Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Tuesday 20 January 2009

More Windows 7

Well he should be happy!
Source: here

After the slating Microsoft received resulting from the introduction of Vista (a deserved slating I should add) I imagine that spirits are high in Redmond following the launch of the public beta of Windows 7.

Reactions have been most favourable - here are some examples: LINK

And HERE is an excellent summary of many of the features of the new operating system.

For myself, well as I reported the other day, I have been using it and I have to say that apart from the almost incredible fact that Google has not yet provided a version of Chrome that is fully compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows 7, I am delighted and would very much like to buy the finished version when it appears.  

Finally for the academic and technical types, this site provides a great deal of detailed and fascinating information.

Once again I must express the hope that Microsoft moderates its prices; 7 is a great opportunity for the company to restore its battered reputation.

Until the next time

Monday 19 January 2009

Yes we can...

Well the big day (Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the USA) is tomorrow.

I am amused to read in the Daily Telegraph, that large numbers of "A-list" Americans are taking this very seriously - by booking themselves into Botox clinics.

Image source: Daily Telegraph

A bright new future, obviously...

Sunday 18 January 2009

Too Lazy

To get up and fetch that beer from the fridge?

Technology has the answer: the amazingly accurate Beer-Launcher

Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator - video powered by Metacafe

Convenient as this clever contraption is, I would prefer a well-trained footman to bring me a pint of Arkell's Kingsdown ale in perfect condition and at the right temperature, but then I always was a dreamer!

Bottoms up!

HRH Prince Harry

HRH Prince Harry.  Picture, Daily Telegraph

There has recently been a row resulting from the Murdoch gutter-rag, The News of the World having got its hands on a video clip showing the Prince using the words "our little Paki friend." in reference to a fellow officer in the British Army.  This has been christened "racist" by the race-relations industry in Britain and the Prince has been forced to issue an apology.

This is pure sensationalism; the News of the World, in any case is in no position to preach at anybody.  In its struggle to maintain the moral standards of the nation, it is nevertheless happy to carry all sorts of unsavoury advertising...

And to confuse banter in an army unit with "racism" is profoundly disingenuous.

Well, next time someone calls me a "Brit" I too shall demand an apology.  I take great exception to this epithet, especially since it was a favourite expression of the disgusting IRA.  I am an Englishman, not a "Brit."  Let's all get really stuffy shall we?

I should like to hear from Australians on this subject; are they disgusted by being referred to as "Aussies"?

Australian: Aussie
Briton; Brit
Pakistani: Paki

Perhaps somebody could tell me which is the odd one out?

And no, I am not being disingenuous.

Until the next time

Saturday 17 January 2009

Windows 7

Those of you who are interested in computing developments have probably been following the news about the progress of Windows 7, Microsoft's soon-to-arrive replacement for Vista.

The extent of the failure of the latter may be judged by the fact that 7 will probably arrive late this year - less than three years after the release of Vista whilst the very successful XP is still going strong after eight years!

Microsoft has offered a beta version of 7 as a free download, both in the 32- and 64-bit versions; you can find the download here.  I have been trying them out.  Despite the fact that the new operating system is in beta, I have had no trouble and so far it seems that the claims of improved performance are fully justified.  I installed it on a separate partition as a "clean install" but the option of an upgrade installation which is reversible is also offered.  Of course certain programs have not yet been modified to work with 7, but some providers, Skype for instance, have been quick off the mark to offer compatible versions of the software.  And in 7 one is directed automatically to a site to download the appropriate software.  The other good news is that one does not need a supercomputer to run 7 (as one does with Vista) -1 gigabyte of RAM is plenty.

Here is a short video review (by Cnet) of 7 which should give you an idea of how the OS works.

The free beta download version of 7 unfortunately expires in August; I hope that Microsoft will not be charging the earth for the new OS - I for one would be happy to use it - at least based on my experience so far.

Until the next time

Wednesday 14 January 2009

More Steve Vai

Here's the famous guitar duel from the 1986 film Crossroads. "Butler" is of course Vai himself.

All the slide guitar parts were played by Ry Cooder, the rest by Vai - and yes that's Vai playing the Paganini.

Amazing, and the clip includes some good Gospel Music and blues too.

Until the next time

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Blue Powder

Here is the excellent Steve Vai, performing live my favourite tune of his, Blue Powder.

Great live performance, super band.

As a guitarist myself, there is very little I can say!

Enjoy yourselves (and the tune).

Until the next time


Here's something that I received today; it demonstrates several things:

- How much real talent there is everywhere
- How music can inspire and engender a spirit of optimism
- The power of the Internet and international communication

Do watch to the end - it really is quite thrilling.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World | Stand By Me from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

Until the next time

Saturday 10 January 2009

Real Skill

I love aircraft.

But when flying, one must be able to react very quickly and stay very calm.

This pilot is in the very highest class - on both counts!

Until the next time

Yo, Ho, Ho, and a Bottle of Rum

As you might have guessed from my heading, today's subject is piracy.

"Piracy on the High Seas" - pirates, it is said in this Wikipedia article, are considered to be enemies of humanity by many sovereign states; I agree.

Since the explosion of piracy around the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf, many states have comitted naval units to the area in order to defend shipping.  However I would like to see a more robust attitude taken where possible.  

The Wikipedia article also points out:

In 2008 the British Foreign Office advised the Royal Navy not to detain pirates of certain nationalities as they might be able to claim asylum in Britain under British human rights legislation, if their national laws included execution, or mutilation as a judicial punishment for crimes committed as pirates.

What "human rights?"  Why have pirates got "human rights?"  They have the right to walk the plank and that's it as far as this writer is concerned.

On Christmas day, it was reported by the BBC that six pirates had been captured by the crew of the German frigate, Karlsruhe.  On the orders of the German government, they were immediately released.  Why?  I should like to point out that these pirates are not jolly "Long John Silver" types "Ah Jim lad etc." They are a bunch of ruthless bandits, armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.  They should be blown out of the water.

This all brings me to the curious case of the Sirius Star.  This you might remember, is the enormous oil tanker, full of crude oil, that was hi-jacked a couple of months ago.  It was announced yesterday that the owners had paid a $3 million ransom which was delivered by parachute to the pirates on board.

The Sirius Star.  Image source

Now here's the funny bit reported today by the Daily Telegraph: whilst the eight pirates were making off across the sea, their boat capsized.  Five of the them were drowned and somewhere under the ocean lie $3 million in greenbacks in their waterproof case.  The remaining three swam to shore, rather less rich in cash and friends than they were a short while previously.

Probably no party tonight then.

Until the next time

Friday 9 January 2009

Happy New Year

A belated "Happy New Year" to all - especially cat-lovers (like me).

Until the next time