Friday, 28 November 2014

The Comfort Zone

Brrr it feels cold right now and that translates on into staying warm at night although that loveable scallywag, Marmalade put his paws through my old Dalmatian pj's last week.  Blooming cats,eh?
So i had to do something about it as the holes were pretty big so I bought these fleecy ones that are also ideal for just lounging about in first thing before formally getting dressed not that in my family that was exactly condoned.
They're really warm too!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Computing eras end

Peoples who've know this blog since it's very start way way back in 2006 know that apart from a very brief period at the start, the majority of its posts came from desktop computer obtained around October 2006 mainly because of the ahem 'extra curricular' activities I was having to undertake for more hours than inevitably were really good for me not least having to have means of emailing and working on shared documents.
Time hadn't been kind to said machine and I had gotten a laptop in 2012 for most activities but it has a recurring fault that so far has proved hard to fix leaving me with that old desktop for most things which had gotten so slow at starting like 15 minutes minimum, run on Windows XP Pro and only had 256MB of RAM (with very limited expansion prospects) and to cap it all, a hard drive with a maximum capacity of 18.6GB of which the operating system ate a good portion.
I called it "Treacle" as using it was akin to trying to walking through thick treacle, getting so far and hitting a sticky patch every time something required an update just as you were attempting to do anything. It also was incapable of running Tumblr and Google Plus never mind any sort of online games. 
Hardly an economic candidate for revamping with various upgrades so as a few friends know I was looking for an affordable replacement given I'm not into gaming or video editing placing humongous demands on the processor  and I do really like some portability.
After looking around I spotted something with potential from Microdream in Devon which was a bit out of the box when it came to ideas and this was it, the Dell 2100.
A netbook, that small laptop concept that got a bit lost between Chromebooks and upscale 10 inch tablets but very much the rage a few years back because the one advantage as being a full computer was thanks to its Windows 7 operating system, you can use full programs on, a generous 160GB Hard Drive for storing music and pictures on and obviously being an all in one,  a newer 10.1" screen as my 15 monitor has some burnt on tramlines and needed to replaced at some point although this machine does have a VGA connector for external monitors.
The negatives looked workable, such as not having a  dvd re-writer wasn't an issue as I have an external spare one that just plugs in and the RAM when supplied was a pitiful 1GB could be expanded to a more workable 2 which was the maximum the Atom processor can accept which proved adequate for most things even using the iTunes store.
On the other hand its keyboard was very responsive with plenty of feel while typing, the trackball while being small is accurate, an issue I had with the previous HP Compaq laptop and it had a built in SD card reader too
The small size is a boon for working from anywhere and after a few issues trying to install iTunes (I could write a book on the issues with its interfaces for Windows uses and unhelpful help sections) it is going well.
Perhaps you'd like to join me in pouring some cream on the treacle pudding and celebrating Treacle's permanent replacement!

Friday, 14 November 2014

London American years continued (1964&1965)

Hi pop pickers. It's been a while since I posted a series of entries around the Ace Records (and they are Ace!) series "The London American year By Year" series which explores a range of recordings as issued by this most iconic UK label.
By way of a background capsule, London American was a label owned by UK Decca for recording licensed from many at the time small US record labels for marketing and distribution in the UK making use of UK Decca's strong operation.
In time many of the labels whose recordings had been licensed set up their own UK operations such as Atlantic and Liberty while others got absorbed into increasingly big US concerns or with changing tastes the labels ceased to exist as outlets for new recordings such as Sun.
Ace began this series way way back in 2009 with the 1960 volume covering a number of recordings I heard on many 'oldies' shows while I was younger that played material from period immediately before the popularity of Merseybeat and the British Invasion of North America's airwaves had began.
There had been something of a hiatus since 2012's last release the 1956 volume captured much of the initial rock and roll boom witnessed on radio, television and your local movie theatre.

The most recent release like it came out this very week, is this, the 1965 edition which showed how a combination of changing tastes, increased competition by UK EMI and Pye Records for licenses and that British Invasion had reduced the output considerable and the number of genuine hits.
This said the set does include a number of gems such as Dobie Gray's the In Crowd a number of hits by the Righteous Brothers, Shirley Ellis's infectious The Clapping Song which was covered in the early 80's in the UK, a great version of Trains,Boats and Planes by Burt Bacharach and a UK act signed in the States and issued by London American - the Pageboys - and their song When I Meet a Girl Like You

1964 for many of us was when Beatlemania  struck, we got Stoned with Richmond's finest and an English accent was a guarantee of acceptance!
In throws of all that,  even the mighty Beach Boys would struggle chased off the top spots by some many darn fine UK artists however America still had a few tricks up it's sleeve not least Phil Spector's unforgettable productions that were licensed by London American so we're treated to such numbers as Crystals and Ronettes plus hits from Atlantic, Kapp and Monument stables  such as Ben E Kings Around The Corner, the Drifters with One Way Love and Otis Redding's  Come To Me.
It was also event licenses that had been profitable such as those to Sun Records and Cadence  from the 50's were becoming irrelevant.
Although it had taken some time to put together this compilation - licensing often is complex - the result is highly enjoyable adding a  fine collection of songs to ones collection of favourite oldies.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Cat and Mouse

Or the continuing adventures of Marmalade since his arrival on the doorstep with that cute "make me Your pet" look all over his face.
Things had be getting along fairly well, requesting toast, sausage and cream although he had to dissuaded from putting his paw into the gas fire a few times as for some strange reason when it's on background with just small area lit with no flames coming through the slots, he's insistent upon 'exploring' it.
Last Saturday through he really took the cake as he insisted on going out after our evening meal an not being litter trained, it was felt he was better to get outstanding business dealt with before coming in for a few hours.
Except he insisted on coming back in after just a few minutes which would of been fine but for it being pitch black outside and he dashed straight into the main living room without asking for food and then 'it' happened.
Sat, staring at a certain music site on the laptop, I thought I saw him trying to be sick. Then I saw something sticking out of his mouth and at the exact moment I was about to shout "Help, Marmalade's sick" the jaws opened and something came out scampering.
It was a brown field mouse, on the prowl to hysterical screams of one family member and another practically psychotic  one shouting out orders between screaming nasty words  with much up and down arm waving rejecting an offer of asking the neighbours help catch this mouse.
Eventually the cat found it and having dropped it near  the rear wall, I was able to use the end of the sweeper to push it curling style to the corner where it could be removed.