Posts Tagged ‘Ipad’

The End is Nigh

September 6, 2013

Hermitage_from_insideThe End is Nigh,

It is all so quickly over. It seemed like yesterday watching mum soaking the split peas over the (single) granite sink back in the forties. Yet, thinking of the timespan between dinosaur and IPad, a couple of mere Nano- seconds later in our universe’s evolution, it is almost over. Well, give another ten years, or more, or less.

I was hardly over my Vitrectomy getting used to endless eye drops when I reached a new stage in my own evolution. I fell over. This is a new stage I seem to have arrived at.

One of the things in growing more mature is that sleep will become more evasive. I used the word ‘more mature’ for others and not in my case. I have reversed in most of my tepid evolutionary efforts and am surprised I can still walk the talk.

We have an unwritten conjugal agreement that whoever can’t sleep moves elsewhere. Those that do sleep ought to be given preference over the restless tossing and turning insomniac. This not unreasonable. A disclaimer to this rule is when the snoring of the sleeper is so loud and disruptive that the non-sleeper is prevented from even closing one’s eyes. The air vibrates and white knuckled neighbours are knocking on walls or even ceilings, a paddy wagon is waiting outside the front door with baton drawn policeman waiting.

It was one of those nights that my lovely H padded me firmly in the ribs (followed by a kick in the groin 😉 ). “You are snoring”, she said with her lovely sonorous voice, not wishing to be unloving or unkind. “Go upstairs”, followed by, “put on the electric blanket, it will soon be less icy.” Those that know and understand the quality of a deep sleep finally arrived at after many nights of somnambulistic adventures would understand the sacrifice and heroic efforts in relinquishing and renouncing this supreme and rare state of bliss and being.

I grabbed my still warm and favourite pillow and stumbled to the upstairs bedroom. It was dark and very cold when I walked into the frigidly empty and lonely bedroom. I normally take the side nearest the window and with an outside light giving some direction I managed to get within a meter or so of my bed when it all happened. I was so needy for a soft mattress and so close.
One of the most disconcerting experiences surely would have to be stopped in one’s forward motion tract totally involuntary.

That’s what happened. As I, what I thought, would be my last final step to the mattress, my right footed plans to go forward were thwarted by getting caught into my left footed leg of my pyjama. It was the most startling surprise of my life almost overtaking that of entering the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum back in1989.

I fell heavily forward and found myself between window and bed on the floor. I could hardly believe it. Such a strange event and in the middle of the night. I made the most of the situation by calmly surveying any possible damage. I could just about move all my parts and when I got over the shock raised myself up and went back to the door to put the light on. I steadied myself against the doorframe rubbing my forehead pensively, reflecting on that odd fall. It was then when H appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “What happened, what was that loud bang”, she asked looking up at me, still leaning.

”I fell heavily”, I answered John Wayne like in need of sympathy or at least the offer of a Band-Aid. “How”, she asked? I then explained about the pyjama leg catching my leg in forward motion to my bed and showed her the actual spot of impact. No blood, no nothing, no Band-Aid.

Go to bed now, she said. (Don’t fall)

Socks no more

July 11, 2012

Helvi Oosterman

When I was a kid, we used to get hand-knitted woollen socks for Christmas. Mum was very busy and sometimes she had only enough time to finish one sock, and we had to patiently wait for a whole year for its partner. By the time I was ten, I had received roughly four and half pairs of socks…

Mum was lucky that she did not have to go shopping for the wool; it grew on the backs of our black and white Finn sheep, which was very handy. All she had to do was to send it to the local wool co-op to be processed into a knitting yarn. Some busy people called it  LWCO for short, but we had enough time to get the words out, and we used the longer version.

Our Mum was a gentle person, not one of those tough black and white people. She liked nuances and shades better and therefore she also asked the wool to be blended into soft grey. Of course in those days we had never heard of the Aussie Rules that tell you that girls ought to wear pink and that blue is for boys. We were blissfully ignorant of such rulings and were happy just to have warm feet.

Life was good; we did not even know that paedophiles existed in our charmed world. Our parents let us walk to school, so obviously no one had told them either about these bad people. In return we did not tell them of our adventures of swimming in fast flowing rivers and the games we played on breaking up ice floes in springtime…we knew of people who had drowned, but not THAT many…

Now the mums have to buy big black cars and become taxi drivers for their offspring, and by the time the kids turn ten they have sleepless nights before Christmas because they can’t think of anything new they still have to have. They have their laptops, WII’s, IPods, IPads and scooters and trail bikes, and socks and shoes to die for with labels etched into them. Even the pencil cases have to be bought only at some special Smiggle shop; pens and rubbers from K-Mart just don’t cut it…

On Christmas Eve Dad and Big Brother used to go to our own forest and came back with a proper Christmas tree, a spruce with sturdy branches, branches so strong you could hang  edible red apples on them, and of course home-made gingerbread biscuits and real candles firmly sitting in their holders…no, we never managed to start a fire…We made sure all the edibles were eaten before the 6th of January, the Finnish Independence Day, and also the customary date for taking the Christmas tree down and out.

Little Max saw a black plastic Christmas tree the other day at some shopping mall and thankfully thought it was horrid, so would have my Mum, if we would have talked about it too loudly on her well-kept grave.

They don’t make Childhoods or Christmases like they used to. I only hope that it is still politically correct to wish you all a very good Christmas…!

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Giving up?

March 27, 2012

If there is one thing that could tip me over the edge, it would be that modern phenomenon; the mobile phone. I have always been a difficult customer, perhaps not meant for anything much more complicated than opening an umbrella or rinsing out the tomato- sauce bottle.

Perhaps my inherited frugal gene is to blame, forever ferreting to save and scrounge for the maximum that costs the minimum. My days of hanging around a phone waiting for calls from friends have long since gone with most calls now coming from unknown sources urging me into the world of a Black-Berry or some other mysterious device. Change your plan through us, they text. “You’ll save with us”, is the lure that got me last time and is now the cause for ‘over the edge tipping.’

I have become a victim of a device that connects five other devices. It does so wirelessly but not effortlessly. All you need do is insert a little card and you get connected to all those devices. That card is called Sim-card. Don’t be fooled by its short name. It’s holding the whole world to ransom. It’s a terrorist in disguise.

My own aim has always been to seek simplicity and certain disconnectedness. This aim is probably steeped in wanting as little responsibility as is humanly possible and… A kind of laziness not to get involved in anything distracting me from …whatever it is that fills my head at the time, most likely, nothing much really.

My dream still is to live in a square room made of straw bales. It would have a wooden floor and a cozy wood heater in the middle. I would live out of a suitcase and eat simple food, may be lentils or smoked pork spare ribs with apples cooked with rhubarb and crumble on top, a simple glass of red wine afterwards…Sleep on a kapok mattress and read Patrick White’s Voss under a kerosene light.

With the $30. – Pre-paid mobile connectivity, it kept me reasonably in touch with any emergency that might pop up. The emergency might be a call from the hearing-aid centre for an appointment or a cheerful reminder that 80% credit has been used up, nothing much more than the most mundane of calls.

I often wished I could get an insight why so many are glued to those devices. If not held to their ears they have them in their hands and they are so busy flicking up and down, even sideways. What am I missing out on? What sort of fascinating world is escaping me?

I believe that undertakers are flat tack with people having been run over by semi-trailers while crossing the road and stroking their IPods, IPad and multiple other connect devices with numerous Apps and Blackberries stand alone. What a riveting world it all has come to!

My latest sojourn into that, to me denied, world of devices was an invite on my $30.- pre-paid for a WeiWah wire free Wi Fi modem that would connect up to five devices. Can you imagine; five devices? It was guaranteed to open a world hitherto unknown to me. Not only that, for a mere $49.95 a month it was going to give me 10 gigabytes of this ‘open world’. It was just too tempting.

Of course my ignorance in those matters I keep close to my chest. Not wishing to show my ignorance and lack of confidence in general, I quickly nod in agreement when experts try and inform and instruct me on device connectivity. Any gadget that uses electricity, especially if it has a screen with options and menus instantly fills me with dread.” Open up tools, please”, they tell me. “What tools”, I ask. I then quickly resort to seemingly understanding it all.

I can’t tell you how close I came to tipping over the edge. Optus must now be having conference calls over it. I became the despair of the Philippines call centre. India gave up on me a long time ago. No matter how patient they all were, nothing connected, nothing worked. I removed the dreaded Sim-card, wiped it and even put it in reverse, all to no avail (as they say in romantic novels when the hero just can’t seem to be able to seduce a recalcitrant virgin).

I must have spent an entire year of $49.50 per month in trying to find this so much desired connectivity. It finally turned out the mini Wi Fi WeiWah wire free was faulty. So, there you go. All that modernity, all those wonderful opening up of a new world, once again denied through a mere faulty ‘device’.

Where are the straw bales?

They work till they drop.

February 8, 2012

They stand until their legs swell and they can’t walk, and they perform repetitive motions on the production line for so long that some permanently lose the use of their hands

According to the New York Times, that’s what life is like for people working at a factory in Shenzhen, China, where Apple manufactures iPhones, iPads and other devices. To cut costs, managers even make workers use cheap chemicals that cause neurological damage.

Apple is hyper-conscious of its brand and reputation — so after this unprecedented international scrutiny, they’re scrambling to persuade the world they care about their employees. There’s never been a better time to demand Apple look after its employees.

Mark Shields, a self-described member of the “cult of Mac,” started a global petition on demanding Apple exert its influence on its suppliers to improve working conditions — click here to sign Mark’s petition right now.

Conditions are so bad, that there has been a rash of suicides at the Foxconn plant, and 300 workers recently threatened to jump off the roof over a safety and pay dispute.

In short, as one former Apple executive told the New York Times“Most people would be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”

But Apple knows it can play an important role in ensuring safe and fair working conditions for the workers at its suppliers, like Foxconn. Since 2005, the company has performed hundreds of audits of their Chinese suppliers — exposing numerous violations.

But that’s where Apple’s commitment falters: the number of supplier violations has held steady year to year and Apple hasn’t consistently publicly stated which suppliers have problems or dropped offending suppliers.

Click here to sign Mark’s petition demanding Apple change the way it does business.

The bottom line, Apple executives admit, is that they’re not being forced to change.

One current executive told the New York Times that there’s a trade-off: “You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories,” he said, or you can “make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards.

And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

That means public pressure is the only thing that can force Apple to ensure its suppliers treat workers humanely. If enough people sign Mark’s petition — and tell Apple they care more about human beings than they do about how fast the company can produce the next generation iPhone — the company could be convinced to make real change for the workers at Foxconn and other factories. Sign the petition now.

Thanks for being part of this,

Nick and the team

“Boredom”, a new artform.

December 12, 2011

“Boredom”, the modern Art form.
My father used to say that if you are bored it is because ‘you’ are boring. They were wise words. Parents knew more then. If fifty years ago someone would have said that in the future a majority of people would spend a large part of their lives staring at small square objects, they would have called for a strong nurse with a straightjacket and some tablets. My parents would probably conclude by saying, “you and the whole world have all become boring”.

Yet, today this has become the norm. No matter where one goes, it is the same sad sight. There they are, all stooped over their IPod, IPad, Kindle, mobile phone or some other small square object. It seems to have overtaken all in its path, a tsunami of hundreds of millions worldwide stooping down, staring at their laps, oblivious of climate, people, geographical situation or indeed life itself. Who on earth would have thought it even remotely possible?

How did this come about and why? Years ago, we used to talk, look at each other. Do you still remember the sound of words when people opened their mouths? We exchanged ideas became animated and bounced of each other’s differences and enjoyed social intercourse. Trains and trams had passengers that talked, used real words with utterances of sounds. It’s eerily quiet now on the train, heads bowed in obedience to the square gadget. People and voice connectivity has now been replaced with a set of electronic devices which connects us, supposedly, to a different level of public togetherness which is called ‘social media’. We have books now which instead of words in a certain and highly individual order, as in the past, have now been replaced with ‘face books’. It’s all part of this phenomenon of ‘social media’, and is a world- wide movement keeping us ‘in touch’. In touch with what? In touch with that square object in your lap, isn’t it?

Together with keeping in touch through the new ‘social media’ there has been a marked decline in children on the streets. There is no more need for that because they all keep in touch with each other through their electric Face- books. It even shows a picture of your friend, what more could you probably want from friendship? You exchange sharp little messages, such as “I am here, where are you”? Or, “how many friends have you on Face-book?” “I have thirty six now, but have dumped Sharon”; “she is such a bitch”. “Have you still got Sharon on yours?” Nah. (Three months later Sharon has hanged herself).

Of course, interconnectivity is what we are all on about. We connect as never before and have even become intimate with our TV, also involving it with our need to socially be ‘involved’. Rhythmically we sway in front of it, our Wii consoles talking to us, interlude and interactive with music, keeping us in touch with ourselves and as an extra bonus keeping us fit. A newer version has hit the market. It is a device that mirrors our movement in front of the TV. This is so great for involvement of many of us with immediate proof of it and directly in front of us on TV and our own eyes. Think of it, hundreds of millions in the most extraordinary physical contortions in front of the TV all busy with ‘media’ in one form or the other. And then there is all that texting and tweeting to get involved with. It just never stops with all that ‘socially connectivity.’ It’s all so much me and more of me.

At school drop-off’s and pick-ups, again the same world of those little square devices, mothers, sometimes fathers, all on their e-phones, texting while waving a hand to their off-spring. How will language as we know it survive? Tweeting limits itself to one hundred forty characters. In days gone by, the art of writing was abandonment in using words not counting characters.

Mind you, there is light at the tunnel. Already the innovation in pushing more of those devices onto the market has calmed down. Perhaps, the limit has been reached. After all, we cannot just phone, but also e-mail, send pictures and locate where we are, all on the one gadget. What more could one want? It seems that apart from ‘astral travel’ electronically, the end of this rather silly ‘social media’ might have been reached.
In my area, the local skate-board park is busy with kids queuing up. Are they getting fed up with all those little gadgets? I sincerely hope so. Kids are not boring but those addicted to ‘social media’ are. They are so….. utterly boring.