Friday, 20 March 2015

Happenings long time ago; windowless working, 15 great pieces of clipart & american malls 25 years ago

At present my main office, which is a room in my house with a lot of sunlight, is clean and relatively tidy. I keep a tidy ship because of an age old belief that clutter in your surroundings has a subliminal effect on your mind, too.

There's a compact disc storage rack in the room, which is currently housing over 800 cd's. That's a leftover from when there was a project based music studio  in the very same room, which I'd built fast because I'd had a lot of work to plough through for music libraries, film/t.v projects and art installation scenarios.

The irony is, that even my main laptop doesn't have a functioning dvd/cd rw drive anymore ( I have a backup which is new, which I'll get around to tailoring for my needs). Fortunately, they still get played on a 'boombox' in the room, as well as in my car's CD autochanger.

As I'm used to the feeling of natural light pouring through the room as I'm working on something, to take that away would have a subliminal, yet ultimately noticeable effect on my vibe. Hence I'm not a fan of winter for the same reason. Although the sub-zero temperatures we get aren't exactly inspiring at the end of the year, it's the shorter hours of daylight we also get, that can make a working day occasionally seem a bit maudlin for my taste :-

Your Windowless Cubicle Is Doing Horrible Things For Your Sleep And Mental Health

Some of these findings are quite an eye opener. It's one thing to feel a little out of kilter without daylight, but another to have it affirmed via other documented side effects. In effect, it also explains why those who work night-shifts more often, tend to be more listless and quite out of kilter, too. Getting some sun in your day, wether working or otherwise, is an essential component to your wellbeing. Even a short walk can solve the lack of need to be exposed to daylight, so if you're out in the winter, wrap up well.

Microsoft have decided to deprive all OFFICE users of something as well. It's something many of us may not have used in a long while and in fact the last time I did use this, was a decade or so ago when I made a 'record of achievement' folder for all my certifications past and present. :-

15 classic pieces of Microsoft Clip Art we'll miss the most

In all honesty, if I hadn't have seen this I wouldn't have remembered the clipart library at all. OFFICE has been connected to the internet for just under a decade ( perhaps longer in beta), so they're clearly executing this manouvre in a timely and calculated manner. However, just like when you notice a spare button sewed into a hidden section of your favourite shirt or polo go missing, I'll feel a sense of loss knowing those '90's flavoured bits of artistic 'insta-paste it in and job done!', are now gone.

The rise of internet shopping has done the same thing to the high streets in the UK. Quite literally, e-commerce has created a real world 'going, going, gone!' situation for many businesses and storefronts. Price competitiveness,  ease of ordering and return, together with the greater choices available en masse, have left a lot of empty shop spaces across the country.

In america, it's a different story. The malls, which are the UK equivalents of our larger shopping parks/centres and 'arcades' ( ironically, these are our take on the american versions), still exist in abundance, but the human footfall through there isn't as exhuberant as the good old days :-

1989 America's malls: The places where nothing — and everything — has changed

In all fairness, some of these pictures make the incumbents look quite forlorn, rather than lively. I've had the pleasure of visiting America and Canada many times in the last fourteen years, so I may have caught the last of the boom period of mall culture. I also saw a lot more 'energy' in the malls, redolent of the classic mall vibe of yesteryears, with lots of teenagers hanging around in groups ( or 'crews') as per the once norm.

What these pictures do capture effectively however, is a slew of other things. For example,  the hairstyles of the period, which were sizeable and laden to combust with all the hair products used. The dress sense, and the notable inclusion of very large, well stocked record shops, which the mp3 revolution has almost singlehandedly obliterated in the last decade alone.

There was also a feeling of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater when I looked at these. More so when I weighed up my own pros and cons on the e-commerce revolution. It's all about the loss of the personal touch when shopping, which has almost disappeared, versus ultra-competitve pricing and reward structures ( discount codes and vouchers, etc) on the internet.

Looking back at your life and the things , people and places that have gone by can bring up a myriad of thoughts and feelings. I'm all for a trip down memory lane, and nostalgia is great for a sentimental dip , but I wouldn't recommend going into it for a swim. 

Yet what hasn't changed so much, is that even now we seem to be on a perpetual cusp of some other great change in the winds of evolution and progress. The rapid pace of technological progression and innovation has spearheaded that sensation, more than anything else.

But with innovation now seeming to be more about improving what has gone before, rather than breaking any newer ground, maybe we're coming into an age of slowing down to smell the roses a little more. Stopping and grinding to a halt clearly isn't an option. Not because the carousel of life is now too fast in our infotainment age. But more because we may now need to rebuild a more organic existance to co-exist with our self made digital world.

After all, we can't survive on artifical daylight and less physical yet increasingly rapid digital contact, all the time. Nothing beats the feel of the soil, the touch of the ground, and the warmth of a hug, each and every time. I'd willingly exchange all my gadgets and gizmos for that, if it became an absolute choice.

But it never will. We're all still far too human, for that to ever happen.

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