I recently stumbled on a clutch of Tile Bluetooth trackers in an airport departure lounge. I’d just disappeared down a Bluetooth LE devices security rabbit hole and was using the RamBLE app to discover what was about (who knew there were so many Samsung Smart TVs around?). I’ve been aware of the Tile and it’s companion app for a while. As they didn’t work with Android until recently, I had resisted purchase. With a imminent family holiday to a large European theme park with a child with a history of legging it; I purchased a pack of four Tiles for £50.
For most of my professional life I have sat on my arse, staring at a screen. You get to thirty something and start worrying about the long-term health drawbacks of a such a sedentary lifestyle. Spurned on by a home-office move and ongoing back grumbles I bought myself an IKEA BEKANT standing desk. You can easily spend a fortune on these things, however I’m unashamed to have made more than a few “tactical” Ikea furniture purchases. It’s built to a precise price point, if you are happy with that definition of value then it’s been generally been acceptable.
I’ve said many times, to anyone who’ll listen, I’m a petrol head. I love cars, I love driving and I love Motorsport. However, as I’ve gotten older, head has ruled heart and increasingly I’ve gone down the sensible, practical route. This has however been pretty soul destroying. My current, beloved Alfa Romeo 159 SW is all but paid off, and it’s time to consider what’s next.
In my on-going war against paper clutter, I happened to stumble across 10 year old photocopies of the first thing I had published. It was from the now defunct “Info Security Management” (ISM) Magazine; at a time before technology publishers only used the Internet for ordering paper subscriptions. I’ve scanned it into a PDF below, the quality isn’t terrific.(about 6MB). Apologies if anyone other than me can claim copyright, but given the obscurity of the article if anyone was interested; certainly I couldn’t find it online.
Writing for me is a thing which I’ve barely scratched the surface. However, understanding more about what makes “good” and “bad” writing is definitely having an effect on how I perceive things which I would have previously enjoyed without question.
Case in point; The Long War by Terry Pratchett/Steven Baxter which is the follow-up to the The Long Earth; a story about how the barriers between realities are suddenly and permanently dropped, leading to a mass-migration of mankind across unpopulated worlds. The story is moved on a number of years, but a number of plot points in the first book are trampled over and several new are introduced about with the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. To the point when the big twist finally occurs, it’s cannot be a surprise to anyone given numerous and clumsy references to in the preceding chapters. The characterisation of several non-humans is terrible, right out of 50’s Scifi and not in a good way, honestly some of the characters in my kid’s books are better developed.
A further revelation came last night; Star Trek Voyager (which is now available on Lovefilm, Amazon UK’s streaming video service) is in fact rubbish. I’ve previously watched Voyager on Terrestrial TV, but having exhausted LF’s Sci-Fi catalogue I couldn’t resist; however I got about three episodes in before I realised that the script relies far-too-much on the Last-minute technological arse-pull; magically inventing something previously referred to as the saviour from a seemingly impossible situation. Sadly real life, even in the future doesn’t work like that. I never noticed this in a TV Show which I’ve previously enjoyed, but now it stick out like a sore thumb. I may have been able to forgive this deep in the doldrums of a fifth series, but Episode 3? Surely the writing discipline should have been at its peak?
If nothing else, it’ll serve as a reminder of “things not to do” in writing, and no doubt I’ll still watch Star Trek and buy the next Pratchett book when it comes out, although I suspect I’ll enjoy it a little less.