Holy crap. I swear the clocks just struck thirteen…

I refer you, dear reader, to these abominations. I am, quite simply, speechless with rage and anger. This is several steps up from their previous scare campaign.

This is ridiculous. I feel like the entire UK is being run by the f***ing Stasi. When’s the wall being built?

Are they trying to provoke a civil war?

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”
Opening line of 1984, by George Orwell.

It’s gig time again…

Craig and I were chatting on new year’s eve, bemoaning the fact that we haven’t felt particularly musically-creative of late. So we decided that we’d do something together. I felt that a more loose, improvised thing would be good to do (in the past, my live performances have always had a certain improvised nature to them – tracks are broken down into their component parts, fed into some sort of sequencer and then ‘mashed up’ live).

So anyway, after two rehearsals (which ended up being pretty different in their musical output), we have our first gig.

March 14th, 9pm -> 10pm Thomas’s Bar (near York Library). We have a slot at BoomChik, a regular night put on by some friends of ours.

Excellent. Let’s see what happens ‘eh?

Cartel-forced censorship won’t be accepted here…

Just in case my ISP decides to bow to IFPI pressure and censor the internet, rest assured that they will find me an ex-customer PDQ. I would urge each and everyone to do the same…


Things that are Uplifting

Jack @ Bristol

We went down to Bristol recently for my brother-in-law’s wedding (my wife’s brother for those who are trying to work it out), and we had a great time – seeing lots of people who we hadn’t seen for a while. Our children were the only ones there for the whole day (there were a few present at the ceremony, but not for the meal/party), and it was also nice to have people tell us how well-behaved they were (phew!).

Between the lunchtime reception and the evening party, we went for a walk around the refurbished dock area, and happened upon a nice big open space with large stone steps around it which was being used by a whole crowd of lads on BMXs, mountain bikes and skateboards. We stood watching for a while and then got to chatting with Jack – one of the mountain-bikers (actually ‘bike trials’ we found out). Having thought that these were local kids, we were somewhat surprised to find that some had come down from Reading and Swindon.

Anyway, I had my Yashica-Mat (1950’s TLR camera) with me and took a shot – my father-in-law had his G9 with him and took a few as well I think. Watch this space, and I’m sure I’ll upload something soon… 🙂

These Ephemeral Times

We live in an increasingly transitory society; in our race to be current we are in danger of becoming lost to future historians. Our pictures nowadays are taken on digital cameras, (which are often replaced every two or three years), creating ‘images’ which end up being stored on a computer’s disk somewhere, which in turn fills up and is subsequently replaced…

What would happen to your pictures if you were no longer around? Would your children have the patience to trawl through hard-disks full of images, or would your computer be recycled/resold and your archives lost?

Even our lives nowadays leave no traces – there is no longevity any more.

BBC’s ‘Lab Rats’ series…

It would appear, after doing a bit of a web-search, that BBC2’s Lab Rats sitcom is not being very well received – apparently it isn’t funny. Well, in an attempt to even the balance a little, I’ll just go on record to say that I find it extremely funny (i.e. laugh-so-much-that-tears-run-down-my-face funny). The last one (the subterranean lab) was rather a slow builder I must admit, but the punchline was superb 🙂

Time Travelling

I’ve just finished re-reading Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, a book that I haven’t read since English Literature O-Level. Reading the book again, I was confronted by scribbled notes in margins, little insights which must have been pointed out by my English teacher (I can’t imagine having generated these nuggets myself); and I was transported back to those far off days of my youth…

I mentioned that I was reading this to some work colleagues and discovered that, whilst I have a very fond memory of the book (along with Charlotteb Bronte’s Jane Eyre), it would seem that I am in the minority. My sister and my wife*, for example, both hated their Eng. Lit. texts – Dickens in both cases – and consequently have a very low opinion of the classics.

I can therefore only conclude that it was my English teacher who made these books palatable to me, so here’s a big ‘thank you’ to Mrs. Hoyes, it would appear that you have made a positive difference to my life…

* my sister and my wife are of course different people – I didn’t grow up in Norfolk you know…

A different theatrical experience

Today we went to see York Theatre Royal‘s production of The Railway Children at the National Railway Museum.

It was fantastic! The staging was particularly novel, being centred around a length of railway track (the production was presented in one of the ‘sheds’ usually filled with locomotives); seating being arranged either side (‘Platform 1’ or ‘Platform 2’).

‘Wagons’ were used which bridged the track, and allowed for the scenes to be changed virtually seamlessly. A ‘proper’ steam loco also made an appearance in the production.

The wife and I found ourselves nearly weeping a quite a few points and, whilst it didn’t have the same effect on the kids, they were utterly rapt by the performance.

Anyway. I’d recommend that you see it 🙂

Computing Hardware: an argument that won’t go away

Why does the ‘Mac vs. PC’ argument still rumble on? Actually, given Apple’s change to x86 hardware, it’s more of a ‘OS X vs. Windows’ argument these days.

Criticisms of OS X/Mac always seem to be that the hardware is overpriced, and anyone who pays that much for their computing device must be a mactard; whereas Windows users always get the Windows is so susceptible to viruses, anyone who uses such a security-risk must be a wintard. Linux however is too complex for everyday use and because it’s Open Source, must have been coded by unskilled programmers – insisting on using it labels you as a freetard.

First things first: if all you can say about someone who uses a system that you don’t is to call them a “…tard”, then you’ve lost any argument you were hoping to make. The end.

Surely if a computer does what you want it to do, then what does it matter which OS you’re using? I suspect that most people use computers for:

  • Browsing the internet
  • Email
  • Managing photos
  • Entertainment (video/music/games)
  • Writing letters

Actually, I suspect that the last one of these is a very minor occupation these days and, whilst I would rather sit in my front room with my HiFi and TV (and Playstation), I know that many people don’t…

So, why does this argument rattle on? Being a user of all three systems, I find Windows to be too fragile and prone to inexplicable slowness (boot times in particular seem to lengthen with each passing day); Linux is just a bit raw (and some things still seem to require some ‘expert’ knowledge, even with things like Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon – the last Linux I was using); OS X has some support issues still, and Apple’s closed hardware business model sometimes leaves me wishing I had more choice.

Should Apple allow OS X to run on standard ‘PC hardware’? I don’t think so – by using their own (limited) hardware choices they are able to improve usability and reliabilty; the innumerable combinations of PC hardware out there would need some serious testing. And anyway, it’s Apple’s software, they can licence it however they like. By restricting OS X to Apple hardware, they are potentially losing OS licence sales, but that’s their choice and it’s not currently harming them, perhaps it’s even helping their business – if you want to switch to OS X, then you need to buy a Mac.

Since Linux is free, then why aren’t more people using it? For my part, I see the Linux ‘community’ as far too fractured; there seems to be lots of petty infighting (cf. KDE vs. Gnome) which, if it were put aside and all parties pulled in the same direction, would make the OS much more coherent and hopefully usable (instead of writing yet another window manager, why not address real problems – such as boot times?).

Which would I use out of choice? I am still extremely happy with my MacBook (rev.1) with OS X 10.4. The hardware is solid, boot times are very quick, and it gets the job done. I have to use Windows (XP) at work, because it’s what our customers use (I’m a software developer by day). I am happy to have left Linux behind at my last job where I was using it as a desktop system for 15 months (very slow booting, clunkiness in general when compared to OS X although more stable than XP).

Just don’t call me a Mactard…