And another thing…

Have you noticed that ‘digital’ is no longer a technology, it is now a whole philosophy. One created to make things more marketable.

I can now buy a digital case for my camera. It’s actually advertised as a digital case – presumably it’s made up of lots of little ‘0’s and ‘1’s and when there’s a power failure it will crash and require rebooting. Of course, I can get a digital photo frame. I sort of get it, but in the centuries that follow us, when all the digital records are corrupted and someone finds a scrap of paper with ‘digital photo frame’ written on it, will they assume it was a programmable frame style rather than a display tool?

Moving on from photography, I could get a digital ovulation test pack, and a digital pregnancy test kit. If, by some miracle, I was pregnant and delivered a bouncing baby (how hard can it be?)  I can get a digital baby monitor (I can only guess that if you have an analogue baby, you need a different product. “Darling, the baby is emitting a strange sound, I think he needs rebooting”). I can buy camouflage pants in digital camo! Guaranteed invisible to the digital robot overlords, but not the analogue ones. I can get a digital compressor for inflating (I’m making a big jump here) digital tyres?

Should I require feeding, a digital microwave will heat up my food. Discretely in packets of ‘0’s and ‘1’s. I assume each molecule will either be hot or cold. None of your analogue ‘luke warm’ here thank you very much.I can get a digital ceramic tong for my curly locks. And this introduces another one of those marketing ploys, because not only is the ceramic tong digital, it’s also ‘pro’. Because you wouldn’t want an amateur tong, now would you?

I can get a digital Scalextric set (hmmm…) and a digital microphone for my iPad. But neither of these are ‘pro’. I’m beginning to have my doubts now.

But wait, I can get a ‘pro’ electric tooth brush, a ‘pro’ electric home pedicure kit, a ‘pro’ metal threaded tap connector and a ‘pro’ steam mop. ‘Pro’ trousers, ‘pro’ low energy light bulbs and for my digital child, a ‘pro’ child seat for the car are all available.

There is a serious point here. The words ‘digital’ and ‘pro’ are used by marketing people because they have become synonymous with the words ‘quality’ and ‘essential’. But most people don’t consider whether this comparison is true. So when they see these tags, they assume it must be better than before. It may be, it may not be. My point is that we are being trained to accept that it is. This attitude extends into the abstract – services are now being advertised as digital (in this case, digital usually means ‘online’, which is slightly different). I was looking into cloud computing the other day. But I had to have a good internet connection to do so, and of course if I actually wanted to work with the ‘cloud’ I’d have to have a consistently good connection. I process images on a PC not connected to the Internet – by choice as it means I don’t have to run potentially disruptive firewalls and virus checker software. So the cloud won’t work for me. The concept is good but the execution (as usual) is not quite there yet.

But the government tells us digital is the way to go. So that is where we are heading and if you haven’t got a secure hold on the bandwagon, you may well fall off during the bumpy ride.

By the way, all the examples of ‘digital’ and ‘pro’ above were found on one well known shopping website. Other well known shopping websites are available, all of them digital and some of the ‘pro’.

Fuji GSW690

An analogue camera with analogue dust. Ironically (and I didn’t spot this until I took the photos) it is labled ‘Professional’.

4 hours

A day off these days means a day of hard work. This fortnight, I have to get in at least three 4 hour walks but I intend do fit in as many as I can. So, with Rufus comfortable on the back seat, we set off for Llyn y Fan Fach. It’s a long drive and we were bored by the time we reached the lanes leading to the car park. I hate driving along the single track roads but fortunately, we encountered nothing more than a couple of bold finches before we finally bounced and splashed our way down the track to the car park.

It didn’t take long to get set and head off and we weren’t bothered by the sheep, who scattered out of our way long before we reached them. One hid below the path but Rufus found her. She ran and in a display of self control Rufus just trotted back onto the path and ignored her.

By the time we reached the lake, the visibility had dropped and we were walking in the clouds. After a brief stop for stones and paddling, we set off along what looked like the right path up the side of the mountain. Although I was carrying 13kg today, it didn’t feel too bad. I guess the gym and other training I’m doing is paying off. As we climbed, the visibility dropped, but so did the temperature so the humidity we’d started in disappeared and it felt comfortable. There was a strong wind blowing over the lip of the drop down to the lake.

The climb was fairly constant – ideal for training – and continued until we reached the cairn at Picws Du. We stopped there for snacks and a rest before heading back down. Rufus was happy – we were heading back tot he lake and more paddling opportunities. On the way we passed a lone walker who remarked that we were fools to be on a mountain in these conditions and we both laughed. Later, we passed a group of Duke of Edinburgh award candidates, loaded down with all the gear and up for any challenge.

As we dropped down the clouds lifted and there was a hint of blue sky. At the lake, it was warm and clear and we spent 10 minutes or so splashing about. Then, with a promise to Rufus of a visit to the river, we walked down the track and back to the car.

After dropping the pack off, I took Rufus back up to the river and while he paddled and swam after the stones I threw him, I took some photos of the waterfalls. Tired, we called it a day and drove back down the track. At the end, where it becomes a road again, I was stopped by a farmer who asked if I would wait while her sheep were brought down the lane. To have gone on would have meant getting blocked and disturbing the sheep. So I waited, and we chatted. They were moving their sheep from pastures several miles away to the farm near the lake and this flock were new ewes and lambs, so they didn’t know where they were going. Once the sheep had passed, she thanked me and I drove on. Not 10 minutes later, I was stopped by another farmer, this time herding cows across the road. Again we waited a few minutes and then were able to carry on.

We were glad to get home, to eat and to finally be able to put our feet up. Rufus was flat out asleep on my lap as soon as I’d finished dinner and stayed there for a couple of hours, snoring, dreaming and then squirming to make himself more comfy.

Today we did 11km and climbed more than 600m in around 4 hours.

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