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ggreig: (Default)
Very much not a fan. I didn't really like his products, which often seemed to value form over function, and by all accounts he's someone I wouldn't have wanted to work for/with.

But clearly lots of people disagreed with me, and he's had an enormous effect on computing. There are plenty good things have come out of products that over all I wasn't very keen on. And way back in the early 1990s, I thought it would be cool to work on a NeXT. So long Steve Jobs, and sympathy to his family, friends and fans.
ggreig: (Default)

Didn't see that one coming, and was shocked when I read the news yesterday. 63 is no age really, such a shame. Nothing to add that hasn’t been said everywhere else.

ggreig: (Young)

Smiley Culture has died of a stab wound as police visited his house to make an arrest.

I don’t know what happened and where fault might lie, and I'll leave that for the justice system to sort out as best it can. Meanwhile, I remember Smiley Culture for a couple of brilliant singles back in the ‘80s: Cockney Translation and Police Officer.

I might not fit your expectation of Smiley Culture’s audience, but I appreciated the sharpness and humour of his toasting, like a lot of other people at the time. These weren’t big hits, but they were memorable ones for those who picked up on them. I also loved the use of language. If, like me, you’re not from either of Smiley Culture’s backgrounds, then it may take a bit of work to follow what he’s saying, but it’s worth the effort.

ggreig: (Unicorn (Modern))

As postprandial conversations are wont to do, yesterday’s discussion in the pub leapt in little more than a single bound from some quite general topic to the more specific one of Minna Reverelli, the Yodelling Prima Donna.

This was my fault. My Dad had an old 78 rpm record that took my fancy, and I have it beside me as I type. It’s in an old cardboard sleeve that announces it was originally sold by Paterson, Sons & Marr Wood, Ltd (Pianoforte Makers to Their Majesties The King and Queen), of 183 Union Street, Aberdeen (with additional branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Paisley, Greenock, Perth and Oban).

Minna Reverelli, the Yodelling Prima DonnaThe record itself is a Parlophone recording, D.P. 167, and apparently you can pick up your own second-hand copy – so the Internet informs me – for the princely sum of €2.

Mine is actually third-hand, as the sleeve features a hand-written inscription, “Tommy from Meg 1971”. That’s my Dad, and my great-aunt, his mother’s sister.

The track that drew me is The Cuckoo In The Wood, a song in Viennese dialect with yodelled impressions of a cuckoo. What is there not to like? Winking smile

I had a quick search for it online, and struck lucky. You can hear it on YouTube (unfortunately, embedding this particular video is disabled, so click here, or on the picture).

This morning I also found a small number of additional tracks in MP3 format, and some rather sad information. Minna Reverelli was Jewish and disappeared in Vienna in 1941. Please read what little more there is and enjoy her music so that her memory can live on.

ggreig: (Beep the Meep)

Nicholas Courtney, who played the character of Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart on television for 40 years (1968-2008) in Doctor Who has died at the age of 81. The Brigadier was played honestly but with humour, despite an occasionally regrettable penchant for shooting things, and that warmth seemed to be a reflection of the actor. He will be missed.

ggreig: (Default)
Malcolm McLaren, the former Sex Pistols manager has died.

It was less than two minutes before it crossed my mind to wonder whether it was a publicity stunt. He'd probably have liked that.
ggreig: (Rune)

I didn’t. Edward Woodward started his career at the Byre.

ggreig: (Poppies)

Poppies were required wear at work today. So was a suit, and so I wound up wearing two poppies, one on my coat and one on my suit.

Suits are not every-day work-wear for us, but then it was the day that Alex Salmond was officially opening our new office. In order for us to get the maximum personal enjoyment out of this momentous experience, employees were encouraged to tell their friends, presumably so that you can all feel jealous, or awe-struck or something. So there you go; you’ve been told! I saw the back of his head from a distance, if that helps to impress you.

Somehow people being treated as VIPs makes me come over all egalitarian, I’m afraid, despite respecting the FM’s abilities and recognising it’s a good thing for the company.

But today merited my coincidental two poppies none the less. With respect to Claude Choules, a British veteran living in Australia who often misses a mention, this was the first Armistice Day with no living World War I veterans in the UK.

That is a bit of a milestone. My eldest grandparent was only a little too young to have been involved, and within our lifetimes the number of British survivors of the war has dwindled from many to one. Inevitable, of course, but worth marking.

Thanks for Bill Stone, Henry Allingham, Harry Patch, and all the others they represent who didn’t travel with us so far, like my great uncle Pat.

ggreig: (MoonFrown)

According to Slashdot, the Thawte Web of Trust (of which I, [livejournal.com profile] tobyawand [livejournal.com profile] qidaneare notaries) is ending in less than 2 weeks' time – or November 16th, depending on which you believe. Maybe someone didn’t notice this was October.

The original article is Slashdotted, so I haven’t been able to read it, but if it is true it’ll be a little bit sad and quite a lot unsurprising.

E-mail certificates are one of those things that are good in theory, but difficult to convince people they’re worthwhile. Their main purpose is to show that e-mail hasn’t been tampered with since it was sent, and that it was sent from a particular person’s account; not problems that many people worry about, even with spam spoofing e-mail addresses to appear to come from people you know.

Perhaps a little more practically, if more widely taken up certificates might help to restrict spam a bit by requiring people to prove their identity to someone – but they’ve never had that take-up, and if they did then spammers would of course find ways to acquire certificates unrelated to their real identities. Faking identity would not, in the end, prove much of a hurdle.

There are other drawbacks too. Some e-mail systems (particularly web-based ones) don’t know what to do with certificates, so they make recipients more suspicious of the e-mail with the odd attachment, rather than less. And for the average user, the process of signing up for a certificate is scary and arcane. Although you can mostly click Next – Next – Next, there’s a lot of forbidding technical terminology floating about.

Finally there’s the biggest reason why I’m not surprised if Thawte have canned their free certificates program, and also why I’ve not been over-enthusiastic to recommend them for the last couple of years; they’ve never updated the sign-up process to work with Windows Vista’s higher level of security, and their instructions for working around the issue start “Turn off the Windows Firewall”…

E-mail certificates are still a mildly good idea, but Thawte’s free offering hasn’t been too attractive for some time – and unfortunately the alternatives cost.

ggreig: (Black Hat)

Patrick McGoohan has died at age 80. Sadly, I’ve not seen a lot of his work beyond The Prisoner, but that was something a bit special.

On to the ded gois all estatis,
Princis, prelotis, and potestatis,
Baith riche and pur of al degre;
Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Not a big fan of poetry, but Dunbar’s Lament for the Makaris (Number 14 in the linked Complete Works, with notes) is a cracker, and somehow feels appropriate.

ggreig: (Black Hat)
Just breaking on the BBC; Oliver Postgate died yesterday.

Everyone will have own their favourite Postgate output. For me it was The Clangers. His voice was particularly suited to the narration and he's a part of my very young childhood that I still remember with pleasure. No doubt the same will be true for fans of Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss and other Smallfilms productions.
ggreig: (Default)
As most people reading this will already know, my Dad died on the 9th of March. Thanks to all who expressed their sympathy, in whatever way.

Dad in a few stories and pictures )
ggreig: (Rune)
RIP Anthony Buckeridge, at 92.

What distinguished the Jennings books was their sense of humour - I remember them as the books most likely to just make me laugh out loud at some ridiculous circumstance. Although it's easy to think of these boarding schoolboy romps as dated, it was interesting to see an interview with Anthony Buckeridge in which he pointed out that he made up a fair bit of the schoolboy vocab. in order to avoid being tied too closely to a particular era.

I reckon I'm too old now, at the ripe old age of well-over-school-leaving, to judge whether they'll survive or not in a very different world, but I hope they do - the success of Harry Potter suggests that the old boarding school stories have plenty of life in them in yet, even if Harry Potter has some more fantastic trimmings. And apparently the Jennings book are still in print and selling quite well, so there is plenty hope.

Ave atque vale, Anthony Buckeridge - may Jennings and Darbishire live on in the company of William Brown and Nigel Molesworth.

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