Thursday October 13, 2005
“No,” I said, firmly but kindly. “I don’t think we should faff about. Let’s drop the asking price by a full £10k.”
The agent looked somewhat shocked. “Well,” he said, “if you feel you can do that it’ll certainly make the job of selling your house easier. No guarantees, you understand.”
I looked across at Graham, who nodded his approval. “No, I understand that,” I said. “Let’s do it.”
A couple of minutes later, having signed for the price reduction, we stepped out from the agent’s brightly-lit office into a grey Bostonian morning.
“That was fun,” I said.
Graham pondered. “There’s a couple of bits I need,” he said.
“Fine, how’s about we have a coffee and then you can leave me sitting there while you go do your thing. Then we can go over to Halford’s for car mats and finish with an early lunch at MacDonald’s.”
Which is what we did.
Sitting outside the coffee shop with a double espresso to finish off my massimo cappuchino, two extra shots I pulled out my new phone and tried the camera. Don’t much like it. There’s a massive lag between pressing the button and the shutter operating that makes seizing any kind of moment all but impossible, and I really do not like holding the camera out at arm’s length to compose a picture on the little screen. I don’t think I’ll be retiring my pencam just yet. The video facility is fun, though, and I’d like to experiment with that.
Later in the day I hit the real snag with phone cameras. Transferring pictures to the PC is fraught with difficulty. Graham tried a USB cable link but the Motorola software screwed his system. I stuck a new Belkin bluetooth dongle into my computer and managed to transfer one photograph without too much difficulty. Then it refused to work at all, with both the phone and the PC failing to talk to one another, ever again. I spent ages poring over the manuals, and fiddling with settings, until my brain threatened to melt and run out of my ears.
“Whatever is the matter?” Graham asked, as I mooched into the kitchen in search of coffee and comfort.
“It’s quite beyond me,” I said. “I simply do not understand all this bluetooth gubbins.”
“Don’t let it get you down.”
“No, I know. It’s silly. But things like this make me feel old, as though I’m slipping behind.”
“Oh, give us it here and I’ll see if I can get it to work on my computer.”
“Don’t mention it. Now, go and take a turn up the lane and, when you get back, do something you know will work. That’ll cheer you up.”
And that is what I did. It wasn’t terribly pleasant out there. Damp, overcast, and with a smell of something nasty being burned on a hidden bonfire filling the air. The exercise did me good, though, and when I got back to my desk I sat down to draft the fifth of the six Garden Visitors stories. It’s coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to finishing it tomorrow. That is something I can do.
I think the truth of it is that the mobile phone companies do not want to make it easy to transfer photographs directly from their phones to a PC. They’d much prefer you to use their fiendishly over-priced data transfer rates and send them through email. Darned if I’m going to do that.
If anyone can make the transfer linkage work, Graham can and, should he fail, I shall wash my hands of the whole affair and wait for the technology to mature a couple more steps. It’s a lousy quality camera anyway, and meantime I shall concentrate on what I know I can do.
 faff v. colloq. (often foll. by about, around) fuss, dither. [imitative]