Musings > 5 in 5

10th October 2020

10 Oct, 2020 · 5 min read
In an attempt to get better at producing content, I present to you a new thing - 5 thoughts in 5 minutes. This week, Apple, the BMJ's report, and some thoughts on the cinema.

Introduction

I’ve been thinking of ways to get back into writing more content lately. As ever, it might be that small steps are the way forward. With that in mind, I’ve decided to try a new weekly “5 thoughts in 5 minutes” section.

The idea is that, every week, I briefly muse on 5 separate things. I’ll try to have some sort of consistency between weeks, so I’m thinking of using the following five categories:

It probably won’t be all of these things all of the time, but the aim is to get 5 out every week. As something of a stretch target, I want to pick on of these things each week and turn it into a slightly longer post. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyway, enjoy this week’s selection.

Politics

There’s a lot happening in the world at the moment. Like, a lot. The thing that caught my eye recently though was not relate to COVID or the US election, but Brexit. Nah, I’m just kidding. I haven’t seen anything about Brexit.

What has been apparent recently though - not least because the BMJ have released their report - is how woeful the UK has been at responding to COVID-19. We have had the highest number of deaths of any “Western” country outside of the United States. In fact, we’re currently 5th overall, with only the US, Brazil, India, and Mexico ahead of us. Want to know what all of those countries have in common? They all have much higher populations than we do.

I was in Scotland a little while ago, and the difference between how they deal with the virus and London is insane. Track and Trace everywhere, masks in all public places, people actually paying attention to the health and wellbeing of others. Compare that to your average tube ride in London, where you’re more likely to see someone wearing their mask as a neck-warmer than covering their face.

It remains to be seen whether this new three level system makes a difference. Hopefully it means we’ll do better than “too little, too late, too flawed”.

Technology

Apps have been in the news a lot this week. “A lot” for something that isn’t COVID-19, or the US Presidential race, anyway. In particular, Apple has had yet another slap on the wrist for its actions against Epic Games.

The summary of events, for those unaware but interested, is that Epic Games (distributor of, amongst other things, the widely popular Fortnite games) have taken umbrage with Apple’s demands of 30% revenue made via purchases on apps in its store. Epic claims this is an exercising of monopoly powers, as the App Store is the only way of getting content onto an iOS device. To try and circumvent this, Epic added a separate payment option online that would stop the user having to pay via the App Store. Apple in turn banned Fortnite from the App Store, citing a breach of terms.

Apple’s line is basically that in allowing Epic to do this, it sets a precedent that could be used to insert code on to people’s phones without prior review by Apple. This could lead to malicious code being uploaded without a way of Apple stopping it. Meanwhile, we’re all still using TikTok apparently, so it seems unlikely that user security is Apple’s sole concern. In fact, Apple’s refusal to allow cloud gaming apps, regardless of their own review policies, does not lend any support to Apple’s outward aims.

Anyway, a judge recently ruled that Apple should not ban Epic’s developer account, but denies that it be forced to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store.

All of this might not sound interesting, but it does mark something of a watershed moment in how online store fronts are able to treat developers. I guess it remains to be seen what will happen next.

Mental Health

I’ve been thinking a lot about the cinema recently. The temporary (?) closure of Cineworld could well be the canary in the mine for the industry, and I think that’s a sad thing. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge cinema nerd (others might disagree), and for a lot of films I’m just as happy on my own sofa with a cup of tea as I am in front of the big screen with my popcorn.

Maybe it’s COVID though, and my lack of interaction with a lot of people, but I’ve been missing that shared collective experience that you only really get from big events. I’m thinking specifically of the shared feeling of triumph when, after 10 years and 22 films, you finally hear the words “Avengers… Assemble”. Say what you want, but that was one of the most defining moments of my cinema-going life. Those moments that are incredible in your front room, but made all the better by being a room of complete strangers with a shared passion.

Yes, Tenet was horseshit, and yes it’s a shame that Bond has been delayed again, and no not everyone is a cinema fan. But I think it would be a real shame for the movie going experience to die out altogether. I’ve never really thought of the cinema as something particularly related to mental health, but perhaps there is something more to explore there…

Social Sector

The Honours list was announced last weekend, and amidst the usual fanfare for B and C list celebrities, we also saw the highest number of awards for those in the social sector, for doctors, and for people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

This is all wonderful, but more interesting is that because there is now a critical mass of these things, there are also more conversations happening about this.

Short entry on social sector this week, because this is something I definitely want to explore in more detail. Watch this space…