Saturday, 26 July 2014

Legends (Get it on)

Sat here, melting, drinking glass after glass of treated tap water in this weeks summer sun, thoughts roll back to hits from the past and that's what this short  entry is all about.
Its existence was met with some mirth at a certain music site where some patrons are incredibly elitist (you can only  like studio albums according to some and don't mention iTunes!) but it's a compilation with a difference for based upon a Time Life one, it makes a point of using the very best available sources so not only can I enjoy Schools Out that was (appropriately) a big hit during the summer vacation of '72 it also sounds terrific into the bargain. Ditto Manfred Mann Band's spirited version of the Springsteen song Blinded by the Light so by the time I'd past Freebird, not only was I hearing many of my favourite hits I was thinking back to those times.
I'm a sucker for a compilation well done just for that feeling - maybe you are too - and this is one I can recommend for the sound.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

MH 17

I wish I didn't have cause to write this as this weeks entry wasn't planned and apologize in advance for being angry about the topic but here a few thoughts by me on it.
Although it's no justification for what happened, the area it was flying over was the subject of a civil war in effect and so it may not of wise of Malaysian Airways to fly over the area.
I also feel it is irresponsible in the extreme for at the very least for Russia to turn a 'blind eye' to allowing various advanced weapons to leave Russian territory to the Rebels as they require a lot of experience in field to use with  care. Many of us would go further and say outright they were allowed to leave and return to  Russian army depots (there is photographic evidence showing the direction from which they moved) and so called 'Cossack' units appear to be on the scene that were nothing to with Ukraines' own military.
To put it plainly, I put a lot of the blame for what happened with Russia and particularly President Putin's ambitions as the rocket launcher is certainly one of theirs and required a level of training simply not available to rebels in Ukraine by themselves and he knew that.
This appalling  incident was the foreseeable consequence of putting such weaponry in the hands of such groups to hide any too obvious involvement although all week we have read of the downing of Ukraine military planes with denials as ever of involvement. The widely copied but taken down tweets show clearly it a plane was spotted and lined up before they realized after launching what it was.
It's telling the blame was obtrusively widened as the consequence of the conflict they blame Ukraine's government of president over rather than saying categorically it wasn't anything to do with them.
 And now the rebels are not allowing the international aviation experts to do their job of inspecting thoroughly the scene for clues regarding the airplanes crash as well as questions remaining unanswered as to who may have the 'black box' and reports of evidence being removed and destroyed even. This is simply outrageous and must stop.
The monster Putin unleashed may have its biggest internal consequences yet.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Explosive entry

Charging up things isn't always that straightforward especially when they're not supplied with the required equipment and it's assumed you have your computer on most of the day to just plug in and leave.
But then you also might be away and not wishing to lug a laptop with you just for that.
Unfortunately quite a number of chargers you find on Amazon and other places aren't so much useless as beeping dangerous having exploded, caught fire and even electrocuted people while using them.

This one by FX Factory was on offer at W H Smiths and is RosH tested and CE approved featuring a regulator that sense when your device is charged and cuts off the charging so the battery isn't overcharged and the voltage doesn't rise suddenly.
I had one previously but it stopped worked without catching fire or anything scary like thta but thought it was time to get another.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Things that could be better

This week while it's raining I'll talk about a few things that annoy me.
Firefox: under the hood it is great and I was a noted proselytizer for in in the mid 2000's when many of us were hacked off with Internet Exploder 6 and 7 but why do you need to keep changing your mind over where to put ones bookmarks?  And what was wrong with that Orange tab on the top left that conveniently put browser functions like download and search history in one spot?
It seems to me you're trying to be Chrome  and while that isn't a bad browser I never felt at home it layout-wise.
That's one reason while on the old desktop I use Pale Moon as it's  a less fussed with lighter version of Firefox I can just get on with.
iTunes: The store is a bit clunky but I much prefer the downloads from it, not least the Mastered For iTunes sort for quality  but why is the ripping utility so slow at converting your cds that it's rare to get much above 6x the speed near the end of the session and often less so copying the cd takes over ten minutes? As crazy as it sounds it's quicker to buy and download the commercial download from the iTunes store complete with artwork. Plus at least when ripping to Aac (M4A) there are times when the version from the same source sounds better in the Store and I rather suspect they've not updated it compared to what they use commercially.
Certainly other programs such as dbPoweramp do a much quicker, accurate and more integrated job of this. Maybe it's corporate pride that prevents them from asking somebody to make a better version that  also does Flac (free lossless) that an increasing bumber of portable players can use.
Freeview: Britishers know all about this, the free to air via antenna tv service we've had since October 30, 2002 but while the idea is good, it suffers from a good number of 'placeholders' typically one hour behind versions of main channels just to keep the slot for the owners while capacity is limited. Platform regulation doesn't extend to such notions as having to use for new channels or lose your slot that might improve programming.
Another issue is HD programming where a number of secondary ITV channels and Channel five are only available via satellite based pay tv while the standard versions are on Freeview. Why should you have to a pay a monthly  premium to watch free commercial channels?