymes with “more” or “bore” or “sore”, while “for” rhymes with “tor” or “cor” or “saw”.

Even worse is the use of the figure eight to represent the suffix “-ate” .  I’ve seen a website with phrases  like “invigor8”, innov8” and activ8” .  Now eight rhymes with “weight” or “straight” while “-ate” rhymes with “gate” or “late”.  At least in my pronunciation.

Niggles that Annoy

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Why do so many competitions come with a page – or more – of “Terms and Conditions” that you have to sign to say you read and accept? I bet most people just tick the box without reading the whole screed. This morning I was about to enter for a prize draw –  only a draw, so very little chance of winning. Then I read the T&Cs and found I would be automatically signed up for a running blog newsletter. I am not a runner and have no interest in running as a sport, (I assume this is a blog about running rather than a blog which goes on and on, rather like this post.) Time to sign off, Rant Over!