A Letter To My Laptop

Dear Laptop,
This is going to be a difficult letter to write. Mostly because you have decided to throw a hissy fit, but I will continue anyway.
We have been together nearly three years now and I look back fondly at the day Wife took me by the hand and pulled me into the computer shop. Wife looked lovingly into my eyes and hissed “Just pick one! don`t muck about, just pick one and pay for it! And stop moaning!”
I wandered up and down the aisles with all those big laptops and ipads looking at me. Also looking at me was the price tags. The computers said “come to me” but the price labels screamed “Move along! Nothing to see!”
Then I spotted you. Apparently you are a notepad, not a laptop. I looked at your label, telling me that you had RAM, GIG and apparently SSID. I didn’t care. You looked small, cute and had a mousepad with buttons underneath. The best vital statistic that you possessed was your price. You were cheap.
Our relationship got of to a rocky start. As cheap as you are your creator, (who was probably a clever twelve year old) had added lots of really cool features. Most of them were to do with your mousepad. Apparently if I tapped on the pad it was like a left-click on the mouse button that was about three millimeteres underneath the pad. If I made a pinching motion I could zoom. running my fingers up and down the outside of the pad acted like a scroll wheel.
I cannot lie. I am old. I spent many years where “subtle” was the name given to a sledgehammer and a “screwdriver” was a hammer. I hit things for a living and consequently my fingers have all the sensitivity of an EDL rally. Add all that to my unwillingness to try new things and disaster looms. I tried to get used to all these things but me and you argued a lot in the early days. You thought I wanted to open another window whilst simultaneously cutting and pasting a link into an email, when in fact I wanted to click on a button and watch a funny video of a man falling over.
Plastic surgery was the answer. I used all my skill and resources and transplanted a much simpler mousepad software driver app operation upload interface tool patch. Thing. It worked. I was in love. I could move the cursor and point at things then move my finger three millimetres south and press a button and hey presto! A bloke would appear on my screen and fall over.
We had loads of adventures! You have accompanied me to the top of mountains, We have communicated our ideas to the world at many bars in Hong Kong. You have been through 18 security checks and on over 24 airplanes. You have even made a guest appearance at my parents house to show some photographs. This was risky. Technology has a habit of self destructing in the presence of Father, who regards cordless telephone very suspiciously.
Then you started to get old. Like a supermodel you seemed to resent your age and started to complain and make unreasonable demands. At first I could tolerate the five minutes of hysterics as you would tell me your hard drive was no more and your boot up system would not operate today. Simply switching you off and back again would bring you to life.
Your stamina started to fade too. This, again, I could tolerate. I am certainly slowing down so I could forgive you that your battery life was no longer six hours. So why did you not start to warn me? No, you just decided that the best thing you could do would be to simply shut down and do nothing until I carried your carcass home and plugged you back in for a re-charge.
Then you started to get cranky. I do not ask you to calculate re-entry for the space shuttle or how the global economy will perform. All I wanted was to look at facebook, read the papers and occasionally show me an amusing video. You now enjoy glaring at me as I enjoy a beer and decide that there is something you did yesterday that was acceptable must now be improved, and to that end you will download an update and my lunchtime will be spent watching a circle going round and round. After an hour of me looking at a blank screen you jump back to life and tell me you need re-start and show me the video of a fat man falling over. However, your battery has decided to keel over so in fact you are just a plastic lump that I need to carry home.

All the magical updates that you have had have meant I have spent countless hours looking at a blank screen, yet I regard you as slower than when I bought you. You are not faster or better, you are just older and slower, which is not a good thing. You are the love of my life, but are starting to be less useful than a wheel chock. Your lifespan is becoming less and your ability as a skipping stone is becoming more apparent every day.

It is with these sad words that I inform you that you are to be replaced. Younger and faster, slimmer and better looking. Something more useful and with more stamina. I just hope that Wife does not look at me with the same critical eye….

a guide for air travel

I have flown a fair bit over the years, a mix of short-haul and recently long haul flight. Air travel is no longer the privilege of the rich and famous. Anybody with a few pounds and a passport can now board a plane at one of many airports around the world and be deposited at a similar airport a few hours later. The problem with this is that some people who now fly should never be allowed within three hundred yards of an airport, never mind three feet behind me on a flight to Tenerife. I have therefore strung together a few possible rules and regulations to make flying once more a nice experience.

Rule 1. If you have less brain power than roadkill and struggle to comprehend and understand simple instructions, you are no longer permitted on aircraft. You must now take a bus.

Rule 2. Modern suitcases have wheels. If you have one of these modern contraptions,you do not actually need to hurtle off and get a trolley.Without a trolley you will no longer scrape the ankles of your fellow passengers or block the entrance to any of the shops with your suitcase transporter. This will free up space for the rest of us to waltz merrily through the airport. Lack of courtesy with a trolley will be punished by being banned from the duty free.

Rule 3. On long haul flights, most people will have luggage. This will contain your clothes and your toiletries. On the flight you will be probably fed and watered and also have a screen to watch films on. It follows that once on the aircraft you need very little personal possessions. A coat, perhaps, possibly a book or two and an Ipod. Since your vital documents will fit into your jacket pockets it realistically means that you do not need to take a suitcase cleverly disguised as “hand luggage” aboard the airplane. For the majority of people there is nothing quite as irritating as watching as a stupid oaf crushes your duty-free cigarettes with a bag weighing as much as a small car. If you are the oaf, please refer to rule 1.

Rule 4. The airplane will take off when all the passengers are aboard. If you decide to have an extra pint of lager before heading off to pour cheap booze down your throat for a week, make sure you are going to get to the gate in time. Sitting on the tarmac, squashed in a tiny seat while the crew announce that they cannot leave because a passenger has not arrived and they must now remove his luggage from the hold becomes slightly tiresome. Worse is the next announcement that the flight will be further delayed as “we have missed our slot.” The only slightly positive thing is that someone, somewhere on the flight has an empty seat beside them.

Rule 5. As most of us people already realise, the plane will leave when all the passengers are on. The airlines have presumably spent a lot of time and money to work out the quickest way to get the human cattle on board. When the announcement for passengers in zone c are called to board, anyone whose buttocks rise from their seat without a ticket for zone c will be promptly thrown off the flight. (I realise this might cause a problem in a similar vein as rule 4, but we need to stamp out this traffic jam as zone c passengers attempt to work out who is waiting to board and who is merely blocking the whole process up).

Rule 6. Flying is dull and boring. Children get bored very quickly. Put three hundred people in close proximity and small irritations become a call to arms.The relentless kick…kick…kick on the back of your seat becomes an assault on your good name and a crying child can turn a nun into a homicidal maniac. Any parent who fails to bring books,crayons and an electronic dummy for their child to stave of the wailing and whining will be ejected from the aircraft. Without a parachute.

Rule 7. With a nod in the direction of rule 3, as you get on the aircraft to take your seat, place all the things you need in the stowage area in front of you and put your small bag in the overhead locker.Then sit down. Anyone who does a yo-yo impression to the overhead lockers during the flight will have their in-flight entertainment switched off.

Rule 8. During the flight you may need to visit the toilet. This is to be monitored and anybody using the conveniences more than once every sixty minutes will be attended to by a flight attendant who will sort you out with a cork and his experience of knots……..

Rule 9. As the plane hits the runway and taxis to it`s stand, the announcement is made for passengers to “remain seated with your seat-belts fastened.” That means you sit still and keep your belt fastened. It does not mean “jump up and haul your huge bag out of the overhead locker.” If you hear the latter,not the former, then rule one for you!

Rule 10. When you get to your destination, you may need to go through passport control. As you get to the head of the swarming mass of humanity, get your travel documents in your sweaty mitts, do not wait until you are asked to provide your passport before rummaging through every pocket and every bag to find your paperwork. Failure to have documentation ready is punishable by a kick from every passenger behind you.

Rule 11. When you get to baggage reclaim any person who stands in a line with partners,children and a trolley, thereby blocking a large percentage of the belt, will have their luggage opened and sold on to the highest bidder.

Rule 12. As the weary passengers head out of the airport, any person stopping to look at sign boards and generally slowing down the flow will be taken to a brick wall, blindfolded and shot!

By the simple adoption of these rules I am sure that flying can once again become a tolerable experience!