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

Saturday November 13 2004

I have a feeling

that all is not entirely well with version 0.9 of Thunderbird. Well, with the junk mail filtering at least. Given that I receive around 125 spams a day as against perhaps 2 genuine messages, this is a concern. It's the intelligent filtering that I want in this mailer. Other than that facility, I'm not one to draw that much of a distinction between one email package and another. The limit of my stringent requirements is that the software be free and that it work. Having said that the quick searching is nice in Thunderbird too. I think I'll reinstall 0.8 and see how the junk filter behaves; 0.9 seems reluctant to move mail automatically between folders as I've told it to. Junk not always filtered, even after lengthy filter training and resetting of data. Nobody expects the adaptive filter to be foolproof, but in this case it seems to have taken a retrograde step.

In other news it's a bright sunny day - hurrah - to be followed by a freezing cold night. Bollocks. Perhaps winter has finally come.

I must go and onerously re-string various guitars.


Posted at 11:40 am by Jim Woods



Wednesday November 10 2004

Almost forgot...

Nice so far, the Firefox 1.0. They've made me happy by including a right-click context menu in the bookmarks drop-down that does an working alphabetical sort. Also, my Blog This applet now works 100%, and the whole plot seems happy to be confined to a single tabbed instance. I'm very pleased with it all.

Note to those who don't bother to read instructions: if you find Firefox misbehaves, you may well not have removed the previous version when upgrading. You need to do this. And when asked whether you want to delete it's non-empty directory at the end of uninstalling it you need to do that too. Firefox keeps all the clever stuff like your configs and cookies and bookmarks elsewhere, so you'll lose nothing particular to yourself by so doing. As has always been clearly stated in the release notes, weird things will certainly happen if you just blithely install a new version over the old one.

Here endeth the lesson.

Oh yes, always read the release notes.


Posted at 9:42 am by Jim Woods




I like the Fostex

DMT-8vl. And the reason I like it is this: I have been using one to do some recording work, since the guy I'm recording at the moment owns one and I, as yet, do not have a hard drive recording rig. It's an old thing, but it works. It records at full CD quality (not that that is so marvellous, but hey - the recording'll end up on 16-bit media in any case) but is of a generation where 540 meg was a fair-sized hard drive. As an eight track machine, this gives a princely 12 minutes recording time, which is of course bloody useless for making an album. But Fostex, it seems, are or were an enlightened lot. There's a panel on the bottom which one removes, and to it is screwed a standard E-IDE hard drive. I found an old 4-gig drive in one of my cupboards and stuck it in instead as the manual for the Fostex said I could, and now we have 42 minutes recording time. The Fostex Firmware seems not to see the full capacity of the drive, since no doubt 4-gig monsters were unforeseen in the mid '90's, but nothing beats the feeling of being able to turn old electrical cast-offs into useful, earning gear.

Oh that all these kind of units were so commoditised and easy to tinker with. I haven't yet decided what gear to buy myself, as falling prices and improving technologies favour borrowing stuff for as long as possible, but Fostex will definitely be a front-runner in my considerations.

I visited the Museum of Modern Art here in Oxford yesterday, and saw a few things I liked. I must spend more time in museums actually; I've always been a museum lover, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit of late. A trip to Amsterdam to see the new Hermitage there, as well as my old favourites the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk (currently in temporary digs) is on the cards too.

Reading William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" at the moment. Very fine stuff.


Posted at 9:26 am by Jim Woods



Tuesday November 9 2004

It's 5.38 AM - what would any reasonable person be doing?

Well, pretty obviously getting around to adding a lot of fresh-picked orange chili to the old cheese and tomato on toast standby, that's what. And bloody good it tastes. Although perhaps a little rash. Never mind, think of the vitamin C in there! The smell of victory in the morning... And these, reader, are the spoils of victory - because I have finally tracked down details of my plant on the web. The Cheyenne chilli plant I mentioned a week or two ago, that is. You can buy it here. At least, you can buy the seeds. It's too early for me to say conclusively whether or not it'll thrive on a window-sill as they say, but that's where I have mine. So far so good, but then it came to me already bearing considerable fruit and everyone's mileage varies.

Keep 'em peeled.


Posted at 5:38 am by Jim Woods




All I used to go on at length about,

you will recall, was browsers. And yes, I like browsers. Later today Firefox 1.0 should be released if all goes according to plan, and that's a pretty big deal really. So hurrah.

But music, I find, is what I want to go on about all the time now. So here's a studio I've done a little work in, and been impressed. Friendly and knowledgeable engineer, decent amount of space and good kit. Shonk in Oxford. Recommended.

I'm doing some other work using a Fostex DMT-8vl. These days you can get a couple of decent cheap condenser microphones and a hard disk recorder and anywhere quiet with a bit of ambience becomes a studio. Run the results onto a computer for a bit of processing and mastering and, well - bingo really. Therefore I am resolved to invest a little in my own up-to-date recorder. Microphones I have. I see doing a lot more solo / duo recording. Maybe even of myself, who knows?

I found another cool free album you can download, this time from WXYC. The album is on here, and the significance is that it commemorates the tenth anniversary of WXYC starting up the first streaming radio station on the web. And more and more, of late, I've got into that wonderful thing. Do I need a colossal cd or vinyl collection to keep on top of what's about? Do I need hard drives full of stuff? No. There are piles of streams with every imaginable genre represented. A complete treasure trove. 7,324 streams right now listed in my Winamp, and of course that's only the ones Winamp list for those who aren't actively scouring the web on their own initiative. It's all out there, people.

Many good music links and net streams I find will turn up linked on Inchoate Satellite of course. I've explained before, but I'll say it again because I admit that the idea of running two blogs in tandem for different purposes is not necessarily intuitive; in fact, it may not even be sensible. But this is the theory. I use the web a lot, I find a fair bit of stuff I'm taken with, or which I think is just plain invaluable. I have a parallel-processing mind with hit-and-miss memory that runs at widely varying speeds. All a bit erratic really, but blessed by that little feature that allows a simultaneous pursuit of varied themes and often their eventual fusion or reconciliation. Something like that.

So I'm frequently wanting to record links, anyway, either because I think you'll like them or because I want a trail of my thoughts online. I can't really be arsed too much with the bookmarking side of browsers, because as I've said before that tends to be very unsatisfactory in all the browsers I use (play with Bookmark Manager though if you need something good for large bookmark management jobs). So my free blog on Blogger, Inchoate Satellite, acts as a timed and dated repository of most of my links. Simply hit the Blog This button and there you go. Great. But when I actually want to write at any length I want it stored locally with me and published remotely. Call me a control freak, but you get what you pay for and Blogger is free to me. So that's where Blog comes in. And that's where this blog you're reading at the moment issues from. One blog for my thoughts and observations, another to easily store links in.

Expect good music links, and much more as always, on Inchoate Satellite. Anyway.


Posted at 2:20 am by Jim Woods





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