Time for an upgrade?

Good day, readers. This is my first post of 2018. Apologies for the delay. Happy New Year!!

What is 2018 going to bring? Well, of course I have no real idea. So expect the unexpected!

However, over the next few weeks, onein400 WILL bring YOU, my loyal subscribers:

1) An updated my current view about Motor Neurone Disease research and status.This has been delayed due to my rather pesky and inconvenient heart bypass operation in December! However, it will follow shortly, readers.

2) A post comparing the state of the of the treatment of heart disease versus Neurodegenerative diseases such as MND. Yes a unique, and I promise, intriguing insight from a recent double victim’s viewpoint! It’s not until you experience things in life that you think about the consequences or implications. Expect this post to be a lively mix of science, tinged with politics and a sprinkling of life lessons!

3) And of course, the Bragg family will appear in various guises, including the weird food eating guru Heston Bragg, whose new book A taste of Bragg has been causing the censors total dismay recently!

First of all, this was the most brilliant Christmas gift we received. Can you guess what it is? If you look very, very, very closely, there is a colourful clue! Answer next week, when you will get another photo-quiz!

2018 has started in relaxed mode for me recovering from the bypass. I still live my life as I have always done, ie just get out of bed even though it’s difficult. Things can be tough guys, but hey look what I have had chucked at me! I now have one aim in the next 4 weeks and that is to get on my recumbent trike again. I am being optimistic and hoping that the heart bypass has done its job, and that my MND allows me to continue cycling in some form.

Right, on with 2018. New Year is normally a reminder of time marching forward and broken resolutions including the gymsters! Remember them? Have a look at the video at the end of my choices, choices post, now nearly 2 years old. You can get a feel for my complete intolerance of New Year resolutionists!

But a New Year can be much more.

One New Years Eve, 18 treacherous winters ago, there was a particularly worrying time for the modern world, although most people under 35 probably won’t have a clue as to why.

It was the year 2000. Without going into detail, the change of date from year 1999 to 2000 as the clock struck midnight was potentially going to be a worldwide disaster. To save on storage, computer programmers over the previous 50 or so years had often abbreviated a year to the last 2 digits. Eg 1985 would be 85, and 1999, 99. So the year 2000 would be represented as 00. As a result, any calculations based on dates would potentially be incorrect, leading to negative amounts or failing systems.

In the end it all went relatively smoothly, as 2 or 3 years of huge worldwide preparation largely prevented the worrying scenarios. I remember the media stories the week before including “Planes are going to fall out of the sky”. Don’t you just love the press? They were just as irresponsible and naive back then. But don’t get me started about reporters, readers!

Being a baby boomer I was a serious computer nut, employed in the business and I rewrote a lot of code back then for far more mundane systems than flight computers. Come New Year’s Eve I was on emergency call for the impending global meltdown and apocalypse. I had managed to negotiate a very decent pay rate for not getting drunk on New Years Eve, one for which for Lord Bragg would have been justifiably proud of. Lesson here guys, take advantage of the supply/demand situation. I was very valuable then. But, you do have to have a skill and not just the ability to create a hashtag #offended! Ooooooh you are so scathing, Lee!

The year 2000 issue is not the last known computer problem that might cause problems, just look at the next expected disaster the 2038 date issue. Have a look at one of the issues that has already occurred, the loss of a NASA spacecraft! Or to put it in the words of Homer Simpson, “Doh!”.

In our day to day life, things can also hang around much longer than expected can’t they? This includes the use of our language. For example, I heard Jean say just the other day:

Have we recorded that TV programme?!”

“Recorded! What does that mean?” Music and video are now on demand and the need to record has largely disappeared. But the record button will still be there on devices for a while longer! We still even say rewind for example, and we haven’t done that for decades. It was only for tape machines! Some of you might even remember 8 track cartridges! I do!

All this reminds me, nostalgically, of this sketch from Not the Nine o’clock News, a UK comedy series in the 1980s.

Buying hifi and stereo back then really was a geeky game. Marketeers sure took advantage of it, only differentiating systems by the sheer number of functions. Basically stereos were stereos (ie the same) so to sell the things to the mass markets you had to have great functions (whether they were actually needed or not!).

Sales tactics never change. Today’s cars (automobiles for my American friends) are often sold like hifi systems of 30 years ago. Functions, functions, functions. A car to me is a car, ie a brutal 1 ton piece of metal powered by the nastiest engine you can afford. It should command respect.

Many years ago I owned this gorgeous TVR.

It was nothing like today’s super performance cars, which are really easy to drive. The TVR was like skating on super slippy ice, even in the hottest and driest of weather. It made you respect the road. Allegedly it had a very high fatality rate in accidents, and if you ask Jean, we had a near death experience one day in it. Although, I do think Jean over reacted with her screaming and hand gestures! Now days cars are simply an extension of your iPhone.

In my world this week, one thing that got me really screaming has been my morning constitution!! You know what I mean, readers? I was prescribed dihydrocodeine as a painkiller in conjunction with paracetamol for the discomfort following the heart surgery. What the medics don’t inform you of is the absolute 150% guaranteed concrete constipation you get with this drug. Yes they do say, you might get a little bit bunged up, but in reality it is an absolute seize up job! The pain was worse than the pain the drug was being taken for!!

Luckily I had a box of these available..

Within 24 hours I was running free, so to speak! But on a serious note, try not to ever take codeine! I am now taking Co-Codamol, which is a mix of codeine (lower dose) and paracetamol. Much more recommended readers! That’s my New Year tip for you all who are rear end challenged currently!

Yes, you can tell I’ve been stuck in the house, time on my hands! I have been out a couple of times for a massage and this week started a cardiac recovery physio 8 week course. All part of our wonderful NHS. I am moving as much as possible, which is both good for the heart and the MND. It’s kinda spooky knowing that my heart is now better than most people’s hearts at my age having been “retubed!” There is some irony in that!

Yesterday, I also got out to do a thing that has become both sadly a regular event but at the same time strangely wonderful. That is meeting someone new, who has been recently diagnosed with MND. Putting aside the immediate reason for meeting, it enables me to do what a I did for a living, ie meet, get to know people and work with them! My meeting this week was particularly enlightening and has educated me again! We never stop learning.

Lastly this week, for those of you who purchased one of Lord Bragg’s superb retro digital clock radios in 2017 you would have noticed the change from 2017 to 2018 causing an upgrade required alert!

He apologises for the problem, and will send out a FREE upgrade circuit card for just the cost of P&P at £30 each. Note also this upgrade will only allow you to listen to good music (No Cliff Richard!) What a guy!

Because of the inconvenience he will also send every owner 2 boxes of Bragg’s Bowel Blaster in compensation. He wishes all his loyal customers, past and present, a very happy, and free flowing, new year!

The moral of my new year ramblings? History repeats itself. And this is going to my actual prediction for 2018, in one way or another. Something will happen this year that will prove me right. I still hope to be posting on Jan 1st 2019 to discuss!

Despite being a total tech head, and having always championed science over other subjects I do believe History should now be a close second on the list below Science in our education priorities to future generations.

Right, it is actually back to school and work for the world now. See you all next week readers!

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