Latest news from the world of Social Networking and other social interests.

Smart Meters Are Soon Going to Be Unavoidable, So Get Used to Them

We must all learn to love smart meters even if we were indifferent about our old meters!

We must all learn to love smart meters even if we were indifferent about our old meters!

Soon we may well be inundated with ads and other pressures to grow to love the new Government scheme to put ‘smart meters’ into every British home by 2020. Yes, every home.

This is on a scale bigger than the compulsory conversion of every gas appliance in Britain to North Sea natural gas between 1967 – 77 at a cost of about £100m and writing off redundant coal gas plants while 13,000,000 domestic appliances, 400,00 commercial and 60,000 industrial systems were changed.

However, smart meters are being dubbed ‘potentially dangerous’. And expensive and already outdated, according to many critics. But hey, it’s part of the EU green targets so who are we to grumble? Although it has to be said that Holland and 4 other countries are dropping the idea.

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People Get Creative With Their Parking Solutions As the Problem Gets Worse

Where MBF Blogs is situated is near Lowestoft. The town has been styled by some as the place where can be seen some of the worst parking in Britain.

Top Gear’s presented Jeremy Clarkson has been invited to visit as he got very hot under the collar recently about parking.

Jeremy Clarkson is not everybody’s favourite TV presenter, writer or driver. But sometimes he comes up with something that strikes a chord.

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The English Language May Not Reign Globally Supreme For Much Longer

Spoken language remains essential for us as social animals

Spoken language remains essential for us as social animals

This blog is for everyone interested in language. Even more so, for those interested in our English language. And the changes that technology has brought and is bring to the way we speak, write and think.

English has become the language of choice in media for most of the world. Almost every country teaches English as the first foreign language to their children. We might learn French, German or even Mandarin. But we still expect most people to understand our English!

Professor Peter Trudgill writes a column each week in the Eastern Daily Press in which he writes about English in the way she is spoke in Norfolk, particularly.

A recent one was called ‘Being able to enjoy a mardle is quite a new concept.’ (7 July 2014). A mardle, by the way, is a good old gossip, a small talk round the table or on the street corner or over the garden wall…

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The App You’ll Want to Keep in the Box

Speed kills the interest in film, TV, drama and reflective creation

Speed kills the interest in film, TV, drama and reflective creation

Even If You’re Time-Poor, This App You Might Want to Keep in the Box

Time to sound off on MBF Blogs … feel free to join me, or disagree.

In the never-ending quest to push back the frontiers of what can be done by an app (ie make more money), developers have come up with one that sounds so ludicrous that surely nobody will be interested.

Oh, they have already? Oh well, must be me, then.

Death of the Box Set

Skimo meaning ‘skim the video’ is sold in these gushing terms:

‘You can skim a 20-minute video, in just about 2-3 minutes, right from your iPhone, using the Skimo iPhone App.

Choose any long YouTube Video (interview, talk, TV Show, just about anything, in any language) and request to create a “Skimo” of the points of interest of the video.

A Skimo is a 2-3 minute video comprising of about 4-6 clips of 30 seconds duration and is created by the Skimo Engine and is sent to the iPhone.’

The app analyses the ‘language’ of programmes and identifies the key scenes which are allegedly ‘louder and brighter’ and crunches them together to arrive at a summary.

It all started aeons ago with The Readers’ Digest where whole books were abbreviated and summarised (ie truncated and butchered) for people too busy, bored, thick to read the full version.

Since then, the idea of summaries of news, newspapers, previous episodes and recommendations has become commonplace. The art of precis was once prized in the teaching of English language.

Now this app will save you the hassle of actually watching a full box set of a TV series. Or a long film. Or a movie.
Wow, hold me back!

And the Point Is?

I can see the beauty of catch-up TV. I have often recorded and watched things later (and skipped the ads). I have been given box sets at Christmas of what may or may not be a favourite programme. I once bought my wife the BBC series Bleak House as a box.

I even treated myself to the full double series of the TV weirdness called Carnivale on the strength of one episode caught by chance late one night on some channel at the edge of the spectrum.

We loved Downton Abbey but only just managed to stop the family buying us the box sets. We loved it but not necessarily to watch it all again. For Fathers’ Day I got a box set of Breaking Bad Series 1 before one of the kids ‘borrowed’ it off me.

In the VHS past (remember that?), I was given a set of the Director’s uncut Godfather movies 1-3. We have watched countless movies in their entirety in the comfort of our home.

What I can’t see is why you’d want to condense several hours into 20 minutes of viewing.

Joy Destroyed to Save Minutes

The point is that for many the joy of watching a box set is that it takes a long time. Can take a very long time and may be a piece of indulgence that you can ill afford in today’s hurried world.

But the key is enjoyment. At you own pace. Relaxation, down-time. ‘you-time’ to do your own thing. It’s like dashing through a country en route to another and think you’ve see it. It’s like algorithms choosing what it thinks you will like. Make your own mind up? There’s a thought, these days!

Are our lives really so busy that we can’t be allowed to enjoy a long something. Why does everything have to be reduced to a lowest common denominator?

And if the argument is that it’s to save time .. what are we doing with that saved time? Watching another pre-digested film? Talking to real people in real time???

Sound off and reply back. Please. Unless you’re too busy watching a Skimo version of The Forsyte Saga…

Image: Frank Vincentz