Christmas had already started in the middle of September!

Christmas creep, a phenomenon in which retailers exploit the commercialism of Christmas.

I could not believe my eyes!  September 19,  Dunfermline Scotland,  I had taken my mother to  Dobbies Garden Centre, a place where you buy bulbs,  plants and other gardening accessories.  There it was, as you walked through the door,  Christmas decorations,  Santa Claus figures and artificial Christmas trees! What has happened?


In the UK,  the Holiday season / Christmas season starts mid November, in the USA it starts  after Black Friday (the day after thanks giving), so why have they started to push Christmas in September?

I know that there something called Christmas creep, a phenomenon in which retailers exploit the commercialism of Christmas.

 But what I see is not a creep this is an imposition!

This is really down to the economics of the Holiday season to the decrement of the enjoyment of the holiday season. There have been occasions where Christmas was celebrated in July, during the World War II, and was a campaign designed to gather Christmas cards, letters, and gifts from American families in time to ship them to troops overseas.

If we continue this way , we will have Christmas 365 days per year and in fact we could celebrate Christmas whenever we want to !!

With just under 100 days left until Christmas, I really think it is offensive for the retailers to push Christmas!

Technology addicts at the age of six.

How much time does your child spend on the internet or the game console every day?

This is a question I have been pondering with for many years! I have been watching my children grow up with the internet.  I also have studied students at school and the university who are  totally connected and integrated  to the internet. It has not been until now that I have evaluated how much of this digital lifestyle has/will totally changed the world.

A recent study in the UK has shown that 38 percent of 2-5 year olds own an Android tablet, and 32 percent own an iPad; almost a third (32 percent) of these children  also have a mobile phone.  This study also found that 37 percent of parents said that their child spent between one and two hours a day playing with technology and the internet , and 28 percent said between two and three hours playing with technology and the internet .

In China, the average amount of time of 8-10 year olds spend on the internet every day is eight hours, with children over the age of 10 spend an average of eleven hours every day on the internet.

In the USA, the average time of 8-18 year olds spend on the internet every day is over six hours.

In South Korea, 10 percent of 5-9 year olds spend on the internet every day over ten hours.

This is a world wide problem!

Two million of the youths in South Korea are classified as internet addicts as well as an amazing one hundred and sixty thousand 6 year olds now classified as Internet addicts,  In the USA, 23 percent of the youths are classified as video game addicts with the numbers are rising every day.

South Korea have recognised that they have the highest rate of internet addiction in the world and has decided to set up a network of boot camps across the nation to offer their children a digital detox.

Digital Detox Centres are starting to appear in many countries across the world, designed mainly for adults addiction but the will soon be filled to capacity with children.

There are so many consequences on today’s society with regards to the digital lifestyle. We need to reconsider how we should adapt to this, and we need to reconsider it now.

My questions are around how to be a parent and lead you children in this new addictive digital lifestyle. For example, Professors often make comment that ‘Multitasking is for adults and not for children’ but we can see that the children’s lives are dependent on the ability to multitask.  Another example is how to handle our children when there is no internet connection ,  when the technology fails or the battery is running out. Finally, how do ensure that our children brains and ability to learn will not burn out by the age of fifteen and that they mentally burn out by the age of twenty five?

The answer is that nobody knows, we must learn and adjust at the whilst the new digital lifestyle evolves and takes over our lives.

The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, it is up to us as parents to secure that our children will have a safe environment to live in so that they do not  just end up as internet junkies!

george e muir

I cannot survive without my smartphone.

A few months ago, I was travelling home from a trip where I needed to transfer from one flight to another via Dubai airport. When flying it is always necessary for me to have noise cancelling headphones and an iPod, to listen to my music and to be able to disconnect from the boredom of the long distance flight. Normally, my iPhone and my iPod is placed in a pocket in my headphones bag.

Not this flight, I had placed my iPhone in the extra seat pocket on seat in front of me as I was listening to the iPhone instead of the iPod.

Anyway, on arrive in Dubai, I collected all my belongings and as I stood up, my foot was snagged by the headphone cable and everything went flying around. In my haste, I picked up everything and exited the aircraft.

When I arrived at the terminal to go through security, yes you guessed it, I realised that my iPhone was still in the airplane in the front pocket of the seat I was sitting in.

Panic struck!! I ran to a security guard and asked if I could go back and collect it? He said it was I could but would need to ask the security guard on the other side of security! In my naiveness  I went through the security gate. The security guard at the other side then informed me that it was impossible to go back to the airplane and that needed to report  to the airport police.

Dubai airport is a rather large airport and find the police station was a real challenge. Once I reached the police station my stress turned into sheer panic. The police did not really care , it was not important for them and sent me to the Lost and Found office!  Off I went, this office felt like it was 10 miles away under the airport.

Arriving at lost and found, I met a Japanese gentleman in tears, who had lost his Samsung phone with no hope, getting little help from the people there and he left empty handed.

After waiting another 20 minutes, I started to explain my story, the exact position of the iPhone, the serial number, etc. Their relaxed reply was that they would have to wait for the cleaning team to collect the phone and it would take about three hours. This room was around 15 m2, contained 5 personal and 10 huge crates full of phones and tablets.

The feeling of loss was enormous, I know that it is only a piece of technology, (fully backed up and replaceable. BUT it was mine, my photos, my detail, my music, my configuration, mine, mine, mine!!

I was given a ticket with a lost and found serial number and was asked to complete a lost and found questionnaire so that the could contact me when they found it! I proceeded to one of the many computer retail stores and logged into this site.

My next step was to contact the airline I was flying with, with apparent nonchalance , they took some details and informed me that this happened all the time and they would fix this without any problems.

Frustration and anger with my self started to build up.

Whilst sitting in the airport and realised that one of my friends was flying through the same airport later on that weekend! I contacted him, explain the situation and asked if he could go to lost and found and collect my phone.

I arrived at my destination around 12 hours later and went to the desk of the airline company. Again with a nonchalant reply, they asked for details and promised to call me later on once they found the phone.

A few hours later on, my friend called me from Dubai airport! “They have found your phone!! Can you send an email with a copy of your passport allowing him to collect it!” 

 My precious is found!

But how would he be able to get the phone to me? He lives nearly on the other side of the world! During the following days, sending emails backwards and forwards to the airline company, the shipped the phone to the destination airport where I collected it, three days after I left it on the airplane.

I must therefore thank Emirates for their handling of this matter but I really wished that their staff would go through the same experience. Also I must thank Jon for all his help during my panic!

Loosing your passport or credit cards / money is really not a great feeling!

Loosing your iPhone is 1000 times worse!

As a footnote , today, three months after the incident, lost property from Dubai airports informed me that they will be closing the case since the have not received any response!

What a wonderful world!!

george e muir

A need for a Citizens Digital ID

Are you tired of having to create a user account every time you access a web site or an app on your smartphone. Not to mention  trying to remember all your passwords for every account! Often you are asked to use your Facebook account or Google+ account or a twitter account since these sites allow a loose connection to an email address.

Would you realistically then book a flight using your Facebook account or login to you bank account using you’re a twitter account or login to your workplace computer with your google+ account?

It is pretty clear that the answer is no!!

The thought would never cross your mind because it is not safe, it does not have enough personal information and your employer would never allow it. What we need is a Trusted Digital ID for all citizens and some countries have already started to explorer this idea.

For example,  Estonia has a highly-developed national ID card system. Much more than simply a legal picture ID, the mandatory national card serves as the digital access card for all of Estonia’s secure e-services. The chip on the card carries embedded files which, using 2048-bit public key encryption, enable it to be used as definitive proof of ID in an electronic environment.

In Barcelona,  they promote a Digital ID for the citizenship of Barcelona, a digital identity that is saved on their smart phone..

Canada’s Governments and businesses have declared to secure their digital future by developing a Digital ID, and I guess there are other countries or governments with the same intent.

Sweden provides a solution called Bank-ID that can be saved on the computer or their smart phone that is a trusted digital ID provided by the banks.

Any there are probably many more solutions.

The challenge is that we need to have a world-wide solution to allow this to be ingrates and trusted around the world.

An ability to have a TRUST model where governments, businesses and standards committees can work together to allow YOUR DIGITAL ID be valid across many counties, exactly the same way as credit cards are trusted.

I strongly believe within the next five years, we will all have some form of Citizens Digital ID, a digital passport, that is you one and only trusted ID account. The Digital ID will be valid for the country you live in and I expect it will take another 5 year before it can be used freely outside the country you live in.

Who do you think will take the lead and drive this?

Facebook / Google / Twitter / Our Governments / Non-Governmental Organisation / Institutions / The Banks ?

george e muir