Monthly Archives: February 2005

Somewhere Along The Way

Somewhere in the past two weeks I caught the flu which put me in bed for a couple of days and has had me feeling very bad for longer than I remember having had the flu before. So, I am stuck with a series of half written posts – mainly reviews of things I wanted to talk about – which need some editing before I can get them online. So I must get myself back into shape. In the meantime, I note that I have not yet seen this year’s Best Picture (Million Dollar Baby) or Actor In A Leading Role (Jamie Foxx – Ray). Neither have I seen most of the other winners: Finding Neverland, The Aviator, Eternal Sunshine … maybe I need to get myself to the cinema.

In other news, “Opening statements were set to begin on Monday in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial, the start of what promises to be a long and bitter court fight that could end in prison for one of the world’s best-known entertainers” [Source: Reuters: Opening Statements Offer Preview of Jackson Trial]. I think it’s time to prepare yourself for wall-to-wall coverage on rolling-news channels and on those non-stop entertainment-news channels.

On this day…

2003: Dear Mr. Secretary

Prevention of Terrorism Bill

They say that the people have lost interest in politics, and maybe they have. But, every now and then, there are some great speeches in The House and I am very glad that the web makes them available to me:

They voted: first, to abolish trial by jury in less serious cases; secondly, to abolish trial by jury in more serious cases; thirdly, to approve an unlawful war; fourthly, to create a gulag at Belmarsh; and fifthly, to lock up innocent people in their homes. It is truly terrifying to imagine what those Members of Parliament will vote for next.I can describe all that only as new Labour’s descent into hell, which is not a place where I want to be [source:].

It amazes me that this has not been picked up more by mainstream media. Yes, it gets some mention in coverage, but nowhere near as much as it deserves.

On this day…

2004: Changing Faces
2003: Spend Spend Spend (Online)

Looking Good In The High Street

Paul Nicholls at BurtonHave you seen the new poster boy for Burton (the menswear shop) is? I was in Shrewsbury town centre on Saturday and walked right past the shop before doing a double-take. Paul Nicholls is looking great in the high street. Apparently, he’s also appearing in Festen at the Lyric Theatre here in London so, really, I must get tickets. Hell, I may even start shopping at Burton.

On this day…

2004: Nicholas Nickleby
2004: Borough Market: Southwark’s Great Food Home
2004: Paying A Quick Visit

M6 Toll Speeds My Day

You may recall that I’ve written a great deal about transport in the UK (from congestion charges to grid lock via snow disruption) and I am in favour of a properly integrated transportation infrastructure in the United Kingdom. I am also in favour of public transport and really against the continual building of new roads around the country. However, if we are to build new roads in the UK lets make them all like the M6 Toll road. Returning to London from Shrewsbury today, we took the M6 Toll to speed our journey and it really was much quicker. The time and stress saved is worth the money invested. I know it won’t be a popular opinion but if you don’t want to pay the toll a viable alternative exists.

Still, I just wish they’d make the trains more reliable and integrate them with buses and make them nice and comfortable.

On this day…

2005: Weekend In Shrewsbury
2004: Dawn Traders
2004: Good News Reaches Us

Weekend In Shrewsbury

I thought I would have something to say today. I am spending the weekend in Shrewsbury with family and believed that something worthy of comment would happen – but it doesn’t seem to have. Maybe I should comment about Yahoo’s introduction of a Firefox toolbar or the fact that Ask Jeeves just bought Bloglines but I can’t seem to find the right words.

On this day…

2005: M6 Toll Speeds My Day
2004: Dawn Traders
2004: Good News Reaches Us

On Microsoft And Windows Digital Media

Tom has an interesting little post about Digital Media players over at plasticbag right now ( on the iPod and shortsightedness on the Microsoft estate…).

He is right and the quoted correspondence from internal Microsoft people makes me see red, it really does. In fact, Microsoft’s digital music policy, makes me see red whether the quotes are true or not.

  • My set up: Long time Windows user, using Windows Media Player as my default player and buying a some music online via MSN UK (a Microsoft company). I have had mp3 players since I was given one in 1999 a leaving gift but, realistically, I’ve had a reasonable player since October 2002.
  • Music 1: I have legally purchased music from MSN’s music store that I can’t play on my players because those players don’t Play For Sure (although they did when I bought them) and the manufacturers don’t upgrade the product.
  • Music 2: I have legally purchased music from a Microsoft store that I can’t play on the laptop I just bought because I’ve exceeded my 3 licenses for media (and they don’t have any way for me to stream music from my PC which has a valid license). Of course if I’d bought a CD player this would be no problem. This is why I will stop buying music online right now (BTW, I might be able to get a new licence but this depends on the store allowing it. I shouldn’t have to go begging for a licence to play stuff I own).
  • Me: I love playing with this stuff but now it’s costing me too much money and I have no faith in Microsoft’s ability to allow me to play the music I have bought in the future.

If I’d bought an iPod and used it on Windows none of this would be an issue. It’s one piece of hardware with a software upgrade path that is supported. I understand my hardware doesn’t come from Microsoft but if they don’t persuade their partners to upgrade existing products I (and I suspect many others) will switch to a product that right now is stable, upgradable and allows me to enjoy the music I buy.

And all this frustrates me because I’m happy with wma and don’t want an iPod just because everybody has. I just want to embrace digital music but I need some confidence that I’m not throwing my money down the toilet.

It’s no wonder Microsoft employees buy iPods – they don’t all have Bill’s money to be buying another piece of hardware to do the same job over and over and buy to music they already bought.

… and all this before we talk functionality!

If I am wrong in any of this and you know of a way around it, then please let me know.

On this day…

2004: Janet’s Malfunction
2004: Colourful Pages
2004: Alcohol Free
2003: Online Advertising Technology Issues
2003: An Email From Space