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Thursday December 16 2004


The Register, a rather handy UK-based tech news site which I tend to keep an eye on, has instituted a downloads section. I had a quick shufti, as you do, and there seems to be a lot of useful software there. A nice collection, worth a look. The layout is a bit clearer and a bit less ad-infested than many other download sites as well.

Posted at 9:13 pm by Jim Woods

Wednesday December 15 2004

I'm well aware

that I've been writing here fairly sparingly, and to some degree I feel guilty about this. Why, I'm not sure. I mean, it's not like this is a job or anything is it? But these days I have this tendency to feel a responsibility to keep up things I start. So I'll neatly solve the problem by writing an entry, consisting entirely of original material, on the subject of my failure to write enough. As I see it. I think this is a pretty creative solution, and I am so gloaty and self-congratulating about having had the idea that I will now be insufferable.

I've done this before and I'll do it again, but this time I am particularly pleased.

Probably something to do with feeling a lot of pressure at the moment. I've mentioned all the pressures here at various times, and I'm not going into it all again right now. Suffice it to say that the pressures are not "oh dear, poor old Jimbo" pressures but are large and a bit tiring. Time will sort it all out, with my help. And I have to organize my Christmas shopping, which is one of those things that's fine once I've got going on it but is very hard to start.


I was just thinking about the whole blogging thing, which of course has become almost a bore what with all the media attention over the last year or so. And I've come up with a few thoughts and observations of the nature of blogging which I'm going to list here. I like lists. So here come a few short paragraphs which outline the points. Disjointed post, this one. Feels that way writing it, and you'll be feeling that way reading it. It's a way of overcoming writer's block: Just get something down. Works well.

On blogging.

I really couldn't blame you for groaning when confronted with this "post on failure to post" (even though it's now turned into something a little more interesting although still a trifle recursive). It seems that massive sections of the blog world are devoted to people, like I just did, writing about their failure to write. Which means there's a lot of guilt out there. Probably enough to run a decent sound system off, if one could tap into the energy with some kind of aerial. I digress.

I saw a figure, and I can't remember where but it seemed very probably about right, of 80 percent or so in relation to the number of blogs that are simply abandoned or have had no new entries made for ages. There is a lot of dead web content out there. Rest assured though that I'm far from letting this site rot.

This site could do with being a lot more pretty. But then I rather like the inverse snobbery of its crudity. Content over style, if only just.

Blogs seem either to be "dear diary" type stuff or full of really interesting links and topics. Of course, many fall into some middle ground compromise solution. I like the linky ones more myself, but read a handful of diary-esque efforts because I like the personalities involved. Which apart from anything else is a tribute to the way that the authors are getting their personalities over in their writing.

Given the time it takes me to check out all the stuff I find interesting on the blogs I read, I am not surprised to find that of course it's the collaborative blogs that are the most content-rich. Who has time to find screens full of the good stuff every day and editorialize it a bit? And relate the ongoing story of their life a bit too. Sole proprietors, myself included, are facing a bit of a struggle to get enough stuff onto their blogs to feel good about them. I look at MetaFilter, for example, and I feel a keen sense of the inferiority of my own efforts. Although of course I realize that it's stupid to feel that way because my stuff's my stuff and theirs is theirs and they're a community and I'm a person.

I quite like the idea of a collaborative blog, a kind of online community, which is just used by people I know. I think I could easily enough do this with Inchoate Satellite, my minimum effort maximum content links bin. I'll just have a look. Yep, easy. Good old free Blogger service, it's a powerful tool.

Email me if you want to be added as a user to Inchoate Satellite then. I'm up for a play with the idea. Might be interesting.

That's it for now. I've just noticed the time...

Posted at 3:27 pm by Jim Woods

Monday December 13 2004

Seeking to easily

transfer analogue audio onto my computer in order to have my evil way with it, I went off looking for an external Sound Blaster thing. A USB-attachable whatever-model-it-is that has a couple of phono inputs on it and, I thought, would provide a handy means of sampling my old tapes and so forth for posterity. I also wanted to transfer simple mixes from a hard disk recorder to the PC for rough-and ready mastering.

I went up the road to the computer shop, forty quid in hand, but they had none and gave me a load of cock-and-bull stuff about how they'd reckoned the Creative jobby to be no good. Whatever. I know the thing works decently because I know someone who works with one a lot, and he's pretty up on these things. I wandered down the street disconsolate, faced with a freezing dash to Argos on my bicycle to get the device, and to cut a long story short stumbled into an opportunity to buy an immaculate pro device which will perform the same task for me. Should have been a hundred and twenty quid or so second hand, and now mine at a cost of forty. Sometimes fortune smiles. Bless the useless computer shop for being idiots who never have anything I want...

Posted at 1:09 pm by Jim Woods

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