Giving push the push…

A couple of months ago, I realised my smartphone was starting to rule my life.

Ping! A new email has arrived. Ping! Someone has replied to you on Twitter. Ping! Someone liked your WordPress blog. Ping! Someone has mentioned you on Google+.

Okay, to be fair, the last one of those almost never happened (I like Google+, but I get that most people aren’t interested). But you get my point. Because, of course, the second the phone pings, you’re drawn to pull it out and check out whatever new notification has come your way.

But why? It’s not as if a Twitter like or a new email isn’t something that can’t wait a few minutes or maybe even a few hours, is it? Do I really need to know straight away that someone likes this blog entry? (assuming anyone actually does 🙂

It’s very easy for me to be drawn into the digital world, anyway, but that immediacy is a whole other thing. I almost began to wonder if I am the master of my phone or it of me.

So… I decided to turn off so-called ‘push’ notifications. Now if my phone makes a sound, it’s a text or a phone call – and that’s likely to be more important to answer.

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Has it changed my life? Have I become less of a digital slave? Yes and no. I still carry my phone everywhere, I still use it frequently and often during the day. But I feel more in control. If I want to check my Twitter notifications, my Instagram likes or whatever, I can. It’s when I choose to.

It’s also had the knock-on effect of making me question my thoughts about getting a smartwatch. My understanding is that one of the key uses of them is to receive and act on push notifications. Without that function being used, is it any more than an expensive digital watch? And frankly, my much-worn ordinary watch doesn’t need frequent charging.

How much are you led by ‘push’ notifications from apps? Have you ever turned them off? Let me know your thoughts on this.

When pricing goes wrong…

I was looking into tickets for the Doctor Who experience in Cardiff, when I noticed this rather weird anomaly:

dr who experience

Booking online for an individual adult ticket looks like it saves £2. But then look at the small print: a booking fee of £1.60 applies. Which means that the ticket now effectively costs £15.60 or a saving of 40p – hardly worth the effort.

If a transaction fee applies (which isn’t actually clear whether it does and how much), booking online could actually cost more.

Usually, booking online gives the purchaser a little bit more of an advantage over ‘on the door’ prices.

Eclipse 2015

One of those lovely shared events, where everyone from work came out to look.

A couple of pictures…

med1 med2

Holocaust Memorial Day

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Today is one day when we mark and remember the horrific number of people who were killed in the Holocaust. One day out of 365. Not much time really to reflect on the atrocities that were committed (not that I’m suggesting we shouldn’t think about this at other times).

There’s very little I can say to add to what’s been said before.

Except… while the horrors and deaths affected the Jewish people so deeply, it’s important to remember that there were other groups who were also affected.
People such as gays, people with disabilities, Romani people, Poles and those whose politics or religion varied too significantly from what the Nazis consisted acceptable.

As we take at least a moment to think about the people who suffered and died, I think it’s also appropriate to commit ourselves to doing all we can to make sure something like this can never happen again.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller