Monday, March 10th, 2008 http://adamkhan.net/rambles/clash-of-the-midgets
sit with a bit of a headache, squinting because behind me it’s bright even though in front of me is a raging storm. My cheap umbrella is parked here on the nice leather chair, behind it a faux antique telescope. Out the window of the Thistle Hotel lobby as I face southeast is Brighton Pier, and the choppiest browny murkiest water I’ve seen surrounding it. Big stormy Monday.
It’s good to be back with Parries. I’m leaning forward now to pour some tea. There’s quiet piped music. The young staff members, dressed in their black t-shirts, only murmer. I hear the storm all around the building.
I’m slightly peeved. They raised the price of the gym from £22 to £25/month and towels, previously free, now cost 50p per usage. Stupid to feel annoyed about that, it’s still pretty cheap for having a hotel gym at one’s walking-distance disposal every morning like a Korean businessman, but part of the enjoyment was how inexpensive it is.
On the stair machine I tried out at last the Nokia BH-500 bluetooth headphones setup that I just bought. Works great. At last, a wireless walkman! Though with that added flexibility and the large number of tracks that fit in the 8gb memory, I started getting fussy about what I was listening to and kept hitting Forward to the next track. The problems of the rich.
But I arrived at the gym too late. The old man arrived, the one who yaks and yaks to everybody in his abominable accent and way. The term “vexation to the spirit” enters my mind when I see him and it doesn’t leave. Still, I thought I had time, that he’d be still doing his running workout when I was done in the sauna. But he decided to skip his workout and within a couple of minutes of my entering the sauna, in he came.
He just did not shut up. The X-Factor tour was here this weekend and apparently they stayed at this hotel and he regaled a fellow in the sauna very loudly about how he spent four hours down here in the gym with Rhydian and Leon and had them in stitches. In fucking stitches, etc. He sang Rhydian a song and proceeded to sing it to us. In the sauna.
I haven’t been to the gym very much lately, and this being Monday, it’s a day to get back on my bandwagons. So I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled, dominated, reverberating with this guy’s most naff yap. I tried to hear it as if it were maybe a certain kind of fellow making fun of Derek and Clive making fun of a certain kind of fellow, but that didn’t help, and before I knew it I had opened my mouth and was telling him to fucking shut up. Oh dear. Nastiness ensued. Once again, clash of the midgets.
Then I apologized for my tone and it calmed down, even as he went on about how his sons are gangsters, etc., insinuating that I should watch my back. Now things won’t be the same in there for me; one has had an altercation.
Well, I did swim, which is nice. This time something clicked, or bumped, or surged, and I felt the muscular joy of swimming rather than flailing. It’s a holistic usage of the muscles that really does feel good.
The tea has kicked in and we’re feeling good — either that or it’s because it’s a technological dream come true for me, being able to publish my nonsense to the web this way, using this amazing Nokia N95 8GB phone with a ThinkOutside Bluetooth keyboard.
So, some Symbian talk. I just upgraded my Nokia 6630, complete with 3rd-party pirate black rubbery case ordered from Hong Kong via Ebay, to my new Nokia N95 8GB. (Have I mentioned that already?) My phone! I’m using a great bit of Ukranian/Israeli freeware, DEdit, to write this. I was going to pay for QuickOffice, a crippled version of which comes bundled with Nokia smartphones, but I realized I almost never used the spreadsheet on the phone, never have and never will use the PowerPoint, and never use Word documents if I can help it on my main computer, so why bother on the phone? All I need is a plain text editor. More than that, all I want is a plain text editor. And this DEedit is pretty darn fancy. It reminds me of Emacs almost in its sheer plain functional practicality. Must sent a wee donation.
But I have an issue regarding text entry on the phone itself. One of the reasons I didn’t want an iPhone is that I’m invested in Nokia’s T9 text entry method and like it. I like the cleverness, the feeling of mastery over a second text-entry medium apart from QWERTY. I like the tactile feedback. I do agree that web browsing is better with a touch screen, but text entry is not. One needs both. And while I do like N95’s slider, as it makes the phone smaller and it’s a nice easy way to lock the thing, the slider makes holding the phone in your hand while entering text more difficult than with the 6630.
It’s simply less ergonomic. There’s no weight behind the keypad, it’s all further up the phone behind the screen, so the phone wobbles in your hand as you enter text. I found that the solution is to have my index finger not natually diagonal across the back of the phone, but vertical, perpendicular to the thumb in order to provide support high up the phone. Since accepting this necessity, that there’s no getting over the different weight distribution to the 6630, things have improved, but it does make the thumb have to “bend down” to reach the number pad, so I don’t think it will ever feel as ergonomic as the 6630.
I’ve read a lot of reviews of mobile phones but never come across anybody mentioning this aspect — weight balance — though it seems pretty fundamental.
Less boring tomorrow. I’m just getting back into the swing of it. Pleased to be back.