Alexa

It’s interesting reading that Alexa looks set to lose Amazon $10bn. I have never used it, and so can’t comment on how well it works, but what I do know is that I use Siri all the time.

I mean all the time. Several times an hour, all through the day. I use it to set reminders, to take notes, to write emails, to instigate phone calls, to write blog posts, to play music and podcasts, to turn lights on and off, to do calculations, and on and on… I seriously wouldn’t be without it.

Sure it occasionally makes mistakes, especially with dictation (hey, there are people who haven’t a clue what I say never mind technology), but the benefits massively outweigh the downsides.

I don’t know what has gone wrong with Alexa, but I do know that I love Siri.

My London

We were in London yesterday to celebrate Mollie‘s birthday. A very pleasant couple of hours grazing at the food stalls in Borough Market and then off to Leicester Square to watch the film of Matilda.

We split up at one point and I walked along the river from Blackfriars to Embankment , and then from Regents Park to Marleybone. The city was looking fabulous, especially along the river, which was at a very high tide.

The whole experience left me feeling very nostalgic, and sad. It’s about three years since I was regularly in the centre of London but I still know it like the back of my hand.

The combination of having worked for the BBC in Bush House and Television Centre for more than twenty years, then having spoken in what feels like almost every conference space in the city, and then more recently driving lorries delivering steel piping to many of its new and renovated buildings, it feels very much like my city.

I miss it.

One day…

It was four years ago today that I passed my Class 1 driving test – first time.

All of my subsequent driving was done in rigid trucks because the agency I worked for mostly supplied firms doing multi-drop in and out of central London rather than long haul. Don’t get me wrong, these were still big lorries (see my favourite tanker below).

But driving the really big trucks for long distances is an itch that I still feel the need to scratch. I look up at the big Volvos and Scanias next to me on the motorway and think – one day.

How low can you go?

So many of our current efforts to reduce our impact on the planet are tinkering at the edges.

At the same time as we stop using plastic straws we are locked into systems whose very existence is based on our perceived need to fix, or improve, ourselves and everything around us. In combination these systems cause overheating of ourselves, our relationships with each other, and ultimately the planet.

If we became aware of this perceived need, and its consequences, we might feel less driven to change things, to improve things, to consume things – and in the process we might find that we, and the planet, survive longer and more peacefully.

Grey days

I am currently coughing and spluttering with a cold which kept me awake most of last night. The rain is battering off the windows and the overcast sky is making it feel dark and gloomy.

This feeling of aching lethargy reminds me of my teenage years when I feel as if I spent a lot of time in this state. It used to rain a lot where I grew up in Scotland and kids would spread colds like wildfire.

I know that there must have been glimmers of light but looking back they seem the exception rather than the rule.