Scribbler's Laid A Big Juicy Log

Curing insomnia since November 2000
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This blog has been following the ups and downs of my life since November 4th 2000. Amazingly, it's still going.


Archive for the ‘Friends And Family’


Amiganuts…

Cor, (almost) three posts in three days. I must be spoiling you! OK, so the last two weren’t of particular interest to anyone other than those that has a failed NAS drive, but they still count.

I’m happy to report that this one won’t be of interest to anyone either. Sorry about that.

I’ve spent the last few hours on this dreary Sunday morning, by listening to music. Nothing special there, I admit. This is, however, Amiga music. I’ve spent the last few hours going through some of my old favourite Amiga MODs. Now, for those of you who don’t know what a MOD is, or think it’s something you put on an in-game weapon, it’s short for music module, and it was an extremely popular way of making music via computer, using something called a tracker. My writer’s block is creeping up on me already, and I currently can’t describe what a tracker is (except for a delicious cereal bar), but if you ever played a game on an Amiga, Atari ST, and certainly some of the consoles, you can bet it was composed on a tracker. I’ll let Wikipedia tell you if you want to know any more.

I must admit, I’m not much of a musician. I couldn’t carry a note in a bucket, yet still, I spent most of my last school years playing about with OctaMED, ProTracker and various others, knocking out daft little tunes. This was before the days of the internet, and certainly before mass storage was available, therefore, most of my MODs were only heard by a few people. I’d often give Amiga formatted disks to friends with them on, and then think no more of them. Surely, I’d *always* have a copy, and will *always* be able to listen to them. No. Pretty much all of my Amiga data disks have been destroyed. I have a couple of game disks hanging around, but almost any work I’d done on the Amiga is long gone.

A few weeks ago, I discovered I’d actually lost all contact with Wayne, the old school friend who I mentioned a few times on here a few years ago. My only contact with him was through email, and even then, I’d not heard from him for a couple of years. Thanks to the Virgin/NTL email fuckup, I dropped him an email to see if he’d been affected. Turns out he had, and his email address is no longer valid. I know I’d sent him a LOAD of my stuff back in the day. Gutted, I turned to Facebook, to see if any of my other school mates may have had a copy. It drew a blank

Sadly, yet amazingly, the only one I can think of that survives, is one of the very first I ever did, and one of the ones I’m most ashamed of. I never gave it a proper name, but it is heavily based on “mod.fairlight” – if you were lucky enough to get the Amiga Format version of OctaMED on the coverdisk, you’ll recognise this as the demo track that came with it. Before the internet, I had to bastardize what little music I had, in order to learn the program. I was lucky enough to have borrowed a sampler from the afore-mentioned Wayne, which allowed me to record samples and fit them to the music. For this particular MOD, the vocal samples were mainly from a radio talk show, hosted by a person with the initials “TD”, and this is all it was ever known to me…. td.mod

Computers have moved on, I have went through dozens of hard drives, yet still, this td.mod, like a bad penny just simply won’t go away. Chris came round, and I played it to him again after at least 16 years of not hearing it. He couldn’t believe I still had it. It created an instant ear-worm, to the point he was quoting “Salted-salted-salted peanuts?” to me, some 7 days later.

It is, with the least bit of pleasure, I bring you, one of the most painful things to hit human ears.. here it is… TD.MOD!

And that wasn’t even my original point of the post. It would appear my brain got sidetracked about the fact that everything I have ever done is complete shite…

A post a month?

Good lord no, it’s not gotten that bad yet, it’s just thatI’ve been busy doing other stuff, and wouldn’t you know it? I’ve actually been blogging, but none of the blogs I’ve started typing have actually been finished, or have been on such a rambling level, it wouldn’t have made much sense to anyone but me (do you *really* want to read about how I came to love Sinead Lohan’s “Whatever It Takes”? Again?).

There’s also ones that describe days out in detail, such as mine and Jamie’s recent trip to Leeds. It was a fascinating, in-depth look into how this current bout of unemployedness has taken my music buying habits to a whole new level. I shall quote from that unpublished blog, from 29th April, 2012…

Still, I’m bored, and typing is what I like to do, therefore I’ll give an awfully detailed description of the last few days. It involves buying CDs. Let’s start with Friday. It was mid-afternoon, Jamie S had just got paid (luck fucker’s got a new job throwing trailers about a new cardboard factory), and as he owed me some money, he offered to take us to the Metro Centre. I do like the place. It’s got good eateries, and although the local branch of “That’s Entertainment” is no more, there’s still the HMV, which has second-hand CDs in it. It’s not ideal, but there’s always a couple I want in there, if I’m willing to pay over the odds.

I did pay over the odds, and walked out with a copy of Marc Cohn’s self titled album, plus the 2-disc version of “Please” by the Pet Shop Boys. I didn’t buy too much as we’d also arranged a trip to Leeds. Another place I’d wanted to visit, because of the nearby location of “That’s Entertainment” Except I didn’t know exactly where it was.

Jamie S introduced me to this particular store brand. He was driving us from the location of an abandoned walk, to the A1. Conversation turned to buying CDs, and how he’d bought a CD for someone. Since then, he has literally regretted it. On that particular day, 8 months ago, I pretty much ejaculated everywhere. Not only was it the place where old CDs go to die, it was lit with mercuryvapour lighting.

Fast-forward many months later, “That’s Entertainment” is an established brand, with a website and everything. We arrive at Garforth, on the outskirts of Leeds. It’s cheaper to get the train from there into Leeds, than it is to pay the parking charges in Leeds city centre. It means walking across this desire path, which was a mistake, as it was entirely waterlogged.

The train station had been revamped since we were last there. I use the term loosely, it’s literally a raised platform, but this time it had a dot-matrix destination board, a card-only ticket machine, and the floor had been re-laid. While on the platform, Gary informed me that his P45 had arrived, meaning mine wouldn’t be far behind. Daddykins was informed, so that Senta or Sam didn’t see it as a chewy, early morning snack. Whilst on the platform, I “googled” the location of the Leeds “That’s Entertainment”.

We arrived in Leeds. It was raining a bit, so the first call was somewhere indoors. There was no hesitation in being pointed in the general direction of CEX. For those who don’t know, it’s a second hand store, with branches everywhere. Hartlepool has one, Middlesbrough too, Leeds, obviously, but this one is important, as it has a large CD collection. Usually, everything is £1, but rare CDs can go up to £10. One particular CD I picked up for… 20p, was by Suede. Mat Osman, the brother of Richard Osman, co-host of “Pointless” was the bassist. It’s mentioned many times in the afore-mentioned gameshow, so to pick up a CD for that price, it’s probably terrible.

We were both in the need of something to eat. Strangely, I’ve grown an addiction to Nandos. Their extra-hot sauce is… erm… Nantastic. Extra-hot butterfly chicken, garlic bread and peri-peri sprinkle. Several days before, Jamie noticed you could buy this sprinkle shit! I wanted some.

Rain poured down over Leeds. Unfortunately, whilst waking around Leeds, Jamie pointed out that the location of a new “That’s Entertainment” I’d not visited. He hated me for it. Poor guy was suffering from manflu. I tried to raise intereseting facts about the CDs I was picking out, They weren’t very interesting, it really didn’t work.

To cut a long story short, I came home with 34 more albums, and we bought some Nandos chip sprinkle. At £1.99, for something that is 66% salt, and 0.1% red bell pepper, I’d normally consider it a rip-off, but I like it, and I can see a jar of it lasting me quite a while. Don’t think Jamie S quite shared my enthusiasm.

Next up on the “cutting room floor” is my review of Google Drive. It started off promising….

So, Google Drive, then. (May 3, 2012)

I like cloud services. I like Google. I use Gmail as my primary address, and I used Google Docs for spreadsheets and the like. I’m not one of the tinfoil-hat brigade, and don’t mind the fact that Google can harvest my data. Sure, if they want to look at an outdated shift rota calendar, or an email between me and someone I knew three years ago, then fine. I’m not important. I don’t think there’s someone at the end of a monitor, writing down everything I do. Therefore, I was excited to hear about the possibility of a Google “drive” many, many years ago. I’ve been using online storage ever since I was a young’un. My first account was with a website called “Driveway”. I think they offered 20Mb free, probably less. It wasn’t much, but it saved the need to carry a box of disks between home and college.

Eventually, they changed. I can’t remember what happened. Maybe they closed, maybe they ditched their free accounts. Don’t know, don’t care, I just remember having to download the data from them, and putting it on a yellow zipdisk with the folder name “Driveway_bastards”. I still have the folder on a CD, I’ll have to check what’s on it properly.

SInce then, I’ve used many other online services, eventually settling with Dropbox. It’s handy for backing up irreplaceable files. or for things I’m currently working on, but at 2Gb, I soon started running out of space. Yes, if you get your friends to sign up, you get extra space. Not very handy if you don’t have any friends.

Imagine my delight when I read that Google was finally releasing Google Drive… Off I pop to drive.google.com. Imagine my dismay, when…

A couple of days pass, and I eventually get the email to say it’s ready. Hurrah! I go to download the application, aaaand…

It would appear the entire world got the same email at the same time. Naturally, did take a while (probably about half an hour) to get that 700K file. It took me back to my old dialup days. I kept waiting for the modem to click.

Eventually, I got it all up and running, and it’s… er, as I expected it would be.

At that point, it really wasn’t something I could continue with. It worked. It had featured that impressed me (the ability to pick words out of a JPG image, search for them in Drive and even convert them to a document, as long as you’re willing to proof-read it fully). Some features I didn’t like… you can’t store your “Google Docs” documents offline without resorting to installing a Chrome plugin, meaning you can’t actually back them up. There also doesn’r appear to be any “versioning”… I’m sure with Dropbox, if you overwrite / delete a file, you could get a copy of the original file for up to 30 days. I may be getting my cloud services mixed up there.

On the subject of drives and stuff, I upgraded to a 2Tb NAS. a few days ago. It’s interesting to say the least! This does deserve its own post, however, so I won’t spoil that one just yet.

I also got to see the Premier League Darts again, and I managed to get myself on telly for the first time since that time I was on Tyne Tees news. I can confirm that the tape of that particular interview no longer exists in the ITN archives. Phew.

This post is long enough as it is, but some of you may be interested to know I’ve got a new job after only 5 weeks on the dole. Chad has also had a baby boy since I first started writing this post, so I expect his contributions to this website shall be few and far between over the next 18 years, or something. Therefore, I’ll end it by wishing Chad, Chisaki and his new son Kei David Phillips the best wishes imaginable. Over the moon for you mate!

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