Category Archives: Humour

Windowizer continued

I’ve had lots of fun comments about The Windowizer. People asked things like:

  • I like the Mac version – do you make one for Windows?
  • Where’s the Mute button?
  • Does it cut you off after 40 mins if you haven’t paid?
    and so on.

Amidst these customer support questions, I’ve been working on a conference-call version to help you communicate with groups of other people, but if there are more than about three or four participants, it becomes a lot less portable, because they also need some scaffolding to appear in the correct layout. Work needed there.

My friend Shaw also sent me this cartoon:

A think the spirit of Heath Robinson is still alive…

Introducing the Windowizer

Am I getting old and cynical?

Somehow, these days, I can’t get as excited about the way people push things through my letterbox as I used to, nor as willing to write reviews about the way the package slipped to the floor.

Well, it slipped through the door very nicely, but I think they forgot a third button on the form:

As an aside, I’m also slightly bemused that they still provide a ‘track your package’ link at this point?

11:03 Deposited through letterbox
11:03 Landed on doormat
11:07 En route to kitchen table
11:08 Delayed by conversation with wife
11:00-17:00 Expected arrival time in kitchen

Mind you, lots of people are more excited about things these days. I got some really great news yesterday that EE had updated one of my handset configuration files.

Time to crack open the bubbly.

Who let the dogs out?

Dogs are not subject to the same lockdown restrictions as the rest of us.

They’re clearly making the most of it, and heading out for adventures in their campervans.

Spotted outside Sainsbury’s yesterday. I’m guessing they were just stocking up on sausages to go in the fridge.

The New Etiquette

In the next few months, most of us will start to face a whole range of new social situations for which even the most careful perusal of Debrett’s will have left us unprepared.

No doubt you’ve already already pondered how best to communicate some of the following ideas (or respond when others say them to you), so please write in with your suggestions. Our agony aunt will be addressing these and other social dilemmas in a future column.

Topics for discussion:

“I have a mask here, and am very happy to put it on if you are at all uncomfortable with the distance between us. Ah, you have one too? Let’s see who feels the need to put it on first.”

“We’d like to invite you for dinner, but are unsure how soon you will feel comfortable with this. Could you suggest some months that would work for you?”

“‘Dress: black tie and mask. Decorations may be worn.’ Would wearing a mask in my regimental colours be appropriate?”

“Your story is very interesting and you’re clearly very excited about it. Would you mind standing downwind of me while you tell it?”

“That’s a very kind invitation, but I happen to know your husband is an anti-vaxxer and I’m not coming near your den of contagion until the R number is below 0.2.”

“Mr and Mrs Wyndham-Smythe request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter Sophie, as long as not more than 14 other people accept the invitation.”

“I find you very attractive and I’m not currently socially interacting with anybody else at the moment. I don’t wish to be too forward but… would you like to be in my bubble?”

Profile of a misunderstanding

I sometimes wonder whether my co-workers think I’m completely batty, and are just too kind to let me know.

Take yesterday, for instance. I was on a group call with half a dozen of them, and we were discussing Zoom videos, camera angles, background environments… all the normal casual chit-chat of today’s conversations.

“But Quentin”, said one of my colleagues, “what’s your profile image like?” She was asking about the new prototype staff pages on the department’s web site; a key topic of discussion at the moment.

I, however, was still in my own little world, thinking about camera angles, so I thought she was asking what I looked like from side-on! (Answer: no better than from the front, and probably even worse.) ‘Profile’, you see, has more than one meaning. So my response to her question about my account on the website was to turn sideways and talk about how sparsely my hair was distributed from any angle. It was only about 24 hours later that I realised what she must have meant, and collapsed in giggles. Everybody on the call was so nice that nobody said, “Eh? Have you completely lost your marbles?” The worrying question, though, is how often I’ve done this without realising my mistake afterwards…

Talking of ambiguity, there was a scene I always liked, which I think was from one of Steve Coogan’s films, though I can’t now find the source. Anyway, he was having a medical check-up, and it went something like this:

Medic: Blood pressure: fine.
Coogan: Mmm-hmm.
M: Heart rate: fine.
C: Mmm-hmm.
M: Cholesterol: fine.
C: Mmm-hmm.
M: Urine sample: outstanding.
C: Oh, thank you very much!
M: No – that means we haven’t had it yet.

The Opposite of a Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 Feb 2021

The Global Online-Traders’ and Community-Hosters’ Association

CAMBRIDGE, UK — Today sees the launch of a new industry body for major technology companies in the online-shopping, social-networking and other related fields. The Global Online-Traders’ and Community-Hosters’ Association (GOTCHA) exists to protect the value of news stories about its members, and ensure fair compensation of those whose activities actually generate the news.

“This is a problem which dates back to the dawn of the industrial revolution”, said William Boot, the organisation’s chairman and CEO. “Newspapers and other media have always been fascinated by the activities of large companies and the personalities who lead them. It is fair to say, in fact, that a significant proportion of their revenues are derived from such stories, and today you can barely open a newspaper or visit a news website without reading about the wealth of an Amazon chairman, the activities of a Facebook CEO, or the supposed iniquities of a Google algorithm.”

Boot, a low-paid former journalist himself, says that he gradually became persuaded of the lack of fairness in the current system and determined to do something about it by joining the other side and forming a campaigning organisation on behalf of those who actually feature in the news.

“Nobody is saying that articles shouldn’t be written about these organisations and entrepreneurs”, he explained. “However, we are clearly living in an unbalanced world when media organisations can make significant amounts of money simply by writing a few words about those who do the hard productive work. These technologists give up years of their life creating services that provide value, products that enrich people’s lives, and platforms that dramatically reduce the friction of global trading. It seems only fair that, when an article is written about a major technology corporation or one of its officers or investors, some portion of the revenue derived from that story should go to the company or individual concerned, since, without their success, there would be no story to write. GOTCHA will be campaigning tirelessly on behalf of its members and will be facilitating the resulting payments made by the traditional media outlets.”

GOTCHA, though founded in Cambridge, England, has yet to announce the final location of its headquarters, though the association has made it clear it won’t be based in Australia.

Observation of the day

During lockdown, the frequency with which one needs to shave is inversely proportional to the quality of one’s webcam.

Squelching in the Rain

After Rose and our fluffy-pawed spaniel Tilly came back from their walk across the muddy fields this morning, Tilly composed the following and asked me to share it, because it might help other canine readers to know they are not alone.

A Muddy Spaniel’s Lament

Rose’s supposing my toeses need hosing
Shows Rose is supposing erroneously.
‘Cause nobody’s toes can need quite as much hosing
As Rose is supposing my toeses to need!

The New Year Beckons?

This is the best cartoon I’ve seen over the last few days.

It was one of those shared-on-WhatsApp things, so I’m afraid I don’t know whom to credit.

Ass-onance

Rose suggested a better rhyme for the old carol:

    Oh, the holly bears a berry as green as the grass
    And Mary fled to Egypt on the back of an ass!

It works better if you pronounce ‘grass’ the way she does, rather than the way I do!

Untested?

I’m somewhat confused by one of our recent purchases, which proudly proclaims on its packaging that it hasn’t been tested on animals.

Jolly good, I thought. Always keen to do the right thing if I can.

There’s just one problem.

It’s dog food!

What’s more, it’s made of chicken! So it’s made of animals, and fed to animals… but at least you can rest assured that it’s not tested on them. What sort of a daft marketing department…?

Ah well, never mind.

Well, Arden Grange, I can report that Tilly, on being given it, wagged her tail enthusiastically and wanted more. So that’s good news for your marketing.

But I’m afraid this means that it has now been tested on animals, so you’ll need to remove the label.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser