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January, 2005:

What the hell is wrong with the Brits!!!

Everyday I download news and various web pages from Avantgo, a kind of precursor to RSS & Podcasting. Three of the major channels that I subscribe to are BBC: News, Sports, and Radio One. But sometimes even the Beeb manages to amaze me. For one the Radio One channel has not updated their play list since: 03/06/2004 and then their is the charts; how the hell can anyone say that the BBC and the British Music scene are at the forefront of new music when last weeks charts included music spanning almost 5 decades… DUDE THAT IS ALMOST 50 YEARS!

Let me show you what I’m talking about, this is last week UK Singles Chart according to the Beeb.

Radio 1 – Top 40 Singles

Official UK Top 40 Singles – 09/01/2005

1 – Elvis Presley – ‘Jailhouse Rock’

2 – Steve Brookstein – ‘Against All Odds’

3 – Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’

4 – Erasure – ‘Breathe’

6 – Band Aid 20 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’

13 – Ronan Keating feat. Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)- ‘Father And Son’

25 – Christina Aguilera feat. Missy – ‘Car Wash ‘

27 – Merrion/McCall/Kensit – ‘I Got You Babe/Soda Pop ‘

Ok Presley would of been 70 recently so it is understandable but what the hell is going on with the Iron Maiden comeback? Seriously, I’m a huge fan of Eddie and the Maiden but what’s the story? Somebody please enlighten me… Have I been gone from Blighty that long that I don’t even know why 80′s metal rockers are suddenly back on the scene?

As for the Phil Collins and Rose Royce remakes, well that is only normal for British pop. Half the pop producers are old rockers trying to re-ignite the royalties on some of their old projects. Ok that might just be my own conspiracy skepticism but the are very few pop producers in the in the UK charts and far to many covers. Actually I had tried to get a show commission on UK radio that would solely play covers. After discussing it with a few Programme Controllers, I was told that the show would sound too much like a normal radio hour. Which made me think back to an old high school project where a classmate had predicted that we would run out of notes and all songs would simply be resamples and covers. This guy was heavily into thrash and speed metal and could not imagine too many new kinds of music. Even after all the drum and base and hard house stuff that is coming out, I can’t help think back to this guy and what he was thinking.

When I see Radio One charts like those of last week, I can’t help but think that my old metalhead classmate might have been onto something.

Apple Announces Mac Mini

Well everyone said it was coming! Mac lovers have been talking about the affordable Mac for years, PC users have been using it as the last real excuse not to buy one, myself included, and today old Steve gave everyone what they wanted. The $500 Mac.

And thank god it looks nothing like the eMac…

I LOVE THIS ONE.

Seriously I do, if it wasn’t for the three perfectly good XP boxes that I have in the house I would buy one. With a fair enough sized hard drive, a good graphics card, the usual excellent Apple sound, a fantastic form factor, wireless connectivity if you want it, a good processor, and OS X; How can you go wrong for a basic family PC. I must admit the ram needs to be a standard 512Mb rather than 256Mb and only because Mac users tend to leave every program under the sun open rather actually closing them properly.

The beauty about it is that it allows you to keep your nice new LCD and your wireless keyboard/mouse kit that you most likely have just bought as the Mac mini comes with nothing more than the sleek little silver box and a DVI to VGA video adapter.

Seriously I want one…

I want to hook it up to the LG LCD fridge/TV I am also toying with the fantasy of buying. And using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that I will keep either on the side of the fridge with a big magnet or in the knife drawer. I probably won’t even bother with a set of speakers as I’ll just get one of those iPod FM transmitters that will play out into the house stereo. To tell you the truth this thing is so geared towards the iPod, that I would probably play out all my audio in the iPod anyway and for the price of the Mac mini, I would be able to get one of the huge iPod photos.

All sarcasm aside, I am glad to see that Apple finally has enough balls to take Dell and HP head on in the lower end market. Sure this won’t affect the guys who build clones out of their toasters but the Jones and Smiths this is the ideal second or even first family PC.

I only wish Steve had done this a few years back when I had the liquid assets to buy a PC, I don’t think I would have bought the laptop if the mini was around.

Apple also unveiled the iPod shuffle today which is basically a USB stick that plays MP3 in either the order you loaded those tracks or in shuffle mode. The design is very cool, and it definitely oozes X factor but I can’t help thinking this is another attempt from Apple to go head to head in the entry level market. Unfortunately this market is saturated with like devices that are still far less expensive.

Yet I still can’t help but envy all those students who have a bit of tuition money set aside to by a new PC and mp3 player. You can still be the coolest guy on campus and be on a budget.

I think I’ll stick it out a bit longer with this Clie, now that Sony are touting the 4Gb memory stick, maybe the price of the 256Mb and 512Mb sticks will come down low enough that I can still use this as podcast player while I am hammering out my emails and blogs… Then all I would need is for Adam Curry to produce his Daily Source Code in 44hz rather than 22Hz so that Sony’s Audioplayer for Palm OS4 could actually play it.

Happy New Year to Everyone

Happy New Year 2005 to Everyone.

This year I am wishing everyone good health because with good health
you can accomplish anything and handle eveything else that life throws
at you.
..thaanks to Pierre at work for reminding me of that.

This will have to be a short one until I can come back and write for longer.

You might also want to start marking this spot for the podcast/webcast.


Francois Fortier
www.planetefortier.com