2012 — 12 May: Saturday

Since my visit to Ian, I've been pondering the joys and benefits that, I assume, would accrue if I were to hook both my desktop 24" monitors to BlackBeast to double1 the screen real estate. The graphics card I'm now using has three digital video outputs (DVI-D, Displayport, and hdmi) and I have enough connector 'dongles' in an HD TV kit to let me use all three... It would also force me to tidy up the physical desktop on which the screens sit. This, alone, might both make the exercise worthwhile and prevent it from occurring :-)

I've also been wondering where best to house the laptop and the Tablet devices, both of which are excellent and eminently portable media playback devices. Exhausted by the strain of all this cerebral activity, I now (08:26) need a cuppa, of course, and should probably think about getting dressed and having some breakfast. The sun is currently shining and the "Sounds of the 60s" is chuntering away.

Dear Mr Hacker

Judging by the "Required but not found" (Error 404) entries in my server log, you have made five attempts this month to inject randomly-named HTML files on to my external server. I assume these would then be used to launch some nefarious malware attack. Do give up, why don't you?

I've also uncovered a potentially troubling weakness in Mr Postie's methods. One of the envelopes thrust through my letter box had somehow drifted underneath my cloakroom door and was hiding behind it. Since I rarely use that room, the letter (my annual P60 tax thingy2 from IBM, as it happens) lay neglected for (I assume) nearly a week. Had it been something demanding action that would have been irritating.

This morning's crumpled votive offering is the first of three "little checkies"3 from unwicked Uncle ERNIE. Much more acceptable, and tax-free. I think I shall declare it time for my lemonses croissant and a cuppa. I've been busily extracting dust from an unfeasibly large number of lurking places. And it is, after all, now 11:11.

While looking for something...

... completely different — the small, flexible, vacuum attachment I bought for use with the full-size Dyson — I serendipitously re-discovered a long-lost little gem. (Though quite why it was obscured underneath one of my two old [but as-yet un-freecycled] flatbed scanners I don't even wish to speculate.) And on leafing through it (as one does in this delightful twilight retirement state of endless pottering) I was reminded that I'd mentioned what was (I assume) the Louise Brooks wig sported by the lovely Amanda Seyfried in last week's film "In Time".

Here's a sort-of example from said gem, which will have to do until I eventually re-discover the hiding place of my copy of Louise Brook's 1982 autobiography "Lulu in Hollywood" whose cover, I recall, also shows her haircut (one of 10 that supposedly changed the world):


Nice epitaph?

From Neil Gaiman's piece on Maurice Sendak:

Sendak, who died this week, did not make books for children. He just made books. His linework was elegant, sometimes even cute, but always honest. He was wise, and he never patronised any readers, adult or child. I devoured interviews with Sendak: he was a grumpy, Jewish, brilliant, wise contrarian and he didn't mellow as he aged. But then, he had never created mellow books. His coming out in 2008, age 80, was a final act of honesty.
Something Sendak once said is the epigraph of my next book. "I remember my own childhood vividly. I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them."

Neil Gaiman in The Grauniad

Quite so. [Pause] One doesn't want to bang on about MPs' expenses, but this is an interesting read. And it's a bit rich to learn it started in 1963 with Brigadier Martin Redmayne, the Tory's chief whip. What a fragrant club our leaders inhabit.

Speaking of banging on. Is there a polite way of telling cold-calling members of the God Squad to bugger off and bother somebody else? Just askin'.

Well, I've proved...

... that my laptop's analogue audio output is rather compromised by digital chaff, and its hdmi output is useless without an HDCP-compliant screen at the other end. Very tedious. My Tablet will at least output digital audio, with or without an active HDCP-compliant screen at the far end of the signal chain (after the mandatory two seconds respectful silence while the protocol handshakes up and down, of course). But the (Android) Tablet is most reluctant to venture outside its storage comfort zone and I can't squeeze hundreds of GB of data on to the 11GB or so left on the internal SD card. Maddening.

If forced to...

... I suppose I would probably be prepared to admit that I have some fairly obscure music recordings dotted around. Take minidisc r368, for example. I recorded it (according to the typeset label I've carefully stuck on to it) from BBC Radio 3 on 21st March, 2003. And I also have this tiny clipping from the "Radio Times":


Now, I'm extremely fond of the koto, so I thought I'd give my ears a rest from MP3s and fire up the ol' downstairs minidisc player. However, I've been listening to it for what? 30 minutes? 40 minutes? and — whatever else is on it — I've yet to encounter The Fujii. Still, it's some very laid-back largely instrumental chillout music of the sort Annie Nightingale used to go in for in the wee small hours of the night. I just wish I'd noted what I was recording, when I was recording it, dammit... that mild OCD rearing its head (as ever).



1  Last time I tried this particular trick (over five years ago) it was with the iMac (picture here) and was not that worthwhile as all my more useful apps then lived on an XP machine.
2  It amuses me to see that I'm paying more tax in retirement than my original gross income in the IT industry back in 1974. Specially as Brian Matthew is playing "Mr Taxman" by the Beatles as I type.
3  Recall the wonderful Zero Mostel in the equally wonderful film "The Producers" as he set about the arduous round of seductions of little old ladies to finance his sure-fire flop musical Springtime for Hitler.