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British Element Trieste Force 1945 - 1954
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Ticking about Tech.

Remember “ticking” as in “He ticks like a clock” meaning “He’s always grumbling”? Well I have quite a few ticks about technology.

First, let’s take all the good things – and I have to admit - there are far more pluses than minuses. The fact that I can still walk is thanks to the replacement of two hips and one knee. At the touch of a few buttons I can see who’s walking on a favourite beach many miles away right now. I’ve been able to organise a family reunion in one country for my three children who live in three different countries, booking flights ferries and accommodation without stirring from this chair. I’ve just been able to consult the “elenco telefonico di Trieste” to get an idea of how many people there are in Trieste who have the same name. I can read articles from a whole variety of newspapers, again from this chair or anywhere else with wifi, using my phone or my tablet. That’s a marvellous thing, no thicker than a slice of toast, that can do everything than this largish tower and screen affair can do – and several times faster.

In short I couldn’t do without tech.

But I remember years ago having my first self-winding watch and thinking, “What a waste!” of money, time and effort. How much effort does it take to wind up a watch? Now I can wave my credit card over a number pad in a shop instead of sticking it in a slot and “popping” - as they seem to like to say - my pin number in. How much richer has life got by that? Not a lot.
What drives tech? I’m sure it isn’t an aching need for something that leads researchers to find a solution. Firms hire bright young techies who feel the need to come up with “smarter” and smarter devices so regardless of need they alter stuff. Instead of having the “smart” bit in a phone they put it in a watch – so you can’t see it without putting your glasses on. You can “cast” stuff from your phone ipad or any device to your telly – but why would you? When we moved from a house with gas lights to one with electricity, that was a genuine step forward and the flat screen telly is really good but casting from my tablet – I don’t think so.

It seems like a common theme of some journalists – and others – to say that they’re being bullied – and you realise they mean bullied online – by “trolls”. If there’s anyone out there who has the patience to read this and disagrees with anything, please feel free to say so. If you were to be impolite about it, that would be up to you. I’ll simply write you off as a pillock to be ignored – but I’ll still be here safe and sound and not in any sense “bullied”.

Cars. Remember having an oil lamp thing under your sump in Winter to keep the oil from coagulating? Then they invented multigrade. It’s a very long time since I checked whether there was fuel getting to the plugs, checking their gaps, checking the points’ gaps with feeler gauges? I had quite a search a few weeks ago to find the dip-stick; the whole thing seemed to have been boarded over with black plastic. I’ve just changed my car and it’s been quite refreshing to find how to switch the lights and wipers on manually – and what’s really marvellous – there’s a real hand brake!

The school holidays are just over. I saw only a few lads out on their bikes and only two kicking a rugby ball to each other. Most of the time it just isn’t safe because of the traffic – and that’s a shame. In the street where I lived as a lad, the only traffic was horse and carts and it was quite safe for all our games and for the girls with their skipping ropes chanting “All in together. The cow’s in the heather” or some such – but I wouldn’t like to go back to that.