2014 — 17 June: Tuesday

Fingers still crossed, which is making typing harder than with Apple's "Swift" if my mad Apple fan in NZ can be believed. I hate1 waiting. I could have walked here from the Solent depot by this time. Unladen.

Parcel progress

I need a soothing cuppa. Actually, I recall Christa driving me down there to collect a single 84MB SCSI hard drive in 1989 for use inside my beloved Archimedes RISC OS box. An awful lot has happened in the quarter of a century since then...

I have to wonder...

... what the Venn diagram of Times Literary Supplement readers set alongside 'consumers' of Dan Brown would look like. It's not an issue addressed in Shermer's wonder-full 1997 book...

Shermer book

Could it be too arcane? I haven't read anything by Mr Brown, though I did watch a risible film about the cod of da Vinci (or something equally fishy). I found Kevin Smith's "Dogma" vastly more believable.

Although the Grauniad...

... is often wrong about science fiction (who isn't?) I was delighted to be reminded of Shayol:

Perhaps the highest insanity of all was achieved in Cordwainer Smith's A Planet Named Shayol. Shayol is a prison planet where inmates are colonised by local life forms called dromozoa. The dromozoa confer immortality, but also cause people to sprout extra organs and limbs — noses, heads, strings of torsos trailing like railroad cars — which are harvested for transplant. The largest feature in the landscape is "an enormous human foot, the height of a six-storey building". As the prison warden, an artificially evolved cow, explains, the foot is Go-Captain Alvarez, the man who discovered the planet. "After 600 years, he's still in fine shape." It gets crazy from there.

Sandra Newman in Grauniad

"Highest insanity"? I think not. What would Dr. Paul Linebarger say? :-)

Another too-frequent expression of dear ol' Dad was "Everything comes to he who waits". My parcels have just arrived in neat time for "lemonses".

Cue a burst...

... of activity. And, a couple of hours later, all is once again2 dual-screen desktop sweetness and higher-resolution light.

I haven't yet decided whether to connect the 60" Kuro plasma screen at the other end of the living room to the third output of the new graphics card. I'm currently leaning in the direction of not doing so. With the latest Oppo Blu-ray player able to play the A/V files held on my NAS boxes I don't really have any need to play stuff from the PC on that screen. Meanwhile, I think I've earned my lunch.

Speaking of...

... risible films, I let the Humax record one I'd not heard of a night or so back. It was by the chap who made that "Sixth — I see dead people — Sense" tosh a few years ago. This more recent one was called "The Happening" and I felt I really did quite well to last almost 10 minutes before scrubbing it from the hard drive. I returned, gratefully, to "The Newsroom" Season #1 and polished that off instead.

I also read my first-ever Nicholas Sparks book ("The Lucky One") to see if I could understand how he's sold so many copies of his books. I remain puzzled.

As I tidy up...

... in the wake of the recent arrivals, I note that although the new screens lack the 4-port USB2 hubs that the Dell screens offered, they do each contain stereo speakers activated purely via the hdmi and DisplayPort connections I'm using. I've now tried these and find I can't really agree with the marketing twit who ludicrously described them thus ...

...accentuated by room-dominating audio
via twin 3W speakers.

... though I suppose they could potentially have some use for quiet, late-night (or, far more likely, early-morning) listening should Peter or his g/f be trying to sleep upstairs during one of their visits.

Having forgotten...

... to pop the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi PCI card back in, I've just rectified that and then watched it reload a bunch of drivers and then go on to fetch a bunch of Win8.1 updates. I conclude that I must have got tired of it doing its auto-update things at some point in the past and knocked it on the head. After all, I only use it for what I would have thought would be the simplest of tasks: output an optical SP/DIF signal. Does that really need 52MB of code? Crikey!

I caught...

... the last three or four minutes of a radio interview with Peter de Rome, who revealed he now has leukemia, sadly. Interesting chap. I bought the BFI edition of his films a couple of years ago, so I recognised his voice (and some of the anecdotes) as soon as I heard him. His films do little for me, but I greatly admired his spirited approach to Life and blithe disregard for social norms.


I was amused to find, on regenerating the Windows Experience Index with this new graphics card, that BlackBeast's overall score is now 7.8 (still pulled down by the graphics processing, in other words). Still, that's up from 7.2 back in March. (And 5.9 back in December 2011 when my spinning rust was holding down the performance.)



1  Dear ol' Dad used to tell me I must learn to "contain my soul in patience". I never did.
2  Though not before finding out — the hard way — that the venerable hdmi-to-DVI lead that I first used back in the days of the BBC's initial satellite TV hi-def test transmissions cannot go "faster" than 1920x1200. No matter; both new screens came fully-armed with hdmi, DisplayPort, and DVI-D leads.