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

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Pop goes the weasel
Saw one of the best toys ever. A little wooden toy gun with a cork on a string attached to it. You pull the handle to retract the cork and then push it real fast to make it pop out and make a nice POP sound (like when you use your finger to make a pop from the inside of your mouth). In the age of electronic gadgetery and computers it is completely brilliant yet so simple. Shame someone else spotted it in the Oxfam shop before I did. I was really gutted as I wanted it so much. Oh well. If anyone see's anything similar then let me know.

Bath is getting pretty festive, all the lights are one and there's even a merry-go-round in the centre.

Posted by Edward @ 09:42 PM GMT
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Friday, November 29, 2002
Someone said a bad thing and went to hell
For the first time today coming back from work it didn't rain, and I went to Sainsbury's and I didn't have to wait 10 minutes at the checkout, and I got some pay. It's all looking a little better. Still loads to do though.

Currently enjoying AIM's Hinterland, and a Neko Case's new album Blacklisted. Having a bit of a chill out evening like every Friday doing some work after going to work, I'm going insane. Someone stop me.

Posted by Edward @ 11:31 PM GMT
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Thursday, November 28, 2002
Do you realise what I have done
My life is spiraling so fast towards to mundane that it is unbelievable. Having only popped out for a newspaper this morning I have subsequently done nothing but university work, reading up on the way computer interactivity has reduced much of the thought process; attempting to find enough information for me to write about communication through the internet; tried to write a pitch that was a shambles; messed about with director to create a menu for my project. I think I am in need of a lie down and to get out for some fresh air. Might make some bread.

Housemates birthday tomorrow, got him a nice present and I made a card in 20 minutes. It's amazing what I can do with a spare glossy magazine that has loads of adverts in it. Hope he changes his 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' quote.

Posted by Edward @ 06:52 PM GMT
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Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Come on sell it to me
I was so tired last night I couldn't be bothered writing a blog entry. The nightmare weekend has caught up with me.

Today was not too bad. I have to do a pitch for a interactive mulitmedia piece which will be interesting and valuable for my intended audience. We are allowed to be wacky and can target anyone like lumberjacks if we can justify it in our pitch. Any ideas, send me a message?

Nice link for any budding subversive counter culture creative types out there, Anita Roddick has launched a Disney Spoof Logo Contest. Maybe they should also have a competition to redesign her website too.

Posted by Edward @ 03:44 PM GMT
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Monday, November 25, 2002
Gosh an update to the BMX Bandits website
Photos of BMX Bandits Live At The Spitz just posted up. First update to my BMX Bandits website in ages. Also review of Francis Macdonald's solo album Nice Man - Sauchiehall & Hope(A Pop Opera) too.
Posted by Edward @ 09:24 PM GMT
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Insomnia day
I had the train journey from hell yesterday. Coming back from the Sparklehorse/Will Oldham gig at the Barbican there had been a terrible train accident and it meant all the trains were delayed for hours. We didn't leave Paddington until past 1am. By the time I got back to Bath it was 4am and I was hallucinating and delirious from not having any sleep for 24 hours and starving. Not a pleasant journey. I found out that Laura Cantrell will be playing in December at the Borderline. If only I'd know earlier as I would have happily gone to that over the gig last night. Good gig though and a different view of watching these bands from the small venues I am used to.

That's it, my head is still spinning a bit so dinner and a bit of rest for me I think.

Posted by Edward @ 09:13 PM GMT
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Saturday, November 23, 2002
Long tall Sally, high and mighty
This is what Saturday evenings have come to. Sitting at home reading a paper, listening to the sound of rain on the window pane and having a beer. So pretty much like the days of old then. Apart from the talk of my housemates shoe dilema. She has problems getting shoes as she takes a size 9 and most shops don't stock that size or if they do have really bad styles. She was planning on starting her own big shoes women company.

My Director record player
Really happy that I got a nice working prototype of the Director record player working. As you can see it's based around the portable Columbia record player that my housemate and I are trying to get hold of. There doesn't seem to be much about it from the searches. I think I need to learn Japanese to get to sites that stock them. Anyway I am going to add volume control to it and use it as part of my end of term Director project. Got to start thinking about shooting some video too for next term. Was going to grab some footage of Manchester when I get back home and hope that my computer can cope with editing a few minutes of digital video. Should be good fun.

Posted by Edward @ 08:58 PM GMT
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Friday, November 22, 2002
Number crunching at it's worst
Just spent the last hour calculating everyones phone bill for the past few months. A mind numbing task that involves tapping 0.042 a million times for those minimum call charges. How silly was I to set the phone line up in this house.

Well from what I can tell so far, most processing of XML data with Flash is very slow. By reverting to a plain text file and processing it I managed to increased the loading of data from a few minutes to about 5 seconds. I guess Flash MX still has a long way to go. Charting application is starting to get better and does all the basic things like zooming and panning as well as having a indicator of the share price on specific days.

My brother managed to get a copy of the limited edition Blur single, so nice one our kid for getting it. We will sell it in a few years for loads of money.

That's it for this unsuprisingly wet start to the weekend. Blimey do I wish I was back in Manchester.

Posted by Edward @ 06:45 PM GMT
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Thursday, November 21, 2002
Red sky at night
A day of now doing much, fixed a few minor CSS issues with IE 6 and then spent some time finding out how to do create a music jukebox on with Director. Finally took the plunge in updating my iPod to the latest software release. I like the addition of the calendar (don't know how to actually add notes to dates though) and ability to browse by genre. Other than that it seems the same.

Finally got my pictures back from Boots. The photos I took of the BMX Bandits gig are really weird. Because of the low light Duglas and co all look like they are cutouts stuck onto a black background. Quite strange. The Lomo surprises me once again.

Posted by Edward @ 08:49 PM GMT
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Lack of sleep and thought
NOTE FROM LAST NIGHT

There was much amazement that our usability lecturer was in quite a good mood. We didn't even get any homework we were acustomed to. There was a lecture by Richard Hicks (I think that's what he was called) from Big Squid which was very enjoyable. He comes from a TV background and does a lot of TV titles and special effects. He did the latest Wallace and Gromit shorts titles which we had a sneak preview of. Managed to make a half decent music player using Director and Lingo but it was a real pain. Almost like the Flash stuff I have been doing. I am going to be so confused with the programming languages by the end of the course it will be silly. Found more problems with the CSS on IE 6. I think I will give up making it work on most browsers and put up a sign saying use Mozilla/Netscape 6 instead.

THIS MORNING

Been having some bad nights not sure if it is the cold or the bad dreams of Director Lingo. Aaaaaaah.

Posted by Edward @ 10:29 AM GMT
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Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Pop goes the monitor
One of my housemates was really scared last night because he thought his monitor was going to blow up. Not just blow up but blow up on the scale of the Americans bombing Iraq. The air is so damp that the initial surge of electicity causes a a bit of static. He was going to ditch his monitor because of the initial crackle every time he uses it. It's silly wasting good money when what you got is working. I saved him his money and his foolishness.
Posted by Edward @ 08:02 AM GMT
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Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Let's get cool in the pool
I can't tell you how mad I am at Boots again their photo processing service has been a shambles. I should have been told that their processing machine has a broken part that needs replacing when I handed my photos in. Now they say that the part has not arrived and that they don't know when it is coming. Now my photos are in limbo because they have developed the negatives already. I will not be using them next time you can bet.

Again another heady day at University. Another person has left the course due to what he feels is a miscommunication of the amount of work required for the course. That's a real shame as we have seen a few people leave the course or drop out of full time to part time. It really is a good job I am not balancing work with the course as I think I would have a problem as well. I can't also believe that everyone who used to use PC's has now converted to Mac's much in part to the problems there was in PC compatibility problems. I do think it is a bit of a cop out as the vast majority of multimedia audience are using PC's and that is not going to change anytime soon. If I had enough money I would still get a PC because of this even though I like OS X a lot. Having a Mac and a PC does make sense as you test things on both but I doubt people will be thinking that. On second thoughts I think I would actually just buy a load of other things as my PC does what I want it to do and that's all I need even though it is ageing. A nice holiday somewhere and a thick jacket would be nice.

Posted by Edward @ 06:18 PM GMT
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Monday, November 18, 2002
The after effects of late night gigs
After the great weekend, I came down with stomach cramps and I've gone deaf in one ear. This is what being old is like. Shouldn't stand too close to the speakers pretending I'm still a teenager bouncing up and down. Still managed to have a good swim this morning. The fast lane has become the medium lane, and I've started to hijack the front crawl lane. Even this is sometimes too slow, not quite sure if people who don't push themselves a bit actually benefit from swimming. I read somewhere that more than 80% of people who swim don't actually derive any health benefits as they go at such a leisurely pace it's not excercise anymore. If you want some fun I would play on the water slides.

Today a get a headache from the cold house and the Javascript problems I'm having with the Lomograpahic site. It really is a pain. Just seems to be on Windows platforms too as it worked well on the Mac's IE 5. Off to grab some dinner before I settle down for some rest. Alan Partridge coming up, cringingly funny like The Office.

Posted by Edward @ 06:34 PM GMT
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Sunday, November 17, 2002
BMX-stasy
Just made it back from the Strange Fruit festival. I must admit that the gig was a complete sensation. I guess partly due to the fact I had not been to a small scale gig for years. The Spitz is a great little venue, spacious, decent raised stage and good sound to boot. Got there early when only a few dozen people were around. They missed Airport Girl who were really good, well they must be being from Scotland, good songs and a nice style about them. In many ways you can say there is nothing really inventive about them, just general Indie-pop but it has to be done well. That was a great start to the night. The Dudley Corporation fused many things together but one thing for sure they had to be loud. The guitarist was thrashing his guitar with some. Although a good show with nice moments in their songs they were not for me.

When Melys came on it was getting pretty packed. I like Melys and was expecting something great. I wasn't disappointed. The vocals were outstanding and the band were on top form. Even the hitting of the road sign and beer keg was great. I wasn't prepared for the huge amount of pre-programmed synths and keyboards though. It meant that they went through the set with much efficiency. Overall a sensational performance. After this I my eardrums were tickled with delight. I couldn't wait for the BMX Bandits to come on. Talking to Duglas for a brief few moments I did sense a little nervousness. Having not played a gig for 6 years I guess you might feel that. Also with only Gabriel and Francis being the only regulars from band (the reminder of the lineup were from Speeder and a student) it must have made for some nice rehearsals.

For me what I saw for the next hour and fifteen minutes was a truly excellent performance from a great showman. Duglas has the time to explain songs to the audience in an unintentional humerous manner and to interact with them (handing out biscuits from a fan and congratulating a couple who had just got married). The crowd consisted of mainly C86 era veterans who are now in their late 20's and 30's. I was just amazed I knew all the lyrics to the old songs and was able to sing along even though I haven't heard much of the back catalogue for a good half a year. They did play a few new tunes including Mailbox which is on a new tribute album and Miss Black America on their forthcoming new album. They show no signs of giving up the age old formula of writing great songs about love and friendships. Let's not forget that Francis and Gabriel were all part of this too, the other members were playing in amazement to what was going on. There were the odd bum note and missed key but that was all part of it and didn't make the night any less than it was, I would have thought it added to the performance. It's all part of learning and they may become part of the next generation Bandit. As Duglas said, Kylie has made a come back and so have The Bandits. It was a shame that Kylie's Got A Crush On Us wasn't played but the finale of Witchi Tai To more than made up for that. The BMX Bandits just keep getting better with age. Will see you there next time.

I am still playing the gig through my mind at the moment. Definitely the best weekend I 've had since I moved to Bath. There's not going to be many of these in future when the workloads are even greater I tell you.

Posted by Edward @ 01:21 PM GMT
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Friday, November 15, 2002
If I could, if I could
Another day of ActionScripting frustration. If I had been taught how to program Flash MX properly I might not be so angry at it. Sometimes there doesn't seem a logical reason for things not working. Still I managed to squeeze a little extra but of functionality into the charting tool. Next week should be fun as they want some complex select and auto-zoom function. I am starting to think that everything in Flash needs to have a lot of whizz bang dazzling movement in it rather than being an easy way to obtain otherwise complex functionality. One more thing, the office is so cold I had symptoms of hypothermia in the afternoon, they do need some heaters.

Spend a quiet evening in listening to a limited selection of records. Beth Orton's album Daybreaker is quite magnificent as her other albums, Trailer Park still more perfect. An Icelandic ambient compilation is also currently going to be one of my favourite compilations of the year.

Found out today that my Javascript code for generating my dynamic pop up lomographs crashes Internet Explorer 6. I'll be darned if I can figure out what's wrong with it.

Posted by Edward @ 11:36 PM GMT
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Thursday, November 14, 2002
Hey jack, don't look back
So I spend all morning waiting for the Securicor delivery man to knock on the door and he doesn't turn up till lunchtime. It was worth the wait, the Information Architecture book seems like a very useful book. At the end of this course I think my bookshelf will have doubled in size. Taking all the books home will required a full car load. What wasn't worth the wait was going into University to upload my Screen Design project. The server still hasn't been setup so we are once again having to email large files to the lecturer. I was extremely impressed by Liz's interpretation of the project, nice use of sounds, animated GIF's and automatic page loading. If you need reminding here is my screen design project. Let me know what you think.

I am starting to enjoy the new Badly Drawn Boy album - Have You Fed The Fish? a bit more. On the first listen I really couldn't quite hear any outstanding tracks apart from the single You Were Right but there are few others I have grown to like. Damon is a funny guy.

Posted by Edward @ 11:00 PM GMT
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Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Lomotesting
I think for the first time in the usability seminar my presentation went fairly well. I have slowly seen people go from standard handouts to use Powerpoint, whereas I just seem to stick with paper, voice and lots of errming. Call me old-fashioned but that's the way I get to learn about presenting things to people.

Okay that's out of the way, down to work and I need your help. I have finished a version of The Lomographic, a site dedicated to taking pictures using a Lomographic camera. Something I really enjoy. This was done as part of my web design module and I would like you all to spare five minutes to have a browse through the site and send me some feedback as to what you like, hate, want to see and any bugs you may find. Tell me what operating system and browser you are using too if possible.

Here is the link to The Lomographic

Posted by Edward @ 09:26 PM GMT
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Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Multimedia, nothing to it
I am so excited by the BMX Bandits gig on Saturday I can't wait. A little mini adventure in the big smoke. Working my arse off at the moment to prevent myself from feeling too guilty at the weekend.

I figured that with Macromedia Director all you need to create a pretty decent bit of interactive multimedia is to be able control the movie sequence, know about mouse overs and that's it. Just looking at plenty of standard interactive CD's that's all they use. Okay that's probably an over simplification but I think plenty of people will find it accessible.

A really nice toy to mess around with The Typospace vol.3 Nervous Matrix. Was listening to The Ronettes last night. Great girl group, Phil Spector great producer.

Posted by Edward @ 08:33 PM GMT
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Monday, November 11, 2002
I'm calling it my best move
I know this is quite geeky, but I spent much of today making my Lomographic website XHTML 1 compliant. I am very pleased it is all there. There is something still wrong with the network at University, we were meant to be granted free black and white printing but it seems we are getting charged. Good thing there are two Macs that bypass the network so we can use it to print off things. They STILL haven't got the interactive multimedia server configured to allow the students to log in.

A question of searches. I like Compman.co.uk a lot for the computing books as they give a decent discount, single price for delivery and pretty good service. However the most annoying thing is the search. It makes finding books so much harder. I give up and just copy the ISBN from Amazon and find the book that way.

Posted by Edward @ 06:47 PM GMT
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Sunday, November 10, 2002
If it doesn't mean a thing
Something funny in the house. There was a heated debate about the waste. One was arguing that everything should be easily recycled even though the issue was not wasting electricity. I made a quick point and then left promptly to escape taking sides. I do think everybody should as a whole be less wasteful and make an effort to turn off lights which don't get used, not boiling half a kettle for one cup of tea etc. It's not even too difficult, just common sense. Don't know who won in the end.

Just decided this morning that treking into London next weekend to see my favorite band of all time (BMX Bandits) play live for the first time in donkey's years is going to be well worth it. Even though I am really broke and will be doing the same thing the weekend afterwards to watch Sparklehorse. I will need to work doubly hard the next few weeks to make up for the lost days. I was going to watch Team Bath play their historic FA Cup first round match against Mansfield but thought the gig is going to be something special.

Just found out that my Dad has sold his shop which means a big move is going to be due soon. Where am I going to put all my music?

Posted by Edward @ 09:34 PM GMT
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Saturday, November 9, 2002
What's going on?
One bit of astounding news, Manchester City 3 - Manchester United 1. I still can't believe it. My Lomo site is coming on nicely. I have decided that Netscape 4 is not worth bothering with due to it's really rubbish implementation of stylesheets. I used really like the browser but Mozilla is much superior in every aspect even on my ageing computer.

Not much else going on, felt like a pizza and some wine this evening and that's what I did have. See you tomorrow. Oh yeah there's a news story about Mancunians having the shortest lifespan of the people in the UK. Well at least I will be at home in the afterlife if there is such a thing.

Posted by Edward @ 10:40 PM GMT
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Thursday, November 7, 2002
A big laughing heart
I tend to feel really knanckered on a Thursday. Must be burnout from trying to do all the work assigned on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Anyway having spent a lot of time working on my Lomo website, I started reading a new book that I got. It's Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug (By the way, Amazon have 50% off this book at the moment so I would get a copy while you can 12.75 a bargain, or it could indicate that a new edition is coming out soon). From quickly looking over the first half of the book it is really good. Clearly explains all about effective usability of websites with nice decent examples of what to do. So now I am going to redesign some of my Lomo site as quite simply the navigation is not as usable as it should be.

Shout out to Ali who I have been talking to this evening. Keep it going.

Posted by Edward @ 09:43 PM GMT
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Yesterday gubbins
We were presented with a excellent interactive CD-ROM by a former MA student. His educational medieval castle project has been chosen as one of the top 15 interactive pieces of student work from the past year. The fact that he hand drew all the scenes and characters is an amazement in itself. I guess what they are saying is that we must top this piece of work next year. Highly unlikely it will.

Just finished coding some Javascript to create random lomowalls which is pretty nifty I think. Hopefully by the end of next week I will have a finished stage 1 prototype for display. Then the need to think about a Director project. It'all go.

Posted by Edward @ 09:09 AM GMT
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Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Whizz bangs
There are two types of lecture here, the ones which fly past as it is very interesting and the ones that grind time to a halt because they are not too focusing. I had both today. The Director lesson went really smoothly and was really interesting however the talk on digital photography which should have been interesting wasn't as I thought it would be. I still like the material feel of photographs with film.

Fireworks going off all around me outside. Have a safe one.

Posted by Edward @ 07:00 PM GMT
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Monday, November 4, 2002
Web anxiety
Finally finished my typography project. It's not nearly as good as it should be. Really it doesn't make any sense but it's a bit of fun. Not having a digital camera meant my work was cut out due to the experimental nature of the Lomographic camera. Still it's not a bad piece of work. Just starting on my next piece of web design(a Lomographic camera mini-site) which is looking to be part of my portfolio. It took a fair bit of pursuading that this was a topic of importance to me and that I had enough content for it. The vagueness in the scope of the project is highly deceptive. Almost like working with a client who doesn't know what they want.

We start learning Macromedia Director tomorrow. My own general thoughts is that for web based work you really can't beat XHTML. We just need to wait until all browsers are standards compliant. The varying implementation of stylesheet properties are the most annoying. The Mac version of Internet Explorer behaves completely differently to the PC version. Something I can't quite understand. Oh well.

Posted by Edward @ 10:04 PM GMT
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Sunday, November 3, 2002
Hoppy Holloween
It did dry off a bit so we didn't get soaked when walking to the party. It was in essence a teachers Halloween party. Nearly everyone was doing a PCGE. Anyway there were some great costumes including a lot of devils (including my very own Andy Pandy slightly camp looking version), frankenstein, an angel and Superman?!?! It was quite strange that the DJ got told off after playing three songs. Someone chanted 'We want cheese'. I thought 'oh my word' and then promptly there was only Madonna and Prodigy being played for the next three hours along with some brilliantly choreographed moves that would have put even Mrs Ritchie herself to shame(Like A Virgin?!? That was tame). Anyway when you're drunk you dance to anything and that was that. Highly bizarre that it was, generally it was a good party. Teachers have funny tastes in music but are a good laugh.
Posted by Edward @ 10:18 PM GMT
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Saturday, November 2, 2002
Does it rain up North?
Blimey it's wet, the kind of wetness that gets to your skin even if you are wearing an expensive raincoat and using an umbrella. Sometimes I can't believe it. Today at Oxfam it was dead for over two hours and then I had 30 people attempting to get served at once. It was quite a mad rush. It was the busiest day for long while yet.

Belated Halloween party tonight. My 'costume' may not stand the rain. Hope it stops for twenty minutes while we walk to the party otherwise we will look amazingly bad.

Posted by Edward @ 05:17 PM GMT
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Friday, November 1, 2002
Show us the light and you can smile on me
Can we progress beyond the fortune bestowed on us. I guess that depends very much on wat you want to do with light in your direction. Having spent a day Actionscripting and not really getting anywhere with the dynamic charts I have been implementing I have turned a little philosophical. Damp weather getting you down? Throw something back at it. Finally got the right photos onto the CD from Boots. I think I will have to change my prefered place of processing. Walk with me. It's not making sense to me either.
Posted by Edward @ 10:43 PM GMT
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