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

Friday December 2 2005

So the rain continues,

with attendant high winds and other stuff which all adds up to stay at home if possible, and as I am doing a few gigs but nothing else I am even more netted than usual. Oh, Firefox 1.5 is out and we all need it. But mostly I am wading through podcasts. Using the directories built into Juice, I can access any number of podcasts. They are roughly categorized by topic within these directories, but beyond that it's a question of making inspired guesses about what might be good based on the titles. Given the number of 'casts out there, this is not ideal. There is a great deal of downloading dreck involved. And this is another facet of what irks me about the whole media thing these days. Sky TV gives me an endless amount of crap to wade through in order to find the good stuff, and even with the advantage of my old series one TiVo this is something of a job, but there isn't a TiVo for podcasts. Therefore, as with most of media-consuming life, the whole thing comes down to recommendations from friends and websites. I like to consider myself eclectic, perennially searching around for interesting stuff, but it's not very time-efficient. Believe me, I don't believe in being all that time-efficient. But a certain amount of time-wasting can easily turn into lost weeks, and I don't have time for that.

I just wish I was better able to cope with knowing how much stuff is out there and how I can't check it all out. This is where I become increasingly interested in social software of all types, since the only rational model for content-consumption is one of small sub-communities existing within the wider morass of the net. It's a matter of having a small corner of the infrastructure, represented by a cluster of sites and forums and newsgroups and so forth, to call one's own bailiwick. Nothing like the net for throwing up the old questions of whether one should stick with what one likes or spread one's attention ever thinner across more and more virtual real estate. It's really clear, when you think about it, why Google and other search engines and directories are so valuable - in business terms and also in sheer utility - these days. Navigational tools are paramount once the problem of access to content has been solved. These days it's not information that represents power, it's being able to actually administer it. Mostly, the information is out there for anyone with a decent net connection. Finding it, and knowing what's any good, is the key. So I wait with keen attention for a better way to search podcasts...

 


Posted at 7:32 pm by Jim Woods



Thursday December 1 2005

It pisses with rain.

Best forecasts say that it will continue to piss with rain. But I don't care. Because, touch wood, I reckon I have prevented it from filling up the boot of my Scirocco. So there'll be no alligators breeding in there, and that has been a worry.

 


Posted at 6:49 pm by Jim Woods



Wednesday November 30 2005

I'm developing a real taste for this podcast thing.

By diligent searching of the listings at Podcast.net, and a bit of trial and error, I'm finding an enormous amount of really interesting DIY radio. Radio Free Amsterdam in particular is a favourite. I really like the idea of radio, but just tend to find that only BBC Radio 4 hits the spot for me, so to have access to all this other stuff is fantastic. Juice is a free podcast receiver that also allows access to torrents, about which you only need to know that some podcasts require this and not all receivers will cope with this method. Apple's iTunes does a pretty good job with podcasts, also for free, and has the advantage of a pretty interface and integral player - but no torrent capability. So you don't pay your money and you take your choice. Either way, highly recommended fun.

More and more I'm thinking I may knock up the odd podcast myself. It's a gift if you like a rant.

 


Posted at 6:41 pm by Jim Woods



Monday November 28 2005

So here's the latest installment

in what's becoming the "war of the machines" blog. This week I have largely sorted out a problem with inadequate clearance between tyre and mudguard on the newer of my two bicycles. This would hardly be worthy of comment were it not for the fact that the problem had been there from new. Par for what I expect these days.

I think I have worked out how all the water was getting in to my Scirocco's boot; the plastic bushings into which the badges on the tailgate push were knackered, as in split or missing. I was alerted to this as a possible cause of leakage by the very helpful folk on the sciroccoworld group on MSN. Until I get around to going to the VW dealer and replacing these thingies (at exorbitant cost no doubt) and refitting the badges with some silicone sealant in to the bargain, I have covered all the holes up with gaffer tape. Well, I am a musician. Until it deigns to piss down again I will not be sure that I have sorted the problem, of course, but the other seals all seem very good. Now all I need to do is get the carb set up, uprate the brakes at some point and figure out how the creature can run hot even in this weather. I think a good flush out of the cooling system will sort that out. All in all I'm very pleased with the flash new motor. The economy is decent, and the handling and performance are great in relation to the running costs. And it's shiny. Shiny's good.

I have a persistent niggling problem with my desktop computer, whereby the monitor fails to power up. Rather, I turn it on and then as the system boots it turns off and will only be resuscitated, eventually, by constant powering down and then up again. This is something to do with the power saving mode, where a voltage is sent to a pin on the graphics adapter. Or not. I am all in favour of power saving of course, but I cringe at the thought of trying to work out whether this is a problem with the monitor, graphics card, BIOS or Windows. There's something particularly irksome about this sort of problem: If your monitor won't power up, you can't see to do anything about sorting out the problem. I really wish the monitor had a facility to just be told to stay on no matter what. I will now set about researching whether or not I can implement this somehow.

Luddism. It's looking like being the way of the future.

 


Posted at 12:58 am by Jim Woods



Sunday November 27 2005

I've taken the plunge,

if you can call it that, and updated the firmware on my Creative Zen Micro personal stereo jukebox thing. Despite my reservations about, and fairly sketchy understanding of, PlaysForSure as a technology (more f*cking DRM rubbish no doubt) I was so pissed off with the Creative media management software that I couldn't help but elect to have my player simply behave like any other USB storage device. The latest firmware does this; now I can just drag and drop files on and off the player. Creative's own software put nearly a hundred meg of sluggish, skinned (and how I hate skins) junk on the system. I have enough media software here already. I don't need more. I mean, all anyone wants to do is rip the odd CD, play all their files and move them about, right? I could wax lyrical about the amount of stuff I have to use to do that, and no doubt I probably will, but for now I simply applaud a firmware update that allows what is essentially an external hard drive to be treated as a hard drive. Oh, and there's a fix for the battery-draining standby mode too. Good stuff.

 


Posted at 5:55 pm by Jim Woods





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