Monday, 30 November 2009


Ok, can I just quickly point out - I am following my own blog?! WTF?! !!!

EDIT: I have resolved this issue now...

Google Wave...and much more besides

Ok... so I am about to start using the 'revolutionary' Google Wave... (courtesy of Sahra T - thanks!)

First thing's first - change my picture! Current Gmail pic is about 5 years old, and I have a pair of straws in my mouth a la 'woolly mammoth' style..!


So I've now changed my picture, and have no idea how to use this thing?! What is going on?! I think I have just sent a message with 'la la la' for content to two of my friends - are they even on Google Wave themselves?!

Apologies for this incoherent post. Let's move on.

Seems like a good place as any to do some blogging re: technology.

Technology has no doubt revolutionized the world we live in. The Internet is one crazy place, you can find whatever you want - and I mean WHATEVER you want - if you know where to look. Whatever Googling you might do, it in no way gives you all the web's results. Here I will refer the interested and avid reader to this article - from G2 the other day (supplementary bit in The Guardian). Now, I feel I have no need to use 'Freenet' just yet - but with the controversial new Digital Economy Bill, I reckon it must only be a matter of time before we end up having to resort to anonymous web browsing. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing to hide in terms of my Internet use. Anyone who knows me will know the only websites I tend to go on are BBC News (and a few other news websites), Facebook, occasionally Twitter and Wiki, and Radio Times when measures are reaching desperation 'cos I have no TV guide to hand. I don't even have time to go on iPlayer or 4od at the moment (though, if I am back to part time work soon, I'm sure I'll get to catch up on the months worth of missed Home and Away and Neighbours). But one thing I am not happy about is the 'crackdown on filesharing'.

Inevitably, the only thing that this Bill will do is promote the evolution of filesharing in a different manner. And that is why I think it utterly pointless. Ok, so the music industry and (probably to a much lesser extent) the film industry are taking a bit of a battering, what with all of us crazy kids swapping music like marbles in the school playground. But, more than anything else, this is just a sign that these industries really must move with the times. I read recently that some old crooner - the name escapes me at the moment, but I assure you he and his band were big in the 70s - was rather complimentary about filesharing, in the sense that it promoted his music to an audience that may not otherwise have come across it, if it wasn't for it being freely available to download. Cut a long story short, the band were happy to have new, younger audiences at their gigs, and increasingly happy at merchandise sales courtesy of aforementioned filesharers. So, really, I think it's up to the music industry to work with the times and get over it.

I realise this post has no real structure, but I think I'm getting my point across.

And one final note - if you're just downloading music using your BitTorrent client, there's no real way your IP address can be tracked down. So you're only in danger if people are uploading from you. Of course, I realise this does pose a problem - if we all adjust our settings to being 'download only', who will provide the uploads?! That's where I leave it to the geeks :) - and many thanks to them too. One day, I might just join you. Just let me get my hands on this baby....

(I hope the link works.)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Simon Cowell is a dick

In many ways, I feel ashamed to have been away from my blog for three weeks only to return now to write about the running joke that is The X Factor, but something has actually stirred deep within me.

For the last few years, even before the X Factor, I have always had respect for Simon Cowell in the way one might respect a deadly predator from the wild - think Black Widow spider or a Venus Flytrap - ruthless yet charming. As I recall, he first graced our screens in Pop Idol, alongside Nicki Chapman, Pete Waterman and Neil 'Dr' Fox [what the hell was he doing there?!]. The best part of the last decade has seen him shattering people's dreams and hopes on prime time television - thereby doing them and the rest of the viewing audience a favour - because, in one way or another, Simon pretty much always made the right call. Whenever Sharon Osbourne's heart melted at yet-another-sob-story-but-pathetic-singing-performance, Simon was there to boot the talentless out and allow us a glimpse of the ugly side of delusion - all those contestants wailing 'They don't know a good thing when they see it! ' 'I'm gonna be the next big thing, despite what the judges say!' yadda, yadda, yadda.

Tonight, however, Simon Cowell has well and truly painted himself as a dick.

For the past few weeks of the current X Factor series, viewers have had to endure the walking and talking (because they cannot sing) of John and Edward, Jedward if you will, possibly the most controversial acts chosen to progress to the live stages. Whilst I marvel at the British public's inane obsession of watching - and enjoying - such car-crash television, I guess somewhere along the line the twins have been entertaining. But Simon has, in all this time, been rather adamant that they do not deserve a place in the show, so you would think he would be only too happy to jump at the chance to have them kicked out of the competition, and leave his fellow judge Louis Walsh with no acts for the rest of the series. Alas, as tonight has proved, you would be thinking wrong.

In the last three weeks we have heard Simon say that, when it comes to the bottom two contestants (those with the least number of public votes), his choice would be made on who's performance was the best as, after all, that is the point of a sing-off. Last week we saw the departure of Rachel who, by far and large, was (and remains) a much better singer and performer than Lloyd, the 16-year-old who could barely open his mouth in last week's showdown. Don't get me wrong, I understand how nerve-wrecking the sing-off can be, but it is obvious to most X Factor viewers who should've gone.

So that leaves us with this week, when Lucy and Jedward were in the final. And Mr Simon 'Dick' Cowell, as he is now so fondly renamed in my head, sent away (arguably) one of the best female singers of this competition - albeit indirectly - for Jedward to come and 'entertain' us once more.

The logic behind it? Well, it does make you wonder.

Presumably, the Jedward franchise is bringing in more votes and public interest than any of the other acts. And by keeping them in the competition, it ensures a stronger singer leaves meaning, ultimately, Simon's acts have a bigger shot at the win.

Finally, with all this constant 'going-to-the-public-vote-because-there-is-a-deadlock' drama, it does beg the question - what is the point of the judges' votes?! Seriously?! No unanimous decisions are ever reached, and if you're continually going to turn to us to make the final call, then why bother with the sing-off in the first place?!

So, all of the above has now left me with no respect for Simon who, in my head, resembles more a weasel or a leech than any other animal.

Let's boycott the X Factor, I saw. Though that'll never happen.

I am off now to contemplate and feel guilty for the fact that I have just blogged about the X Factor, instead of drawing upon the many other issues I could have raised, which have also been playing on my mind in the last few weeks, but will ultimately probably never make an airing on this blog because I am too lazy to actually sit down and formulate a proper argument about them.

Maybe next week I'll treat you to my opinion of FlashForward so far.