2013 — 10 January: Thursday

Half a grapefruit isn't really quite enough for breakfast1 so, having sliced up the whole thing, I shall persevere. It will only go dry otherwise. And until I've engulfed it (as it were) there's not much else I can do. They are a bit unwieldy (though not as consumer-unfriendly as pineapple, I suppose).

On my little list today is the paying-in of Uncle ERNIE's welcome cheque, which arrived unusually early this month. I wonder where I've put it?

Life's little coincidences...

... keep piling up. I've just ordered the John Heartfield book I saw on this chap's blog, after having read his review of it on Spiked. Just a little further down his blog was a title by Andrew Martin, who's just finished his stint for today as the guest on "Essential Classics". I was very relieved that his choice of music by Gavin Bryars was not the appalling Jesus' Blood.

A growing problem

Politicians must all be innumerate, I guess.

I was quite accustomed to reading that the U.S. has enormous reserves of coal, "enough for over 500 years at present rates of consumption." I had just purchased my first electronic hand-held calculator, and one of the first calculations I did using the new calculator was to calculate the life expectancy of U.S. coal for some modest growth rate. When I punched the numbers into the calculator, the answer came up "46 years."
The world is full of people who talk about endless growth in the rates of consumption of resources. This growth shortens the life-expectancy of the resources enormously (for example, from 500 to 46 years). These same people assure the public that there is no need to worry because the resource will last "500 years at present rates of consumption." This is intellectually fraudulent, yet I knew of no one who was or is calling attention to this fraud. I now had a mission.

Al Bartlett in Chapter One of his book

I also recommend Eli Maor's 1994 book e: the story of a number...

I've been such a...

... very good chap all this year so far (!), I've just decided to treat myself to a little late Xmas reward:

WD Live TV media streamer

It's basically a smaller, neater variant of my Netgear media streamer that seems to offer a chance of successful audio/video streaming from BlackBeast2 (whereas the Netgear has always fallen at that particular hurdle). I suspect it's pretty much identical in functionality to the Media PC 'variant' build available for a Raspberry Pi, but solves the remote control side of things. Watch this cyberspace.

If studios are going to persist...

... in their stupid habit of wastefully shipping Blu-ray and DVD versions of their new titles, I can only wish more would take the route traversed by today's delivery of a Canadian Alliance release of another "based on true events" film by the chap (Andrew Jarecki) who made the memorable documentary Capturing the Friedmans a few years back:


It's a single physical disc, but a Blu-ray on one "side" and a DVD on t'other. A neat solution even though, as it's a Zone A title, I will have to dust off the Oppo BD player (which I've left set on Zone A and with a disc always loaded — Mike's tip3 as a way to circumvent its tray-opening glitch) to watch it.

Time for a spot of lunch on this Grade A grey day, methinks. [Pause] A tasty deviation from my habitual salad (which I cordially loathe) saved me from chucking out my second consecutive little box of four eggs unused when I opted for poached eggs on toast. Good call. Two down, two to go.

Being a careful...

... sort of chap, I've taken the precaution — several days before the device itself is beamed aboard Technology Towers — of downloading the new toy's latest firmware, user manual (220 pages? gimme a break!), and Release Notes. The Notes make it abundantly clear that Western Digital is still aggressively bug-fixing and fine-tuning the features which (I have to say) is quite impressive compared with the moribund nature of the online support for my Netgear device. It's considerably dinkier than the Netgear, too:

WD Live TV socketry

Greed is good?

I see one of my former banks (RBS) is expected to be fined even more than another of my former banks (Barclays) has already had to cough up for being caught "cheating" when fixing LIBOR rates. I don't generally like to regard myself as a vindictive or violent chap, but... I would still very much enjoy seeing some bankers' heads stuck on spikes rather than watching them escape punishment with their bonuses mostly intact. To resurrect a telling phrase from the not too distant past, this is surely another example of the unacceptable face of Capitalism.

Meanwhile, pausing only long enough to read a text message reminder about tomorrow's car "repair" appointment (I just happened to be within earshot of the mobile when it arrived — I can easily go for a week without even glancing at the thing) I nipped out to pay in Uncle ERNIE's cheque, and somehow returned via Asda clutching three attempts...


... to get back in touch with my inner child. Cost less than one new-release Blu-ray, so I'm not complaining.

It's late. I'm tired. G'night.



1  Though it makes for a refreshing change from all the healthy cardboard cereal.
2  All my attempts to persuade video to escape from BlackBeast into the Kuro plasma have been thwarted very effectively by the "legacy ports" issue my graphics card has with such ancient technology as DVI and hdmi. And I cannot for an instant countenance the bizarre idea of giving up one of my two PC desktop screens.
3  His own method — his identical Oppo having developed exactly the same problem — involves a well-calculated knock on the front of the tray at the correct time. I prefer the less physical approach.