Across the Broad Atlantic

I’m having an interesting disagreement with a chap at the moment. I say “disagreement” but I actually mean a semi-disagreement, because I think we’re both on the same side.

The debate was about Donald Trump. He doesn’t like him, I don’t like him.

The debate went along the lines:

– [Me] Trump wants America to prosper [referring to “Make America Great Again” nonsense]. If I were an American, that at least would be good [even if he’s going about that in a dumb way]
– Trump’s only interested in him and his cronies, not average Americans
= [Me] He got 60M votes. They can’t all be his cronies.
– Mostly a certain type of person

My point is simply that it doesn’t matter who these people were who voted for Trump. What matters is that their votes counted in 2016 and will count again in 2020. If they don’t change their mind and vote the other way, then Trump will be re-elected.

Maybe some of them will change their mind? Trump is staring recession in the face, after all, and that won’t please his heartlands.

Or maybe apathy will come into it? I looked up some numbers, and found that turnout in the presidential poll was only around 60%. To a Brit, that’s low, we’re generally up around 70%-ish. here. My own constituency was 75% last time. Certainly from here, both candidates looked awful, so I can totally understand somebody not voting at all. But the turnout in 2016 was not particularly lower than 2012.

At this point, US Politics gets beyond me. I don’t know how many more turnout you’d need to give a Democrat win, even if you could assume every single fresh voter voted Democrat. As my friend pointed out, they already won the popular vote last time out, quite comfortably, but the US system is every bit as convoluted as our’s, and just getting more votes than your opponent doesn’t guarantee anything. I haven’t heard anyone in the US ask “why?” yet, in the context of electoral reform, but I’m sure that must be happening. I hope so, at any rate. In this day and age, we can just tot up the numbers as they roll in, and simply let the president be the person with the most votes. Somebody in Las Vegas carries just as much weight as someone in Boston. That seems exactly as it should be.

Again, possibly my lack of American knowledge lets me down – I know that the public decides how their Electoral College votes (mostly!), but I don’t really understand the purpose of the Electoral College. Why, these days, is it even inserted into the process at all? What did surprise me was to learn that several members of the Electoral Colleges defected, and voted against the wishes of their electorate. It was small and worked out roughly even, so didn’t have a decisive effect, else I’m sure I would have known. But it does surprise me that it is felt appropriate for somebody to feel that their own opinion is worth more than thousands of electors, and still feel they are suitable to take part in the democratic process.

Tech Review

I wanted to say a quick word about these things:

They’re called a Trackr Pixel. You can buy then off eBay for about £10, I think they’re even less if you buy from Amazon, but..I don’t buy from Amazon.

They’re little tracking devices. About the size of a £1, if you’re British. Otherwise, maybe 3/4″ diameter. less than 1/4″ deep.

My first batch, I got one for my tablet, one for my wallet, and stuck one on the laptop. That was probably a couple of years ago. Each counter is just a Bluetooth device, and Trackr do an app for your phone. You pair the two, and hey presto! A button in the Trackr app on the phone makes the counter beep, a button on the counter makes the phone beep.

Setup was dead easy, just a case of loading the app and going through a wizardy thing. After a couple of screens it tells you to push the button on your counter, and pairs the two for life.

Incidentally, of that first batch, my laptop never moves. So, I can always make a reasonable assumption that I’ll know where the laptop is. But my phone does. So, I can use the counter on the laptop to find the phone. Because they’re Bluetooth, you’re pretty much limited to “same room in the house”, but if something has fallen down the side of a chair, say, you’ll find it. With most of my stuff, there are only one or two rooms it will be in anyway, but I can quite easily lose something within those rooms. If something is in a different room, you can also deduce that because when you push the button, nothing rings.

I got the first batch of counters a couple of years ago, and I’ve had to replace the batteries on them twice, I think. 9 months sounds about right. They warn me when the battery is low, and that prompts me to order new batteries. I think there’s even a button for that on the app, although it points to an American store, so it’s easier to get them off eBay again.

I mean, in the broadest terms, they work for me. I know that there are several Bluetooth tracking devices available now, I only have experience of these particular ones. I keep my house keys in a key-safe nowadays so they are always either in there, or in the lock, or in my hand, although these counters do come with a small cord, just in case you wish to attach them. They also come with a counter-sized bit of double-sided-sticky-tape, which I have found useful.

I like these things so much that I bought a second batch of three a few days ago. That’s the reason for this post – I just set them up. So now, my purse and my two ID lanyards are also covered. The purse, 90% of the time, stays with the wallet, but they do get separated, for example when I bring the wallet to the laptop because I need a credit card.

I could try and blame all this on the stroke, but it’s just age. I’m already a million times better than my wife at “not losing things”, and she has perfect health. These little counters make it a zillion!