Blogs at My Favourite Planet - the online travel guide
   
Edwin Drood's Column, the blog by the mysterious Edwin Drood at My Favourite Planet Blogs

Read the latest
Edwin Drood
blog


September
2014


2 September

9 September

23 September

30 September

index of
previous blogs

While the
Drood's away...

=

Bird under water

Who is the mysterious Edwin Drood?

Who is
the mysterious
Edwin Drood?
Respond
to these blogs

 
My Favourite

Planet Blogs

The Cheshire Cat Blog - travel articles, photo essays and videos at My Favourite Planet Blogs

Cheshire Cat
Blog
My Favourite

Planet guides

  index of contents
contributors
impressum
sitemap
Places on My Favourite Planet
England
  Avebury
France
  Paris
Greece
  Agios Efstratios
Alexandroupoli
Athens
Kastellorizo
Kavala
Patmos
Pella
Polygyros
Psara
Samos
Samothraki
Stageira &
Olympiada
Veria
Turkey
  Istanbul
Ephesus
Kuşadası
Selçuk
Pergamon
MFP People
Guide to Planet Earth at My Favourite Planet

Guide to
Planet Earth
My Favourite Planet Blogs
home   places   galleries   news   about   contribute   contact   blogs
My Favourite Planet > Blogs > Edwin Drood's Column > September 2014
back Edwin Drood's Column
30 September 2014
Things ain’t what they used to be
In which Edwin gingerly approaches a brave new world that some of us are embracing
even before it’s been beta-tested.

 
Things ain’t what they used to be at the Mysterious Edwin Drood's Column
My fridge can speak five languages. It’s official. I now have a white-ware item that is quite possibly cleverer than I am. But just in case you’re imagining the two of us sitting up late in my kitchen with a bottle of Lambrusco secco discussing the films of Luis Buñuel, I ought to point out that these linguistic skills are so far limited to a small external display that will tell me if the salad draw needs washing or if the thermostat is set too low. It’s not going to start romancing the dishwasher any time soon or serving as a diplomatic back channel to negotiate disputes in the dairy compartment on issues of increased autonomy and tighter borders. But I fear that day will soon arrive. There have been precedents.

Take something as simple as a phone, a device that used to help us talk to mum and generally came, as I have said before, with a building attached to it. The phone went mobile in the eighties, shacked up with a camera and a music-player in the nineties, needed some muscle to manage all that data and began to use its extra power and capacity to play games and videos at the turn of the millennium, went online a year or two later to down and upload its own content, adding e-mail and network sharing skills on the way, then discovered that it could search, book, cancel, pay, transfer, bid, play, congratulate, titillate, nudge, locate, measure, guide, advise, track and entertain in so many ways that it is now the single thing in this brave new world of smart stuff that none of you can do without for more than three minutes and forty-seven seconds if you’re over thirty and fifteen seconds if you’re fifteen.

I said “none of you”, rather than “none of us”, because I’ve succeeded, until now, in bucking the trend. I’m just arrogant enough to be disturbed by the idea of sharing my space with anything smarter than me. It could be the reason why I’m not married. Although a smart-phone probably offers the ideal solution for most grouchy singles in need of stimulation but unable to handle real companionship – a trophy relationship with a cool and curvy object, light conversation on unthreatening topics, sex without strings or regrets, the illusion of a vivid life with lots of friends – for me all these are, or were, bridges too far in the ever-expanding and incursive war on my privacy.  But that was before my fridge moved in.

Because my fridge wants more of me: it wants to send me e-mails with suggestions of stuff to shop for. It yearns to interact. More than anything it would love to be able to contact me (through Siri, I presume) the moment I step over the threshold of my local super market, with a reminder not to forget eggs, butter and orange juice. Moving on from there (since there’s a bit of space in its freezer compartment), why not contact the frozen food section to find out what’s on offer that I might like and surreptitiously pop a couple of lazy dinners on my list? And while we’re on the subject of lists, my fridge can get in touch directly with the store and have my entire cart loaded up and waiting for me when I arrive.  All I’ll have to do is check that the vegetables look fresh and healthy. Yes, my fridge can do all this and possibly much more: suggest me a menu for any particular evening and what to drink with it, even remind me that I haven’t seen Chiara for more than a month and that she loves to eat something now and then that isn’t Italian.

But my fridge can only develop our relationship fully if I buy a smart-phone. This explains why I’m hesitating over this potentially life-changing if not life-enhancing decision. Do I plunge in at the deep end and get the new bendy iPhone? If my answer is no, then I’ll never fully exploit the intellectual and relational skills of my fridge, for which I’ve already paid. The secret Scot in me, a vague ghost of my forefathers, can’t stand to think of that. But if my answer is yes, then I lay myself open to abusive manipulation, not only by a six-foot bruiser in the corner of my kitchen, but also by any number of supermarkets, fresh and frozen food-delivery services, online wine catalogue editors etc., not to mention those leading-edge trolls and hackers who will make my fridge send me insulting e-mails and Facebook comments, bury its abilities under a pile of spam or force it to divulge my iCloud password (by threat of Thaw, god of lukewarm Riesling) and post photos of my failed attempts at high-concept gastronomy on Tumblr.

And once it begins to fully interact with my other appliances, then whatever happens in the last reel becomes academic. Game over. My fridge will have become another of Mme Harker’s allies in the battle to convert me into gentility, normality and the Belgian way. If my clothes are too redolent of cigar smoke, it will refuse the front door permission to let me enter, despite punching the correct security code. It will insist that I eat more fruit and dark green veggies and that I watch my cholesterol. All this will come streaming at me through my phone across the “Internet of Things”. From then on, a hectoring gang of appliances will begin to demand, via sms, voicemail, etc., that my laundry be changed more often, that my dirty dishes do not just rot in the washer, but that I run it from time to time, that I mow the lawn, that I get a haircut and replace the light bulb in the broom closet, that I clean out the poor tropical fish who languish in the hall, that I use my credit cards more than occasionally, that I learn to love home-made bread and home-made ice-cream: two machines my cousin Fiona gave me for Christmas 2012 and ‘13, which I haven’t got around to using yet, and that quite probably also have interactive microprocessors tucked away somewhere, beaming their constrained inactivity back to her surf-board of a phone.

Yes, if I take but one step forward in the march of progress, there will be a palace revolution and my head, which once-upon-a-time used to command my life, will definitely be the first on the block to roll. I could hardly call my fridge thin, but it’s certainly the end of a BIG wedge.


© Edwin Drood, September 2014



Happiness is a full fridge at the Mysterious Edwin Drood's Column

"How many megapixels did you say?"
Edwin Drood's Column, the blog by The Mysterious Edwin Drood,

at My Favourite Planet Blogs.


We welcome all considerate responses to this article
and all other blogs on My Favourite Planet.
Please get in contact.
My Favourite Planet Group page on Facebook Visit the My Favourite Planet Group on Facebook.

Join the group, write a message or comment,
post photos and videos, start a discussion...
Views of blog authors do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers
or anyone else at, on or in the vicinity of My Favourite Planet.
 
 
 
Vyzantino Greek Restaurant, Plaka, Athens, Greece
NEWGEN Travel Agency, Athens, Greece
Hotel Orestias Kastorias Thessaloniki, Greece - The heart of hospitality beats at the heart of the city
Hotel Liotopi, Olympiada, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece
Hotel Germany, Olympiada, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Greece
Big Dino's Galini, self-catering beach hotel, Nea Vrasna, Macedonia, Greece
Copyright © 2003-2016 My Favourite Planet  |  index of contents  |  contributors  |  impressum  |  sitemap
my-favourite-planet.com   website design by Ursa Major Design