Sunday, 29 December 2013

Year review

As we approach years end I usually say something or or other here about me, this blog and the universe.
The first thing is I was delighted to see recently  a Royal Pardon was granted to the former mathematician  and scientist, Alan Turing who played a big role on cracking German military codes during WW2 as well as contributing a lot to understanding the principals of what is the modern computer for his then crime of being in a gay relationship at a time when this was a criminal offence in the UK.
His work shorted by years WW2 and without it the World would probably be different, many of our societies  would of lost our freedoms if not we'd also  lost our grand parents generations lives.
Moving on over to music, David Bowie surprised many of us with his comeback album The Next Day  which I bought on vinyl and Mastered For iTunes download sidelining cd, something a number people at one forum also have been doing outside of certain deluxe of specialty  issues.
The topic of just how good such downloads or home conversations from cd for that matter remains as contentious as ever although for me personally, I see those especially from iTunes as being at least as good as a high quality type II 'chrome' tape was back in the 80's and 90's having copied loads back then for either convenience when it came to lps or or playing on the Walkman for lp and cds during that period on quality equipment. 
I was hoping to get an upcoming box set next year but reported issues concerning using inappropriate mixes may well put an end to that and I find the ineptness of reissue programs on cd very irritating not least the use poor quality 'lossy'  files by Demon Music Group on a number cd titles.
I do update from time to time some reviews especially if they are of a series staggered in release date such as the Audio Fidelity and MFSL discs so it is worth checking entries you may of read previously. 
Talking of forums one appears to blocked off Curiosity from logging in for some strange reason, maybe the software got feline flu or something.
The Olympus OM group was established at Google Plus for Olympus OM users to talk about their cameras and the pictures they take  using them adding something different to that different social network.
I also enjoy following the photography threads there too seeing other peoples pictures.
The recent weather hasn't been too good for us here with trees being blown over, fences blown into the garden and only just repairing the tv antenna as it has caused the pole it was mounted on to break and land on the roof! I just hoping it's forecast return this week isn't so strong.
As for as next year goes, I see this blog being its usual eclectic self mixing current affairs, the arts and assorted random stuff so with that I'll wish the Google plusers, angelic sorts and skeleton music types a happy New Year.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas  and all the best for 2014!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Beatles bootleg recordings

Christmas may of come early for Beatles fans yesterday when for a limited period  a series of 59 previously unissued tracks  were released but not without drama on several internet sites as these tracks had appeared on the iTunes Stores starting in New Zealand briefly  but appear only to had been up for a matter of minutes in the UK before they were taken down, leaving fans feeling cheated. The ensuing controversy was reported on CNN and in the Times of England newspaper. 
They did reappear but with a sizable price hike although sources close to Apple/Universal suggest this was more the price point they had in mind and the original one an error although it seems odd such a mistake could of happened on a high profile project such as anything connected to the Beatles.
The driver for this project seems to have been the recent extension from 50 to 70 years of copyright laws  from 1963 across the European Union including in the UK that had a rider added that unissued tracks would revert after 50 years to "Public Domain", usable by anyone. Thus by issuing however briefly they become copyright with Apple/Universal being the rights owners controlling their usage.
As for the material itself, there are a few Abbey Road studio tracks including a number of takes of Misery which are interesting to listen to for the fluffed moments and banter between the four Liverpool lads and a number of recordings recorded at the BBC studios for various shows that for a variety of reasons hadn't been considered for the Live at the BBC and recent second Live at the BBC  albums.
Being Mastered For iTunes (MFiT), the sound quality for the studio material is of a very high standard being close to that of a regular cd.
This isn't for regular Beatles fans who are better served with the studio albums and various hits and BBC recording packages but more those who want to hear everything they did comparing multiple versions.

They may well be a break before the next blog update due to Christmas activities so do enjoy the upcoming season.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

R.I.P. Mandela

After a long period of illness, the former South African President died surrounded by his family with the sad event being reported for most on Friday December 6th.
He was truly inspirational leader, the first black leader of the Country, possessing  great personal and moral integrity, the likes of which we may perhaps never see again.
I felt this wraparound cover by the Times of London, England, summed up the man better than anything.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Caution: Your card has been declined

It was on the face of it a fairly normal Monday although the press commentators had dubbed the day Cyber Monday, the day internet retail giants such as Amazon expect to get the highest amount of Christmas preorders through.
What transpired was anything but, leaving  a good many people with some intriguing questions remaining unanswered.
At approximately 18:00 GMT the credit cards of many people with accounts to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group became unusable both at the ATMs and also for purchases at stores both online and instore. Fixing it took several hours going well into the night with reports the following day saying it was a computer system glitch with profuse apologies offered and talk of not leaving anyone out of pocket.
Consider the following situations people experienced:
People out for social gatherings in a restaurant unable to play their bills.
People unable to pay for groceries in their shopping baskets as their cards were declined
Car owners having bought Gasoline unable to leave as they couldn't pay
Christmas shopping expeditions brought to a holt. 
Customers finding electronic  transactions  failed and in some circumstances unexplained transactions appearing to have occurred.
For some of these making good on losses maybe adequate but consider such things as  embarrassment caused in store by being unable to pay. Should someone like that perhaps get an additional amount for embarrassment at having to have goods returned in public?
What of say you went to order a item on special offer about to pay for it and you were declined. Should losing that offer be compensated?
Finally why was it the banking industry was allowed to spend little on maintaining and upgrading decade old systems patched up after takers and mergers?