Ain’t technology grand?


A few moments ago I just had a three way internet chat with a fellow author of mine in Nigeria and with our mutual editor in Australia. Ain’t technology grand? It was not so many years ago that something like that was in the realms of science fiction and completely impossible.

A couple of decades or so back in the dim distant past, the concept of ‘conference calls’ via telephone emerged only to be superseded by video conference calls. Before that we relied on snail mail, then the fax machine until the concept of personal computers was fully and finally appreciated by the then major computer manufacturers like IBM, whose senior management firmly believed that the world’s population would never want to have a computer in each and every home. How wrong they were.

These days we have a staggering choice of computer programmes available that can put us in touch with one another across the world. In its simplest form we have the email system which is rapidly reducing the need for pen, paper and postage stamp. It costs nothing and is practically instantaneous.

Next comes the Web Camera and its attendant software, where you can not only talk to those distant relatives and friends, but also see them to.

What will be next I wonder, Holographic projection into your friend’s living room? Leave it to our collective imagination to work out technology’s next step in the field of personal communication. After all it wasn’t so many years ago that if someone had suggested that one day we would all carry a personal telephone in our pocket or purse, that he or she would have been seriously considered a candidate for the funny farm!

Whatever the next step may be, I for one, look forward to its happening…




Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale

To Kindle, or not to Kindle, that is the question 

How many times over the years have you, like me, lent one of your precious books from your personal library to a friend or colleague, never to see it again? If you are a book lover, you feel violated, let down and downright annoyed that the copy of a book you sought out from the many displayed on your local book shops shelves, has vanished forever.

But a book, especially a paperback edition, is merely a thing and therefore not important – correct? Wrong! Someone took a great deal of time and energy creating that precious manuscript for your reading pleasure. Plus books were never ever designed to be read and then disposed of. Nor were they ever meant to be treated roughly by having their spines broken, a practice I abhor.

Just look at the sad sight of misused and abused books available in the plethora of second hand bookshops, the graveyard for terminally ill copies of literary works,  be they fiction or fact, within your own nation. Many have torn pages. Many have terrible wounds inflicted upon them by unthinking people who have bent them backwards, or folded the top corner of a page instead of inserting some form of bookmark to mark their place within the novels pages.

Well, all those disgusting and downright unthinking practices can now end forever. No longer will you need to replace your lost copy to fill the gap in your book shelf. No longer will your precious books be subjected to the unthinking and callous misuse by the moronic sector of the world of readers.

I give you the answer to all of the above – Kindle and its sister version of the EBook reader, Nook. Amazon brought out Kindle, and Nook is the product of Barnes & Noble. There are others out there, far too many to mention.

Here I make the case for Kindle as an excellent example of the way books can now be purchased and read. Progressive book sellers like Amazon now offer the reader two ways of buying that ‘must have’ book. You can either order your physical copy, whether it is hardcover, or paperback, then within a few weeks it will arrive through your letterbox, or you can do what I do.

Either buy yourself a Kindle Reader, or as I have, simply download the totally free version of Kindle for PC. Next all you have to do is find the Kindle version of that ‘must have’ book, and with one click, within the space of one minute, you have the book sitting in front of you on your Kindle Reader or your Kindle for PC programme. No lengthy lead times, no “Currently this book is out of stock”, and best of all, your precious book is out of reach of those serial book abusers for all time!

Try it; I guarantee you that you will not regret it…

Jack Eason – author of Onet’s Tale

A question of packaging

Why in this age of ‘saving the planet’ do supermarket chains insist on adding their own totally unnecessary and non-biodegradable plastic packaging to their products? Take for example the humble Banana. Nature has provided this delicious food with its own sturdy thoroughly biodegradable packaging and yet when you by a bunch of them from your local supermarket, some spotty-faced managerial individual decided in their infinite stupidity that it had to be repackaged to preserve its freshness.

Fact No:1    Firstly in the supermarket it aint fresh. It was shipped in a green unripe state across the world to the distribution point where it was artificially ripened before being sent to your store, apples et al.

Fact No:2    Secondly, because of your stupid management interference, all you have succeeded in doing by embalming the banana bunch in its plastic tomb, is to accelerated the artificial ripening process, effectively reducing its ‘use by date’ by a factor of 50%. This may be good for your profit margin but it is a complete waste of money for us, the consumers.

Next I turn to the other woeful practice prevalent in the supermarkets these days – plastic trays and their thin plastic covering. Tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes – you name it, all are presented to us sealed up in the above mentioned non-biodegradable packaging – Why?

Placing a pre-sliced loaf of bread into a package is understandable; it would fall apart. It has by its very nature an extremely short shelf life and should be eaten within a minimum of two days tops, but tomatoes are available in the packaging that nature provided and will last a considerable time, eggs to. Even my lettuce was wrapped in its plastic tomb – why?

Most of us in this day and age have a refrigerator to keep our supply of fresh food in, in which items like tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, apples etc can be stored in the compartment designed for the purpose, I give you the humble ‘crisper’, thereby negating the need to buy on a daily basis.

As for supermarket shopping bags, get rid of your stocks of them, don’t palm them off on your customers. No matter how you look at it they are non-biodegradable and litter the streets, roads and hedgerows of the world. A well-known supermarket chain here in the UK hit the headlines yesterday when they announced that in the interests of the planet they were reducing the thickness of the bag.

Complete Balderdash! All that has done, you dimwits, is to anger your customers because the damned things self-destruct even before items are placed in them!

If you are genuinely interested in the environment supermarket spotty Herbert’s, prove it by ceasing to use any form of plastic packaging, and for god’s sake don’t try to improve on nature’s own packaging from now on.

Don’t even get me going by making mention of your other completely insane practice of the accursed ‘use by date’! Grrr….  

Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale

Remember when humour was truly humour?


Every night at 7pm I switch channels on my television to BBC Radio 7 for an hour of good old fashioned belly laughter. Last night was the turn of the Goons in the form of ‘The Great Moriarty Murder Mystery’ evoking childhood memories of the time before television dulled the senses and your imagination ruled.

For those not born within the days of ‘steam radio’, you have my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. When people of my generation wax lyrical over the cerebral thrills of a murder mystery or an exciting adventure like ‘The Wake of the Red Witch’, or the completely hysterically funny joys conjured up by Spike Milligan, Peter Sellars, Harry Secombe aided by Wallace Greenslade, Larry Adler, Eric Sykes et al; take it from one who knows, today’s so-called comedians are not a patch on the men of yesteryear. Seldom does even a mild titter spring forth from me when being subjected to the latest generation.

Remember Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Les Dawson and Frankie Howard? No? Well you should check them out. Go back even further to the heyday of the Goons and rediscover Michael Bentine who stood alongside Spike and Harry when the Goons were first broadcast. While you’re there, look out for Jimmy Edwards, Tony Hancock, Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams. Listen to Frank Muir and Dennis Nordern on ‘What’s My Line’. Nordern and Muir were past masters at belly laugh comedy. They were responsible for many a radio comedy programme back then.

If you are a television couch potato however, change channels to BBC Radio 7 at 7pm nightly for an hour of proper belly laugh humour, not the rubbish that passes itself off as humour these days. Tonight being Friday night, I shall be sat with my eyes closed as I did in my youth imagining the characters portrayed in tonight’s episode of ‘The Navy Lark’, starring Leslie Philips, John Pertwee, Ronny Barker and Dennis Price…

Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale

The day my laptop caught a cold


Yesterday afternoon while I was surfing the net for something or other, I inadvertently opened the webpage from hell. Before I knew it my poor little laptop had contracted a dread disease in the form of malware.

Despite rapidly trying to prevent the unwarranted intrusion into my laptop’s hardrive, I was way too late. My proprietary spyware and computer antivirus system did nothing except complain. Did it seek out the intruder? No. All it did was state the bleeding obvious – you have been invaded!

I rapidly disconnected my laptop from my provider and then tried to get my antivirus system to search and destroy – fat chance. All it concluded after scanning my laptops system was that all was running as normal.

Foolishly believing what it told me, I once again reconnected to my ISP and then tried to open one of my files – my Facebook page. It tried but I was told that it was now classed as privileged access. In other words the damned malware had decided that all of my internet files were now off limits. If that was not enough, it also totally stuffed my proprietary antivirus programme. In short, its firewall was now nonexistent.

After once again disconnecting from the internet, I restarted my laptop. After inserting my password, my laptop sprang back to life, seemingly behaving normally, at least until I tried to get back on the internet. All my pages were still inaccessible. So I turned to Windows 7’s best feature – Windows Defender. Within a couple of minutes it had found and deleted the mischievous little beggar that was causing all the problems, giving it a swift kick into oblivion.

Now I tried starting my proprietary antivirus software – no luck. The malware had eaten it for breakfast. After about an hour and a half and £25 later, my antivirus system was downloaded and reinstalled.

Thank goodness for Windows Defender and its bloodhound ability to hunt out any and all malicious miscreants hiding away on your computer’s hardrive. I have one question however, why didn’t Windows Defender automatically leap into action to save the day and my bank balance?



Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale

Where does dust live?


Nature abhors the vacuum cleaner


Why is it that despite all your best efforts, as quickly as you remove dust and other assorted detritus, it can’t stand the fact that you have just removed its brethren with either the vacuum cleaner or by the judicious use of the dustpan and brush? More to the point, why is it that your hair silently sneaks off of your head or other parts of your body and forms itself into untidy masses in the corners of the room, or beneath each and every piece of furniture you possess?

I have a theory which I would like to regale to you if you have the time. After a lifetime of living with the stuff, I am of the opinion that dust, dirt, discarded bodily hair and the like, are in reality aliens in disguise. There I’ve said it. Now you can make that phone call to the men in white coats to come and take me away.

But before you do, consider this; no matter how house proud you may be, however hard you wage war on the pesky little beggars, they always reoccupy their place in your home when your back is turned. Don’t believe me? Then look out of the corner of your eye moments after you have just sucked them up in the vacuum cleaner. If you have sunlight beaming down through your windows you will see the little blighters parachuting in on those self same sunbeams. When the weather is cloudy you can’t see them reappear until it is too late.

Clean the house before you go to bed, and by morning they are back once more sniggering to themselves, hiding under the sofa, or idly rolling about on the merest zephyr of air, defying you to try to remove them ever again.

Since our ancestors first trod the earth, dust and the like have also cohabited with us. Why look to the stars for alien life when it is alive and living alongside us in our homes, hiding in every corner, nook and cranny of our existence. No matter how hard we try, dust and its many other cohorts are here to stay. Dust has silently colonised the world. It has successfully invaded and won…   

Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale

Nothing manufactured lasts these days…
Whatever happened to quality control in the manufacturing world? These days, consumer items have often reached their sell by date long before you buy them. Take my recliner chair for instance. My suite of two chairs and two seater sofa were bought second hand. They were old when I bought them. But they still have many years good use left in them. My new recliner chair however, is a different kettle of fish.

While it is sturdily constructed, probably somewhere in China or the like, it has one serious flaw in its construction. I refer to the mechanism for lifting your legs up and allowing you to push back to totally recline. Behind the lever is a wire contraption firmly attached to the operating lever hidden beneath my seat. But, at the business end directly behind the lever, its other end is, or was until recently, glued to the back of the lever!

Why in god’s name didn’t they repeat the sturdy attachment at this end to I hear you ask? Who knows? Perhaps after constructing the whole armchair it was getting close to the end of the working day and they couldn’t be bothered doing the job properly.

I’m not sending the damned thing back for repair or replacement – why, because it would simply be binned and an identical replacement would be sent to me with exactly the same problem.

So now whenever I wish to recline I simply rock my very comfortable recliner back on its haunches and reach underneath for the mechanism, release it and then climb aboard in time to watch my favourite television programme, or to write in comfort on my laptop.

Apropos of modern day so-called quality control; a few months back I bought myself a new DVD player with all the bells and whistles – 5.1 surround sound et al. I won’t mention the brand, but suffice it to say the damned thing has finally died. I am now ‘surrounded’ by five mute speakers. The contraption’s DVD player ceased to operate within three months of purchase. I didn’t mind that so much as I could still make use of its sound system while watching my favourite DVD’s via my PS3 which I had connected to my sound system. But yesterday the sound system went the way of all things modern and died to. Will I be sending my deceased sound system back for replacement? No, for exactly the same reason as for my recliner armchair; why go to all the trouble involved only to receive a replacement with exactly the same inbuilt faults!

Designed obsolescence is one thing, but there is no excuse for shoddy workmanship, nor the use of inferior components, merely to work to a price. Bring back pride in manufacture; get rid of accountants running businesses in favour of the old style family run companies of yesteryear who took pride in never ever allowing a product that fell woefully beneath their high standards to leave their factory.
Oh well, never mind, at least my television is still working – touch wood…
PS       My mobile phone decided all by itself to stop receiving text messages a few weeks back – doh!

Jack Eason – author of Onet’s Tale