Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bluetooth Blues

Don't you hate it when stuff that should just work just doesn't?

A couple of weeks ago, I took delivery of a bluetooth keyboard for my new iPaq - itself a bad purchase decision, because I have subsequently learned that one of Nokia's new devices would give me more of what I want, and would work better. Including the GPS bit. Plus ca change.

In theory, the keyboard should just work. I've paired it with the iPaq. They should just find each other via the magic of bluetooth, and start talking. Instead, any time I have connected them, it has been after at least half an hour (usually more) of frustration and annoyance trying to get them communicating. This morning, amongst other things, the software for running the keyboard managed to trash my other bluetooth paired devices, and still refused to connect! Until just a moment ago, when I did exactly the same things that I had been trying earlier, and suddenly it worked. The only thing that had changed was that in the meantime, I had connected my (very cheap, third party) bluetooth headset to make sure that I could connect to something! So now I am sitting on an Virgin train to Liverpool, tapping away as I whiz along faster than fairies, faster than witches.

The headset, as it happens, just works. By which I mean it does so without effort, not it does so but only barely. I went through the pairing routine once, and since then, all I have to do is enable bluetooth on the iPaq, turn on the headset, and Bob's your mother's brother. (Well, okay, I had to redo that pairing this morning after the keyboard trashed my list of paired devices.) Amusingly enough, the headset wasn't made by HP, unlike the keyboard, and the iPaq itself. Nor did it cost anything near as much as the keyboard, which I think was badly overpriced. Nor is the keyboard nearly as elegant as a similar device that I bought about ten years ago for my old PalmPilot.

Incidentally, I once tried to encourage friends and colleagues to use "PalmPilot" as a euphemism for wanker. I was hoping this alternative interpretation would catch on, in the same way that "self-starter", the hoary old cliché from a million curricula vitae, had acquired such a different, and much less positive, spin.

The reason I am blogging this today is that I spent rather a long time in Euston Station this morning, and thought I might while my time away by writing. Instead, I ended up spending over an hour trying to get the f*cking keyboard to talk to the stinking pile of overpriced shite that is my lovely new iPaq.

And the reason I had so much time to kill at Euston is that my train to Liverpool was delayed by almost an hour on account of a trackside fire and/or landslide. The whole thing is giving my flashbacks to "The Railway Children", which scared the bejeesus out of me in my youth. This trackside fire thing seems to have replaced leaves on the line as a popular excuse for bad rail service. A trackside fire caused the cancellation of services on the Eurostar a few weeks ago when myself and my Lovely Husband™ were trying to get to Bruges with some friends (we're off this weekend instead).

Having mentioned having the bejeesus scared out of me as a nipper, we've just had Easter. I hope that the light of the risen Christ may shine on you all, so that you turn away from sin, open your hearts to Jesus, and accept him as your Lord and Saviour. Lord knows (sic), he knew what he was doing. Oh yes, that dying and coming back trick, that clearly demonstrates his saviour faire. Not to mention flair. And he does it every year without fail. Now, there is an element of a problem there. You can't get that worked up and depressed on Good Friday, because you already know how the story ends. Besides, why call it "good" and then go around with a long face? However, fundamentally, although the whole thing is a bit predictable, every year Jesus goes through the same routine: dies for our sins and the sins of all humankind, and then three days later (using that odd inclusive counting thing so beloved of the Romans), he comes back. There may be lots of things you could criticise him for, but a lack of reliability isn't one of them. Every year, like clockwork: dead ... wait a bit ... tada - back from the dead! He's just so darned reliable, and I think that's the kind of trait you look for in a Messiah.

And after that, if anyone has a telephone number for Hell, I think I might as well phone up and make a reservation. If it's where I'm going to end up, I might at least try to get a decent seat.

[Time passes, as does much scenery. It's a long way to Liverpool.]

Innocent delight is something that can readily bring a lump to my throat and cause my eyes to glisten. Being a big poof probably helps in that regard, too. Travelling all over the country by chuff-chuff over the last few weeks, I have had several experiences of seeing children in streets and fields that I pass through, furiously waving at the train as it whizzes by carrying its load of jaded intercity travellers.

The sheer joy and exuberance of these little wavers, being friendly for no reason, looking for nothing more than simple acknowledgement, a returned wave, delights me. It costs nothing, but can light up an eager little heart, and a big enough older one. It's a beautiful thing.

I remember being the waving kid, looking in awe at these people on their way to places so far away that I could barely imagine it. And now here I am, having travelled to the other side of the world and back. The fact that kids still wave at trains gives me hope that not all is lost in the sea of delinquency that the gutter press would have you believe in (and be terrified of).
The fact that every waving kid could one day do things they never dreamed possible, as I have, makes me happy too. Happy for them, happy that they have so much possibility before them, and happy that they have the optimism to wave at passing strangers and give a little unconditional love to the world.

It delights me that as a result of the quality newspapers moving to the tabloid format, we now have to use the more accurate "gutter press" rather than "tabloid press" to distinguish hate rags like "The Sun" and "The Daily Express" from real newspapers.


The Fifth Floor said...

Absolutely loved your traveling homily. I've never traveled on train, unless attending a dinner on a 'dinner train' counts (we traveled all of five miles). Ah, and the delights of coming back from the dead - I am not particularly religious and have a hard time understanding how people can revere a zombie. For God's sake. And the delight of children? Priceless, absolutely priceless.

Tickersoid said...

that's the kind of trait you look for in a Messiah.

Laughed out loud at that.

The Express and the Daily Mail are the worst of the gutter press because they pretend to be 'propper' news papers.