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Monday, January 29, 2007

Save Radley Lakes
I thought I was just going up to Oxford for some fresh air.
A Sunday stroll by some lovely lakes is what my friend had told me.
Of course when I arrived at his place in Oxford and found the place swarming with "swampies" I knew that something else was afoot.
We were going on a supporting mission to give aid and moral support to a group of ecologically concerned activists who are using direct action to protect a beautiful lake that was created after gravel digging from being ruined by the local polluting Didcot power station. They have squatted a building which sides one of the last remaining lakes under threat. Most of them have already been filled with a horrible ashy byproduct of powerstations called PFA. It is mixed with water and creates a quicksand-like ugly and toxic sludge that cannot be walked upon for decades. This will replace an utterly tranquil home to fish, nesting birds, water voles (and maybe even otters) amongst others. It is also a local amenity that we saw was used as part of many local peoples leisure time. We saw old couples strolling by, kids biking around, horse shoe prints show that its a nice place for a bit of a trot - and this was in January.

Anyhow there has been a local campaign to save these lakes which has sadly proved unsuccessful over the last few years. The new occupying 'accountable citizens' are not part of that local organisation and have not occupied the building at their behest. However this new group are committed, peaceful, well organised and well informed.
They need as much support as they can get.
Food, money, physical help and/or equipment to protect the site from bailiffs, people to come and help stop any attempted eviction. Campaigning scientists to come and record the species present and make the environmental case that the council failed to do.

Even though some of the Sunday afternoon visitors to the site may not have contributed a great deal to the work going onsite (ie me) they helped with building moral support and will hopefully go off and tell all of their friends - and those with media and publicity spreading powers - what is going on here.

It is important to note that at another powerstation in Britain,
this waste material is built up as a dry mound where it is less polluting and can be grown over with vegetation. The material can later be dug out and used by the building trade if the demand is there. The wet sludge cannot be re-used in this way.
The amount of this ash that is going to be put into this shallow lake would make only a small mound if deposited elsewhere locally. It could also help to disguise the eyesore that is Didcot power station.

Go along to the house and pay a visit. They have a very informative display inside. This is a last ditch battle as the council has already given permission for this beautiful lake to be destroyed by the already filthy polluting greenhouse gas emitting profiteers NPOWER.

Forget about booing Jade,
come and boo the bailiffs when they try and do NPOWER's dirty work.

For more details you can visit these websites:

Save Radley Lakes


Radley Village News

BBC





A final word - It was refreshing to get out of the big smoke and
all the trendy vain vacuous bollocks associated therewith and be with some proper principled getting-involved and doing something folk - quite humbling and shaming too cause I'm such a lazy websurfing fucktard ;-)

sketched by dweller at 10:31 pm
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

and it burns burns burns
hoots mon,
dinae dochno doo
hipknee hopknee hoo
cracken crocken croo
glacker glocker gloo
tamm bant spillyon tichter greet tochen
garbulls gorbals tramway scottiedog

blanket snae snow

ode tae a haggis

slithny yr sharp yon knifey
in tee that there fusty lookin
bag ae meaty bits there and
watch yon chunks ae wotnot spill oot
all oer yer grannies platter

a whiff nae less o the ancients
o dour ancestor ae oors
we are grateful tae be sniffin yr
old ways ae deein thangs once again
each year we dee this and it geez us a
chance tae eat some old mountain stew
and alsee drink some ae that old mountain dew

thanks pal

sketched by dweller at 4:01 pm
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

British Mating Rituals Part 1
Q:
Why don't guys get hints??
If you like them, they don't get it...If you don't (which is mostly the case and a polite smile is not a sex invite), they don't get it...

WHY????

A:
If a woman acts in a way that indicates "no" then we're programmed to take that as a maybe.

If a woman acts in a way that indicates a "maybe" then we're programmed to take that as a yes.

It's because we're wired up to have sex with as many women as possible, as frequently as possible - there's no advantage, biologically, in acknowledging a no.

As for why men never get it when you *do* like them - our higher brain (our more evolved self) is often in conflict with our more primative self. We've learnt that following our normal "no", "maybe" rules often gets us a slap. So those more sensitive members of the male population wait until it's absolutely spelt out for them - for fear of...well...getting a slap.

Add on top of that all your usual insecurities and self-esteem issues.

I've also noticed that women don't always follow the accepted mating ritual. Like it or not, we *are* animals...and we're wired up to approach courtship in a specific way - just like every other species. This courtship begins with the woman showing interest by performing a few certain actions, then it's the mans turn, then it's the womans and so on and so on and so on...and eventually you end up in bed.

The problem is that as well as being animals, we've evolved higher brain functions...and these get in the way. If the female doesn't make the first move, then that confuses the male - and the female might not make the accepted first move because her social programming is comflicting with her biological. Inevitably those situations end up with her at her mates house crying with a glass of wine and saying that nobody fanices her - and him at home watching pornography.

sketched by dweller at 5:12 pm
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Friday, January 12, 2007

Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi Internet Radio


Hey folks,
I got a very generous gift voucher for John Lewis for christmas and decided not to buy new sheets, fluffy white towels or other such sensibles. No I went in for the gadget kill.

Ok so I was limited in choice. Usually JLewis don't have a large variety of each "type" of electronic item apart from DAB radios. The fifth floor Oxford Street is infested with ugly DABS.
But when I saw the Acoustic Energy Internet Radio I was almost instantly convinced. To be honest, I'd been waiting a while for this.

I was aware mainly due to shoutcast that there are literally thousands of streaming advert free radios playing perfectly honed playlists to the discerning listener out here in infranet land.
But to be honest my PC is not my media centre. I like a radio to look like a radio. It should sit in the kitchen and be on while I'm cooking, eating, digesting, crosswording or whatnot. I don't want to be dilly dallying with a mouse whilst cooking up cheap quick wok fodder.

These internet radios mean you don't even need to switch on a PC at all. Just get in from work, dump the coat get the shopping out and press "on". It connects straight to your router/modem. This model is Wi-Fi but there are also ethernet RJ45 versions.

The radio uses a downloaded list of radio stations that it shares with other manufacturers radios at reciva.com. There are several thousand channels that are categorised by country and genre. If you know of a channel that isn't on their lists you can register at reciva and submit your choice of radio channel to either "my streams" a list of your favourites that will only show up on your radio but they show up instantly or you can submit to the overall reciva directory and reciva staff manually add your choice to the overall directory ie for all radios that connect via reciva (I haven't tried this option yet - don't see the point).

I've added shoutcast and live365 radios successfully.
With live365 radio just get the radio to open using winamp, then get file info and copy the URL up to the ID number just after play
eg. http://www.lwhhive365.com/play/326347

For shoutcast the URL should look something like this:
eg. http://207.218.250.55:8800

So what else can this baby do?
Well it has links to virtually all the BBC radios and you can choose which programme from the past week you would like to hear and you can scan back and forth and pause it. Wonderful.
I'd done this on the BBC website before, but doing it with this unit just feels so much better (no mouse and keyboard malarkey).

Furthermore if you have a PC switched on in the house you can play all your mp3 albums from the Acoustic Energy radio unit.
It has a built in bit of software which scans for your windows shared folders and it creates a databas file which is placed in that shared folder. You can then choose whole albums or individual songs which are added to a playlist. Choices can be pushed to the front of the list or you can have it repeat or shuffle.
Unfortunately this little gizmo couldn't handle the vast size of my mp3 storehouse.

So I had to try plan B. I upgraded the firmware of my AE unit and the upgrade includes the ability to access a UPNP server on the network. I downloaded a lovely bit of free software called
TVERSITY MEDIA SERVER.
It was able to read my giant store of files and happily connected to my radio. I can see all the files in various different data filters. Album/artist/folders/etc . It includes recently added and view by year of album release. Nice touches.
Unfortunately the playlists that you then build up when accessing the tversity links don't seem to give you the option to put a file to the front of the queue as was possible if you used the built in "window share" option. Hopefully this will be rectified in future firmware upgrades.

Which brings us on to the faults and problems.

1. I find that when accessing the files on my PC you need to press the "select" button s l o w l y. What I mean is that you must wait for it to load up the initial directories fully. If you steam in quickly it will get confused and the unit will just reboot.
A bit niggly and something that probably wouldn't have happened with an ethernet connected, yes wi fi isn't a perfect technology yet. I would have liked an ethernet option.

2. There is no remote control and if there was you wouldn't be able to read what was being played on the radio screen anyhow.
This is something that a rival player SQUEEZEBOX3 does better. It has a clear visible screen and a remote which you can type in a few letters to predict the title of your radio station and then press GO. But I don't think the squeezebox has the same amount of pre-loaded presets (not sure on this one- don't quote me)
Anyhow John Lewis only had AE so my choice was made for me.

3. The AE doesn't work that well with my TVERSITY media server. The media server has the option of adding podcast feeds that it will refresh and download at regular intervals. My radio will not play those files grrrrr.
The Squeezebox has its own designed media server software which you install in your PC thus things like RSS feeds including text RSS feeds work perfectly on the units "visible" screen.
But hell I don't need to read ticker tape blog feeds, I just want easy podcast access. Please acoustic energy add this ability please.

4. Squeezebox with its programmeable flexibility is now able to play your last.fm radio. It can also scrobble the tracks you play.

5. I've saved one of the most fundamental nuisances til last.
In the info about the latest firmware upgrade it says and I quote

'The Radio menu will now display its options and stations in a vertical list which shows 3 stations at a time rather than the old horizontal scrolling single bar display used in the previous firmware versions. This also facilitates "Track Playing" information when listening to some stations using this feature in their data streams (below the chosen station name you will see the information of the current track playing where available).'

Well I've played many many radio stations, the majority of which DO show what track they're playing on my PC, but not one of them will show the track playing when I stream using my lovely new Wi-Fi radio. I hope this is properly implemented ASAP. It really is a fundamental thing that should have been there from the beginning.

Conclusion.

If you love radio and you love the idea of not having blasted computers on all the time, with their knack of turning your friendly house-guests into antisocial websurfing fiddlers, then you have to get one of these babies.
Sure, the inbuilt speaker isn't that hot but plug it into yr hi-fi for better sound.
Sure, some of the channels have very low bitrates and thus sound pretty poor.
But for gods sake you can add ANY radio you find out there with better quality sound.
Try searching shoutcast and live365' directories. There is some awesome shit out there to suit all tastes.
The BBC On Demand service is superb - it bares saying twice.

This is the best thing I've owned since my new sony mobile phone (which granted was only a month and a half back).

Just please add the podcasting, name of track playing and if you can be arsed the last.fm capabilities and I'll be happy.
Especially the track playing.

Three Cheers for Acoustic Energy,
I did think of this device about three or four years back,
but I'm glad you finally made it.





P.S. There are already several other manufacturers producing these Internet Radios so if you are going to invest then do your research first.

sketched by dweller at 8:38 pm
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Sunday, January 07, 2007

freecycle poetry
Whisk, dough hook and K beater. 1 bowl. 2 blenders.
Bit shabby but works well.
I'm just off City Road


freecycle.org

sketched by dweller at 12:58 pm
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Unhealthy Reading
I just looked at the back of one of our new books on display
at the library.

PRAISE FOR THE QUICKENING:
'Fiona McIntosh is a seductress. I have not moved from the sofa
for three days..'
Sydney Morning Herald

Three days without moving!!
No wonder everyone's getting obese and cholestoroled and tumoured to fuck.

So all ye readers. You may be developing your intellectual abilities and
stimulating the imagination lobes of your brain, but your body is being
screwed by inertia.

I'm going to suggest Health and Safety warning posters at the next staff meeting.

sketched by dweller at 11:56 am
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

yew neared
Thanks fer the year that will truly be grateful,
and the mermen uncle tumpter
a playlisting sleepwalking skin milker,
I tended and tundered the night away
with Poles and other foreigners
while the monster slept.
We sang we danced and their powdered rises and falls were tides that gave my stable footing buoyancy til the sun shone
bright and I staggered down Camden and Holloway road
singing " all I wanna do is have some fun, blah blah blah,
I'm not the only one"

sketched by dweller at 11:48 pm
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