LEDs For The Venetians

The Venetians now have LED displays, similar to those on the London Underground, to show the times when the public boats which ply their canals, the Vaporetti, are due to arrive.

However Venice, where I spent last weekend, seems to have gone for an aspirational system like the Tube. The timings displayed are hoped-for timings rather than actual. The data fed into the displays is merely the current timetable and, if a boat is delayed, the displays cannot reflect it. Which is a pity, because if the system had GPS, it would make boat arrival prediction an accurate exercise, rather than an aspirational exercise. Be that as it may, it’s great to go to Venice in February. There aren’t too many people, and it’s quite warm. I had one lunch in shirtsleeves, in the sunshine, at a café on the Fondamenta Zattere looking over the water to the island of Giudecca, and another cracking good lunch on the island of Torcello at the Locanda Cipriani. Best bars for an aperitif are at the Gritti Palace Hotel where the canapés which come with the drinks are ace, and Harry’s Bar has fantastic service – they catch your eye as you walk in, immediately take your order, and have a drink in your hand in seconds. But my favourite is the little bar in the Danieli Hotel at the end of a huge, lovely room which Ruskin once commandeered to play badminton in during a cold Venetian winter. The little bars to the North of the Rialto Bridge are best at displaying that curiously Venetian habit of the five minute visit – walk in, order a tipple, and maybe a titbit, and off out again. It’s a magnificent way to see a city which, for obvious reasons, is the last great city on the planet where the pedestrian is king. Whenever I go to Venice now, I’m reminded of a remark made by the inventor of the microprocessor Ted Hoff. I had lunch with him, just after he’d come back from Venice, and I asked him what he thought of the place. Hoff gave a deep chuckle and replied: “Not a straight line in the place”. TOMORROW MORNING: TEN BEST SEMICONDUCTOR MEMORY TECHNOLOGIES

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