6 October 2011

Posted by DMC on 7 October 2011 in Diary |

Like all good Englishman I shall start today by discussing the weather. I don’t know where the custom arose but it has always been considered to be a polite ‘ice breaker’ between comparative strangers or people meeting for the first time (if you’ll forgive the pun). Anyway the autumn is clearly upon us and the days of sitting in the garden in the sunshine enjoying a small cigar are probably behind us. I’ve always said that if I had a choice I would hibernate during the months of November to February thus avoiding the English winter altogether, unless, that is, I was free of family ties and could afford to spend that time, say in the Bahamas. (Not, I’m quick to add, would I wish to be free of family ties)

Having got that off my chest, what other news?

I can do no better than to quote the subtitle of today’s editorial in The Times. The Apple founder transformed the way we live and offered a model for Western companies in an increasingly competitive world. The editorial was headed
Great Jobs.

The editor was mourning the untimely passing of Steve Jobs – only 52 who died of pancreatic cancer -, the founder of Apple, the alternative computer to Microsoft, the inventor of the iPod, iPad etc, a man who has probably had more influence on the way we live now any other person alive or dead.

I rather like the quotation, by George Bernard Shaw, with which this article begins “.The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”

On this premise the editor goes on to describe Steve Jobs as ‘ an unreasonable man.. who refused to accept the world of technology as it was and in trying to adapt it to his vision of how it could be. He was spectacularly successful… ‘Apart from his computer hardware, ‘one of his greatest insights was to spot the potential of networking and the Internet…. His greatest strengths were that he was brave enough to think differently; bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it’.. What greater epitaph could a man have

Something else which has had a universal influence on millions of people, is the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). Particularly ,The World Service which broadcasts to the Third World. I was saddened to hear the news last evening that 2000 jobs in the BBC are to go in an attempt to save some billions of pounds and that, as a result we will get many more repeats (as if we don’t get enough as it is. As I turned on the television to catch the six o’clock news on BBC One, I could not help seeing the end of a quiz program entitled Pointless. Congratulations to the person who thought of the title as it is a succinct description of the programme itself and illustrates perfectly a point that I have made time and time again and that is, why an earth does it take 30 or 40 highly paid people to make even the simplest of programmes? Unfortunately being unable to hold a pen, I could not jot down the precise number of directors; produces; gaffers; technicians etc etc it took to make this anodyne play this programme, but I could guess that it was not far short of 40. Certainly there were something like eight or nine researchers, several producers and one Series Producer. Frankly, I would have thought, as a static show, at a pinch, it could have been filmed using a couple of handheld camcorders and a technician to do the editing and titles.

I also heard today that the promoters of the cartoon programme in America The Simpsons, lose money on every episode as they pay the voice-over actors $8 million (presumably for each series) If such extravagance is repeated within the BBC who need to save so much money they would be far better reducing the number of people engaged on such simple pointless programmes, at ridiculously disproportionately high salaries, or maybe they are locked in the jaws of the trade unions!

Dare I mention yet again that I have still not received a reply from Ruben, who I understand to be the senior technician of Nuance (my voice activation people). My problem started in June ,so shortly we will pass the six month point. The problem is I have no alternative but to continue with this voice activation system having no longer any use of my hands. The laptop has become my voice and therefore to take six months to resolve a problem with their own software is utterly ridiculous. Obviously, by persisting and finding clever ways of overcoming the problem I have been able to continue the blog but had I not been sufficiently computer literate I suggest a delay of six months between entries would have been sufficient to have killed it off altogether. This being so I can think of no more apt tale to tell you today than that of Silver Surfers. Click here



  • Hello Mark,
    I just want you to know that even in Austria we enjoy your Blog and had great fun in looking at your powerpoint presentation of yesterday. Too much airplane noise deteriorated my hearing so that I had to get a hearing aid recently (it still is not programmed to meet my requirements but I hope it will not take 6 months) so you can imagine how much Traudi laughed when I read your joke about the wife and the hearing test to her.
    Take care, Eugen

  • DMC says:

    Dear Eugen and Truadi

    our lovely to hear from you, it brings back many happy memories. I’m so glad that you are busy enjoying the blog. I do manage occasionally they get some very amusing things to put on it. Have you watched Cheap Flights and the voice activation lift one, both very funny.

    I hope you’re both well and do keep in touch.

    Kindest regards


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