jetpack technology

Monday, May 29, 2006

Have you seen how many programmes there have been on telly recently about Da Vinci and the holy grail and all the accompanying bollocks? There was one on ITV last night, about three hours of it on Channel 5 this afternoon and then even the BBC finally lowered itself to cashing in on the craze in an hour long programme tonight. I had channel 5 on this afternoon, scoffing at the ramblings of a madman who somehow looked at a painting by Poussin, and convinced himself it was full of hidden meanings and pentagrams (though I don't think he actually decided what any of it is supposed to be telling us). Here's a page explaining the whole convoluted preposterous theory, all extrapolated from the lines of the two staffs in the picture. See if it makes any sense to you. When I did A level geography we studied the work of a guy called Christaller who suggested that settlements naturally arrange themselves in geometric patterns and hexagons etc, just because of the hierarchy of villages, towns and cities with increasing size and influence. I don't recall any conspiracy theories about Holy relics or Leonardo... Thankfully all of these TV programmes have all pretty much come to the conclusion that it's all a daft fantasy, though I'm sure there are plenty of people that are convinced it's all true.....

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this new broadband thing is a double edged sword. My connection is only one meg speed which I expect is the new dial-up but it seems perfectly adequate for me. The downside is a modem that switches off before windows is booted so when you try to connect, windows says the modem is not found. Apparently this can be fixed by updating USB drivers (woosh, over my head) and tweaking the BIOS (could risk that maybe). Also when connecting, it gets stuck on "verifying username and password" which according to the support peopple in India requires the TCP/IP stack to occasionally be reset, which I've actually learned to do (so this has been an educational experience) though I'm not sure you should have to do it every single day. I've downloaded a little prog which does all the command line stuff for you, but I suspect it still requires a restart afterwards which then means it's touch and go whether the modem will stay on or go back to sleep when you need it - grrrr! I didn't even blog about the installation instructions which were via a nice flash wizard but didn't actually do the job, which also required several phonecalls to India. They seem to be extremely slow at reading out the instructions, as if they're hard to read - maybe they can't afford computers and they're actually printed on the side of a passing airship and they have to grab their binoculars and wait for it to float past the window again at each stage of the process - that's certainly how it seems when it takes twenty minutes for them to talk you through a process which you already tried (without success) and only took thirty seconds to do. At one stage the lady told me to take my computer to an engineer because the modem installation didn't work. When I asked her if we could try to do the installation manually she said casually "well yes, we could try that...." Gah! Fortunately I'm not a complete technophobe and do have same vague concept of what needs doing and how to do it. I feel sorry for the non-geeky types out there like my mother who would end up tearing out their hair.... (though luckily my brother does this stuff all day so she can phone London instead of Mumbai)

oh and thank goodness for bit torrent - I just hope I don't get into trouble for breaking the ISP rules on fair usage

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Friday, May 26, 2006

now I've got broadband it's much easier to promote my music online - not that I often bother, but I've uploaded a promo video I did a while back

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

well Shahbaz is gawn - which is a shame. He was infuriating and fascinating to watch - so completely dysfunctional yet also amusing. Having a reasoned linear conversation with him must be like trying to eat jelly with a fork, or herd cats. (I've known a few people like that - I have one friend that will often ask a question and then when you answer it, he not only interrupts you but also changes the subject - which is exasperating as you can imagine). I'll miss the late night live streams when he was all alone and talking to himself and the camera, it was like some odd/genius Samuel Beckett play. If I'd known he was going to leave today I would have taped it last night for posterity. It seems I was wrong about Pete - he does have Tourette's - I guess the zany act was an attempt to mask the nervous tics when he was at his most agitated, and who can blame him. He's probably done a great thing for fellow sufferers everywhere by increasing awareness and understanding, despite the papers trying to suggest he should never have been put in the house. Having said that, Shahbaz probably should never have been put in there having other, more serious issues. It was fun to see people trying to deal with him and reason with him, but also depressing and scary to see how someone's thought processes can be so deranged, that getting through to him must be so completely futile and circuitous. It must be like wrestling with a huge slimy eel.... amongst another umpteen similes I could list. It's going to be like a completely different show now, as if it's started all over again.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

God I hate those reviewers on Late Review/the culture show/the broadsheets. They're so tragically middle class and pretentious. I don't think they even know or understand much about the things they review, they just love to intellectualise and namedrop, and use "the arts" as just another respectable lifestyle accessory - a bunch of hangers-on who don't actually do a whole lot except ride on the coat tails of the people that really do something constructive. Having a dinner-party in their suburban semi in the home counties and chattering all night isn't enough for them. I just saw some patronising posh bird on the telly called Verity strolling around a music festival saying how useless they are because "you can't really hear all the detail of what's happening on stage" and you'd be better off listening at home - doh, she really doesn't have a clue. Yesterday the bourgeois talking heads were reviewing some indie-pop band on the Late Review and Will Self was one of the guests and he said how preposterous it was to sit around and intellectualise something that is for young people to dance to. I remember Neil Tennant of the pet shop boys saying how useless and incredibly snooty the broadsheets are when it comes to reviewing pop music and he's so right - I read them just for a laugh sometimes. There's a show on radio 3 called mixing it where two presenters sit and discuss the latest music like a couple of extra-terrestrials who really don't seem to get any of it but try their damn hardest to sound like they do.They remind of me the english teachers at school that would get all earnest and precious about Shakespeare and George Eliot - ugh! At least those teachers knew what they were talking about.... Like Frank Zappa said, writing about music (and talking, presumably) is like dancing about architecture - so true

.....rant mode off - phew!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

what is it with all the ads for fangled air fresheners these days? there's a new one which plugs in, has a fan and changes the scent every 45 minutes, and the ads prey on that consumerist paranoia of making some kind of olfactory/status faux-pas which could result in you being ostracised from the rest of the shoppaholic society - just because your home doesn't emit the right level of perfume. It's all a bit sad really. Where will it end? I expect there'll be an Ambi-pur air-conditioning system which pumps industrial chemicals into your home and even has blinking lights to indicate the exact level of toxicity and wasted energy... I'm sure drD could do a very satirical spoof in his own inimitable style....

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Friday, May 19, 2006

well it's Big Bro time again. I really didn't feel like travelling today so decided to stay in the fens till tomorrow where I know I can get TV reception for the first night. Once again they've picked a right bunch of characters - but not as hateful as I thought last year. I was so horrified by them on the first night I wanted to drop a bomb on the whole lot of them. I'm wondering how long that Pete can keep up his zany Jim Carrey act, and I imagine it's very annoying to be around. I suspect he doesn't really have tourette's syndrome which is probably not that amusing to people who really do - we'll find out I'm sure. Maybe tourette's is the least of his troubles.....

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

my mate alex used to have a convertible Skoda - if you can imagine that. He even formed a band a wrote a song about it. You can see the promo video they made here - please bear in mind it was made in 1989

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still stranded out in the fens - but tonight I went out for a walk at about midnight. Coming home I heard an eerie noise in the hedge then one of these flew out - that's the second one I've seen within about a mile

Big brother starts again tomorrow - I'll be glued to the telly of course. Not sure where I'll be but I hope there'll be bearable TV reception - grrr!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

well it's 3:30am and I can't sleep, possibly because I didn't get up till 3pm yesterday - though it's an improvement on 5pm the day before. I'm still at the parents' place and kind of stranded. I was all geared up to go home yesterday but my dad's hurt his leg and is unable to do the 90 minute drive to Cambridge and back. I was pretty annoyed which is wrong of me because it's not his fault - but I hid it well (I think). The plan is to try again tomorrow but I heard my dad get up in the night to put ice on his leg which doesn't bode well. I'm not sure how or when I'm going to get back home, and I really want to. I may just have to phone a friend to come pick me up, or failing that risk taking a taxi and train (which would be problematic with my annoying condition). On top of that is the worry of how my mum and dad are going to manage to do their shopping if my dad still can't drive for a while. They only moved into their house a few months ago, and I told them they should buy somewhere with shops within walking distance for just such an eventuality, especially considering they're getting on in years (aren't we all). Anyway they decided to buy a house that's 5 miles from the shops and quoted saint Sarah Beeny saying "well you can never have everything you want, you always have to compromise on something".... ho hum. One thing I'm conscious of now my parents are getting older is to prevent them from making silly mistakes and decisions. They do seem far less sensible as time goes on. It's a shame my brother lives so far away and can't help his family of invalids. He's in California right now training for a pilot's license so that's even less help! Gosh, what a cheerful post this is. I just couldn't sleep so needed something to do until I feel sleepy again, so feel free to ignore this post....

at least I managed to have a short bike ride today in the sunshine, and finish another french story - oh and bought some more stuff on ebay (I really should stop!)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

apparently you can make your own copies of vinyl records if you have the right tools and materials, though I wonder how good they sound. I'd love to try it. One of the funniest things in that article is the people getting their knickers in a twist about piracy... oh dear

Here's a related gadget which could be a lot of fun to play with

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well it's my last night here at the parents' place. It's been a nice little holiday but I haven't done nearly as much as I intended, mostly because I haven't felt that good. I didn't even wake up till 5pm today, despite my parents having visitors and them inadvertantly walking into the room while I was sleeping (though I did have my earplugs in). Fortunately I had the quilt covering me too... So, what have I achieved? Well, I installed a TV card on my mum's computer as there's no portable TV in the office - it's mostly for my benefit when I'm here - got to have the TV on in the background at all times, it's a bad habit of mine. What else? I laid in the sun on two days thus going from my normal lilywhite colour to lilywhite with a hint of rose. (Isn't it annoying that when the nice weather comes, you're usually far too pale to be seen in public enjoying the warm sun on your skin, so you have to develop a bit of colour in private before you can be seen in full view - plus, being a bit ginger I'm a posterboy for skin cancer but I'm pretty careful and cautious.) Hopefully there'll be more nice weather before I return to my usual etiolated shade (word of the day). I didn't study any french which was pretty much a daily habit for the last few months, didn't write any music, and only went for one short walk and a bike ride, ho hum. Also I didn't meet up with my new MSN buddy though hopefully we can do that soon. I'm quite looking forward to getting back to my place and the normal humdrum routine, I tend to feel at my best under those conditions and able to get more done. Plus there are several ebay items waiting for me there ;)

One chore I'm not looking forward to when I get home is having my teeth filled and generally tinkered about with, plus I've got to pester the landlord once again to get the TV reception fixed. It better be back to normal for the launch of Big Brother on Thursday or I will not be pleased!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

I've been studying French for the last couple of months. I want to get really good at it, and the french language section of is very handy with lots of lessons and resources for practising. (I've even been able to read a book of short stories in French, it's just a shame they always have to be so pretentious and existential but I guess that's a french tradition). The webmaster of that section is an american woman by the name of Laura K. Lawless - which makes her sounds like some kind of wanton and ruthless videogame character, but I'm sure she's not. Makes me chuckle to see her name anyway, I hope you don't mind Laura if you ever read this. I do appreciate your hard work and especially finally understanding the difference between its and it's.... (she's a wiz at lots of languages btw, I realise those are not french words)

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I really must look into getting broadband when I get back home. I'm housesitting for the parents this week and leeching their broadband connection for all it's worth. They only pay 14.99 a month and I already pay 12.99 for dial-up, so I'm sure I can afford it provided there are no hidden costs to setting up. I think we're reaching a point where broadband is becoming the norm and not just a luxury for rich geeks so I think it's time I got with the programme so to speak. Many people I speak to are surprised I don't have it already seeing as I spend so much time on the net, but I tell them that dial-up helps me fill my day - which is true. I remember reading about a study which showed that slow-loading sites/pages resulted in more activity and deeper exploration than those which loaded instantly, which they referred to as the striptease effect - which is interesting because at the time I was interested in web design and pageloading was considered very important. I guess it's less important now that people have faster connections. I wonder how long it'll be till there's a two-tier internet of sites that require fast connections and those that don't....

Anyway, I've downloaded a load of videos from - the javascript trick with Firefox doesn't seem to work anymore - I guess they're always trying to outdo the downloaders, but there's a site called which converts URLs of shockwave videos to downloadable files automatically - and they update their code too, to counter the changes made by Youtube etc. intended to prevent people downloading content. It's a bit haphazard getting the download link to work, it seems to depend on the order you paste the URL, select the download site and click the button. I've had to do it several times to get it to work but it does if you're persistent. Also I've been downloading lots of techno/dance podcasts to listen to when I get home. There are some good ones at beatsinspace, beatfreax, the beat oracle, drrty new york and big beats - in case you want to check out some full length dj mixes. There's so much stuff to listen to on the net that it's hard to appreciate it all and not get kind of blasé about it, but I think that's true about music generally these days - everyone with a computer can now be a recording artist - including me, as you might know!

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

well this is my new blog - almost five years to the day that I started my last one. I've decided to ditch that one for various reasons. The main one is that someone known to me in the real world (whom I prefer to avoid completely) was taking an unhealthy interest in my blog which was causing all kinds of rumours and speculation and general annoyance for me - which is no fun. Plus I was getting uncomfortable with the thought that five years of my life was preserved on the net for all to read, and the more people you tell about your blog the less you feel able to say, and for me the whole point of a blog is being able to say anything - because it's anonymous, or can be as anonymous as you like. So, wahey I'm freeeeee!!! I can say anything! There are several things I might have blogged about recently but didn't because I hadn't decided when or where to start the new one. I can't remember what all those things are so I'll just carry on and post things as they occur to me.... I must remember to go take down the old site at some point, which will undoubtedly result in more gossip but for the last time hopefully. Or maybe I'll just leave it up, frozen in time, and people can speculate about what became of me

gosh have you seen what time it is? I already went to bed once but the cat woke me up just as I was dropping off and I couldn't sleep after. I then let her out so will have to wait up another hour or so to let her in again, ho hum. I'm so good to her, I indulge her every whim...

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