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”
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 :)


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.

Making the money work

I posted a few days ago about giving money to a political party that sat firmly on the Left. After looking and asking in a couple of forums I cannot see a way to give money for a realistic impact politically. I considered a Union more but that came to nothing for a variety of reasons.
I want to give to make a change though. I feel I should. I am fortunate in so many ways and I genuinely feel that I should help others where I can. I give to the NSPCC, loan in Kiva and pay so I’m trying to do something but I had also been paying into the Labour Party and that money should be more usefully spent. So I looked and I found.

Centrepoint. The money can help now. Someone will benefit now. It will have a real effect which means someone will feel safe, services can be accessed which may not otherwise. That is a Good Thing. It’s not warm fuzzy feeling though but more of a sad one because we – as a society – should be doing more. We should be working hard to stop this, to make things fairer, less harsh, less destructive.

Giving politically is really an investment, the hope that the change you want will happen. I don’t really do investments like that. It’s a bit like gardening – do the work, wait months and maybe get a decent result. I’m more the instant gratification guy so it fits better to give money and have it work straight away.

From their email:

Today’s a very special day, because today you’ve helped to change someone’s life forever. And it’s not often anyone gets to say that.

You could do that too.

Best of seven? DAMN RIGHT!

Maybe dying is a matter of accumulating a number of “lightning strikes”; none of them individually will do you in, but the accumulated effect leads to death. I think of it something like Monty Python’s Black Knight: the first four blows are just flesh wounds, but the fifth is the end of the line.

Interesting but somewhat heavy post here about mortality rates. I find Death to be a weird topic. I cannot understand what happened before I was born but I know it happened. I cannot understand what will happen after I die but I know it will happen. It’s something I just can’t get my head around. I do not subscribe to any belief system that has any sort of afterlife. I firmly believe that you are born and you die with nothing before and nothing after. So reading about death is odd but compelling. But I suppose that’s true for most even if you do believe in something wonderful happening after you die. Linked from that above post is a scary site. It’s the Death Probability Calculator.

Now I know that basic fitness can help (but it’s no guarantee), that there are implications from your social position and that accidents do happen but this I find scary. There is a 3.6% chance I will not make it to my 50th. I can live (ha ha) with those odds. But there is almost a 1 in 4 chance I will die by the age of 70. That means I have only 20 years left. It means if my daughters decide to have kids that there is a 23% chance I won’t be around on their 18th. Given the way politics is right now this will be the chance I will not be collecting my pension. I don’t care about the pension because that’s what old people get but I do care, really care, about those other numbers because of the personal, family and ‘bucket list’ implications.

I noted something after playing with the calculator. I am no optimist or pessimist. I like to think I am a realist. But what I noticed was that as I was looking at the graphs I was only looking at the one on the right.

2011 In Review. Sort of.

Lots of posts in the last few days about blog stats, mainly because of the stats from JetPack and that people use. Which is great – but I don’t understand why people like stats. Politicians and businesses need stats as they serve a direct purpose in shaping decisions and growth so those I do understand, but blogs? Why?

If you look at stats I imagine that you would like to see bigger numbers but if you start going after that then surely you start blogging differently, you start to look at each post more critically, maybe you increase your posting frequency but why do this? At what point does the blog become less you and more traffic orientated? And by what are you measuring stats? Just numbers? If you look at them then they must mean something to you.

My old site – tamba2 – has past 907,000 views and 734,000 visits which to some might be pretty good. But it only got 10,000 comments. That again seems good but it is only 1.1% of posts looked at that generated a comment. That number isn’t so good if you want to look at ‘engagement’. A way of looking at this would be if you opened your house up to visitors and every day 100 people walked through. 99 said nothing, they just looked. That last person will say something, maybe even just “Hi Nice house!”. Wouldn’t that 99 seem odd? (which is why spammers are so good, they say more. It’s false and exploitative but their comments are welcomed because of those other visitors who say nothing. They cater to people’s need for comments, for validation of their posts maybe.) Wouldn’t you rather write 10 posts and have 1 comment? That would be 10x the comment rate. Ah you say, I don’t write for comments and they really are a bonus but why then are you running stats? To see how many people don’t leave a bonus?

I have no idea what my stats are because I don’t run any stats. Even my blog dashboard stats aren’t reliable because I’ve lost posts when messing about with the database. So I can’t give you a stats view of 2011 except for “I blogged less. I wrote less personally. Comments were few”. Which is all okay.

If you want a real review: D is great, reached her 21st, started her Nursing Degree and has a job. P is great, she hit 18 and has a year left of College before she heads to University. J had a very bad year, is a lot more disabled than she was, quality of life dropped and is ill again right now. I had a bad year too.

The last post I wrote linking to my music stats at – that’s all about stats though isn’t it. Yes, but I see those as being more personal. Music is more personal than a blog, it is based on mood right at that moment not what you care to share with the world and I don’t believe people think “Hey my stats at need tuning out of Maroon 5 and into Aerosmith” whereas people do consider more what they write before clicking that blue Publish button. I really don’t care if you can see that I’m listening to a lot of Christine Aguilera right now.

Why don’t I write more personally which might get more visits and more comments? To be honest it’s because people will read them. There are long time readers who I would have no problem writing and them reading. But there are others who I do not want to know. I don’t want them reading between the lines, I don’t want them to be the “twitching curtain” where they hide themselves but always want to know about you and make assumptions. So it’s easier to write it offline then delete it. I find writing to be useful, cathartic in some respects so it still happens.

So should no bloggers use stats? Of course they should and for whatever reason they have but numbers aren’t the whole picture.

Political position

On 26 Aug last year I took the test at Political Compass.
This was the result:

I saw something about the politics of US politicians the other day, remembered I’d take this test so I did it again. I did not look at the above diagram and even if I had I’d not have remembered my answers to 6 pages of questions.
Today’s result:

So I’ve moved further to the Left which isn’t that surprising.