Skip to main content
Downshifting - Worth a Try

Today was one of those days that demonstrate the attraction of ‘Downshifting’ away from the digital insanity of the 21st century.

My own day, and I realise how lucky I am, started with an early breakfast call with Microsoft, one of my clients, to project plan some research for next month. Just after this, I had another call from a friend I’m flying down to look at some property here next week and he asked me if I could provide him with some aerial photographs.

No problem, so over to Maypole to borrow Bob, a Cessna 172 and his digital camera and a pleasant morning spent over the Kent countryside, finishing off at lunchtime with a series of mid-air shots of another pilot, Chris in his ‘Sopwith Camel’ over Herne Bay. Actually it’s a Skybolt.

By the time we land and brew-up some tea, there’s six pilots enjoying the sunshine outside the club house an almost Battle of Britain like scene, all agreeing that quality of life and a beaten-up aircraft of your own, beats a six figure salary and an office in London any day.

I’m wondering what was going through my own mind with almost twenty years of commuting fifty-five miles a day. It reminds me of the quote from the great John Cleese as the neurotic Hotelier, Basil Fawlty. “What was that mate? “That was your life”.

Most of us aren’t lucky enough or even brave enough to think of letting go of our place in the 21st century rat race, even partially in a society saddled by a trillion pounds worth of consumer debt and mortgages that may take several lifetimes to pay off.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is that quality of life counts more than satisfying an addiction to consumer goods and the promise of a bigger salary. Like one of my fellow pilots, being able to announce, “I’m going to the Portugal this weekend”, in the little two-seater he built himself, is worth far more than owning the most expensive BMW that will spend most of its existence stuck on the M25, losing its value.

We all need to learn to slow down and use technology as a tool which contributes to a greater quality of life and personal experience, and not as a means of more efficient enslavement, to government, business or the demands of everyday life, which for many appears increasingly pointless and without purpose or a sense of fulfilment.


Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.

I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…