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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Saturday October 11 2003

Baltic wrecks

The Baltic is a particularly good environment for preserving sunken ships. Marin Matteknik's site has a handful of side scan images of such wrecks, including a missing spy aircraft as well as some rather nifty 3D sea bottom profiles. The clarity of the images is amazing!


Posted at 6:34 pm by Jim Woods



Friday October 10 2003

602 Suite Pro
Here's another free software suite that enables you to work with Office files without paying the beast of Redmond a fortune for Office itself. A word processor, spreadsheet and graphics editor are included. I have to admit that my previous experiences with this suite have been mixed, but this is a hot-off-the-programmer's-press new version; let's hope it crashes a bit less than the old one did - my experience rather than everyone's. It has to be worth a try at any rate. I'm still an OpenOffice boy, but that's nearly an 80 meg download. Dialup medievalists will be a little happier that 602 Suite Pro is more like 22 meg, although that's hardly trifling.
Posted at 1:20 am by Jim Woods



Thursday October 9 2003

Bass-Station
Here's a device which has all the makings of something I'd like. The Bass-Station is a 1980's ghetto blaster (twin-tape, no CD) with a computer and wireless networking grafted into it. People can use it as a hub via which they can freely exchange info. To quote the site, "by actively observing the exchanges of a small community, you can learn things about that community that you couldn't by talking to any one of its members". The creature is also, of course, a shared stereo. Give or take my frankly mad experimentation using a couple of Cybikos (the old Classic models - two for thirty quid at Toys'R'Us) to give me wireless W(cr)AP around the stately home, I've get to get to grips with this whole wireless networking lark. It seems to be the way of the future though, and if I ever graduate to having more than one computer that's actually recent enough to do anything with I'll no doubt be checking the concept out. My admiration for the Bass-Station is therefore more founded on the clever name and the boom-box aesthetics. And of course I love anything that involves a combination of old and new technologies! Check it out - it's a riot.
Posted at 11:21 am by Jim Woods




Pause for reflection

Today something interesting happened. I leapt - okay, lurched - from my pit at half past eight, full of bile and ready to take on the world; ablutions, kettle and toast, pc on, connect to net. Not. ADSL, he no come out to play. Basically, my broadband was off for an hour or so. This is not unheard of, since both the ISP and the phone company occasionally need to do stuff which involves a brief service outage. But it's the first time I've found it wasn't there first thing in the whenever-I-got-up. And it was a weird feeling.

I realised how indispensable the net is to me as I down my coffee! I mean, I often have things to do which prevent me netting much, like when I'm away for example. No problemo. Net is not life, just a nice part of it; for most of the day I'd rather be doing other things, checking out stuff on the net here and there as I pass the pc. But I really don't have anything else to do while I collect my thoughts and get that first cuppa on. I rely on looking at the BBC news and a few other news sites, reading a handful of blogs, checking various email accounts, updating my banking records online and what have you. I missed having connectivity in precisely the same way as I would have missed the coffee had I somehow not had any to hand. How psychically vulnerable we are early in the day :)

So faced with this unprecedented situation I waxed philosophical. Easy to do when you've slept six hours in the last forty and your toy's been taken away. Nothing like removing the electronic testicles to focus the mind. If you've got testicles, that is. And the net. Well, and a mind for that matter. A mind over that matter.

Enough.

So there I am, sat in front of a glowing screen of until-recently unlimited promise attached to a box of superannuated Chinese junk whose many fans are bellowing their song to an uncaring world. And in the absence of a link I'm wondering what to do while I drink my coffee and prepare to launch myself into the Cowley Road. What, in brief, can I do with a pc with no net connection? And the answer is: surprisingly little. I'll play the odd game on it, but it'd be stretching things to say that I'm really a gamer. Two or three graphical adventures a year perhaps, and occasional weak-minded forays into a drive-'em-up to keep me from going mental with the Micra in the real world ( I used to have nice cars, and will again - but that's a different story for another time). Do my finances - but then without the online banking tie-in I'd probably go back to doing these on paper. Peruse my to-do lists, but then I tend to do that sort of thing on notelets and the backs of Rizla packets (I'm old, remember - had Psion, sold Psion to my most Luddite mate who loves it, weirdly). Long and short of it is without net, the pc is little use to me.

Sure, I could have fired up the Murdoch mental musher (Sky) and got the news. I could have made some phone calls (remember them?) instead of emailing my associates. I could have pored over my bank statements and called the bank for an update. I could even have resorted to that bastion of the moronic, W(cr)AP on the mobile. But what a palaver, just to do my morning chores. Bless the pc for tying all my information inbound and outbound together into one centrally-located unit. Bless it for allowing me to assimilate the world's affairs without enduring the mindless prattle on the telebeast. Bless it for being there, and spank naughty Jim for taking connectivity for granted.

World's changed a fair bit over the last decade, hasn't it?


Posted at 10:40 am by Jim Woods



Wednesday October 8 2003

My cat hates you

Actually, an awful lot of people's cats seem to hate you. Check Gigantor...


Posted at 5:10 am by Jim Woods




Straight
The Straight Dope answers all sorts of questions you probably didn't ask - and if you did, you probably didn't need to. But if you've ever wondered what the sound of one hand clapping was, then look no further. I, by the way, am still disgusted. Generally.
Posted at 4:16 am by Jim Woods



Tuesday October 7 2003

Alchemy

Yep, that's right - good old turning-base-metal-into-gold. Sod those loan offers that are spamming you, and make your own wealth. Would I chastise the skint (in their predicament) without giving them some helpful guidance? Of course not! Dosh yourself up at home! Good luck to all...


Posted at 4:21 am by Jim Woods




Amazing

I find I can eliminate about half of the spam from my inbox by filtering "penis", "prescription", "loan" and my ISPs domain from the subject line. What does that tell you about the state of the world?! Can there really be that many skint people with penis envy in the world? If so, world get a life. I reckon I've done more shagging and spending than average - because I've seen the figures for both and I really doubt that people downplay these things when asked by strangers - and as we all know, it's all good fun.

But it's not the be-all and end-all of life. I mean, you do your best to exercise a little charisma, and you read around and generally exercise whatever intellect you're blessed with and try to originate a little and not be too passive - and there's a decent chance you wind up with a few quid and get laid. Or at least you should have the option.

World, some education is vital. World, f*ck peer pressure. World, if your parents are programming you to fail ditch 'em. World, if you're ugly and boring realize which of the two is easy to fix and concentrate on that. World don't be so upset by the tone of your spam when the false gods of sex and money dominate your ambition.

Rantorama.

I had a good curry earlier, fire in the belly.


Posted at 2:31 am by Jim Woods



Monday October 6 2003

Tea

Ah, the joys of drinking a lot of Earl Grey tea while listening to Django Reinhardt and researching Rennes-le-Chateau on the web. Of course I should be recording piano parts on the "album" Jes and I are finishing up, but that seems a bit too much like hard work right now. Plus I've been doing a bit of debt-collecting from those who owed me, so I have no need to run about like a blue-arsed fly trying to raise a few bob this week. Which is nice.

I bought the light-powered watch I talked about a couple of weeks ago, but almost immediately decided that it was bollocks and took it back for a refund. I'm much more pleased with the Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock albums I bought instead...

If I were a better man I'd do that blog thing where every item I mentioned was a link to some relevant site, but I can't be arsed and there's Google for that. This blog is delivered to you on a "worth every penny it costs you" basis, after all.

I read an article the other day about the blogging phenomenon. Apparently the average blog is written by a teenaged girl who updates it every few weeks and abandons it before long in any case. For the record I'm a hairy-arsed 40-year-old musician and general Del-boy who updates - with something at least - most days. And I'm not about to abandon the enterprise. I guess that makes me even more iconoclastic than I'd thought. Better have a few beers to celebrate, and then maybe do my nails and get a new handbag.

All power to teenaged girls though; it'd be a bleak world without them.

I do try to write this sort of drivel when I can, as Peter at least seems to like it. Big kiss, Pete.


Posted at 2:50 am by Jim Woods



Sunday October 5 2003

Submarine fanciers rejoice

for here's "The World's Largest Submarine Directory listing 1000+ links". What a resource, what a resource. There are Typhoon pictures, even. Go to it.


Posted at 4:50 pm by Jim Woods





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