Gosh my phone was busy on Thursday morning! I had been working in a fairly new development less than a mile from home, actually built on the grounds of the school that once stood there. My two sons attended that school for a few years until we moved them to another later on. The school was what we call a private school here in the UK (and elsewhere), one which levies a fee each term for the private education they provide. Those fees amounted to thousands of pounds (Sterling) each term, money we could ill-afford to pay by ourselves though we did make contribution toward the cost. E’s parents paid the majority of the cost until we decided the children would do better in a State-run school. They did very well, even better, at their new school and both ended up with a degree at their respective universities. Of course we had to support them whilst they were there. Their old school had been completely renovated and turned into luxury apartments and new buildings had been erected in the school grounds too. It was in one of those buildings I went to work on Thursday morning but I’d hardly stepped over the threshold when my phone rang and then continued to do so during the two hours I was there. It was a bit of a nuisance having to down tools to answer the phone each time it rang. Fortunately the lady of the house was sympathetic. This is why I think people should attempt to contact me in the evenings rather than during the day unless they have an emergency. A week or so ago I visited a house some miles north of town to check out a faulty cooker circuit. Maybe my readers will remember that I had to replace a faulty switch and disconnect wiring that shouldn’t have been connected to it? The switch had been positioned in a very awkward place and had been difficult to remove. Anyway the lady of that house was one of the callers on Thursday morning. Evidently her cooker had ceased working. Naturally I arranged to call there once I had completed the work I was engaged in doing when she called. On my arrival an hour or so later I discovered that the ‘fault’ wasn’t a fault at all, she had switched the timer to automatic mode instead of manual mode! Once I corrected that the cooker worked perfectly. She apologised profusely but I knew she was under pressure as an hour later her husband would be on his way to hospital for a major operation to remove a cancerous tumour. I didn’t levy a charge but she insisted I take something anyway. I drove homeward to a relaxing afternoon……………but the phone carried on ringing now and then.
Long, long ago when the world ran at a slower pace and my life was quiet and peaceful I was content and happy. As I grew into adulthood everything began to change but it was still all very manageable and life plodded along as it had always done for quite some time until fairly recently. I would say that the pace of life, my life, began to increase incrementally around about the birth of our first child who was born in 1982. A couple of years earlier saw the advent of home computers though at that time domestic connections to the rest of the world through computers was unheard of. The Internet hadn’t arrived on the scene yet. I remember seeing one of the first house phones which featured a screen and could receive and send emails! That would have been around 1998. Along came the Internet in the early 1990’s after years of development which began in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Home computers connected to the Internet have developed significantly since their inception say in the mid 1990’s and have become as standard in homes as the early telephones had years before. The world got the communication bug initially for commerce and industry but there was always going to be a need on a personal level once the possibilities presented themselves. It is one of those areas which has been generated and developed by commerce and now commerce greatly benefits from it. Putting it another way, it is a money spinner where everyone can benefit. The problem with this is that anything that can generate an income is heavily sought after and promoted until the whole system practically depends upon it. In fact it does depend upon it. You could say that we have created a monster which has an insatiable appetite and you would be right. The problem for individuals is that they can be bombarded with promotional advertising so much so that they feel they have to go with the flow so to speak and indeed some do just that. We are told that we need things or that things are a ‘must have’ commodity and that ‘everyone’ wants one. People just don’t know how to say no. Unsolicited and promotional advertising to me is quite frankly a nuisance and I despise it. I do my best to avoid it all. Any emails I get which promote or offer a service which I haven’t requested get deleted. Paper mail gets the same treatment. Adverts on the television get muted whilst they run. I don’t want any of it unless I have asked for it. I just want to be left alone. I prefer a life that runs slower, a life where I have to make an effort to communicate or to discover that which I want to purchase. I pity the poor salesperson who politely approaches me to ask if they can assist. The answer will always be no but I will ask if I need help.
Many of my readers will know that I have an aversion to modern communication technology, though ‘communication’ itself isn’t an issue with me. When it was possible to carry around a telephone wherever one went I was all in favour of it and I am still. What I don’t like, or rather what does not appeal to me is the ability to have the world in my pocket, being able to download or upload data in vast quantities. I am not into having loads of applications on my phone seemingly to make my life easier or under better control when in fact I really don’t need it. In basic terms I don’t want an electronic device running the way I live my life. What I do want is to be available when someone wishes to speak with me or if I wish to speak with someone else I am able to do so. To a much lesser degree and for me it is very much a lesser ideal is to be able to deliver a message through texting. So far this year I doubt I have used the texting service more than once and then only to reply to a friend by asking her to email me instead. I don’t text! The phone for me is for speaking to people not leaving them messages. Anyway to that end I would like to be able to use a simple phone that only offered speech and maybe texting but they no longer exist for use on today’s networks. The old networks used analogue transmitters and receivers whilst new networks have switched to digital transmission and reception. Second generation (2G) phones are basic but digital but even they are equipped with more applications than merely voice and text. In this country most people who have mobile phones have 3 or 4G models which have a higher capability than the 2G ever had though surprisingly they often have to use the 2G network in use. The 2G network is slower as the need for 2G phones is limited and doesn’t require the higher speed and data transmissions that the 3 and 4G phones need. It is unlikely that the 2G system will be switched off in the near future because its infrastructure allows the use of higher level phones to be used in places they would otherwise be denied. That will change eventually I have no doubt but until the whole industry gears itself for the up and coming 5 and possibly 6G phones by building a dedicated infrastructure for these phones the 2G network will remain. It is called progress. By the time all of this comes about I doubt I will need the use of a mobile phone any longer so it will be of no consequence to me.
My house phone is very seldom used for outgoing calls and even incoming calls are few unless someone is requesting my services. In the past I received many nuisance calls usually from businesses doing cold calls but that has mostly ceased though the occasional caller gets through. I can tell when the call is from such businesses as soon as I pick up the phone. If I answer then I receive an automated advertising message presumably because the computer sending out the messages recognizes that a voice has spoken. Sometimes there is complete silence before I can hear the background noise often associated with a call centre. In either case the phone is immediately returned to its holder and the call is ended. With my mobile phone it is different. Businesses have resorted to withholding their number in many cases so I have no idea if the caller is genuine, that is they wish to speak to me about a job or engage in a private conversation. Regular callers are added to my contacts list so I can recognize them immediately and in most cases they do not withhold their number anyway. If I answer a call from a withheld number it is often from a business advertising themselves. I can block such callers however with the phone’s security program application, for my phone I use Kaspersky. However, sneaky as these business companies are they now often send a text message which is easily dispatched to the deleted items bin or worse still they leave a recorded message. Because again, I have no idea who sent the message when I retrieve my recorded messages those messages reach my ear. Of course I immediately delete the message. If there is one thing I hate most about modern technology it this persistent pestering by companies wishing to tell me I may be entitled to compensation for miss-sold PPIs or I may be due for compensation after an automobile accident which wasn’t my fault. Aside from the fact that I have neither I think it is such an imposition and a down right nuisance to have to put up with these things especially as I have no interest in them whatsoever. The only way to stop receiving these cold calls is to stop using the phones it seems because legislation if it exists, is as weak as a kitten.
One of Lucy’s posts prompted this one. In her blog she talked about investing in another mobile phone, in this case an updated version to the one she now possesses. I can see the logic in her reasoning and why she wanted an upgraded phone. Well that’s all very fine for Lucy and for the many millions of folk who, like her, like the technology. For myself however, it is all of no interest. I do understand why people want the latest phone, computer, iPad and tablet because of what can be done with them. They are useful in today’s environment for many reasons but I resist to go with the flow. I do not need the technology handy as it very well may be. I buy into things I have a use for otherwise I don’t buy. What many people cannot see with all this technology is the erosion of their freedom and I don’t just mean freedom of choice. Lucy mentioned the fact that an Internet-connected phone will be necessary to own in order to photograph cheques that we may receive from clients or anyone else we deal with financially. This means that if such a phone isn’t in your possession you will not be able to deposit a cheque unless you visit the bank in person. If ever we lose the ability to deal in cash this could be a problem and indeed governments would dearly love cash to disappear and for us all to use debit and credit cards but cash has advantages too, especially where small amounts are being dealt with. Cash is easier and less complicated to use. Societies of the future will be cash-free, cheque-free and dare I say, card-free too! It is suggested that everyone will not only embrace technology but it will literally be a part of them! One micro-chip inserted beneath the skin would keep records of health, social interaction, location, financial transactions and without the need to carry any other means of identification either as all the information about us will be burnt into the chip too! Now of course this suggestion doesn’t hold much credence as yet but you can be sure that it will in the future. Just how far into the future is anyone’s guess. In Biblical terms it is the mark of the beast and a prophecy, something forecast to happen. I have every reason to believe it.
Getting back to the Internet phone, it isn’t for this reason that I object to the technology, at least at this time, it is simply that I don’t like things being pushed into my face encouraging me to get involved when I have no wish to. I do see this sort of thing as the thin end of a very large wedge but there again, I believe what is written in The Bible.
Whether I have my advert in the paper or not seems not to make any difference lately for even though it hasn’t been in the paper for two weeks I have had enough work to make it worthwhile. On Tuesday I got up and dressed in what I call my ‘no intention’ wear, that is anything but the clothes I would wear for work. It made no difference as I got a call anyway and had to change late in the morning to go to work. The evening before I had received a call from a guy whom I had done electrical work for before and he asked if I would be interested in doing several jobs for him. He
installs gas boilers amongst other things but there is seldom a power supply to run the boilers near to hand. The jobs would be to wire an outlet or power supply for each boiler. The problem is that there are lots of boilers to do. I don’t particularly want the volume of work each week but I said I would do some of them as needed. So I went to the job and stood around for over an hour waiting for him to arrive at the house because he said the occupant would be at work but as it turned out the lady of the house was in. She seemed reluctant for me to start the work before the guy arrived so I waited until he did. I made my assessment of the job in hand whilst I waited. Eventually he arrived and after five minutes he was gone. It took me a mere fifty minutes to finish the job. I could have had it done before he arrived, The lady of the house couldn’t believe how quick I had been but was well pleased that I had made no mess whatsoever in doing it. When I got back home E had gone out somewhere so I got changed back into my no intention wear and dined out at my local pub. I had planned to go farther afield for my meal but decided I didn’t want to drive too far, which is probably what I would have done. It doesn’t matter anymore if E wants to be the way she is, I am fed up with her attitude and quite frankly have had enough. It leaves me with no companionship nor anyone to talk with most of the time for there is no-one in my life apart from her. She on the other hand has family living close by and she is part of a group of like-minded people who do competitions so she gets to meet with them once a month too. I know, I could join a club or something too but there are no such groups I know of which I would like to join just to be able to chat with people, it just isn’t me. The thing I like doing when not involved with my own interests is chatting with people and that is why I go to the pub. Why do you think I took to ‘blogging’? Nothing seems to matter anymore, it’s all a matter of time.
I am fascinated in the way people communicate with those who are deaf. I refer to the use of ‘signing’, using the hands to convey messages. That of course is fine if the recipient can see, it must be so very hard to communicate with someone who is both deaf and blind. However I don’t wish to write about using sign language at this time and neither do I wish to talk about hands signs we all know and use every day because we are out of earshot of those we wish to alert. Of course there are the bad hand signs that people use too and I am not going there either! I was watching the morning news on television a while ago and something about the presentation struck me. It wasn’t the news itself, nor was it the people presenting it or even the guests they had. What struck me was the fact that all of them were using their hands to aid communication, simply gesturing to emphasise what they were saying. I often wonder why people do that, it isn’t something I do myself as a rule, though I might do sometimes probably without realising it. I suppose many who gesture in this way probably are not consciously aware they do it either. One would think the voice alone sufficient to relay a message but evidently it appears not. Take a moment to think of all the people in your circle of contacts or family who communicate with the aid of gestures. It may surprise you in one way or another. I remember an old saying about the people of France who have been regarded in the past as a nation of folk given to using their hands and arms a lot when speaking, which went something like this….’Tie a Frenchman’s hands behind their back and they will become mute’! It isn’t true of course but it makes you think. So why do we use our hands to convey or to support what we are saying and is it really necessary? I am of the opinion that those who use gestures as an aid are probably not confident in what they are saying, it’s as if they are attempting to influence the recipient’s response and acceptance. I think that if a comment needs bolstering it is probably a false statement but I do admit that those who use gesturing are not necessarily deliberately trying to convince. If I am wrong about this I hold up my hands….LOL
I am amazed at the progress we have seen in computers and what they have become. They are used in all areas of our lives from control and monitoring to medicine and communication. They are simply everywhere. The beauty about computers is the fact that are extremely fast at processing information and implementing any necessary resulting action. They cannot act as quickly as the human brain and even the most sophisticated of them, as yet at least, cannot process information as fast and efficiently as the human brain. What it can do much faster is crunch numbers, that is carry out complicated mathematical problems in the blink of an eye. Without computers you wouldn’t be able to do what you are doing right now, reading this post! I didn’t want to talk about computers though but you have to admit they are a study all to themselves. You dear reader no doubt run your own daily/weekly ‘blog’ and it obviously gives you some pleasure else you wouldn’t bother doing it. You also enjoy reading what other folk write in their blogs else you wouldn’t be here now reading this. Well you gotta do something to pass the time, you gotta have something to do that is different from the rest of your daily life but it’s all about communication with other human beings. We all feel that need to reach out to others in our lives whether that be face to face and talking, over a telephone or by the written word as here. We are drawn to those we like or perhaps what they write and what they have to say. Maybe we share the same interests or we have some common ground but sometimes we reach out for other reasons, perhaps we are lonely or just wish to make new friends and acquaintances. Well again, you gotta have something to do. Writing this has given me something to do, filling a small piece of my day before I move on to something else, in this case I am off to bed next as it is approaching midnight and I have to get up for work in the morning. Pleasant dreams! (I wrote this late on Monday evening by the way)
Is it any wonder I dislike too much technology in my life? Technology is great, when it works and flawlessly but nothing man has made is faultless. The computer on which I write this post is a wonderful invention but like everything else it seizes up sometimes. The hardware is far better than hardware of old and the software is far more sophisticated but therein lies the problem. Software incompatibility causes occasional lock-ups requiring resetting of the machine. The best response I got from someone who knows about computers when this happened to me in the past was, ‘They do that sometimes’. Not really the answer I was looking for, the software problems should not be there in the first place. I resist technology as much as I can but these days it is almost impossible in a modern society. The computer is a very useful tool for many reasons but they can go wrong. A couple of months ago I was forced to exchange my mobile phone because it ceased working. It wasn’t the battery so it must have been the electronic circuitry. In any event it became useless. I was given a smart phone as a replacement. As it happened I was due to have a replacement phone (if I wanted one) as part of my contract agreement. I didn’t really want a smart phone as I don’t have a need for one. The many applications on board don’t get used. All I want is to be able to call people and maybe answer text messages (I don’t send text messages normally) also being able to use the ‘Bluetooth‘ facility enabling the use of my hands-free system in my vehicle (to receive calls only as I don’t make calls when driving). During the last week or so I noticed strange things happening when using the phone. I found the touch screen not responding first time when I ‘swiped’ it, not being able to end a phone call easily once or twice or remove a text message notification when I had finished reading it. Actually I hadn’t read the message knowing it to be ‘spam’ but simply deleted it. The last straw came a couple of days ago when I received a call from a then unknown caller. Thinking it was a request for work naturally I answered but I found I couldn’t accept the call quickly and the caller disconnected. I decided to call the number and found I was connected to an answering machine at a local government department for family affairs. I tried to disconnect but found I couldn’t. The phone was all over the place and not responding to any attempt to control it. The normal screen for disconnecting a call wouldn’t appear and eventually I had to remove the phone’s battery. That in itself was quite an achievement as the back of the phone is difficult to remove for obvious reasons. It took quite a few minutes before the phone went ‘live’ again but that connection had finally been cut. One positive side effect was the disappearance of that text message indicator where no text existed! I could have held the ‘off’ button for a few seconds more but it seemed to me that it wasn’t responding. Taking out the power supply will do it every time! Now you know why I like things to remain simple, bog-standard and simple.
The world has gone gadget mad, the more wealthy of civilisation that is for there are numerous people in the world who cannot afford to eat never mind thinking about buying gadgetry. Those who have the money to lavish upon the latest tablet, smart phone, laptop or anything else that connects them to the Internet seem never to be satisfied. I wonder how many hours of those people’s lives are wasted browsing on their devices. Some will say and do say that these devices can be very useful tools to have at our disposal for times when things go wrong or when information is needed. Well I have to concur but I know that I will most probably only use my (smart) phone other than for communicating very rarely if ever for anything else. Whilst using my new phone it has become apparent that it gobbles up power! So that I can see more clearly how much power is left on the device I downloaded an application that monitors power consumption and displays the amount of power available as a percentage, far easier than trying to gauge it just by looking at the little green icon. It is of course the screen which uses the most power but applications left running in the background can do the same. This means that if I were to be constantly surfing the Internet or playing games the battery would soon be depleted, not a good idea for someone who relies upon her phone for business. The problem will not arise in my case though but it probably will for those who like to spend a lot of time using their devices away from home. So I got to thinking that people must need to carry around with them the charger and lead so they can top-up the battery if they can find somewhere to do that, if they wish to spend hours on their phones or other devices. Not very practical is it? So again I got to thinking why manufactures haven’t developed devices which charge themselves when in an illuminated place using photo cell technology, it’s not a new idea, it is used elsewhere in electronic devices. Size matters though and perhaps the technology is too cumbersome to incorporate within small phones but it should be possible to incorporate in larger devices such as laptops and tablets for topping-up when the device is idle. Just a thought. If an ordinary charger cannot be used a purpose-built plug-in photo cell charger could be carried to charge the device instead and indeed these devices are available though they tend to be pre-charged batteries and not dynamic photo cell chargers.
It is all very well having this wonderful technology but power is needed to keep them working!