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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Music star McFadden dies...

Just heard the talented soul singer and songwriter (No, not Brian McFadden) ...Gene McFadden has died of cancer aged 56.
He formed a songwriting duo with John Whitehead and went on to write and record a string of R'n'B hits, often covered by other more famous stars.
His co-writer, John Whitehead is also dead, having been shot dead in Philadelphia in 2004.
No, I don't know why either.

Best known for creating original song, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us now"; this became a global hit, entering the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, selling more than eight million records and was nominated for a Grammy Award.'
Luther Vandross fans will know Luther's cover version of this track.
I'm not into rap, but rap fans will know this song was also covered by rapper Big Daddy Kane.

You can read more here....

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fish and ...um, lots of ingredients, please !

Fancied fish today and we got this haddock in sauce package.
Checked the ingredients.
What the ..... It contains fish and 34 ingredients!
Still, we got it anyway.

Microwaved and ready to go.
Tasted good as well.
Couldn't taste more than fish and ..hmmmm, pleasant but fairly neutral sauce. Would never have known it had 4 cheeses, let alone all the other stuff in it.

Haddock and 34 ingredients, please

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Multi coloured blog swaps - and video framed storyboards.

Excuse this mini brain dump. It's to help me refresh my approach to this static and moribund blog of mine.
Here's the thing. Right now, all I do here is write words and add a few pictures. This is because in blog years, my blog is still toddling about like a two year old, rather than striding confidently out into the world.
I started this blog, because I could; and didn't think too much about the style and content other than on an ad hoc *what shall I blog about today* kind of way.
Everybody (well OK, media types and bloggers) is talking about blogs being the new *media*. As if there is a *generic" class into which most blogs fit.
Whereas, the truth is, blogs are now becoming more multi-faceted, multi layered and (shock, horror) multi-media by the hour.
There are so many niches and layers of content, with Blogs, popping out of Blogger... and ...Flickr ...for photos and ...Moblogs... for pics and videos from our mobile phones like frog spawn. So much so, that we need tags and groups to collate and navigate to our favourite topics and pictures on many blogs these days.

Blogs were envisaged as an online diary or personal publishing space on the web. Why not, since most blogs are free to use and easy to create.
We could all generate our 15 minutes of fame, before the world and the interweb rushed by.

The introduction of Blogger, Moveable Type and all the other web-based publishing tools, allowed people with little or no html skills to compose and publish *their own thoughts and ideas* and distribute their words and pictures to wherever the internet could be accessed.
Now, plain blogs, like mine, are old hat, passe, boring even. Thus, to maintain some semblance of interest, and to exercise the blog-owner's freedom of expression; blog content includes:
* words
* pictures
* audio tracks
* audio podcasts
* video clips

Whilst behind the scenes, the alphabetti spaghetti of html, dhtml, xhtml, xml, xsl, xslt, css, server-side scripting, SQL, Javascript and Ajax are all busy weaving and wefting words and pics into web-shaped compliant goodliness,

All this multi-media web development is a good thing. It has diluted the power once held by radio and newpaper proprietors to report what they think we should know - and allow anyone with access to a computer and the wish to write a fews words, to have their own say.
Suddenly, investigative journalism got much sharper and more focussed when hundreds or thousands of bloggers decide to dig around a bit, then shake a stick at errors and omissions of the powerful figures or corrupt officials/politicians in the land.

Think of the way in which Wikipedia content has grown into the huge free resource it is today. All created by volunteers who took the time to add definitions, historical facts and narrative to the web-based encyclopedia that now dwarfs the OED, Encycl. Britannica, Funk and Wagnell, et al., for speed of origination and disssemination of info around the globe.

Not to mention, instant news collection by citizens via their mobile phone reporting with pics and videos *as it happens* and shown on the BBC, CNN, Reuters news streams !

What does this all mean ? Well, for a start, it means an added potential income stream for those *on the spot* amateur reporters.
It also means that copyright attribution and royalty payments suddenly got a lot more complicated for the media, BUT are now within the control of those artistic and gifted amateur photographers, etc. to gift or charge for their artistic expertise.

At last, ordinary people, often beavering away in unfulfilled jobs, or stuck at home, can unleash their thoughts and creativity on the unsuspecting world thro their personal space on the web.
And, (who says you can't start a sentence with a preposition ?) many bloggers have honed their skills to write, speak and make pics or movies about their thoughts, dreams, rants or reflections for us all to see and enjoy.
Indeed, commenting seems to be a further channel of communication, feedback and expression of free speech, even for non-bloggers, or bloggers on hiatus.
Brain dump over...

Which is a long-winded way of saying "will you look at this ?" Channel Four is inviting any budding film-makers to create and upload a fact-based, four minute film of our choice.
Click here to learn more...

We can all dream about storyboarding our own short film. Although I can think of Andre... and a few more innovative podcasting, piccy taking, video streaming bloggers who could do this for real.
Who's up for the challenge ?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Remember Spinal Tap ?

I just bought this new (well, new to me) mixer deck.
This for a new project to mix down guitar, keyboard, drums etc before sending to recording software.
This mixer stuff is all pretty new to me, but should help control and improve our instrument sound levels.

Anyway, when studying this mixer a little closer, I had my Spinal Tap moment!

Oh, look! Some of the the volume pots go up to 12!
Then I looked closer and saw they actually go up to 22!

O.K. A small thing, but it amused me for a few minutes.
Back to reality.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Does a Mocca coffee hit the spot ?

Here's a real-life tale of mystery, blogging and the vagaries of real life.

In the beginning, there was - a man, a plan, and a blog.
Things went OK at first, the blog evolved, stumbled a bit, was neglected for a while, but got out a bit more in 2005.
Then Real Life (TM) intervened last summer and the man went walk-about again.

Oh, the blog struggled to bring the man back to heel for a while, .....but to no avail.
The man was pre-occupied with other things.
Meanwhile the blog was determined to put an end to what he saw as a sulky silence.
Dumb Insolence on the part of this bloke, thought the blog.

So, this is why I'm sitting here in a Costa Coffee, somewhere in London.
Drinking this coffee. It's a bribe from the blog.
Or, "a cure for Bloggus Hiatus", says the blog.
We'll see..........

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