Nov 04 2008

Why I don’t rate my music collection…

Published by under Music

Something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot while listening to my iPod. I’ve a 60 GB iPod which I’ve filled, listening to in on shuffle gives a varied experience – sometimes fantastic, sometimes awful. The awful is not from the music being bad per se (it is on my iPod after all – I should like it) but the clash with the adjacent songs.

So my thoughts went along the lines that if I rated my music then the iPod would have more to go on and maybe I’d get a better selection. However rating any tunes would prove problematic, how much I like (read want to listen) to any given song depends massively on my mood and environment not to mention previous songs I’ve listened to, how much I’ve listened to the artist recently etc etc. Trying to give a rating is an oversimplification, so I then thought about adding categories as well (I already have play lists by mood which improves things a bit). Verdict – still too basic a system to improve things much and a lot more thought / work involved to set up, a problem that just gets worse the more you try an categorise / rate things.

So I don’t bother…

A postscript to this – genius bar for itunes gives a slice of this functionality. If you can choose a tune that exemplifies the mood you’re in then it will select similar sounding tunes to follow. I’ve been very impressed by this but it still has limitations, what if it’s the lyrics of the song which really capture you. Also what if you want to change your mood – i.e. start with some mellow music and gradually pick up the pace till you’re ready to go out on the town. There’s no real replacement for playlists you put together yourself.

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Aug 12 2008

Is google making us stupid…

Published by under Uncategorized

So my take on the debate as to whether Google is making us stupid. My opinion is no, I don’t agree that easy access to a large amount of information impairs our ability to think. A good way to think of this is like Einstein when quizzed by Edison as to the speed of sound, Einstein couldn’t remember off the top of his head and a lot of fuss was made about Edison foxing Einstein. Einstein’s response, when later asked about the commotion, was that he didn’t see the value of retaining a nugget of information like the speed of sound in his memory when he could just look it up in a book if he needed it. I was reminded of this by this article in this weeks New Scientist, taking that view forward all that google is providing us with is far easier access to that ‘book’ of information. Access to more information is only going to allow you to make more informed decisions.

Now there are some other interesting points in the original piece about attention span decreasing. This could potentially be attributed to the web, or at least the way we surf the web. However I personally find reading large amounts of information on a computer screen to not be particularly comfortable – hence the tenancy to scan if it’s a long article that you’re not that interested in. Combine this with the wealth of information available on the web and other media, I think this makes us more selective about what we choose to spend time reading. I don’t find that this behaviour when surfing the web spills over to print media, I still read books as I always have and really enjoy reading big books. I think the attention span change is more to do with time constraints than google reducing our intelligence.

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Jul 29 2008

Chart of the day

Published by under Computing

A great chart about web design. Shows why so may developers hate microsoft 😉

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Jul 06 2008

Out of this world guitarist

Published by under Uncategorized

Angelo Debarre
So Andy Aitchison who I work with pointed me in his direction, check him out here, or do a search on uTube.

Just unbelievable, he makes it look almost effortless.

If you want to see him check out these gigs

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Jul 04 2008


Published by under Uncategorized

So having resisted the low level nagging from osmosoftians about joining twitter I finally succumbed during a mind-numbingly dull 2 hour conference call today. After 2 hours I’m now disturbed by how addictive I’ve finding it.

So @james_lelyveld if you’re interested, as a one time sceptic I’m now a fan, if you’ve not tried it you really should ;o)

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Jun 25 2008

Linux Idea (flawed as it turns out…)

Published by under Computing

I was looking at the mass of aging computers in my flat the other day and thinking there must be a better use for them, I’ve currently got a Pentium 3 currently running Ubuntu & a G4 (currently on loan to my sister) as well as 2 work laptops and a Sony Vaio, a somewhat excessive amount of kit.

At the moment the pentium is only used for scanning (as I’ve and old scanner and it doesn’t have drivers Vista or Mac OSX. It’s not really an issue for me at the moment but I can see when I want to upgrade next time I’ve got to decide what to do with some of this kit.

The idea I had was to run them as a grid where the most powerful machine has control of the other’s processors etc and can balance the load to optimise performance. Linux seems to be the ideal platform for this as it can be very small.

So …. great idea, I thought – I ran it past a couple of my Coleagues at work (Jeremy, Anton & Andrew – Thank you).

The feedback was that it’s not worth running as a grid as the computational power to manage it would negate any benefits, better solutions suggested were to user them as Firewalls, Routers or for running house telemetry. I then did a bit of digging on the web and I’m definitely not the first person to have thought about this, (have a look here for starters).

From what all I’ve looked at the best solution for old computers is to donate them – there are a lot of charities asking for them to donate to underprivaledged kids. This is going to be what I do when I next upgrade (after wiping the hard drives….)

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May 16 2008


Published by under Uncategorized

Welcome to my blog, it’s taken far too long for me to get this up but it’s finally here…..

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