Monday, 2 January 2012

Strange Behaviour

I've been doing something quite strange over the past 6 months or so, writing posts to myself. No, you wont be able to find them, because they're cleverly hidden away in a private blog which only allows me to access them, so future me can read them and go "What a douche". This kinda seems like a completely ridiculous idea, but I've found it's really helped. I guess I've been struggling to get my head round a few things and the problem with my head is that it tends to get stuck sometimes and not let me think things through properly, so having a way of expelling them in a conversational way to myself has really helped. To be honest, that's not that weird at all, people have been doing that for years, it's called writing a journal, but I guess I find it easier to open up a web page and type some thoughts into it, than I do scribbling in a notebook. Mostly due to the fact that my hand writing is horrific.

I've also been dealing with what you could possibly call depression, or maybe just being a miserable twat, but essentially feelings of complete dispair and not knowing what to do in life or why to even bother. This usually has a bit of a crippling effect on me, in that I can't really put my mind to anything and can't talk myself round to feeling ok. It can also mean that I don't particularly want to see or talk to anyone, though sometimes it's more an intense need for company, but not wanting to seek it. I usually find that after going to bed I wake up back to "normal", whatever that is, and can continue on with my life as before, but this doesn't feel like a solution to the problem. I imagine there's some root course to this that I could do with addressing, though I'm relatively good at self analysis, so tend to be able to come up with possible reasons for why I find myself "depressed" or whatever, but I'm never quite sure what to do with any of it. I've not yet bothered to speak to a professional about any of this, but I guess if I were to be diagnosed with some form of depression, then I'd perhaps feel like I wasn't just being an idiot, though it's easy to just slap a name onto something without it really making things any better.

It seems that issues with depression and mental health are not at all uncommon, but the problem is that rarely does anyone do anything about it until it's either too late or things get outta hand. I've seen this in my own family, my friends and just what you hear in the news. Celebrities are often shunned when they display signs of mental illness and then celebrated when they manage to overcome adversity, or in some cases die, in which case they are a tragic story of inner turmoil and strife, so it's no wonder that people don't really want to think about mental health issues. I think it's too easy to wave things away as just being a bit moody and that there are people out there with bigger problems than you, which is probably true, but that's no excuse to not take care of yourself. In some ways, this is a bit of a pep talk for myself, just with the possibility of others listening in, a way of convincing myself that I don't need to just exist how I currently do and that there's a better way of thinking.

Basically, I think 2012 will be the year of getting my shit together, of making sure that I don't just fall into a pit of dispair, of remembering that there's far more to live than the job you do, the place you live and the stuff you own. And hey, if this ends up making me a better, happier person, then awesome, but even if all it does is make things easier to deal with, then I'll consider it a success. And if the mayans are correct and this is our last year, then hopefully it'll have been a good one for me.

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Incidentally, I'm never quite sure how to split things up into paragraphs. It would seem sense to section things up so that a new thought or topic is in a new paragraph, but it all seems to come from one thing for me, so not sure if my paragraph structure make any sense.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Google+

I've not really been using + (as I shall be calling it) for very long and the fact that I dont have many people to communicate with yet, with it being in beta and all, so I feel I can't really give a full opinion on it just yet, but it is pretty cool. I like that it's pulling information that i've given it for however many years I've had a gmail account and I trust google far more than facebook so am more willing to integrate it with everything else I use. It has some interesting stuff to it, but nothing that's made me go "Woah!" yet, though i haven't played with the hangout thing yet, not that I'd particularly use that much. It does seem like something for the geeks at the moment, which is mainly down to it being in beta, so hopefully when it comes out of that it will be much less geek orientated and hopefully it won't crash like wave did (ho ho ho).

What would be really great is to be able to migrate all your data from facebook to +, that way you wouldn't feel like you were starting all over again. I think it would also be good to be able to post to FB and twitter from +, that way you wouldn't be faffing about posting in multiple places, as tends to be the way things go. Which does make me think that what's likely to happen is people will sign up to + when it's released and then add it to tweetdeck or something like that so they can just post once and have it send to all their contacts.

With luck this will autopost to +, seeing it's a google product and i'm signed in to my google account, but I suspect it won't as there's probably a lot of work to do to make the integration work in a sensible fashion, rather than having everything you do in google post directly to + and I suspect blogger won't yet have integration to + set up to ask if you want to post it there. I'll find out soon.

I really hope that + manages to take off as I would be much happier to use it that FB and I have far more resect for google. I've already been moving more over to twitter as my desires to use FB dwindle so this feels like a vaguely logical move, assuming everyone else ends up using it.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Some General Ramblings

I've come to hate blogging for various reasons, but mostly that it seems to be a way of spewing some absolute rubbish into the ether and expect people to read it and marvel at your genius, or something like that, but I keep thinking about things I'd like to write about or get a thought process out and not feel too much like an absolute twat for having the audacity to believe people really give a crap about what I think.

Right now I'm sat in a popular coffee chain in Brighton, with my mac on my lap, overly aware that I probably look like a real nerd, especially because I'm "blogging". I'm essentially your typical nerd, but without the glasses, the weight extreme or the intellect.

To be honest, I'm only doing this to pass some time before a gig, hence being in Brighton, but I guess it's also because I've actually got some free time where I'm not traveling or wanting to "relax" in some way, or some other lame reason why I'm not doing something more productive. I actually can't think of anything really useful to say, so I'm going to ramble on a bit about the weirdness of brighton, compared to London.

London seems to be so over populated that you just view everyone as some kind of vague blob that exists solely to be far too close to you. It's rare that I'll actually notice another human being when in London, as it seems that everyone's trying to avoid each other, which we do very well. This is hardly a new revelation, but it's true non the less. In brighton, however, there seems to be a greater variety of people and I feel very much outside of my comfort zone, as though everyone can sense I'm not from around here and shouldn't be here. A sign of paranoia, no doubt. My reaction to this does seem to be to try and ignore everyone, like I do in London, and hope that they'll ignore me in turn, which they're probably already doing, so I guess I win. I dunno, it seems more hip here (which makes me sound like a 50 year old man... shit). Fashion statements seem a bit more brash, but no one seems to care (incidentally, I think I can see a trendy looking pregnant person smoking, nice work there, though maybe they're just a tubbo. Who knows?) or they're too cool to care, either way, it's a bit strange.

Everywhere I go there seems to be people trying to fit in in some way, whether it's doing the jogging thing, because that's what you do in London, or dressing kinda weird, because that's what you do in Brighton, or blogging about crap, because that's what you do in the internet. It all seems kinda strange and conformist, yet even non-conformity is in so many ways conforming to something, even if just the desire not to conform...

Well in conformity with the rest of the people here in this coffee place, and their closing policy, I'm going to stop now and leave.

This has been far from focussed, but I'm going to try and make more of an effort next time I write something... in 6 months time... or longer.

laters.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Roman Potpourri

I'm not hugely bothered by this whole Pope thing. I find it all a bit strange, but the fact that he's here in the UK makes little difference to me, unless he starts disrupting the tube system, then there'll be trouble *shakes fist*. I don't really agree with the Catholic way of doing things, but I have no real problems with them, however it seems that this isn't the case for others.

I've found that I've seen a slew of comments from various sources, Twitter, Facebook... that's it really, regarding the Pope's visit. Most of them, if not all, from a negative standpoint. The strange thing is that it annoys me reading these comments, not just because a lot of them seem to be in remarkably ill taste, but also because it seems like suddenly people feel compelled to be outraged and demand something is done because he's a religious figure. I'm well aware of the child abuse issues, but that seems like the fuel for the fire which is random outrage. Berlusconi, that absolute twat of a man, visits the UK and the majority of what is said about him seems to be based it humour at his philandering and general idiocy, rather than wondering how a man such as him can be running a country. In particular I don't get why Richard Dawkins is so vocal about all this. I don't hear anything from him, apart from every now and then he pops up to say "evolution" then disappears again, but as soon as the pope decides to visit, he's all "arrest the pope" and "[it's] a despicable outrage". What's your angle? Why are you so compelled to have a go at the pope, but ignore other people who stand for worse things? it it just because he doesn't chime up "yes, evolution, you are clever" whenever you mention it?

It kinda feels like, hey look, here's a religious figure, lets jump all over it, because it's something we don't agree with and religion is always fun to have a dig at. I kinda feel like religion is the whipping boy for a lot of people, the kid that never stands up for himself and everyone always makes fun of, so if you take the piss out of him everyone will get a laugh, except them obviously... kinda sounds like school was for me, oh the memories.

The main thing that seems to have urked people, not least Richard Dawkins, is his speech which contained the following:

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).


The main point of contention being that the word atheism was used in relation to the Nazis. Yep I can see why that could annoy people, saying that atheists are nazis... well, sort of. The actual phrase is "atheist extremism", which is remarkably similar to another phrase I've heard banded around quite a bit int he past few years "Muslim extremism". Is it just me or have people decided that the word extremism mean "everyone associated with the preceding word". The wider muslim community seems to have been painted with the bastard brush since extremists screwed everything up for them, and that seems to be the assumption being made with what the pope said too, by atheist extremism he means anyone who doesn't believe in God

I don't really think this is what he was trying to say, so it seems a little silly to jump on this point as a way of showing that the pope is a nutter and that he hates everyone. What he seems to be saying, so how I understand it, is that the Nazis tried to force religion (jewish, christian, muslim, tarvuism) out of their society, and that didn't go so well. Atheist extremism, ie. the extremist views of some atheists that God has no place in society what so ever and should be removed, is not a good thing, in the same way that muslim extremism, ie. the extremist views of some muslims that they should kill those who disagree with them. There is seemingly more pressure to remove religion from society and the pope doesn't think this is a good thing.

So anyway, in conclusion. I don't see the point of taking issue with the pope, there are far, far worse people out there that get ignored and in essence the pope is harmless. Religion is too easy to take the piss out of, so why not try something more challenging. Atheism extremism doesn't mean anyone who doesn't believe in God.

No doubt there are holes in my reasoning, please point them out to me and I'll try to fill them, or at the very least point at something and say "look at that" whilst I run in the opposite direction.


transcript taken from:
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/518808-pope-s-holyroodhouse-speech-transcript (I assume he didn't tamper with it)

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Things I've learnt from owning a pair of noise-cancelling headphones

I bought my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC3s a few months ago to replace the £15 pair of earphones I had bought as an "temporary" pair over a year ago. The main reasoning for getting noise-cancelling earphones was that I spend far too much time on trains and the London underground, so needed someway of reducing unwanted noise allowing me to reduce the level of my music and save my precious hearing. I spent a good while looking at various earphone, both noise-cancelling and -isolating in the £70 price range and settle on the ATH-ANC3s as they seemed pretty decent for the price. They've served me well so far, but I've noticed a few things that i hadn't thought about when buying them.

1. Noise-cancelling isn't 100% perfect - you wont be able to sit in your own little bubble where all you can hear is your own thoughts or whatever else you decide to stick through them, especially not for £70.

2. Noise-cancelling also acts as noise creating - as the microphones in the ear pieces react to sound pressure, the difference in pressure created by a train passing or the changes in pressure when going through a tunnel is as much used in the cancelling process as actual sounds are, so there are times when a fluttering sounds is heard which normally wouldn't be there. There are also some strange affects from short sharp sounds of a relatively high frequency, such as the clicking of a gas cooker spark. This tends to lead to a double sound, the initial sound, followed by the attempted cancelling, which is slightly delayed.

3. Noise-cancelling wasn't designed to be used with an iPhone (or similar device) - That annoying noise made by phones when placed too near speakers is also made in the earphones if the cable is next to the phone body. This is more annoying when on trains where signal drops out easily and the phone has to find the signal again and make all kinds of funny noises.

4. Noise-cancelling is the gift product that keeps on giving taking - Having a tendency to forget to turn the noise-cancelling off after use means that batteries are consumed more quickly and thus makes the cost of the earphones increase. If I was savvy enough to get some rechargeable batteries I would, but I'd have to fork out for both the batteries and the charger.

5. Noise-cancelling makes you socially inept - When using noise-cancelling earphones, social skills seem to disappear. For fear of shouting or mumbling like a crazy person, I resort to trying not to say anything, there is a monitor button so you can hear the outside world, but it's a bit silly fumbling to find it so you can successfully say "sorry" or "it's ok" to someone who you've stood on/stood on you, best to stick with obscure gestures or a smile.

6. Noise-cancelling is my favourite switch - Despite the silly little annoyances I still get a great deal of enjoyment from flicking the switch on when the outside world threatens to invade upon my musical enjoyment.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

An Adventure into Driving

I can't (legally) drive. I've had a few lessons so know the basics, but if it came to it and I had to drive a car any real distance along side other drivers, I'd fall apart. The problem is that there’s just too much for me to think about when driving, and I haven’t yet had enough practise for everything to become natural. If I could just steer, i’d be fine, if I could just work the pedals, I’d be fine, if I could just change gears, I’d be fine, but when I have to do it all at the same time, I can’t cope fully.

Recently, on a trip back to the homeland (Liverpool), I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time tinkering with my good friend, Jonathan Mullin’s Mini. This was about as awesome as you can get for things to do. I love Minis, they’re utterly fantastic, and I love pulling things apart, so you’ll understand, I was in my element. We were working on the clutch and gear system, so we needed to see what happened when the clutch was depressed and clutch pedal, something I was keen to do, as boring as it sounds, because I got the chance to get behind the wheel of a Mini and feel like I was in control. Admittedly the car has no battery or wheels so it’s not like I was going to be going anywhere, but it was still cool. Having fiddle around with the clutch mechanism and bleeding it to remove all the air, we then went to the gears, something I was also keen to do. I remember as a youngster, getting into my parents car and practising changing gear, something I still do at 25, It felt good that I could shift from first to second to third to fourth and then into reverse, not advisable on the road of cause, without too much difficulty, which is hardly impressive. So anyway, the upshot of this is that I felt like I was driving, or at least in control of, and old, smelly Mini, which was marvellous. With luck, as Jonny and I are going to be getting a house together, we will somehow get the wheelless, broken Mini down to London so we can continue to work on it, and with luck get it to a drivable state, in which case I will be learning to drive a Mini, which will make me very happy.

In the mean time I will be learning on this



I bought this the other week and have been having fun driving around like a lunatic in the various racing game I have. It’s good fun and makes driving games much more enjoyable, if not a little harder. I’m still not at the point were I can work the gears as well as the pedals and driving, for the afore mentioned reason, but hopefully I’ll get there eventually. It’s fully equipped with force feedback, so the wheel has some weight to it and will turn itself if you hit a bump or drive on gravel, which makes it all very fun/arm straining. I’m still working out all the various nuances of the different game and driving techniques required to make it round a course without crashing or spinning or generally ruining your hopes of first place glory, but it’s all a learning process. I can hardly say that any of the techniques I’ll pick up here will transfer to actual driving, but you never know when you’ll be racing around a circuit in a high performance car.

So essentially, I’ve had the most car filled couple of weeks possible for someone who doesn’t even have a full driving license.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

iPhone != spyPhone

http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/814619-hackers-could-turn-your-iphone-into-spy-phone

oh, Metro, how much utter bollocks can you spew from your position of ignorance with your tone of confidence in your "knowledge".

iPhone = Apple Product = Not hugely vulnerable to viruses etc. If you're going to use an iPhone as a headline at least reference it in the body of the article, even if it is to say "we're just shitting you, you're iPhone will be fine." You mention windows and generic smartphones, so why not have the balls to say that iPhones probably wont be affected.

I obviously don't have hard evidence that they wont be affected but using my keen deduction skills and knowing a small amount about Apple, I'm pretty sure I'm not wrong.