January 29, 2004

We Can't Cope

So once again we are beset with inclement weather and we just can't cope with it. Our friends across the Atlantic suffer much greater extremes than we do and manage far better. I do not understand our local authority who for one reason or another just do not grit the roads. What do I pay my Council Tax for?

I travelled home from a client just thirty miles away. I left there at 5.15pm and finally arrived home at 8.15. The last mile of the journey taking 30 minutes!

I excused myself from visiting a client today and worked at home. Yes - I have joined the millions of softees who do not go in to work when it is white outside.

Posted by jeff at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2004

A Little Light Reading?

I have been forced over the last few months to read those dreaded publications that have become an everyday event in our lives? "The Handbook"!!

They always used to be called "Manuals" but obviously we can no longer cope with words with a direct Latin root and have to have a Teutonic translation. You well know my obsession with words and I cannot help questioning the fact that every book is a handbook. How else can you hold it? I suppose you may well be one of those strange people who sit with a book held firmly between your toes as you relax each evening. But, I digress, we are discussing the merits of such publications.

When these missives arrive with one of today's new electronic pieces of wizardry, apart from the 100 or so pages of boring prose, we have to cope with the fact that they have been translated very poorly from Japanese or Korean. Recently, between us, Nina and I have had to cope with handbooks for the following: -

Installation of Broadband/Cable TV
A DVD player
Two new mobile telephones
A new "hands-free" domestic telephone system
My new digital camera (214 pages)
A new Psion PDA organiser (221 pages)
A new fridge/freezer
(Thank goodness cuddly toys don't need a handbook)

This does not include the additional handbook that deals with the connectivity, where possible, to a computer!

Where computers are concerned I have to confess to claiming "Age Relief" in that I am lucky enough to have Neil who is steeped in the knowledge of the workings of these infernal machines to the extent that a brain surgeon knows what goes on in our heads. Although a call to him for help usually elicits the phrase "WIDRTBM" translated as "When in doubt, read the b----y manual". I really can't believe that a brain surgeon would take quite that attitude! I do not see the scene of the patient under the anaesthetic with surgeon leaning over him with manual in one hand and scalpel in the other. I was, however, once delayed at Milan airport for some three hours sitting on a Boeing 737 watching the ground engineers working on one of the engines, which apparently had developed a fault, surrounded by no less than four manuals. I found myself praying that nothing had been lost in the translation from American English into colloquial Italian.

The curse of these publications does not cease with electronic and consumer goods in general. You cannot buy anything, even food, which does not include a leaflet that supposedly covers the manufacturer in case the consumer institutes litigation after being poisoned by the product. I did notice this week that the jar of peanut butter purchased in a local supermarket bore the legend "Caution, this product may contain nuts"! What more can I say after that?

Posted by jeff at 02:52 AM | Comments (0)