One law for rich and poor alike

The story about how rich kids profit from the way they use the internet and poorer kids don’t just puts me in mind of a saying that we all tend to get wrong.

This is how we think it goes: “One law for the rich and one law for the poor”. Meaning, we believe, that there is a different law for each. We can discuss whether that’s true but we would struggle to doubt it.

But the original line is starker and I think far, far nastier. It goes:

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] – Anatole France, poet (1894)

Yes, I use technology a lot, but…

I’m going to be circumspect here because I don’t want someone to know that I’m worrying about them quite this much. I’m certain sure they’ll be fine, I just worry because I wonder.

This is someone who does not use technology.

Now, that might be true of you too, except that of course if it is then hello, welcome to your first use of technology. There is no reason you should be in to this stuff, just as there is no reason in the world I should ever be interested in football.

Except that I guess that’s a lie. There is reason to use tech.

I don’t like that. If I told this person that there were reasons, they would all be about work. I run my business through my iPhone and iPad, I am not short of reasons why this stuff is great. But automatically putting it that way feels like automatically saying you should use it. It feels like saying you should forget what you like and don’t like, you should – you must – use technology. That’s not me, that’s not the way I want to be.

Listen, I have a friend who owns an Android phone.

I don’t phone her, but.

You can’t really urge someone to use this stuff by saying they have to. It’s like saying you must buy this computer instead of that because its backside cache is better. It might be true for all I know, but it’s no actual use to for making the decision. It’s no use to you at all.

This particular person does tend to use what I’d call Stone Age computers and I have the impression that doing anything on them is a chore. If that were me, I wouldn’t bother doing it and I think I’d soon conclude that anyone who did is a bit of a geek. Unless you like computers, you wouldn’t put yourself through this alchemy.

So I do get why she might not be drawn to technology. I do. I just think she sees it as something geeks use. I think she sees it all as a toy. That it’s happy for you if you want to play in your sandbox, that it’s not for her.

It is for her.

It is very for her.

She’s joining the legal profession: technology is made for her.

I imagine whatever firm she ends up with is perhaps likely to issue her with a phone but I know for certain sure that the firm she ends up with will be built on technology. She’ll have to use it, so she’ll have to learn it, and I think that makes all this a slog.

You just want to say that of course you wouldn’t miss that appointment change if you could read your emails on the way like all your rivals. You just want to say that Evernote would fix that problem. OmniFocus would completely remove that worry.

You want to say that your rivals will be the ones in court with the ability to find and cite page 112 before you’ve got the book out.

But you don’t. So instead you write a blog post about it and hope that by the end you’ve formed your thoughts into some kind of order, said William writing on his iPad and posting to the web via a WordPress app. Technology much? Doesn’t seem like it here, this seems straightforwardly, boringly obvious.

Germany looking at banning work emails after office hours

That would be similar to the moves in France where workers could carry on getting all the emails they liked but managers should get a rest.

The following quote comes via Google Translate so I’m sorry for its quality but it is at least a thousand times better than I would’ve managed with a dictionary. This is Germany’s labour minister Andrea Nahles responding to a question this week about whether employees could be protected from emails while on holiday:

Yes. That is my goal. I have made sure that the test of an anti-stress regulation comes into the coalition agreement. There is an undeniable relationship between availability and duration of the increase of mental illness, now the have also recognized the employer. We have to also scientific evidence. Nevertheless, it is a challenge to implement this law quite sure. Therefore, we have the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health commissioned work up sound, whether and how it is possible to set load thresholds. We need universal and legally binding criteria before we prescribe the establishments something. 2015 to present first results.

RP Online translated to English by Google

Good luck with that. But if France is going this way and Germany’s looking at it, you can bet it’s going to come up in the UK. I don’t think it’ll be the deciding issue in the next general election, but stranger things have been.