Saturday, 29 September 2012

Technology- Grumpy Style From the Beginning.

    I was born in 1939; so what was my technological education.. An early memory, fetching an 'accumulator' for the 'wireless' so that I could listen to Vick Oliver and the like. (The accumulator was a glass battery affair housed in a metal frame, exchanged weekly at the post office, price 6d; the 'wireless' had valves.)
Our cottage light was a gas mantle that hissed; we had no electricity; we had no car. No flush toilet, a pan down the garden emptied weekly. 
    We occasionally travelled by bus. Buses and lorries had wheels. The trollies we made as children had wheels, the sledges we made in winter did not. The junior school I think was heated by a coal fired boiler, not very efficiently. One house I lived in had a 'geyser containing water heated by gas. The gas sometimes blew out, lethal evidentally in the wrong circumstances. As I grew up I occasionally set the grass on fire with a magnifying glass. Very satisfying for a child who seldom 'did' technology.
    I eventually had a bike, complete with dynamo, complete with wheel that rubbed against a tyre thus providing a light. Hard work, very technical but not very efficient. Later, I purchased a second hand motor cycle. I learnt to change 'the points' to make it run better, no mean feat for someone with almost nil technical ability. (I also learn in later years how to change the bikes brake linings with the use of rivets; that was close on the end total of a lifetime's technical motoring prowess.)
    I married over forty years ago. My wife and I became the proud possessors of a small television; black and white; no HD, not 3D. (No ariel forthcoming so some kind soul wired it into the metal window frame. We could see the television mast across the fields; not a bad picture if I remember right.) Over the years I used the latest Betamax and VHS tape recorders. Borrowed in my days as a school teacher, I couldn't possibly afford one. I took photos of my children on our camping holidays and eagerly awaited the return of the Kodak film from the chemists.
    Just some of the 'technology' that springs to mind this unexceptional week in October 2012. I get the impression the pace is quickening, am I right? I do a theatre review (in exchange for free tickets in case the taxman reads this) and send it to the paper 'down the line'; I have not written anything using a pen in years. Years ago I wrote some short stories by hand and self-published. Recently I completed my e-book (A Childhood Revisited) and my good friend Russell converted my work to Kindle. (Never mind what Amazon say there is no way I could do this side of the work, not in a thousand years.) I have joined Twitter mainly for marketing reasons and boy am I struggling. I did a one hour session on LinkedIn. The man covered TEN points. One hour later I could remember NOT ONE single point and still can't. Plus, don't laugh, my daughter has fixed me up on Facebook. Don't understand ONE bit of it but watch this space!
    I 'talk' via this blog to people from all over the world. (My wife does the technical side). I am so bad I've just 'published' half of this post before its finished by mistake! (Notice my superior grasp of the subject in my use of the word 'post' Remember the silly **** who told me off because in my early blogging days because I didn't understand where the word 'blog' came from!)
    This post partly came about because of an e-mail I recently received. I put it below as of interest. I am not necessarily endorsing it but we are all capable of sorting out unsolicited mail. It seems to be OK. I was just interested that little old me from the village is of interest to anyone in the great, technological world out there.
Here's to the next few years, God willing. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I STILL do not own a mobile phone!

(Reading through this post I am reminded yet again of the great Arthur English and his 'Open the Cage. Never mind, we old 'uns are still here, just!) 

Dear Ken,
It was great to speak to you just now and thank you so much for assisting me. As discussed, here is some information about what we are doing. If you could possibly put this on your blog I’d be hugely grateful.
Many thanks,
We are making a new series for Channel 4 and would like to speak to over 60’s interested in learning about young, up-and-coming businesses and being shown new ways of making their money work harder for them.
In the current economic climate traditional savings schemes and pensions are not making much money. We would love to hear from people who are interested in exploring new investment ideas so they can enjoy their retirement years and save for future generations.
At this stage we’d just like to find out why this might sound interesting to you, and there is no obligation to take part.
If anyone is interested in experiencing the exciting world of new businesses and would like to find out more, I’d be delighted to hear from them. You can contact me on 0207 5342027 or
Victoria Balfour |
STUDIO LAMBERT LTD| 42 Beak Street | London | W1F 9RH
( O +44(0)20 7534 2027|


Mind Of Mine said...

What phone do you have now? Do you appreciate the massive advances in technology, or do they intimidate you>

Valerie said...

Ah yes the accumulator, and all those valves.

Interesting question by Mind of Mine..... I would like to say that at my VAST age I am attuned to technology and love it.

If only I could read blogger's word verification codes I would be made up.

Mind Of Mine said...

Valeries, those verification codes are impossible, it has nothing to do with age.

Valerie said...

Would like to ask a simple question re publishing, any chance you could email me?

Bernard said...

"Valeries, those verification codes are impossible,"
Not 'impossible' dear friends, otherwise I would not be reading your comments. :)
But I agree, exceedingly frustrating. I never know whether to use my reading glasses or my distance specs, when trying to copy them?
A good post Ken. Now as you know - I do real hardware technology/engineering, but not IT, computers, texting, Facebook, Myspace and all this so called 'software'.
If you had a motorbike and knew how to set the points to 20 thou. with a feeler gauge - you're an engineer in my books!
Good luck to you.

Mind Of Mine said...

Congratulations Bernard, on stating the obvious.

I think it was clear that 'impossible' was an intentional exaggeration owing to the frustration caused by the code process.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Absolutely super responses

What with things that are difficult, nay impossible and technological to boot, I feel an Arthur English moment coming on!
Seriously, I get the impression its an age thing and we're all in this together. Smashing interaction, we've all still got it, just!

Val, was the request re publishing aimed at me? Will e-mail or ring if so though I'm no expert.

01332 571670

Shammickite said...

I'm six years younger than you, but I experienced the same technology as a child. The geyser for the bath water, the gas lights, no elecricity.... we didn't get that installed until I was about 10 or 11. The accumulator that had to be carried to Stan Irwin's garage to be recharged.... and no radio to listen to while it was away. But we did have a flush toilet. Such luxury.

Friko said...

Thank you for your kind words on my post on cabbage. Yes, even if I say it myself I am a quite remarkable blogger. :-), see?

You are even older than me, I am impressed at your grasp of words and that you too can still string a sentence together. Who would have believed it? Our kids are ready to sit us in a corner and throw the odd 'there there' in our direction.

As for the email you got: how much are they paying you for posting it? If that's not an ad for extracting
sponduliks from the gullible, I don't know what is.

Drat this damn word verification.

Friko said...

If I come back here, in the case of you noticing my blog again in the future, say, I'd like you to have got rid of the word verification. It's easy.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Friko etc

I'm not of course getting paid for the TV thingymagig.

I presume its OK,
I put it on to 'educate/inform' in my schoolmasterly way, habit
I reckon.
The verification thing is strange and newish.
i too hate it but it seems out of our control.




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