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I do like an error message. Here’s one from Twitter.

Makes total sense to all who see it, I’m sure.

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Some Videos For You

To celebrate a Friday that’s come a day early (thanks, religion!), here are a couple of videos for your amusement:

People should sit less and move more

Castle Hill, Huddersfield

Castle Hill, Huddersfield, on the Stocksmoor to Berry Brow walk

I’m going for a walk tomorrow from Littleborough to Marsden and, to be honest, I don’t expect to see a whole lot of people while I’m out. The weather is forecast to be partly cloudy and 11°C or to put it another way, perfect walking weather. Another walk I took recently from Stocksmoor to Berry Brow was pretty bare. It was more or less the first ‘perfect walking weather’ day of the year and I expected to see more than the five or six people (in only two or three groups) than I did. This has led me to wonder; why don’t people get out any more?

I was just reading a story on the Guardian website about kids being outside and enjoying themselves. It’s increasingly rare to see kids climbing trees, exploring woodland, running around in fields and suchlike. I’m only 30 and I was doing this kind of thing when I was a kid so why has it changed?

Atari 800XL

The Atari 800XL, my first computer

People always point to the rise in computers, the internet, television and other distracting technology. You’ll be lucky to find anyone who uses this kind of tech more than I do, I had a computer from the age of two and Sky TV since before the football was on Sky Sports (in fact, it was the day of the first Simpsons episode to be shown in the U.K., whenever that was). Ok, the internet wasn’t about back then but I still had enough to keep me indoors; Scalextric, darts etc. The difference is that I was almost always out playing football, riding my bike, mucking about with my friends.

I lived around 3 miles from my primary school so at the weekend I used to regularly ride my bike across town to go and see my schoolmates. Once I’d met them, we’d often go to High Elms to ride our bikes around the woods. Mum warned me about ‘dirty old men’, or paedophiles as we now call them(!), but let me get on with it, safe in the knowledge that my gradually built up experience of only being allowed down to the third lamppost on my own, then round the corner at the bottom of the hill, then down to the park, then into the fields next to the park and so on had given me.

This is what makes me think that technology is an excuse adults use for kids not going out. I believe that it’s parents being too wary and not letting kids have their independence. I learnt a lot by riding off five miles from home on my bike at age 10. I learnt a lot climbing the tree half way down the park and jumping off it. Ok, I could’ve been run over while on the ride to Green Street Green or broke an arm jumping off the tree but I didn’t. Even if I did, it’s a lesson learnt!!

The article says that the ‘roaming radius’ of kids had shrunk by 90% in the past 30 years from the 1990’s, when I was out and about – makes you wonder just how far I would’ve gone if I was a child of the 50’s or 60’s! Perhaps I was an exception to the rule but I feel it was good preparation for life, especially how I’ve gone about things, moving away from home and all.

Hackney Marshes

Get these pitches used!!

I despair when I walk or drive past football pitches on a Sunday morning in autumn, winter or spring and they’re not being used. Why aren’t they being used? If you didn’t have a match on a Sunday morning when I was a kid there was no chance you’d find a goal to have a kickabout in, you’d have to wait until the afternoon.

Getting outdoors and closer to nature helps to keep children fit, they can learn about the world around them, and most of all its fun. Building a den, picking flowers, climbing trees – the outdoors is a treasure trove, rich in imagination. It brings huge benefits that we believe every child should have the opportunity to experience. And there are huge costs when they don’t.

Too right. Another good point:

But it’s essential for children to play out and for us to guide them, so that they know the dangers and boundaries. They love the canal, for instance, and it’s good that they should learn about all the wildlife there, but also about the risks of water.

Most of us live too much of a sedentary lifestyle these days, myself included. I’m making changes in my life right now that involve moving more and sitting less. I know I’ll benefit from this in later years and I enjoy it right now so it’s a win-win situation.

My message to everyone reading this is get out more. If you’ve got kids, get them out of the door. Go with them. Even if you don’t want to go with them, send them out anyway. Set rules, of course, and give them a phone or whatever so you can keep track of them (text messages and Google Latitude on a cheapo Android phone will do the job). Everyone will benefit in the short, medium and long-term. It gives kids a respect of the outdoors that will serve them well in later life and keep them fit.

If you want to read what walks I’ve been doing, by the way, I’ve got a new website where I’m keeping track of such things with photos, downloadable routes and maps and other useful features. Check it out at Walking About.

Radios need screens? Bollocks do they.

I’ve just read this article from Tim Davie from the BBC’s head of audio and music. Apparently in order to engage listeners, radio will soon need visual content.

I’m a big fan of pure audio and I have always felt that audio will hold up for a long time but in terms of the devices, it will have a screen on it. We have been at it for a while, but what information we give on that screen, that is now a real issue.

I’d hope he was a fan of pure audio, as he calls it. He is the BBC’s head of audio and music!

A sidenote: Tim Davie is the man who decided that closing BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network was a good idea. He backed down after being told he was wrong by thousands of petitioners.

We don’t need a screen to enjoy radio. I’m not sure about you but when I’m listening to the radio I’m usually doing something else be it on my PC, doing the washing up, driving the car and whatnot. A screen to tell me something about what I’m listening to is not important to me.

That’s another issue. what on earth do they want to put on these screens? Tim doesn’t know:

Radio needs to be careful that you don’t just visualise everything and chuck up video everywhere. Our power has always been about the curating and the editing, rather than just showing stuff on a webcam.

I have a digital radio which has a little dot-matrix display on it. I’ve known it to show song titles and artists or the name of the show I’m listening to but apart from those things I can’t think of anything useful that’s cropped up on it. Talksport put sports news headlines on it but they read those out every half an hour anyway.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trouble reading something while trying to listen to someone speak, which kind of cuts out the possibility of putting meaningful written content on the screen. To show video would just make it T.V., which radio isn’t.

A wise man once said “T.V. doesn’t go around corners”, or something like that. I can’t remember who it was but it’s true. If the radio started using screens, at what stage would that screen become necessary to the enjoyment of radio? It would have to enhance the experience otherwise it isn’t worth doing. However, as soon as it becomes useful, radio starts to directly compete with T.V. – there is only one winner there.

We need to be on more smartphone devices. If I have one challenge for the industry it is to get on devices, we need to be distributed on iPhones and all the various platforms. That is the real priority.

What he means by this, I’m not sure, as there is a wonderful mobile app called TuneIn Radio. If you need more content than what they can provide you’re either very obscure or being deliberately obtuse! Also, the BBC have their own iPlayer app, so they’re on there already themselves.

If this is the direction which radio feels it needs to go, it had better try bloody hard not to lose its USP, namely being able to enjoy without looking, or we could end up with even more TV people aren’t interested in watching.