Month: <span>June 2005</span>

Yeah I signed up again, my third year (I missed 2004 because Louise was in hospital I think) and this is my playlist:

01 The B52’s : Love Shack
02 The Beach Boys : Sloop John B
03 Bran Van 3000. : Drinking in L.A.
04 Chungking : Come With Me
05 The Kinks : Sunny Afternoon
06 Luke Vibert : Slipped Disc
07 Jill Scott : Spring Summer Feeling
08 Go Home Productions : Shannon Stone
09 James Brown : I Got You (I Feel Good)
10 The Zutons : Confusion
11 Ian Dury & the Blockheads : Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
12 Bebel Gilberto : So Nice (Summer Samba)
13 The Polyphonic Spree : Hangin’ Around
14 The Shortwave Set : Slingshot
15 Dusty Springfield : Spooky
16 Mylo : Sunworshipper
17 Marlena Shaw : California Soul
18 Nouvelle Vague : Too Drunk to Fuck

Your too late to sign up now I’m afraid but if you HAVE and you haven’t confirmed your address then you’d better do it soon!

I wonder what I’ll get on MY CDs?

Media

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Blogger is being an arse. As zoe recently found out they’ve started adding extra code to each post, thereby screwing up her site and (for a short while last night) my miniblog. So until they sort it out the miniblog is on hiatus.

UPDATE: Fixed zoe’s site thanks to this forum post. Will look at my miniblog later.

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Not sure if it’s an extension of this story but having heard yet another report along these lines over the weekend, I have to take issue with the current reporting of these “Happy Slapping” incidents. There is a world of difference between assault and rape and the news agencies reporting the story should really be calling it what it is. Ditch this “happy slap” tag as it’s only serving to trivialise these matters.

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Venus, Mercury and Saturn are putting on a bit of a show this evening, hopefully the cloud cover will lift later on today and give us a fairly unique celestial display:

These three planets are destined to crowd into a small spot in the sky, making for a very distinctive and eye-catching formation that is sure to thrill most sky watchers. Think of it as “The Great Celestial Summit Meeting.”

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What a cracking day, I’m nicely pink after spending all day in the garden (which now actually looks like a garden rather than a collection of plants and weeds), nicely full after a nice dinner out with my parents, and nicely prepared to go away on holiday at the end of the week…

Actually, scrap that last one.

You see there is one crucial thing that I’m having trouble with, it’s not the “what to pack” issue (it’s two weeks in a caravan, I’ll be taking shorts, t-shirts and my speedos*), nor the timing, tickets and travel arrangements, no no, it’s much more important than that.

It’s the music.

Let me explain – I’m driving my sister-in-laws estate (car, not 6 acres and stables) down to Torquay while she and Louise and two nieces and a nephew take the train. Obviously I’m going to be in the car on my own for a considerable length of time (10 hours?) and need a good mix of music. I’ve got an iTrip for my iPod and I’ve been pulling together a playlist. Trouble is that the tracks are of varying volume and it’s driving me nuts. What I NEED is a way to equalise the volume on a LARGE playlist somehow.

Any suggestions?

Music wise it’s a mix of upbeat rock tracks, dance tracks, and good old sing along classics, basically anything that will keep me awake – ohh didn’t I mention? I’m driving down overnight so I’ll have my iPod, and several cans of Red Bull to get me from Dumbarton to Torquay.

So, iPod volume suggestions and any suggested “keep me awake” tracks are welcomed. And yes, this week I’ll mostly be yakking on about my holiday.

* I’m kidding of course, I don’t have speedos. I do have a leopard print thong…

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Ta ta Big Blogger, it was fun. Sort of…

Yes I’ve jumped the fence and left the rest of the housemates to it, just too much going on and I can’t do it justice. If I’m honest it’s just all a bit too chaotic and random for me at the moment, but best of luck to the rest of the housemates, I’ll still be keeping an eye on the proceedings.

I think it’ll be between Vit and mike although Miss Mish has wormed her way into my affections (although I doubt she’s realised it).

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It’s getting very techie around here isn’t it, last one for a … well… a couple of days at least.

If you are anything like me when you sit down and turn on your computer you really want it to start as fast as possible. You don’t want to have to wait until Windows loads and then wait again until all those other little programs load, no you just want to get right to work.

Of course you can’t because, probably unbeknownst (ohh I love that word, must use it more often) to you, there are several little programs all trying to run at startup. A lot of these will be small programs that you’ll never notice as they don’t do anything except check for updates, but they still take time to start and take system resources whilst they are running.

One way to see what is running is to call up the Task Manager – for XP users, right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the menu, for other Windows users I think CTRL+ALT+DEL will bring up the required dialog but be careful you only do that once or you’ll reset your machine… maybe… I can’t remember to be honest. In the Task Manager window there is a “Processes” tab and this lists all the programs running on your machine. There will be quite a few in there, as Windows uses around 30 little programs for a variety of different things. Now you CAN close programs from there – highlight the program in the list and click the button, bottom-right, that says “End Process” – but you need to be careful. Again XP won’t let you close anything that Windows NEEDs to have running. As with most things of course YMMV.

Alas Task Manager is only handy when everything has already started, but what if you find yourself continually closing programs just after you start Windows? Where do they come from? How do you stop them!

Enter a little applet which, when installed, you can access from your Control Panel. Mike Lin’s Startup Control Panel is it’s name and I’ve been using it for years. It will list EVERY program that tries to run at startup, with each startup area (user specified (your startup folder in the Start menu), common programs, and any sneaky hidden ones in your registry), and it allows you to stop them from running or delete them from the startup list so you never need to worry about them again!

It’s a simple solution that, over time will save you hours of closing programs, and it can help if you’ve got any nasty programs trying to keep themselves hidden. It’s well worth a look and, best of all, it’s free (donations welcomed though).

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here, in fact I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be in the garden.

Tech

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I recently signed up for Odeo, the podcast service, and during the signup process I was greeted with the following message:

Having your subscriptions auto-magically downloaded to your computer is a big part of what Odeo is all about. For that to happen you need to have a copy of the Odeo Syncr. It’s only 6.5MB, and now is a good time to get it…

How times have changed.

“It’s only 6.5MB” it says and I found myself agreeing. Long gone are the days of waiting 20 minutes to download a 6.5MB file, more and more I find myself using web based services, Flickr, del.icio.us, blogrolling, Bloglines, Backpack, Ta-Da, audioscrobbler and so on.

Of them all I think blogrolling is still the one I use the most (several times a day as I use it on my own personal “start page”), which one do you use the most?

Work

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Almost 66 million people have downloaded the Firefox browser, and whilst I’m sure those stats can be manipulated (lies, damned lies…) it’s still an impressive number, and it’s one that keeps on rising.

I know I’ve been banging on about it for ages now, but evidence that it is being taken seriously can be gathered from the fact that there is a link to a story about it on the front page of the BBC News website, which follows on from articles in most of the American mainstream media.

The story states that 1 in 10 UK websites fail to work properly in Firefox, listing some examples:

  • Odeon.co.uk
  • Jobcentreplus.gov.uk
  • Insurance.co.uk
  • British American Tobacco
  • Mansell.plc.uk
  • Companieshouse.gov.uk
  • Flybmi.com/cargo
  • bssuk.co.uk

I’m sure we could add many more to that list.

However there is one thing I’d just like to throw into this discussion, namely web standards. At present Firefox has the most compliant rendering engine of all the browsers (sharing that claim with Opera I believe) and THAT’S what can make a difference. If sites are designed to be compliant with the W3 specifications then they stand a much better chance of functioning properly across all browsers.

I wonder if the success of Firefox is just the long tail of the WaSP campaign?

Tech Work

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One of the few extensions that always get installed when I upgrade Firefox is Forecast Fox. It’s subtle, gives me exactly what I want and has plenty of configuration options to allow me to have it running as I like it – with no random popups when the weather changes.

I’ve just upgrade the extension – in two clicks thanks to the clever upgrade applet thingy in Firefox (keep an eye out for those red, green, or blue arrows in the top right of the browser window people!) – and noticed a new feature, a little popup satellite map. Just mouseover that “radar” green circle and there it is:

Forecast Fox Satellite image

Excellent stuff.

Tech

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