2013 — 23 February: Saturday

My heel1 finally seems to be on the mend. Nasty things, large blisters, particularly when several layers of skin have all been abraded. Unintelligent design strikes again, in my opinion. Meanwhile, the reconfigured network is all behaving itself, and the faster broadband is something I could very easily get used to. Nationally, I get a "grade" of B- (64%) but globally I get a B+ (76%). When I quizzed Mr BT yesterday he asserted that there were basically two "grades" in the UK2 namely, up to 40Mbps and up to 80 Mbps. However, at my distance from the nearest cabinet, paying the extra for the higher tier would be very unlikely to deliver a proportionate increase.

Suits me; I'm a poor ol' pensioner after all.

Close study of the...

... small print in that neglected motherboard manual fails to reveal an eSATA connection, though I certainly had one on BlackBeast's previous (but, alas, ill-fated) motherboard. So I've been investigating external hard drive cases with a view to tucking my two now-spare 1TB SATA II drives into one (preferably with a USB3 connection) for an extra lump of backup storage. Alternatively, I could always fit my own eSATA back-panel adapter in the same way that I've just fitted a pair of USB3 front panel ports.

First, I shall fit another cuppa — it's a reasonably bright but -2C morning out there as I listen to the 08:00 news. I've been expecting the UK to lose its unwarranted 'AAA' credit status ever since I saw this...


... a little over three years ago. Meanwhile, the shadow chancellor in Brenda's loyal opposition is babbling away without answering a simple, repeated "How much would it cost?" question. Though he has just been pinned to implementing a "mansion tax", so that's the economy totally sorted. Phew!

For the record...

... I prefer the network diagram I've produced with "Network Magic" and a few dabs of help from Xara:


However, it turns out the new router can cook a diagram for me, too:

Tech Towers

I like to think...

... my vocabulary is pretty good, but "facialization" jolly nearly brought tears to my eyes.


Tea! Quickly! [Pause] Which reminds me, I was surprised to learn yesterday that my local water supply isn't guaranteed — unless first boiled — fit for consumption by people undergoing chemotherapy. I did wonder about the funny taste and smell. This from the chap who's just minutes ago chucked out his new(ish) little pack of tomatoes, unused, because they were richly covered in a web of grey filaments that would have needed more than a shave to deal with. The spore the merrier in my biological hotbed of a kitchen, it seems. Could have been a future penicillin, I suppose.

I find it hard to disagree with this:

But for all my easy-won goody goody-ness, I pretty much need to know that every last megacorp doing business in our land has paid every last penny they owe before we start boasting about having nailed Cool Cutz, or Headmasterz, or whatever hair-based pun adorns this chap's salon lintel.
Predictably, this isn't the line HMRC's Treasury overlords have gone with, as Treasury minister David Gauke once again suggested that tax avoiders have nowhere to hide. (Except in plain sight, as some of Britain's most successful companies.) Are you convinced by Mr Gauke? I can't help feeling that as a former corporate tax lawyer, married to a corporate tax lawyer, and a chap who used taxpayers' money for stamp duty on his second home move, he is somewhat miscast as the Simon Wiesenthal of hunting down tax avoiders.

Marina Hyde in Grauniad

Shame has no part to play in the UK's best of all possible worlds, it seems.

Amazing! Perhaps I can become a quadrocopter pilot?

I remain unconvinced...

... by the new, fatter, format of "The Comics Journal".3 However, Issue #302 (which is about 670 pages) has just been delivered. It features a final interview with Maurice Sendak...

The Final Interview

... so who could possibly resist? I have no idea how many times I was required to read Where the Wild Things are to Peter, but I do know we were both word-perfect before he started at school.

Oh, bother!

I had a sneaking feeling this would happen. When, in a moment of weakness, I allowed the Windows Media Centre pack to apply an update last Monday I ended up having to kill the process when it started gorging itself on my MP3 collection. Not the (relatively harmless) Media Player but the software it lives inside, as it were. Now I've just found, bought, and downloaded the follow-up to an entertaining sort-of-folk collection — Rogue's Gallery — which has initiated said harmless player, which has once again taken it upon itself to start "Updating media library". I think the easiest thing to do is leave it to get on with that and then just expunge the humongous XML file it will undoubtedly have generated, but which casual inspection already suggests is littered with errors and mismatches.

So far, for example, the clueless crapware appears to be happy to associate about 90% of my MP3 files with the same artwork from that African jazz harpist (Dorothy Ashby) whose album I downloaded a few weeks ago. Make that 95+% <Sigh> As usual with such bugs, one could sit and puzzle very hard about how to make it do this deliberately.

It can take me...

... ages to realise something that most people already knew all along. It wasn't until listening to "Loose Ends" with Clive Anderson a few minutes ago that I belatedly discovered that the Peter Bradshaw who wrote the hilarious and brilliant parody of Alan Clark's diaries is the same chap who went on to become the film critic of the Grauniad. The thing about his film reviews (or, at least, it was when I still bothered to read them in the printed edition that I gave up a few months after Christa died) was that if he said something was good, I knew I'd hate it, and if he panned something, I knew it was going to be worth watching.

More than three hours later, the MP3 analysis is (as nearly as I can estimate by sneaking a peak at "hidden" files within the midden that is where Windows keeps its "must hide it from the users" data) almost half complete.

Artwork cache

Good job I'm a patient chap with lots of other interests.



1  Badly-blistered for just over a week now.
2  Apart from four towns where the optical fibre extends right into your house rather than to a street cabinet.
3  Until July 2007 (when, in light of Christa's terminal diagnosis, some of my hobbies suddenly struck even me as trivial) I had a long-running subscription to it.