They just don't sing 'em like they used to.

Apr 2, 2005 | | 0 comments |

Showing my age here. You know you've reached "that" age, when you listen to the radio and think "What the hell is this shit?"
Now granted, music over the last 5 years or so has generally become insipid guitar-rock and ballad, but even so - they just don't sing 'em like they used to.
This came about because as I was doing some work on my PC today, Winamp in random mode selected "Shout" by Tears For Fears. Great track. That made me go and find Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Those first 7 or 8 high synth notes made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
There's a few tracks that are so instantly recognisable by the first couple of notes. Relax (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) is one, and Midnight Radio (Taffy) is another. In fact, with Relax, you don't need more than a couple of seconds to know what it is.
Yet today, this insipid drivel that passes for music is so bland, so same-y, so alike that I can listen to the radio all day and not remember a single track - they're all the damn same. My music collection pretty much came to a grinding halt in the mid 90's. Never mind the music companies bleating about MP3s killing off their sales. It's crap music that's killed the sales. The only CDs I buy now are DJ Mixes, Trance and Techno.

I'm only 35. I guess "music from my day" is the 1980's then. I have nearly 2Gb of MP3s from the 80's. Less than 400Mb from the 90's, and nothing since 2000.

Eeesh.

Shock Newsflash !

Mar 31, 2005 | | 0 comments |

The U.S. intelligence community was "simply wrong" in its assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities before the U.S. invasion, according to a panel created to study those failures and recommend corrections to prevent them in the future.
"We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," said a letter from the commission to "President" B*sh. "This was a major intelligence failure.".

The Iraq Survey Group -- set up to look for weapons of mass destruction or evidence of them in the country -- issued a final report saying it saw no weapons or no evidence that Iraq was trying to reconstitute them. No. Really? I'd never have guessed. I'm in shock and awe that I (see my blog from Feb 2003 before he even invaded) and most of the rest of the world was right all along. I mean really. Who'd have thought that B*sh, upstanding retard that he is, would have lied to us about something so important. It's just - I'm speechless. And for the Americans reading this blog, that's called "sarcasm" - look it up.

The commission's report said the principal cause of the intelligence failures was the intelligence community's "inability to collect good information about Iraq's WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions rather than good evidence."

Erm. No. The principal cause was the warmonger so desperate for a war that he had to fabricate evidence to get it. So now even B*sh's own people are saying he was a liar, and that the whole Iraq was was based on lies. How much more evidence does America need to impeach this loon?
If you set the bar for impeachment at a blowjob in the oval office, then surely taking the country to war on fabricated evidence and lies is worthy of the death penalty? At the absolute bare minimum, B*sh should be tried for being a war criminal.

Terry Shiavo has finally died.

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Thank God. Now maybe we can hear less about it on the news.
It's clear where CNN come down on this debate. They spent 5 minutes demonising Michael Shiavo this morning, and allowed some priest to speak on TV calling him a cold-hearted killer.
What do these people not understand? That facts are simple : she's been brain-dead for 15 years. If she didn't show improvement after 1 year, 15 years is going to make no difference. Her husband has had her best interests at heart since the beginning yet her parents have insisted that she be kept alive with zero quality of life. Michael Shiavo has started pushing for an autopsy now to try to prove to everyone that he was right all along and guess what? Surprise surprise - the parents aren't so hot on the idea now. Because they now realise that when the truth comes out, they will be the ones who will be demonised. They'd rather keep her husband as the villain and the only way to do that is to get in the way of an autopsy now.
I think we've got another Ed Smart on our hands here - I think her parents are in it for the money and have very little regard for their daughter. I think they're milking it for all its worth to reap financial gain from it. I'm positive that if Michael Shiavo had turned over custody to them along with the medical malpractice money he'd been using to fund her treatment, they'd have let her die a long time ago and taken off with the cash.
Time will tell if I'm right on this one or not. That's just how I see it. Hopefully the poor woman can rest in peace now.

Me likey PSP

Mar 30, 2005 | | 0 comments |

I'm getting used to this PSP lark. Having nabbed Dr. Who off Bit Torrent, I'm currently encoding it to work on the PSP. If the resulting file will fit on a memory card (and it should) I'll have something else to watch on the flight next week :-)

Old man winter is still kicking

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We woke up to 5 inches of snow on the ground this morning. So much for all the bulbs and flowers that had come out already :-(

RFID. No wait - contactless chips. No! Wait - it's....

Mar 29, 2005 | | 0 comments |

This is absolutely classic. Proof if proof were needed that governments consider the average citizen to be totally stupid.
The U.S. government has finally decided it won't use RFID tags in the passports it issues to millions of Americans in the coming years.
Instead, the government will use "contactless chips." Or "proximity chips," "contactless integrated circuits," , or even "contactless smartcards." In fact, the name will be anything but "RFID." That doesn't cover up the fact that the name might change but it is still an RFID chip.
The distinction is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security to bamboozle the public and confuse them. Many people associate the term RFID with radio chips that blab personal information indiscriminately. That is why Homeland Security is engaging in doublespeak, to dupe Americans into accepting RFID tags on their passports. The simple fact of the matter is that any identity thief will be able to lift an RFID-tagged passport holder's personally identifiable information with reader devices that can be purchased for less than $500. It doesn't matter what you call the chip.
This is the icing on the cake though : Homeland Security's Joseph Broghamer insisted that the contactless chips for ID documents are vastly different from RFID tags used in retail supply chains, because contactless chips must be held very close to a reader device to be activated and to transmit their data (of about 4 inches where other RFID tags can be read at distances up to 30 feet). Apparently then, this stuffed shirt has managed to invent radio waves that only travel 4 inches. Amazing!
Apparently, Broghamer "nearly fell out of his chair," when he read a Wired News report that the Homeland Security Department's employee ID card will include an RFID tag. "I never used the term 'RFID,'" said Broghamer, "I only used 'contactless chip' or 'proximity chip' to describe it."
Ah well that's OK then. As long as the name has changed, this scheme will be perfectly safe to put into passports.
I wonder if I could start a business manufacturing lead-lined tin-foil coated passport covers.....?

The Demise of TiVo

Mar 28, 2005 | | 0 comments |

TiVo has released the first in a series of new advertising tools today. Basically, if you try to skip an advert now, it fills 25% of the screen with a popup balloon type advert.

This begs a couple of questions:
1. If I'm fast-forwarding through an advertisement, isn't that a clear indication I'm not interested in the product and therefore unlikely to press a button asking for more information?
2. Aren't popup adverts the spawn of Satan on the internet, the number one cause of complaints? And given that popup adverts sell nothing (nobody is stupid enough to click on them), why do TiVo think this annoying advertising technique will work on their boxes?
3. Do these people not learn? I guess not.

This decision was obviously made by a CEO or VP or someone high enough up in TiVo land to be so out-of-touch with reality that they seriously believe this is A Good Thing. This will inevitably be the same person, who in a couple of months time as their subscriber levels start plummetting, will ask "why are people leaving?" That's the typical MO for a VP. It's one of the prerequisites for being in that position - you must be dead from the neck up and have an inherent ability to ignore and piss off everyone below you in the company, whilst steadfastly pursuing a course which you (and only you) think is the right way. As a VP you must never ever listen to your employees or engineers. Yes - this is the beginning of a slump for TiVo. I just hope Charlie Egen doesn't get the same idea and pollute our Dish DVR with the same crap.

Sony PSP - technological porn

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To cut to the chase, I got an extremely early birthday present on saturday - a Sony PSP.
This thing is almost too hard to describe. It's technological porn that can play movies, games, music and show photos. 1.8Gb removable drive and up to 2Gb on memory sticks. Great screen, great interface, great layout. To coin popular terminology, this thing is "the shit."

Vive le Bit Torrent

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Bit Torrent comes to the rescue again. The new Dr. Who is being screened on the BBC back in England every sunday now. Being in America, we're likely never to see it. Without BitTorrent that is. I hopped online tonight and sucked a copy of the first episode off the torrents, stuffed it on a CD and played it in our miracle DVD player. Sweet.
The new series is great - way better than anything I caught of the last 3 or 4 series. Billie Piper is surprisingly good as the assistant, and a lot more of a babe than any of the more recent efforts. The Dr. is awesome.
Best line from the first episode : "If you're from space, how come you sound like you're from the North?"