January 26th, 2008

Naff means something that is cheesy or corny but not in a culinary sense. Can be used to describe anything cheap or tacky. For instance (as it was first taught to me) apricot studded cheese is naff (and cheesy… like this post).

and it’s not even spring

January 25th, 2008



Where is my iPod

September 7th, 2007

I was pretty eagerly waiting for Apple’s iPod announcement yesterday, but in the end I’m disappointed. They spread the features I wanted across two devices, instead of having one great product. I was looking forward to going to the store today (which wouldn’t have been possible since they won’t be available until the end of the month) and buying one, but now I think I’m going to wait for another iteration.

My iPod is widescreen, 80gb, wifi, and touchscreen. Overnight I download the Colbert Report and it is transcoded and uploaded to the iPod so I can watch it on the train in to work. Once this is a reality I’ll jump on it!

The other annoucements were a bit lame too. The new nano looks clunky. Do you know anyone who has ever bought a ringtone? Apple wants you to pay a buck to turn music you may already own into one?? I don’t get it. The online store is now available on your iPhone or iPod touch, but I don’t buy music online so I’m not bothered. I buy CDs or vinyl because I want some physical representation of the music, and then I mostly listen to mp3s…

Great gigs coming up in the next few months for me:

  • Besnard Lakes
  • The Gossip
  • Tragically Hip (??)
  • Murcof @ the Greenwich planetarium
  • Cowboy Junkies play the Trinity Sessions album at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Ulrich Schnauss
  • Arcade Fire at Alexandra Palace
  • and finally Portishead ATP in December!!!

Hope you are all having a music filled autumn :)

I don’t trust you

August 14th, 2007

I just got a call from my bank… maybe. The caller asked for me by name, said he was from the bank, and wanted to talk to me about a personal banking matter. To continue he had to verify me by asking me questions, starting with my birth date. I asked him for his name, which was Matthew. Matthew who? Matthew “I can’t give you my last name”. Ah, well Matthew what department within HSBC do you work in, I will call the HSBC main number and ask for you by your name and number. He offers me a phone number to reach him at instead. I called the bank (certainly not on his number) but they are such lumbering unwieldy beast they don’t know if they have called me or not, but “you probably shouldn’t worry, we probably did call you and he just made a mistake in not giving you his full name”.

So am I paranoid or should I be cautious about giving out my personal information. Could Matthew be someone who has a receipt and wants to steal my identity, or is he just a cold call twat? Who is on the other end of the line, or the other end of the bitstream?

This issue of trust is bigger than just a customer service call though, I’m noticing it all the time. I’m trying to setup jabber so I can get my google mail chat to see friends on MSN or ICQ, but I have to use an open jabber server and give them my msn/icq/etc credentials. Do I trust this random server not to intercept my IMs or emails? What about review sites, do you trust anything anyone writes in them? I have a friend who astroturfed financial message boards for his job, or what about, those guys take huge pay-outs from those cafes :) that actually isn’t true, I trust them because I have a relationship with the individuals who run it, but is that the only way to trust a virtual entity, to know their fleshy creators?? That doesn’t scale well. I feel totally powerless in the face of such massive amounts of online information, almost all good, because I know some of it is patently untrue, placed there by marketers, scammers, and the like.

This digital alienation has slowly been building for me, especially now being far away from my closest friends, and relying on technology more for my communications with them. Perhaps technology will come to the rescue in the end? Digital signatures and chains of trust will go a long way to getting my confidence back. Social networking sites also seem like a great opportunity to build networks of trust.

Still I wonder how much of this alienation really comes from abuse of technologies, and how much comes from our culture. Do you know your neighbours? It’s all about me in my world… but I’m working on that.