Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 5 May 2008

Miss Prim's such a comfort

SATNAV - PART ONE Has satnav done the job? Artics are still getting stuck in green lanes in Devon. Even enthusiasts (like me) admit that intelligent awareness is better than blind faith when Miss Prim says: "At the roundabout, take the second exit".

But consider the skills required to create even an imperfect system that maps the backlanes of Britain and France and receives guidance from man-made planets. All contained in a cough-drop box and retailing for about £250. Surely that's worth a tip of the hat.

Forget direction-finding for a moment. Switch to ETA mode so that the device calculates - and updates - the time left before you arrive at your chosen destination. Strangely comforting to see the minutes tick off, even on motorways.

The picture shows a satnav holder made by my DIY perfectionist brother, presently doing Land's End to John O'Groats on foot. Without electronic aids.

TECHNO-ART Technology in literature? Well, let's start with fiction. Neville Shute helped design the R101 airship before turning his hand to best-selling novels in the fifties. Best-known probably for "A town like Alice" and the apocalyptic post-nuclear "On the beach". In others nuts-and-bolts were the heroes - as for instance, "Trustee from the toolroom", which suggests - unfairly - that titles weren't his thing.

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