There’s a free daily paper called… wait for it… The London Paper, which is given out at Tube stations to weary workers as they make their way home in the afternoon. Karen brought one home yesterday to show me a section called The Columnist. Basically anyone can send them in an article on any subject, along with a photo, and they publish the ones they like.
I’ll have a go at that! I thought, so this morning I sent them the piece below. Now of course Karen has to bring the paper home every day until I see myself in print, and who knows how long that’ll be?
Here’s the piece. I’ll let you know what happens. While your’re waiting you can see some past columns on their website.
The Underground Support Centre
How big is your iPod: 8 Gig? 16? 20 Gig? How much RAM does your laptop have? XBox360 or PlayStation 3? Or you a member of the Wii tribe? Have you installed the latest firmware update for your PSP? Is your TomTom running Bluetooth v1 or v2? Sky+ or V+? Do you know your Scart from your Phono? Do you have iPhone Envy?
Look around at your white-earphoned fellow commuters. Everybody in the carriage has at least one mobile phone snuggling up to their MP3 player in their pocket, many have two: one for work and one for personal use. And just imagine what a collection of larger gadgetry is sitting at home, humming quietly in standby mode as it awaits your collective return at the end of the day. We are becoming a nation of wannabe geeks. In a frantic bid to keep up with email@example.com we spend all our disposable income on upgrading our digital lifestyle. However, every single one of you has a problem with your technology arsenal. Some niggling, annoying thing that doesn’t work properly but isn’t quite critical enough to warrant your spending an entire weekend on Google in search of answers. Maybe your handheld device won’t connect to your home wireless LAN, maybe your SatNav won’t pair with your Blackberry, or maybe your printer will only print during commercial breaks. So how do you fix these problems? Call the Helpline? Don’t make me laugh. What about the IT Guy in the office? Sure, he could solve your problem but he’s going to suck out your soul through a straw in the process. “I know… the internet contains all human knowledge and wisdom. I’ll find my answer there!” No, you won’t. As ever, you will resort to the unofficial, fuzzy grapevine of partial knowledge carried by your circle of friends and co-workers. Just as each has his own techie-niggle, each carries the knowledge that could help solve another’s issue. It is this frayed boundary where people and technology meet that gives computers a bad name, but it’s also the region that humanises an otherwise soulless subject. I know – instead of just sitting there chugging along your way to work pretending to read this paper, why not turn your carriage into an impromptu gadget clinic? Ask the person next to you what their gizmo gripe is and see if you can help. You might make a new friend.