Month: November 2014

November 27, 2014
A few weeks back, I spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon attending a Harmony Singing Workshop at Bishop Grosseteste University, in Lincoln. The workshop had been arranged by my friend Annie, and apart from her, her husband, Tim, and their daughter; it was going to be a roomful of strangers, so I admit to some nervousness. A big room too – something like 80+ people attended.

The workshop was given by Faith Watson, and she was brilliant, immediately putting us all at our ease.

November 25, 2014
I use Amazon a lot – for Kindle books, for CDs and DVDs, for gadgets; and sometimes even for unexpected stuff like really excellent flour from Welsh watermills. But lately I have been thinking that Amazon isn’t so deserving of my business; from its employment practices to its well-documented tax avoidance.

Margaret Hodge, MP and chair of the public accounts committee, makes a good case that consumer action forced Starbucks to pay tax in UK, and that the same kind of action could force Amazon’s hand.

November 23, 2014
When I first got my original (shop-bought) YouView box, I thought it was pretty brilliant, but the there was the inevitable complaints how it didn’t have stuff like YouTube, NetFlix and LoveFilm. YouView’s answer to this was that they were open to new content partners, but at the end of the day, writing the app was down to the content provider, not them. This didn’t seem unreasonable to me, but didn’t stop the bickering.

Since then, a number of new content partners have appeared, most of which I’m not particularly interested in – Sky, NowTV (which I think is another permutation of Sky), UKTV, Dave etc. But this month, NetFlix has made a welcome appearance. The app is slick, and miles better (in appearance and perfomance) than the app I have been using on my BluRay; so I’ll be watching it on the YouView box from now on.

November 17, 2014
Something like 8 years ago, I bought an AXL ThinAmp DSP10 – a portable battery-powered amplifier. At the time I was making a lot of use of my guitar-synth; which works, of course, if you can plug it into something. As most of the places I played (filk and non-filk) were predominantly acoustic venues, I thought this would do the trick.

Indeed it did, and for a couple of years, I loved it. While not a patch on my Trace Acoustic amp (naturally), it had the advantage that it was lighter than a laptop, didn’t need mains power, and didn’t look like an amp – which meant I didn’t get snooty looks from the true acoustic people. And it did have 10Watts, although I don’t ever think I played it at full volume.

November 3, 2014
The weekend before last, I noticed something strange about my Nexus 10 tablet. The centre of the screen looked grubby. I’d actually noticed this a little a few weeks before, but had assumed it was the light, or some fingermarks on the surface.

But no, the centre part of the screen, in an irregular blot about 3 inches wide, was actually slightly green, and not as sharp as the rest of the screen. Opening a blank page of white, this could be seen quite clearly; and it was nothing on the surface, this was in the screen itself.