Thursday, 23 February 2017

RIP The iPod

DC Editor Adam writes…


In December 2016 I posted the The Daily Constitutional's blog post number 5,000.


To mark the occasion I've been digging in the archive and over February 2017 I'll be reblogging The DC's "Greatest Hits" – my 50 favourite posts. 


In addition I'll be sharing my 50 favourite London photos to have appeared here since October 2008. 

I hope you enjoy them

A.S-G
London 
Feb 2017


My second tech post of the day. This one went out on the 9th May 2014…


Are you glad to see the back of the iPod?


Now that there’s music on the tablet, the phone and the bleedin' vacuum cleaner, who needs an iPod?


Those of you who know me – and those of you who have joined me on the Rock’n’Roll London Walk – will know that I am over-fond of a rant about CD’s being the work of the devil, how they are not fit to lace the boots of a vinyl record.

Surely, therefore, a traditionalist such as I (everybody knows that traditionalist is just another word for Grumpy Old Fart) will be happily dancing on the iPod’s grave. A grave, by the by, that might look a little like this…




(The illustration: is it too much? Can you tell I flirted with being a Goth as a teenager?)



So, good riddance to bad rubbish, then?

Far from it.

The thing about CD’s: I NEVER liked them. Didn’t stop me buying hundreds of 'em, o’course, but it was under duress, your honour.

I first came across the Compact Disc in a science classroom at school. Some well-meaning teacher had brought in his CD player and an already impressive collection of CD’s (New Gold Dream by Simple Minds was one of them, making this 1982/83). He was giving a demonstration and waxing lyrical about how much better they were than records.

I remember picking one up in its little square-ish case and turning it over in my hand. Plasticky. Brittle.

“No sleeve notes,” I griped. “Not as good as a record.”

At which point the teacher took the CD case from me and like some end-of-the-pier magician pulling flags-of-all-nations from his sleeve, unfurled a hefty booklet full of sleevenotes with a smug flourish.

There was something about his smugness from which I never recovered.

His smugness.

His moustache.

The fact that we were in a science classroom.

The well-meaning attempt to be “down with the kids”.

The fact that the CD he was playing to demonstrate the CD’s wonderfulness – and, by implication, his own – was Private Eyes by Hall and Oats.

The fact that the track was Mano a Mano, the worst track on an already terrible album.

AND you couldn’t get The Beatles on CD back then.

Done deal: why bother?



The iPod, on the other hand, appealed directly to the music anorak in me. All of your music in your pocket, wherever you go. All ordered in Playlists (best thing since the mix-tape, of which I was an addict). It was listening AND curating. I loved it from the very first.

And, like The Walkman (another invention I was very fond of), you could listen on the go and didn't have to creep like a cat burglar so's not to upset the disc, unlike the wretched CD Walkman (crap hardware for crap software).

Having said that, my first iPod (illustrated above) is about 10 years old and went on the fritz years ago. The Bush record player with the Garrard turntable upon which it is posing (also above) is more than 50 years old and still goes like the clappers. For records, and their players, I rest my case


But I’ll be sorry to see the iPod go.




A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



The Internet: Do You Remember Your First Time?

DC Editor Adam writes…


In December 2016 I posted the The Daily Constitutional's blog post number 5,000.


To mark the occasion I've been digging in the archive and over February 2017 I'll be reblogging The DC's "Greatest Hits" – my 50 favourite posts. 


In addition I'll be sharing my 50 favourite London photos to have appeared here since October 2008. 

I hope you enjoy them

A.S-G
London 
Feb 2017


Today I'm sharing two posts on tech, starting with this rumination on The Internet first posted back on 15th September 2015…




Adam writes… Does anyone remember this question:

"Have you been on the internet yet?"



The building in our picture (above) is a swish, faintly Orwellian-looking restaurant in deepest Fitzrovia. Once upon a time it was the home of an internet cafe.

Internet cafe. How quaint.

Back in the late 90s a friend of mine, studying at Birkbeck, had some research to do for a project. Her tutor had suggested that she do her research on the internet. She asked me and two other friends to accompany her. 

Going online was clearly a four-person job in the olden days.

"I need to go online," she said, with a confidence that was not entirely convincing. "Will you come with me?"

She may have said "on THE line" – and I may not have corrected her. Such were the dark days of the late 1990's. This was my first time using the internet.

We ordered our coffee, took our seats around a computer, and my pal shuffled the "mouse" on her "mouse mat".

Mouse mats. Remember them?

The pointer thingy zoomed around the screen like some annoying fly and we were off, off into the 21st century.

Her research only took half the time she had paid for. "Shall we look at something else?"

Why not? We had, after all, to queue for the computer (!), may as well make the most of the time.

The thing is, nobody knew what to look for.

This, gentle reader, is how we lived before cat videos on YouTube and social media. O! The deprivation!

One of our party suggested a virtual tour (how fancy!) of the Louvre… but being unable to find the Louvre online – it's possible that they may not have had a website at this point – we plumped for the National Gallery instead. 

After looking at postage stamp size pics of one or two paintings in the National Gallery (it would have been quicker to walk down the road to the gallery itself, such was the pre-broadband loading speed) we were informed that our time was up and gave up our place to the next cyber pioneer in the queue.

Older folks (EVEN older than I) in this country often recall the thrill of the first time they saw TV. In the UK, many people first watched moving pictures on a small screen in 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In comparison with the tales of that legendary broadcasting experience, I felt rather short-changed.

My summation of the whole internet experience? I didn't think it would catch on.





A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#London Nightly #Photoblog 22:02:17: Our Favourite Optician

It's around midnight in London… 

The Nightly London Photo Blog takes one last look at our city before lights out.



This slot is dedicated to everyone who joined us on a London Walks tour today, or who read The Daily Constitutional, or who told a friend to join us. Sleep well, we'll see you out there soon!






A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



These Boots Were Made For Walking (Tours)

DC Editor Adam writes…


In December 2016 I posted the The Daily Constitutional's blog post number 5,000.


To mark the occasion I've been digging in the archive and over February 2017 I'll be reblogging The DC's "Greatest Hits" – my 50 favourite posts. 


In addition I'll be sharing my 50 favourite London photos to have appeared here since October 2008. 

I hope you enjoy them

A.S-G
London 
Feb 2017


Back in August 2012 I turned my blogging attention to walking shoes…





Walking Shoe Tips From the London Walks Guides #1


Adam writes… “Doctor Martens for me. A famous name, a GREAT design, a British-ISH classic. Docs remain the perfect shoe for a man in early middle age still keen to create the illusion of rebelliousness…

The current fleet



I rotate three pairs. The black pair look great paired with a suit, while the green and the oxblood (or cherry) pairs are ideal with a kilt. Comfy? Practical? These are my “Three London Walks-a-Day” shoes – six hours of London Walking and they still feel like Jermyn Street slippers.”

My daughter likes ’em, too…




If you have your own favoured walking shoe, drop us a line at the usual email address





A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.