Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cathedral Notre Dame

The park at the back of the Cathedral Notre Dame is my favourite part of Paris. The park itself is beautifully manicured, with the stunning back drop added to the scene it can't get much better. Just to the right of where this photo was taken there is a chap selling excellent crepes! Well worth a visit when in the city.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

XBox Media Centre

I'm very tempted to purchase an old xbox and make myself a media center. Being able to stream video would be really cool. Is it worth £50 is the big question. Will be pondering that in the next few days.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

iPod Classic

Feeling the need for a new ipod and having my girlfriend on my back telling me I need to find something I want for my birthday (5 months ago) I figured now was the time.

I settled on the ipod classic (in silver) mainly because of the memory. I've never had an ipod I could fit all my music onto and I really wanted that feature. The new nano was the next choice but I really wanted the space. Why not the itouch? I realised that I'm rarely in a location, other than at home, where I have wi-fi so the main feature of the device is wasted on my. It's small amount of memory was also a big turn off.

The ipod runs like any other ipod. A bit slow when trying something demanding (e.g. coverflow) but fine the rest of the time. The screen is big enough to watch a video on (I watched House on the train yesterday). The interface has been changed slightly, looking slicker than ever, but functionally there is nothing new.

Overall, a great product at the price.

Here is a short video of me using it. The resolution is unfortunately quite low.

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Pop Singers Fear Of The Pollen Count - The Divine Comedy

The title of this song caught my eye. I love songs with long titles, generally it's a good sign for the song. My other favorite long title song is "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again", a song I may write about in the future.

The title of this song accurately reflects the subject matter. It's a pleasantly upbeat pop song about hayfever. The basic gist is hayfever is annoying but everyone gets it so get over it!

The Divine Comedy, fronted by Neil Hannon, are a band I like intermittently. There are tracks I love, and when in a certain mood I can listen to full albums happily, but on other occasions I find them a bit tedious. Other tracks to listen to are: "National Express", "Your Daddy's Car" (which sounds like a song from the Simpsons episode where homer goes to the land of chocolate), and "Generation Sex".

If you can't see the player <a href=''>Click Here</a> to listen to the song.
- from Squeeze-box Blog.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Manchester - The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South are a group that produced songs that fell right into my favorite genre. I love songs with catchy tunes but more crucially, lyrics that are witty. Several of my favorite groups fall into this category; Barenaked Ladies, Fountains of Wayne, Bowling For Soup and Squeeze to name a few.

"Manchester" is the song that stood out most to me from their most recent and final album "Superbi". The band broke up earlier this year, disbanding due to "musical similarities" (The best reason a band has ever given).

The song is driven by a distinctive and prominent bass line as well as some brilliant guitar licks. As with all Beautiful South songs, the production is spot on allowing all instruments can be heard distinctively.

The Englishness of the song is what really sells it to me. The theme of the song is that it always rains in Manchester, which in turn makes it great. Here are some of the wonderful lyrics:
"And whilst that deckchair in the garden it makes no sense
It doesn't spoil the view or cause offence
Those Floridas, Bavarias and Kents
Make gentlemen wear shorts but don’t make gents"

"So convertible stay garage-bound
Save after-sun for later"
"As you dry your clothes once again
Upon the radiator"
"And as winter turns reluctantly to spring
For the clouds above the city there's one last fling"

I'm really disappointed I never got to see them play live. Hopefully there will be a reunion or a equally good new band formed from the ashes.

If you can't see the player <a href=''>Click Here</a> to listen to the song.
- from Squeeze-box Blog.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Last Resort - The Eagles

I plan to intermittently scribble some thoughts here on songs that I like at the moment. The songs can be previewed in full by following the link at the bottom.

"The Last Resort" by The Eagles is one of my favorite songs. The song isn't what you would call optimistic...far from it. The lyrics tell of the immigration into America from the old world. The lyrics provide vivid imagery of a beautiful new place where the land is cared for and equality stands tall.
"She heard about a place people were smilin'
They spoke about the red man's way,
and how they loved the land"
The song doesn't have a chorus, just verses each describing a journey from east to west over the years. As things move further west and closer to the present day things get less rosy.
"Some rich men came and raped the land,
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus, people bought 'em"
Religion is then introduced to the tale in a verse that is as depressing as it is brilliant.
"You can leave it all behind
and sail to Lahaina
just like the missionaries did, so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign: "Jesus is coming"
Brought the white man's burden down
Brought the white man's reign"
I interpret that as religion being introduced to the white man, but far from increasing their morality, it just gave them some justification to do bad things in the name of God - bringing their burden down while allowing them to do whatever they wanted to rule the country.

The song concludes with that anti-religious theme in the setting of a church. The parishioners are singing hymns about heaven and it's perfect nature, not unlike the way people spoke of the "new world" at the beginning of the song. The closing lines of the song (and the album) are possibly the most pessimistic of any song:

"You call some place paradise,
Kiss it goodbye."

I have always felt this song would be appropriate for a funeral, though on closer inspection it may be slightly to anti-religious to play in a church.

If you can't see the player <a href=''>Click Here</a> to listen to the song.
- from Squeeze-box Blog.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unfair UK iPod Prices was very pleased to see the brilliant new range of iPods released today by Apple. An added bonus was that the prices seemed brilliant. Only $399 for the 16GB iTouch! Well worth £200 of anyones money.

After the keynote I checked the Apple Store and the prices weren't even close to the ones quoted by Jobs. Below is a summary of the US and UK prices.

US Price
UK Price

In DollarsIn SterlingIn DollarsIn Sterling%


Nano 4gb$149£74$199.52£9934%

Nano 8gb$199£99$259.99£12931%

Classic 80gb$249£124$320.45£15929%

Classic 160gb$349£173$461.53£22932%

itouch 8gb$299£148$401.06£19934%

itouch 16gb$399£198$542.14£26936%

It really doesn't seem fair to me that the exact same product in the US will cost 36% less than in the UK. Sure you can claim it needs to be delivered but that doesn't cost £69, as Jobs kept pointing out, they are tiny!

The prices in Continental Europe are even worse. Once again I'm going to be fleeced for not being American!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Venue for Apple Press Conference

I just read an article on the Mediaguardian website reading:
"The choice of venue for tomorrow's launch - BBC Television Centre - is being seen as an indication that the new iPod could be announced alongside new downloadable BBC content and the built-in radio."

That sounds great but it doesn't really add up. I've never known Apple to host a big event like this outside the US and a check on google revealed this:
"The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Moscone West in San Francisco"

That makes more sense but has left me disappointed. Regardless it looks certain there will be a UK release of whatever new ipod is to be announced.

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