Saturday 29 September 2012


In the seventies ,I remember ahving three channels and people complaining about the license fee mainly because of all the repeats on TV. Then we got Channel 4 and Channel 5 and people still complainesd about the lack of choice.

Then came satellite and people who complained about the license fee happily subscribed to Sky and pay TV  and still complained . Now we have Freeview and it's ironic that some of the most watched channels are crammed with repeats. Gold , Dave , Comedy Central all just contain repeats.

We also now have PVRs and people still complain there's nothing on TV , while happily watching re runs of "Only Fools And Horses" or "Two And A Half Men" (on my TV at the moment).

Boxed sets  of the DVDs sell like hot cakes , even "On The Buses" which must be one of the worst programs ever . Did you know Reg Varney was the first person in Britain to use an ATM ? YOu would have though they's have got somebody good to do it.

And then those Carry On Films , how come Sid James , Kenneth Cope and Bernard Bresslaw always got the girls ?

Anyway thats my thoughts on the subject and the Carry On Films did at least have some classics among their number (Screaming , Cleo and Up The Khyber).

Lottery Rage

Just in my local One Stop stop with some potatoes and cheese in my sopping basket and theres one woman serving . The guy in front then get's into a lecture about the best scratch cards to but before parting with another ten quid for a couple of them.

Meanwhile a copuple of charvers complete with pushchairs and squawking offspring stat getting naked because there's only 45 minutes left before the cut off time to put your lottery ticket  on resulting in irate exchanges going over my head , while me and the shop assistant attempt to contain our laughter.

I often here people in there , who "know people" who can guarantee a win on the lottery if you use the right system !!.

Well here's my observations on the lottery , this isnt to encourage or discourage , just the facts as I see them:

  • The only guarantee is that once a number has been drawn , it's won't appear again in that draw
  • For someone to win two million pounds , four million people have to lose a pound
And that's it

Still I am entertained by people claiming to have a cast iron system as they queue to casth their giro

Tuesday 18 September 2012

iPad on a Train

This is the first time I've tried to blog on a train with my iPad and blu tooth keyboard. It's a bit weird as theres a slight keyboard delay and the t key was sticking causing unwanted repetition. The keyboard case I got for the iPad is generally excellent and makes the iPad itself far more productive.

Tablets , by their nature , are good for browsing and watching and research but more difficult to actually do productive work on. While still getting used to the idea of not having a mouse but touching the screen for mousey type actions, I must say the iPad is very usable.

Charlie brooker described it as a "content deiver device" and a "twattometer" before deciding he could do without one.

I'm still in the very early stages of learning about it, but I only have an iPad 2 and its fast , responsive and easy to use. I have lots of complaints and narks about it but I have used it more in the month that I have had it that I did the Advent Vega in the 15 months that I had that.

It's an excellent e-reader and there are lots of free books avaiable , then you have Garage Band the app that persuded me to get one.

It's still early days but so far I am very impressed.

Just need Apple to accept the have faults and rectify them instead of pretending everything is perfect.

Seriously I would recommend one of these to anyone.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Do We Still Have Two Ears? Dre Says We Do!

Well at least Dr Dre thinks so , thouagh iPod Dock manufacturersseem to be going for a big ingle speakers . Music doesnt mater you would think.

I rememebr mono listening to singles on a Dansette , the coming of stereo my mums radiogram then my unit with two wired speakers that I could place anywhere. Then we had the short lived quadrophonic phase. The only one I ever saw was an accountant who bought a system and all he had to play was a couple of MFP albums !  Like spending ten grand on a home cinema system and only having The Blair Witch Project to demonstrate it in!!

I think it was Virgin who promoted quadrophonic as music for people with "four ears" . Pink Floyd had a device called the Azimuth Co-Ordinator which was a joystick device for controlling to position of sound within a four speaker system.

We now have 7.1 Home Cinema Systems for film , but music seems to be lucky to get stereo , when 5.1 mixes give the listener incredibly detailed sound . The first King Crimson album "Court of The Crimson King" sound phenomenal , enabling the listener to [ick out individual sounds while still enjoying the immersion of the whole experience.

Anyway while Apple were pushing white tiny in ear headphones , Dr Dre went the other way , with full on logoed headsets allowing the users to display their affiliation , and how much they have spent. Dr Dre has not released an album in ten years but his mentoring of the likes of 50 Cent and his very expensive exclusive Beats headphones are expanding musical and appreciation and his huge bank balance.

I won't be buying a pair but it is one of the music things that I do do approve of, far better than the enormous plague of single speaker iPod docks !

Oh I've just noticed this is my 100th post this year , I was wondering if I would make it . Although this was helped by my "Post A Day In May" thing.

Do I Have It In For Martin Brennan?

The Latest Brennan Box
Martin Brennan is behand a device to replace your CD collection . The advertisments contain pie charts of music types , eulogise the rainbow menus and goes ony about reclaiming your living room space. The advertising seems targetted at music lovers rather than the sort of people who spend Sunday in B&Q who are surely the real target audience.

The device id a CD player with a hard drive , space wide its the same as a hardback book.  I'm just wondering what happens if the CD or hard drive break down? Also , for me , a better option would be a portable hard drive and linked MP3 player. But you dont need anything otrg that Brennan;'s unit. It will record your CDs and let you play them back and store them in the garage or attic and give you loads of room for other stuff!!

Not sure how it copes with new releases , the database wont have "Take The Crown" by Robbie Williams on !! I'm sure this has been built in.

Anyway I don't have it in for him . The advertisements are still coming in , he has celebrity endorsement , and I hope hope he continues to sell his product.

I thinking the unit needs web connectivity , a decent visual interface or GUI and at the point his advertisements will stop annoyig me !!

His web site is here and if it's what you want , then it will be perfect for you!!

Never Ending Festival Year

High Bridge Stalls
Sunny , Deck Chairs and Bossa Nova
Yesterday I visited the second High Bridge Quarter Festval this is year. Very enjoyable and a great way of getting people into town. Face painting for kids , local shops such as RPM giving big discounts (I bought Graham Bonds "Holy Magick" limited edition for under £9!).

Street food from Zizzis , Dabbawal , and lots of others as well as knitted street art !
I've actually stared editing this  my iPad and blutooth keyboard, so apologies if  theres mistakes or odd things  about the post. It's a little odd using a keyboard and touch screen rather than a keboard and mouse. Although I've just remembered I bought some spare styli (is that the correct plural of stylus?) for my Samsung Note and am sure they will do for this. It's amazing how off track you can go without meaning to , all part of the inter connectedness of life and the world and things but I'm just going to dig out a stylus and see how that works!

Well just tried the stylus and its a great substitute for sausage fingers.

More Knitted Street Art
Knitted Street Art
But anyway back to the original point of the post. Yesterday I visited the second High Bridge Quarter Festival of the year , sampling street food , mingling with the thousands out , enjoying the sun , not enjoying the limpid bossa nove rhythms of a three piece band who were on but it was a great day and people were enjoying sitting on the NE1 deck
 chairs. Website here.

Fitzee Gets an Abyssinian Curry

Last week I cought the end of Newcastle's "World Cities Week" with a free Dave and Ansell Collins gig at Greys monument . Unfortunately due to eating in Whitby I couldnt sample any of the street foosd on offer. Far too full!! Information here , and here's Dave and Ansell Collins covering Bob Marley's Three Little Birds . A great evening:

Previous to that we'd had the Newcastle Bridges Festival which I missed due to being somewhere else , but again lots of things happening and details here.

We've already had several music festivals such as Summertyne , Mouth of Tyne , Noth Shields Fish Quay Festival, Hoults Yard Festival details of which can be found here , so an amazing year and it's still only September!!

And people wonder why I like living in Newcastle !!