What ho! Sorry I haven't posted much of late; I have been so very busy with my high-flying career as a journalist/media hobnobber that I simply have not had a second free.
Today I slept like a bastard. Honestly. I sleep like the dead. I got up around noon when Jenny woke me with a full English breakfast and the papers. She stroked my scalp gently and placed a freshly picked rose on my pillow, and I thanked the stars in heaven that I should live with such a paragon of girlfriendly virtue.
It was a lovely day so we took the bus to Greenwich to buy wholesome organic goods at the market. We bought bread and fudge. Afterwards, we went to Noodle Time, The Best Noodle Bar in London where I ate an entire bowl of noodles in 7.2 seconds. This may or may not be a world record; will check on internet as soon as I am done here.
We left Noodle Time, TBNBiL to rapturous applause and unashamed gaping. They let us go without paying since I hadn't technically 'eaten' anything, merely thrown food randomly in the direction of my face.
When we got home, Jenny threw an entirely rational and justified fit about her lack of work ethic. I was calm and soothing and provided comfort in the form of fudge and Pimm's. I clearly rock.
This evening has been spent working and using long words. I am doing some sort of piece for a PC magazine, I don't really know what that's about, and I am sharing with the world my knowledge of Macintosh computers. Sometimes I think perhaps my brain is a computer.
I am also DJing tracks from my amazing and unrivalled music collection. I really do have impeccable taste! And unlimited credit at iTunes music store by the sound of things.
Anyway, it is late and my hairline isn't receding any slower so I shall bid you good evening. Do come back again soon.
Chris Tiffer Phin: journalist, designer, raconteur, all round nice-guy.
"May wild asses defile the grave of thy maternal grandmother."
I do apologise for the lack of blogging recently. I will try to rememedy the situation properly soon, but in the meantime, make do with these links which have been accumulating in my 'To blog' bookmarks folder.
A heart-warming tale of corporate lovliness
I'm very tempted to buy this
This is the sort of thing that reaffirms your faith in the internet
Weather forecasts for the Tube
Gotta love those crazy Americans
Wireless cows. 'Nuff said
Article about 'the uncanny valley' in androids
This is spec...tacular
The world constantly amazes me
Apparently the blades rotate, too
Could you go?
Have you ever, in your entire life, seen anything so tragic?
The ultimate PowerBook bag
Best. Press trip. Ever.
Not particularly because of the location (which was nonetheless nice), and certainly not because of the freebies (there were none), but just because I had a rollicking good time.
I managed to avoid the courtesy screening of the England v Switzerland (or Ang v Sui, since we were in France) game by sitting on the balcony of the hotel guzzling Rosé and chatting/bitching to esteemed colleagues about less esteemed colleagues.
Actually, guzzling booze was pretty much the theme for the trip, and I drank steadily if sparely throughout Thursday; the whole event did feature a prodigious free bar. The alcohol pace was stepped up a bit in the evening, with a visit to the massive money-spinner that is Pierre Cardin's fibreglass mansion in the hills. The whole place was pretty tacky, but there were some genuinely spectacular views which engendered in me feelings akin to envy. Actually, dammit, they were envy feelings.
We were ferried back to the hotel just after 1, and continued the drinking in the hotel bar. In a last-ditch attempt at getting people to pay attention to him, one of my less-than-esteemed colleagues jumped in a closed swimming pool three times, despite having been told politely on each occasion that he shouldn't.
Far classier to do what I and a select group of colleagues did, which was decide, sometime around 3am, to take a dip in the Med.
One chap did misjudge the mood of the evening, and did actually get stark-bollock nikkid. Put it this way; the water seemed remarkably warm, but that's a relative term. We stayed in for ages, despite the rather alarming guard prowling up and down the beach complete with outsized Dobermann.
We exited the water, pulled on our clothes (at least in part) and stumbled back to the hotel. Trailing water, sand, and dressed mainly only in underwear, we wandered back through the foyer of a really very swank hotel, attracting looks of disgust from the French staff – admittedly not hard to do, since we're British.
We repaired to the room of the company's PR – he could claim the minibar raid back on expenses – and did more chatting/bitching about less esteemed colleagues.
All very enjoyable, but we made the tactical error of deciding to go to bed somewhere around 5:30, rather than going for a stroll, drinking some coffee, and just batting on to the next day without a break. This meant less than two hours in bed, and I woke feeling like a very lightly poached egg the next morning. I felt distinctly proud of myself, though, for making it through the Friday's briefings with no stronger a crutch than a glass of water permanently screwed into my gently shaking hand.
Got back to Blighty mid-afternoon on Friday, was back in Jenny's loving arms by 7, fell asleep at 8, and didn't wake until 11 this morning. Feel much more human, but have inexplicable bruise on my arse, and feel uncharacteristically stiff.
Best quote of the trip came from one of the hotel's employees, who, upon being asked, in badly accented French, by Macworld's editor-in-chief "Où est la salle de Léger?", replied "I'm sorry, I don't speak Engleesh".
Some bigger photos can be found here.
Quick shout out to the lovely Mrs Phin (that's as in my ma, not Jenny – give us time...) who must have been rifling through my Amazon Wishlist, as when I arrived at work this morning, the DVDs of the first two series of Yes, Minister were sitting waiting for me. I watched the first half-hour episode while eating my lunch. I'd never seen it before. Work. Of. Utter. Genius.
So thanks, Mum
Stay with me, guys; I'll be back soon...
Along the South Bank today, some crazy-assed fair had sprung up, which could only be described as 'ethnic'. It was populated with new-agers wandering around with plates of pulses, women in technicolor saris selling bongos, investment bankers called Richard playing bongos, fortune tellers, stalls selling roasted vegetables and Tikka Imported Beer, and the flotsam and jetsam of middle-class, buggy-wielding London.
All became clear when I saw a stage at the far end proclaiming that this was a MAYOR OF LONDON event dubbed Refugee Week. Despite the presence of the St George cross wherever you look in London, and despite the success of UKIP in the recent elections, the whole things seemed gratifyingly amicable, though this may have had more to do with the liberal-minded folk on the South Bank than anything else. It was good to see an event celebrating immigration, and the richness it brings to British culture, especially as this particular event was so obviously politically low-key. Everyone was having a rare old time, and these dancers had come down off the stage and were birlin' around with the hapless public.
I know you can't hear it, but here, at the regular book fair, there was a guy with an electro-acoustic doing some top-class blues noodling. It sounded great – a weird sound almost like a Hammond Organ, playing these inane little musical motifs – and was the perfect soundtrack to the sunshiney day.
I had got myself a LaCie external FireWire drive
to use as a backup device. It's 120GB, so it's now
partitioned into a 60GB chunk, a 30GB chunk, and the
leftover space. The first two partitions allow space
to back up the entire hard disks of my and Jenny's
After finding out the Mac OS X 10.3's own Restore tab in Disk Utility doesn't seem actually to create a bootable copy of your HD, I resorted to good ol' Carbon Copy Cloner – it's a sign of how far Apple has come with OS X that when I learned CCC was basically a GUI wrapper for the Unix ditto command, my first reaction was one of relief rather than twitchy suspicion.
Anyway. Last night I did a full back up of my iBook.
Which proved to be fortuitous, as today, when helping out some random scrounger from Maxim, and connecting my iBook in FireWire Target Disk Mode to his shitty PowerBook G3 (OS 9.0.2), my computer lost all its files.
It was freaky.
It didn't actually lose all the files; they were still there, and could be seen and copied when my iBook was connect to another in Target Disk Mode. But somehow, the now-archaic version of OS 9 had stripped all the OS X permissions from every single file. This meant that the system folder was no longer 'blessed', and the iBook refused to recognise it as valid.
Fixing permissions and running disk checks on the internal HD when connected to a host computer didn't solve the problem, though the permission repair took almost an hour.
So it was remarkably fortuitous that I had made a full backup only the night before, n'est ce-que pas?
There is one interesting postscript to this story. In the course of my work today, I had created only five new files, all of which were on my Desktop. I copied these from my identity-crisis'd hard disk to my little Swiss Army knife USB fob, and came home to clone my backup onto the internal drive. CCC was told to fix permissions on source and delete directories on target before cloning.
Once the clone was complete, I booted from the internal (yay!) and connected the fob in order that I could copy my new files back across. But they were already there on my desktop.
I genuinely have no explanation for this. They weren't on the backup, and CCC was told to delete the file directory on the internal before it cloned from the external.
Answers on a postcard, please.
For anyone curious to know exactly who I spend the better part of my life with, the above picture shows all the MacUser crew bar one. Julian's off on his sabbatical, but regular readers of this blog may remember his cameo appearance as one half of the Krankies a month ago.
Clockwise from left:
Keith Martin Technical editor
Kenny Hemphill Deputy editor, inc news and reviews
Aston Leach Art editor
Chris Brennan Staff writer
Nik Rawlinson Editor
Jason Simmons Art director
Karen Harvey Publisher
Ruth Lindsay Production editor
Legoland Windsor was far more fun than either of us thought it would or could be, and it brought back memories of visits to the Legoland in Denmark during my childhood. Everything I remembered from then was there: panning for gold, Lego cars you could drive (though not this time, sadly), stunning Lego landscapes with boats pulled along by underwater towropes, and even the working lock system on the canal that so fascinated me as a child.
In other news, Jenny has a bitch of a cold. Poor little angel. She is bearing it with as much fortitude as can be expected of someone who was rescued from a wiggin (that's 'earwig' to you and me) by her very macho boyfriend. Big hugs and cups of steaming beverages all round, I think. x
I'm not even going to waste time on the multiple exclamation marks; let's focus instead on 'Freshly-cut'. Point number one: said sandwiches are not being advertised as being freshly made, freshly filled or even freshly prepared. Each of these is almost as vacuous as the last, but at least they presuppose some kind of craftsmanship, even if in reality the creations themselves are slung together by Our Doreen using nothing more than Tesco Value bread, marge and the odd stray black hair.
But quotation marks? You mean to tell me that these aren't freshly cut? I hope you're not seriously suggesting that these here sandwiches were cut all of last week?
Facecious, I know, but this sort of thing is really not that difficult. I'm as guilty as the next man of occassional sloppy punctuation (I maintain that my generation wasn't really taught English properly) but I'm pretty sure the sense of what I'm saying is never compromised by this. “Freshly-cut” sandwiches indeed...
Click on the image for more.
Went to see the latest Harry Potter movie at the weekend. It's rather good, incidentally, but there are two particular points of interest. The first is this rather enormous poster on the Odeon Leicester Square. Normally, posters for films occupy the large rectangle in the centre of the wall – and this is usually very arresting. But it's not good enough for the Harry Potter machine, apparently; as you can see, the Potter image covers the entire façade. And there's even a giant papier mâché dementor hand.
Also, in amongst the ads, trailers, self-promotion items and notes about copyright, there was an announcement that the auditorium may be monitored by some poor sods with night vision goggles. Unlike every other announcement, this only appeared for a second or two – no wonder, it sounds really quite freaky. It's designed to help the film companies track film piracy; find out more via the Guardian.
(iTunes required for that last one)