We live in a world that is knee deep in information. Just walking to the supermarket in our village would add a few details to the log of my mobile phone’s activity.
Well, it would if I carried it about. Information of this kind can never be perfect, and that is on account of the nature of the computer itself. A computer can’t do anything without being told to do it – this can come from another machine, but that machine will have had to be programmed. There’s a problem with programming that I’ll address at another date; suffice it to say that the programmers act out of their comfort zones. What they see is all they can see. This post will take a look at a different angle of what people want that satisfies their comfort zone. That is to say, what people want to see, where the reality is a whole lot simpler.
It was a good few years ago now that the council dug a tunnel under the motorway and railway to allow cyclists a quicker route from the north of our village to the south. This reduced my journey from over a kilometre to one that is a lot less. My allotment is within 300m of my home, it’s just that there’s a double track railway and a six lane highway in that space along with a minor road. Not the kind of thing one wants to cross on a dark night, even if it were possible what with all the barriers they’ve put up. Thus a tunnel was a welcome addition to our village.
In the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam there is the unimaginatively named ‘Museum Plein’ – the Museum Place. No surprises that you’ll find museums here. Well, that’s what it’s all about: the Dutch are straightforward people. Well, that is when they’re aware that is; when they are, things are made very easy. Unfortunately, the kind of architects this breeds are unimaginative – something that is the direct result of a lack of awareness. They’re not alone in this, most of the worlds architects are the kind of people the world would be happier without.
So here is my folding bicycle, on the local train that will take me home. Bicycles that fold up travel free on the Dutch railways, if you have an ordinary bicycle, you have to buy a day ticket that costs €7. Now, according to the rule book, a bicycle has to be folded before you enter the train. As you can see, my bike is still unfolded – and will only be ‘broken’ in the middle for the swift journey home.
A friend of mine is volunteering in Britain, and whilst it is taxing what with the weather and other very British events, it is rewarding. Having volunteered on no few occasions in Britain, and enjoyed the experience, it seemed to me a great idea to do it here in Holland.
Piet is my friend Hendrik’s brother in law, and he wants a new car. Actually, he’s wanted a new car for a few years now. His business partner bought one. Only these are tough times for businesses and if you’re in business, you know that there’s one thing you need: a backup. That is to say, lots of cash to cover the dry periods. Just as an aside, if you hear someone talk about needing this, you know they’re in a commodity market and they don’t have any leverage over their competitors.
It’s a Monday morning here in Holland and the week has begun. The newspapers have been spread across the desk, now at half past ten, the second – third? – mug of coffee is being drunk. The interesting headlines are a tranquillizer to the yawning desert that stretches ahead, ended with the joy of meeting the river on Friday evening.