2007 — 23 Feb: missing only the neighbour

But when he gets back from his day of misadventuring at the seaside, I will present him with a successfully transformed1 Xbox (where "success" is defined as a machine that now behaves impeccably as both an enhanced Xbox [whatever that means] and a Linux Media PC). Connect it to a network, and the streaming world is your media oyster! Shovel in a DVD and it sneers at the concept of Regional Coding (just as any right-minded citizen should, of course). I gather it can also handle some games that were previously anathema to it, though that area of Life is almost totally mysterious to me.

I must say (if Steve Ballmer's somewhat florid appearance in many of the photos one sees of him is any guide to his "resting" blood pressure) it would have been a fascinating experience to watch his reaction to the ease with which the poor little machine's defences were overcome (much as it would have been fun to watch John Connor reprogram the Terminator).

And for the extra gravy2 on the cake, my iMac is apparently on schedule to turn up today. I have finished the Switching to the Mac tome and have been skimming somewhat more quickly through the nearly twice as fat Mac OS X, schooling myself to pronounce the "X" as "ten" to the point where it's almost natural.

It's here, and it's totally gorgeous! But now I need to clear a space in the study worthy of it. This could take a while...

If only it weren't so true department

In this season of artistic competitions, today's Guardian has decided to ask authors about the greatest authors...

This is one of those questions that makes one suspect we are in the trough of the literary wave. It is not a great time for writing in the English language. The last literary classic was Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, and that was published in the early 60s. That is the only novel in English that I can imagine surviving until the middle of this century ... The most important thing now is a celebrity chav called Jade Goody.

JG Ballard

I literally couldn't have put it better myself. And Catch 22 has long been my Desert Island Discs choice (though I have to admit that Pride and Prejudice may one day overtake it). Meanwhile, over on the Opinion Journal Tunku Varadarajan tackles the "throwing out" problem.

ERNIE is now frowning

Well, I certainly thought his web site showed me as a £50 winner earlier this month. Checking again today, sadly, suggests I was mistaken. Oh well, easy come, easy go. I have emailed ERNIE who, having replied to ask my Bond holder number, is now investigating. (Did you know ERNIE is actually a lady called "Linda" who works in Durham?!)

Property is theft department

Any reader waiting patiently (or otherwise) for the resolution of the saga that is my attempt to extract my house Title Deeds from the "safekeeping" of my bank will have to wait a while longer. This afternoon the bank blithely told me that I would have to approach the UK Land Registry myself (they cannot do so3 on my behalf) though they did agree to pay any and all fees as they also agree the (shall we say) misplaced documents are indeed their misdeed.

And they forgot all about the free coffee they promised me last week, being in such a hurry to bundle me into a private office so any fuss wouldn't be too audible, I suppose.

Day 112  


1  You are a clever chap, Mr Jones! I hope you can work similar magic on your Slug. I think mine will be on the back burner for a while.
2  I realise icing is more conventional. Last night's meal obviously deeply affected me.
3  "Simply not true!" says the delightfully helpful lady in the local (Weymouth) Land Registry office when I telephone. "Banks and similar institutions all have direct access to a computer-to-computer facility" which, at £11, is half the price faced by Joe Public, who must snail-mail in his request and cough up a cheque for £22 in advance, too.