2008-11-29

We went to see Airbourne.

Caz and I went down to London to see Airbourne (warning; Flash and music) at the Astoria. The band was great, but our evening was riddled with little annoyances. I'm probably getting old or something, but to me it's really annoying when these little things put a bad slant on the evening. Let me run through my gripes (stop reading here if you don't want to hear about them).
We got on the train, and ordered a Gin & Tonic - but there were no ice. So it wasn't that good. And naturally there was a mother in the train with two kids, who were quite well behaved, but they still kept singing, bouncing and just chatting about. Not too much of a problem.
When we got to London we found a pub, which was very full. Amazingly we found a table, so we sat down and seconds later two other guys thought that the corner of the table was up for grabs for their drinks. Umm.. OK?! Not much of a problem. Until one of them started bumping into me, and just didn't understand "personal space". We finished our drinks and gave our chairs to another couple of guys and left. Trying to find another watering hole and feeding place we were walking around in the drizzling rain.. and then I spotted a Nando's sign in the distance. SAVED! Yay! The Nando's experience was immacculate! Food was great, restaurant not too full and everybody was pleasant. After the food we nipped into a pub for another quick drink before we walked down to Astoria.
At the Astoria we got in and got a couple of drinks quickly. We even found quite a nice spot. Just at the back at the raised bit. Sadly this was hampered by two things
First annoying thing was that there was a very strange couple just to the left of us. One tall guy, in fact, he was standing on the low floor, and I was standing on the rasied bit, and he was still taller than me. To his left was a woman. This woman was so much into the music that the only way I can describe her is for you to imagine a 60 year old woman, on some super duper acid-trip being sexually stimulated with the biggest pneumatic-jack-hammer you can find. She kept moving about, and the guy kept moving away, onto our path. So initially we kept on moving too, but soon we had had enough. A lot of songs later and and a lot of annoycance later she ended up standing behind the guy... to our right! AHHAHAH! She probably jumped into my hand a few times too. Arsehole!
The second problem with the concert was the sound. I don't know if it was too high volume or where we were standing or a combination, but immediately when the band started playing my ears had enough and the whole concerts sound to me can only be described as throwing a duvet cover over your speakers at home. Utterly crap! Today I'm blessed with lowered hearing and tinnitus.
To top it off on the train home a bunch of 20-25 year old drunken idiots decided to be in our car. They were loud, very loud, and f**king annoying. If this is "normal" behaviour I'm not suprised people get knifed left-right-and-centre! They got off half-way home and everybody sighed of relief.
People are arses.... and "people" might include yourself. Be careful out there.
I'd love to see Airbourne again, the gig was just fantastic. Their energy was totally amazing, and their songs are, of course, right up my alley. If I go to Astoria again, I won't stand at that spot.
There you have it, all in all a very cool evening, slightly spoilt by bad sound and people.

2008-11-24

Updated to Rails 2.2.2

When there's a new version of any software I usually shudder and shy away from it. Trouble free upgrade paths can happen, but sometimes it doesn't. Granted normal "computer software" tends to be quite stable these days. The more "low level" the software is, the more can (and thus will) go wrong.
When I saw that Rails 2.2.2 was out, I had to take the back-seat for a while and wait for the storm to pass. Today I took the plunge. I upgraded my dev machine to Rails 2.2.2 and to my surprise the problems were minimal! First thing I had to do was run gem install rubygems-update and then update_rubygems to get the gem system up to 1.3.1 a normal gem update --system wouldn't do. This was well documented on the 'Net though - no problems. Then I changed the RAILS_GEM_VERSION line in environment.rb to reflect the new version of Rails.
The only real problem I've stumbled upon so far is that the Inflector stuff has changed. I had to change Inflector.inflections do |inflect| in environment.rb to ActiveSupport::Inflector.inflections do |inflect|, that's it. Why this change has been made I don't know, but I'm glad I didn't have to spend much time on it.
Easiest Rails upgrade so far..?! Thanks guys!!

2008-11-16

I bought a song from iTunes Music Store

Yes, I'm sad to admit that I fell for it. I was sitting in the sofa, I had a few minutes to spare whilst Caz was finishing up dinner. I was bored. I was fiddling with my phone and I clicked the iTunes icon. And there it was, staring right at me. The new Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy single. I clicked the preview (prelisten?!) button as I had done several times before. Just as I guessed, the preview wasn't long enough to actually give me any "real" part of the song. In a moment of weakness and curiosity I clicked the "Buy" button and spent £0.79 on a DRM'd track that won't play anywhere else than on my phone and through iTunes on my computer. I know there's ways to get the track freed from its chains, but I don't think one should have to go through that. Either way, the experience was absolutely painless, it was swift, and it delivered exactly what it promised. Before I even had a chance to grumble I had the new song playing on the phone. In perfectly good quality. That was nice, but still I can't get my head around the fact that this song is now jailed to my hardware.
Should I whinge this much about £0.79?!?! Well, yes, I think so. First of all, £0.79 is too much for a simple track. It's simply too costly. If the price would be £0.29 per track, I would probably be much more inclined to buy. But I would only buy "actively" (I have to say that now once I've fallen into the trap once) if they would chuck away the DRM junk. My set-up at home is that I have a cabinet for CD albums. These CDs have been ripped into high quality MP3 files. These files are primarily stored on my server (and backed up onto DVDs) on its mirrored disks. I can then play these MP3 files from a variety of players. Including, but not limited to:
  • iTunes on my laptop
  • iPod software on my phone (through syncing via iTunes)
  • Simplify Media app on my Phone
  • Squeeze Center (artist previously known as SlimServer) on any computer in the world
  • Amarok on my garage laptop.
  • On my Roku Soundbridge in the living room
  • Streaming them to the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.
And so forth. As you can see, my music doesn't require a physical presence. It's quite wonderful and remarkable (20 years ago I would have been declared insane if I would have proclaimed this would work!).
My music all lives free; except for my one track from the iTunes Music Store. How sad, sad sad.