far and near

One of the most notable things about the current crisis is how easy it has become to use words such as crisis, pandemic, unprecedented… And another is how easy it is to speak of thousands of deaths as if each one of those statistics didn’t refer to a unique and cherished individual.

For me, another of the most notable aspects of the last few months is how much contact I’ve had with people all through this “social distancing” time.
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background conversation

It’s nearly thirty years since Douglas Adams wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and introduced the Electric Monk to the world:

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

I remember reading that and feeling a kind of recognition.
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I admire the attitude of TEDx Ted in the photo, who seems happy to let others get on and sort things out while he sits calmly in the midst of chaos.

I’m still scrabbling to get organised after a busy few week, but a glance at the diary for the week ahead shows at least eight confirmed meetings and events so it doesn’t look likely to calm down anytime soon.
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gatsby-mail and the green light

Gmail chat screenshot (LHS status lights only)
Whatever program(s) I’m using on my computer, there is almost always a narrow strip of another window showing on the left hand side where I can see if I have new emails. (Yes, I’m sure I could set up an audio alert, but we all have our idiosyncracies.) Not only do I see when new messages arrive, but I also see the little green lights flicker and I know when contacts around the world log on and off.

Perhaps the “g” in gmail stands for Gatsby.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And then one fine morning —

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I’m not sure where “the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” fits into things, but I can see my attempts to keep up with everything that’s happening on the web mirrored in that quote.

Tomorrow we will read faster, scroll down the page farther…
And so we click on, surfing against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the ether.

And so I blog on, posting against the current…

TIL, bcc and other TLAs

email screenshot

I know that many of us grew up before email existed and we never had to worry about accidentally revealing other people’s email addresses, but I get very cross with people who forward and re-forward messages and don’t use the bcc field.

There was one message sent to me last year that particularly annoyed me. It came from a ‘friend’ who had previously laughed when I’d commented on his lack of professionalism. I think there were around a hundred people on the distribution list, including information contacts for ski-resorts and children’s schools, as well as a number of names I recognised.

The message – and the number of ‘reply to all’ follow ups – caught me at a bad moment and I wrote an irate reply to the sender, demanding to be removed from his contacts list.
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