So was it happy?

Lady in the Post Office just wished me a Happy New Year. I replied that I would let her know in a year. On the way back I pondered this year’s events, so, if you wished me a Happy New Year 12 months ago here is what I recall.

The Good.
– I met so many great people at the Automattic Utah Grand Meetup
– I worked in 2 great teams (Jetpack / TOS) and I till work in TOS with genuinely really good people.
– I still have a job I love and work I enjoy every day

The Not Good
– J’s MS has worsened considerably.
– we lost Winston
– we lost Storm

There may well be other things but that is all I could think of on the walk home.

A correction

On my About page for a few years it said I was bipolar. I had written this in some blog posts too. Today I am correcting that. The diagnosis I was given in 2003 was wrong. The psychiatrist who wrote that changed how every subsequent doctor listened to me. They did not question it. It meant years of drugs and side-effects that I did not need. It has meant not getting help I should have got 9 years ago. I could rant and ramble on this for ages but I’m not going to. It’s been hard enough these past several weeks to deal with events and a rant won’t help. The diagnosis has been withdrawn (to be replaced with another but that is never being posted here) and now I get to start where I should have done in the first place.

Not me

I thought it was a bit of a cheat having a photo of myself on the About page that was over 10 years old. This is not OK Cupid, there is no-one to impress. I also do not need reminding of a time when I did not have grey hairs (though I actually like grey. If I could reliably dye it all grey I’d do it tomorrow. Having a shave – well a trim really – never liked the blade, always left the skin a little sore – but had I known years ago that the last thing you should use is shaving foam/gel and you should be smoothing hair conditioner on instead maybe I would think differently. It works better, trust me) or quite so many crow’s feet (once the wife pointed them out I – and I can’t be the only person who did this the first time they are told – became very aware of when my expression could cause them to worsen. It’s why I wear a cap when out these days. If I don’t have to squint because of the sunshine my skin won’t look quite as bad.) – oh, the shave thing – yes, right well when that has happened the hair debris is very salt and pepper but more heavy on the salt these days. Which I like. Why I don’t know. It’s not like I’m becoming more attractive is it?
Anyway, the photo there was from around the year 2000. I can date it because a couple of other pics at the same time show my chest piercings (nipples. sternum surface, two clavicle surface) and I was also tanned. We had been on holiday to Turkey and a really great hotel. Three things – no four – happened that I will never forget. I drank a lot then and the hotel had just gone all-inclusive. When I went to the bar I’d ask for a vodka and coke. They’d put a smidge of vodka in the glass and fill the rest with coke. By the time we left I’d get a glass full of vodka with just enough coke to turn it a brown. The second thing was that after several days I got my head shaved. A proper sharp razor in the hands of a proper Turkish barber. Took him quite some time because of the scars on my head and when I was done not only was my head super smooth it also looked like I was wearing a white skullcap much to the amusement of others. That’s two things. The third was we were walking up the street and an old guy asked me “Did you mean that to happen?” as he pointed to all my piercings. That was pretty funny. Then there was the fast backgammon that was played, if you had a game of pool you wore a smooth silk-like glove on the hand because it was too sweaty in the heat to use the cue otherwise. The hotel food/drink would have cost us nothing but we ate and drank outside every evening because the locals were really great people. We have a family photo from that hotel. Walking to the evening meal a photographer asks us to pose quickly (he’s stopping everyone) and he takes the photo – best photo we have had or will ever have of us all. And I remember this because it was December that year, 4 months after Turkey that Jacqui was diagnosed with MS.
So that photo dates from 2000 and here we are on 2012. Long time ago. So I thought I should change it to something closer to my age. So I did.

Off switches

We need more. I went to turn the PS2 off and you have to hold this narrow sliver of a button long enough so it doesn’t think it’s a reset and it goes off. I don’t know where the Off button for the TV is because I use the remote. PS3/XBox? Use the controller. Monitor? A recessed button that gently gently does it’s best not to actually click. Computer? Again something almost incidental to the design. There’s a thing somewhere that Steve Jobs didn’t like Off buttons but this is a problem.
There’s the energy issue but I’m sure that has been shot down in flames by both sides of the argument so I’m not bothered about that. There is a design issue there too but that is also part of the problem.

Note: an Off button is a completely different thing to an Off switch.

Nothing ever gets switched Off. Right now the TV is Off, so are the consoles, the laptop but they aren’t Off. If you are old like me you can think back to when we had these things called “switches”. They had clunky functional little nubbins that you could grab and twist and flick to make the TV go on, the kettle boil, the lights work. And when you were done you switched them Off and you knew if was Off because you made a decisive move, you actually grabbed something and moved it until it clicked. And it wasn’t some simpering wishywashy sound, it was a proper click. That action and that sound meant the device was now Off. At night a home would be a series of clicks as it shut down. Now there is just silence because everything is still on.

Many years ago you had to wait for the TV to “warm up” before you got a picture. People yearned for the day they could Click and the picture would appear immediately. Now we have that technology but we leave the TV on all the time, hide the Off button and even if we found it there would be no real sensation either felt or heard that is was indeed Off or On.
Now: “Have you turned the TV off?” “Yes” “Are you sure?” “Okay, I’ll check”
Then:
because she’d heard the click.

We need more Off switches. We need to see a switch in the Off position and hear it’s journey to the Off position.
Why? Because a proper Off switch actually means “I am done with you now” and not having one means that the device is ready before you are, that it too easy to bring it out of it’s sleep, too easy to never really say “I am done with you now”.

Off switches are probably a lot better for us than what we have right now.

A diet coke.

I swear I’m not counting but while filling out an “About Me’ on a forum I realised it’s been 9 years since I had a drink. Not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips since I woke on 23 February 2003. Given I was on well over 100 units a week prior to that date that’s pretty good. And I never said I’ve given up. I just said I don’t want one right now. That remains the case. If I want a drink I’ll have one. No point setting yourself up to possibly fail is there? Go me :)

White

It’s snowing. There is a whole village of snow to play in. You want to go out and kick the snow about, make big steps through the virgin snow, walk into the middle of the road to break the wide path of undisturbed white between the lanes. Make wide arcs left and right as you walk or lots of little baby steps in different directions. You can do all of this and more along many paths and crossing several roads without attracting attention if you have a dog. People think you are playing with the dog playing with the snow. The dog is thinking “What the…”. I really really love snow.