Tech help required, AGAIN!

See? I can’t even embed this properly! Curse you, BBC, for building me up, then bringing me down. :mad:

There are three sets from this year’s Glastonbury festival that I can’t stop watching. Elbow’s mellow sundown set on Friday was just ace. BUTBUTBUT ….

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Probably the most interesting, significant and readable book that I’ve read in the last decade or so is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It’s fairly hefty at 500 odd pages but even so I’ve read it throughout twice and have listened to the book on CD version also, I like to listen in bed in the early hours. When I acquired the CD’s I inadvertently loaded them into my computer which resulted in them being installed into iTunes and consequently whenever I listen to iTunes on shuffle I get an occasional chapter on some aspect of the history of science sandwidged between Dylan and whoever. I don’t mind that one bit.
He’s a fabulous humorous writer with enormous curiosity which he uses to investigate and explain basically the history of almost everything we know and how and when we discovered it.
I’ve always loved the way he begins the book, by describing us in a most unique but totally complete fashion, I just found that introduction at youtube and I’d like to share it with you; it’s well worth the listen.

So, it is a case of Farewell, Voyager

It was reported this week that NASA’s venerable Voyager I probe has finally left the Solar System and is heading off out into the cold lonely reaches of interstellar space.

Launched in 1977, Voyager has gone further and faster than any other man-made object and will continue to send data back to Earth until its plutonium energy supply runs out in a few decades time.

So, I decided to put together a playlist that is in the spirit of space, the vast unknown, although not all the tracks are actually directly about space travel.

To keep it fun, the playlist is anonymous and therefore, ‘Spill points are available for those of you who can identify what is what.

iTunes rage




Apologies for reproducing wholesale a post made on the mothership, but as it’s oh so quiet there at the moment there (and it’s that time of the week), I thought I would pop it here too in the spirit of starting a wider thread on technological solutions to managing large digital libraries, so thoughts and points outside of my direct rant are very welcome too…

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Click on the ‘spill at the top left of your screen
Then click Dashboard on the drop down
click media on the left hand side – Library will appear next to it.

under the “Howdy – you have used up your upload limit” is a set of :

All (6,418) | Images (4,454) | Audio (1,946) | Unattached (556)

click on Audio and you will have 98 pages of mp3s

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Hello Boys & Girls – I’m B-B-A-A-A-A-C-C-C-K-K-K !!!

Oh the joy, the relief, the sheer “Thank-F**K-for-that”-edness! (Sorry yet again for the swearies, TFD; I really AM trying to cut down on my bad language.) Computer back, seemingly fixed, installed, online, and all elements so far talking to each other without any problem. Better than that, the PC is now sat on my new one-piece desk which feels so much bigger than the old one I almost feel like inviting you all over to come and have a picnic on it!

So excuse me a little noisy indulgence, whilst I sit back at my workspace and enjoy a few stress-free minutes, before the reality of just how much admin work I’ll now have to catch up on dawns on me.

The Spillers’ Google Map – RRdond&spill

Dunno if this will link you all directly back to the map, but when AliM said she couldn’t find it, I felt I ought to, as an apology for dissing her “Keep One, Kick One” list.

Cauliflower owns the list, but Tinny is a ‘Collaborator’ with editing privileges, apparently.

Life On Mars

Thought it might be nice to make a little playlist of Songs About Mars to accompany the exciting first photo the Mars Rover beamed back. Not a terribly original idea, there were already a few playlists out there on the interwebs. A lot of the usual suspects – Bowie, T Rex, Coldplay, etc, and plenty of shoehorns. Tucked in among the shoehorns was this new-to-me (am i the only one who had never heard it before?) beauty that only mentions Mars in passing, but any excuse will do to post it. Axe-fucking-tastic.

Jimi Hendrix – The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice

iDunce: iNeed iPhone iHelp – v2.0



It’s not pretty watching a grown man cry, but I’m fairly close to tears right now.

I’ve managed to lock myself out of my iPhone. I changed the password after the girls figured out yet ANOTHER one, but the very next time I tried to get into the phone, it told me I’ve got the password wrong.
I can’t believe I messed up the change, but nonetheless I’ve tried Capitalising it, mis-spelling it, typing the old one again in case the change hadn’t processed, etc., etc.
But now it’s locking me out for increasing amounts of time after each failed attempt, and I’ve been warned by one ex-user “For God’s sake don’t get to ten failed attempts or the phone will wipe itself”. Um, *ULP*, I can’t be far off that point.

Anybody know what I do now? I can’t find free online advice, and I can’t find it in the hundreds of pages of online service manual.

I need the phone tomorrow.



Ee, could you all feel that Beaufort Force 8 sigh of relief just then?

Given that you have to put in a new password twice accurately in order to change it, I asked myself the question “What could I possibly have mis-typed twice in a row?”

I changed the last letter “r” in my intended new password for the adjacent “t” on the qwerty, gritted my teeth and hit OK . . . SUCCESS!!!

I’m back in, and I promise to concentrate on one thing at once in future.

Updated dropbox: Now let someone view without a download

A Dropbox update makes it easier to share direct links to files inside your Dropbox folders without using your Public folder.

The new system allows you to “Get Link” by right clicking on any file or folder in Dropbox. Send the link so the recipient can view the photo, watch a video or read a document in their browser – no download required.

The feature should be live in the Dropbox webapp, mobile apps, and desktop client right now. (via Lifehacker. Also, dropbox vs Google Drive vs …)

iDunce: iNeed iPhone iHelp

OK, so I finally succumbed and took a bite from the Apple: got myself an iPhone4S. But it’s taken me less than a week to realise I haven’t got a scooby how to do anything on it, apart from play Yahtzee on a free download app that’s now annoying the shit out of me by causing the phone to beep incoming messages that turn out to be unwanted ads at all hours of the night.

My friendly-neighbourhood T-Mobile store bloke took pity on me and got my 1200+ Contacts transferred, and I have somewhat decluttered the homescreen, but that’s about as far as I’ve got.
It turns out I need two new email addresses, three new accounts, and Gawd knows what else. What the hell’s the difference between an iCloud account, an Apple ID and an iTunes Sign-in anyway??

I can’t get the Snooze right on the alarm; I can’t import my own wallpaper; I can’t pick a ringtone from my own music … I haven’t even dare TRY the camera yet!

The iPhone won’t talk to my [temporary] Bluetooth carphone thingy, or to the Parrot kit in Julie’s car at all.

A 7-year-old had to show me how to put it on silent when we were at the Beeb last weekend, FFS! I have gratefully received the tip that applications never close, but merely hide and continue to run unseen unless you expose and close them, and I’ve committed how to do that to memory, but I’d never have found that on my own in a million years!

The User Guide is now paperless, i.e. I have to access it on the phone, which by definition means I’m not in the function I want to learn how to use, and by the time I’ve stumbled back to the right place, I’ve invariably forgotten how to do what I wanted in the first place.

It would therefore appear I don’t have any Apple-logic grey matter in my hurting head. So gimme some tips here, iPhone users. I’ll take and try whatever you’ve got that you think I’ll find useful.

In particular, I want my ringtone back. How do I get UFO’s Only You Can Rock Me to play as calls come in without having to buy again a song I already own about a dozen times?

Decisions, decisions …

Too much choice, people, I need some help.

Last Christmas, DsMam & I committed the sin most present-givers hate most: we asked for money in lieu of anything our friends and family would otherwise have given us. It could have backfired horribly, but our explanation ahead of the game – namely that we wanted to treat ourselves to a decent telly before the old one packed up on us, and didn’t have the disposable income to do it ourselves – seemed to head off any grumbles, and we ended up with a nice fund with which to attack the January sales.

Well, guess what? We’re pushing our luck and trying to pull off the same trick twice. For various reasons we simply don’t have a music system of any sort on the ‘ground’ floor of our home, and we intend to remedy that. But there are some limiting factors and parameters:
(i) Space. Whatever we buy is going to have to be SERIOUSLY compact, both for the player and speakers.
(ii) Finance. Whilst we can’t be certain, it is highly unlikely the budget will break the £500 barrier.
(iii) Accessibility. The unit is going in the dining room, and must be controllable without leaving the table.
(iv) Capacity. There is no storage space for piles of CDs in that room, so digital storage is vital.
(v) Functionality. Our music is in just about every format you can think of, and I want DAB radio for my sports commentaries.
(vi) Quality. Old-fashioned CD ghetto blasters don’t cut it; too indistinct at low volume, too rough at high volume.
(vii) Programmability. The ability to create child- or visitor-friendly playlists is essential, as is the ability to find any given song on demand.

My research to-date has narrowed the likely candidates to the following shortlist -
Cocktail Audio X10 (1TB HDD);
Sony GigaJuke;
Brennan JB7;
Roberts MP53 Sound 53;
or, the wildcard,
iPod 160GB Classic and Bose Sounddock speaker.

Things like PURE’s Avanti Flow, which stream wirelessly from the audio files on the house PC, are NOT being considered. The computer would have to be on to make those work, and isn’t on the same floor as the dining room. Besides, there are WAY too many songs in my iTunes that would not be suitable for the family teatable.

Normally, I’m an open-minded but eventually decisive consumer, but I have to admit that the reviews of all the above are making my head spin. There is no clear leader, pros and cons to all of the options, and no-one we know has any of these systems themselves from which to glean dependable feedback. So, my friends, help us out here. Any views, pointers, opinions or even further things to consider we may have missed, will be gratefully received.

Over to you … I’m off to bed, but will check in as much as possible over the next couple of days.

A Fright At The Museum

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A visitor returning to the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland would certainly be taken aback: how the hell do I get in and why are there so many people in here on such a beautiful day? I used to walk past it on my way home from work. They had late opening on a Tuesday and if it was raining I would go in for a wander. It was badly lit, badly organised and there had been repeated attempts to modernise which were utterly useless.

There was however a masterplan to put things right: the neighbouring site was to become home to the Museum of Scotland and it would eventually link to the original Venetian inspired Victorian building. So out went the flea-bitten taxidermy, fusty display cases, stupid mezzanine levels and water features and in came the clarity of a well designed space and the second most important thing in a museum: light.

The entrance has been reworked so you go in at basement level and walk up to the splendour of the Grand Gallery which was bathed with dazzling sunlight on Saturday, the day after it had re-opened. The place was packed out so we only got about halfway around the exhibits.

Being a relatively small museum it keeps the quality up and the repetition down so it’s a child friendly place. The galleries have been opened up vertically to create neck-craning spaces filled with suspended exhibits. There are good exhibits on the ancient world and on design in the home. You can go up to a rooftop terrace for lunch and a fantastic viewing platform giving great views of the city. And it’s all free!

Billions of blistering blue barnacles!

Having read every Tintin book a million times as a boy, I do have an interest in the boy reporter – but I really don’t know what to make of this! Have a look at the full trailer for the new 3D animated film and let me know what you think!

I still think it’s going steer into the uncanny valley (like the unwatchable “Polar Express”)…

Google It!

I am currently, for reasons that had probably better remain unspecificed because of the fear that one’s employers may indeed occasionally monitor one’s internet activities, trying to decide whether to spend all day under the duvet in the hope that if I don’t do anything then nothing else can go wrong, or alternatively start killing certain people with a garden fork. This, the latest bit of displacement activity from Trwbador plus a video by someone else, is my last, best hope for cheering myself up a bit.

EOTWQ waxes nostalgic

All your aspiring rock star needed in 1978. Including the boots.

So, when I was looking out my B sides the other week, I couldn’t help but have a little muse about my Dansette.

As you know, I’m hoping to move house this year; and I won’t be able to take all my stuff with me. I definitely DO want to take my LPs, 45s and 78s – but that’ll mean taking my very horrible 70s stereo too, or I won’t be able to play them. If only I still had my Dansette, I thought. How lovely that would be.

1 What bit of kit do you think should make a comeback? (Not just music kit. Any kind. Clothes even.)

2 It’s February. What first signs of spring do you look for?

3 Would you write your autobiography? Why? Why not? (You’ve got the appropriate writing skills, so don’t worry about that part.)

4 Duvet, or blankets and sheets?

5 Do you research your family history? If so, what’s the furthest back you’ve got?

[Supplementary question: what's the LP that you can just see part of in that stack? The photo will enlarge if you click on it. I've no idea of the answer, but I need to know.]

I’ll kiss you.. you’re Beautiful.. 5 years

On Recollection De Rosa

Time for a beer .. cheers to one and all RR oddities.. for 5 full and fantastic years of quality music .. I’ve found some beauties in times past due to you lot.. but sod that .. my collection of music is considerable more tasteful than yours.. here’s a mixtape, sticking on the straight and narrow like an elephant on a giant jelly:
[Audio,,,,, The Art of the High Five The All New Adventures of Us
2 Natalie’s Party Shack
3 Francesca’s Party Baxter Dury
4 The Bell Tolls Five Peter Von Poehl
5 Anniversary The Cure
6 Birthday The Jesus & Mary Chain

1 The Party St. Vincent
2 The Birthday Song Candy Bars
3 We Are All Accelerated Readers Los Campesinos!
4 No Return Brakes
5 celebrate Miles
6 Celebrate Tony Allen

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New Spotify extension for Chrome (Firefox has one too)

Find and play songs in Spotify without leaving your Chrome browser. Firefox has one that searches better but doesn’t have Chrome’s nifty in-browser player (pictured).

Highlight artist or song on a web page and either right click (Firefox) or click the toolbar dot (Chrome) to search Spotify for it. Chrome displays the results quickly in a heads-up window. Firefox logs you in to Spotify.

Note that the Chrome version is particular about search syntax. It found Elvis Costello Veronica but not Elvis Costello – Veronica, nor even Veronica Elvis Costello. You do get a useful pop-up search box though, and it is brand new so expect improvements.

Firefox extension HERE …………………  Spotify extension HERE.

2 turntables and a crate of sane

nilpferd and steenbeck started up an idea about hip hop instrumentals on the RJD2 post .. so having filtered three different files worth – here’s an hour and a half (anyone got about that much time to waste?) kind of tunes loosely coming in under that banner. What I’ve done is try and make it interesting – i know – always helps – tried not to frighten the natives of the ‘spill too much. and produced something that would play out well… go on give it a spin, it’s easier to understand than cricket.
… and if anyone has a favorite tune that could squeeze into the hip hop instrumental getto.. please shout out, if there’s enough interest we’ll open a dropbox file… enjoy.
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Look at you, eReading at your age


I used to say I’d never read a book on the computer. Then again, I once said I’d never have a mobile phone. Or give up vinyl. I’d never have online friends. I’d never …ok. that’s for another time.

I, have, however, found a treasure trove of quality long-form magazine articles and an easy, eye-friendly way to read them.

First, you get a free Instapaper account.  Think of it as Spotify for reading.

Instapaper lets you read any web page in the format pictured above or save it to your own online library to read later.

Isn’t that complicated? Nah, it’s easey-peasey!  No tech skills required.

See the black arrow above? You get those bookmarklets at  the Instapaper site. Drag ‘em to your favorites bar, and you’re done. Anywhere you surf after that, click one to read now or the other to read later.

You can get a little fancier if you like. You can adjust the display. You can send stuff to your library by email, which is handy. You can subscribe to your library by RSS feed. It’s eReader friendly, and it works on phones! (A great use is to Instapaper long things from your phone so you can read them at home/work)

But what about this treasure trove? Ah ha. How about the Greatest Magazine Articles Ever? Or hundreds of free, current articles from quality magazines.

I’m not sold on reading books on screen and I love scanning and folding my newspaper too much, but long magazine articles are perfect for onscreen reading. The above (proper full-length review here) is free and no tech skills needed, so give er a go mateys. (Mac or PC)

You typing to me?

Here’s one from the NY Times Magazine for those who think they know more than a …. you know, one of those…oh grrr, it’s right on the tip of my tongue, too. I was losing -2 to 8 when I stopped to post this, but I feel a rush of cleverness coming on.

BEWARE: If you say I don’t know, you aren’t penalized. If you answer incorrectly, points are deducted.  As we have now learned, you can only play once.


The Watson Trivia Challenge

Play against I.B.M.’s question-answering supercomputer. Read Article | Video Play Video

Luckily, none of us get distracted

I found this great kids’ site called Soup Toys, and its genius. You get a free little app that lets you choose from thousands of playsets or create your own.

The toys spill out on your screen and you ‘play’ with them as you would in real life – balls bounce and make ball bouncing sounds, etc.

It’s a community-based endeavour, so people create and upload new toysets all the time.  There’s now 24018 of ‘em, and it really is ace. If you can stop playing with it yourself long enough, your kids will love it!

Sadly, no Mac version yet.