Thursday, May 26, 2005

UberGeeks Only

Das Keyboard I think I want one. No, I think I need one (and my shameful secret is - I can't touchtype..)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

State of the nation

The pace of social change is so slow to as be imperceptible - like the way glass shrinks [PDF] - and so people deny that it actually happens. "Above the glass transition temperature, glass shrinks quickly as it’s cooled, like a liquid. Below the glass transition temperature, glass shrinks slowly as it’s cooled, like a solid.". There's a metaphor there.. how can we achieve our transition temperature?

Anyway, over a generation you can quite clearly see social change, if you look carefully: it's very encouraging, but you have to accept the pace is glacial.

What you can't do is turn the clock back: the world has changed in the last 25 years, and if you don't see that then you're going to get things wrong.

Anyway again, now I'm going downstairs to see who won the election. I was pleased in a way to see the Tory party come out as outright racists - Smethwick 1964 comes to mind - as it allows us to count those who still think "they" aren't as good as "us". Let's see.

Enjoy this if you read it because I will without doubt or regret delete it tomorrow.

One generation ago # 1 - banks

I've had a sequence running through my head recently about how "things ain't like what they used to be". I think the reason I have this blog - and the reason I post to it - is to get these things out of my head to make room for new things that I'm not bored of.

Anyway, #1 in this sequence is banks. Counting one generation as 25 years (I believe that is the standard) this was the deal:

You had a bank account, and a cheque book. Cheque cards hadn't been invented, there were no holes-in-the-wall to get money from, and not many people had a credit card (my dad did, he had to reclaim expenses: he used to have a Diners Club card among others: I've never seen another since.)

You had a branch, and at that branch you could withdraw money. You went in, gave them a cheque: they compare the signature with the file and if they like it (and you have enough money in your account which is held in a ledger) they give you the money.

If you're in a branch of your bank which isn't your own - there is no question of using another bank - then the branch phones your branch, authenticates you I-don't-know-how, and gives you the money. Or not. Or they make you speak to the branch. Of course, they charged for this - £10 at least, a lot more money then - and you had to actually wait for someone on the other end to pick up the phone, find your file, authenticate you I-don't-know-how, and authorise the withdrawal based on your account balance.

You could make "an arrangement" with another branch - and potentially a branch of another bank if there were any affiliated with yours. I had a bank account in 1979 with the Bank Of Scotland (my father's branch, which I think at the time was Waterloo Street, Glasgow) but "an arrangement" with Barclays in Epsom: I suppose they had a signature on file and would phone the bank for withdrawls of more than £10 or so (to confirm my account balance) but I wouldn't be charged for the call. I'd have to wait.

By the way - I no longer have an account with the Bank Of Scotland. We parted company, shall we say, mutually. Certainly unequivocally.

Not me guv

Did my annual virus scan the other day and was very surprised to see a positive for something called ByteVerify - nothing to worry about, move along.

Don't watch this space

I have had a strange compulsion recently that tomorrow will see Prime Minister Howard presented to Queen Camilla: thankfully the election will be over with anyway.

It's always instructive to remember at these times that people get the government they deserve: you know what to do, get out and vote. If you can't stand any of the candidates, write that on the ballot paper - otherwise how would they know? If you can't be arsed to vote - see above.