Turn off week fails to pass the screen test

I REMEMBER when the only entertainment which could be switched on in our house was via the radio set. It was not until I was nine that we got a television which was in black and white, had to be fine tuned every time it was turned on, offered the choice o

I REMEMBER when the only entertainment which could be switched on in our house was via the radio set.

It was not until I was nine that we got a television which was in black and white, had to be fine tuned every time it was turned on, offered the choice of BBC or ITV and the picture quality was heavily influenced by atmospheric conditions.

I watched it, of course, because it was a novelty and there were some interesting programmes but it was very limited and it never prevented me from going out with my mates or pursuing other interests.

Now the world of TV is worlds apart from what I first experienced with its multitude of channels and amazing quality of sound and vision.


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The Box can be found in most rooms and kids are glued to it for too long, to my mind, so I welcome International Turn-off TV Week which begins on April 21. Get the youngsters away from the flickering screen, I say, doing things in the real world.

"Switching off the TV is a great way of preventing inactivity in children," I read in a press release this week.

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This is obviously from someone who fully backs the special week, I thought. But reading on I discovered that it was from an online learning website which urged young people to turn off the TV - so far so good - and instead turn on the computer and sit for hours in front of another sort of box, a monitor. And, of course, pay the company a fee for doing it.

l The newspaper industry, like many others, has its own language which can be a bit of a mystery to outsiders.

There are lots of examples I could give you from the editorial side of the business - like NIBs, pars and vox pops - but let me stick to the advertising side for this mention.

Various sections make up an advertising department and - don't people just love to do it - some of the names are shortened or abbreviated.

Ents means entertainments, for example, T&S stands for Trades and Services and ROP represents Run of Paper (the adverts which can be found on editorial pages through the paper).

Someone phoned the other day and asked to speak to a particular person. She works in Ents but, just to check if she was the person he really wanted, I asked which section she was in and he replied in all seriousness: "Run of the Mill." I did not like to correct him.

Also on the work front, an inter-departmental email which flashed into my inbox got me pondering. It was from our IT boys - or AIS as they call it these days - and spoke of a "maintenance window" being scheduled for one evening to allow a new uninterruptable power supply unit to be installed.

"Unfortunately," the email continued, "this process requires interrupting the power supply..."

OK, that's fair enough. But I was left wondering what happens after they have put in the uninterruptable power supply and then sometime in the future want to switch off the juice to do other maintenance work.

I'm sure some bright spark will find a solution when the time comes.

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