Details are here and see you there if you’re coming.
Details are here and see you there if you’re coming.
You can’t beat a good box set can you?
I watched the brilliant Danish series ‘The Bridge’ recently and really got into it.
It was so good in fact that after the first couple of episodes I didn’t even notice the subtitles any more.
Thinking about it, I reckon it was because of the subtitles that I enjoyed it so much.
Because I can’t speak Danish, for me to follow what was going on in such a fast paced story I had to totally immerse myself in it and give the action and the subtitles my full attention.
Had it been in English, I’d probably have been messing around with my phone or laptop while I was watching it like I do when I’m watching pretty much anything else on TV.
I normally just watch bits of most programs and listen to them when I’m concentrating elsewhere to stay up to speed. This only works if they’re in English though.
Subtitled viewing actually helps me relax as I don’t feel I should be doing other stuff at the same time as watching it and can actually forget my phone and laptop for a bit without feeling twitchy.
Exactly the same thing happened a while ago when I went to the Opera (yes, amazingly they let me in). If I hadn’t have been giving the performance’s accompanying surtitles my full attention to help me understand what was going on, I’d have been playing around with my phone during the dull bits when the fatties did their moody solos (yes, I’m a Philistine at heart).
Subtitled stuff seems to be a better viewing experience for me so let me know of any recommendations you have below. I’m going to start with something French and in black and white (it’s not what you think).
NB: I’m now refusing to watch the lazy man’s unsubtitled American remake of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ on principal.
I went to Japan a couple of weeks ago (honeymoon since you ask) and couldn’t help noticing the Tommy Lee Jones ads below peppered all around Tokyo and Kyoto on the never ending vending machines and posters.
Surprisingly I don’t speak Japanese so had no idea what they were for, but it turns out they’re for BOSS coffee and that the shameless Mr Jones has been selling his soul in the far east to pedal the brand for the last 6 years.
Like many of his celebrity chums before him, Tommy Lee has clearly jumped on the far east celebrity ad gravy train in the hope that Europe and the U.S. won’t notice.
He might have gotten away with it in the past, but these days the internet means it’s very hard for the rich and famous to hide their dodgy, but lucrative ad campaign secrets and it’s pretty easy to find some other shockers.
Check out these beauties:
Arnold Schwarzenegger (definitely my favourite)
Post any more you’ve seen below.
Can I have your attention please? For 5 minutes? I know it’s a big ask, but… thanks.
Now most of us have mobiles or smartphones it’s getting harder to get and hold someone’s full attention for any length of time. This is not only irritating me massively, but it’s also affecting society in a number of areas.
This is definitely affected. How many times have you been having a face to face chat with someone at work or down the pub when they suddenly check their mobile phone for the 10th time in a minute to see if they’ve got a text, e-mail or social post?
It’s also pretty demoralising if you’re presenting in a meeting and look up to see some of your audience checking their phones (hopefully this just doesn’t happen to me).
Annoying and rude, but we’re probably all guilty of it to some extent (alright, I am as well).
I read a cracking piece recently that summed this up, saying that there’s now pressure on the individuals in a conversation to be more interesting than the other person’s mobile or smartphone. If one party isn’t interested in what the other has to say they’ll soon be on their phone surfing, texting, pinging or posting.
Not concentrating on the task in hand can also be dangerous to the individual and others.
Take the example of the pilot who nearly crashed a plane because he was distracted by his phone, this car accident caused by texting at the wheel or this woman falling into a fountain because she was so engrossed in her phone (admittedly much funnier).
It might then be time to figure out when we should and shouldn’t be using our phones before we all start to hate eachother and/or hurt eachother.
Introducing new social rules might be a way of solving the social etiquette problem. This shopkeeper refuses to serve people who are on their phone. My local Post Office also seems to have followed suit.
My future mother-in-law doesn’t allow phones at the dinner table so conversations aren’t interrupted and a mate of mine mentioned that if he’s out with workmates then the rule is that the person who touches their phone first at dinner pays the bill.
All not bad ideas.
To solve the problem of safety it might be time for shock tactics or changes to the law.
Changes in UK law to stamp out texting while driving have also been mooted by the top brass at The Met.
These collective solutions are all small steps in the long journey of enabling societal norms to catch up with the behavioural changes brought about by the speed of technology development.
Let me know what you think below and whether you have any other solution ideas. I’ve lost interest to be honest as someone has just posted a hilarious comment on one of my holiday snaps.
Who sang ‘In the Summertime’?
Which product had the strap-line ‘They’re tasty, tasty, very, very tasty’?
Any ideas? Me neither. (*)
We all love a good quiz, especially us Brits. Mastermind and University Challenge have been running for 40 and 50 years a piece and are as British as fish and chips. Even their parodies are classics - Mastermind, University Challenge.
The real quiz national institution though is the pub quiz. You can’t beat a few beers with your mates, the painstaking process of choosing an inappropriate team name, a massive argument over a question and a subsequent inevitable loss by 250 points to 2 old blokes sat at the bar.
This weekly rites of passage is now under major threat though thanks to the smartphone.
Quiz cheating is now unbelievably easy and the temptation of prizes and kudos is often too much for some people. You now don’t have to nip out to the car park to phone your Dad for the right answer, you can just sit at your table and pull answers from Shazam and Google.
So what’s the solution? Some pubs are turning off their wi-fi connection during their quizzes or sending scouts round tables during rounds to check people aren’t using their phones. This turns a normally relaxed atmosphere into what feels like an exam – not something punters want after a long day at work.
The probable answer then, as is the case with a lot of things that are ‘threatened’ by digital, is not to fight it but to embrace it.
There are now digital quiz formats that can be used in pubs and the connectivity offered by the internet could be used to connect pubs nationwide for competitions or to have more interactive rounds like getting teams to set questions for others.
Would this work and get you down the local boozer? How else could digital improve a pub quiz? Let me know your thoughts below…
(*) Who sang ’In the Summertime’? Answer
Which product had the strap-line ’They’re tasty, tasty, very, very tasty’? Answer
Justin Timberlake has been in the news a fair bit recently. He was involved in the MySpace takeover, got back together with Jessica Biel and still managed to make the papers by going to the basketball dressed as Alf Garnett.
I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about any of these stories (well, maybe a bit about the MySpace one), but a recent bit of JT news really caught my attention – the release of his new film, In Time.
But, why did this stand out? No, it wasn’t because the female lead’s quite tidy but because I think the film’s main concept of time being traded as a commodity in the future is brilliant.
It seems we’re all under constant pressure to fit more and more into our daily lives and being ‘always on’ from a work perspective thanks to our smartphones and wireless internet doesn’t exactly help matters. It’s also now very easy for us to give up our spare time to a whole host of causes, from contributing to solving huge science problems to helping our government reach its digital usage targets.
All of this means two things. Time is becoming more precious and the ability to effectively time manage is now an essential part of everyday life. If we can’t time manage effectively, there can even be detrimental effects on our health.
An argument could be made that people in the past had it a bit easier as they seem to have had fewer drains on their time. After all what did people do after dark with no internet, TV or even electricity? (I know what you’re thinking, stop it).
There’s a famous quote from H Jackson Brown Junior that I think puts the responsibility of time management squarely back on our shoulders perfectly though:
‘Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.’
In other words, how we manage our time is up to us, we have no-one to blame but ourselves if we can’t do it properly and therefore fail to achieve.
When Clive Humby, co-founder of Dunhumby said that ‘data is the new oil’ he meant that it’s a hugely valuable commodity and I think a strong argument can be made that time is even more valuable.
Mr Timberlake would probably agree.
Scanning over someone’s bookshelf or record and CD collection can give you a good snapshot of his or her personality. One sly look when they’re out of the room can give you a good idea of their tastes, quirks, life history and guilty pleasures (probably Will Young and/or Jack Johnson).
You can also tell a lot about a person by the way they show off this stuff. If they’ve alphabetised, genre sorted, colour coded or got them in a fancy display case you can probably tell whether they’re a control freak, frustrated creative or take a particular pride in their collection.
Times are changing though and in the future this peek into someone’s personality will be an impossibility. With the digitisation of content and the consumer shift away from hard copy purchasing to digital transactions and cloud storage it’s soon going to be a lot harder to both express and assess personalities through hard copy content.
As an aside a huge downside to this (speaking personally anyway) is that this shift is going to make it harder to seem more clever than you actually are. After all, what’s the point of buying an e-book you have no intention of reading in a bid to be seen as clever when no-one’s ever going to see it?
Back to my point though which is that losing these views of a personality is a real shame.
The good news though is that there are digital equivalents of the bookshelf and record cupboard that can be mined for similar personality information. Good examples are the computer desktop and the smartphone app screen.
In the age of digital customisation and the social web, we often forget that these humble screens can sometimes give us a much more accurate view of someone’s true personality. For a start, users often assume that no-one else is ever going to see them meaning they’re less likely to project a fictional personality or partake in intellectual narcissism in these areas – an accusation frequently thrown at social network pages.
How many meetings have you been in where a total stranger has been presenting, but has unintentionally shown a bit of their personality by projecting their computer desktop onto the big screen while setting up? Not only can you sometimes see what someone has been working on, but also whether they’re unorganised and messy (have loads of docs all over their desktop), a control freak (totally clear desktop apart from 1 or 2 files), where they’ve been on holiday (desktop wallpaper), who their sports team is (desktop widget) or who else they’re going to be presenting to later in the week (names of documents).
The same is true of apps on smartphones. The personality of the smartphone user is often reflected in the apps they’ve downloaded. Are they a busy commuter (train and traffic apps), an early adopter (the latest cutting edge apps), a foodie (restaurant location, recipe and rating apps) or a music fan (music streaming and ticket apps)?
What do your computer desktop and app collection say about you?
Let me know below, I’m just off to uninstall iFart.
Last Christmas, me and my girlfriend were in the middle of a round the world trip so we decided to buy each other budget Christmas presents because we were so skint.
She got me a second hand book called ‘The Art Of Sledging’ which details the most famous verbal exchanges between players in the game of cricket. This was perfectly timed as we went to the Boxing Day Ashes test at the MCG the next day (that’s why we were so skint).
As we normally do if we buy eachother a book, she wrote a note on the inside cover. On turning the first page though, I found another message written by a random stranger to someone else saying: ‘Happy Christmas Brian, Thought you might enjoy the noble art. Love and best wishes, John and Denise.’ Clearly this was the second time the book had been given as a present.
I imagined that it had been written by an old English chap who bought the book for one of his cricket loving chums and I thought the extra note really added to the book’s character.
Given the never ending rise of the e-book it seems inevitable that in the future such messages will cease to exist and I think this is a real shame. Some of the great things about hard copy books come not just from the content being read, but from the physical book itself and the actual reading experience.
Will we ever need a cool bookmark for an e-reader for example and will the digital book ever deliver the same tactile experience that a hard copy book does? Would Andy Dufreine from the Shawshank Redemption have been able to do this with an e-Book?
It seems unlikely for a variety of reasons, that the book itself will ever truly die, but as we shift away from the analogue world we’ll start to lose a lot of the nice little quirks that make books and reading more fun.
Let me know your thoughts below.
* Something I did read on my Kindle after we left Australia (yes, I own a Kindle as well as reading hard copy books) was that England absolutely stuffed the Aussies in the Ashes series and I bet John, Brian and Denise all loved it.
You’re off on a high-powered business trip and are heading to the airport. In the cab on the way there you’re listening to your iPod, reading the news on your tablet and have just said goodbye to your girlfriend on your smartphone. You’ve already checked in online for your flight meaning you miss the queues so you breeze to the security counter and pull out… a paper book. It’s your passport.
It’s hard to believe that in the digital age we live in we’re still so reliant on what’s essentially a few pieces of paper and a photo bound together. The internet and all things digital now permeate every part of our world, but amazingly there’s still the universal approach at border control of no passport, no travel.
This isn’t to say that passports haven’t come a long way since their inception. All passports now issued in the UK are biometric for example. My question though is that if this information is available at passport control, why even bother asking a traveller to produce (and more importantly remember) a hard copy passport?
Because of the fact that the system is so reliant on the passport, losing it can be a disastrous experience – no matter how great your excuse is, but surely there must be a better way of identifying travellers?
Possible solutions might be fingerprint or retina scan identification and quite a few security checks at borders in The U.S. already ask travellers to scan their fingerprints before entering the country, although they still require a passport to be produced.
There are probably 2 main drawbacks to an alternative approach though – namely technology availability and public privacy concerns.
Not every country in the world will have the technology necessary for identification by fingerprint or retina scan (or other biometric means) available at all borders, but in the more developed world this could surely be an option?
Public privacy concerns
The privacy issue is certainly more delicate and there’s obviously been an on-going privacy debate around how companies and governments use people’s personal data in the digital age.
A good example of pushback from travellers around airport security was the introduction of the full body scanner in the U.S. and this is certainly a creative way that unhappy travellers can get their message across if they feel the need.
Any privacy concerns could potentially be overcome though by making any proposed change to the identification process opt-in.
Being honest, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable giving up more of my personal data if I was given the choice to opt-in, but in reality I already have a biometric passport and was asked to scan my fingerprints the last time I was in the U.S. so I’m sure my data is already stored somewhere anyway…
Whatever changes are made in the future, I do think that people will look back and laugh that we were reliant on the hard copy passport for so long.
One massive drawback if they’re ever eliminated would be the loss of people’s funny passport photos though, so replacing them may actually be a bad thing after all.
Let me know what you think below.