Friday, December 15, 2000

Silly photo caption time!!!!!!!

Check out this piccy of Tory leader William Hague, fresh from blaming a police report on racism for rising crime!!!!!!

William Hague:"I blame this box I'm standing on for making me look like a complete idiot!!!!!!!!! It's a part of the trendy liberal elite, who are also no doubt responsible for our atrocious opinion poll ratings!!!!!!!"
Anne Widdlecome:"Cor!!!!! Wot a leader!!!!!!!"

Dadrock mags to reign supreme?!?!?!

Just hours before hearing the news about MM, I read an interesting article on UK teletext (p453, CH4) about the declining circulation of music publications after the closure of Select... Including a spot-on prediction that Melody Maker in particular, with sales down to around 32,000, was being talked of in the industry as the next for the chop! Strangely enough, MM's bosses IPC would not comment for the article...

The piece (written by Iain Gittins, a former MM dude himself) tried to work out what has gone "wrong" with the music press... Well, perhaps the article itself went some way to illustrating how some journos in the titles most affected have lost the plot a little!!! Throughout the article, the assumption was made that the "Dadrock" contigent (ie Q, Mojo, Uncut) are the main beneficiaries of the circulation wars because they focus on past glories!!! "No new acts?!? Quick, grandpa, stick John Lennon on tha cover again!!!!"

But a look at the circulation figures (published at the end of the article) told a different story... Top seller is (appropriately enough) TOTP by a large margin, (300,000+ sales) followed by Smash Hits, (200,000+) and then a fair bit behind that is our first dadrock mag, Q!!!! (around 160,000)

Next it's a couple of the dance stalwarts Mixmag, (~98,000) closely followed by Ministry, (~96,000) with our next old folks mag Mojo again trailing by a significant margin.... And where's Uncut? Well, it's selling just above the fateful 50,000+ level that Select were hovering around when they were chopped, with the supposedly ailing NME beating them with weekly sales of around 75,000!!!!

The message I get from all this is that dadrock mags are routinely being spanked in the sales games by the pop glossies, and are struggling to keep up with the popularity of mainstream danceclub monthlies!

(Sorry, no link to the article- rather annoyingly, the Teletext UK site appears to have dropped the Planet Sound section in their recent revamp!!!!!! Harmuph!!!!!!!!


Wow!!!!! That was flippin' quick!!!!!!!! Merely hours after I pointed out on a message board the appearance of a story hinting that the days of ancient music weekly Melody Maker might be numbered, along comes a news item on NME's site saying MM is getting "merged" with the NME!!!!! The next issue is the final one!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, it's brought out all the usual "end of an era" type stories from the usual suspects, most of whom basically rewrite the flippin NME story!!!! (And some even rip off the Billy Corgan cover piccy used on the NME site!!!!!!!)

Well, coming from someone who's read it since 1992 (When they had Suede on the front cover and still subtitled themselves "Tomorrow's Music Today"!!!!!) I have to say: I'm not at all surprised that MM's been "merged" to death!!!!!! The bloody things being going downhill for the past couple of years, and really started to nosedive toward Destination Gutterland this year, culminating in the laughable "Up Your Delors!!!" style "campaign" against UK Garage and for "our" type of music to be heard in the charts!!!!!! Tho they were a little quiet on what exactly "our" type of music was, and why it had any more right to be in the charts than S Club 7, especially considering how much of it was boring twaddle like Coldplay!!!!!!!!!!!! I must admit when I saw their cover "UK Garage My Arse", and then listened to the enclosed free CD, that I had to agree with the headline- compared to the average UK Garage track, MM's compil definately did sound like a lot of arse!!!!!!!!!! But apparently, it was still alright to like pop in an "ironic" way!!!!!! So exactly why did they pick on UK Garage and Craig David in particular?!?!?!? I mean, surely there are more deserving targets like certain boy-bands (eg Westlife), but no, MM seemed to randomly pick on the black dude!!!!!! No wonder the sales had plummeted by around 21% in the past couple of months!!!!!!!

Today's really really obvious quote!!!!!!!!

Time devours everything. [Next week- "Bears: they shit in the woods!!!!!!"]

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Cache could cost you cash- thanks to hackers!!!!!!

This is a bizzare new hacking trick!!!! Apparently one can use a web server to time the speed that a browser requests stuff in order to test if something is in the cache!!!!!!! This can be accessed by remote sites and can therefore be used as a kind of "unofficial" cookie!!!!!!!!!! Which can no doubt be used to steal your credit card details, etc., etc., ....

Pah!!!!! Grown up w3surfers shouldn't really be using their cache anyway!!!!!!!!! I certainly don't!!!!!! But then again, I've got no choice- my browser's really old!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In-service days: rubbish!!!!!

Apparently, according to this article a lot of training and on-line education is complete crap!!!!!!! This is because:

  • People do courses to avoid work!!!!!
  • Companies just do it to look nice!!!!!
  • Some training just tells you what to do, but doesn't do anything else, so when you come against something not in the textbook, you're up a well known creek minus rowing equipment!!!!!!
  • People treat it like a re-enactment of Gladiator!!!!!!!!!
This article mentions something called "unlearning" as well, which would be jolly useful, because if applied correctly, it could enable me to forget that dreadful S Club 7 gramphone I heard the other day on tha tellybox!!!!!!!!!!

Now, that's what I call overclocking!!!!!!!!

Hmmmm... I think someone is taking overclocking their PC hardware to extremes when they start using water tubs, hoses and hydraulic pumps in order to cool their compute!!!!!!!!!

Mind you, it could be handy!!!!! His compute will already have an inbuilt fire extinguisher in case he really overclocks it, and as a result sets his house on fire!!!!!!!!

FUD with Fraunhofer- thanks to an Ogg!!!!!!

First the music industry got afraid of something called MP3, then the MP3 folks got afraid of something called... Ogg Vorbis!!!!!!!! This is new open source sound format which hopes to have similar compression and sound quality to MP3!!!!!!!!!!

But, hold your seats!!!!!! According to this story, the folks who own a lot of patents on the MP3 format are a bit miffed about it, and threaten to sue the rear entrances off the Vorbis crowd!!!!!!!!

"We doubt very much that they are not using Fraunhofer and Thomson intellectual property," Linde said. "We think it is likely they are infringing."

The funny thing is that as Ogg Vorbis was designed precisley to avoid this prob!!!! And since it's open source, they could just check the source code to find out if they're infringing any patents!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder one of the team behind Ogg is pretty calm about the whole thing!!!!!!

Between the lines, it says, "we're worried/scared, they're on our radar, and we need to make some noise. Words are cheaper than lawyers."

I wonder if the Thompson/Fraunhofer peeps are a bit more "man" enough to try throwing their patents around against a rather bigger grouping of people!!!!!! Phillips, Cisco, Sun, Apple and Cisco have been in talks about agreeing a common streaming format early next year, with AOL (the parent company of Winamp's HQ!!!!) interested!!!!!!!! And it's not MP3-based either!!!!!!!! It's MPEG-4, which is an open standard!!!!!!!! And we mentioned it in one of our more ancient issues as well!!!!!!!!

Clinton: "sausage"!!!!!!

Check out this strangely appropriate comment about the outgoing Prez El De La US!!!!!!!!!

The quote of the day yesterday came from Peter Mandelson, the Northern Ireland secretary, who said of Bill Clinton: "He is, I can assure you, more sausage than sizzle."

Oh err missus!!!!!! Oh crickey vicar!!!!! Jings, Crivvens, Help Ma Boab!!!!! etc. I thought we'd already heard enough about the Presidential Sausage!!!!!!!!

Wednesday's slightly pointless quote!!!!!!

Chance only favours a prepared mind. [... Which, erm, suggests that it's not really chance, then!!!!!!!]

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Women in the altogether- caused by a computer virus?!?!?!?

Well, I guess you're probably getting over the shock of that pasty young woman showing off her spare tire in that "Opium" poster advert!!!!! But if that image appeared in a Japanese website, the authorities might have had a slightly different reaction to it!!!!!!!!

Police are investigating how an image of a nude woman made its way on to the website of Japan's top security organization.

"At this point, nothing has been concluded, only that it was not caused by a virus," said a spokesman at the National Police Agency.

Wot!??!?! You had to "conclude" that it wasn't a virus?!?!?!?! Under exactly circumstances could a computer virus cause a website to suddenly display a member of fairer gender sans apparel!?!??!?!??!

One would have thought that if such a virus existed, those "adult" w3sites would be using them- for "stealth" advertising purposes!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next Jeffrey Archer: Saddam Hussein!!!!!!!!

Well, there's a bit of legal business going on at the mo regarding whether book-writing bod Jeffrey Archer told a few fibs or not!!!!!!!!!!!! But if he were ever to be found guilty and sent away, don't worry!!!!!!!!! One of the characters in his books can step forward and carry on writing!!!!!!!!

Yes, Saddam Hussein, who was featured in one of Archers fictional novels recently in a somewhat fictional capacity, and whom we haven't mentioned for a bit, is rumoured to be behind an anonymously written fictional story, which is selling rather well in his native Iraq!!!!!!!!!

Wot next?!??!?! "General Pinochet's 101 Favourite Limericks"?!?!??!?!?!

Clinton- the next pontiff!??!?!?!?

Crikey O'Reilly!!!!!! I guess the Republic of Ireland has changed a little recently regarding the power of the Catholic Church in it's internal affairs!!!!!!!!! Check out this quote regarding Bill Clinton's current visit to the country:

As one resident of Dundalk noted yesterday: "He is bigger than the Pope."

!!!!!!!! Well, if you ask me, The Beatles were a bunch of idiots for making their "bigger than Jesus" type comments in the US in 1965!!!!!! They should have jumped into a TARDIS, went to Dublin in 2000, and said it there instead!!!!!!!!!

So much for being the best band in the world!!!!!!!!!!

"This is not San Diego, sonny boy!!!!!!!!!!"

Makes you wonder if peeps are taking a huge risk in sending in stuffs to the Glasgow Herald Letters page, when the folks at the ancient paper print the letterrs under such bizzare headlines as "Glasgow is not like San Diego"!!!!!!!!!!!

Next they'll be telling us that Kirkintilloch bears little resemblence to the Rock of Gilbratar!!!!!!!!!!!

Bill Gates: Assassinated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cripes!!!!!!!!!! I dunno how I missed this one!!!!!! Apparently the former Mr Microsoft has bit the bullet- literally!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently it happened on December 2, 1999 in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles!!!!!!!! You would have thought the newspapers would be full of it or something!!!!!!! Or maybe they've done a "Paul McCartney" style cover-up with a look-a-like in place of the dead person!!!!! (Expect that of course that it didn't really happen with Paul McCartney!!!!! ... Or did it?!??!?!?!?! Who knows!??!?!?!?! Probably Paul McCartney!!!!!! Unless he's dead, obviously!!!!!!! OK, OK, I'll get on with it!!!!!!!!) Bah!!!!! Looks like we have to wait until the "JFK expose" style film comes out!!!!!!!!!

At least we now know why that wacky young man Mr Ballmer is in charge of MS now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome the olden days- of tha NetWeb!!!!

Well, as they say, a week in politics is a long time!!!!! Especially in dog years!!!!!!! But it's even longer in w3time!!!!!!!!! So it's great to see that some old Uni professor in US-land has kept all his old notes from uni courses dating back to 1996!!!!!! And as part of the notes, he saved some webby pages from of the big w3sites of tha day!!!!! And they're still there!!!!! They all date from 1996, which is just over twice the age of our venerable organ!!!!!!! So check out these webby siteys for a fast-forward trip backwards down the memory lane of the back of your mind!!!!!!

Pop writers- in the pub!!!!!!!

Well, you might have wondered what pop writers do when they're not writing about pop music!!!!! Well, the universal answer appears to be... Down tha Pub!!!!!!!

Well, OK, this is in the UK, obviously!!!!!!!! In Europe they sit around cafes in the open air and talk about Neiztche or something!!!!!!! In the US, they hang out with some band backstage and snaffle all their drugs and groupies!!!!!!! But in the UK, it's tha pub!!!!!!!!!!!

Great huh?!??! Bet you wonder why they hardly ever write about such an exciting life instead of boring old tepid indie bollox!!!!!!!! However this lot do!!!!!!!!!

Yes, the team behind New York London Paris Munich (As recommended by that young chap Simon Reynolds, who reads a lot of books and stuff, which is no doubt why he keeps quiet about his sisters The Reynolds Girls, of "I'd rather Jack!!!!!! (Than Fleetwood Mac!!!!)" fame!!!!! Erm, where was I?!?!??!) Oh yes, the NYLPM bunch also do a rolling weblog about pubs in London!!!!! It's called "Pumpkin Publog", and check the size of the flipping archive!!!!!! It's been going as long as the Blogger versh of this very organ wot you are looking at!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a lotta pub-time!!!!!!!

Today's "interesting" slogan!!!!

Life without industry is guilt; industry without art is brutality. [Well, that no doubt explains certain fast food places, but what about non-industrial jobs?!?! Are you saying basket-weavers are riddled with guilt?!?!?!??!?!]

Monday, December 11, 2000

Linux saves Microsoft?!?!??!?!?!

Don't you just love business heads getting the wrong end of the stick when it comes to non-Business issues?!?!??!?! The amusingly named Hal Plotkin comes to the surprising conclusion that if Linux starts seriously eating into the Windows market, then Microsft may turn around and do it's own version of Linux in direct competition!!!!!!

As, usual, there's loads of "Woe!!! The End is Nigh!!!!" and "mikkkro$oft suxxx!!!" type nonsense from Slashdot posters, most of whom seem to miss the very obvious question marks surrounding such a concept!!!!!

How exactly would Microsoft do their own versh of Linux??!?!?! Given that a lot of the code is GPLed or under some other sort of licence, they can't exactly make all of thier Linux distro proprietary, and if they can't do that, then there's nothing stopping people getting their software from places other than MS!!!!

If on the other hand, they used GPL'ed code for a micro-kernel, and then program their own proprietary Windows-compatible user interface around it, then all you've got left is another version of Windows with slightly different workings under the hood!!!!!!! Effectively it wouldn't be Linux any more- and why would people who were interested in Linux be necessarily interested in a new versh of Windows just because it's got a revamped Linux style microkernel?!?!?!? Microsoft might as well use Linux code in Windows rather than the other way round, and sell it to existing Windows users!!!!!!!

And according to rumours, this is exactly what's happening... And as the writer notes, the main problem with getting someone else's company to do your "R&D" work for you is that you're always behind them by at least one step!!!!!

Do graffiti - on tha NetWeb!!!!!!

Now of course, as you all know, scrawling graffiti on things is not big and not clever!!!!!! But here's one place it is!!!!! Sketchzilla!!!!!!!

Phrasebook- for "non-standard" English!!!!!

Well, if you want to learn English, don't whatever you do, check this site out!!!!!! That's because it's a webby version of an old phrase-book called "English as She is Spoke"!!!!!!!! Mind you, if need to learn English, you probably won't understand wot I just said!!!!!!

Anyway, for the rest of you folks- you might want to check this out!!!!! Within hours you'll be using such helpful phrases as "Cat scalded fear the cold water" and "Of the hand to mouth, one lose often the soup"!!!!!!! Tho, to find any reference to mobile phones in this tome is "To look for a needle in a hay bundle"!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday's Corny Rhyming quote

The ruling passion, be what it will/The ruling passion conquers reason still. [And, crap rhyming aside, was there a time when it never was thus?!??!/You complete and utter big cretinous ball of pus?!??!?!?!]

Frothing at the mouth- over a bloke called "Stan"!!!!!

Well, that was nice review wasn't it?!?!??!? At least it didn't read like:

Omnipresent by the time you read this, and still the finest track off his coruscating 'The Marshall Mathers LP' opus, over-familiarity cannot dull the mesmerising power of Eminem's dissection of the artist/fan interface. Right now, this is the definitive statement on the whole modern, post-Diana malaise of celeb culture

Crikey!!!!!!! They might be going all "Pop" these days, but NME can still do head-up-the-rectum prose with the best of them, as featured in this revoo of that rappy chappy Eminimeniemneimnimem's latest 7" gramophone!!!!!!!!!

Old Fart watches an old 80s band!!!!!!

U-no, it's been such a long time since I heard that funny DJ personage Tony Blackburn announce on the chart show on tha radiogram a "zzzeennnzzzational!!!!" new entry called "Planet Earth" by a new band called "Duhrrin-duhrrin"!!!!!!!!!! And about 10 minutes later, he announced that an inordinate amount of listeners had called up to inform him that the band was actually called Duran Duran!!!!!!! Well, on Sunday, I finally managed to see this fabled band!!!!!!! Only they're not as young as they used to be!!!!!!! And Simon Le Bon doesn't do that funny "new romantic" dance he did in that "Planet Earth" video!!!!!!!!! In fact, they didn't do "Planet Earth" at all!!!!!!!! And they've mysteriously mutated from a bunchy of synthy dudes in garish suits to a hugely efficient stadium rock band!!!!!!!!! Cripes!!!!!!!!

So it's just as well I went along with a few friends (Some of whom were old enough to remember tha Duran, and some who weren't!!!!! "Wow!!! I didn't know they did 'Save a Prayer'!!!!" Well, who did you think did it then?!?!?! Westlife?!?!?!?!) and got roaring drunk beforehand at some nice restaurant in the old Rotunda thingy on the side of the Clyde!!!!!!!!!!!! And just a short stagger up the road is the blatant Sydney Opera House rip-off of the Clyde Auditorium where our musical entertainment was going to take place!!!!

We didn't know who the support act were tho!!! "Begins with an E..." said one, "Begins with an A..." said another!!!!! "Maybe the people in the cloakrooms know who it is" said the folk at the merchandising stall!!!!!!! To be honest I had no interest of buying some crappy T-shirt, but if I had, I would have bought it outside, as the bootleggers t-shirts looked far preferable to the official stuffs, which were emblazoned with Durranies latest album title "POP TRASH", using what must be the cheapest looking logo ever used by a pop band!!!!!!! Whatever happened to the marvellous sense of design from ye olde "Rio" gramophone cover?!?!?!?!

Well, some people acted like they remembered ye olde Duran Days!!!!! Except of course they didn't!!!!!!! But it was most amusing to watch some of the younger folk trudging about in baggy shirts, bad wigs and Sharon 'n' Tracey make-up and baubles!!!!! One can imagine packing them into a TARDIS, sending them back to London in 1980, and then watch the amusing spectacle that results as they attempt to get past the door at Steve Strange's club!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem, where was I?!??!?! Anyway, after finding the bar- which was regimentally managed by some lady steward who told us where to queue, when to approach the bar, and then to keep at least "a couple of yards away" from the bar afterwards, we got a bit cheesed off, and started looking for our seats!!!!!! Luckily as we approached the "galleries", we found a nice quiet bar with no bossy crowd-controlling staff!!!!! In fact, there was no crowd!!!! Until we finally staggered into the hall that is!!!!!!!

We were so far up the galleries, that it was a bit like being a young whippersnapper at the panto again!!!!!! I found myself right next to the bloke who operates the spotlight!!!!!! That wasn't too annoying really- it was the bloke in other seat who incessantly clapped merrily during every song, like it was a bloody Simple Minds concert, who started getting on my wick!!!!!!!

Anyway!!!!! Whahey!!!! Here some the Durans, coming onstage to some old Elvis tune!!!!! Apparently this is some subtle in-joke in reference to one of their "newies" called "Hallucinating Elvis", which they play later, with ol' Simes Les Bons giving a jolly good impression of a broken down Elvis robot!!!!!!! And crikey, he is starting to show his age a little!!!!! Particularly given that he's decided to come on in some sleeveless shirt, presumably to show off how hard he's been working out at tha gym!!!!!!!!!!!! Mind you, he's also clearly also been giving his voicebox a little of the "keep-fit" treatment as well!!!!! No more straining to hit the high notes of "Wild Boys" for Mr Le Bon now!!!!!!! Welcome to the new leaner and fitter Duran Duran!!!!!!

Certainly as far as beefed-up proceedings go, that funny Caruzzo US guitar that wot plays for the 'Rans (!!!) now certainly seems to have given them a right royal rock 'n' roll kick up tha wotsits!!!!! The guitar bits of early Duran gramophones were always the weakest links anyway, particularly when they attempted to ape American rock stylee stuff!!!! Well, now they've got a real American rock dude, and they certainly use it!!! Particularly on their brave re-writing of Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel's "White Lines" rap platter as a Callifornian nu-metal rock stomp!!!!! (Wot a shame they don't play Public Enemy's "911 Is A Joke" any more!!!!!!!) And the old faves (Which make up around 66.667% of tonights set) benefit from a slightly more uptempo "rocky" feel, whilst still retaining Nick Rhodes banks of keyboard squiggles!!!!

I remember reading in some mag some bloke saying that the main difference between concerts by Pink Floyd and The Australian Pink Floyd was the money spent on the stage show!!!!!!! Well, Duran Duran don't appear to be quite that dead yet, but even if they do start to smell funny, at least they won't sound as bad as they smell!!!!!!!!!!!

Weekend nonsensical quote!!!!!!

No human being was ever so free as a a fish. [You wot!??!?!?! I take you've never worked in a trawler, then!!!!!]

Friday's little pearl of wisdom!!!!!

Knowledge advances by steps- not by leaps. [Just as well you said "steps" and not "Steps", or I would have asked you to step outside, young man!!!!!!!]