Friday, November 30, 2007

CAPTCHA with a conscience???

I'm a geek really. A gear geek and a bit of a computer geek as well.

So the story on Techworld about a Quicktime exploit allowing nasty people to do things to your computer if you're running firefox was of passing interest. Much more interesting was the CATCHA image at the bottom for weeding out spam comments from bots! Not only does it have something political to say, which is an interesting and new viral idea spreading idea, but I love the logo - "Stop spam. Read books." It almost sounds like a bored mantra of someone who writes captcha code for a living :)

Music - the stack needs a new EL84 for the valve channel (arse!) but the solid state is good so tonight I'm going to give the new Warwick NEO cabs a baptism of fire in O'Neills - come and see Janeiro at their best, we'll rip the roof off again!

Just do be careful at the front of the stage. Jay usually ends up with at least one woman who crashes into his lap (not that he isn't used to it)...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bit the bullet, did the deed: now 20 kilos lighter!

It's not quite as it seems... I've traded in all the cabs I owned (1 4x10 Warwick cab, 1 1x15 Warwick cab, and a 2x10 Trace Elliot cab) and bought two Warwick NEO PRO cabinets to replace the 4x10 and 1x15 cabs - and they weigh masses less! As an example, the old 4x10 weighed 41Kg(!!!) and the new one weighs 28Kg... and handles 200W more power (nice.)

I can safely say they sound fantastic. And I did all this in Brighton at GAK - the title links to them - and they were friendly, enthusiastic and didn't bat an eyelid helping me get the three cabs into the shop from the car 2 streets up, and getting the new cabs back to the car. Top fellas.

I just woke up in the morning, looked up some prices (I've been lusting after these cabs for a while!) and decided to bite the bullet and finally do the job.

Incidentally - on the geek front - just got a proper conference call on Skype working (fixed the video banding problem with newest S3 drivers for my laptop) and it's wicked! Got the whole family on with a reliable skype link!


Friday, November 23, 2007

Laughing my arse off!

I heard about the lost child-support database CDs when the story first broke and was open-mouthed for about 10 seconds until I started laughing... I realised pretty quickly what this meant for a government obsessed with holding as much information as possible about us, and their precious (apparently terrorism-beating) ID card idea.

Now, I don't have kids, and thank god: my bank account details, national insurance, etc should be safe - so I can laugh like a drain at this story ( and hope beyond hope that the UK public make their anger known in some other way than voting for the opportunistic tory scumbags who sit opposite in our ancient corrupted democracy!

It's time for the UK public to demaind that our ruling classes GET A LIFE - I mean it, they need real-world knowledge, not this horribly insular bunch of lawyers (who the hell decided to let the country be run by them, for god's sake????) who studied politics at Oxbridge or whatever. Maybe some of them should get a real job before running the country?

Public confidence in the government of the UK has apparently dropped from over 60% to 28% since september - the question I'd like to ask is, "do you believe our system of government is high time for a change?". Our ruling class needs a wakeup call, but I fear we're all too busy paying tax and trying to survive... which is a whole other story!

Still, I'm still laughing at this sorry tale! It's even funnier that the whole database was on there because government IT strategies mandated they'd have to pay a third party IT contractor to work up the new version of the database minus the sensitive data, and thus they didn't bother!!!!! Pointy haired bosses in Whitehall?? Whod'a thunk it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

*** Scary financial rant alert ***

Spotted this today - I think it's in the US but one of the "companies" they refer to is based in London: it seems companies are buying and selling discharged bankruptcy debt!!!!!

this is off the wall. If this insanity can produce a “robust market” in discharged bankruptcy accounts, what bloody hope is there? Apart from the poor saps who find themselves unable to progress because organisations are demanding funds that have been legally excused, surely that “market” in this dead debt can only be worse than the current madness in the entire global financial market about badly labelled investment vehicles that looked like gold but had crap sub-prime mortgages sitting underneath!

A bigger picture proving the need for screwing down these insane bent suits I cannot think of!

The horribly irony is, it doesn't matter if you're a follower of the "neither a borrower or a lender be" and you lead a comfortable but non-40" LCD TV existence: ultimately this soaraway $$-pupil greed will see all of us royally shafted as the world economy goes down in debt flames and the same suits retreat to safe distance in Monaco, Switzerland etc and wait for the dust to settle before sharpening their steak knives and salivating again in 10 years time...

When will we learn? Kill the suits.

P.S. buy your strings from Strings Direct - they rule.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Quick post in a hectic week...

Hullo punters! What an insane week. Two days of madness on monday and tuesday, a mad drive back home on tuesday night getting back at about 2am, then a full day's work behind that desk I keep on about...

Then I got the chance to be a bassist in shining armour for the jam night at Havan in Windsor - this has proven to be a great place to meet new musicians, and the standard of playing is high, I ended up well outside my comfort zone the other week playing fretless 5 string fusion jazz of sorts, definnitely a stretch for me - anyway, I was considering a quiet night in on wednesday night, but the call came at about 9pm - "We've got 2 drummers and no bassist - can you come down?"

"I'll be there in 20 minutes" I said. I'm close enough to Windsor to mean it's a short hop (especially compared to driving to O'Neills in Oxford as I often do for Janeiro/Breeze gigs)... I had a cool night, met another drummer (a man I'm sure I've exchanged emails with, Colin Bibby) who has a nice line in grooves and reggae and got home relatively early for a music night.

Last night I thought... I'll have a quiet night and recover. Fat chance! I'm on my way home after another full day at work and Jamie rings me - O'Neills need us, the stuff they thought was on wasn't and Jamie has been offered a gig. Not one to turn down the chance to boost adrenaline levels both inside and outside myself, I stopped off for pie and chips on the way home, grabbed the 5 string fretless again (hell, I'm way way way outside my box now) and shot up the M40. What a night - Steve was totally left field, I don't think I've heard him ever play Sweet Home Alabama that way, it really groooooved. Jamie was ready for a gig as well, and it was just the 3 of us, Andorra style: good to be at the front and out from behind the speaker stack!

Plus, the PA behaved - last gig we did (a wedding in Oxford) it developed feedback problems when nothing was plugged in(?!) but Jamie tracked it down to the crossover, which appeared to be feeding back by itself!

Great crowd in there last night, lots of good natured revelry. Oh yes.

I got put onto this by a friend in the office - A tiny solid-state drive laptop from ASUS - it looks rather spiffy and it's fairly cheap. Looks like you can load it with anything you want - linux, windoze etc. With an external SD slot you can slap 8GB in there, and the internal drive being another SD card the wear-levelling of the SD standard will def come in handy, although with the number of cycles modern cards can handle I'm sure it'll do well. It even has a built in webcam and skype installed in the linux distro that the beast comes with. I'd probably load ubuntu myself... Looks like a useful and neat little piece of kit.

Tonight I'm off again, watching some shakespeare... wish me luck, hopefully I'll stay awake! I feel for the poor cats, they've barely seen us!

Friday, November 02, 2007

An update! Local music is alive in Windsor...


It's been a good week: I've fixed the linkback to Musicians-in-my-city from my website (they seem to demand that their little graphic is in every frame) and got a few emails as a result. One was from Jayson Norris's band, who are looking for a bassist, it seems. I'll be getting in touch with them: he's from New Zealand and I like their sound. It's like a more energetic Jack Johnson, and the songs are better written, I reckon...

I also got to 2 gigs last weekend with Janeiro in Oxford, one classic O'Neills mad night, and then a Saturday night wedding in a place called Dragon School on the way into Oxford centre. Wierd gig but the audience was very into it!

And finally, on wednesday night I took the plunge and took the 5 string fretless to a jam night in Windsor at the Havana pub in the station. Happens every wednesday (I'm sure I mentioned it before) and the gear is brought along by Tony from Phat Tone studios in Reading. Nice fella.

Great night, I ended up doing wierd 6/8 jamming in some odd new-jazz thing at one stage. Was insane for the first 5 bars as I found my feet, then when I realised what the feel was, I started to pull it around like a piece of blutak. I made some of the best 6/8 grooves I think I've ever done!

Other stuff... Richard and Judy are splitting the band! I love the article -
"It is understood Judy Finnigan, 59, plans to move away from television to write books, while her husband Richard Madeley, 51, will pursue a solo career. "

So Judy's going to get Pickfords in, and Richard's going to play a piano in a big white room and sing about peace and love and good happiness stuff. Hmmmm.

I just found a myspace page for local music hereabouts which includes some tuesday night jam nights in Maidenhead! Excellent!
----- Today's Practise Diary -----
I must learn 2 more bars of chromatic fantasy :)