Tag Archives: Technical

Facebook Killed the Blogger

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Yes, it’s true. My Blogging server warned me that Facebook (FB) would no longer publish anyone’s Blogs as of the 1st of August this year (2018). That was the last straw. My FB page had been hacked several times over the past 6 months, more and more ads were appearing, friends were being censured by FB, they took off the news feed and I have better things to do with my time these days. I know a few FB junkies who are perpetual posters. They must spend hours on the site. I did once upon a time, but no longer.

Social Media gets a lot of press, especially since the Donald came to power. I have a Twitter account but I rarely check it. I had a notice last time I checked that was 6 months old. But at least they publish my Blogs. As does Linkedin. I can’t keep up with it all. Whatsapp, WeChat…I could go on, but why bother? There are so many ways to talk to each other. How did we manage to communicate before all this technology?

For my 67th birthday, my best friend bought me a typewriter. I’ve written a letter to one daughter and am going to write to the second any day now. And then to my son. The only thing I can’t keep up with is where they are living at any given time. One is in Shanghai, China teaching. Another is on the road touring around Canada with one of  her several music personae around and the 3rd lives in Toronto, Canada at various locations according to who he is with and what he is doing at any particular time. I can’t keep up with them, but I try.

I love writing and I love my little Smith-Corona typewriter. I keep a journal…have done since about 1992…I have my Blogs and I have authored a couple of books (published) and am completing my 3rd. The problem with Social Media is that we are limited to a few bites, a few words. I think we miss something if we only read the backs of cereal boxes, adverts on the Underground or labels on food we buy. So many people I’ve met tell me they simply don’t read, either because they are too busy or they just can’t be bothered.

As I get older (and I’m old already according to my kids), I find my tolerance level for most of what goes on in the technological world not only baffles me, it also annoys me. Too much information, most of which does nothing to enhance my wellbeing or my inner peace. I find the more I become engaged with media driven by technology, the more agitated I become. I can’t watch the news without becoming angry. This has as much to do with technological advancements as with content. Information is dispensed in alarmingly rapid bites that serve to fill us with alarm and dread.

I have friends who think the world is collapsing. The evidence? News broadcasts, newspaper articles, adverts, political pronouncements on air (fake news) and TV programs that last for an hour at most, discussing an issue between opposing panelists that has no resolution, no solutions, no constructive outcome, leaving us more confused, more stressed and negative. But something in we humans loves opposing forces going at it in a manner that is quite violent as if a physical fight had broken out. Sometimes it does. Rage is disguised with civil behaviour.

Many of us vie for attention by posting anything that is on our minds at any given time. Look at FB and Twitter. At any given time I can see what you ate for dinner, where you’ve been, who you’re with, what you think about Trump or Ford (new Premier of Ontario), what your state of mind is at any given time, what the weather is doing where you are, your music preferences and dislikes, what illnesses you suffer and what business you promote. Some of it is informative, but I miss sitting face to face with you, laughing for real, crying if needs be and having a pint.

I was supposed to have 396 friends on FB and 760 people following me on Twitter. I only ever heard from about 40 on Fb and I know all of 6 personally on Twitter. Madness. Some say it’s because FB has engineered it that way…which says more than I care to think about at the moment. So many people I’ve known in one capacity or another on FB at least, and I am no closer to them now no matter how many posts we send back and forth. At least publishing my Blogs on FB lets you know what I have been up to in a lifestyle very different to yours. Have you been interested? About 12 out of 396. You want me to hear you. I want you to hear me, but few are listening. My Blogs are longer than a short paragraph or a Meme, a Gif or a joke. Who has time for my thousand words?

But I write because I love it and mostly I do it for me. Anyone reading what I write is a bonus. And so, I came off Facebook…hacked one too many times but let’s not go there…and I’ll find out who cares to read what I’ve written. If you don’t, I won’t be too upset. But please, read something worthwhile. A couple of ‘friends’ on FB would post what books they were reading (you know who you are Claude). That was helpful. My youngest daughter reads a lot. She is always giving me suggestions about what books to read. One of my favourites has been ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye’. A good story and a great read.

My Blogs are going to take on a different thematic direction as well. I’ve done the boat thing to death. I am presently putting together my Blogs on narrowboating into book form. Instead, my Blogs are going to be more about my humorous takes on life. Slices of life. Full circle if you know any of my past. Not as many photos, so you’ll have to read some. I look forward to hearing from you. I value your input. And please look me up if ever you’re ever over here. The pints are on you. Starving artist you see.

The Girly Button

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Life on a narrow canal boat is not all fun and games. You have to have your wits about you at all times. That’s probably true for everything in life, but on a boat, it’s doubly true. Always something to look out for and changes to be made….other things to consider and still more stuff to keep you occupied. What we boaters strive for continuously is comfort….maximum comfort, when and where it can be obtained.

I know we live in an age of convenience. Everything at hand and foolproof designs to minimise the event of things going wrong or other things breaking. A toaster that toasts evenly. A vacuum cleaner that picks up even the most stubborn articles. Car tyres (tires) that endure and microwave ovens that pop all the popcorn without burning any. We want electricity when we flick a switch. We want pure water to drink. And food that is always available, always in season and organic with it. No pesticides please. We don’t really want oil but we do for most of the convenient products we use. We want guaranteed warmth in the winter and conditioned air in the heat of summer.

Thing is, we get what we pay for….usually. And we want all our conveniences to be cheap. So, they bend, crack, break and sometimes explode, even the most expensive gizmos. Our world works on the unshakeable principle of Atrophy. Nothing lasts forever….not even stars (the ones out there in space). All our stuff has built-in atrophy or obsolescence. Makes you want to give up on the search for the perfect toaster. Be that as it may, we are forever inventing new products to make life more convenient and hide us from nasty old Atrophy. If needs be we’ll pay ridiculous sums to make our lives more comfortable.

With boating, the comfort has to come in small packages. I’m talking about narrow canal boats here, not those ocean-going yachts or the cruise ships. Not even the wide beam narrow boats that offer more room and twice the comfort. My best friend would have opted for one of those if it weren’t for the lack of access to some of the more picturesque, narrower canals of Britain. We recently changed our captain’s chairs for a more comfortable and practical sofabed made by folk who specialise in narrowboat furniture. And it had storage underneath. We love it, falling asleep regularly while watching the telly (TV).

But there is one convenience we don’t have that I sometimes wish we did. A Girly Button, better known as a Bow Thruster. My neighbour,Eddie, has one. He gave it the name Girly Button. It does have a button. You can see it on the device at the bottom of the illustrations with all the technical gear you need for a Bow Thruster. The Thruster itself can be seen on the boat (not mine) on the front hull just to the left of the greyish/silver anode (the thing that keeps the hull from rotting). Got all that? Took me ages to and I live on one of the damned things. A Bow Thruster blows water away from the boat. There are portals on the right and the left of the front of the hull. In the picture you see below, the hull is basically all the black bit at the bottom.

The beauty of the Girly Button is that if you get caught in wind, you can press the button for either side and right yourself. A few weeks ago I helped Eddie take his boat over to the pump-out in the marina. There are two types of boat, one with a big holding tank for human waste and our kind with cassettes (last image below) that you pull out from under the toilet and empty yourself in a room provided for just such a thing in the marina. Lots of fun.

Anyway, Eddie had to take the boat from his mooring to the pump-out. He had his boat away from the jetty, into the open water of the marina and alongside the jetty that contained the pumping station within minutes. And it was windy. I was so impressed at his driving skills that I cheered. “How did you do that so easily?” I asked him when he got back and I helped tie him back up. “It’s me girly button” he replied. “Couldn’t do without it. I’d have one for the back of the boat too if they made ’em.” He had literally blown his way along, adjusting his direction in an instant all with the push of a button, a Girly Button.

You have to understand that most narrowboats are not fitted with this gizmo, the older ones especially. The man who owned our boat before us had it made to his specifications (5 years ago). He didn’t want a Bow Thruster. Old timers detest them and never have a good thing to say about them. ‘Just another gadget to go wrong’ is the usual response. Mention them to a long-time boater and he’ll curse or worse. One spat on the ground when someone dared bring up the subject. Newer boaters sing their praises….like Eddie, though he’s no newbie like me.

We won’t be putting a Girly Button in any time soon. I just read an article by a chap at Norbury Wharf who said he noticed a narrowboat in his marina was sitting 6 inches lower than usual. When they investigated, they discovered water in the bilge. The boat was gradually sinking. It took them ages to find the problem. Turned out to be a leaky Bow Thruster tube. A tiny hole is all it takes. The grit taken into the tube from the canal eventually pits the steel, causing rust and eventual corrosion. He recommends constant vigilance in checking the tube….not an easy task….for damage. That can only happen when the boat is out of the water. By then it could be too late. The Girly Button controversy continues to rage.