Now this is podcasting

And like that….they were gone. All podcast software writers must be jumping with joy now that iTunes 4.9 is out with podcast support – not. No need for iPodder or Odeo (nice knowing you) when iTunes supports it all from within the one package for free. Speaking of free I notice that all the podcasts have the word ‘Free’ text to the subscribe button – I can see some podcasts costing a few pennies in the not too distant future but for the majority to keep a fan base and charge the quality will need to increase. then again with the BBC and other broadcasters looking at podcasting, web technologies and alternative revenue streams it seems only a matter of time before a charging model is introduced. If thousands are willing to pay for ringtones who knows how big the podcasting market could grow to. Podcasts in iTunes also support chapters with pictures for each chapter and clickable links in iTunes. All sounds like a step to a new format of audible books and makes more sense when you think how easy it is to buy from the iTunes Music Store?

There’s some nice features for managing podcast transfers to the iPod – all episodes of a podcast, latest episodes only etc. I can’t see a feature I’m missing right now that I’ve seen in other software so this looks to be a good update to iTunes and a reduction in the amount of apps I need on the pc which is officially a good thing.

Also new is the iPod. No more iPod photo, the 20Gb and 60Gb iPod’s both have colour screens and support for bookmarking podcasts and displaying album and podcast art as well as photo’s. £299 for a 60Gb iPod is very tempting. Nice updates from Apple – again.

Andy Murray

There’s been a lot of talk about how good Andy Murray will be in the coming years – I thought he was pretty special already. Far more enjoyable to watch than Tiger Tim and lots more aggression too. People are already suggesting that Murray’s attitude and confidence will backfire – what drivel. His presence on the court is a shot in the arm for British tennis and just what was needed. I loved it when he strode up to the net and patted it in just had his opponent had in the second round. Some more fitness and stamina, a bit more experience and this will be the first Brit Scot in years with a chance of winning Wimbledon without looking for luck and opponents dropping out.

The Girl in the Café

I guess you could say the film The Girl in the Café is typical Richard Curtis – doddery english guy falling for lovely woman, and a woman way out of his league. All the usual content is there but I’m a sucker for it and always like his films. This also had a political…edge isn’t the word but you know what I mean…undercurrent – that’s better. Set against the G8 summit the politics were dumbed down but the message still hit home more down to the acting of the two leads – Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald. Kelly MacDonald was superb and also had the best quote of the film:

dirty dirty dirty John

I could listen to her saying the word dirty all night but enough of my fantasies. Her speech to the G8 dinner was superb with the clicking fingers every 3 minutes really hitting home. The end was left open – G8 summit in Scotland and what will these 8 men do, but it should have been more. Where was the appeal to support Make Poverty History? Where was the plea to march to Edinburgh? Live 8 has always struck me as ‘disorganised’. This just added to that feeling – I hope the organisation doesn’t let it down.

Quicktime HD

If you’ve not seen just how good hi-def video can look then swing over to where Quicktime 7 is available (finally) for PC although it’s still a technology preview. Once installed go to the Quicktime HD gallery – favourite at the moment is Batman Begins trailer…only 115 Meg for 2 minutes of quality HD action. Looking forward to my HD tv already although it’s at least 6 months away.

Nasty eBay

So Geldof has been ranting about eBay and how folk have been selling their Live8 tickets on the auction site. While I don’t agree with what the sellers are doing, I don’t agree that it’s eBay’s fault. So watching the ITV news I loved Sir Bob’s quote when talking about eBay – I would love hackers to hack into eBay and stop it working. Quality. His other quote was valid though:

The people who are selling these tickets on websites are miserable wretches who are capitalising on people’s misery. I am appealing to their sense of decency to stop this disgusting greed

Even better – ITV’s Mark Austin started off his interview with eBay chief executive in UK with a ‘what are you going to do about this then’ type quote only to have the wind taken completely out of his sails with a ‘we’re taking them down’ statement in a small but clear voice that totally debunked the whole interview. Nice one eBay. Back onto Sir Bob – he also quoted:

What eBay are doing is profiteering on the backs of the impoverished.

This is something that could easily be labelled at others who have gained out of the plight of millions in Africa.

Dead Pixel Fixer

For all PSP and TFT owners that have dead pixels there’s reports that a video which flashes red, green and blue over and over (to force the pixels to constantly change) can ‘fix’ the dead pixels. Not 100% fix but if you’ve got a problem it’s worthwhile giving it a go. The video can be grabbed for PSP Vault. It’s also worth pointing out this is more for stuck pixels rather than dead ones.


Great news – we’ve got a new cat. When I say we’ve got, we don’t pick her up for another 3 weeks and when I say cat I really mean kitten. She’s only 4 weeks old and the Cat Protection League keep the young kittens for a period of time to make sure they are healthy and OK to be housed.
I snapped a picture as she played with another kitten – she’s going to be a handful but it will be nice to have a wee pet around the house again.


MX 3100

I’ve given in to geek toys yet again and bought a new keyboard and mouse – Logitech MX 3100. I already owned a wireless Logitech mouse (which will find a new home at work) but the mouse in this pack was a laser mouse, supposedly much smoother and more reliable than the other optical mice. Verdict – it is smooth but only when I through away the mouse pad which is a bit odd considering it’s supposed to work on a larger range of surfaces. Still it’s comfy and the battery charge lights are very useful as are the number of buttons on it which allow for quick web browsing and app switching.

The keyboard is a lot better than my old MS wired keyboard. Very comfy and a nice response when typing. It also comes with a large amount of extra buttons mostly for media playing and easy zooming/scrolling in supported apps. Also some buttons for IM & calc buttons but none for launching a web browser. Easy fixed by customising the apps launched by each button but still an odd omission.

One word of warning is that it was a bitch to set-up. Took about 3 hours of faffing about, restarting and removing all known trace of Logitech products, removing batteries and letting capacitors run dry and eventually a half hour break from it before returning and getting it working…eventually. Not recommended if your not prepared to get your hands dirty but if you are it really is a lovely keyboard/mouse combo.

Revenge of the Sith

The last of the new trilogy and hopefully the last Star Wars movies Lucas directs, Revenge of the Sith is without doubt the best of the new bunch but isn’t on a par with New hope never mind Empire. Word of warning – spoilers ahead. Considering everyone watching the film knows the outcome and who lives/dies it’s still a good film to watch mostly due to it’s darkness. There’s a beheading, wife beating (ok…strangling) and probably the scene that got most gasps at the cinema was the killing of the child jedi’s (although I couldn’t help laugh at the use of ‘younglings’ throughout the rest of the film – it just sounded so false).

The special effects are stunning although there’s maybe too much in certain scenes – the opening space battle for example requires 3 or 4 watches to catch everything that’s happening. Even then the feeling of ‘falseness’ is throughout the film as scenes are ruined by the overuse of special effects – the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin is a prime example. I was enjoying the fight and the lava looked amazing. Then both Jedi jump onto small robots in the middle of the lava flow – rather than enhancing the battle it made it feel more like a computer game or a battle of between graphic artists and cgi modellers in an attempt to outdo each other.

I also had a few issues with the structure and storyline, namely:

  • Anakin’s move to the dark side has been gathering pace throughout Episode II & II but when he gives into dark side it’s sudden and with ease – did not sit well with the rest of the film
  • Palpatine was so obviously the dark lord – it should have been fairly obvious to the Jedi but again this was glossed over
  • Obi-wan – why did he not kill Vader when he was so near death. Considering he had wiped out all the other Jedi’s this seemed the weakest point of the film
  • Speaking of the other Jedi’s they died very easily. Too easily. Made a joke of their position in the Star Wars universe.
  • The actors in the film did a pretty good job. Ewan McGregor was pretty good (much better than Episode I) although some of his dialogue was pretty sucky. Same can be said for Hayden Christensen. The best was undoubtedly Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. The evil pored out from him at all times – great to watch. Christopher Lee was underused and yet again a good character in Dooku (like Darth Maul in I) was lost to easily.

    It will be interesting to watch IV, V and VI again – I’ve not seen them in years but I feel the 6 episodes will not gel well at all. R2D2 for example is like a super droid in II & III compared with the last three films – I guess he got old. I’ll be treating the Star Wars films as two separate trilogies – one a great space story, the other a good tale and a good use of new technology.


    Listening to the new Coldplay album over the last couple of days – yes a download but I’ll be picking up the CD tomorrow. Nothing ground breaking, more of the same and definitely doesn’t grab me in the same way as the last two albums. Herald review nailed it when they described it as a refinement of ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ and that it grinds out the tics and what was left of their originality. However by the end of the summer once Live 8 and the summer festivals are over no doubt this will be the years biggest sellers and the album hailed as a classic – not by me it won’t.