49 Articles

Richard

Doctors

You have to feel sorry for doctors, don’t you? Or rather, you don’t but maybe you should. They are about the only people that get absolutely no sympathy when they’re feeling a bit unwell. A doctor calling in sick sounds ridiculous even before you hear the excuse. And although it’s nice to have a doctor who is experienced, you don’t…

Libraries

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” is one of the many things Shakespeare made up as part of a story, and that we now regard as gospel. Of course not everyone follows his advice, and that’s a good thing for libraries which would otherwise have been a non-starter. There are people who consider lending and borrowing to be immoral,…

Fruit machines

When they were purely mechanical, without logic chips and firmware and all those added controls and options, fruit machines were great. One-arm bandits that you knew would take your money but you got a little entertainment in return. You thought that the way the reels were lined up before you played, or the way you pulled the handle, or even…

Knobs

Knobs are our fundamental interface with the world of gadgets, aren’t they? When the very first gadget was invented — let’s say it was some sort of a knife or a club — it was surely given a handle as a means to make it available to a human user. Now we have more sophisticated gadgets; washing machines, televisions, computers…

Robots

Tech visionaries the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates tell us their biggest fear for the future is not going broke, it’s robots. We laugh. Those geeks are so consumed by  the white heat of technology, what do they know? But robots are here among us already, quietly preparing for that same apocalypse the Gates’s and the Musks foretell. These…

Christmas cake

When it comes to Christmas cake, I always follow the habit of the late composer Richard Wagner and make my own. A nicely wrapped slice of Christmas cake, as the noted composer well knew, is sure to please and now it’s become my own gift of choice. As the giver it means I have gained the efficiencies of standardization – I can…

Cat licenses

I freely admit it surprised me how quickly I succumbed to a condition common among cat owners: softening of the brain. It must be a year ago I adopted my cat, because here I am reading an e-mail from the government listing the penalties for not renewing his license. Well not so much reading the e-mail, as reading it to…

Voters’ pamphlets

When it comes to voting, most of us aren’t really too interested until after the election when it’s all had time to go to hell. “Well, you voted for it” we remember hearing, which is hardly encouraging. Or an elected official claims that some decision or other requires a vote of the people, the equivalent of Pontius Pilate washing his hands…

Joining in

The events leading to Newman leaving for good with a pair of binoculars, a memory stick and an RV full of fish were remarkable, and not the typical end to a successful career at Ziegler Genetics. The binoculars were a gift from his team, who were keen to provide him with something useful for his new life at the lake….