Mobile Phones

I have owned a number of mobile phones and most of them were rubbish. Going to give you a rundown of them from the earliest.
Phone number 1 – sometime in 1999 or so:
The Ericsson A1018

The order of the next few phones is not remembered easily. But here goes:
O2 X1

The next was:

Nokia 3210

And then the nifty fold-out keyboard:

Nokia 6280 Nokia 6230

Then we get to the first smart phone:

Nokia N70

Then the brilliant and pretty usable N95, it was the last Nokia I owned that worked well:

Nokia N95

Then the big memory but pretty useless N97:

Nokia N97

Finally, a phone that works. The iPhone 4. Until then the iPhone specification was pretty rubbish. It took a lot of soul searching to convince myself that selling out to the walled garden of Apple was worth it. However, I have to say that the iPhone is brilliant. It works!

iPhone 4

Negative Quesitons

This is another of those annoying language things that stems from my rather literal language processing unit. See my previous post about starting letters. I am not far enough into the spectrum to follow instructions or comprehension literally but I do struggle trying to answer negative questions in a true manner. Once again there common usage issues that I believe to be amazingly wrong but most people seem to accept them.

If something is amazing then the following:

Is that an amazing aircraft manoeuvre?

is easy to answer. Yes for agreeing with the statement and no for disagreeing. However the question:

Isn’t that an amazing aircraft manoeuvre?

is remarkably hard to answer. I believe the vernacular is to answer “yes” if I am saying that it is an amazing manoeuvre. But if I answer “yes” then I think I am agreeing with the statement which is

Is that not an amazing manoeuvre?

and that reverses the meaning of my answer. Arrrrggghhh! Similarly other questions can confuse me enough that I answer very differently. So, if I had just seen an amazing manoeuvre then the following would be the conversation:

“wasn’t that an amazing manoeuvre?”
“It was amazing”

This means I have not answered an impossible question and also managed to keep my head from exploding with diverse logic implications.
Other examples are:

“aren’t you going to the cinema?”
“isn’t that band great?”

So, please don’t ask me perfectly normal questions, it just hurts.

Children – Post hoc fallacy delirium

I have two children. One is currently two and the other is two months. I love them both to bits and think it is the best thing I have ever done (bloody hard work too). I think that the best I can ask for is that they both end up with happy and fulfilled lives.
Anyway, the way we learn how to deal with children contains the biggest logical fallacy. We expect children to react to what we do and tell them. We hope and expect that when we ask something of that child they do it because of what we have done in the past. We expect that when I child is upset or being difficult whatever we try and works that particular time should work every time. Now that is a big no-no. I have become more and more convinced that children are complete random action generators.
They do not follow the rules of what we expect. They follow rules written in the edges of clouds and butterfly wings. We try something and it works, therefore it should work every time. Wrong. The reasons behind the action are different every time and so the reaction needs to change too. We are just very good at changing our reaction depending on what we see. We like to kid ourselves that we have it sorted and understand the children so well. We don’t. Humans just love the patterns in life and where we spend most energy and time gives us the biggest case for patternicity.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc!

Constant speed or constant throttle?

So, which of these types of driver are you? Now, I’m not claiming to be a good driver, I’m too human to think I’m any good, I wouldn’t even claim I’m a good Gran Turismo driver! But I do know that these two types exist and I’m definitely one of them. This is probably a continuum so I’m not claiming a complete dichotomy.
Type A – Constant Speed
This type of driver maintains a constant speed along a motorway by varying the throttle as gradients increase or decrease. For instance, earlier today while travelling along the M20 I maintained a healthy and legal 70mph. I did this by increasing the throttle uphill and decreasing it downhill. Simple really.
Type B – Constant Throttle
This type of annoying driver maintains the same pressure on the throttle independent of the gradient of the road. This means that as the vehicle goes uphill it slows and then speeds up again as the gradient levels or goes downhill. Many times I have overtaken a car uphill only to be overtaken again going downhill. This is clearly wrong. How do I know this is wrong? Because cars have speed cruise control and not a throttle control.
This type of driving being wrong does not apply to big trucks but definitely to vans who like to go as fast as possible but slowing uphill because they are heavy, thereby blocking the outside lane.
Learn how to adjust your right foot, morons!


Hawaii 5-O

This re-imagined TV show is brilliant.
A friend, Jase, really likes CSI Miami and I have tried to watch it but find it extremely clichéd. CSI Miami is poorly scripted, it is poorly shot and poorly acted (apart from Emily Procter). However, Jase finds something to enjoy and thoroughly raves about it.
I now understand what he means. Hawaii 5-O is poorly scripted, reasonably acted and extremely clichéd.  The scenery is brilliant. The technology used is rubbish. The actors are glamorous and the plot appalling. I love it.
I vaguely remember the original series, watching it with my dad when I was younger. I do not remember whether it was any good. I am worried that if I went and watched the original series it would be like seeing 1980s Dr Who or Blakes 7. In my mind these shows are brilliant but if I was to  see them I know I would be disappointed. I have recently seen some episodes of Space 1999 and it is amazingly dated!
5-O is shot in Hawaii and makes the islands look fantastic. It is a brilliant advert for a visit. I can’t help feeling that Hawaii is somewhat wasted on the Americans! The actors are very glamorous and include members of the cast of Lost (good early on) and Battlestar Galactica (all good). The premise of immunity of the 5-O crew is somewhat bothersome for a humanist, but a brilliant plot device. The relationship between the main two characters is well scripted with them arguing like a married couple. I love them driving between crime scenes for the discussions they have. The idea that a police group can hack into any bank account, any phone account, utilities, CCTV system or triangulate a mobile signal is rather far fetched but I guess some of the population believe it.
This show is a great find and well worth watching as it is brain dead TV. It takes no brain power to watch but entertains.


The kid’s tv show Octonauts is brilliant. Let me explain.
Most other children’s shows have something wrong with them. A character or object or plot device which pushes the boundaries of imagination too much, here are some examples:
Bob the builder: a scarecrow that is alive, the character Spud. I’m fine with the vehicles talking and being able to drive themselves but a sentient scarecrow is too much.
Postman Pat: the village has a much higher proportion of ginger kids than anywhere in real life, apart from occasional villages in Scotland. Also these kids all seem to have colds and so speak with blocked nasal passages. Perhaps all these children were fathered by Pat.
Postman Pat SDS: Pat is turned from a competent postman to the world’s most incompetent delivery man. If something can go wrong it does. The economic model for this type of delivery is unsustainable.
Chuggington: a world of sentient trains doesn’t bother me too much but there are some physics issues. The trains get washed by resting on tracks that then turn the train longitudinally so it ends up being horizontal, not good. Another problem is the small train which can extend on a cantilever and turn its body to face the other way, don’t like this. I am quite happy with the flying train though.
Everything’s Rosie: the characters are annoying and whinge a lot. The carts they drive around in have no appreciable power source and don’t slow going up hill. Although I’m happy with Oakly who can speak I don’t like the female speaking tree, Saffy, as she just spouts Eastern mystical bollocks all the time.
Mr Bloom’s Nursery would be ok if it didn’t have the talking, singing, moving vegetables with faces. Surely there is enough excellent entertainment and learning that can be garnered from a gardening show that doesn’t need anthropomorphised vegetables. The McGregors are particularly annoying.

So back to the Octonauts . The main characters are animals who talk and are curiously the same size. They don’t wear ballast and have magic “field tech” helmets. The Octopod would need to be pressurised a huge amount for the depths they travel to and they even have Tunip, a half vegetable half animal called a vegimal. Somehow all of this is acceptable as the stories are excellent and consistent and it just looks marvellous. All  the creatures the Octonauts find are real and look, act and eat the way they do in real life. Marvellous.
I think it’s one of the best things on TV at the moment.

Explore, Rescue, Protect.