Thursday, 27 October 2011

Hello World

It's been forever since my last post and that may or may not be a good thing :-) For anyone that knows me or us, the past months have not been great health wise and I had got into the 'can't be bothered' frame of mind.

That I could accept all the time I was feeling so low. But I am getting better, very painfully slowly it's true and with many depressing setbacks but I *am* feeling better and I can no longer accept that thinking. It sticks around for too long it becomes permanent and that I can't be doing with.

So I shall be restarting. I plan to say nothing directly about my condition, I mean what is there that's more boring then other people's illnesses? Indeed I have no idea if I have anything to say that's of the slightest interest to anyone at all, but that isn't, or shouldn't be the reason for a blog anyway should it? I also don't know how often or regularly I shall be writing, but my *intention* is to give it a go.

I'm not going to say 'watch this space' and the road to hell is paved with good intentions (or frozen double glazing salesmen if Terry Pratchett is to be believed) but who knows there may be something for someone..

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Open letter to Norton Internet Security.

Dear Norton

I've been using your products for many years, indeed since they were called Norton Tools and came on diskettes. This (happy?) relationship is now at an end.

At the end of last year my copy of Internet Security on my desktop just switched off. No warning or explanation of any sort (the subscription still had 3 months to run). It would not switch back on, my computer was left open vulnerable and unprotected. I am very glad I noticed something was amiss almost at once. It might have been very different.

I contacted your much vaunted 'help desk' for, well help. To this day I have never received the courtesy of a reply. Thinking about it, I have *never* received a reply from your company on any inquiry of any sort.

Needless to say rather then leave my computer unprotected I deleted your software and installed that of a rival which I have to say is in every single way very much superior. I wish I had done it long ago.

I still use Internet Security on my laptop. In my stupidity I subscribed for two years. I shall carry on using it until it runs out, you have already cheated me of 3 months subscription, why should you cheat me of any more?

Just to let you know though I hate your software even more then I did before. The latest ploy is constant nag screens about performance in that in your estimation my Opera browser uses too much system resource. Presumably Opera is preventing Norton from grabbing it all like it normally does.

It is my computer, I shall run what I damn well like and it's none of your business.

I seriously would like to wish you well in future endeavors, but I'd be lying. I hope you get bought by some large foreign investment company, asset stripped and run into the ground.

Love & kisses


Monday, 21 February 2011

New Adventures in HiFi

I did write an entry the other day, as you can imagine, it was brilliant, incisive and of world shattering importance. Then I managed to delete it. I have no idea how.

So today I thought I'd talk about something totally different.

Pictured above (thats not my one, it's a stock photo I grabbed off the net) is one of my all time favorite amplifiers.

Most people would pick something costing mega bucks by one of the worlds prestige manufacturers but my choice has to go to the humble Leak Delta 30. This is the visually updated version (the insides are all but identical) to the earlier Leak Stereo 30+. It was given a face lift when the Rank organization bought Leak and Harold Leak the founder retired. They didn't do the company any good in the long run (along with Wharfedale the speaker manufacturer which they also acquired) but this at least was a good move.

Why this little amp? God knows it's no powerhouse (12-15 watts a channel) the sockets, particularly the speaker connectors are a pain and of course it's old. But it's built like a tank, the modular card system it's built upon make it surprisingly easy to work on and plug in a modern source like a CD player or an iPod (via a small dock and obviously using stuff recorded in lossless) and it just sounds *right*. Never fatiguing, always warm and inviting, you can listen all day. I tired many years ago of the 'my HiFi is so good nothing I have is good enough to listen to on it'

I am currently using it plugged into a pair of equally vintage B&W DM2a's (another favorite) While it is nowhere near powerful enough, the DM's are inefficient and like lots of power, but as long as you are not planning any parties (and I'm not) it's a magical combination.

The story is that Harold Leak, who by all accounts was not the easiest of men, accidentally purloined the design which was left on a desk while visiting the premises of a rival manufacturer. I'd love this to be true and if so I could even make a guess as to which one. Who knows the truth after all this time, whatever the case he produced something special.

I'd like to try it's bigger brother, the Delta 70, basically exactly the same amp, just uprated a bit and managing a good 35+ watts.

Of course there's plenty out there that can do better in so many areas, but to find a combination so lush in such an unassuming little package is more then anyone could hope for.

Obviously offer me a Radford STA15, a Quad22/33/405/606, a Lecson or any amount of others and I'm going to take your hand off, but you'll never get one of those for the same outlay..

I love 70's HiFi particularly British HiFi. The designs and concepts are unique. It's also built out of slabs and casts of aluminium and steel casing and veneers are real. It owes much more to industrial design then it's Japanese and American counterparts and to my eyes is all the better for it. The components used are proper full sized ones and look and behave like they are supposed to. And you can *fix* them. Try doing that with the latest Chinese made techno wonder..

Monday, 14 February 2011

My Chemical Romance at the Wembley Arena. Photograph (c) Julie Bench

The My Chemical Romance World Contamination Tour rolls on and London Wembley was another triumph. I know, my friend Julie was there with her family, I should have been too. I've seen the setlist, I've seen the photographs it looks a stunning night. There is a thought there were more cameras then strictly necessary so maybe this time the Video will be in London rather then Mexico? I can but hope.

Tonight at a musical opposite I should have been at The London O2 seeing the reunion tour of Roxy Music. I really wanted to go, I have loved Roxy since a young teenager. The last time they were all together like tonight I couldn't go either, my mum wouldn't let me as I was too young. Unless Mr Ferry and the guys have such a ball they decide to do it all again and soon, I don't suppose I'll get the chance again. Sometimes life is a b*tch.

By the way if you're into slick utterly professional music handled perfectly and thats just going to give you a good time try Bryan Ferry's new album Olympia. It won't have you bouncing around the room or screaming the lyrics, it's not going to change the world or set it on fire, but even the rockiest of us need to relax sometimes. Gorgeous.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Been a while

Well hello my friends, it's been a while and I guess we have a lot to catch up on. To tell the truth I had kind of decided not to bother any more with this blog, I mean who on earth wants another one? Plus it takes time and even energy at least in the brain department.

But Things change, mostly for me has been a major dip in health since just before my birthday last year. After iffing and ah-ing the docs seem to think I have Chron's disease. It's not confirmed yet as I have a consultant who seems to rarely be around but it seems the most likely from what I know of the condition (I have a brother in law who suffers with it plus what I have read here on the net). When I mentioned this to one of my my GP's (I seem somehow to have three and be shared between them depending on who is in on any given day) I got the reply 'well thats what we thought right at the beginning' No one had thought of telling me of course. It would have saved a lot of dark imaginings.

So at the moment I'm not much better then an invalid and that gets more boring then I can express. I had no idea, I've always been doing something and suddenly not being able to is frustrating the hell out of me. Especially when every time you start to feel a little better you get knocked back down again. You almost seem to be in a war against yourself.

So maybe to restart the blog which thanks to my trusty Lenovo Netbook I can do from more or less anywhere, even bed. How much I shall write about this I don't know, I'm sure it will come up, it can hardly not, but whether it goes further then that I have yet to decide. Lets face it other peoples woes can get deadly boring.

Anyway there's lots we can talk about, there's music for a start. Tonight I should be at the My Chemical Romance's gig at Wembley Arena in London. I so wanted to see the full Danger Days show :-((

At least Muse finished the Resistance tour and I was at Wembley Stadium with them so I have I figure a good three years before I need to get suicidal if I can't go.

I have discovered (much to the delight I am sure of Amazon) many new and several old bands to fall in love with. There is my ongoing love of 70's HiFi, actually most things 70's now I think of it.. There's the house and the garden, which I have spent the last weeks thinking deeply about and planning, looking forward to the time when I can actually do it and if all that runs out I'm sure we can find something to talk about.

So here I am (again)