2008 — 30 April: Wednesday

Just enough time and energy (at 00:27) to update the re-ripped CDs total. Even with a fine set from "Air" on a BBC 6Music concert it's time to call it a G'night. I shall have to hit the re-supply trail later today regardless of the weather, I suspect.

Squid's in... dept.

I have a far-flung lady correspondent who's sent me the following piece of scuttlebutt.1 I'm not talking about the coy word "interact" used in the caption to Wikipedia's photo. Nope, she's chasing bigger fish. Here's the link she sent. But why did she say "Please don't quote me on your diary or i shall die of shame!!!!" I wonder? All seems a bit fishy to me.

The rain! The rain! Sounds like a bit from Tony Hancock's "Sunday afternoon" episode, I suppose. It's 11:37 and still raining. Brekkie is onboard, the hatches are still battened down and I guess the shops will just have to wait a bit longer. No matter. Click the pic.

My bog garden

"... and, as for the bucket, Pawtucket!"

About Me(n)... dept.

What goes around comes around. Thirty years ago I bought and read a fascinating book ("About Men") by Phyllis Chesler, who now has her own organisation. This Interweb has a lot to answer for. I found her, by the way, at the same "blog hosting" site that offers a platform to Ron Silver, the actor I most recently enjoyed watching in The West Wing.2 And there's a nice piece on computing power here, too. Yes, you can safely deduce it's still raining... although (13:13) there have been occasional suggestions of a sun somewhere up there in the clouds.

Time for a bite to eat, methinks. I leave you with this happy thought:

Within that conflictual economy of colonial discourse which Edward Said describes as the tension between the synchronic panoptical vision of domination — the demand for identity, stasis — and the counter-pressure of the diachrony of history — change, difference — mimicry represents an ironic compromise. If I may adapt Samuel Weber's formulation of the marginalizing vision of castration, ...

Homi K Bhabha, quoted in Roger's Rules

Back in the mists of time... dept.

I was, literally to my enormous cost, a fan of, and early adopter of, the Philips LaserVision system. (For my younger reader, LaserVision discs were like silver versions of the 12" vinyl LP, but carried analogue video and audio data of better than VHS quality. They were double-sided and read by an optical laser process that actually narrowly beat the CD system to market in May 1982 in the UK.) Quoting from here: "All modern laser devices (such as CD players) use tiny solid-state laser chips; the VLP-700 tube looks like something International Rescue would use to cut through a steel door!"

I hired my first player — yes, the VLP700 — in 1983 (and Junior must have played the free Star Wars LD that came with it easily two or three dozen times before he even started at school). According to this site the eventual LD releases totalled 44,707 titles — I find that very hard to believe! I accumulated about 600 over a decade and a half.

Typical LaserVision player

In 1986 (900 years after William the conker player) the BBC decided to mark the anniversary with a modern Domesday project, using LaserVision discs, and getting schools throughout the country to contribute data and pictures for it. (I had high hopes that this would kick the technology into a higher gear, but no such luck.) A favourite DJ of mine (the BBC's Andy Finney3) had by that time moved on into video, and was the project's original videodisc producer.

Time marches on. You can read here the fascinating story of the work needed to archive this project before technology changes rendered it all unaccessible forever. (Just like my Amstrad CP/M 3" diskettes, had I not sucked all the data off them through a serial port as soon as I got my Acorn RISC machine [the Archimedes] in 1989.)

I also stumbled across this link with off-the-shelf HD satellite recording solutions. Get a move on, Freesat!

Curses, Koestler

Time indeed marches on. Earlier today I was browsing "Roger (Kimball's) Rules". I last mentioned him a year ago, the same day I read about Microsoft's "Silverlight" for the first time. Junior's a big fan, and presumably already knows all about Silverlight 2 as mentioned in today's lump of UK MSDN Flash Newsletter. Hey, it's stopped raining. About time (15:50) too.

Now that the new Ubuntu is out, perhaps this little chap can tempt me back into those murky waters?

Nero Linux 3

Before I dive in (and my consultant Brian tells me there's now even an option to [kind of] install Ubuntu "under / alongside" XP in a way that's subtly different from dual-booting since — I gather — it can now play nicely4 in an NTFS environment) I am enjoying the deliciously unscientific experiment described here. Poor Erin sounds like a very good sport! But it's getting dark enough out there (and still raining) to put me off trying tonight. Having nipped out, on foot, for fresh cow juice, I was able to put off other shopping until tomorrow, in hopes of slight improvement in the weather. I must say both the traffic reports and the weather bulletins today have been painting very bleak pictures of life in the UK for anyone out on the motorway system by necessity.



1  I tried hard to mutate scuttlebutt into cuttlefishbutt but I'm not sure it was ever going to work.
2  A pleasant change from his crazed attempts to damage Jamie Lee Curtis in "Blue Steel" back in 1990!
3  I've been reminded of him by some of the music I've been re-ripping to MP3 as it was his BBC Radio London Fresh Garbage show that introduced me to a lot of very fine music in the early 1970s.
4  aka WUBI (I gather). It installs Ubuntu as a file under Windows, and then sets up dual-boot: you can run the operating system on your computer "almost exactly" (I assume there's a performance hit) as if it were fully installed, without touching your existing Windows setup. Sounds quite cool. In fact, it sounds remarkably like the way Virtual Acorn can be run under Windows.