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Fortunately I am fairly expert with Photoshop 7
and hope this will not dissuade too many viewers.
This was just before I was tied to the boat.

Attended Grammar School in the sixties, KNGS
in Birmingham, and after struggling for years to
get exams now worth nothing, eventually became a
Civil Engineer. Then did a ten month stint selling
door to freezing door glazing, which was quite an education,
before becoming a rather less civil programmer
in the late seventies.

Eventually evolved into a Systems Programming
person and Networking person, when being
men and women became politically incorrect.

Then took five years out studying alcoholism
and chain smoking, before re inventing myself
as the owner of a website, then interesting myself
with finding out about Google indexing, and
how to get yourself a little better placed.

I hope this site seems amusing, helpful or informative,
it is intended to be one of the three.

As can be seen from the photos, smiling suits me.

Malcolm Pugh April 2004.

Article below was a prediction in Nov 2003.

The Dark Side of our Moon, The Universe, and everything.

Last time we saw hardware turning somewhat towards mobile phones, with PCs still
firmly entrenched. Today we will look at the future of non hardware based things
to come.
Increasingly, things are bought ready programmed and we have little influence
over what we have bought or use, just initial choice of supplier and package.
So we are being gently pushed down pre defined paths, with
conforming to compatibility being paramount, especially as the current market is
essentially split between Google and Microsoft. Here Google will try to offer
all options to all men purely by being online to them, as opposed to Microsofts
tendency to tie the user to their PC for Word Processing Office Email applications and get
their frills on the net. Much as most would privately relish a Google triumph,
that is Microsoft after all, who have seen off a good number of contenders for
the crown, and also generally speaking we are all more comfortable with the net
for the net and the PC for the rest it is what we have grown up
with, plus possibly there is an underlying fear that the net does not reek of
permanence as it was historically, not so long back, down so much as it was up,
and is somewhat dependant on transient factors, not least electricity in an
ageing, creaking grid network, surviving in an epoch of sophisticated terrorism.
Personally I think our increasing reliance on all things electrically based,
with no alternative parallel backup manual systems, is at least worrying and at
worst frightening.
Anyway, I think Microsoft will be the major monopoly for many a day yet,
with a new search evolving with Longhorn and as in any event the devil that we

On another tack, I recently visited Ireland,
where my mobile phone supplier does not function. News
to me, and news relayed via texts from other suppliers who do work there almost
as I stepped off the ferry. Welcome to
Ireland we are now looking after you kind of thing. One even had the temerity to
phone me and ask if wanted to upgrade onto their network as mine did not work
there. A little startling to think you are targeted so quickly, automatically.
So project this further if you will, as ID cards, and the like containing
DNA, Iris details and fingerprints, plus bank balances and credit card balances
become prevalent as money ceases to be in tandem.
You walk down the street, and CCTV recognises you via facial and retinal
scan correlation and activates this speaker plasma
display which says hi Malcolm, are you interested by xxxx.
Today It will know your available credit, your full credit rating , preferences, your
season of the year typical buys. It will have countless data via surveys you
filled in to get freebies. It will in short target you with all your weaknesses
knowing the money is there. Similarly actually pick up any displayed article and
DNA or fingerprint technology will trigger a similar chain of events and
questions merely by having touched them.
All that is delivered to your door with minimal fuss, and the item may even
tell you when it needs replacing, and on command replace itself via the home
online system hooked into the super intelligent fridge, washing machine, cooker, and
freezers plus conversing 24 7 with the net and relevant
suppliers and repeat suppliers. Your home system constantly monitors stock and
varies purchases according to season and personal preferences learned ad hoc from
its inception, much as your blue DVD system learned your viewing preferences
and your commercial TV channels learned to tune their adverts specifically to
be in sync with your personal psyche, style and tastes.
All choice is made to be so minimal as possible, all whim taken away
everything is so SIMPLE.
There will be no problem getting what you want, when you want it, almost
instantaneously, and your every internet search will be analysed and filed for
finer tuning into your underlying psychological profile.
This weight of mundane tasks being effortlessly
achieved in this sort of background low profile mode, and given most will
effectively be working from home, there may well be a tendency to introversion,
an almost hermit like existence, where communication
is by and large electronic and not in person, more in camera.
We see the start of this in the endemic mobile phone use by our youth who are
losing their grasp of spelling and personal contact via texting, and almost
addictive usage of phones where once we talked face to real face. This incidentally
stimulates rudeness and abuse plus easily causes offence where none is intended,
as the electrons flow and the actual physical face to personal face meetings with all
their emotive vision hearing touch and smell are slowly but surely eroded and
recede, plus with it human contact is so much the poorer.
As I say this all assumes an uninterrupted power source which can Answer
increasingly heavier and ever heavier demand with absolutely no blips. Is that
achievable, is that stable, is that possible.
Much as our supermarkets now are eviscerating smaller shops and garages, so
they will become sole silent suppliers to your door via the global net, or not
so silent suppliers should you venture past your front
portal. Holidays may even become a matter of plugging in to distant locations
via a sensual virtual link, sort of web cam with touch and emotion, then
no more travelling, packing, flying, ferrying, just dreaming
awake with subliminal time outs for ordering. We are leaving an age of choice
and reason plus opinions to go on to an era of facile effortless indulgence and
contentment at the expense of our free will being subjugated to appeasing your
convenient, the line of minimal effort. Every day that passes it is easier to
spend and receive, easier to indulge and then discard. It is also becoming
increasingly hard to manage and function without a mobile, or laptop, and PC plus
Net and more expensive to buck the system and do it manually.
Soon there will be no money, plus no bartering, eventually no MANUALLY. Soon it will all be
credit and online baby, and AUTOMATICALLY .
Who is to say which is preferable, but there is little doubt which way it
will go. Ask your computers, they will tell you if soon you dont believe me,
soon we will be more comfortable talking to our computer than to each other.
Apparently even now users at Internet cafes and Universities use the SAME
computer in a room of many, given choice, because they TRUST that one, they are
happy it worked for them before plus your computer
never lies to you or annoys you or answers you back, it just does what you
say, at least for now.

So I envisage a shift towards a 2001 HAL society where your every perceived
need and want is second guessed, offered, accepted and delivered. No actual
feeling of paying, ordering by thinking, is likely, simply a constantly
replenished supply of perishables with a finite life span. Not pay today and
throw away, but Dont think why, just re supply, and to
this end all software, peripherals, and the Net will be geared up to be more and
ever more effortless to you and less plus ever less manual intervention from you, in the
race to automate the mundane and strip away the stress and even choice in
supplying what are perceived and judged to be your needs, albeit by others.
Assuming your credit is good it will be an effortless electronic
environment, always assuming zero credit banking
errors, which may gradually become more hard to actually prove has
happened as the Net becomes unassailable and infallible seeming. Computers are
not good at self regulation. The race to supply this panacea now currently
attempting wireless supplantment of hard wired technology. I am not at all
convinced that the security and interference aspects of these items and strategy
have been fully thought through and addressed, especially in light of the
plethora of new gadgets which all use various similar frequencies. We will
address these issues in the next missive from Mars. I leave you with a sobering
thought. We can now use many times better fabrics, papers, materials and
manufacturing processes than we ever could say late last century. Yet things
from that era, like cookers, fridges, books, vintage cars, tape recorders, LPs,
reel to blessed reel tapes, models for example are still working,
in many varied instances BETTER than their modern counterparts. If
we are so advanced then why do we deliberately manufacture things which are not
meant to survive for even a fraction of the durability of these old items, when
we have better materials, and better tools, and better knowledge, and better tolerances.
We are some million times better at selling, and what we sell falls apart in no
time, and no one seems to care, notice or even question such a trade in of
quality and reliability plus style for shoddy, unreliable unremarkable rubbish.
A friend of mine is in printing, and our challenge there and here in all
aspects of modern manufacturing, is to put back quality, trust, and reliability
plus promote the value of true worth over transient gloss. It would appear the
sales industry has become so perfected at what it does people have lost sight of
the actual quality of what they buy, and how long it is likely to last. We seem
to prize short term gain over long term pride and craftsmanship,
we outsource all our manufacturing to offshore and far east enterprises purely
on the basis of short term cost and at the real cost of long term inability to
produce from within our own lands and dependency on others abroad, what price
then low cost when they are our sole capable producers.
Once you have thrown out the basement and the foundations it is hard to rebuild
your house. If the incentive were not solely focussed on style over substance
and cheapness over craftsmanship, If advertising actually pushed us responsibly
to think that quality is a virtue in itself worth paying for, and you DO in the
end get EXACTLY what you pay for, then maybe Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Royal Doulton,
Wedgwood and Hornby would not be outresearching to China or mass producing what
were classic marques and designs in grotesque parodies of their former selves,
under new managements using old famous names but not reflecting old hand made
craftsmanship, pride and years of reliability.
We also seem to stifle ourselves with rules that do not seem to apply remotely to our
competitors and then just let them walk all over us on price. Take my printing
friends trade, we try to use sustainable or recycled
sources, whereas the competition is happily chopping down virgin forests and
bleaching paper. Multiply that by all the call centres, toy manufacturing and
base manufactured products in the far east and China , where the basic wage is
infinitesimally small for huge undercutting of the west, and how can we ever compete,
we of the fair wage for all and minimum wage per hour.
China and the East think in centuries, we think about days by comparison. In
centuries though we will have no manufacturing base left.
Does no one see the irreparable damage being done
by losing brands such as Royal Doulton, or all the lace and cotton industry or
the steel and shipbuilding. Everything is being
sacrificed on the altar of expediency and lowest possible cost price versus
maximised profits. Surely someone should see a gap in the market for quality and
reliability in hand made articles, always made with pride by master craftsmen, or
classic books bound in age old style and antique charm.
we are truly brilliant at advertising, so why not let the goods match the
spiel and create niche markets for connoisseurs if you like, an upper level
style AND substance branding for those with discernment and little more
disposable income thoughtfully employed and not frittered. Better one Dickens
than twenty Mills and Boon.
It is possible quality may re emerge and make its comeback and substance may
yet win out over gloss and style, as everything is cyclic in the long run. We
await the future, but my bet is the book and the magnetic tape will eventually
prove better than the .doc and the cd.
Surely a hand bound First edition of Dickens transcends computer print
out. Surely an original reel to magical reel of Dark Side of
the Moon through a Ferrograph is a different planet to a bland frequency
challenged CD. Look on EBay at second hand prices of LPs, Reels, and First
editions . Then look at second hand prices of CDs and talking book cassettes. If
the resale value of quality is there why is the sale value eroded and derided in
favour of mass produced inferior brands.
Recently an original DSOM sold for 305 pounds plus postage, the CD sells for
four quid.
I digressed before into the quality field to outline another possible avenue for
We may yet see a renaissance of hand made goods, ideally suited to internet
sales and perhaps have new searches like Quality Quest and Antique Admiration,
new websites like Handmade Hardbacks and Solidwood Style.
I buy wonderful handmade boxes from a firm called Crafty Roots, maybe
they are our tip of a new iceberg.
As stressed before the world at large is strangely cyclic, so it is possible the
markets may cry out for goods once more that do what they actually say they will for a
long time, are craftsman made, individual, reliable and do not depreciate or
fall apart overnight. Given small workshops from home could become a cottage
industry once more, whole the sum of its parts, what better way to re
promote an old idea than via the internet.
Just as Opera and Classical music and Ballroom Dancing is resurgent, and strangely being plugged and promoted
quite forcefully to the fore, so too quality goods may reinvent themselves. I certainly hope so.

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