Going digital

I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 yesterday and the slump in sale of photographic film was referred to. There was a conversation with a representative of one of the big photo development firms, who said that this is now a small part of their business – they had realised the writing was, not just on the wall, but on a large neon signboard in their path (this is my linguistic flight of fancy, he spoke sensible English) when one of the directors was in a fairly rural part of China a couple of years back and watched an elderly man clad in traditional clothes start to fish, using a traditional bamboo pole. He caught a large fish. Smiling broadly, he held it up with one hand, took a picture with his mobile phone with the other and sent it to a friend (or maybe his wife – ‘no need to go to the market, sweetie, I’m bringing dinner’). And the onlooking director realised that the whole world had truly changed.

This reminded me of a conversation with my late mother about five years ago. “What is this ‘digital’ stuff they keep talking about now?” she asked me. I wondered how to put my basic and scanty knowledge into a form that would not completely confuse her. “Well, you input data using, for example, binary numbers” I started. “Ah” she interrupted, “I know all about binary numbers, I understand now. Thank you darling.”

It was true too, that she had been on a course about 30 years before and come home talking with great interest about binary code – and that was enough. She was completely happy that now she understood digital technology. And furthermore, she thought that I did too.

13 comments on “Going digital

  1. Life of a Banana

    who’s DIGITAL mobile was it? The Chinaman’s? I toured China a couple of years ago and went to some primitive villages. I was amazed that most of them were yacking away on the mobiles.

  2. Z

    Well, she did a good deal of voluntary work and was for a time the area’s Central Organiser of the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Society). It was during the Cold War and there was a lot of Civil Defence training (the late 60s wasn’t all peace and love and hippy pot smoking). It may have been something to do with this, though I can’t think why she’d have needed it.
    Unless it was the early 70s, when she was a local town councillor and a school governor; might have been part of the training for that – new technology being taught in schools and the governors keeping up with it.

  3. Life of a Banana


    I don’t know your history. Are you one those part-time country folks whom all the true-blue country hillbillies don’t like? I ask this because you talked about Islington.

  4. Z

    I’m a full-time yokel. I’ve lived in Norfolk for twenty years, before which I lived in Suffolk.
    I don’t suppose I’ll ever be thought of as a local, but neither am I a complete outsider, as I live in the village (and the house) where my husband was born.

  5. Z

    Mind you, I did go to London once. Coo, that was a funny big place (as we say in Lowestoft). I only talk about Islington to make me sound all metropolitan and interesting.

  6. Z

    Good morning Banana – yes, I grew up in Oulton Broad, right by the broad, then lived in Lowestoft after I was married. Do you know Lowestoft well?

  7. Life of a Banana

    Dolly was brought up in Lowestoft. But being a la-di-da that he has become he tells people he’s from Southwold.

    Dolly and I take the doglets to the beach there whenever we are in Nurfuck.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.