Week from Monday 6th January 2014


Week from Monday 13th January 2014

So here's the thing... the moment the printers went back to work last Monday, I had an onslaught of "CATCHY-UPPY" stuff to do for my Gosport clientele. Then there is a BIGGISH project (powerpointing and webbying) to do for Uncle Willy, revolving around a seminar/presentation on "4K/UHD" to be given in Paris at the end of the month... I also spent last Tuesday at his place, so that some of the content of the website could finally be dragged screaming into the twenty-first century... and, in addition to all that, I happily 'volunteered' for "HAIR-MODELLING" duty, so that up-and-coming young stylists could have at me with scissors and razors...

Whilst reinstalling and freshly configuring that ol' M****SOFT POWERPOINT on my pooter, ready for FRESH PRESENTATIONAL FUN (such as installing the fonts I need to do the job), I'm currently grooving to some 'naughty' 'atmospheric' live recordings of the STICK MEN (from Cambridge MA last year, as well as a cracking set from Chicago IL in 2011 and some of those South American "Official Bootlegs" of a while back). This is in eager anticipation of a 'proper' 'decent' live album called "POWERPLAY", due to arrive, via a BANDCAMP official download, at the end of this week. (That and the even-eagerer anticipation of actually SEEING THEM LIVE in March, of course!). I was (slightly) disappointed to learn that the 'new' CRIMSON PROJEkcT live album is actually made up of material I have already bought previously. It's sort of a "Best Of" selection, honed from the three nights-worth of Japanese "Official Bootlegs" which came out last year via Markus' Bandcamp site. Maybe I'll wait and see how much it costs on the merchandising stand...? (By the way... "IT WAS FORTY FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY"... King Crimson first came into being on the 13th January 1969)

Why have there been so many WINDOZE 7 auto-updates appearing in the last few days?

Oh... probably has something to do with that fresh install of [part of] M****soft Office that I did. Trust M****soft to ALWAYS counterbalance every positive feature with an annoyance, every advantage with a disadvantage! Don't get me started on their silly software 'agreements'. Apparently, the HOME & STUDENT edition of Office 2007 that I own is "only licensed for non-commercial use". But I have yet to meet ANYONE who has thought of a "non-commercial use" for POWERPOINT. Who the flip would want to use it for FUN?!?

By piecing together bits of information from the four corners of the Double-You-Double-You-Double-You, I managed to hit on a DEFINITIVE method for replacing those feeble Linux SCREENSAVERS (or, at least, the ones that come bundled with Linux Mint 16 MATE) with some better, more IMPRESSIVE ones... to wit, the sprawling "X-SCREENSAVER" collection. A vast improvement, I must say. After all, none of your LINUX-SCEPTIC chums are going to be amazed and dazzled by a bunch of monochrome MATE logos floating around the screen in the manner of MID-EIGHTIES TOASTERS, now are they? Smugly pleased with the results, and finding myself with hundreds of 'savers to choose from all of a sudden, I've now posted a proper "tutorial" blog on the subject, to share my findings with The Community. Trampolining cows, anyone?

The new STICK MEN album is all you could hope for! At last a proper, definitive, audiophile-friendly live recording of the Stick Men that [almost] makes all previous live recordings of the Stick Men ('official bootleg' or otherwise) pretty much 'redundant' (Ha! As if!?!) - Kudos to all involved! Two weeks into January and already we have a contender for "THE PICK O'THE YEAR 2014"!

DREAM DIARY... In an old Navy yard which has been turned into a museum (a bit like Gosport's Submarine Museum, but this one displayed old space technology, as well as some really bad 'art'!). THE BAD GUYS are trying to destroy an orbiting defensive satellite 'array', and I'm on a team of 'boffins' who are supposed to prevent them from doing so... but none of us has a clue! I seem to have somehow bluffed my way into the position, while one of my colleagues has no discernable 'talent' whatsoever, apart from winning a kids' painting competition (his 'multimedia' piece is still on display in the 'museum')... I wouldn't hold much hope for us saving humanity...

WELL, THAT WAS EASY THEN... This morning, in light of all the postings on the LINUX COMMUNITY GOOGLEPLUS, I thought I'd update my Linux KERNEL to the latest version (that's sort of the base level of Linux on which all the other distros and desktops are built: i.e. MATE [which is a bit like the old GNOME], on top of MINT, alongside UBUNTU, on top of LINUX [on top of UNIX?], and so on). I printed out someone's 'tutorial' on the subject, downloaded the archives containing all the new gubbins and then carefully followed the instructions... DONE IN UNDER HALF AN HOUR! If I'm honest, I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference (none of the security or 'bug' fixes would seem to apply to me). It doesn't FEEL any different and there's really NO need to do this for EVERY little update announced ("If it ain't broke..."). It's certainly a lot more involved than just running the Update Manager every morning. It's just another set of 'IMPRESSIVE' numbers for the Conky to display, should anyone actually BE impressed by such things. I'm glad it worked anyway, because the 'instructions' to change it back, should anything have gone wrong, are VAGUE to say the least!

Week from Monday 20th January 2014

There's still plenty to 'keep me occupied' this far into January (already?!)... Why, I even found myself putting in a couple of hours on SUNDAY, once the peecee had done with all its usual WEEKLY ROUTINES.

I gave most of "THE FREAK ZONE" a miss last night. This week, there was far too much BAD FOLK MUSIC to test my patience... PAINFUL! I have, however, been reading and salivating over "INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE: THE SHINDIG GUIDE TO SPACEROCK", a publication that I'd first heard about on LAST week's show... which, in turn, has prompted me to 'tick a few boxes' and reappraise a few choice oldies from the collection. Plenty of other things to listen to, then...?!

"YOU WANT CATCH-UP WITH THAT?"... My Internet Service Provider, the TALK TALK concern, have told me that I am now entitled to a new TV box as part of my existing package, so I am staying in today, waiting for its arrival, while putting in a couple of hours on an UNCLE WILLY POWERPOINT job. Providing it works (of course), the new "YOU-VIEW" service effectively makes a TV recorder redundant, because you can watch anything that's been on telly in the last seven days 'ON DEMAND' (I like that phrase! "Bring me my televisual entertainment! I DEMAND it!"). If all goes to plan (ie, if my signals are up to code), I will contribute my existing (and relatively new) DVR box to the folks downstairs, because theirs is a bit old and erratic...

Wednesday afternoon was spent setting up the new DIGIBOX kit and seeing what it'll do... Streaming of last Sunday's telly, by way of a test of its capabilities... I'M IMPRESSED! Pretty excellent 'near-HD' pictures (sadly not TRUE-HD, as my TV only has the one HDMI socket and the DVD is already plugged into that. But the SCART signal is so good anyway!)... It's sharing a copperwire broadband connection with [up to] two other computers, but it streams without a glitch... Won't let you skip the adverts, of course... The TV picture is now superb... I've never before found a use for that "PAUSE LIVE TV" feature, but it's nice to know it's there if I need it... Now setting up the PROGRAMME GUIDE, so that it's not showing page after page of channels that I neither have nor want... "JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM!"... Now finding the right four-digit code, so that I can programme the remote to also turn my telly on and off... Ah! wot fun... 'Free' stuff, eh?

Thursday morning brought more POWERPOINTIN' and a number of phone calls, then I went out for a much needed LEG STRETCH into town, eventually, on a whim, catching a SLOW BUS TO WINCHESTER. It is slow too - these days the number 69 route goes via Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford and then takes the motorway the rest of the way to Winchester, on account of the old Meon Valley roads being either (a) UNDER CONSTRUCTION, or (b) UNDER WATER. I had a pleasant hour or two DOING THE CHARITY SHOPS, then I took the EVEN SLOWER BUS back again... on Friday, I had been planning to go to Gozzy to do some TROLLEY PUSHING - collecting and delivering some boxes of printed matter - but what with one thing and another, I didn't make it (back to the POWERPOINT FRENZY instead!)

Week from Monday 27th January 2014

The weather has "TURNED OUT NICE AGAIN"... now to do all that TROLLEY PUSHING I should have done on Friday... In fact, I'm making a couple of visits to Gozzy this week, Monday AND Tuesday, the former to do the trolley pushing and the latter to do the usual 'rounds'... having packed our UNCLE WILLY off to Paris, I can sort of relax in the knowledge of MY job having been successfully done and dusted...

I hopped on a ferry and paid a visit to the Gunwharf branch of HMV. I chanced upon a recently released MAN "Original Album Series" box-set (well, slipcase, anyway), gathering together five of the Welsh wizards' classic 1970s albums for under eleven quid... so I had to, didn't I?

Part of Wednesday is set aside for the second annual 'SCRAPING THE MOULD OFF THE WALLS' event...

HAPPY "YEAR OF THE HORSE" to all our Chinese readers.