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blogonblogoff - side b

'everything is nothing if you've got no one'

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Podding all over the world
So the latest musical announcements are quite interesting. Download service is debatable as the cost to buy an album would be marginally less than buying it from the shops. Currently only available in America with tracks costing 99 cents. If it had been launched in the UK with tracks costing 99 pence, there would have been an outrage. Interesting discussion on the pricing of the new Apple download service. The new iPods are also great, but I feel only in terms of the software. The ability to create playlists on the fly was long overdue and with new games and customisable menus it does look to be a better player. I don't like the new design though. I guess they changed it to incorporate the backlit buttons. I much prefer the buttons to be round the scrollwheel. With the need to stretch your thumb to those top buttons they rounded off the edge too so it has curves like an old iMac. The square cut edge on the original iPods was a much nicer design. They increased the capacities and reduced the prices so I guess that's a good thing too. It's still by far the best hard drive based MP3 player if not the best MP3 player I used.
Posted by Edward @ 04:29 PM GMT
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Monday, April 28, 2003
A right royal delivery
I have huge respect for the postal service in that it works (most of the time) and is relatively inexpensive. However when I used to run my record label you could tell that there were problems. It just always seemed to be me who had record orders lost in the post. The million items a day lost in the post statistic must be exaggerated but I'm thinking it might be right. Anyway the reason I am voicing my concerns about it is that in the space of three weeks I have had one 'record delivery' letter been lost without a trace, one letter telling me I had a job interview that I never received (causing me a lot of embarrassment as I found out today on the day of the interview and probably a lost job opportunity) and now possibly a record order also being lost. I know my housemates having been nicking my post as they were not around over Easter so somewhere along the line my mail seems to be targeted. I guess there is not much I can do unless I pay over the odds for the 'special delivery' service. I always thought getting a letter was special and Royal Mail used to market it themselves that way too with their slogan 'What will you send?'. 'You can send it, but it might not be received' seems to be a better message.
Posted by Edward @ 07:32 PM GMT
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Saturday, April 26, 2003
who have dropped out of the loop
So I was managing the shop for morning as Rowena the manager felt really ill. It wasn't that busy but started to pick up later on. We started selling a new range of cards, most of which looked like they came from an image bank and without much imagination. There were a nice series of global cards with stunning photography and the childrens cards had nice illustrations.

The problem with the new launches is that they never send the right amount and so the handmade fair trade card section was nearly empty. Also I am not sure why card manufacturers insist that cards need to be placed in a certain order and place. There must be some reason behind it (maybe it's to do with the way the mind works with patterns) but it could be someone randomly mixing them up. When I was working at the office supply store in Aspen they had the same thing there too. Made putting up or changing a card display a real problem. You waste hours finding out which position the card is meant to be in. Then because they didn't send all the right cards you end up compromising by placing repeated designs to fill the gaps.

Oh and supposedly it's World Pinhole Day tomorrow, so go and do some pinholing with the pinhole camera from your primary school days.

Posted by Edward @ 07:04 PM GMT
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Thursday, April 24, 2003
That's the only thing about it
The first sign of rain after a fine few weeks. Hope it's not going to be a start the dampness in this house, the weather forecast is not too good.

The signs are that routine of working all day and night on a personal and group project is in full swing. Anna in my group was getting really angry that the people at the Bath Museum of Costume are fobbing us off and refusing to let us make any enquiries. Seems a little silly because our projects will need a lot of content and information from them. They were surprised that we needed to gather resources at short notice. The woman said people usually need to book a month in advanced. So that leaves us 3 weeks to build and test our projects. We should always know that getting content is one of the most laborious tasks as too often bureaucracy gets in the way.

Been reviewing some of the video footage I captured at the end of last year and some of it is just hilarious. Well the audio commentary is anyway. A right cobbled mix of Cantonese and English. If I was keeping the audio for my project my tutor will be confused.

Manchester United Versus Real Madrid match last night was something and I only saw a total of 15 minutes worth of snippets. I don't support United but the first Beckham goal really was special.

Posted by Edward @ 07:26 PM GMT
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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Nina Simone RIP
Very sad indeed.

Nina Simone obituary and her official website.

Posted by Edward @ 06:34 PM GMT
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At least you kept your tie on
You can always tell the holidays are over when the students next door return and start playing loud music. Along with impromptu karaoke and jamming sessions to their favourite CD's. At the moment it seems to be The Counting Crows with "American Girls".

Shopping for clothes is always a pain as I never find the right size. Shopping for a suit is worse than that as I can definitely be sure my size is never there. Plus the fact that I don't have money to spend on such an item but I doubt wearing an old suit to a wedding is going to do me any good. Anyway first day back at University. This summer term is going to fly by with such a speed I won't know what's hit me. I can envisage very late nights for the next few months. Just when I had got used to going to bed before twelve again.

Posted by Edward @ 10:27 AM GMT
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Friday, April 18, 2003
It's gone quicker
The Web traffic in the UK must be very low as I've just managed to download a 19Mb web accessibility document in fifteen minutes. This is on a dial up modem. I'm quite confused as I thought my Mozilla browser has got it wrong it but I've got the file on my hard drive and it did say the transfer speed was 18K/second. I'm was more curious as to why the document was this huge size. Turns out that the screenshots in the document are huge.

Every seems a little quiicker anyway which makes browsing for information on the Web much more enjoyable. Holidays usually brings out the worst films to be show on television but they had Kind Hearts and Coronets this afternoon which is a brilliant film. Made in 1949 from Ealing films, basically the plot is that Alec Guiness is taking revenge for his mother against the d'Ascoyne family for disowning her. He goes about murdering his way up the family tree to inherit the wealth weaving into the family. It comes around to bite him back though. Alec Guiness plays all the roles of the family which is done in a humorous way. You don't get movies like that now.

Happy Easter holiday.

Posted by Edward @ 06:44 PM GMT
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Thursday, April 17, 2003
Hot Hot Heat
I'm really glad I don't work at my previous employers anymore as I'm sure it will be reaching the 90 degrees in the offices. It was a really hot. Just sitting around not doing much was too much. It was nice in Bristol by the riverside watching kids paddling in the water features getting very wet. It's time for the factor 50 but then again the weather is back to normal this weekend.

Nice bar for gigs the Night and Day in Manchester has finally got a website. Also Philips is beta testing the HDD100 hard drive based MP3 player. You can sign up for a chance to try one out. It seems pretty good with direct MP3 encoding and an interface similar to the iPod. Not sure what the price will be or if it can compete with a rumoured new line of redesigned iPods coming out. Philips HDD100 beta testing sign up.

Posted by Edward @ 10:42 PM GMT
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Monday, April 14, 2003
A sense of ending
So here I am once again on my own. All my teacher housemates have gone back home for their Easter break. So I'm knuckling down to some creative thinking for my personal project. My idea is utterly pointless but it allows me to use a variety of techniques to demonstrate what I've learnt on the course. That's the idea anyway. The scope is broad enough for this thing to just be an exploration of multimedia for the Web.

If you've not seen my Flash project then you can see my Standing Like A Tree Guide here. Also there's my newly created PgDip Portfolio site which has an overview of the things I've been doing on the course. There are a few missing gaps but they will be filled when the modules and projects progress. Only 10 weeks and counting left.

Back to listening to albums that I haven't heard in years. The Verve's Urban Hymns is again one of those remarkable albums that is essential listening once in a while. Can't really remember much about the time this was released other than buying it on vinyl in a smart mailer sleeve for an extortionate price. Velvet Morning is a song that is not immediately quoted from this album but it is stunning.

Posted by Edward @ 10:15 PM GMT
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Friday, April 11, 2003
You only did that to wear terry underwear
The cold snap has returned, but I find it nicer than a sweltering sun especially when going for long walks. The Easter break approaches and the streets seem much quieter. Maybe because of the extra daylight everyone is staying in the pub after work for a few extra hours. Certainly my finances have reached a new low and being on a break makes it that more difficult.

Haven't heard Belle & Sebastian's If You Are Feeling Sinister for years and having just started listening to it again it is a really great album. Reminds me when I went to watch them play at Manchester Town Hall to about 200 people. They put on three special shows over a Christmas break which was slightly surreal. They arranged all the speakers in a column in the centre room and stood at the back so they were mostly hidden away. Those were great times - 'kissing just for practice'.

Posted by Edward @ 09:22 PM GMT
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Thursday, April 10, 2003
Radio Ga Ga
Better link for the Roberts Gemini 1 DAB Radio.
Posted by Edward @ 07:18 PM GMT
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Everything else is magic or telepathy
Roberts Radio are releasing a DAB radio later this year that will allow recording onto SD/Compact Flash cards. The next step is to be able to program it to record your favourite radio shows like a Tivo recorder. Although I doubt many people tape things of the radio these days. The idea of recording onto card sounds like a great idea, depending on what format they record in. If it's something like MP3 then it would be okay but I'll be willing to bet it uses a proprietary format because of concerns of piracy. Roberts DAB Radios.

I even saw the latest Spiritualized album had a label on it that said that it had copy protection on it. They won't play on Mac's either. It's getting to be a bit of a joke although it's not a problem for me. I'll happily record it to tape.

Posted by Edward @ 07:12 PM GMT
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Tuesday, April 8, 2003
That's my fifteen kilobytes of fame
Sort of, it's more my tattoo is getting some attention on the brand new section of the Beeb's site. The Vault is a BBCi Scotland production, a site predominantly for memories of Scottish bands but it can be any band. People can go on there and reminise about their past idols and find out where the band members have gone. I think I have the only BMX Bandits tattoo in the world. BMX Bandits as in the band and not the Nicole Kidman film or some biking fraternity. Some other interesting things on there.

Look at the picture on the splash page of the Primates website. That has to be one of the best pictures around along with that David Hasslehoff, Kit and Gary Coleman picture.

Posted by Edward @ 11:21 PM GMT
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Monday, April 7, 2003
Heats of mots
The Potted Meat Museum is one for your vegetarian friends out there. Although seeing armadilo and roadrunner potted meat is making me think that I should convert to one. You just know they had to come from Dubyah Bush Texas.
Posted by Edward @ 03:50 PM GMT
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Till death do us in
Two recent deaths surprised me. Firstly the great soul singer Edwin Starr and secondly Chinese actor Leslie Cheung. I grew up watching violent Hong Kong movies that starred Leslie Cheung and my sister was a big fan of his musical output. I lost touch with Chinese cinema recently but did see him in Wong Kar-Wai's films. According to rumours surrounding his death that my Dad read in the Hong Kong press, whilst filming his last film the role he played caused him much disturbance because it involved ghosts and he was supposedly very much caught up in it, feeling he too was possessed. What to say about Edwin? Great personality and singer.

Read Edwin Starr's obituary and Leslie Cheung's obituary.

Posted by Edward @ 03:45 PM GMT
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Saturday, April 5, 2003
Hit it, hit it
Meeting up with past work colleagues is not always that enjoyable but yesterday it was briiliant to catch up. Seems things are changing in the company hopefuly for the better. The best thing about catching up is finding out what people are up to and if they have moved on to better things it's even better. I get an overwhelming sense of happiness for them when it does happen. Also can't believe the bar prices in Manchester either, no wonder it always seems a better night out even with the repercussions the next morning.

There's an excellent radio programme on Radio 2. Mark Lamarr presents a Brief History of Rap in two parts. So far so good.

Posted by Edward @ 09:48 PM GMT
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Thursday, April 3, 2003
Do you feel alright?
It was a bit different today as I went to the job centre with my friend and found that there were no IT jobs in the entire Greater Manchester region. I think my friend was more surprised than I was about that. Didn't make her feel too bad that all the admin type jobs were paying less than minimum wage. Then again I wouldn't have thought many IT jobs get registered with the Job Centres. Still feel a bit disheartened by it though.

I haven't been to a job centre in ages but they have these touch screen kiosks where you can choose the jobs. It wasn't too bad really for a kiosk apart from the million levels you have to go through.

Once final thing. It's pretty obivious to spot who is unemployed or skiving from work. They're still sitting in a coffee shop in the heart of office land at 3pm when it's about to close.

Posted by Edward @ 11:15 PM GMT
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Some stupid like
Wrote this entry yesterday then forgot to post it.
It was quite an acheivement to come back to Manchester when it is sunny. When the weather is nice in Manchester, everything seems to glow and you feel revitalised. You can see it most in the amazing buildings and architecture around the city. When it rains though, it couldn't be more different. However I must admit we need more rain to wash away the extremely dirty pavements in the city - mostly reminders of the heavy nights the scallys have the night before.

Anyway it's been fairly nice today and the rain held off even though the dark clouds came by for a moment. Always good to meet up with friends and colleagues for lunch, they never fail to cheer me up and make me smile. Brings me down from the displaced mind set I have at the moment.

Now back to getting that job.

Posted by Edward @ 10:50 PM GMT
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