Curiosity And The Cat

Was tonight’s top ITN news report an incredibly subtle advert for, a website that I didn’t even know existed until it was singled out in tonight’s evening bulletin for being fertile ground for paedophiles.

Actually looking at the site, you have to feel a touch sorry for Bebo, Facebook, and Myspace, who were also named in the report. Myspace might be a little sketchy at times, but it doesn’t splash ‘Teen Chat: Singles - 525 members chatting, Flirt - 199 members chatting’ or ‘hotguys being spongebathed at the hospitool’ all over the front page.

(I’d like to take a moment to reflect the death of the English language while we’re here. ‘Hospitool’? Really?)

The bizarre thing is that, despite being the top story on theevening news, there was almost no news in the story. Yes, people on the internet can be creepy! I wonder if they were just upset that the BBC got the headline grabbing story of the day with Children’s Fight Club (though, surely, the first rule of Children’s Fight Club should be: You Do Not Film The Fight And Upload It To YouTube, Stupid).

currently playing: We In Music – Grandlife

Dude, Die Hard!

So, having finally seen it last night, what is the considered Slems’ Die Hard group opinion of Live Free And Die Hard? I must confess that I enjoyed it far more than I was expecting, with only the silly CGI plane sequence letting the side down.

Yes, it was a little “You remember Die Hard’s Greatest Hits!, don’t you?“, what with the taunting via radio, terrorism covering for robbery, “Gennaro”, and yes, the final confront-evil-villain bit. But, eh, it was fun. And definitely better than the boredom of Pirates 3 (they made pirates dull! That takes work!).

One major complaint, though: there are now two Die Hard films that aren’t set at Christmas. That’s just not right.

currently playing: Van Lenton – You Don’t Care

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

As I was sampling the delights of Coke with Orange yesterday, I didn’t get around to talking about the Government surprisingly rejecting the extension of music recording copyright from the current 50 years to 70+. Good news, although expect the pressure from music companies to get even stronger as we approach the end of 2012.

The position of said companies is that allowing the copyright of these old recordings to lapse will prevent them from taking the money raised from selling these songs and using it to fund new talent, plus it will cut off a revenue stream for older artists. They’re doing it for the kids and the pensioners! Who could possibly say no to that?

Of course, these same record companies seem to have an endemic problem in actually paying their artists. And perhaps, just perhaps, EMI are a little more worried about what will happen to their sales if you could suddenly buy a Beatles album for less than £9.99 than keeping Lily Allen afloat.

For the older artists who aren’t Cliff Richard or Roger Daltrey (two of the loudest supporters of the copyright extension), this could hurt a bit. But if an item is in the public domain it doesn’t mean that you can’t sell it (after all, Penguin still sees the value in printing Shakespeare and Jane Austen, even though you can download them for nothing from Project Gutenberg). So, why can’t Cliff Richard, or Lonnie Donegan’s estate, for example, cut out the record companies altogether and produce their own collections of the material falling into the public domain? Produce your own liner notes, make a box-set, sell it online or get it into HMV and Borders, and you’ve got as much chance as seeing money as waiting for a multinational corporation to give your back catalogue a push.

Music copyright is a little bit more complicated than with books (because the music and lyrics fall under the standard life+70 years copyright of books, whereas the recording is only 50 years), so it could be useful for these things to be spelt out, perhaps on a cheap, cheerful, and yes, Web 2.0-ish platform that would become a clearinghouse for both information on selling public domain music and a repository for discovering what music recordings have fallen into the public domain.

Erm…so, who wants to provide funding? :)

currently playing: Massive Attack – What Your Soul Sings

Another part of an occasional series.

You may remember the time where I tried Mountain Dew: Code Red, or Pepsi: Blue. Or have heard about the epic quest for Coke Blãk, which resulted in failure when we actually found it. My God. Or Arctic Green Apple, the only Kool-Aid flavour designed to taste like a simulation of hydrochloric acid.

Well, because I never learn:

The horror. The horror.

Coca-Cola. With Orange.

Full marks for the packaging, obviously. It’s not as imposing as the EVIL OK of Blãk, but the opaque bottle gives it an air of mystery. And I love a mystery. Depressingly, though, it’s not orange when poured, just the standard black fizz with an orange sherbet type of smell.

It tastes a bit like watered-down Fanta but with a few fizzy coke bottles from the Woolworth’s pick’n’mix thrown in. Not as vile as the hideous Coke Blãk, but a long way away from the heights of Diet Coke with Cherry, current drink of Champions.

Update: gets very sickly after the third mouthful. Ewww…

currently playing: The Buzzcocks – Airwaves Dream

The Many Levels of Geek-dom

For instance: given the arrival of a super-fast, shiny new Dell PowerEdge server:

  • The basic geek will slap Windows 2003 Server on there and put it on the network as the new fileserver.
  • The more advanced geek will instead install Linux and use it as a Samba server, possibly reserving the possibility for more fun things down the line.
  • The Insanely Geeky will decide that what they really need is to set up a Xen hypervisor and a series of Linux machine images so that the file-serving is handled by one virtual machine, another machine handles the web filtering for the student network, another does some web serving, and another just sits around inactive, but ready to be brought to live at a whim for testing purposes. These images can be moved around between different machines running Xen almost transparently to end-users, in case future demands mean that new machines are needed…

I leave it as an exercise to work out which one I am…

currently playing: Stars – Take Me To The Riot

The Computer Is Taking Its Board Home

Would you like to play a game, Joshua?

(there are things afoot. Afoot, I say!)

currently playing: Nouvelle Vague – Come On Eileen

Feeling Sorry For…

Shami Chakrabarti. She seems to be on TV almost everyday these days…

currently playing: The National – Fake Empire

C'mon, Wal-Mart, have a heart!

It’s not as if Bloomsbury is going to have a day like Saturday again any time soon, is it?

currently playing: Stars – The Ghost of Genova Heights


I hate Guile.

I never had a SNES back then, but I spent a lot of time at a friend’s who did. He also had a Megadrive, and later on, a PlayStation. So, yes, I was around there quite a bit. Invariably, we’d play Streetfighter II and Streetfighter II: Turbo (remember when console games were £70). I was no good, but I could often drag out a lucky victory or two on some afternoons.

Unless he was playing with Guile. It will surprise almost none of you that my favourite character was Chun-Li. Every time Chris used Guile, I’d walk straight into those stupid Sonic Booms and Somersault Kicks and die horribly. My hundred-foot kicks and Spinning Bird attacks just bounced off.

But! I noticed the other day that Streetfighter II: Turbo was available for the Wii’s Virtual Console. It was time for payback.

I bought the game, started playing against the computer and was quite impressed with how well I was doing. Clearly, I had got better at computer games over the past ten years!

Until I got to Guile.

dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue. dead. continue.

I think in the end, I lost ten continues on that before I made a slight change in tactics and simply threw him down over and over again. I had won.

Then I got slaughtered by Ken. But I choose to celebrate the achievement rather than the failure…

currently playing: Young Marble Giants – Wind In The Rigging

The ultimate Hipster T-Shirt

Suggested sequel: “You don’t have it? Well, it is quite rare.”

(One day, the Royal Trux/Chicks sessions will make their way to the Internet…)

currently playing: Miranda July – Lena Beamish