Sport

I have never really ‘got’ sport. I understand why it appeals. It’s mindless. Some sports ‘allow’ people to be abusive, violent, racist, drunk and it’s an acceptable excuse to do those things.

At school we played rugby something. No-one ever explained the rules, so it’s very hard to enjoy something if you don’t know what is going on. In the summer it was cricket. For a time, when I was maybe 10, I followed football a bit. Scarborough Town. Don’t think they exist any more.

I do understand darts, if you can call that a sport. Throw things at a target and get points. And snooker. Actually, watching snooker on tv used to be great as Ted Lowe had a soothing voice that sent you to sleep, but the current commentators talk all the time and very loudly and say nothing. One snooker ball is much like an other, except for the colour, and it’s all fancy potting and very little of what the game name implies, snookers (ie tactical play). And the current players lack personality. Too much money in the game, I suppose.

I get golf too – hit a ball with the stick.

The worst is formula 1 racing. You’d think it was about drivers driving cars quickly to see who is the fastest, but it now seems to be about the colour of the tyres they have. I know someone who loved it and went whenever she could. More than 15 years ago she was paying nearly £100 per person for the British grand prix. I asked what she saw. The cars zoom past, apparently, but you can watch them on a big screen!

I guess Wimbledon starts soon. There is all the clamour for tickets for the main courts, to see the British player, hey let’s not be jingoist, but then they all go off and the place is empty.

Politics

We in the UK just had a general election. It’s a chance for politicians to give them a job.

It used to be that an election could be called at the whim of the Prime Minister, at least once per five years, but this was changed recently to be five fixed years.

Then David Cameron walked away from the job, Mrs May took it over. People asked her, at least nine times, any snap election coming? No she said, definitely not.

Then suddenly there was a snap election. Why? Because she had a big majority, people loved her (apparently) and she wanted a bigger majority. She wanted to stop on her opposition (of whatever political persuasion).

Because the major opposition party, Labour, was in disarray. Leader Jeremy Corbyn was seen as a weak leader, but an honourable man. He is actually my local MP, gets a huge majority and people like him, because he cares and sticks to his principles. But even his own party didn’t really back him. They were going to lose, bigly. The commentators said, the end of Labour.

But what happened? The Conservative manifesto proposed to introduce a dementia tax. If you needed home care, the government would take all your assets (above £100,000) including your house, to pay for it. You could be out on the streets. Besides, they said, who needs to inherit more than £100,000?

This was so not popular, so they changed it, but flat out lied it had been changed.

Then there was a tv debate. Everyone turned up except Mrs May who said she preferred to talk directly to people, but some say she was simply at home watching tv. Don’t know if that’s true.

In the end, the Conservatives won, but only just. There was a strong vote for Labour/Corbyn. UKIP were squashed, hugely.

It was a night of celebration for non-Conservative supporters, not because Labour had won, but because Mrs May’s arrogance had been stomped on from a great height. And it’s been downhill for her since then.

Cellphones

I bought my current mobile phone over three years ago. Are you shocked?

If you look at it, the case is very, um, loved but the phone is in immaculate condition.

I do make the odd call, I send sms messages, I get my e-mails, rarely use the camera, but it can be a life saver, play Words With Friends, keep a calendar, and so on. The screen is clear, the sound quality for calls fine, Skype works well, it’s 4G. What more do I want? OK, the battery is past its best…

Well, the latest replacement for it is out (there have been several in the mean time, of course). My phone is long paid for so my monthly bill is very reasonable. Now my provider wants me to upgrade. Actually, they want me to have an iPhone.

But I look at the new one and it has a super screen but is otherwise much the same, at £700. And I think of all the palaver transferring all the stuff from one to another, updating Android and so on.

I’d rather save my money and buy something else. What do other readers do?

TVs

About 18 months ago I needed a new tv. I’ve always been a Sony fan, or at least, faithful to Sony, and their Trinitron sets were beautifully designed with great pictures.

The set I picked up was a 43″ Android tv set. It was a new model, and you pay through the nose, of course. But I wanted something that would be future proofed.

So, the good. It works brilliantly with my Sony tablet, and my Synology network storage, and my Netgear router. Chromecast is all built in, so no need for a dongle, and watching things on the screen from the tablet is dead easy. This is not a review of the tv as such, but the picture quality is very good (I need more 4K content), and the sound is, well, what you would expect, but connectivity is decent enough and more than I need (I added a usb memory stick to extend the set’s internal memory).

The bad is with the Android tv. Setting it up was a nightmare, requiring numerous re-starts to get it to recognise external devices. Because it’s Android, you get updates. As you would expect, straight out of the box needed an update, and we are talking 40+ minutes here.

The Android interface is clunky. There are some apps available, CNET for example, but the emphasis is on games for children.

The tuner part is a problem. Switch it on sometimes, and you get ‘Can’t show live tv, you have no channels’, even though live tv is on in the background. Changing channels can be a nightmare, especially after switching on from standby. If it’s not on the channel you want, you may have to wait 5 minutes for it to react. Sometimes it sticks on a channel – type in a number (eg 101) and it makes as if it is changing, but you are still where you were.

The programme guide is sluggish and you can’t set reminders. Nor can you record.

Every time you switch it on you get ‘no internet connection’, which is not true.

Oh, and if you are watching via a cable box, it doesn’t recognise the input and switches off after a period of ‘inactivity’. Yes, you can switch this feature off, but it’s a pain, and switching off after a period of inactivity is a good thing.

The model is no longer available, but others must be. What are your experiences?

1 8 9 10 11