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Archive for January, 2010

My headphones died a couple of months ago – a great pair of Sennheisers. The cord had shorted out for the second time in a just a few weeks. The first time it happened I’d got a replacement from Amazon and to have them break again so soon made me sick. I’m sure Amazon just chucked the old ones in the bin and posted out a new pair, so this time I decided I’d fix them myself.

Late at night under the kitchen downlights I grimly set to work on the headphones with my multitool. My multitool, incidentally, has become my entire toolbox since all my actual tools are in Italy – we live in a rental now, profound interventions are banned.

I poked and probed the headphones looking for a way to take the jack apart but it was soon clear that there was no easy way. The rubber casing was fused on. Undeterred, I pared the rubber back with the knife looking for the shorted connection. But the wires were encased in solid rubber at random depths, the connections to the jack fell to pieces, and in short it all went wrong.

I was gutted. Clearly these were unmendable consumer goods intended to be used for a few weeks or months and thrown in the bin. Worse, I suspected that shredding my own headphones with a multitool had invalidated the warranty so no chance of a replacement from Amazon.

The reaction from folks in the office the next day was: of course you can’t fix headphones, just get a new pair. I muttered disgustedly to myself and resentfully jabbed the keyboard as I bought another pair online.

Then, a few weeks later on an icy day just before Christmas, I slipped on a platform at East Croydon and smashed the screen on my iPhone.

(more…)

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see, I told you twitter was pants

Despite Phil’s best efforts, I’ve resisted tangling with twitter. Mostly because I’ve had trouble understanding how it would make my life better. (I’ve had even more trouble understanding people’s determination to apply it to things like construction management or FM.)

And other people seem to be coming round to this view. Ricky Gervais is the latest high profile twitterer to drop his account.

Looks like Mr. Gervais and I are in good company. Cultural juggernauts Stephen Fry and, er… Miley Cyrus have also recently ceased to tweet.

Maybe it has its uses but I can’t see them. Me, Ricky, Stephen, and er… Miley will be over here on the high ground if you need us.

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I’m on the train through Surrey on my way into London and there is still a thick blanket of snow on the ground. But not necessarily on the roofs: some are covered and some are bare. Occasionally the rows of terraced houses alternate like squares on a chess board. And it all depends on heat loss.

It’s funny catching such a stark glimpse of something that is ordinarily invisible. Heat, and therefore money, from these homes is gushing out through the roof. Ordinarily the symptoms only appear on a monthly bill where they’re too abstract and unlikely to have any effect at all. What do you suppose would happen if people could see a bit further up the red end of the spectrum and looked at their own houses on a chilly morning?

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