Business, Culture

Unlimited urban shopping

Bank Holidays seem to be something special for a lot of families and 9 to 5 office workers.

That Monday off becomes an extension of a Sunday.

In general, shops are open according to Sunday trading hours.

People seem to like those lazy Mondays. There aren’t a lot of things to do except… going to town.

Bank Holiday Shopping

Bank Holiday Shopping

I found myself in a High Street – stepped into Boots just after Midday. It was heaving – tills really struggled with people queueing. It was like a rush of buyers. After observing closer what they actually purchased, it was nothing more than shampoo, soap or other products widely available on a daily basis.

There were people everywhere. Coffee shops and restaurants terraces were almost full.

But why going to all these places on a Bank Holiday Monday; it is very busy with the staff members literally running in order to maintain everyone happy. Yes… people are grumpy and very impatient if they don’t get what they are after rapidly. The World seems to have changed!

Food shopping on Bank Holiday

Food shopping on Bank Holiday

Technology is driving people into the nearest Apple store to see if there is something new they want but don’t actually need. It is all about having the latest accessory to complete the full look. Currently thinking of the connected watch (whatever the make and manufacturer).

Life can be good and peaceful without all these Apps, firmware updates and other social media status where users share their views, photographs and thoughts/opinions about what celebrities are doing/saying/wearing. It is a constant stream of information and it is “so important” to be aware of what is a hit or a miss.

A handful of “bank holidayers” can decide to escape all this urban chaos for a few hours to discover and enjoy the beautiful British countryside and green landscapes.

In the Southwest of England Exmoor and Dartmoor offer so much and… it is free. It happens that Londoners visiting the County have their eyes on some estates as property investment in that particular area can be a great asset too. Prices can be way lower than properties in the capital and the potential can be immense.

However, when parents are mentioning a day of hiking, too little families do see such day out as “fun”. Nature is important but is nearly rejected because green spaces and fields are associated with farming – which is not “cool”. But why ignore that farms are in fact producing most goods which end up in our fridges/on our dining tables?

Maybe shopping is more important than the well being of our planet?

What is driving people to city centres instead of going for walks and fresh air just at the outskirts of their cities/towns/villages?

Cycling has made people jump on their bicycles mainly after Wiggins and Froome wins at the Tour de France. But, this is only applicable to certain groups who enjoy regular outdoors exercises whatever the weather.

During the Summer (whenever it exists), the usual Bank Holiday combination is beer and barbecue! And this is still taking place at someone’s home/back garden. These party goers will once again rarely decide to leave their comfort zone. It is as if life must be about excess of food and alcohol and this costs money.

Their surroundings are still free of charge. A bit of effort would make them discover something which is at their doorsteps and the memories wouldn’t be blur when they wake up the following day.

Luckily for the global economy, people love to spend money – even if they don’t have enough to purchase whatever they are dreaming of. Owning things is becoming a kind of past times. Accumulation of items might be a twenty first century disorder, because people are stressed, depressed and unhappy about many points in their own lives.

Buying can be a therapy to balance the yin and the yang. And then there can be a feeling of regret… It is a bit like a roller-coaster.

What about going away when next Bank Holiday is around the corner? It is truly possible to have a great time without spending money (or just a little) and not being sucked into the modern whirlpool of city chains just to believe to be part of the fashionable movement or even that what you just bought will make your life better. It is all artificial – a bit like a subliminal message through clever marketing campaigns.

For a short time, just forget your smartphone, Kindle and all modern addictions which make our daily lives so busy.

By looking back at the early part of this century, it was rare to have a digital device and no one thought that Twitter, Facebook or Instagram would influence our personal and professional decisions.

It also happens too frequently, that when texting a friend/colleague the expected answer takes hours and something along these lines appears on your screen “thank you for your text, will reply later as I am very busy”! Surely the time it took to type these few words could have been the actual reply?!

What does “being busy” mean? Again, everyone seems to be busy between emails, texts, hashtags and other downloads. Can we not prioritise human to human relations rather than human to technology/device?

Touchscreen technology

Touchscreen technology

By just sitting on a bench or by a bus shelter, have a look around you. People are like zombies. Eyes glued to their touchscreens and there is no conversations. The only noises are ringtones and laughs when sharing/seeing a “funny” face or viral video.

Is our Society regressing and/or becoming superficial?


Typewriter keyboard for tablet (iPad)

A paradox between vintage and modernism: a physical vintage keyboard for a touchscreen device.

Technology users never seem to be satisfied with their product(s) – there is always something extra needed.

A combination old-new will give this edge to something very minimalistic.

Consequently, Brian Min has decided to go ahead with something stylish: Qwerkywriter! Maybe heavy if travelling…but surely good for office use.

…a vintage keyboard for iPad designed by Brian Min, compatible USB and Bluetooth and allows to write on an iPad…

Qwerkywriter Front View

Qwerkywriter Front View

Qwerkywriter side view

Qwerkywriter side view

Qwerkywriter with iPad

Qwerkywriter with iPad


Hit or miss?

More details on Kickstarter HERE.


Online 24/7/365 – Technology and Life

Where to start without being patronising? Technology: your smartphone and the way you communicate with friends, family and colleagues.

Back in 2000, rare were mobile phone owners. It was rather pricey from the handset to the contract and the calls and texts as well.

Thankfully, the pay-as-you-go and contract options were made available according to the client’s budget.

There were also the terms and conditions concerning most contracts: initially for 12 months, then 18 and now even 24 and more. Whereas the top-up alternative gives a sense of control of what not to spend according to the data allowance. There is something for everyone.

Nowadays, some individuals have two devices depending on their occupations. So, it can be a real struggle to keep on top of everything. But this is not the issue. People’s behaviour is considerably changing.

Walking past a coffee shop/restaurant, it is not rare to see a family sitting around a table and all members just staring at their little touchscreen while connected to the free WiFi from those public places. This is worrying. Many years back the television almost destroyed the heart of the family life when having dinner in the living room. But, since the internet has reached our “home sweet home” things can nearly go out of control. In some households, parents are texting their children when the food is on the table and vice-versa. What is happening to the family spirit?!

Also, when it is advertised that such or such download is free – whether a new App or a wallpaper – is this really the case? What about the data usage? It occurred that a child would download various games and parents would get the bad surprise of a high bill, when playing online.

Is online addiction a condition associated to the 21st Century?

The Drum has reported the following:

…adults set to spend 8.5 hours a day consuming digital media this year, most of it on smartphones…

Read full article HERE.

iPhone6 concept

But owning a device full of technology is NEVER enough. It is common to see people reading the news on a tablet – multitasking regularly and dealing with incoming emails on their latest smartphone. What can be called “latest” these days, when new products are already on the drawing board on the day of the actual new release?! This is current and affects also compact cameras and DSLRs.

The digital industry is booming, no doubt about it. Are we missing something?

Are we becoming über-materialistic?

Prime examples: people queueing in front of Apple Stores – global fact – when a new mobile, tablet, mp3 is launched.

Yes…technology is a great tool for all of us and certainly even more for businesses. Despite of the high price, there are buyers because there is the “envy factor” to have the fresh trendy look…whatever the sacrifice for the rest of the month.

With the Business Insider revelation:

…it’s prediciting Apple releases a 4.7 inch iPhone and a 5.5 inch iPhone this year…

the fever will certainly reach another level.

The other fun – maybe even disturbing observation – is that some members of the public will be ready to wait hours to get an exclusive (eventually limited edition) free promotional fridge magnet or sticker. Are we losing/missing the sense of real life and submerging ourselves in a parallel/utopian world?!

When looking at taxi/delivery drivers, builders and even private bankers during their lunch breaks, it is no more about sharing stories but playing meaningless games and hitting highest scores. Can this be real? Whatever the social class these people belong to, there seems to be a general attraction for online activity (including social media) and overload of technology in our lives.

Online 24/7/365 - Technology and Life