‘5 Years, that’s all we’ve got’

I was a really big fan of David Bowie. Still am. The title of this blog is from his song, ‘5 Years,’ but the line that haunted me in that song was:

“My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare.

I had to cram so many things to store everything in there.”

I’m pretty sure it was just about how overwhelming everything can be. But he was a very clever man and it may have run deeper. I’m happy with my interpretation.

There are a number of things that overwhelm me. And I think all of them can be resolved during the next five years.

Search engines

If you look up ‘pensions’ on Google, you get a gazillion results in a nanosecond. Roughly. Unless of course you’re on a train, in which case a similarly unusable amount of data is returned in 20 minutes after several messages about things not responding because no-one can solve the problem of maintaining a constant signal on the train despite the fact we now have wireless printers that can transport bionic ears.

Social media

Everyone’s got their own website in the form of Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and many have their own TV channel on YouTube.

People select the people they want to hear from and the things they want to read about, so many only ever hear views that corroborate their own and if you want to believe that people who send metal objects to landfill are actually supplying raw materials to moles who are secretly turning planet Earth into the Death Star then you’ll find a group of similarly minded people already exists.

User names and passwords

You can barely finish a sentence with a vendor nowadays without giving them all the details of your life and establishing a user name and password.

Every online sign-in manages to invent a new and different set of security protocols from the last, meaning everyone ends up with a zillion obscure alpha-numeric things to remember and my ability to recall my sign-in details for anything I haven’t used in over a month is so restricted that I fear the security is now only achieving the aim of keeping me out of everything.

Coffee

You used to have to search for coffee shops but now you can pretty much close your eyes and point and your finger will probably poke the eye of a nearby barista.

People used to just pour hot water over a grainy substance to produce something palatable but it’s all gone bananas and my blissful contentedness at just buying a ‘regular coffee’ is always met with scornful looks from those around me in the queue buying mocha locka double moon infused upside down Belgian truffle snake Dead Sea blend variations.

Some people are so ridiculous about this now that they hunt down the trendiest place to buy it and go out of their way to tell everyone. It’s never the most expensive place and can’t be too obvious and it needs to be independently owned and situated in an uncomfortably small premises somewhere in a back street, which is a winning formula for people saying “you may not have heard of them but they make the best coffee.”

Research shows that the thing that makes the biggest difference in your enjoyment of coffee isn’t the temperature at which it’s brewed, the amount of coffee, the quality of the bean, the coarseness of the grind.

None of that. It’s just how hot it is when you drink it.

Scams

I get so many scam emails nowadays that it’s hard to tell what’s real any more. Some scammers seem to have more knowledge of my personal details than I do.

To be honest, I prefer receiving scams on paper.

And as it happens, I’ve won the Australian Lottery because I got a hand posted letter from them suggesting I pick up my $550,000 quick smart and it’s well written as I was in Australia recently so I could see how it made sense but the only problem was, I didn’t recall entering any lottery, however, it turns out it was an automatic entry prompted by having shopped in one of 8 million well known high street stores, all of which they listed in their letter, which was useful.

I called them and gave them my bank details yet, oddly, I still await a response.

The level of scams is rising, I believe, and they are often targeted at people more vulnerable than me. This is a serious point that matters.

5 years

5 years from now, information will be more targeted, social media will be managed more effectively, you’ll be able to get a continuous signal on the train, endless passwords to remember will be a thing of the past, coffee will just be fairly hot and simple, and everyone will be wary of financial scams.

If I can make a contribution to any of these, it will be the last one.

Oh, and I’ll be 50. More or less.

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