iTunes 4.7 is out. The minimise to system tray (or whatever) feature is very nice, but, ARRRRGH, now whenever I eject my iPod, it stops charging - so I can't listen to it and charge it at the same time.
And as for the iPod Photo, is it just me, or is this a rubbish idea?
What a nasty shock. John Peel has died.
John Peel has been at the forefront of progressive music for more years than 40 years. It's difficult to overstate the impact he's had - would punk have made it big without him? And how many other genres saw their first exposure on John Peel's show?
Obviously, it wasn't all good music - but if you aren't willing to look at new things with an open mind, how can you discover the wheat amongst the chaff? John Peel was always willing to listen.
In recent years, his unpretentious style found an additional natural home - Home Truths. He was able to talk to anybody about anything - always interested, never intrusive, sympathetic, but never condescending.
The BBC will miss him. So will I.
Update - I'm now listening to Teenage Kicks - according to John Peel, the best ever record. "I canít imagine anything you could add to it or subtract from it to make it better." and "I've known the Undertones for so long and I've always claimed that it was my favourite record of all time I'd have to take Teenage Kicks."
I'm not sure that the Busted version went down quite so well.
Another update: The UK blogsphere is in mourning.
I saw The Princess Diaries 2 with Freja this weekend.
Having said that, Freja loved it, as did most of the audience. So, let me be more specific. If you're female and between the ages of six and fourteen, or if you are Mark Matthews, you'll probably love it. Otherwise, avoid.
The royal brown-nosing was blatant. The Americans are obviously desperate for a royal family of their own own. Well, they can have ours.
What else was there? Oh yes, unfunny slapstick, suitable-for-pre-teen romance, and (oh, the horror!) Julie Andrews rapping.
Oh, and the product placement was shocking. Shocking.
No problem - O2 will stalk them for you! You can do anything on the Internet these days.
(It's not the most embarrassing - that has to be the Comdex demo of Windows 98.)
[Insert comment from El Presidente about my productivity here.]
I decided to take a punt on AllOfMP3. I've grabbed much of the vinyl that I'm missing on CD, a lot of it stuff by The Beatles and The Police. It's all worked fine, and the MP3's are of good quality. My iPod is now nice and full. ;-)
BTW, the Bose SoundDock looks gorgeous, doesn't it? But £250!
AllOfMP3 - is it legal? Is looks too good to be true, but if it is legal, it's a great way of picking up high quality
I wouldn't use it to get new stuff - I don't think that would be ethical. But I'd quite happily use it to pick up any stuff I own on vinyl...
The also have some themed crawls listed. They have the Monopoly crawl, which I've done much of on my 30th. (I got as far as Rose and Crown, Old Park Lane. We figured that we didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting into Henry's in our condition, so we pissed off down to The Frog and Forget-Me-Not and finished off getting pissed. It was pints of wife-beater all the way - how I survived that I don't know. I know we were still in The Grand at two in the morning, despite having started at noon...)
Anyone care to fill in the gaps?
Right, that's it, I'm taking a sickie tomorrow.
Amazing news from the forty-second parallel - Civilization IV will use Python as its scripting language!
Last night's Quantum Non-locality lecture was excellent. The hour passed by in what seemed like minutes - and I'm not quite nerdy enough that this would have happened if is wasn't a good talk.
Professor Popescu started out with a history of the subject. Einstein, assuming that non-locality could not exist, used it as Reductio ad absurdum proof that quantum mechanics could not actually be non-deterministic, and that the apparent non-determinism was actually caused by "hidden variables". But some three decades later John Bell showed that non-locality was in fact real - which also demonstrated that the hidden variables assumption was false.
This does not violate Relativity. Though the entangled particles may be said to have communicated faster than light, this correlation cannot be used to transmit information. Each of the individual particles continues to behave non-deterministically - it's only when their behaviours are correlated that you can demonstrate entanglement. So, it's the very non-determinism which allow non-locality to occur without violating Relativity.
This far, I'd managed to keep up, but the Professor then explained how non-locality could be measured - at which point, he shook me off entirely. So much for no mathematics!
I picked up his trail again soon, though.
Professor Popescu then explained some of the practical application that quantum non-locality might someday have. He went into some (though thankfully not too much) detail on teleportation. This won't, sadly, be too much like Star Trek teleportation, but the idea is that if you have entangled particles at some distance from on another, plus a normal, 'classical' communication channel, you can transfer another particle's entire quantum state from one place to another. This would not be possible by other means, since you cannot measure this state due to the uncertainly principal. The key is that you can transmit the state without ever measuring it.
Lastly Professor Popescu told us about what he's currently working on. It's to do with a perceived problem with Quantum Physics' axioms.
Relativity is dependent upon only two, elegantly simple axioms - that the laws of nature are the same for all observers that move with constant speed relative to each other; and the other was that the speed of light is finite and the same for every observer.
Quantum Mechanics' axioms are not quite the same. For example the first axiom is utterly incomprehensible to most, and complex even to the experts. Professor Popescu is hoping that, just as non-determinism allows non-locality to occur without violating Relativity, perhaps one can take Relativity and non-determinism as starting points, and derive Quantum Mechanics. Beautiful!
Next week, Not just about numbers.
You can get all kinds - His & Hers, Hers and His, His and His, Hers and Hers. But it does amuse me that this one comes in a queen size...
I must say I'm unhappy to have got only 40%. I must get out more...
Apparently, Apple have exposed a COM interface to iTunes. If I'd known that, I might have written this myself. Unfortunately, the exposed interface is incomplete. You can't read all of the track meta data - 'My Rating', 'Play Count' and 'Last Played' are missing, for example. And you can't set anything - all the attributes are read only. This is a real shame, 'cos it means that I can't use the COM interface to do what I really want to do - transferring my iTunes library's meta data from one PC to another.
There are a number of ways of transferring the tracks themselves. I use iPod Agent. But this doesn't set all the meta data. 'My Rating', 'Play Count' and 'Last Played' don't get set, for example, and since some of my smart playlists are driven by these values, I really want this all transferred too.
Update: David has pointed out the iTunes COM for Windows SDK. The C header files in there seem to refer to the ability to read and set all the meta data that I need, so perhaps I can read and set everything I need to. I'll keep looking...
Five years! I must say, I'd have thought that he's suffered enough already...
I've never bought any serious kit from PC World - and I never will. Their incompetence starts to take on a kind of epic grandeur after a while.
The notebook that they sold Dan and Abby turned out to be sold out - hence the 2nd visit. They then proceeded to try to sell us a number of other notebooks that had sold out. Having been caught out like this before, we kept asking then to ensure that they had some stock, and every time they went off for five minutes, only to sheepishly return and admit that they didn't.
In the end, we went to Comet instead, and picked up a nice little Toshiba Satellite. Which I'll be setting up for them this evening.
I really enjoyed my last jaunt to the Royal Society, as suggested by Jez, and there are a couple of cool looking events coming up there in the next couple of weeks: What is quantum non-locality? on Wednesday the 13th, and Not just about numbers on Tuesday the 19th. I'll be going to both, hopefully with a few friends. If anyone fancies tagging along, give me a shout.
I'm particularly looking forward to the John Barrow, since I've read a number of his books; The Book of Nothing, Pi in the Sky, Impossibility, The Universe That Discovered Itself and Theories of Everything.
Dr. Tim Couper has built a very slick looking unit test framework for Windows GUI sytems - WATSUP - Windows Application Test System Using Python.
It makes use of winGuiAuto, my rather rough and ready Windows GUI automation utility. Nice to see that I've contributed to something useful to someone other than me! winGuiAuto is just a small corner of WATSUP, though...
Tim will be putting this up as a Sourceforge soon, I gather.
I was living in Reading during much of 1999, and commuting to London each morning by train. The train that I usually took was the one before the train that crashed at Ladbroke Grove - but it wasn't unusual for me to be running a little late. I probably caught it once a week or so. But by October, I had moved to Colliers Wood.
I never read about Ladbroke Grove without a shiver.
Tell everyone about Pillow Fight Club.
Clearly Google is getting cleverer than ever. ;-)
Thanks to the office
pyromaniac pyrographer Tracey for this one.
I remember seeing the flies in the urinals at Schiphol. It took me a while to realise that they weren't real!
But will it actually help? Well, while there are certainly some men who don't take aim as carefully as they might, and who may be enticed into a little more care by this device, I like to think that most of us do our best. But there is a certain inaccuracy inherent in the equipment. That first volley especially can be a little unpredictable.
You ladies didn't want to know that, did you? ;-)