Fri, 17 Nov 2006
The Flaming Lips, Hammersmith Apollo 20061113
I've been wanting to see the Lips for a while. I missed out when they played the Albert Hall
earlier in the year, but I made sure I got tickets for this one. We started the evening with dinner
at a small Japanese rstaurant off Leicester Square, followed by too much icecream at Hagen Daas.
I've only been to the Apollo once before when we saw Björk 3 years ago.
It's a proper old-fashioned rock venue. An old theatre that's looking a bit tatty with a grand foyer.
We were up on the circle, but not too far back.
Support was from Midlake, who I'd not heard of. They were okay, but,
as usual, the support band sound was lacking. I'd probably enjoy them more on CD. They remind me a lot of
Grandaddy. I actually have a free copy of one Midlake track
that was being handed out as we went in.
The Flaming Lips were another matter altogether. They started
with giant balloons and massive confetti cannons. I thought the aliens and santas were a bit pointless,
but dressing the crew as superheroes was neat. They played a lot of the new album plus some Yoshimi,
Soft Bulletin and a couple of old tracks. There was lots of audience participation, culminating in a
Bohemian Rhapsody karaoke in one of the encores (better than it sounds).
By some coincidence the gig was also attended by the Israeli instructor on a programming course I am
taking at work.
This review is adapted from the one I posted earlier to
I'm currently listening to Radiohead's National Anthem to restore
my faith in music after seeing this.
I've been giving some thought lately to reorganising my digital music collection. I have loads of CDs,
but do most of my listening on the PC. Over many years I've converted my collection to MP3 and, more recently,
Ogg Vorbis. Some of it was done in 128kb/s CBR MP3 and sounds
a bit flat these days, especially on my Grado headphones. I've thought of
re-ripping it all to Ogg, but there may be a better alternative. Now that I have a much bigger hard drive I
could to it in a lossless form, probably FLAC, so that there is
no loss of quality. Then I just need to find a way to convert it to a more compact form for portable use. I
could try writing something that would automatically transcode any new music. I just want to avoid ever having
to rip it again. I shall have to look into keeping a backup copy in case of catastrophic disk failure.
Last night I was at a birthday party for someone I drum with.
She lives in Ridge, which is a small village a stone's throw from South Mimms. She works there at a research centre for
Cancer Research. I had an interesting chat with one of her colleagues
about the usefulness of protein folding.
Sat, 11 Nov 2006
Herts LUG 20061108
Our LUG speaker this month was
Rob talking about how he got LPI certified. He did pretty well considering he
has a new baby and is suffering from a lack of sleep. I remember those days.
it. There was also a general discussion about email and the problems of spam.
Some of the talk about managing mail servers went over my head.
I didn't seem to write anything for the meeting last month.
LordElph talked about how the
GeoGraph site is run on Linux.
He is also a fellow participant in the Open
Streetmap project. He's mainly working on
Baldock. I keep adding
bits and pieces of places I've been, but haven't had the time to finish off
Arlesey. It would only
take a day to map the remaining streets, longer to do all the local footpaths.
Talking of Baldock, we were there in Tesco today and were having a snack in their cafe
when we were joined by an old soldier who had been out collecting for the poppy appeal.
He was a very sprightly 84 and had been at the Normandy landings among other campaigns.
There can't be that many of his kind left. I am very much anti any sort of war as they
are generally due to the failures of politicians, but I admire those who had to fight,
regardless of whether they wanted to be soldiers.
Sat, 04 Nov 2006
I've been putting off upgrading my Kubuntu (a
variant of the Ubuntu OS), for a while since they
released the latest version, Edgy Eft. I've heard of people having problems that left
them with an unusable system, and I have experienced this myself on an earlier version
change. Last night I decided to go for it. I ran a couple of commands and the system
proceeded to download about 900 packages. That and the actual installation took around
three hours. I had to run the upgrade command twice after it stumbled on a file, but apart from
that it was all smooth sailing. The scary part was rebooting to see if the system came
back up. And it did!
There's a few obvious changes in the look of the system. Windows and the backdrop
have changed. Starting the system seems slightly quicker with new-look screens. Some
of the applications show obvious new features. Kopete
(multi-protocol messager) is showing MSN avatars and shows the MSN gateway as a separate
account. Amarok (audio player) can now play the
streams from Last.fm. There's also
I've had stability issues in the past. It will be intesting to see if this version
reduces those, but so far, so good.
Thu, 02 Nov 2006
Inventor of the Internet
Listening to Radio 3 this morning there was an item on the news about
Tim Berners-Lee predicting
bad things for the future of the net. What bugged me was that they described him
as 'inventor of the Internet'. I guess that some people think the Web is the Internet.
The same mistake may have been on the BBC
News site, but seems to have gone now.
I've taken to listening to Radio 3 on my commute to avoid hearing the same old songs and innane chat
every day. I'm also trying to get a better understanding of classical music. Had a nice blast of
Mussorgsky's Night on Bear Mountain today.
Caught the second half of Mystery Men on ITV4 last night.
When I read about it ages ago it seemed like a film a might like. It's very silly. Might have to see it
all some time. ITV4 has some really low-rent advertising for things like telephone dating etc.
Finally, Last.fm have added various updates this week. The best one for me is a gig guide based on the
artists I listen to. You can see the one gig I've tagged at my page.