Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forNovember, 2007 | back to home

28 November 2007
Filed under:Gadgets at12:55 pm

Sumvision MP3 player
Needing a USB drive I couldn’t resist buying the catchily named Sumvision M18 – a 4Gb memory stick MP3 player, voice recorder and FM radio costing around £30. While it’s labelled “USB 2.0” the speed of data transfers on it is dreadful (7 minutes to transfer a 160Mb file). It’s much too slow to run portable applications off of it as I’d hoped to, and it’s a hassle if you want to change the music or other files on it regularly. If all you want is to use it as an MP3 player and radio though I guess it’s OK, and the price is certainly right, but the user interface is extremely un-friendly to the point that about the only way to use it is like an iPod shuffle (“just give me a random next track”).

By contrast the iPod nano I bought before has not been without problems and was much more expensive for fewer features but is one of my favourite devices – what it does, it does very well.

27 November 2007
Filed under:Personal,problems with technology at1:23 pm

It was only 18 months ago that my iBook’s hard disk died last and here we go again! Fortunately, my extended AppleCare is valid until January. However it will apparently take (at least) ten working days to fix (and since it died without warning my backup was older than it should have been). I spoke to one Apple dealer about replacing the internal 80Gb drive with something larger when they repair it and he quoted me £200 (!) for a 120Gb drive (about six times the market price I believe). The dealer said 120Gb is the practical limit because of heat problems with a larger one. Does that seem likely?

I thought I might try working on my machine or another one from my backup but just discovered that PowerPC-based Macs don’t boot from USB. Bah! Well, I don’t have access to a spare Mac anyway…

18 November 2007

Sesame Street doesn’t broadcast in the UK but they have a Sesame Street Podcast, it seems. I am a little concerned that according to iTunes, “listeners also subscribed to Abigail’s X Rated Teen Diary” (fortunately that programme isn’t what it sounds like).

I have to say that the sample I saw didn’t really impress me with the Sesame Street magic but I figure there must be some reason why it is the ‘gold standard’ for educational television in US studies.

11 November 2007
Filed under:Arts Reviews,London,Personal at10:56 am

as my ‘Facebook friends’ will know already, I am going to be singing in a revival of John Foulds’ A War Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall, 81 years after its last performance there. Lots more about the composer and his music is available from the links below. Personally I wouldn’t say it is a masterpiece and there are some odd touches in its 90 minute length but I think it would be worth a listen, particularly live so you would get the full impact of the five (!) choruses plus orchestra.

It is probably not too late to get tickets if you are so inclined but if you can’t or won’t make it, it will be on BBC Radio 3 from 18:30 to 20:00 (local time) and streamed live on the Internet. Chandos is also releasing a two CD concert recording (in SACD format in fact if you have a very fancy CD player).

More links than you probably need or want about Foulds follow:

BBC Radio 3 (to hear the concert live)

Telegraph Foulds profile inc. interview with Patrick Foulds (the composer’s son):

Profile of Foulds and his work in the Independent – it’s more colourful and plays up Foulds’ eccentricities.

The head of Radio 3 on Foulds

Simon Heffer (a Telegraph columnist) on Foulds

BBC news short video item about Foulds inc interview with conductor and a very brief clip of the assembled choruses singing.