Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gormless The Sleepy

When I was young I was frequently accused of being gormless. It was a favourite expression in the West Riding of Yorkshire and could encompass a variety of characteristics from slightly dim to plain stupid. I sometimes wonder whether the origins of the word were - like so many in the Yorkshire dialect - Scandinavian and providing a direct link to the Viking occupation of these lands a thousand years ago. If so, I like to think that the word "gorm" originated from the famous Danish King, Gorm the Sleepy, who strutted his stuff in the early 10th century. Gorm the Sleepy - who was also known as Gorm the Old - was neither particularly ancient nor noticeably lethargic : "sleepy" implied watchful and "old" suggested wisdom. Thus someone who was wise and watchful demonstrated gorm and someone without those essential attributes was gormless.
Regular followers of this blog (good morning to the four of you) will recall that a couple of weeks ago the small plastic clip I use to anchor the wire from my cochlear implant to my MP3 player went missing (A Clip Around The Ear) and they will also have read the suggestions I have been sent for overcoming the problem (Ripped Off By A Clip Joint). One exciting suggestion was that I invest in a Clearsound Bluehook, a device that would convert Bluetooth signals so that they could be picked up by the "T" setting on my implant processor, thus doing away with the need for a connecting wire. I sent off an order and paid out my £50 quicker than you could say "what did you say?"
The contraption arrived yesterday and I have subjected it to a day's intensive field trial. I have to report that the early indications are not wonderful : there are several problems with the system. The match between the behind-the-hear transmitter hook and the "T" setting receiver can be a problem and can depend on head movements. Once you have obtained a decent signal you have to keep your head in a stable and fixed position which is a bit like walking around with your neck in a neck-brace. Secondly, you also pick up all the other interference which is picked up by the "T" receptor and this ranges from overhead power cables to mobile phone signals, and from the loop on our main TV to any passing car engine. Therefore the times when a hands-free Bluetooth connection would be most useful (when driving the car for example) it is least use. Thirdly, the device is fitted with a large flashing blue light which indicates that it is receiving a signal. For some reason the designers have made this exceptionally powerful and it can attract overflying aircraft and has the capacity to frighten the most placid passing horse. Combine these things together and you will see what my neighbours saw as I street-tested the device yesterday : a man walking with a strange gate and holding his head in a mystifyingly fixed position, shouting at passing cars and overhead power cables and with a large, powerful flashing blue light attached to his shirt collar.
It was my own fault for rushing in and giving the device a try (and my son's fault for misplacing the original clip in the first place).  It was a bit daft I suppose, a bit gormless. Talking of which, Gorm the Sleepy had a son, Harold Bluetooth, who became King of a united Scandinavian empire. When the techies at the mobile phone company Nokia where searching for a name for their new wireless protocol that would unite all the different protocols that existed at that time they remembered Harold Bluetooth and named it after him. If they had gone a bit further back they might have named it after Harold's father, which - in my experience - might have been more appropriate.

1 comment:

  1. One day we did (sadly long ago) we did some archeology and this delightful lady had a blue flashing light. I mildy asked what the hell it was. Bluetooth. I said she'd better keep it well clear or it would bugger the geophysics equipment. She hadn't realised.

    And she was a doctor. I'm glad she wasn't fitting me with a pacemaker.

    I rest my case. Hey, it's due to rain Tuesday and Wednesday... I'd SO like that floor in place...