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Double Vision

Out of touch and offline in the summer rain!

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“… and that way you can be sure you’re safe!” … and so ends an advert on the telly for some kind of computer safety software, or was it a device, or an app that I can download? No idea. Blimey. I’ve no idea at all.

It has finally come to this. I’m too old and too out of touch to understand the bloomin’ adverts on the tele. There’s no pride in this feeling. I’ve been using computers for decades, and have owned a long line of now-legendary Apple Macs.

I’m loathe to say ‘iconic’, because the word has become worthless, but that beautiful  blueberry iMac I had in 1999 was and remains exactly that.

Anyway, the point is that I prefer to understand the entire universe that has become available through cyber technology. I’m not one of those grumpy luddites who say they have no need of the modern world.

Once I was. When I moved from west Connemara to San Francisco in 1995, I inwardly mocked people who talked of sending emails. With a 14.4bps external modem hanging off my computer, the world on the web was far from wide. It was slow, tiny and tedious. People celebrated for their vision dreamt of and created what is now not so much a cable into the wall, as a doorway into an entire way of life, beyond the wildest dreams of that scornful scribbler.

My generation was the last to be born without the internet. My nieces have grown up in a world where all information is available universally. All truths are out there, just as are all untruths, parked alongside, camouflaged by legitimacy in your browser window.

So what was that advert about? What kind of security don’t I have on my computer that I should? Somehow I suspect that if I watched the advert again and again I’d still be none the wiser.

Anyway, good luck to anyone who tries to cyber-scam me. You see, the leaves are out on Terry’s trees, and when the wind blows from the south west, as it tends to do in these parts, I can’t get a connection for love nor money.

Thankfully, there are internet cafes and newspaper newsrooms that I can visit when I’m in town, to deal with the internet. Even for a duffer like me, these days that includes banking, bill paying, sending and receiving work, socialising and the very local very long-term weather forecast, to find out when it’ll stop raining long enough to allow me to mow the lawn (October 23rd’s looking a bit drier).

It’s not an easy task for this native Londoner to stand in front of his septuagenarian Aunt and explain to her that no, I can’t FaceTime her, because the leaves are out on Terry’s trees. Standing in 21st century London, my excuse sounded beyond absurd, but to be honest, between you and me, I don’t mind.

Of course I find my seasonal lack of internet frustrating, and yearn to be able to work and research and engage the modern world as much as any city dweller, but equally, I love living here.

In a few weeks the leaves will fall off Terry’s trees and with a favourable wind and a puff of love from the Faeries my internet connection will be functioning once again. I’d rather be here, rural and offline in the Summer rain, than have 100 meg fibre-powered broadband shooting into a city flat, in a noisy sweaty street.

Each to their own, and although I’ve had my credit card skimmed this year, I don’t think I’ll go looking to buy that whatever-it-was on the advert for my computer.

For more of Charlie’s thoughts on modern technology vs Terry’s leaves see this week’s City Tribune here

Connacht Tribune

Space and silence – it’s all us oul’ lads ever wanted in pubs

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The crowds that flocked into the centre of Dublin last weekend provided the clearest indication yet that, thank God, a cure had been found for Covid.

The masses dancing and hugging on the streets was vindication that all of the self-isolation had been well worth it, when you could now congregate as close as you like to each other, to your little heart’s content.

Or so you’d think.

One weekend of slightly relaxed licencing laws was all it took, and in the blink of an eye thousands of revellers were up and at it like this was Paris in 1945 after it was freed from the Germans.

The newly-imposed regulations for relaxation would suggest that all of these bouncy people at least had the benefit of a nine-euro meal inside them – how else could they get served?

So, we’d better brace ourselves for when they go out on an empty stomach.

Much has already been made of the fact that pub life will never be the same again – and that might well be the case.

Social distancing is bad news for the publicans, limiting their ability to wedge the entire student population of NUIG and GMIT into the equivalent of a phone box.

But it’s great news for curmudgeons – particularly for those whose capacity for imbibing alcohol is shot.

Advancing middle age has seen the tolerance of the early twenties reduced from the equivalent of a sizeable plastic bucket to an amount that once wouldn’t have even pass the standard definition of being out.

Three pints? That’s what you’d order when they rang the bell at closing time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Angels took pain out of hospital Christmas

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

More than any other time of the year, when we sit around our dinner tables on Christmas Day, we are aware of who is there and who is not. At the age of 17, having performed impressive acrobatics with my Yamaha 250, a saloon car, a ditch and a barbed wire fence, I spent six weeks in hospital over Christmas and New Year.

My femur was snapped in two, which is no mean feat with thighs like mine, and my tibia had a crack or two as well.

Bed-bound, with my leg in traction, I developed a bronchial chest infection after an emergency operation.

Every two seconds for six weeks I coughed in hacking spasms, thus shaking my smashed leg, which was hung in a sling, supported by a metal pole they had driven through me, just below the knee.

Suffice to say I came to terms with pain.

In our part of the ward, there were four beds and three bikers with broken bones.

There was Kev, who had fallen off his sleek and mean Suzuki GT750 (a two stroke 3-into-1, since you ask), and opposite us two was brick shithouse Yorkshireman Gary, ex-SAS, and mighty embarrassed, having survived several covert tours of duty in Northern Ireland, to have to admit to falling off a Honda 125.

Compared to the other patients in the hospital the three of us were well off.

We were not sick. We’d had our operations, and apart from antibiotics for wounds, and pain killers for broken bones, we needed very little medical attention.

We were young, male, bored, and allowed to drink beer. Naturally, we tried to attract the attention of the student nurses as much as possible, and equally, they were happy to have a bit of a laugh with lads who were not ill, physically, at least!

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Don’t be a slave to the algorithm

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Saying “I love newspapers!” feels these days like buying a ticket for the next David Bowie gig, but I do: I love them. When I read a newspaper, I’m not a slave to the algorithm. Were I ten years younger, I’d read all my news online, on apps that I’ve set to my personal preferences.

Even when I visit media sites I’ve never been to before, there are cookies and bots and gordknowswot working away to offer me more of what the algorithms think I want.

Every link off each page is tailored to please me, but that’s no good.

I don’t want to be fed things that only fit into my areas of interest and opinion.

Sitting at my living room table, mug of tea and two slices of toast (peanut butter, since you ask), and a paper – any paper – open in front of me, I can see the full wonder and horror of the world, as interpreted by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Irish Times or Daily Mirror.

As I browse into the heart of the paper, far from major news items, I let my eyesight fall all over the place, because each page is full of varied items, and, here on page 14, I’ll find the big story that’s being buried: the story they have to report, but are under instruction to dampen down.

Also here are stories that no algorithm-driven link would ever lead me to. Quirky little tales, able to dissolve an adult brain in seconds.

When driven sufficiently doolally by what I’m reading, I tear that particular piece of madness out of the newspaper, placing it on top of the wobbly towering stack of other torn madnesses by my desk.

There are dark torn madnesses and fearsome ones, but today I’m in the mood to prowl the ones that force me to furrow my brow, gasp for breath, pout my lips and grunt “What the -?” at the universe.

Notes are seeds, from which every writer will grow different fruit. When that writer is working for the Daily Mail, the fruit need bear only minuscule relation to the seed.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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