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Friday 25 September 2009
What sex is your computer - & 3 Brilliant ideas
Are you one of those for whom time always seems to be moving at the wrong speed? When we are bored it slows and drags, when engaged in some exciting project it flies by and there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. Lying awake at night it almost stops. At my age it is increasingly lethargic. For those unfortunate enough to have such problems, the depressed find that it crawls and cannot be prodded into faster life, but for the manic it, too, goes at a hundred miles an hour and there is nothing to be done to slow it down. If you happen to be a tad obsessional you will be focussed too firmly on time future at the expense of the present, whereas if anxiety is your black dog you will be interested mainly in time past.
This is all very well known, of course. I mention it only because this last week I discovered that there was help at hand. Well, if not help, then certainly illumination.
You have but to click here to be whizzed away to the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory. Here you will be asked a series of questions and rated according to the degree to which you are influenced by : Past Negative, Past Positive, Present Fatalism, Present Hedonism, Future and Transcendental Future. You can also, should you so wish, take what they call the Transcendental-future Time Perspective Inventory - but I'll leave you to discover all about that for yourself. (Just so there's no misunderstanding: so far as I have been able to make out none of this has anything to do with Transcendental Meditation - just thought I'd make that clear.
From a source that must remain anonymous, I learn that a certain police sergeant was in trouble with his inspector for referring to one of his P.Cs (female) as a W.P.C.. This, apparently, is offensive in the present climate. It is like referring to an actor (female) as an actress. Well beyond the pale, no? This one worries me, though, and not least because I had not realised that computers came with gender differences. How do you tell? What is it about my friendly inspector's computer that marks it out as being female? Is there a test for it? Can I buy one in P.C. World? It really worries me that I have not noticed any such distinguishing features in any of the computers I have had dealings with in the past. And certainly not in the one I am up close and personal with at the moment. What has happened to me? Am I slipping? And what mightn't I have done in close contact with them over the years, and not even been aware that I was doing it? It does of course answer one mystery: the question of why it is (allegedly) that so many officers would prefer to be in the station playing with their computers rather than out on the beat.
No doubt it had to happen, and on the 5th November it will happen, for on that auspicious day Penguin will publish a volume containing over sixty of the world's classic novels Twitterized. This, apparently, is what Elizabeth Bennett is reduced to: It's as if the less he seems to care about me, the more drawn to him I am. This seems the opposite of how it should be? Oh well.
From a source which modesty forbids me to divulge comes the most brilliant idea of all. An idea that foretells the day when you will click on File on your word processor and see, not just the options New, Open, Save, Save as, but now: New, Open, Save, Save as, Save as verse. Think about it: You will have typed into your W.P. (something like) It had been a wet night, but Jim had remained focussed on the small float bobbing in the dark pool at the end of his line... and at that point the muse had walked out on you, slamming the door as she went - obviously not intending to return any time soon. Dejectedly you click on File, are about to click on Save as when inspiration (daughter of the muse who has just left) whispers in your ear. Following her suggestion, you click instead on Save as verse and are rewarded with:
the angler -
his dreadful intensity
in the evening rain!
Okay, so Buson (painter-poet, 1716-83) got there before the computer on that occasion, but one day the computer will get there first and you will be famous. I understand (from my not-to-be-divulged source) that the originator of the idea is prepared to let Microsoft have the idea to develop for free, as that is all it is just now, just an idea.