Week from Monday 7th April 2014

I now have my old DIGITAL TV RECORDER back... a much more sensible way to 'SAVE ME TELLY FOR LATER', now that I've definitely decided that the YouView box is NOT FOR THE LIKES OF ME.

Now that the third CC:PP album "AGAIN" is finished (or as good as it's ever going to get - and you can read that either way!), I'm still not sure what to do with it. I've posted the 'self-assembly kit' on my GoogleDrive and sent download links to a select few trusted chums whose opinions I value (snigger snigger). But so far, no one has told me what they think, not even CC herself. Serves me right for having eMAILphobic friends, I suppose. The same applies to the totally ignored "ANARCHÆOLOGY" pages. Why do I bother? Without a proper MySpace, who's ever going to find this stuff anymore, anyway?!? What am I supposed to do, join F***b**k?

Today's the day that M!¢R0$0fT discontinues it's "SUPPORT" for Windoze XP, causing widespread "Millennium Bug"-style hysteria amongst the easily panicked masses. All those 'helpful' articles about upgrading an old peecee to an alternative operating system like Linux, are going to be of no use to people who want their computer to run as it's always done, with little or no user intervention. I come across people who still use the version of M!¢R0$0fT WORKS that came installed on their peecee ten or twelve years ago! Those folks would run scared of "the spot of DIY" that owning a LINUX entails. You CAN make a Linux perform JUST like Windows, such that the end result will make Mr & Mrs Longtimewindowsuser feel right at home - but you have to pretty much build it yourself! There's no 'straight outta the box', idiot-proof solution with geeky old Linux!

Me, I shall continue to keep an XP partition handy, so that I can go on using all those "OLD" tools that are incompatible with newer versions of Windoze. As will a certain PRINT SHOP I know!

Quite a lot of my "MUSIC STUDIO" software doesn't work with Windows 7. Full stop. Period. I want to CONTINUE to use my favourite WAV editor SOUNDPROBE and not have to 'settle' for AUDACITY instead (useful though that be also). There aren't ANY up-to-date drivers available for my Line 6 and MIDI interface hardware. I have a vast collection of well-tried, well-beloved compositional tools and freeware VST instruments which may not even work on 'new' computers (some of them are of Windows 98 vintage). "IF IT AIN'T BROKE" says I. I'm not about to chuck all that away because M!¢R0$0fT tell me to. More importantly, I can't just buy all-new stuff to replace it.

My XP partition hasn't received an official "WINDOWS UPDATE" in over four years. Automatic updates are switched off on everything. It has been 'frozen in time' for quite a while and has had as little contact with its "owners" M!¢R0$0fT as I can get away with. Anyone who ever relied solely on M!¢R0$0fT to keep them "safe" is a bloody idiot anyway. I've pretty much isolated my own XP from that DANGEROUS INTERNET LARK altogether. It stays UNPLUGGED and the browser is out-of bounds. Only for a five-minute period on Sunday morning does XP's network connection get switched on, as I manually update the ANTI-NASTY SOFTWARE... and then only while said programs are contained within a SANDBOX.

Week from Monday 14th April 2014

A few additional "SECURITY" things to do this fine morrow, like change my G**GLE password (I've taken to doing this regularly now) and trying to update the LINUX KERNEL on m'lappy to 3.15... that didn't work very well (did I copy something wrongly into the terminal?), so I've reverted back to 3.14 and I'll try again later... a couple of tiny little artwork jobs, some spreadsheeting and (still) waiting for the postman to arrive...

PEDANTIC PEDESTRIAN  HYPERTENSIVE HIKER... Today (Wednesday) I'm off to the doctor to find out if all those 5mg doses of AMLODIPINE (G**gle for it yerself!) are working. They do seem to be, although I could probably achieve the same results if I sucked on a grapefruit every morning, if I understood the literature correctly. I also want to know if it's okay to take ANTIHISTAMINES at the same time as taking those. I'm currently displaying all the reg'lar symptoms of HAY FEVER (itching of the eyes and other orifices; mucus filling all the tubes it can find; sneezin' 'n' wheezin') even though it's only April! This seasonal malaise USUALLY hits me around the end of June. I can only assume it's got something to do with the DESERT-DUST-MEETS-EURO-SMOG atmospherics they've been going on about lately.

One thing that doesn't do my blood pressure any good is the fact that people don't pay their bills quick enough. Here we are at the start of another new financial year and my balance sheet is already showing some disturbing RED numbers. I've taken care of all MY outstanding outgoings, but some clients still haven't paid me. Therefore, the 'birthday treat' I'd promised myself - going to the big READING RECORD FAIR on Friday - may not be affordable after all (Who needs it, eh? I've got loads of CDs already!)

But... I have A PROJECT for the Easter weekend. I'm feeling brave and I'm upgrading the loptap to the newish LINUX MINT DEBIAN EDITION. This version is 'permanent', allowing rolling updates - you don't have to install the whole damn thing from scratch if you want to keep up with the latest changes to the operating system. It's a bit scary at first, because the installation process is a little more geek-intensive than before, but now it's all up and running with its GRUB bootup and all... and I can start to put my stuff back where it belongs.

So Good Friday then... and I find myself wandering the streets of Southsea, trying to find the right address to deliver a couple of sheets of address labels... but while I was in town, I treated myself to the twentieth anniversary edition of "WRECKING BALL", the groundbreaking, 'purist'-baiting, crossover album by EMMYLOU HARRIS and DANIEL LANOIS.
(I am reminded of the occasion when I saw Daniel Lanois' awesome "power trio" - with Brian Blade and Daryl Johnson - playing at a WOMAD festival and scaring away the less broadminded punters, many of whom dismissed it as 'heavy metal'. It WAS pretty loud though, at least compared to the other worldystyles on offer that afternoon... Twangtastic stuff indeed!)
Week from Monday 21st April 2014

eSTIR BANG COLLAR DAZE... I missed out on the 'birthday treat' of a BIG RECORD FAIR, so I thought I'd take in a CAR BOOT SALE instead. I got up bright and early on Sunday morning, only for it to start drizzling by the time I got to the end of the road! In fact, the weather stayed all BLACKSKIES for the rest of the day, so I probably didn't miss much... I went back to my "normal" Sunday routine. This being a bang collar day though, I had an extra chance to go on Monday morning instead. Very little to write home about at the other end of the WALKIES: a goodish turnout and plenty to look at, but nothing to make me take money out of my pockets on this occasion - QUANTITY but not QUALITY.

Tuesday and an urgent visit to Gozzy... chiefly to bank the money that finally arrived over the weekend, but also to take a consignment of business cards to a certain lady customer (who neglected to mention that she would be away on the agreed delivery date). Clients, eh?!? How frustrating is my lot...?

Meanwhile, back in the sinister land of FREEFORM ELECTRIC AFRO SPACE VOODOO MUSIC ('Call it ANYTHING' for short)... There's long been a couple of MILES DAVIS items on my "WANTED" list that evaded all attempts to be tracked down: "BLACK BEAUTY" and "MILES AT THE FILLMORE". I've wondered why these elusive little beasts are no longer in print... Now I know! Sony had THIS up their sleeves. I just got my copy of the deluxe, four CD, 'complete' box-set version of "MILES AT THE FILLMORE". This glorious package gathers together all four sets in their entirety (Fillmore East, 17th-20th June 1970, on which occasion the band shared the bill with Neil Young & Crazy Horse and the Steve Miller Band - he WAS a wag, that Bill Graham!). The original edition of "Fillmore" had the four sets edited down into twenty minute 'suites', each filling one side of a double album. But this is ALL of it! The cover says "Miles Davis: The Bootleg Series Vol.3"... which, of course, now has me wondering "What were Volumes One and Two?". What have I missed?!? Sigh! MORE stuff to add to the "WANTED" list! Meanwhile, I will STILL be on the lookout for "Black Beauty" itself (or "BLACK BOWTIE" as I like to call it), because none of the performances are duplicated here... maybe they've got a 'complete' version of THAT to come as well? The cascade effect of looking up this stuff online is... you find EVEN MORE that you didn't know about (on 'That YouTube They Have Now', I just found a superb video of the entire show from the Vienna Stadthalle in 1973). It's an ADDICTION, I tells ya... one that must be fed!

While the desktop peecee is engaged in its usual SUNDAY ROUTINES, of checking itself for nasties seven or eight different ways, I've been having some fun tweaking the LINUX LAPTOP. I finally found a working script that changes the colo[u]r of Conky's battery indicator according to the state of the power supply. So when it's on mains, it stays white, but when it's on battery, it will go from green to yellow to orange to red and, finally, start flashing red when it's about to die. But I doubt it'll ever get THAT low! I've been playing around with the rest of Conky's colo[u]r scheme as well, and I've been customizing the main menu (I'm finally learning to live with that big fat MintMenu, instead of the simplified version I was using before). I also created a new shade of 'silver' for the panel bar. Very tasteful and more in keeping with the rest of the Mint-X/Maté scheme!

DREAM DIARY... Painting and decorating, in a flat over a shop... I opened a door to reveal an enormous hangar-like space containing a 'full-size model' of a mountain, for 'practising on'...

Week from Monday 28th April 2014

I just noticed that some of the REALLY old pages on this here diary site are no longer accessible with the online CoffeeCup editor. They would have been constructed originally using a rancid old M!¢r0$0fT FrontPage (or even, lawdelpus, FrontPage Express!), which no sensible site 'supports' anymore. I was digging back into the summer of 2007 (looking for the "FESTIVAL TEMPURA" recipe) and I find a page full of unknown characters and bad formatting. Along with (I wouldn't mind betting) all the other pages of that vintage and earlier. Oh well, they do still open up in the browser... just... but who the hell's going to see 'em anyway? But just in case anyone IS still reading this crap, I've added an explanatory note to the "ALL THE OLD STUFF" sitemap page...

The much heralded MOZILLA FIREFOX 29 has arrived (at least on Windows it has). We have been led to believe, over the last few months, that this is "T-H-E B-I-G O-N-E", a whole new way of accessing the internet. But apart from a slight makeover to its appearance, nothing seems THAT radically new from a longtime user's point of view (nicer curvy tab design... some additional buttons on the toolbar which work in a suspiciously Chrome-like - or is it Opera-like? - manner). It imported all of my settings, themes and add-ons without a glitch, so I'm satisfied. I found myself ALMOST IMMEDIATELY changing my default homepage away from the Firefox one though, because that has suddenly got VERY ANNOYING... an 'introductory' presentation, featuring lots of popups which TRY to helpfully babystep you through your exciting new internet experience (but instead get on your nerves quite quickly) and a video advert (via YouTube, eh?) featuring a lot of hideous children trying to persuade us that THIS IS THE FUTURE of web browsing (or some such nonsense of that nature... I admit I didn't endure it further than the second or third hideous child). The newly added Opera-or-is-it-Chrome-like dropdowns are probably designed to ween you away from using the 'classic' MENU BAR. That way of working is now considered several Windows old. But I'm keeping mine, thank you very much, at least until I get used to the new interface, which duplicates everything (but in an 'exciting' new layout, natch...)

I'll be intrigued to see how well the Linux version works when it gets here...

An afternoon free, so I thought I'd go and trawl the MANY charity shops of Eastleigh for hens teeth and rocking-horse shit... AND LO! a pristine vinyl copy of "Born To Laugh At Tornadoes", the second album by WAS (NOT WAS), has jumped into my sweaty mit for just under three of your Earth Pounds! As far as I know, this elusive platter has been out of print for years (I don't think it ever came out on CD in this country) and has been on my "WANTED" list for nearly as long. SO IT GOES! Patience pays off...

I also got the (Hollywoodized) movie of "THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO" on deeveedee for under a couple of quid. I'll reserve judgement until I actually WATCH it* - but I have to say straight away, if you gathered from reading Stieg Larsson's books that MIKAEL BLOMKVIST is a bit of a ladies man and a "player", then DANIEL CRAIG puts a more believable face on the character than did the weird looking bloke who played him in the Swedish TV movies!
*I liked it! Prior familiarity with the novel helped, of course... but rather than being a faithful adaptation of the first BOOK, this movie more closely follows the first of the original FILMS for its plot structure, which means it "works" as a self-contained story, instead of feeling like just the beginning of a continuing trilogy.