Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

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 Last.fm.

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.

[13:36] | [/Music] | Comments | G

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. He's 'flogged' 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.

[17:16] | [/Computer] | Comments | G

Sat, 04 Nov 2006

Easy Edgy

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 Firefox V2.

I've had stability issues in the past. It will be intesting to see if this version reduces those, but so far, so good.

[16:33] | [/Computer] | Comments | G

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.

[09:45] | [/News] | Comments | G

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