Sunday, 6 February 2011

Of Watches, Zips and Techie Gear

I have long known of my lack of affinity with things of a mechanical nature.  Spring wound watches will happily keep time whilst lost in a drawer, but apply them to my wrist and within 2 days they will be defunct.  Give me a zipper and I can either jam it irreparably or manage to remove the closure off the end within moments.  Inconsequential problems, unless the timepiece was lovingly inscribed by your new bride, or the zipper keeps a flyscreen in place when camped in a malarial swamp.

However, to these two can now be added a further category; anything that involves the three letters w, anything that requires a connection or a transmission through the ether.

The Kindle went first, the screen deciding it preferred a triangulist’s montage of multiple images, followed by a refusal to connect to the weekly edition of the New Statesman; finally resolving the issue by going defunct.  The Kindle having achieved this conclusion, the netbook decided it needed to join in.  It took its cue from the book reader, catching some of its viral contagion, rendering the screen so dark it was only discernible at midday in the full glare of a southern summer sun.  Then decides to enter ´cook´ mode: place an egg on the screen, and you will have a sunny side up ready in moments.

Who knows what the cause is.  Abandoning the tenets of keeping it simple and stupid, renouncing my creed of technophobic credentials or the 80km of consolidated ripio grit road, that more closely resembled a riverbed.  I, and by inference, everything on the bike has been shaken, rattled and rolled. Hour after hour.  All the clever bits of kit (for ‘clever’ read ‘expensive‘) have been tightly packed, sealed up against the persistent, penetrating dust.  Or more likely, I’m just plain hamfisted and should not be let loose with anything more specialised than a claw hammer.

So it was rather heartening when The Navigator’s Kindle decided it too couldn’t connect even when we sat under a transmission mast.  I wasn’t the only source of infection of techno-murphdom.  Paranoia was setting in.  Was this another piece of over-hyped, westernised baubles being despatched back to base, home to Mother?  A series of communications with Amazon, or at least ‘India’ eventually produces a response: enter 311.  Remarkable.  20 seconds later we have the tanks rolling into Cairo and all the back editions of the New Statesman.  Occasionally my faith in this new, incomprehensible world of instant, ethereal information and communication is restored.  Which is more than can be claimed for my lifeless, defunct, inanimate, impedimenta.

A note from The Navigator: new netbook which speaks to us in Spanish.  You would not believe the issues involved in buying a piece of technology here - or perhaps you would.  Another story for another day!  So please forgive any spurious characters appearing in the text due to the different keyboard layout.  That's my excuse, anyway!