Word Spy

I just discovered this: http://www.wordspy.com/. It is so awesome. I’m a vegangelical! 🙂

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Quiz Shows

Traditionally I’ve been a total snob when it comes to quiz shows. My dictionary says for the word ‘trivia’: “something of small importance”. I rest my case!

However, recently I’ve enjoyed a few episodes of University Challenge (have always liked Paxo) and I have to admit it’s kinda fun testing your recollective skills against the clock. I think maybe before I just wasn’t willing to get involved:-).

Anyway I’ve just been watching Only Connect on bbc four (uk viewers only I’m afraid…). At last a quiz show that I love and would even love to compete on! It’s based around connections – you’re given three words/objects/songs and have to guess a fourth, or maybe a grid of objects that you have to put into groups. It must be fascinating designing the questions. It’s such a lovely feeling when the answers just come to you – seemingly random connections in your brain just fall together in a way that feels more rewarding to me than other quizzes.

Even better is the way they make up the teams – by interest. Next week is a team of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy fans vs a team of philosophers. 🙂 So maybe I can form a team of internet musicians? Or linux nerds? Or yoga teachers for that matter. Yeah I can just imagine having a laugh with the people I went to yoga school with on this show!

Hmm, time to get back to work…

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ardour Group Edit Marveling

I was absolutely marveling at Ardour today. I recorded some drums at a studio and they handed me four takes of 10 tracks – nearly 2 gigabytes. I was now faced with cutting my four slightly shaky takes into one good one. Cut and splice works fine in Ardour with one track but how on earth would it work with ten?! Amazingly if you put tracks into groups in the editor you can set up so that an operation you perform on one track also happens on all the other tracks in that group. Maybe I’m easily impressed. The programs I’ve spend the most time using for audio are Cubase 4.1 and Ecasound. Still I reckon this is awesome and it saved me a hell of a lot of time compared to cutting each track individually. My respect for this app grows daily.


Group Edit in Ardour

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pomelo Fruit

I normally buy as little imported stuff as I can get away with at the supermarket (read someone saying stupor-market recently! Great:-) but occasionally I treat myself to some exotic fruit if there’s something I’ve never seen before.

Today I tried a Pomelo. It’s native to South East Asia and looks and tastes a little like a cross between a grapefruit and a lime! Mine was delicious though I’m thinking it’d be better straight from the tree rather than the airport. Funny old world we live in…

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  


I’m currently looking for a high quality webcam to replace my infuriating Logitech Quickcam Express (it works with everything but skype – I have tried *almost* everything but frankly the picture is so lousy maybe it’s not worth bothering anyway!). Anyway, I came across this page:


It says which webcams have actually been tested with skype under linux. I might test out how reliable this list is tomorrow…

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

My firefox plugins

I use Yoono for Firefox!  Basically it aggregates your feeds from Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, googlechat, news readers, last.fm and a load of others and puts it all in one neat sidebar for you. Makes life a lot easier than checking each one individually. There’s a desktop version now or you can use it in explorer too…

I also use Diigo‘s toolbar. Diigo is one of the most amazing things you could ever imagine if you’re a information freak like me. It is like a sort of universal, shared post-it note and filing system for the entire internet. You can put comments on pages for other people to see and then archive these comments in a way that is easy to retrieve for you and others. For example, here‘s the group I’ve set up for my 52tochangetheworld.com project. Great if you do a lot of research online.

LastPass is a password manager. It generates them and stores them online so you can get at them wherever you are. In my line of work you end up logged in to so many sites it’s a necessity.

Oh and my homepage is Visual Thesaurus. It’s a thesaurus and a dictionary based on mind map principals. Check here for my word lists:-)

Am hovering between Ubernote and Zoho notes for a notepad online. Haven’t figured that out yet. Ubernote is a bit slow and unreliable and not very pretty but it does the job. Zoho is also slow but cleanly laid out. Jury still out on that one… Any suggestions welcome:-)

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 12:38 am  Comments (2)  


Just watched “Survivors” on iplayer. Apart from musing whether the desktop iplayer would work with my Gentoo box I was struck by how many viral apocalypse series I seem to be watching these days. I was disappointed with “Day of the Triffids” (but then the original was so good how could I not be?!) but meanwhile it doesn’t seem like long ago that I saw “I am Legend” and started to take Will Smith very seriously and that’s aside from the 28 days/weeks films. Watching Robert Carlyle turn into a zombie was genuinely creepy. Memorable stuff for me it seems.

By far my favourite (that I’m currently re-visiting for the first time)  is “Jeremiah”.  Luke Perry, the guy from Beverly Hills 90210 stars in a series created by J. Michael Stracinsky. He was the guy behind “Babylon 5” – one of my all time favourites. Basically all the adults have been killed off and it’s just the kids left. They grow up and we join them trying to build a world for themselves. The characters seem so convincing to me as what my generation would be like if such a ghastly thing ever happened to us.

Anyway, I was wondering what it said about me that I would enjoy these candle-burning-bright-in-the-dark/end-of-humanity-but-for-a-few-brave-pockets-of-resistance dramas. Now I’m thinking about it I loved reading “The Host” by Stephanie Meyer (think “Twilight” but she wrote for grown ups this time) for a similar reason. Is it that I actually want the end of humanity to happen so I can prove how brave I am fighting for survival? I don’t think so but I feel like something in me really longs for adversity in order to triumph over it.

I’m starting to think I’ve spent enough time making life difficult for myself…

Night night people:-).

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 2:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Hello world!

This is my first post. I have nothing to say as yet!

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm  Comments (1)  

How to record video and audio from webcam with mencoder

Seems to like the ‘force audio’ option for some reason. v4l works with my logitech express. Still don’t know what amode=1 does either…

mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l:device=/dev/video0:width=320:height=240:alsa:adevice=hw.0,0:amode=1:forceaudio -ovc lavc -oac copy -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4 -o test.avi

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How to set the date and time

I always forget this one…

su then:

date mmddhhmmyyyy

That only sets the system (software) clock though. Remember to:

/sbin/hwclock –systohc

Otherwise your hardware clock inside the computer will just reset everything for you next time you boot!

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment