Bits & Bobs… and cancelling Sky!

Bits & Bobs… and cancelling Sky!

What a week!

The newly constructed PC and I are getting along reasonably well, I’ve had to question it’s parentage on a few occasions and at one stage it must have thought it’s name began with “C”, four letters and sounds like “punt”. To be fair, I should say that the invective was aimed solely at the OS, not the machine itself. So far, crashes = 0, swear words = ran out of paper….. and swear words…

Well, we’ve had the election for Mayor and Bungle got in again. I don’t think he did a particularly bad job last time around, but I also don’t think he is as “in-touch” with London as Ken is. I watched Ken’s speech back on Saturday morning and have to say I felt a bit sorry for him. He’s announced that this election was his last, so look out for book deals and TV/Radio appearances and a tour of the after dinner circuit. Ken’s already got form on the radio, having been a presenter on London based LBC right up until the campaigning started. I’ve never heard him though, so offer no comment on style or content. I do know that despite his faults and one or two of his policies over the years, he really does care about London and I think the political landscape here will be the poorer for his absence – if he can stay away, of course! I feel for Brian Paddick, the Lib-Dem candidate. I can’t help thinking that he’d have done much better standing as an independent.

Regular readers will know that I tried to make contact with the three main campaign teams via e-mail and twitter, but got zero responses. More of a concern was the lack of a local presence – I must have seen hundreds of re-tweets about so-and-so out door-knocking or leafleting, but we got nothing here. Party colours were a bit thin on the ground at the polling station, too. I do wonder if it is time we had a “none of the above” box on the ballot papers. Perhaps this would encourage more of an interest in canvassing and wannabe politicos having to speak to the electorate they claim to want to represent? 287 words on Politics are quite enough – this subject is now closed until the next scandal or election – or are they merging into one?

I’m quite proud that ALL my CD’s are now safely loaded onto a hard-drive. It was one of those tasks that at one point I wish I’d not started, but once you’ve got over the half-way mark, it seems silly to abandon it. I’ve even loaded on the ones that I’m disowning…

Those that follow my twitter feed will have read that I recently cancelled my Sky subscription. Because of the way payment dates work, I’ve still got it until the end of May, but after that it’ll be no more. I’ve been with them for 9 years. Thinking everything was clear-cut I’d forgotten about it until I received an e-mail from the wanting to know why I’d decided to leave. As the person that I spoke to when cancelling made a point of telling me, several times, that the calls are recorded, it would surely have been easier to play the call back?

Anyway, the reason is, in the week prior to cancelling, I’d watched about 4 hours of TV and all of it BBC. I don’t need to be paying Sky for that now, do I? The lady asked if I’d reconsider, if they were to let me have the Sports channels free for 3 months? I asked her to look at my history (they can see everything you’ve ever done), she’d see that I always cancelled Sports at the end of the football season, so giving me something free that I’m as likely to watch as I am paint drying was not going to entice me, was it? What about free movie channels? Well…maybe, but on a recent pick through the EPG, 9 of the HD movie channels were showing something horror or extremely violent at the same time. Now these are two genres that I cannot stand. I also added that they don’t show enough British made movies, despite there being thousands out there. Anyway, I’ve filled in the questionnaire and look forward to the phone call to discuss my responses – they as much as threatened it!

Those reading this that came via the route, please adjust your sets – went live this week – get me! My very own domain! To offer re-assurance, the address is registered in the USA but the actual server the site resides on is within kicking distance of my right foot as I type, so don’t be worried about nasties – it’s behind a physical and software firewall.

The hardest thing about picking a domain name is the name itself. I’ve gone for something relatively neutral. I’ve also ordered a bunch of business cards for the photography work which should be here within 3 weeks. To be fair they are heavily discounted and I’ve done without up to now, so a few more days isn’t going to hurt is it? (Impatient mode is already warmed up and ready to be engaged!)

I’ve been using a trial copy of Adobe Lightroom. I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed by a software product as quickly as I have with this. So much so that today (Saturday) has gone largely like this; get up, tea, potter about and be a bit domestic. At 10:30 take fresh tea and sit in front of computer. Fire up Lightroom and go through picture libraries. Look at clock – 5pm! Emergency tea-run! Phone friend that recommended Lightroom (Hi Stuart!) and issue bollocking for making me sit in edits all day! It is a seriously addictive bit of software – be warned! Do feel free to look at the gallery pages; it’ll make it all worthwhile.

Before I close this entry and let it loose on the world, I wanted to mention something that happened after I’d published the entry for last Sunday. I was exploring Lightroom (told you, addictive), when a friend that I’ve not heard from in a LONG time buzzed me via MSN. I’ve know this person for about 25 years; we used to work together, drink together and sometimes go to shows together. Anyway, we quickly dumped MSN and went to the phones – mutual consent says it’s the thick end of 8 years since we last spoke, for no other reason than other things in life happen and there is always tomorrow, isn’t there?

Some of you will be aware that I was seriously ill earlier in the year, I mean “stay in hospital” ill. It was the first time in my life that I’ve had more than a heavy cold dressed up as flu, so it was quite a shock and for a short time was considered life-threatening. I’m still not back where I was, but I am well on the way. Anyhow, whilst relating the tale to my friend, it struck me that, but for the grace of the deity of your choice, I might not have been around to have this call with someone that has a permanent place on the “close friends” list.

What I want to say is, have a look through the address book, phone list or whatever you use to store names and numbers in or on and look up someone you’ve not spoken to in ages, because, there will come a time when there won’t be a tomorrow. That hour or so on the phone did two things for me, firstly it reminded me why I value this person’s friendship and secondly, it got me away from bloody Lightroom for a while!

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