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Showing posts from March, 2009
I'm rarely riled these days. I tend to let life wash over me and avoid getting too het about anything if I can avoid it. But this morning, whilst lying half-awake watching breakfast TV in bed, a story caught my eye which was interesting. And then an "expert" in the studio riled me to the point of turning the television off in disgust. One of my pet hates is "bad science". Ben Goldacre writings both in print and in the Guardian are worth seeking out if you've never read them. But they're probably not the best read if you are a follower of alternative medicine. Anyway, back to the story. NCP (who run the car parks) are going to start piping smells into the stairwells of their carparks in order to stop them developing the smell with which we're all too familiar in car park stairwells. Good idea. However, a botanist and smell expert (!) is quoted as saying the following on the BBC website, which is pretty much identical to what he said on BBC B

If uPnP is the answer...

... then I'm not sure I want to know what the question was! The question - of course - is how I get music onto my N78. But, a diversion today from the world of mobile devices, and a delve into the world of popular music. After a few months of relatively sparse gig attendance, we've got a few interesting tickets lined up for this summer. Pet Shop Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Blur, AC/DC and even Michael Jackson feature in my diary for the summer months this year. The Michael Jackson was an obvious one to me. Someone like Michael Jackson has, somewhere in him, the capacity to put on a fantastic gig. Regardless of the other weirdness and controversy around him over the past few years, there was a time when he produced some amazing music and put on some amazing concerts. Time may have changed him in some respects, but he is still the same person who wrote Thriller and produced the album Dangerous, and to my mind, 75 pounds is a small price to pay for the chance to see him reca

Loosing the shackles around my data

I've recently started a new job, and one of the things which comes along with a job in the mobile industry is a mobile phone. I've always felt uneasy about the need to install "special software" onto my laptop in order to share data between it and my mobile device. It's a symptom of the modern world, I believe, that my heart drops whenever I open a package containing any new piece of technology and find a CD with software which is vital in order for me to use the product fully. And I'm no different when I open the box of my shiny new mobile phone. But, of course, the world has changed and these days it’s not so much a question as having your data shared between computer and mobile device, but of having your data accessible wherever you are and from whatever device you happen to be using. The actual location of the data is largely unimportant these days. My contacts list and email archives live somewhere on the internet. I know the URLs to find t

If you want to realise the true insignificance of yourself in the Universe, then look up

I looked at the sky this evening. It's amazing. At the moment, I'm not in London - which is where I usually find myself - and so the sky is not quite so obscured with yellow light. I'm not in the middle of the countryside here - it's in a fairly urban area. And yet, as a plane leaving Liverpool Airport was flying overhead, the trail of the plane was just at the right place in the sky to reflect the moonlight, giving a single white line across the dark blue sky. To the other side of the moon, the clouds had formed a lovely pattern which, again, was reflecting the moonlight back at me giving a wispy form across the other side of the sky. Turning around, I could see stars which in London are hidden behind a fog of ambient light leaking from the sprawling conurbation polluting the beauty of the Universe and hiding it behind a fog of our creation. I guess my reading material recently has what inspired me to look upwards and see what's up there in the sky - I'v

Terror on the number 45 to Ilford

I had a dream the other night, so vivid and with such a narrative that I’ve decided to subtitle it - “Terror on the number 45 to Ilford”. Basically, it involved a mad bus driver driving a bus very badly along roads, across pavements and down alleyways and eventually driving under scaffolding too low for the bus and taking the roof off in the process. Most entertaining. Britney Spears started her tour last week – how thrilling for us all.  And, of course, the entire thing (or almost the entire thing, depending who you believe) was mimed along to a backing track.  Meaning that you didn’t actually hear a single word she “sang” if you went to the concert.  Call me insane, but that’s not a concert is it?  That’s someone dancing around for a couple of hours mouthing their mouth in time to the words. Miming in concert is one of my pet hates.  I don’t see any excuse for it at all.  If you can’t dance and sing at the same time, then get some dancers to dance around you.  If you can’t hi

Never a cross word

Does anyone else remember Crosswits with Tom O’Connor?  Or am I showing my age? Anyway, this Saturday’s Prize Crossword in The Guardian was compiled by Enigmatist who I have to say is one of my least favourite compilers. The Guardian, unlike some other UK papers, including The Times, gives credit to the compiler of a particular puzzle by name, and the editorial policy on crosswords allows each compiler to have an individual style.  Papers such as The Times run the crosswords through the central editorial machine and try to ensure consistency across every day. In a way, that makes The Guardian more interesting a challenge but also makes it more varied an experience. Enigmatist produces relatively few puzzles compared with other compilers – Araucaria producing almost as many as the other compilers put together it seems! – but when he goes, my heart sinks.   It’s not that the clues are hard – they are, by the way – it’s that there is no variation in the difficulty of the clues.

Things that don’t go bump in the night…

Ghosts are weird.  The number of otherwise rational people who believe in ghosts is astounding.  But several things trouble me about ghosts, and lead me to conclude that they don’t exist. Firstly, nobody has ever captured a ghost on film, or on tape, or provided any evidence of ghostly activity which isn’t explained in some other way.  Of course, photos have appeared on the internet (and long before the internet) purporting to show ghosts captured on film (or on CCD these days, I guess). Time was that double exposure of the film was the main cause – that is to say that the shutter is opened twice to put two images into one space on the film – so when the film is developed, you get a ghostly second image appearing.  But that doesn’t happen with digital cameras, of course.  What has happened with digital cameras is that so-called “orbs” are now much more common. Orbs are believed to be the first stage of manifestations of spirits – by some people. The rest of us know that it’s just