Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blogger at 10.

Blogger has quietly reached its' tenth birthday; the screen shot at the top shows what it looked like at the time of its' launch, whilst the lower image shows the login screen of today. Whilst I have not been using Blogger for quite that length of time, I have been around for long enough to appreciate the changes and improvements that have come to the system. In my early days of online publishing, more often than not I would get some dreaded HTML error message when I went to post my weekly content. Blogger was very intolerant of formatting faults - for example, if you posted something, then decided to edit it into a different font, you would get dire warnings of doom - though the content would generally look OK when it went up. No idea why - suffice to say, it was arcane and mysterious, and you never really knew what you were going to get up with on your blog page. Things have changed massively since. and Blogger is now much more user friendly, feature filled and predictable. You can read more about Blogger on the BBC News website here.

Is there some kind of secret agreement between the manufacturers of potato crisps - I wonder if they have covert meetings in darkened chambers to decide the conventions around branding and marketing of these potato-oid snacks. It then leads me to wonder how and why Walker's choose to buck the widely followed convention that Cheese and Onion crisps should be in a green themed packet, whilst Salt and Vinegar crisps should appear in blue. Walkers do the opposite, much to the consternation of both myself and the wider crisp - o - phile community. This state of affairs has been ongoing for years, and I think it is high time the public received an answer.

Former Bexley Council leader Ian Clement has fallen on his sword after admitting three counts of fraud, after being caught fiddling his expenses whilst employed as deputy Mayor of London - from what I gather this mainly involved the falsification of restaurant receipts, when he was wining and dining his mistress. I have to say that I went to school with Ian Clement, though he was a couple of years older than me; he always struck me as a relatively amiable bloke, certainly not the sharpest knife in the drawer; probably why he got caught after fiddling a relatively small amount of money. His career and reputation are now in tatters. At least he has not taken the route to infamy that Budd Dyer did. Ian has got community service and a curfew.

The redevelopment of Erith took another turn this week; a consultation document has been posted to all local residents outlining four proposals to rejuvenate the area. The trouble is, the details in the leaflet are so mind bogglingly vague, one has little actual idea what the four distinct proposals are!

Erith October 2009  773

The photo above shows the now empty and grassed over former site of Erith Swimming Baths, which forms a fundamental element to all of the redevelopment schemes. Many locals are concerned that the excellent Erith Riverside Gardens will be at risk of being built on to create yuppie apartments with a river view and easy access to London via the almost adjacent Erith Railway Station. I tend to concur with this gloomy prediction; one of the few pleasant and scenic parts of the otherwise benighted town is sure to become the victim of the developers - after all, they don't have to live here.

The new series of Hut 33 begins this Wednesday on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30 am. It will then be available for a week on the excellent BBC iPlayer service. If you have not heard of this utter gem of radio comedy, you are the poorer for it. You can read an outline of the show by clicking here, and a guide to the main characters here. Basically it is about a group of mismatched and incompetent allied code breakers at Bletchley Park, during World War 2; the stories are less about code breaking and far more about character conflicts and absurd situations. I would rate it as better than Blackadder goes forth and at least an equal to the best episodes of Dad's Army. There is even a Facebook group set up to campaign to get it to transfer from radio to television. I am not sure how well that might work, but you can visit their site here if you wish.


I have been using the digital studio package Audacity for over a year (see the photo above) - it is a truly excellent audio recording, processing and editing tool; on top of all that it is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux too. It is free and open source, which really tops it all off. I have introduced Audacity to a friend who is a professional musician, with previous experience of proprietary applications like Cubase, and he was gob smacked by both its' power and simplicity of use. You can download it for free from the Audacity website here.

Erith resident, author and photographer Crash Calloway has an exhibition of his photographs of Erith and the surrounding areas in both colour and black and white. They will be on show in the new Erith Library between the 2nd and 14th of November.  Having been following his work online for a couple of years, I can thoroughly recommend him - do take a stroll along to the library. I know I will. The Crash Calloway Flickr site can be found here.

BBC4 television showed a one - off historical comedy drama called Micro Men this week; it was the somewhat fictionalised story of the battle in the early eighties between Sinclair Research and Acorn Computers to become the supplier of the BBC Micro Computer - what would later affectionately be nicknamed "The Beeb". The show was a bit hit and miss, with a pretty full on character assassination of Clive Sinclair - you can view the entire programme online on the BBC iPlayer site. See what you think. The video clip below shows a scene involving staff at Acorn having an impromptu product strategy meeting whilst sharing a Chinese take - away; the trouble is, they don't have any cutlery...

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