Energy Issues

People talk about solar panels. These days, though, they probably mean PV panels. What’s the difference? Well, solar panels make hot water, but photovoltaic or PV panels make electricity.

When this PV panel thing started, for no real reason, they were wired up such that the electric meter turned backwards when the electricity produced by the panels exceeded the house’s needs. And that is fascinating. And a problem.

You see, your utility provider for electricity buys electricity from the grid-power station at wholesale prices. They add a markup and sell to you at their retail price. The meter keeps tabs on how much electricity you used.

However, if you produce electricity – turning back your meter, then you are effectively selling electricity to the utility company at the same retail price you buy from them.

The utility company is seeing this growing exponentially, and it is now asking for a review such that you ought to sell to them at the same wholesale price as the grid-power station supplier.

There is talk of two meters being required, two tariffs, and the PV panels wired up differently.

Watch this space.

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The Internet is Rubbish Now

You may be able to tell that I am upset. The Internet did this to me. I gave it many chances. I forgave and forgot. But no more.

We are all now in a weird place, don’t you think? Real retail shopping mall shops are failing us but so now is the Internet. And, after some reflection and consideration, the Internet is actually worse.

Over several weeks I shopped for clothes and shoes in massive malls. It was not a good experience; I am not a great one for shopping. After work, I would drive, park, and trudge through a mall, scour racks and shelves, try on items and struggle to refrain from despair.

Jeez. It’s not that I am a fashionista, thrifty, picky, unusually proportioned, or have anything terribly untoward going on. Really. It should never be this difficult.

I just wanted a pair of casual trousers or jeans that (a) had a zip fly, and (b) fitted me. The cost is not an issue. But it turns out that the button fly is massively dominant, and I have extraordinarily short legs (73 cm or about 29 American Imperial Inches).

This is a surprise to me because my legs have not changed in all my adult life, and I used to be able to swing into a shop back in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s and find a wide selection in my leg-length. So something has changed.

Maybe this is why I see so many hipsters folding up their trouser legs.

Additionally, I discovered to my horror that some manufacturers don’t bother with the traditional tried and tested measurements, and go for small, medium, large and XL. Yes, in menswear. For men. Crivvens, what is the world coming to?

Worse still – some labels are just wrong. It’s fake news all over again; I’d find a pair of trousers at 73/29 leg and it would cover my foot with the material – clearly longer than the label suggested! It is insane! Same with shoes. I’m a 44 (9.5 UK) – but some 44s I couldn’t get on if my foot had been lubed in goose fat first.

The shop assistants are hopeless too; it used to be a thing of annoyance in the past when assistants would ask if you needed help. My recent experience is that NO-ONE ever approaches you in any shop whatsoever. You could spend more time shopping for an assistant than shopping. And when or if you do find someone and ask for help, they say unhelpful things like:

“Yes, some manufacturers make a big small and some made a small small, so you have to ignore the label and just try everything on.”

I thought all that was bad enough, but the Internet was far worse.

For goodness sake, what is the point of a search engine that doesn’t provide results based on what was input?

It seems to me that – irrespective of what you type in – and regardless of syntax, the results (for pages and pages) are just plain wrong.

It seemed too odd, so I looked into it as much as the search engine would let me. It seems to be more about search engine optimisation (SEO), Google rules and algorithms, and less about the original concept of returning matches. Web pages now are Active Server Pages (asp and aspx) – or unsearchable for other reasons, so it’s not entirely the fault of the search engine.

Not only that, but the cookie and data exchange will inform the visiting site to change to suit an advertising and marketing brief.  The resulting web page (and prices) are based on what device you are using, how expensive and new it is, where you are on the planet, your history in terms of searching, shopping, and surfing. And who knows what else? Dynamic targeted marketing.

This does not take into account important things like (a) you could be shopping for a gift or searching on behalf of someone else, (b) you could be using your firm’s computer, routed through their London office, or (c) using a borrowed device.

The end result is a grand waste of time.

Ergo, the Internet is useless.

Trousers apart, I tried a lot of shoes and had to admit defeat. Clarks’s range is now tiny, Brantano has vanished. Deichmann never has my size, and I resorted to the likes of JD Sports and even Debenhams. No chance – and I am far from being fussy or “into shoes”.

As I liked the shoes I already have, I decided that I would try to get the exact same ones to replace them. My thinking was that I would not have to try them on – so perfect for Internet shoe shopping.

I tried all sorts of hacks and subversions – TOR browsers, cookie cleaners, search syntaxing, different search engines, reverse image searches and more besides. I eventually found a shoe that would exactly replace my old ones from a UK shop at a reasonable price of about £35.

When I went to the checkout, the web page had “Super fast delivery” ticked – and it wouldn’t let me untick the box! I had no option other than to accept £7.75 super fast delivery. That upped the cost considerably – I thought about all the weeks of time and effort already spent and decided to go ahead this one time.

Instead of £42.75, my credit card was charged over £48 because of a currency transaction! – Yep, they were coming from abroad – despite all my effort to search only UK shops and websites. Argh! All for a simple pair of size 9 lace-up grey/ blue casual canvasy shoes.

An unwanted increase of 39% on the price. And it turns out “Super Fast Delivery” is 7 to 10 days.

Eventually I received a pair of size 8 Beige Converse All Stars. In case you are not keeping up – this is a completely different shoe in every possible way.

Okay – if you have read this far, you are probably thinking I’ve ranted and got off my chest a gripe over trousers and a pair of cheap shoes, and that the problem is really just me as a person or my inability to deal with tech or shops or whatever. But is that true? I don’t think so.

I have just had venetian blinds made wrong and delivered late – twice. It’s not convenience, it’s not cheap, and it’s not a simple click. It’s just getting in the way. The Internet is like a bad translator or a deaf friend.

I think my experiences are typical; I hear others, younger and older with similar tales. We have ordered a bed online recently – and that is a saga too.

So what are we going to do about it?

We do what everyone does: we can accept it. We take the holidays we are given by the cookie monster fed Internet. We can accept delivery of clothes that don’t fit and either send them back or sell them on. Or we can return to real reality. That’s what I plan on doing.

I have finally realised that I need to cut out the Internet and take my chances in REAL LIFE.

And one more thing –  only shop when it is absolutely necessary.

Home Alone

I always thought it was illegal for parents to leave their children alone, but it turns out to be a myth; you can.

Parents can legally leave their children in cars, or at home, alone.

Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.

That’s all there is to it. It’s up to the parents throughout the UK to make that call.

I suppose then, that if a parent judges the children to be mature enough, and if they are in a safe environment for a short while, then – in the unusual event of something bad happening (such as an intruder), it would be irrational to blame the parents.

Being a “helicopter parent” is something I try to fight against; children need space to develop and grow – they need to go out with their friends, to cross the street by themselves, and to be able to be trusted to survive being left alone for a short time.

I would hate to think that – should an accident happen – I would be blamed and possibly ruined.

Would it be better to mollycoddle and raise dependent, incapable adults?

Good Can Win Over Evil if…

In RL Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, it is clear that everyone has good and evil within. To remove the evil in order to be 100% pure good, means that the 100% bad part is freed into the wild with dangerous consequences.

Although the total good or evil remains the same, the effect is a strange case indeed. Perhaps it’s not what you do, but the way that you do it? Perhaps we ought to have the internal good v evil battle to “win” and be virtuous or worthy of the afterlife in heaven… or something.

It is a fascinating novella, and a great subject for discussion and thought. However, the most interesting notion to be teased from this work is, for me, the external manifestation of good and of evil.

Let me go further, does the good erase or in some way make up for any bad that someone does. I don’t mean atonement or penance, not exactly (although that is also very interesting), rather, I am taken with the idea of someone inventing or discovering something, but being a thoroughly disagreeable person – perhaps even considered evil.

I know that this is a poor introduction to what I am on about. Sorry about that. It’s just that it seems to come up again and again in recent times.

Take Wagner – a brilliant, innovative and unique composer – but a Nazi sympathiser and Jew-hater. Even today, his music is taboo in Israel. Can it be possible or reasonable to separate the man from his work – to allow yourself to enjoy his music and disagree with his politics?

In recent times in the UK, it has become clear that in some celebrities at least, the evil side of the personality triumphed from time to time. Jimmy Savile became a prominent BBC radio and television personality, gained fans and followers, brought entertainment and enjoyment to millions, and raised over £40 million for charities. However, it seems he might have had a dark side as a sexual predator. All of which has come out after he died.

Do the allegations and accusations overthrow or trump the good works?

Should they?

Rolf Harris was a role model – someone to look up to, a national treasure, but he’s in jail for sexual offenses. How should I feel about that?

Wagner was open and unapologetic, but no-one knew any bad things about Savile until after he died. Harris’s dark side was hidden – but he was found out while alive, and brought to justice.

Some people say that we ought not to speak ill of the dead, and I am inclined that way myself particularly if nothing can be gained by raking up evil.

Take Savile – he did good works and died. His bad side was then discovered. The big question I had at the time this came out in the media was – why did no-one speak up while he was alive to defend, respond or be brought to justice. If he was prolific as is suggested, surely some of the blame has to be borne by those who, by keeping schtum, allowed further abuse to take place. But all-in-all, what overall good would come of posting allegations over the front pages? I do think that the end result of this particular case is to negate the good. So the whole thing is just pure Mr. Hyde.

Wagner is different. He did not hide his antisemitic views. I wonder that – if he had held them as a dark secret – would people stop liking his music upon discovering “the truth”? Another thought – would his personal beliefs make people listen to his music? And so what? Does anything matter? If his beliefs were not known, what difference would it make to his music, and how it is received as music?

Pop Stars align themselves with political movements – should they? Should it matter to us? Should I stop liking or listening to their songs?

Rolf Harris is different again; he was disgraced and will pay his debt to society. By going to jail, by apologising and atoning, he is cleansed. In theory anyway. Harris faced justice, and gets a clean slate – so all his works, his TV, his books, his paintings – even his pop songs, all should be OK to like – shouldn’t they?

My thought is that we should always be inclined to good, to an exemplary life – even if fake. Why? Because fake is normal. We each have good and evil. We do good and bad, we have to try to let good win. Good must outweigh bad in the scales.

That way lies hope.

Savile did good for more people than he did bad. That’s tough to type in this climate; it goes against everything just now. Same with Harris. Unlike Savile, Harris was found guilty – and is paying. Wagner didn’t even DO anything; he merely held a view that is unpopular. Why can’t we just focus on the good stuff as a default rule? Doing so doesn’t condone crime or evil or unpopular extremist views. Really it doesn’t.

Michael Jackson was a long list of accusations of child abuse, and yet it is widely considered acceptable to enjoy his musical legacy without a care about all that – why? Why is Jackson different from Savile? Jackson didn’t do as much for charity as Savile – Jackson was keeping his money for himself. Is this a double standard?

I remember when Rock Hudson died and it came out that he was actually homosexual. He clearly did not want this to be known while he was alive. He did not want to represent homosexuality. that’s just who he was and what he wanted to do. To out him after his death is not really fair to my mind.

Now I am not for one minute suggesting that homosexuality is evil or that Hudson’s dark side contained his gay secret. I am suggesting that he was careful about his public image and probably would have wanted to maintain that as his legacy. What good did outing him bring? People today look at him playing the very heterosexual male roles in pictures, and know what he really was – and that was likely to be exactly what Rock Hudson did not want to happen. People may even boycott his films because of that. I have heard of Christian fundamentalists taking that view.

There seems to be a popular trend for seeing the bad in people, in revealing things that ought to be hidden, and I don’t go along with that.

If someone was struggling with a personal issue, a dark side, a kink, an addiction – whatever, what business is it of mine? What good does it do society at large to display the flaws sufficient to overshadow any goodness?

I would suggest that the sooner we as a society drop this trend in favour of role models of positivity and good, then we can return to aspiration, looking forward, making good, advancement, and betterment.

My Selfie Stick Hack

I bought a selfie stick from the Pound Shop. It cost me a pound.

2017-06-10_141734

It has an extendable handle and, at the top, a phone grip.

2017-06-10_141905You can remove the top grip from the extendable handle.

2017-06-10_142034This allows you to play – I have a bendy flexy camera tripod that I attached to the phone grip – and voila, I have a phone tripod!

Notice that the bottom of the small camera has a tripod screw – well that is standard, and the extending handle fits!

2017-06-10_142109I tried it on a proper SLR, and it fits, but it’s not really strong enough to trust with a pound shop extendable handle for a selfie-stick!

 

2017-06-10_142210

Still, it was worth a try!

The children can now use the flexy tripod thing to attach their smartphones to their bicycles and film away – or they can just take selfies. I like that I can extend the small family camera as the quality is better than a phone, and I plan to wade out into the sea on the holidays, filming from above in HD.

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

That’s How Bad It Is

I spoke with a chap today who just started working for us on a complicated and convoluted project in trouble to the tune of several tens of millions. He was taking over from the chap who was thrown off the job for being “too contractual”.

I asked “How are you finding things? How is the job? Better or worse than you thought?”

He replied. “Well. it’s going like a horse on fire.”

I have to say, this made me choke on my lunch. This is my new phrase – a delicious blend of house on fire mixed with flogging a dead horse and bolting the door after the horse has bolted.

Is this chap a genius?

Terrorisation

We all recall where we were when x happened.

JFK, Lockerbie, 9-11,  7-7, whatever. It’s relentless, isn’t it?

But then – it’s not always about the bad; remember putting a man on the moon, or Nelson Mandela walking to freedom, the fall of the USSR, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Good stuff is also relentless.

And sometimes our jaws drop in wonder at the good as much as at the bad.

That’s life.

Good and bad.

The facts of life are not terribly difficult to understand – sh*t happens sometimes, but so does great stuff. Our greatest enemy is nature – we constantly fight it to keep dry, to keep warm, to keep fed.

Our greatest enemy is nature – we constantly fight it to keep dry, to keep warm, to keep fed. But it fights back and takes a massive toll in floods, landslides, sinkholes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, and more besides.

Then there is the man-made stuff; bad stuff is not always “mother nature” or “the gods”; people can also wreak havoc: gunmen in schools, rapists, pillagers, suicide bombers, politicians, mentally unstable people and the angry and intolerant.

What happens is this – a natural disaster occurs and everyone goes on the media and social media to send thoughts and prayers. A fund may be set up. We come together, we rebuild. Life goes on.

Then when a bomb goes off, everyone goes on the media and social media to send thoughts and prayers. A fund may be set up. We come together, we stand defiant, we rebuild and life goes on.

The subtle difference between a natural event and a man-made event is that we feel we could somehow have prevented the man-made one happening.

But is that true?

Look, I have small children. I know they could get a virus, they could get injured, the could be attacked. We all know the possibilities, the risks. But I also know that they could have wonder, fun, and experience joy and happiness too and that I need to let them have their own life and stop being so over-protective. It’s the contrast between the lows and highs that adds the most drama.

What can y’do?

I totally understand people demanding that “something should be done” when bad things happen. I get the calls for change, for more checks and balances, for tighter security, for arming police – for a complete change in our way of life.

But I do not want that. Instead, I feel that it is not what happens as much as how one deals with what happens. How quickly things get back on course – back to “normal”. Of course, if something happened to my child, I would feel what any parent would – but I would not demand change. I would insist on the opposite.

Yes, I have come to terms with terrorism. I see it as a risk as much as any natural event.  I won’t take it personally. I accept the pain, the shame, the anguish, I feel for all survivors everywhere. I just think we all have to accept that sh*t happens and we cannot prevent it. It could be an earthquake, or it could be a terrorist. It doesn’t really matter which at the end of the day. It ought not to stop anyone living a life and making the best of it.

There is little point in calling for an eye for an eye or to fight fire with fire or to gnash teeth and wring hands. We have to push through the loss, the grief, the senselessness of life. That is all – nothing could have stopped it, no measures are air-tight, and who would wish to live in such an air-tight claustrophobic nanny state world (apart from terrorists, that is)?

Getting on with it is not an act of defiance or some show against terrorism, it is simply a fact of life. A knee-jerk reaction is never a good option. Why does anything have to change because of a weird event? Every base cannot be covered.

My call is to allow people to get on with dealing with life as best they can without undue and unhelpful interference or influence. Life’s hard enough.

Political Mashup

I was on facebook tonight, and despite all my filters, I saw some political posts. And this made me sad because people still buy politics and religion and I don’t. I like to think I have moved on/ evolved/ healed from all that.

It’s not that I am not political or spiritual, it is more that I think the set-in-stone groups and parties don’t work anymore and should be consigned to historical footnotery.

I understand greedy people as I see them the most, but I wonder most at people who are lefties. Not just Marxists or Communists, but Socialists. Those Card-Carrying Labour Party members, those Labour voters, people in Trades Unions. Even members of co-operatives.

These people intrigue me because they purport to be caring, chummy and folksy, but take pains to be awkward and weird. Seeking equality and fairness somehow defines them as elite and special and unusual/individual. Martyrs as well.

I am not a fan of fascists or totalitarians either. I dislike Capitalism as much as anything else.

If I lived in the 15th century, things would be different. But hey ho; I don’t.

I genuinely wonder at these political ideologies – why do they exist still – seriously – in this day and age?

As I have aged and mellowed, I realise that there has to be some grains of truth in all of these ideas for them to still have that traction. This gave me the idea for a thought experiment.

What if they could be blended? Would it be possible to find a solution that was a blend of political/ religious ideologies?

At that point I remembered hearing about a couple who exhibited communist behaviour in restaurants – that seemed perfectly authentic to me; been then done that so many times!

A couple go into a restaurant and order dinner. The female sees everything ordered as common property – and feels able to help herself to any and all of the dishes on the table – even the ones ordered by her date.  This is small scale Communism.

“I won’t order that if you are, then we can share two dishes”

This shows that Communism works – but can it be scaled up? That’s the rub – I just don’t think so.

It only works small scale on a family or close personal level, and it works in a capitalist context (the restaurant). So the problem with Communism is not the ideology itself; it’s the fact that it cannot scale up.

Equally, conservative capitalism is horrible at that scale – you order your meal competitively, trying to get the best deal, get the best value for money – beat your date, no sharing, just winning. Split the bill. Hmm. That doesn’t work well either.

Running a country is more complex than a dinner (I hear you scream), but I would suggest that it is the the essence and underlying principles that are what matter in real life.

In real life, things are actually complicated in that very way. For example, take the NHS in the UK (The National Health Service in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). This is a socialist enterprise in a capitalist country in a capitalist world. This is the interface of one ideology with another. Fact.

The socialist NHS principle meets the Big Pharma capitalist model head-on. The pharmaceutical companies have shareholders and supply the NHS with all the drugs it needs to function. These drugs (pills, injections, rubs, lotions, potions etc) cost money and are under the capitalist rules of a free market. It’s oranges meets apples.

This is two systems clashing, it’s how it is, it is the real world. These ideologies exist still, so they have to somehow co-exist. Ideologies are designed to work only when there is no opposition, they are founded on the principle of being the only system, and not a bit part. Not only is this a flaw in itself, but I am pretty sure that if there was only one political system in the world, regardless of what it is, it wouldn’t work.

There is only one conclusion from this thought experiment: it’s clear that we need to accommodate the facts of life, the truth as it actually is – even if we just don’t want to (because we want to win, and for our favoured political ideology to be the only one, pure and universal game being played, even knowing that this still wouldn’t work).

This is the problem.

But I say that they can work together. I would even go as far as to argue that “universal” is bad, and that completely different political systems actually need to work together – just like the above socialist dinner in a capitalist restaurant setting. (I could even argue the same about religion, but I’m sticking to politics for this article).

I tend to agree with Johanna “Hannah” Arendt – that politics needs a rethink, that it is outdated, that it suited circumstances in another time, and that it is all no longer fit for purpose. She knew that Socialism,  Capitalism, Liberalism, Republicanism, and all the rest, needed to be binned in favour of new things that actually worked in the modern world and would prevent totalitarianism and other ills as a result.

Look, if you were the “Dad” of a family, you wouldn’t ask for a vote; you would be expected to be the the “Dad”, to know what to do, what action to take. This is an example of a dictatorship that works (because the Dad is beneficent), but which cannot be scale up without problems. For biggest governance, other people need to be asked their opinion.

I could go on -with example after example of how each and every political ideology works in the real world at one scale or another, and it proves nothing more than that each has truth, but is not The Truth, not The Answer – and that – extraordinarily, and unexpectedly – ideologies can (and perhaps ought to) co-exist with others to produce a fairer society.

Arendt thought that the defining point of entry for politics was when you HAD to say: “Hey; that’s not fair!”, and than had a mechanism for fixing the problem. I would go along with that.

Fixing society should be free form the shackles of politics. The NHS ought not to be a “political football”.

It’s terrible that when you address issues that matter, you have a colour/ political affiliation or allegiance to explain/ address/ or be associated with. You ought to be free to solve the problem in whatever manner is appropriate without having to think about tribal labelling.

Don’t you think?

 

 

Ups & Downs of The Market

Right after Brexit’s result, the markets dived. Right after Trump’s win, the markets collapsed.

And everyone points to the drop in the markets as though these indices were in some way a reflection of how well a country is doing. But that is simply untrue.

The big fuss about the Dow Jones Industrial Average number is ridiculous – an arbitrary selection of 30 companies, not even the biggest or most well-known, record their share values and this rather silly and unrepresentative value is then divided by a weird number that someone came up with in the 1800s (which we over-egg by calling it an “algorithm” in today’s parlance).

The Foostie, the S&P 500, the Hang Seng and the rest are indices of the stock market. That is all they are.

This is about the rich people.

When an index rises, this simply means the rich people are getting richer.

When an index falls, then rich people are losing money – and if the drop is significant enough and for a long enough time, then there is a chance that it might actually affect real, everyday people like you and me because companies may shed employees, or close down altogether.

This means that in a recession, everyone loses.

But at all other times, it is mainly about rich people and their value on paper.

Trump wins the election in the USA and the markets drop in value. OK, Boo hoo – rich people have less dough for a few hours because Trump then makes his acceptance speech and the markets rise to previous levels and above. So the rich people don’t lose a penny after all.

I just don’t get why the news media keep reporting the ups and downs of the markets when it is mainly only of interest to the rich – to people who own shares, to stockholders – do you know any?

It seems to be used as evidence of the foolishness of the masses to vote the way they did. The flavour is: Look what you did! See what has happened?

The markets are not a true reflection of the state of economic or political heath of a nation – these indices do not account for the common man – there is no consideration of inflation, currency exchanges, GDP, interest rates or anything other than the gambling value of company shares being traded by computers at break-neck speed over fibre optic cables.

Whenever I hear a news bulletin report the Footsie 100 or the Dow Jones, I grind my teeth and wish I were rich enough to give a damn.

 

Touching design

As a design student, it was impressed upon me the importance of how users intimately interact with a product design. I have never forgotten the handshake, the contact points, and I still use it to decide which things to buy. It’s how I evaluate everything, a benchmark.

I remember how BMW made the interior light fade instead of just switching on or off, and how that made me feel it was somehow of superior quality. How my CD player grabbed my disc solidly and drew it into the slot – how the lid of my cassette player slowly slid open – the sound of a Jaguar car door shutting.

Similarly, I remember so many things that felt lightweight, plasticky and cheap.

I was chatting with a colleague at work about vinyl making a comeback. He said “Why? the sound is terrible, and you get scratches and hiss.” He was genuinely puzzled.

That was when I realised how much tactility we’ve lost – and how that might be something we feel lacking today.

A digital file might sound better, and be conjured up easily on a phone or laptop – but with vinyl there is handling. The design handshake. You get artwork, a card sleeve, the disc itself and the ritual of taking it out, putting it on, and turning it over when the side was played through.

This is common to all audio formats – cassette, CD or 8-Track. You got a “thing”.

Reading a Kindle book is great – cheap and very convenient. But it also lacks that handshake. A book feels, smells and looks better – and an expensive book – a hardback with a dust cover – is a prized possession to be cared for.

I worry about the future in this respect; driverless cars, voice activated audio and video and more besides. If you are not driving the car, how can it thrill?

At one time, people bought a daily newspaper – it  was used as a tablecloth, a napkin, to wrap chips, scrunched up to clean stainless steel and windows, rolled-up to swat flies, stuffed into damp shoes, cut into party decorations, used to draw a coal fire… it was read, the crossword was done, articles clipped out, ads circled, moustaches doodled onto the photographed luminaries. It was laid under carpets and used to fill gaps in window frames.

Today, we read our news online, listen to the radio or watch TV.

I’m no different; I stopped wearing a wristwatch in favour of the smartphone. I put away my cassettes, videos, CDs, DVDs, LPs, 45s, reels, books, magazines… I will ask Google before looking up a dictionary or pull a book from my shelves. I threw out my maps and atlases years ago in favour of my sat nav and google maps.

My TV is too thin to have a decent speaker, and I have lost all concept of quality, accepting whatever my phone or TV gives me. I put up with slow browsers, buffering, Freeview digital “Max Headroom” glitches. This is what I have become.

My pens have dried up, my watches stopped. Nothing ticks, nothing takes time to dry, nothing needs a tactility skill, fingers swipe screens and click mice.

I have playing cards, chess sets, wind-up toys and board games in a sealed box in the cellar. My children play with tech, and buy apps. Will they grow up with no understanding of what a new book feels and smells like? What it’s like to be given a designed product as a gift? Will they know or miss knowing that feeling you get  when you clean the capstan and recording heads, when a tape desk has been demagnetised, when a record has been brushed, when a guitar has been restrung and tuned, when a car was driven with joy and appreciation?

Will they care about design? Will they grow fond of a thing? Will they relate to the ghost in the machine?

I wonder if vinyl’s return reveals an innate need…