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

Saturday November 11 2006

Those who so love this site

that they poke around its dark recesses will be excited to learn that I have updated the links page and the electronica page. Both are now thoroughly up to date. Inconceivably, while I spent some time doing things as diverse and useful as putting on weight and destroying my brain with free jazz, three years elapsed. Of particular irony is the proud boast waffling on about regular link checks at the top of the links page. Three years is regular, though, surely? If I checked them again in three years then it'd be regular. Whatever, rest assured that as of this evening it's all working and accurate. Encouragingly, given the pretty weird subject matter of many of the music and dos (yes, dos) links, there were only a few dead ones and some changed ones. Clearly we people who at least flatter ourselves that we inhabit the fringes are a resilient lot. Here's to the not-mainstream!

On the subject of the links page it seems appropriate to make two points now. Firstly, as I am now reminded, there's loads of brilliant stuff in there. Really - it's worth checking out especially if you like musical oddities. And secondly, in this Googled age of better and better web searching, I am a little unsure about the ongoing validity of the links page as a species. I feel that it's a good starting point for exploration, and mine will always be a road-map to where I thought was interesting some years ago. It'll stay there to act as part of the huge palimpsest that is the well-examined web. But it won't grow, I think. The very fact that for years I myself have simply been using searches to explore and to find the stuff I needed online signifies the diminishing role of a list of links. So it'll be maintained, but not expanded.

It occurs to me as I write this that there are plenty of little utilities that simply take a favourites or bookmarks file and turn it into a simple HTML page of links. So there's no reason why I couldn't just do that from time to time, very effortlessly snapshotting my online life - or much of it - at any given time. So maintaining a large links page seems more and more archaic. I often feel a bit of an artisan as I cobble this site together with a miscellany of ftp apps and editors and kludges as it is. There's no integrated web-site building application going on here, as the lo-fi appearance of the site will have told you. But I like it like this, even enough to forgo commenting as the terrible price. It's quick and easy to use, if not to build.

It's surprising how therapeutic I found doing some hand-editing, too. I should be writing more, and maintaining more. Good winter pursuits all.


Posted at 7:54 pm by Jim Woods



Thursday November 9 2006

And I found this

here very amusing for some reason. I think perhaps it is very funny.


Posted at 6:41 am by Jim Woods




While preferring to take the view

that politics is a dirty thing and that politicians in general are not welcome round my gaff of a very early Saturday morning for post-drinks free jazz, I am pleased about the US elections. I mean, things have to be a little better now for us all don't they? We live in hope.

Actually, while I've been wrestling a lurgy to the floor I have mostly been living in Second Life. My conclusion is that if the current massive tide of new visitors, and I am one, is coped with by the tech people then the future is bright if not orange. While traditionally I've been someone who occasionally plays around with online communities (and I did the text ones, people, on dial-up - I'm old) but doesn't sustain involvement, I reckon Second Life is the first thing I've seen with the makings. It can be very beautiful indeed, and I'm surprised in a positive way by the whole appearance. Inhabitants have been very friendly, and believe me that's a big thing. After all there's only people, right? Certainly there is the porn, but then that's far better dealt with by other webly methods of course. There is the gambling. I have never been susceptible to this, and therefore treat it with disdain and indeed a bit of a sneer. But this is all reflective of the virtual world being full of real internet users, who are naturally going to bring all the facets of the existing internet into any new forum that has the technical capability. So to me it seems a reasonably healthy online world, and one that has a mostly good-humoured air about it.

I have been looking at all the most beautiful scenery I can find, and just generally exploring. I always loved an immersive and attractive graphic adventure, and was an avid consumer of all the Myst games. Uru was a dream. Graphics cards remain the new enormous genitalia in all these arenas, of course, and the day will come when I overcome my reticence towards buying expensive things I know will be cheap next year and get a really spanking card. The thing I have is pretty fair, thanks ATI, although my older system seems totally unable to make a decent fist of Second Life. That's a reasonable nVidia, so I suppose we know it's an arms race still.

You can chat away to all sorts of people, and you can listen to the music they can stream through their land while you're there. You can make your avatar dress up and dance, and this is more fun than you'd think. It's all good, apart from the lag and the download times in some places for the scenery. But they will, I'm sure, beef up their hardware - and inevitably I will beef up mine. I can recommend trying it out. Quite highly.


Posted at 6:17 am by Jim Woods



Monday November 6 2006

There are some amusing pie charts

here. This is scant compensation for my being stuck at home with a lurgy, but you'll get a few laughs out of them I am sure. I need to learn that I should not respond to the feeling of coming down with something by immediately going and playing a gig, attending two fairly full-on parties and generally parading about in the cold. It has long mystified me that, although I am generally quite reluctant to leave my desk, I only need to have good reason to stay in in order to suddenly feel like doing just the opposite...

I am trying to reduce the media stimuli in my life, with a view to feeling a bit less like I have a full time job catching up with it all. I have broken the cycle of not having time to listen to all the podcasts I was downloading, which was easy enough once I became ruthlessly selective. And in two days I am back to free-to-air satellite TV only. Sadly my aerial will not do a good enough job for me to be a Freeview-only site, but there's a lot of stuff coming off my Sky dish in between the home shopping and the evangelists. I reckon the BBC channels, C4 and Film Four is as much as I need. And it'll be nice to save the twenty-odd quid a month, better spent on jazz records I think.


Posted at 9:57 pm by Jim Woods





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