The Tyranny of the Password

The Tyranny of the Password

To compare this with Covid may seem quite absurd
But I’m almost as scared of the missing password
When we cannot remember these numbers and letters
Our hands are tied as if by tight fetters

These digital door keys prevent interference
Meant to protect our bank balance from disappearance
To the hands of some hacker of ill repute
Intent on swiping away all our loot

So with every aspect of computer filing
Requests for a password sets us compiling
A secret code to keep data secure
Safely concealed there for evermore

It is then that we need to be quite inventive
Complex passwords can be preventive
Of those who would all our secrets expose
Our facts and figures that no one else knows

The names of long dead pets, or gran’s date of birth
That primary school teacher if we think she was worth
Of incorporation into a password obscure
A combination that might long endure

This all sounds fine as far as it goes
Except when we need to enter the password and letters transpose
Or worst of all we suffer from total amnesia
Our brain dormant as through anaesthesia

We try to recall where the password record is hidden
We search our machine but all access forbidden
The more times we try the wrong combination
Now struck by panic and mighty frustration

In the end we may have all hope to abandon
All this computing is far too demanding
Just keep all your records in a box under your bed
Where password tyranny can  no longer cause dread

Ken Fisher

Photo Album

Photo Album

 

Old photo albums
We miss them in the digital age
Those bulky dossiers
Dark coloured pages
Festooned with corner fixings
Holding our life history
And Large files of plastic folders
Stuffed with printed photos
Sometimes tidy
Often chaotic

And yet it’s all there
Baby Joan’s first tottering step
Tom and Ian cavorting in the paddling pool
“Our home” in the 1950’s
Looking ramshackle
But why did we ever leave?
Grandpa’s birthday
In his chair, a little tipsy
Time for a snooze
Caught him unaware

But times move on
Snapping no longer limited to
A Kodak or Ilford spool
Of 24 or 36
And then the glories of colour!
Almost dazzling
But you still had to wait
Until your creations
Returned from the processor
Unless you had your own darkroom

Now all this restriction and mystery is gone
Infinite snapping, instant results
Cameras now high-powered computers
Phones not just for your ears but for your eyes
Abundant selfies for the self-obsessed
But where are the photo albums of today?
Not in the book but in the cloud
More images than ever for the world to see
No paper corners to hold our prints
Our images released to all the world

Ken Fisher

New Spectacles

New Spectacles

New glasses, new image, clearer vision, brighter prospects
First the eye test, now much more high tech
More an optical screening, retinal retinopathy testing
Did I come for an eye test or full medical MoT?

Mind you, we still have to identify the letters
In ever diminishing sizes on the distant screen
First with the one eye, then with the other
Did God not give us two to do the job properly?

Next comes the physical examination of each eye
Must eliminate macular degeneration, a scourge of age
Narrow torch rays, like lasers, beamed into the eye
Sudden burst of light to check reactions – total darkness
Did they intend to induce blindness?

Then we move to another machine when our response
To little flickers on the screen are measured
Click as soon as you detect anything. Don’t cheat, don’t guess
After this assault course we wonder if it’s specs or a white stick we need

Eventually we are released from the darkened chamber
We receive our prescription and it is time to choose new frames
It is then that we realize the NHS makes only a minor contribution
To our eye care. If vanity motivates us we are in for a shock

Of course there are some cheapo frames but most are not
If we are beguiled by designer names and fancy styles
Prepare to put your credit card into melt-down
But you convince yourself this is part of your image

Of course you have to get the vari-focal, anti-scratch
Anti-glare, versions. If they must be light-weight
You will need high-index plastics, and if UV light
Is a problem you will need polycarbonate lenses

It is then that you ask if they do mortgages!

In due time the frames arrive and they are checked
Are they aligned OK? Are they sitting comfortably on your nose?
Do they grip on your ears and prevent any slipping?
If they pass this optical MOT you are ready to face the world
Vision enhanced, bank balance diminished!

 

Ken Fisher

 

 

You’re Muted!

You’re Muted!

The dictionary defines “mute” as
Adjective:
Refraining from speech
or temporarily speechless

Noun:
A person lacking the faculty of speech
A device on a phone or TV or another appliance
That turns off the sound

But since the advent of the extensive
use of the Zoom app
Mute, has gained a whole
lot more significance

Thus:
You appear on our screens
Your frame illuminated
Moving lips can be seen
But all sound confiscated

Your body language is quite animated
Wishing the current topic to be debated
But no sound can be heard in our attentive ears
Your impact on us simply disappears

We know the problem of which you’re unaware
We all try to tell you with a waving fanfare
But all our signals somehow go unseen
Only silence emerges from your flickering screen

At last, bemused by our gestures you reach the conclusion
Between us and you there is some confusion
We all want to ensure that you participate
To achieve this your mike needs to activate

The penny then drops and falls down the chute
It dawns on you that you must simply un-mute
And to the cheers of all who anxiously wait
You click the icon to let sound emanate

And so at last we achieve that blessed concord
When we can see you and hear every word
Un-muting is vital for full participation
But only if the host grants that dispensation

Ken Fisher

Tech Frenzy

Tech Frenzy

We have been forced to learn fast
‘Cause we need to survive
And new methods of working
We have all had to contrive

The office largely abandoned
For much of the time
Work geographically scattered
Is the new paradigm

Between every worker
Covid-19 demands enough space
All employees screened off
A mask on each face

Our home computer devices
Are working flat out
To keep up with demand
While office health is in doubt

All of us must improve our tech skills
This pressure puts many into a frenzy
Grasping the basics of Skype, Teams, and Zoom
A predicament few laymen would envy

Some say home working is just what they want
It gives them a freedom the office denies
But others claim that isn’t quite true
Monitored there by electronic “spies”

But it looks as if this is the new reality
Get tech savvy is the only road to success
Master the realms of cyberspace and the cloud
In all these techniques you need show your finesse

Ken Fisher

 

Winter Solstice with the Great Conjunction 2020

Winter Solstice with the Great Conjunction 2020

The shortest day the longest night
Benighted souls seeking the light
The sun in deepest declination
Darkness shrouds the northern nations

The solstice marks a time of change
From the light we’ve been estranged
For longer days our hearts do yearn
Sunlight surely must return

For in due time by slow progress
Climbing sun will dark suppress
And soon its penetrating rays
Bring lengthening of each day

As the solstice now we mark
Entombed in gloom and shadows dark
Let’s look to brightening days ahead
As returning light becomes widespread

This year the great conjunction on us may shine
Jupiter and Saturn will close align
As our eye scans space afar
Redolent of Bethlehem’s star

In Covid’s year of 2020
Yet engulfed by gloom aplenty
We pray that with returning light
All our future’s may be bright

Ken Fisher

Coiled Spring

Coiled Spring

I must not live life like a coiled spring
Ready to react to the slightest thing
Instant response to a fly that flits by
Or sight of your hair that offends my eye!

Ever ready to meet whatever confronts
No hesitation my reaction e’r blunts
To your mildest rebuke I take great offence
An instant retort seems my only defence

A doorbell that rings, an unexpected noise
Can play havoc with any semblance of  poise
Loud TV adverts which shatter the peace
Ensure that my tension will quickly increase

Why don’t I just attempt to keep calm?
A little relaxation can do me no harm
Please try to hang loose is what you suggest
‘Cause you’re truly convinced it is all for the best

Coiled springs have their uses in lots of devices
Even humans might need them when facing a crisis
But most of the time an approach more serene
Is bound to improve my mental hygiene

Ken Fisher

 

Trees

Trees

[A humorous glance at]

Trees.   There they are
But we don’t often think much about them
Not unless there is a mighty gale blowing
And we think one is going to fall on us
Or in a thunderstorm – don’t stand under
One or you might become a lightning conductor!

Trees are woody perennial plants
That have an elongated stem – the trunk
Below the trunk there are roots
Then branches and leaves
Reaching upwards [unless a weeping willow]
Ambitious creatures!

There are myriad different trees
Boy scouts used to learn their names
Then burn bits of them in the campfire
Coniferous – with cones – for Christmas
Deciduous – with leaves that fall
OK for logging and carpentry

When a tree is cut down
You can check its age by the rings!
Similar to an old man’s scrawny neck
[but don’t cut him down]
But mostly we just let trees get
On with life – they do no harm

Children of wealthy families
Can have a tree house
Where they can view their neighbours
From their lofty position
Not just physically
But socially

Trees evidently help the world to breathe
Which right now is especially kind of them
The technical term is photosynthesis
But let’s not worry about that
Simply stop destroying trees
And get planting – they take years to grow!

Apparently trees have lots of other uses
They stabilise the soil
They prevent water run off
They can cool our homes and streets
And if any tree is giving you a headache
Don’t forget aspirin is extracted from trees!

Ken Fisher

Equinox – Autumn 2020

Equinox  –  Autumn 2020

This astronomical event occurs twice a year
When the plane of the Earth’s equator
Passes through the centre of the Sun
On this day the Sun shines directly on the equator
And day and night are approximately equal

Today is the Autumnal Equinox
And our minds look back to warm summer days
And forward, with some foreboding, to approaching winter
And we are happy to say, for now, not yet!

An Equinox is perhaps a good time to reflect
On all that has been good in life
To give thanks for many blessings
For holidays, and travel, and time for relaxation

As the tint of the leaves turns and they begin
To flutter down to form an ochre carpet
Like the lowering of a flag at the end of a parade
We realise that gradual change must come

But shortening days and lengthening nights
Need not bring somber thoughts
Or fears of nocturnal terrors
‘Cause winter brings its own special charms

Family gatherings round the ‘hearth’
Bonfires and fireworks displays
Trudging home through deepening snow
To celebrate Christmas with those we love

And so we acknowledge the endless
Progression of the calendar
Through equinox to solstice
And solstice to equinox,
And again
An unending gyration

But this year things seem quite different
Covid -19 has cast its shadow over all that seemed ‘normal’
When these previous verses were written
And yet we would remain hopeful
Just as the Earth progresses in its orbit around the Sun
As each season brings its own mood and tenor
Let hope remain, the best is yet to come

Ken Fisher

 

 

Unsuscribe

Unsubscribe

 

There is a new movie of this name
Which has rapidly shot to fame
It made me think of ‘unsubscribe’
Suggesting that I want to hide

Unsubscribe implies that we belong
And now want to escape from
Perhaps some ‘app’ we thought might do
To help explore a concept new

But as with many of these offers
We get deceived by what they proffer
The free version is a real temptation
Enticed to complete full registration

Then we find the basic model inadequate
To version two we must migrate
Alarmed to find the cost soon escalates
And we need to differentiate

If we take time to calculate
The annual charge a mighty rate
The benefits that would accrue
Far less than all that money due

So at that point if we are wise
Abort the process, unsubscribe
But then we seem to be ensnared
Making us feel really scared

But we must not be caught in a trap
By purveyors of this wondrous ‘app’
To escape, and from the deal thus flee
Hit unsubscribe to set you free!

 

Ken Fisher

Life on the Pause Button

Life on the Pause Button

 

You are happily working on your machine
When the swirling beach ball hits the screen
Perhaps simply meant to entertain
Let’s hope not the harbinger of pain

This spinning rainbow wheel should not alarm
It’s not intended to do us harm
It signifies attempts to run an application
And should not cause undue frustration

I wonder if that’s how you feel now
Life put on Pause, you don’t know how
That hovering disk of coronavirus
Huge interruption, undesirous

The coloured disk is just a sign
In computing really quite benign
Just a minor interruption
Not heralding life’s destruction

But here we are, all normal life on pause
Heroic NHS we would applause
And all those who help life to sustain
Until this menace we constrain

In due time that swirling ball should disappear
When we may cast aside our fear
Slowly from enforced isolation
Arise subdued and chastened nation

But in the meantime we must be patient
Each new day must be sufficient
And ‘normality’ will in time return
Then new patterns we must surely learn

Ken Fisher

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Don’t panic, don’t panic I say to myself
As like others I fret about my good health
The news bulletins tell how the virus has spread
With large numbers affected and some sadly dead

We hope this will not become a pandemic
But we must be guided by the expert medics
The politicians too need direct all their attention
Their energies committed towards its prevention

Coronavirus was unknown just a few weeks ago
But its advance round the globe has not been slow
The problem today is people move far and wide
And they have brought with them this viral tide

In times past the nations have been affected by plague
But our knowledge of this remains somewhat vague
But with mass communication today we’re aware
Of every epidemic that would our health impair

So we will need to put faith in those who advise
Taking their precautions would surely be wise
And hope that in due time the risk will subside
Good health be restored throughout the world wide

In the meantime don’t panic, don’t panic I say to myself
I’ll take care of me and you look after yourself
And hope that the virus will tire itself out
That the spread of the bug might turn right about

Ken Fisher