You will be wondering what ‘I G’ stands for. Well you’ve heard of ‘I T’. I am sure. ‘I T’ or Information Technology, the technique of gathering information or rather the means thereof. To quote Wikipedia ‘I T’ is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data. Actually humans have been gathering and manipulating information since time immemorial, there is nothing new about that. Today we have computers which take the hard work out of it but the information has to come from somewhere for computers to do that work. ‘I G’ therefore stands for Information Gathering which has to be performed first of all. Data collected is then stored for reference and manipulation as needed later. Surveys are one way of gathering information.
Occasionally I am asked to do a survey online and the information is used by the Government or local authority hopefully to better the community. Whether that actually happens is a matter of conjecture but the surveys do allow anyone partaking to give their opinion on a wide range of subjects. Hopefully these ‘questionnaires’ are innocuous but not all are. There is always the danger of revealing too much information, even delicate information if one is not wise to it.
Some surveys (probably more than we think) hide the real reasons for conducting them. The questions might be aimed toward our habits, what we buy, what we use with the view to bombarding us with advertisements which we might be interested in later. Sales marketing uses crafty methods to get across information and goods they want us to purchase. The questions asked of us are disguised and hidden among others in the survey so as not to put us off. Wise people see through all of this and don’t respond. I do such surveys because I am rewarded and for no other reason. I can be asked about anything but it doesn’t mean I get hooked into purchasing.
Watching the television for me can be a very active occupation……….for my index finger! Isn’t technology wonderful? No, not really, for me anyway, I am not into technology, at least in unessential areas. Technology is great in certain fields like medicine, policing and other areas to an extent. The advent of the television remote control was one such innovative and useful invention which put an end to having to arise from the armchair to change channels.
However, since televisions developed and progressed as they have they became computers in the process too. This meant the controller needed to be more sophisticated too. Now we can search through program menus and text information without effort and without getting out of the chair. For me though the greatest part of that technology is the ability to switch off the sound whilst the advertisements are running! One of the reasons I like the BBC channels is the fact that they have no advertisements to bore me soft. It isn’t that advertising is really a bad thing but the way the advertisers operate these days is irritating and annoying. As an example I was watching a certain program which ran for an hour and after the first ten minutes there was an advertising slot which ran for five minutes. This pattern followed through the whole hour which meant the program content lasted forty minutes and the advertisement lasted twenty minutes or half as long as the program. In fact by the time the program’s introduction and ending credits had run the program was only thirty-five minutes long! What made it worse was the adverts were repeated time and time again as if the advertisers were trying to brainwash the viewer. Actually that is what they are trying to do! It doesn’t work with me. Knowing a particular brand and having the advert pushed in my face over and over again only serves to put me off and it doesn’t influence my purchases. Enter my index finger…..when the adverts start my finger pushes the mute button. I guess I am one of those people, and I’ll wager there are many, who are an advertiser’s nightmare…….we just don’t want to know.
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
I happened to have seen an advertisement on the television during a program I had been watching and it was in regard to a new model of mobile phone by manufacturer ‘Samsung‘. Like most adverts use of subtleties, suggestions and general assumptions were used to convey the idea that we, the public, wanted what was advertised. Throughout the advert a song was being played, the words of which suggested we did, ‘Give them what they want’……Well maybe I am the odd one out here but that suggestion is a subtle way of attempting us to believe that we want the latest product because everyone else wants one and I am not taking the bait. In fact I don’t like the kind of technology that one day threatens to run our lives. If you don’t believe that then just look around and see how many people are joined at the hip to their ‘smart’ phones. No-one takes any notice of their surroundings anymore, their eyes are glued to their little (or big) screens and their ears are being pumped whatever sounds they are tuned into. This is only the beginning, technology is only in its infancy despite what has been achieved so far. You can be sure more is to come. In relation to the Bible verses above one day technology will dispense with the need to carry cash, cards (even those with RFID chips) or smart phones to make purchases. The technology will be inside us! Those who allow it that is. However, as the verses state, nothing will be purchasable without it! We will be under the control of others………….Okay it might not happen during our own lifetime but there again the technology is already here and in some countries people really do have RFID chips implanted. Imagine what the world would be and will be like when everyone has implanted technology………
Read the Book of Revelation. It is the last book in The Bible for a reason……
How many times have you received unsolicited mail whether paper or electronic? Telephone calls from unknown callers? I’ll wager many and if you are anything like me you are probably fed up with it all. It is easy to throw away unsolicited paper mail and just as easy to delete emails. Telephone calls are a nuisance and the only solutions are hang-up, block (if it is possible) or simply don’t answer. All are an inconvenience and as far as I am concerned an intrusion. Many years ago I realised that advertising, aside from it being necessary for promoting business, was also becoming a nuisance in the way it was being thrust upon us. In today’s world it has become increasingly aggressive too. I remember years ago being encouraged to make savings by buying certain brands over others or encouraging me to save money by taking up special offers. ‘Save 10, 15 even 20% by buying our goods’ is a frequently used phrase in the advertising world. My answer to that one is that I can make even more in the way of saving, 100% ! Why would I want to make a saving of 20% when I can make one of 100% ? In other words, I am not interested. I am disinterested in the majority of advertising that comes my way no matter which form it takes. Too much advertising produces a negative response. My attitude had always been and will always remain, if I didn’t ask for it I don’t want it! My recycle bins get full very quickly. Unwanted and unsolicited phone calls have the sender’s number listed on my phone as ‘Spam’, Spam 1, Spam 2 and so on so that each time they call I can see who it is and ignore them. If I could block them I would. Presently there are nineteen of them on my mobile phone. If by chance an unsolicited call comes through on the house phone and I answer I immediately hang up once I realise it is an unsolicited call. My house phone isn’t listed in the directory and even has a block on it but still some calls get through now and then. Life it seems is a battle with advertising companies but one I will engage in if that’s what it takes. For me it is all spam………..
I cannot escape it. Whenever the television is switched on and tuned-in to an independent broadcasting station I am bombarded with advertisements. I expect this of course but at this time of year the advertisements are aggressive and are so repetitive as to be annoying. As my readers I’m sure will know by now I detest advertising of this nature, in fact any dynamic and thrusting advertising but I do realise their necessity in the great scheme of things. As we are approaching Christmas the pressure to buy or invest in something is relentlessly pushed into our faces via the television screens. I often wonder how positive or negative the reaction to them is. For a few months now furniture manufacturers have constantly advertised their goods and the fact that they can deliver them before Christmas day. They subtly suggest how would-be buyers would benefit from having new furniture both to take advantage of their ‘special offers’ and to be able to accommodate their guests on the big day. We are made to think that we cannot do without new furniture. Aside from the fact that most people do not need new furniture the offers are at a reduced price to persuade us otherwise. I wonder how much profit these companies make if they can offer goods at half-price and still be in pocket! It’s not just furniture it is perfume, alcohol, seasonal foods, clothing, watches, electronic equipment and one of the most annoying to me anyway, Internet and television media suppliers. If I’ve seen each one every day I have seen them twenty or more times. Where did ‘Black Friday‘ come from? They must be desperate for our custom. The mute button on my remote control unit gets pressed often!
It is all to do with life in a modern society but the sad thing is that most people are influenced and taken-in by all the hype and many end up with so much debt it is frightening. People need to realise they are not sheep, they do not have to jump on the band-wagon so eagerly because their friends or family have done. This is the secular world, driven and kept well-oiled by commercialism which can only end when it runs out of steam. That energy is sapped out of all those who allow it but the people are blind. The people are comfortable with it all but don’t realise they are being manipulated. I took a step back from the false security that is secularism. It has no future, it is heading nowhere. I fell in love with my Creator and placed all my hope in Him. I fell in love with Jesus and have a future not based upon the secular life and all the material blessings I might gain from it. In the end they perish and have to be left behind one day. Can you see why I look at the ways of the world the way I do? Can you see what an empty future you have if you put your trust in worthless things, the things the secular world offers? Don’t take the advertisements too seriously. Take the offer your Creator God offers, the FREE gift of life everlasting in Jesus Christ.
My rest from electrical work was ended on Thursday, the day following my advert‘s return in the newspaper. Yes, advertising does work where services are concerned anyway, I am not too sure about other reasons for advertising. I think the car advert is hilarious, don’t you? Television advertising for me does nothing but encourage me to reach over to the mute button on the remote control. That kind of advertising, though necessary, is wasted upon me. My phone kept ringing throughout the morning but I didn’t take on many of the offers. At least now I am beginning to build up more funds which will enable me to purchase plants for the garden in the days ahead. It was quite a cold day on Thursday and that was to continue for the foreseeable future, well it is Autumn after all. The lawn is yet again covered with fallen leaves and will remain that way until all the leaves have dropped to the ground! I had a great chat with the lady in one of the houses I worked in. We talked about gardening and plants. I had mentioned I was looking to buy some more plants for the rear garden and she made some suggestions but it is difficult when people haven’t actually seen the garden. I am all for a low maintenance garden where I don’t have to constantly prune back or weed out all the time. That isn’t totally possible, especially where weeds are concerned. In the two flowerbeds at the front of the house which I had cleaned up during the summer months and in which I laid chipped bark to curb the weeds, they still manage to grow in places! Despite the Autumn weather the gardens are looking well after all the work I put into them throughout the year. And I thought I hated gardening. I expect I will be doing much electrical work between now and Christmas, it usually happens that way and I will be glad for that but I still hope I will find things to do in the gardens too.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I was available for work as long as it didn’t involve some heavy moving. Unfortunately up until this moment on Thursday evening I haven’t been offered anything I wanted to take on. Oh I got plenty of calls from time wasters who didn’t know what they wanted when they called me and others who wanted me to do work that I don’t normally take on like repairing washing machines, fridges, cookers and such. Long ago I did do that sort of work but since becoming self-employed some eighteen years ago and even longer ago than that I ceased being involved in it. When people call me they don’t read the advert properly first so I often have to direct them to electricians who specialise in that work. I wouldn’t mind so much but these specialists do have adverts that specify what they do and their adverts are always printed close to the rest of us electricians so there isn’t really an excuse to call the wrong person. It may be a blessing in disguise that I am not getting the work at the moment for it is giving me more time for my back problem to improve, which it is doing by the way. It has been a lovely day today, very sunny but spoiled a little by the strong breeze. Apart from pottering about in the garden from time to time I have remained indoors. I mentioned yesterday that I intended to dine out but gave up on the idea thinking that I might have gone today instead. When I had the opportunity again today I decided I couldn’t be bothered and stayed at home instead. There is always tomorrow! That pretty much says it all, I just cannot be bothered sometimes. For readers who have been with me for a couple of years they will know that I get these moments from time to time whereby I just cannot be bothered to do things, even if I like doing them! Part of the reason for that attitude is a result of my present relationship with E and part of it is simply just down to me. My dreams and aspirations have changed so much over the last few years and I no longer find interest in many of the things I once did. It may be down to my age of course but it is also the realisation that everything in the material world has little interest for me and I think to myself ‘What is the point of it all’? Everyone around me is rushing here and there, buying this and that, moving house and working their socks off to pay for it all. It is a chasing after the wind and totally pointless. Yes, in a way I am glad to be able to rest and take the time to reflect on life.
I’ve mentioned many times in this blog how much I hate adverts and although I know they might be necessary, for me they are a pain in the proverbial! When television adverts appear on the screen I have the choice to mute the sound for as long as they are showing and they cease to be a distraction if I do something else for the duration. If I am tuned to a commercial radio station in my vehicle the only option I have it to either switch off the radio, try to ignore the adverts or just bear them! Reading a newspaper isn’t a problem, I simply read the news items and ignore everything else, though I will add that I seldom read newspapers anyway. Now when it comes to my computer, that is something different. Wherever I do my browsing I can be certain that I will be faced with adverts on the same page. The worst offender is my main email provider, AOL. There are so many adverts on their front page it is unbelievable and many of them are dynamic so that if my cursor accidentally drifts over them I am immediately taken to another page. Others follow my actions when I am scrolling up and down the page I am reading and form an irritating mobile panel to the right as if saying ‘you can’t get away, I am following you’! Others flash on and off in order to attract attention. It’s getting so bad I am frightened to check my emails!
If there is one thing I really hate about this form of advertising it is the way they are being pushed under my nose and into my face. Even if I was remotely interested in whatever was being advertised that sort of behaviour will always have the opposite effect upon me. This is the same kind of behaviour I am faced with by ‘cold callers’ too and why the calls either don’t get answered or if found to be such a call will be immediately disconnected. Leave me alone, your efforts are wasted on me. I have just seen a program on television about Oxford Street in London and the frantic attempts to oil the wheels of advertising in order to keep sales high. The whole street is geared to make people part with their money (as with any other high street in the land). There isn’t anything wrong in keeping the economy running of course and for those who don’t mind being bombarded with sales pitches that is fine. Not for me, no, not for me.
We waited patiently for the onset of Spring and it looked at last as if the days could only get warmer but this is the UK and our weather patterns are never always reliable. On Wednesday at least the country was more or less split in half regarding the weather. Those in the south were enjoying temperatures and sunshine more typical for the month of June or even July whereas those up north had to put up with cloudy skies and low temperatures and even rain in some places too. Temperatures in the south were in the low twenties and even as high as twenty-five degrees Celsius in places but in the north it was more like eleven degrees with a slight wind. As far as conditions are concerned the weather in the north was more typical for the season whereas in the south conditions were more unseasonal. The day was a one-off though for the main problem was the passing of a cold front making its way slowly southward. For such a small country there can be quite a difference in weather patterns between the most northerly point to the most southerly at almost any time of the year. On a more personal note, the weather was just fine for me. I was half expecting to get more job requests for the day but had just the one and that one a very small one indeed, to connect a cooker to its isolating switch. I was happy about that for it meant I would have most of the day to myself but I couldn’t do it until the cooker had been delivered at eleven o’clock. It was almost lunch time as I drove home but I decided to go for another pub/restaurant meal beforehand as I had only fruit for my breakfast some hours earlier. Just as I had put the van in the garage, for I had no intentions of taking anymore work for the day, my phone rang, but it wasn’t a job request this time. I advertise in a local free newspaper, one of two operating in the area. The call was from the other newspaper group trying to secure my business! They had been trawling their competitor’s newspaper looking for more business. I wondered if the group I advertise with do the same. I explained that as I only work part-time (more or less) and as I am also 69 years of age to boot, I didn’t want the volume of work and was quite happy with my current newspaper running my advert. I locked the garage and went indoors.
On Wednesday the weather had become far more settled than it had been and though I knew it wouldn’t last it was an opportunity to get out into the garden to clean up the leaves and to do other things. However, E had mentioned that the light in the garage she uses didn’t always switch on automatically when it was dark. I wired the system a couple of years ago and it incorporates a light level detector fitted outside, a reed switch on the garage door (roller door) which operates when the magnet attached to it activates the electronic circuit to switch on the light. The light can also be operated manually as normal. The problem needed sorting and so that was the first job I did. I adjusted the position of the reed switch to be closer to the magnet when the door was opened. Problem solved though I did carry out a further adjustment the following day. I discovered that the door’s lateral motion sometimes resulted in the space between the reed switch and the magnet being occasionally too wide. Anyway I got to clear away the leaves but by now it was almost lunchtime and I received a request to install a new security light to replace two smaller units that were inadequate. That job took me a couple of hours so when I arrived back home it was around three-thirty. I was hungry having had my breakfast seven hours earlier so I had a belated lunch. Come time for an evening meal I couldn’t eat one but simply had a couple of items of fruit instead. Most of the time I do without lunch if I have missed it and that often happens when I am out at work. I had received a message on the house phone to call the newspaper office in which my advertisement is published. I wondered why because I wasn’t due to purchase more space having had a couple of weeks of paid space in hand. It appeared that the girl was about to take some leave and wished to ensure my needs would be looked after whilst she was away. I wasn’t surprised at this because I would have called one week later to arrange the purchase of a further thirteen weeks of advertising space anyway. I told her that I had been taking stock of my situation and had been thinking about retirement. She was surprised and scared that I might be leaving the paper to advertise elsewhere. I reassured her that I wasn’t and for the time being was continuing to work. She sounded relieved and wished me luck for the future. I have been advertising with the newspaper now for seventeen and a half years. I wonder if I will reach twenty? We’ll have to wait and see.