Just returned from a week’s skiing in Gstaad. They really know how to do things there. Beautiful slopes, seclusion and everything that is good about Europe.
I don’t, of course. Like 99.9% of us, I hate them. Except whilst commuting this week through my home town of Henley, I decided to make an exception. You see, we’ve just finished a spate of roadworks. More pavement improvements, apparently. Initially I was sceptical; after all, how many improvements can one make to a pavement that was only laid one year ago? A month’s worth, it seemed.
I expected the usual ‘delays expected for twice as long as it says on this sign’ and lots of lazy beer-bellied Sun-reading yellow-jacket-hard-hat-wearing types to be swanning about in numbers 3 times as great as that taken to do the job, but on this occasion I was surprised. These guys worked hard, each day, and most extraordinarily of all, with little or no traffic delay. In fact the snake of cars flowed far more freely when they were digging up the roads, than it does now they have finished.
I am normally first in the queue of tutters and moaners when it comes to our jobsworth road maintenance, in fact I’m so obsessive about it I’m starting a website to log their laziness. But credit where credit is due.
Mobiles ‘replace household devices’
The mobile phone is slowly replacing digital cameras, alarm clocks, calendars and calculators, according to the survey for comparison website rightmobilephone.co.uk.
It found 54% of MP3 owners were more likely to use their phone for personal audio and 92% of those with a landline used their mobile more for calls. Of all the respondents, 21% said they only had a landline because it came with their entertainment bundle.
Fewer than half (42%) said they did not own a digital camera, but 79% of those respondents said it was because they used their mobile phone instead.
Among those who did not own a traditional calculator (91%), 82% used the calculator on their phone.
More than two-thirds (67%) used their phone to log important dates in place of a traditional calendar and 11% estimated they used their phone to go online more regularly than using their PC or laptop.
A quarter (26%) regularly used a map application on their mobile. However, 81% said they would prefer to use a “proper” satnav device when travelling.
More than half of those surveyed (55%) said they would prefer to use one main device rather than several for different purposes.
Neil McHugh, co-founder of rightmobilephone.co.uk, said: “When we carried out a study last year to see if the mobile was replacing the alarm clock, we did speculate that handsets would also threaten other stand-alone devices and it’s now clear from this study that people are starting to use their phones more and more in replacement for cameras, calendars, calculators and even their landline.
“It is always interesting to watch how trends persist in technology and I’m sure that as phones develop even further, other devices will fall in popularity with consumers. The fact that more than half prefer the idea of having one device to do everything says it all.”
I rather like this idea. Could have done with one of these in my commuting days. Inspired by the MacBook Air, apparently.
He Pingping, recognized as the world’s smallest man by Guinness World Records, died during the weekend, Guinness said on its Web site.
The 21-year-old native of China was measured at 2 feet, 5.37 inches tall by Guinness in March 2008, the record keepers said.
He was on visit to Italy to appear on a records show when he died, Guinness said. Autopsy results were pending, but Guinness said it was suspected He died of a heart condition.
“Pingping showed us that, despite the challenges we face, we can still make the most out of life, and for such a small man, he made a huge impact around the world,” said Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday.
Guinness said it plans a special tribute to He in its next edition and was researching who becomes the world’s smallest man with He’s death.
Greg Taylor – ‘In times of uncertainty, people take comfort in the past.’