3rd law prose


My homepage is Google. It all started there. Don‘t ask me how because I never know where it is going to take me. Normally I just sit there and let it take over. Sometimes I just visit the same old sites. Every day. No imagination but I don’t really care. It’s a comfort factor. A bit like sitting in the same armchair day in day out. Same pair of familiar slippers maybe.

Anyway on this day I decided to do it differently. Like driving to work in a different way to the way you normally go. When I drive to work I’m usually on autopilot anyway. I don’t notice the route. I set off and I get there. Sometimes I wonder whether I should worry about this but what the heck! There’s something about that drive. I can’t tell from one day to another whether the traffic is going to be good or bad. Except in the school holidays when there is never any traffic. Why would anyone ever want to go on holiday during the school holidays? The drive to work is pure bliss. In the summertime you can even get lulled into a false sense of security and think it is always like this.

In fact I never take any extra time off at Christmas. It’s a choice between sitting at home staring out the window at the weather or an easy drive to work and a no pressure few days without the phone ringing. When that phone rings I sometimes have to steel myself to answer it. But not at Christmas time. You still get the same chocolate experience as if you were sat around at home all day pretending to have a good time. Playing Monopoly and hoping they don’t spot you slipping a few hundred extra from the bank into your pile of money. So Christmas at work is good, although it can drag. Not that I have many options for routes to work which isn’t exactly the same as when I’m sat in front of that computer looking at Google which is where we came in.

Google. In the beginning it was just a search engine, admittedly with a cool name. Then it took over, started to take control. I know it isn’t really Google doing it. It’s the web thing, tinternet as people round here call it. Still whatever it is I am no longer in charge. I know I’m the one doing the clicking but I’m not really deciding where to go. It makes me think of when you go shopping in the supermarket. You pick the goods off the middle shelf, or at eye level where they get noticed most. At least that’s what they say. Marketing types. Get to the point you say. Well there isn’t really a point. It all just happens. It just happens.

I have a few home pages really. There are my two blogs, work and play, YouTube, Facebook, twitter and iGoogle. I can get most things through gadgets on iGoogle but at the moment I use different tabs for each site. I like having the tabs. If I can’t write I just surf. You have to be careful not to end up with too many open tabs or browser windows though because it just ends up cluttering your screen. Desktop. When I used to use MSN I’d end up having lots of IM sessions going at the same time. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with the conversations. In the end I stopped using it. That was years go now.

Other things have taken over my life. I have already mentioned them. Couch potato isn’t really an adequate description to describe me these days. In fact I work long hours, both in the office and at home. I’m in the internet business. Internet potato maybe a better description of me. Hunched over a keyboard another day goes by without exercise, fresh air or often even daylight.

It’s almost hearkens back to the days of my grandfather. He was a miner and would in winter get up when it was dark, spend the whole day underground only coming to the surface when it was dark again. I assume this was the case, I never met him. Not because it was always dark. It’s because miners don’t live to an old age. Or at least they didn’t use to.

Nowadays we don’t have miners. Not in our plastic, pixel packaged tinternet world anyway. I can probably look up some pictures of miners in action, using Google, or videos on YouTube, although you wonder whether anyone films that sort of thing. It’s a bit dark down a mine. Pixels probably wouldn’t show up.

My grandfather didn’t lack exercise, for his upper body. Like me he would spend long hours hunched in a confined space. But it was all strenuous manual stuff. There was none of this mechanisation business. With tinternet the only strain involved is RSI in the wrist that holds the mouse. He died relatively young, from “the dust”. My father remembers towards the end he would ask to open the windows to let some air in but the windows were already wide open. It was rare for miners to reach retirement age and quite common for the males of whole families to die early.

Dad’s experience of life in a mining community coloured his politics. But despite being a supporter of the miners strikes of the seventies deep down he would admit that it wasn’t a bad thing for the mines to close. It was a tough and dangerous living.

You sometimes feel as if the tinternet is dangerous these days. Wild wild web I sometimes say. There are so many scare stories about people “phishing” for your bank account details. I even have a friend who fell for one of the scams and actually gave his bank details away. You have to say stupid bugger. However, there but for fortune…

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but the thing about tinternet is that time seems to disappear into it. This must be a physical phenomenom. The THIRD LAW of tinternet. Don’t know what the first and second laws are but there you go. Maybe there is only a THIRD LAW. Anything can happen these days. If anyone knows can they please tell me. It’s easy enough to find me – just Google my name.

THIRD LAW OF TINTERNET: if you make a cup of tea whilst surfing better drink it quickly otherwise it will be cold before you know it.

I found out about the THIRD LAW one morning when I woke up early. I was lying in bed awake wondering what to do. My wife is a light sleeper so I just lay there just trying not to wake her. Since I got a Nokia N97 I can just hide it under the covers and read my mails, do Facebook etc etc. Before then I’d get up and take my laptop downstairs and do stuff.

So that day, like many others I went downstairs. What I found was that if I went down at five thirty the next minute it was six thirty and time to make a cup of tea. That’s a whole hour disappeared. No doubt I could track my history to see exactly what I’d done in that hour but it does seem miraculous. Now not being the slightest bit religious I have always thought that there must be a good explanation behind all these so called miracles that saints get the credit for. But I can’t explain this disappearance of time.

The THIRD LAW was thus discovered. There is clearly evidential proof there though I’m not sure how you would go about deriving it from first principles. I can see the need to have some funded research on this subject. I’d do it myself, if I had the time. Perhaps it is one of the aspects of the THIRD LAW that it can never be completely explained because by its very nature there can never be enough time devoted to the subject.

One of the stranger aspects of the THIRD LAW is that there is absolutely no point in making the cup of tea at the beginning of the session because as we have already heard the tea will be cold by the time you get round to drinking it. Perhaps the THIRD LAW is actually not about the disappearance of time at all. Perhaps it is about tea going cold. We will probably never find out.

I quite often wake up early, especially in the summer. It’s quite nice to go downstairs and soak in the early light. There’s quite a racket out there at dawn. Everything they say about a dawn chorus is true. It is in our back garden anyway. I once spent the night in a tent in the garden with one of the kids. We were woken at stupid o’clock by an avian racket. We didn’t realise how early it was so we just got up and went back in to the house. Only to find it was about five o’clock. It was too noisy to stay in the tent anyway. I think we just went back to bed.

One year after a camping expedition to Woodhall Spa we got home with a soaking tent. The only way we could get it dried was to drape it around the conservatory. This was fine and indeed it did get dry. We couldn’t use the conservatory for ages though and couldn’t get the tent back into the bag. It’s such a big tent that we didn’t have space in the house to fold It properly so it spent the winter chucked into the trailer in the front garden. Packed it the following summer.

We bought the tent after the previous one pretty much fell apart. It had taken a lot of hammer over the years. Our oldest son took it to a scout jamboree somewhere and put it up inside someone’s mess tent one night for a joke. No idea where it ended up but at least he got a laugh out of it. I suppose. Anne had never liked that tent because she couldn’t stand upright in it and there was no hairdryer point. So the new tent has an atrium for cat swinging with attachments for the trapeze to hook onto. It also has a discrete hole in the corner for the electric extension cable to squeeze through. It probably even has a place to hang the hairdryer if I look closely enough.

If anyone is interested the tent is a Gelert Zenith 6. It has three sleeping pods that are each intended for two people but in practice are large enough to fit three, especially if they are small. We have never seen the need to fit in more than 6 though which is the size of the family.

We found the Gelert Zenith 6 using Google. Marvellous. I can’t remember what we paid for it but I’m sure we got the best deal available. The only problem really is that on tinternet you don’t get a good feel for how big something is. Also how heavy – it takes two of us to carry.

Another aspect of the THIRD LAW I have just thought of is the fact that it can make decision making very difficult. It took me a few months to decide on a tent. The car was nearer two years. I spent weeks of my life reading and re reading reviews, watching video clips (thanks YouTube) and looking out for the best deal. By the time I bought it I knew what a good deal was. The car I bought was actually cheaper than it would have been when I first started looking but that was mainly because so much time had gone by and it was that much older.

If I hadn’t wanted a car I could have spent the time writing a book or getting a Law Degree or something. I don’t actually want a Law Degree but I might have gone for the something, whatever that is. Could have been good! Still I ended up buying a car so that’s good too. I’m happy with it.

There is just too much information out there. That’s why I normally just stick to the same old websites. Like I said.

Sometimes the same old websites can get a bit boring. I keep looking but there is very little change. Even on twitter. You get such a lot of inane crap on twitter. I’ve started unfollowing people who talk crap. They probably think the same of me. I don’t mind some crap. I don’t even mind people saying good morning. Do it myself sometimes, in moderation. That’s what twitter is all about, ish.

Identifying what is and isn’t crap is a way for me to sort out who I would probably get on with and who I wouldn’t. In real life that is. I’m unlikely to strike up a friendship with someone who has completely opposite musical tastes to me, for example. Though actually thinking about it I probably have no idea what most of this music is because I don’t listen to it anymore. Except for the cd I keep in the car in case there’s nothing on the radio, but I do get a bit bored with that one listening to it over and over again.

I’ve just discovered that my Nokia N97 can act as an FM transmitter which means that I will be able to broadcast music from my phone onto the stereo in the car. I think it’s a great idea. Only problem is that I haven’t taken it any further yet. I have to physically transfer stuff from my PC to my phone. Manyana maybe.

The PC has been a bit of a nuisance lately because my power supply stopped working so I was having to buddy up with my son Tom. His laptop battery has the life expectancy of a gnat so it meant that he got to use it a lot more than I did. By the way I have no idea what the life expectancy of a gnat is but I expect it isn’t very long.

You might be asking why Nokia N97 and not iPhone, Nexus One or any other trendy gadget. No particular reason other than that was the one they had in stores at work. I do like it though. The screen went on my old phone, again, so I thought well that’s that. And it is. I feel a bit trendier, though not as trendy as if it was an iPhone 🙂

Phones are constant source of irritation in our family. Irritation is probably not the right word but they do constantly come up in conversation. Joe is always losing his. That’s after he spent about £80 of his own money on it. I found him bashing his iPod Touch one day because it wasn’t working properly. No wonder. Anne’s phone is always either out of battery or on silent because she’s been in church and forgot to switch it back afterwards. It is hugely frustrating just finishing a conversation with her and then rining her back because you forgot to mention something. But she has it on silent so doesn’t hear it ring!

I dunno, I really don’t. The ideal phone/gadget hasn’t been invented yet in my mind anyway.

What really annoys me about phones is when people ring you but withhold their numbers. That’s not the way to get me to answer the phone people!

I do like the idea of better Google on a phone. I’m a Google fan in case you haven’t already noticed. This isn’t a hard and fast thing but at the moment I can get pretty much most things I need from them.

It doesn’t do the cooking of course though I expect I could use it to find a takeaway. I like the idea of a webpage with my favourite takeaway order already stored so all I have to do is click “reorder”. Someone has probably already invented it and I just haven’t got around to finding it yet. That’s part of the problem with tinternet. It’s so huge. How do you know it is there. That perfect website. It’s like Not many people visit it. Only the few people I have told in person really but I can’t be bothered to go out and promote it. Have done now though ?

As I write this, sat at the kitchen table, the dishwasher is working behind me. It is quite relaxing, to the point that my shoulders have given a little shudder. You know the feeling? Not a bad shudder, a good shudder. I can’t tell you how many dishes are being washed. Too many probably. Anne likes to get her value for money out of a wash. Not even Google can help with that one although I could probably find some statistic on tinternet to tell me how many plates the average dishwasher has when fully loaded. Possibly.

Someone would find that interesting. They need to get a life. So do I really but if I keep writing long enough I’ll come up with the COMPLETE SET OF TINTERNET LAWS. That’s the way it happens. 1% inspiration 99% perspiration though sweat dripping onto my laptop wouldn’t do it any good. That saying clearly comes from the pre-internet days.

I did once knock a glass of water onto a laptop just before I was due to make a major presentation. Boy was there panic. One person tried to recover the hard drive to put into another laptop whilst I sat at a different computer re-typing the presentation just in case.

I don’t recall how the talk went. Good probably. That was years ago. This is now. Pointless regurgitation of things to say for the sake of it. Just like most meanderings on tinternet.

to be continued…

click here to go to THIRD LAW OF TINTERNET part 2

By Trefor Davies

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[…] downstairs to write at this time of day is that it makes the time go quickly. I refer you to the Third law of the internet. That’s the one where if you are surfing the web a hot drink always goes cold before you finish […]

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