Category Archives: Technology

The blind leading the blind?

Fine, I was going to do something different, and something I cant believe might happen, but as the gentleman hasnt been seen all weekend, it might well be that he’s seen sense re me, and doing something remarkable, so lets put a hold on that, for now at least.

So, in that case, lets focus on the obvious subjects, me, and work. Well, unsurprisingly, I survived 2 weeks of customer service training, and 2 weeks dealing with customer service issues, but lets face it, with my work history, it would be more worrying if I didnt! But fine, now the fun stuff starts, even if, by irony, I’m not going to have to put these talents to the test. For better, or for worse, entertainment wise, the better job offer approaches, so I’ll go through training, but then…move on, unless something strange happens. I must say the pay issues make me feel less guilty about going, as does sly digs about my inability to get to Leeds for 7.30 am starts (not mentioned at the interview, was told 9.00!), and keeping the role.

Yes, tomorrow is the start of Technical Services training. Now, this should be fun, because as a few friends at least will know, my technical knowledge is limited, to put it mildly. The running joke I make, is that I’m more interested in being controlled by technology, than being in control of it! So yes, this could be, err, an experience! Looking at it positively, if I gain any knowledge through this part of the course, it can only be a good thing, right? But yes, the idea of me being a tech expert, is about as likely as me being a ……., which is what I thought I’d be writing about, so…? 😉 No, Stacie, you arent allowed to tell people what that is, either! 😛

Fine, I dont know how much of what I will learn will be of use to me in the outside world, as opposed to the job, but we will see? All the same, at the end of the fortnight, I might know a bit more about technology than I do now! Not that its hard for that to happen, but anyway…OK, one thing I’m not looking forward to, that 9.00 start all week. Means leaving here early, which means getting up very early, but…I’ll survive!

The video choice? Well, you might say that if I was giving out tech advice, this might be a fair description of how things would be? No, not the original, but a Postmodern Jukebox delight, set in a 50’s diner, pure heaven!

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The sound of my voice

I meant to post about this in the previous blog, but I forgot…Yes, I’m blonde! So you can have the full length story, covered across from my other blog

Oh goody, you’re in for a video treat tonight. Lets leave it at that, for the length of the blog, at least.

At the beginning of this week, on Fembot Central, someone wanted a woman to do a vocal piece, a half of a conversation between a man, and a fembot. So yes, I said that if no one younger offered to do it, I’d do it for him. I have done these things in the dim, distant past, long before you could record it on to a program, on a laptop, for sure.

And yes, seemingly, its a bit like riding a bike, I soon got the hang of it again, just like reading a script. Fine, its a bit weird, doing your line, waiting a few seconds, and then recording your next line, to give him space to edit his lines into the middle of it. I’ve read scripts before like that, but all players have been there, so its easier to judge the pace. When you’re recording by yourself, hmm?

The other snag I discovered, when it came to do my lines, was exactly how robotic I was meant to be, I forgot to ask. Yes, I know, I was pretty sure he didnt want the monotone robot style, given she was a fembot, created to look like a human. So I played it in a clipped, human way, apart from where she was having difficulties with a malfunction in her system.

Actually, for someone like me, not an expert in technology, I had more fun getting it together, and sending it back to him! I mean, I’m the one who wants to be controlled by computers, not controlling them! Yes, the .wav things (I did one where I used the letter b, one where I used beta, as I wasnt sure which he wanted) I saved them as, was very large, and wasnt going to willingly be sent by email, not even separately. Eventually, the technical blunder girl saved it to her One Drive thing on Hotmail, and sent him the link! Yes, I mean, if we needed it recorded, we were all in one place, and put it on to a tape recorder, or cassette recorder!

Yes, fine, I loved the experience, it was great fun doing something like that again, after so many years. No, I dont think the tape will be going to Hollywood studios, even if it was fun. I’ll see how much he liked my voice, if I passed, I might be doing more. Yes, I’d love a contract, with decent money, for doing these things, but realistically…nope!

So, to that video. In honesty, Ultravox created some great videos. Vienna is the obvious well known one, but the barely known Passing Strangers is one I love, for the whole vintage feel. This one is just plain powerful, and far superior to the other one they made, for this song

A frustrating sort of week

Yes, I know, strictly, I was due to do a blog last night, but it never happened. Mainly because I lacked for decent material, to be honest. Not that I have a lot more today, but thanks to another case of beating my head against the proverbial modern brick wall, lets roll with a rant about modern life, something I seemingly get to hate more by the day.

Apologies to Stacie, and Andy, if they thought I might roll with their idea of ‘bad taste’ album titles, but that would be just too many images I’d have to store somewhere, so, sorry. But yes, their Facebook thread on the issue was quite something!

So sorry, its a job hunting rant again! Monday saw me heading to the outskirts of Bradford for an interview. Thankfully, the right side of Bradford for me, but still a long way off the bus route. But anyway, show willing… Fine, you can guess the outcome before I say anything, I didnt get it, or I wouldnt be writing this, would I? To be honest, having tried the walk from the bus stop (and back), there is no way I would fancy doing that at 8 pm, on a cold winter evening, so may, in a sense at least, be for the best.

But lets not focus on that, lets focus on that annoys the ecologist side of me so much, the job application form. Seriously, I know they want details (even though most are on my CV), but 10 pages, really? Not aided by the fact that I dont have my own printer, and have to get someone else to print it off for me, but regardless of that, the amount of trees that must get wasted on these things, at a time, when lets face it, all those details (if it even gets to that point) simply get loaded on to a computer, and probably discarded anyway!

Oh, and do you know whats more annoying? I’ve got an interview tomorrow, with the same firm, for a retail job, as opposed to a head office one, but guess what? Yes, I have to do it all over again, and will have to get all those pages printed off again, so frustrating. Why? They’ve got all my details, its all going to the same recruitment department, but anyway…aargh!

But fine, just when I thought that was ridiculous, I’ve got a job interview on Monday afternoon just outside Leeds. Wait for it, wait for it, their application form isnt 10 pages long, its 15! Yes, fine, its a financial related industry, but yes, it could easily lose a few pages, without losing information, for sure. To be honest, given its location out of town, even with a company shuttle bus, I would say I would pass on it, but lets face it, at the moment, I’m really not in the mood to do that. Just glad I bought someone here a pack of paper a while back, but even so…

Oh, last rant for today about modern job interview methods. This morning, I had a phone interview, for a branch position, with a different building society to above, and I survived, quite well in fact. So what do I get as a reward, some sort of psychometric set of questions to answer. Which, in truth, almost make competency based questions look like a sensible route to go down. So yes, I answered them as best I could, in an honest way, but about an hour or so later, I get an email telling me that my answers dont meet their desired parameters, so thats it!

Yes, I’m getting totally sick of these modern interviewing techniques, just about had enough, in fact. But it has to be done, I guess, so? Though yes, I wish it wasnt, and I will be glad when its all over, however that happens!

Right, rant over. I promise to try and come up with something more cheery for the weekend! The video, something I discovered this morning, and suits my tastes. There is a classic disco piece from the 1980’s, by a group called New Order. Yes, Blue Monday. But just suppose, it was played on instruments that was available in the 1930’s, not all that modern technology. In that case, it might just sound like this?

The progress of technology

To say my Twitter account is an eclectic mix, would be to put it mildly.

Two main areas are obvious ones, anything relating to movies pre 1939 (or so), and vintage clothing. I have a few others relating to Irish cricket, but the one area that seems to be growing, is my collection of science ‘fact’ sites, and wearable technology. OK, fine, most of my interest in these areas relates more to science fiction, but to be honest, what we thought of as fiction at the turn of the century, is fast becoming fact!

Lets face it, answering machines, for businesses have been around quite a while now. Hey, its even got to the point where you can select your options by voice, rather than pressing a number on the phone to move to the next step. No, generally it doesnt get you any further, any faster, and besides, in the end, if a problem needs solving, you’re going to end up talking to a person at some point. Why, because automation has its limitations at present when it comes to actual decision making, and thats where the humans need to come in…for now.

Yes, there will be a time when the computers will be capable of making independent decisions, but I suspect we are still a while off from that.

But the thing is, will it just be actual machines making those decisions, or will they be making them through us, via wearable technology? Google Glass seemed to be the first step towards merging humans, with technology, but clearly it wasnt working correctly, as Google pulled it, though there is talk that Mk 2 is on its way soon, we will see.

That though would only have given the wearer the information they needed to make a decision, not to give the wearer the decision that the technology had made. But how long that will remain that way, I’m not quite sure. And though not immediately, at some point in the near future, that technology will be capable of doing just that. At which point, will it need the person at all, will it speak for itself, or will we just say what we are ‘told’ to say?

The other thing you younger folk have to worry about (more than old folk like me) is how long will it be before its not us wearing the technology, but the technology wearing us! You know, at some point, what is now externally worn, will be implanted, injected, or whatever, and become part of you!

Who, me, jealous? You bet! Not going to happen in my working life, I’m pretty sure, more’s the pity. But do you fancy being one, with a machine, hmm?

And yes, absolutely, jobs like mine, in call centres will be the first ones where the staff get automated, for sure. Yes, it will be the jobs easily done by machine that will be the first where the staff are either replaced by automation, or taken over by it!

Good luck, young folk!

The video. A modern version of a very apt Kraftwerk classic

I remember when interviews were a straightforward 1 to 1!

Yes, fine, this blog has been inspired by a modern day interview thing that went wrong today, and cost me any chance of a job. Technology, you have to love it? Maybe not?

When I first did a job interview just over 40 years ago, it was a straightforward affair, an interview was arranged, you met your prospective employees, they asked you questions, you answered them, and then asked them a few back. And that was it, pure and simple, you passed or failed, easy as that.

The first time I had an interview that didnt follow this formula was in 2005, my first one back up in Yorkshire. Given I’d done a couple of ‘normal’ interviews up here before this one, I discovered the joys of a group interview thing. I must have done alright, as I got invited back for a more standard interview, and then was, in good time, offered the job.

2009 followed the same route, with a group thing, but that was it, I was offered the job on the back of that, though I did do a solo interview after the group thing was over.

Now, in 2015, the computer era has kicked in, it seems quite a challenge to actually see a human being. Assessment tests and the like, before you even talk to anyone seems the norm nowadays! Then its generally just a phone interview, and then…a human being? Of course, being as old as me doesnt help your job prospects nowadays anyway!

OK, this is the moment of rant. I was doing one of these online test things this afternoon, and basically, it didnt work. I was meant to be hearing ‘orders’ being placed, and had to input them accurately, presumably to see if I could do it. Thing is, the tape, or whatever it is didnt work, just got a lot of garbled noise. So I tried to go back, and start again, but the test decided I’d finished, and the test failed me, as of course, I hadnt got anything right! Within minutes I’d got the email telling me I’d been unsuccessful, shock horror.

I did write and tell them that it wasnt my fault, but I suspect the email just hit an automated system, and wasnt noticed. I havent heard back anyway. So there you go, I lost out on a job, and it wasnt even my fault!

Technology, err, you have to love it, maybe?

OK, the video. No connection to this whatsoever. But what this record was, was Number 1 in the UK, on the day I started work!

A 30’s girl, and modern technology

One thing that always amuses me, is the look on people’s face when I say that I dont use a mobile phone…ever! I would love to say I dont own one, but that wouldnt be true, and strictly, I actually own two. But on an everyday basis, I dont use a mobile phone.

One is actually a US phone, that wouldnt work over here anyway (different transmission systems) which might, if its lucky, get used for 2 weeks a year, and thats it. Pretty much got it for the convenience of Kate, and a couple of others being able to contact me, when over there, and not in the same hotel. As in, when Kate was at work last year, it was easier to ring me on there, as regardless of whether I was in my room, or out, she could get hold of me. Also handy with all these hotel shuttles if I can ring up, and arrange a lift of course. But 50 weeks a year, its not used.

The UK mobile, that got even less work, even when I was actually bothering to carry it around, so much so, that the credit expired, then the SIM card expired, so for at least 2 years, its been sat on the side, in my bedroom. No, I have no immediate plans to reactivate it, but maybe, one day…

I do occasionally use the land line at home, though there is no truth in the rumour that the phone looks like the one in the picture below. It would suit me fine if it did, but the others here might object!

Jean on the phone

And no, that isnt me, despite rumours lol!

Alright you say, how can a true 30’s girl own a laptop? And yes, guilty as charged, its about my one allowance to modernity, in all honesty. And fine, I have a nice colour TV, complete with cable, but hey, TV existed in the 30’s, just looked a bit different back then! 😛

But sorry, to have a mobile phone, that you literally have to have with you, at all times, no thanks! Unless someone wants to create one for me, that looks just like an old fashioned phone, then I might consider it!

The video, a quick one tonight, which pretty much sums up the life of so many mobile users, especially those with those trendy internet connection things