Tuesday, June 27, 2006

High Speed Uploading

I missed working in an office for the first time today. The reason? I wanted to upload a 371Mb video and my connection said it would take 11 hours!

Friday, June 23, 2006

My Spongebob Squarepants birthday cake! Don't worry, it's not my birthday today. This was from a year and a half ago (although it does seem longer!).

Web design woes

I had a Bob L'Eponge ice lolly yesterday, as featured ages ago on this blog when I saw a sign near Paris. It was very nice, and had two sticks which my mum was happy with so she can label her vegetables in her alotment.

I'm not saying I'm overdoing the website thing, but my new desk's printed laminate surface is actually wearing out where my mouse is. Even though I have no paid work on at the moment, I'm managing to spend around 5 hours a night working on my own websites until about 3.30am. Then I get woken up by clients or in today's case a German, telling me the latest message their Norton Antivirus program has displayed to them this morning on their Windows 98 PC that sounds like a Hoover and that I've subtely suggested they replace. I was reading a letter in Web Designer magazine about a similar situation where a designer had questioned how good 'do it yourself' website packages are supplied by hosting companies. She said within one week a client who was maintaining their own site had deleted all pages from the server, and another wanted her to just create the templates for the site, but then phoned every 2 minutes to ask questions about how to build the site using the templates.

I am doing last year's accounts now. I think I'm getting more organised about them each year (but I'll leave my accountant Roy to comment on that one!).

One of my high output pond foggers stopped working the other day. I have to take it back tomorrow. Just watching the Kitchen Kabaret video by Martin Smith from Epcot makes me think Disney use them for the two fog effects in the automated performance. I have the patent for it, and it's quite clever.

I always learn something new everyday. Today I learned that email that is not spam is called ham.

A bon mot from someone else's blog:
I'd write about politics, but there's really no point these days, is there? Politics and religion are subjects worth discussing only with people who already share your opinions; everyone else is already convinced you're wrong.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Capital FM Radio

Yikes and wow. As London's 95.8 Capital FM is in intensive care, it's in a right pickle.
It used to be #1 in London. It was a great station whenever I was in the capital and listening. But what went wrong?
Tarrant left. Fox left. Jensen left. Too many adverts. IPods. Internet. Other stations treading on Capital's toes (Heart, Magic, Kiss).
It got re-branded not so long ago with the sort of figure-of-eight on its side logo. But then it changed its name to Captial Radio with a logo with no icon. (the other Capital stations - Power, BRMB, etc. have the figure eight logo now). And now it has fewer commercials per hour than before (a main complaint from listeners).
Of course Capital merged with GWR last year, but would this affect it?
It's an interesting situation to watch. Most people thought it was untouchable.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Proper Recording Techniques

Bengali music sounds so much more mystical and special when it's recorded properly. I've just heard a couple of Bengali folk songs performed live on BBC Radio 3 (properly miked and EQed) and it was almost like listening to a different genre compared to the hideously over-modulated sound quality normally associated with Indian music. I don't know what they do in India, but it all sounds the same and totally sonically overloaded. Unless all the Indian music TV channels on Sky and Indian restaurant music systems aren't a standard?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Powergen shuts India call centres

Powergen shuts India call centres

Good news for all. Let's have a bit of bloody patriotism that is beyond flying stupid flags out of car windows because the football is on. These decision makers will cheer England on but then choose to close UK call centres and farm them out to India.

NO ONE likes these Indian call centres for the simple reason of intelligability.

I hope this trend of moving call centres back to the UK continues. If manufacturing is farmed out to China, service industries to India, food imported from almost everywhere, then what the hell is left for the British population to do to earn money to buy the products or services that these call centres provide customer support for?!?!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bose 151s at Alton Towers

There must be literally hundreds of pairs of these waterproof speakers around Alton Towers. Whether outside around Towers Street, or outside rides, Tussaud's love Bose!

I once spotted a satellite speaker from a Bose Freespace system on the Haunted House ride - clearly ghouls prefer unobtrusive speakers.

I do wonder whether they re-used the 151s from Toyland Tours in the newest refurbishment of the ride building into "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - The Ride". In Toyland Tours they were positioned about every 2 feet on both sides of the boat's route. Looking at some interior photos of the Charlie ride, I can see some black Bose 151s (most on Toyland were white or painted I think), some Bose 251s and some other Panaray looking units.

As a general rule, Bose seem to specify: for internal 'dry' rides or walkthroughs -- Bose 101s. For exterior or water rides -- Bose 151s or 251s. They're all 1st editions - not the curvy 2nd edition speakers.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Documentary Making Standards

Journeys from the Centre of the Earth - a documentary about the importance of salt.

What a great opportunity for BBC Four to take a risk and 'tone down' the presentation style - cut out the frantic music beds, the OTT computer graphics, over-enthusiastic narration, etc. and get back to basics.

Maybe I'm being harsh, but at times it did seem to descend into some sort of GSCE revision programme for schools.

What I find so refreshing about watching documentary films by the greats of the genre (Alan Whicker, Clive James, et al) is their pace - they're classy, don't patronise, assume a modicum of intelligence and give you time to think about what they're saying, not bombarding you with fact after fact.

However much digital editing has given the art of documentary making, you have to wonder how much it has also taken away.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Shure microphone head shapes - an array of. My design is at the right and looks cool.

Shure SM57 and SM58 Microphones

Classic dynamic microphones, virtually indestructable. The SM57 is for instruments and the SM58 is the standard for vocals.


I have an idea. Shure should make a limited edition SM57 with a triangular body and grille shape instead of round. And a limited edition SM58 that instead of the ball shaped grille, has sharp corners so it looks like the A81G pop filter.

I'd buy both because they'd look cool. Call me daft, but I tend to judge microphones by their look first, and although my tastes change (I used to hate the look of the RE20 and C414 - then I bought both!) I think there's a photo-based book to be published by Taschen about microphones. I could write it!

Friday, June 02, 2006

BBC World Cup Trail

I'd love to know how much the latest BBC World Cup trail cost to make. Filming in Africa, Japan, Brazil and Germany with elaborate sets, a computer generated tiger, flames and many actors - just to promote football, one of the most money-driven, commercial sport in the world. From public service broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Artificial food and liquids

Trengove Studios

One of the most visually fascinating websites I've had the pleasure of visiting recently is Tengove Studios'. Who'd have thought there was sufficient niche in artificial ice, water, splashes(!) and food - but see the site and be amazed.

$115 for a roast beef sandwich? This site must influence Starbucks' prices!

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