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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Isn't Modern Technology Great?

Well mostly.

My son had a great idea on Christmas Eve.

Ahh, the wet, grey, land of my birth, not too far away from Hestia

Our daughter still lives in the land of cold grey wet weather known as Scotland (although I heard that there has been an unexpected relatively warm spell) and we live in sunny New Zealand, over 13,000 miles away.

We miss each other, and we always phone every weekend and for special events; like Christmas.

M'son's idea was to set up a Skype account, put his MacBook Pro on the dining table, and m'daughter could do the same in Scotland.

Oops, sorry, wrong number. I've never seen this person before my Dear, really.

It worked.

We spent a very pleasant (but slightly strange) 2 hours eating our Christmas dinner (Roast Free Range Ham, new spuds with mint, crisp and crunchy salad and BREAD SAUCE)  and drinking plenty of the vino, while talking and seeing m'daughter sitting in her wee house in Newport-on-Tay, beaming out at us from the screen of the MacBook.

It added a lovely and sentimental element to our festivities.

After we had said our goodbyes and logged off (it was 3:00am in Scotland, and the poor wee soul's eyes were drooping shut) we opened our Christmas prezzies.

M'son got a $300 pre-paid Visa card to buy his musical equipment.
That'll do nicely

My Beloved got the Mahjong set she had wanted (and had been dropping hints for the last 2 months.  See ladies, we can take hints. When it's clearly labeled as HINT: I WANT THIS; SEE PHOTO AND DETAILED DESCRIPTION) plus lots of little goodies.

I got a remote controlled helicopter (every guy still wants a bigger and better toy, and you can't get much better than a flying helicopter) and an iPod nano 8GB.

I had actually mentioned to my son, the week before Christmas about the helicopter OR a $60 mp3 player from Dick Smith, our NZ electrical retailer.  I didn't want an iPod, just the cheap and cheerful mp3 player.
M'son got me the helicopter, but he garbled the message to his  mum, so she bought what she thought was the best mp3 player, and got me the iPod nano.

For the next 36 hours I've been trying to get the bloody iPod to talk to my Windows based computer.

I won't bore you with the details, but essentially it is because I didn't want to download iTunes onto my machine, and all the grief originated from that.

I love the look and feel of Apple products, but they try to do too much, and I like to have control. I don't like being told by a piece of f*cking software what I am, or am not, allowed to do.

I'm really a bit of a grouchy anarchist, and proud of it.

Ah well, back to playing with my chopper.


  1. You got a toy helicopter?
    I will never see you in the same light again TSB. Just be careful that you don't go joining one of those mobdel train clubs - you know the ones where they all wear engine driver hats. I wonder if the Upper Hutt Model Railway Club would let a helicopter pilot in? You'll need an appropriate hat.

  2. It's not a TOY helicopter Richard[of RBB], it's a remote controlled rotary flight evaluation model.

    You'll have to ask ex-Clive about the Railway spotters.

    I've still got my Royal Artillery beret. Would that do?

  3. I like my nano. Very useful for the gym and for work. I do think you have to give up and use I-tunes which is bad but what can one do?

    I have been using skype for a long time. It works decently well. I also use Google Talk which uses different technology so it sometimes works better for some Countries.

  4. Well HELLO SANTA - I got a remote helicopter too and very nice it is too.

    Once I'm fully in control I'll be starting the experimental lifts to see how much it can haul!!!!

    I get the Apple/iPod thing too.

    {ps - nearly wet myself at your comeback on mine BTW}

  5. Caution! Boring geek comment follows! - try loading VMWare - you can create a virtual PC inside your real PC, sharing your RAM and CPU between the real and the virtual. Then in that virtual PC, load iTunes. That way, iTunes can't bork the rest of your PC setup when it installs QuickTime, Safari and whatever other shit it comes with nowadays.

  6. Now the geek bit is out of the way, I'd like to point out that there is nothing wrong with owning a remote controlled helicopter. Annoyingly, after several years, my controller has broken, so I'm looking for another one of exactly the same make/model, so I can try formation flying with two helicopters at once now.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Shackleford, I expressed my feelings about old men and toys here...

  9. Don't talk to me about train spotters - I hate them.

    When I was driving trains on London Transport's wonderful railway (District Line, by the way - real trains, not those silly little tube things) they'd be up there at the end of the platform, wearing car coats (this was before anoraks became the uniform for spotters), spotty, and looking mentally defective. They'd stare longingly into the cab and make stupid comments.

    If they were so keen why didn't they join up, I wondered. Probably because they wouldn't be able to get up at 4am for early shifts, and were too dumb to cope with the training course.

    I avoid all those special train trips and occasions because they're full of these fools, wearing their engine driver hats. However I do retain a "professional interest in transport" (about as true as your insistence that your toy helicopter is really a "remote controlled rotary flight evaluation model"). That's why I have about 860 bookmarks relating to railways and trams.

    -- Clive
    (What's this "ex-Clive" thing? I'm looking for a new personality and perhaps I've achieved it without knowing.)

  10. I got a bottle of Balvenie amongst other things. I think there may be a worrying pattern developing here!

  11. Laoch of Chicago: I agree it's very small, but size isn't everything. I do like the swipey method of moving the icons, but I did prefer the "wheel of fate".
    Damnit, buttons were good enough for Bill Gates of Immortal memory, so they're good enough for me.I'm not sure of Skype.

    I admit it, I'm completely paranoid, I just don't like giving anything access to my system, without my specific and informed consent.

    I've also got this wierd Logitech TalkVideo that came with my webcam, but that's peer-to-peer sharing as well, so that's out.

    I'll have a look at Google Talk, but last time I went to Google, they wanted me to change my name form TwistedScottishBastard to Twisted Scottish Bastard, and it did not make me happy.

  12. Alistair: Strange. Santa must have photocopied the "good boy" list.

    Mine is NOT a toy helicopter, it's a remote controlled rotary flight evaluation model.

    AND it fires missiles!!!!

    Well, it's my raisin d'ĂȘtre.

  13. Shackleford Hurtmore: Hail Geek. Beware of Geeks bearing gifts.

    Unfortunately, the new bloody iF*ckingPod needs iF*ckingTunes to upload new software and to fix the f*cking FAT32 file system which it managed to corrupt.

    I already use VirtualPC to run CivII in Win98 conformation, but once my iF*ckingPod no longer needs iF*ckingTunes, I'll try your suggestion, thanks.

    Wow, formation flying with choppers. I feel kind of inadequate.

  14. anonymous Deletion: Nyah, Nyah

    Richard[of RBB]: Just because you're not on the "Good Boy's List"

    Anonymous (ex-Clive): I never said your a train spotter, but I expect you could spot a train spotter.
    Want a go on my remote controlled rotary flight evaluation model? Beats silly train, 'cause trains can't fly. Except when they fall of models of the Raurimu Spiral.

  15. YONKS: ANOTHER bottler of Balvenie, you lucky thing you. If you really don't want it you can always send it to poor Malt Whisky Deprived Moi c/o Nuova Lazio High School.
    If it becomes a habit, don't worry, it beats the hell out of most others.

  16. Apple, with its minion itunes is my Dark Master.

  17. Patience_Crabstick:
    Ah, that explains a lot. You are under their control?
    I actuallylove the Apple design concepts, it's the subtle and not so subtle ways they differ in their mode of operation from Windows products that drives me mental.

    Here's a little thought I had.

    They named their company Apple. I wonder what would have happened if they had gone with Pear or Orange instead.


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