Robert Hampton

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March 2007

1st March 2007

Above us only Sky

Oh, that‘s mature:-

Virgin also gave its rival’s old slots new jokey names. Channel 602 – the former Sky News slot – was renamed “Sky Snooze try BBC” and Channel 515, formerly Sky Sports News, was named “Old Sky Sports Snooze”.

Note to Virgin — the public see you as the plucky underdog in this stupid dispute. Don’t mess it up with silly stunts like this!

4th March 2007

It looks like you’re writing a program. Do you want help?

I’ve spent most of today playing around with Visual Basic 2005 which, excellently, has a cut-down version available as a free download on Microsoft’s web site. And there are tutorials and suchlike! Criticise MS if you like, but their developer resources are very comprehensive — as you’d expect, really.

I’ve tinkered and puttered in BBC BASIC for years, and my efforts are much appreciated by the three remaining users of RISC OS (all of whom are named Dave). The prospect of my dubious programming “skills” being unleashed on unsuspecting Windows users is somewhat terrifying.

5th March 2007

Little Australia
Posted by at 8.04pm | Television | 2 responses

I don’t want to prejudge, but this is going to be awful:

Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams are to appear in an episode of Neighbours.

The duo appear as Lou and Andy in the episode which has already been filmed in Australia.

11th March 2007

7 days
Posted by at 4.01pm | It's My Life, Meta | 2 responses

It’s been nearly a week since I last posted, and I feel obliged to write something. Unfortunately there’s not much to report, other than a comical incident on Thursday night when I sat down slightly too quickly in a low chair and split my trousers. Luckily (for me and everyone else present) I wasn’t going commando.

I’m not sure about the blog generally now. Should this be a diary-type blog where I talk about things that happen in my life, however uninteresting they may be to everyone else? Or should I be giving my own take on issues of earth-shattering importance, even though no-one really cares about my opinions? Or should I just take a break from blogging altogether for a while?

Each of the above options is tempting in its own way.

15th March 2007

SYS “Wimp_CloseDown”

This started out as a fairly short post, but has mushroomed into something long, rambling and possibly incoherent. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I’m in the process of moving my remaining e-mail account over from my RISC OS machine to Thunderbird. Unless something drastic happens in the ex-Acorn arena within the next few months, I can’t really see any reason to continue using it, thus ending an association which goes back nearly 15 years.

I fell in love with the BBC Micro at primary school. The computer geek in me, raised on the Commodore 64, was blown away by the Beeb’s amazing BASIC interpreter (“You use GOSUB? How quaint. I say DEF PROC to you sir!”), its superb MODE 2 graphics (8 colours! 160×256 graphics resolution!) and its ability to boot into the Geordie Racer game with a single press of Shift-Break. Of course, everyone’s favourite part of the game was the “help the pigeon get home” challenge, where my classmates took great delight in guiding the poor bird straight into power lines (with realistic “fzzzt” sound effect).

Read the rest of this post »

17th March 2007

With tongues?
Posted by at 12.39am | Web | No responses

KissYouTube is an excellent little web site which makes it easy to download YouTube videos as .flv files.

Bucks Fizz (spoonerism)
Posted by at 10.18pm | Music, Television | No responses

Your Eurovision entry, ladies and gentlemen

It’s as if someone at the BBC has thought: “Eurovision is great, but it’s not quite camp enough.” — so we have a reformed late-90s pop band, whose lead singer is a bloke who, when not presenting a phone-in quiz rip-off on Five, dressed as a woman for a stupid E4 reality show. And they’re performing an elaborate song and dance routine, while dressed in turquoise trolley-dolly uniforms.

I approve of this most strongly.

18th March 2007

Mind the Gap
Posted by at 6.45pm | Television, Trains | No responses

Hurrah! I’m in trainspotter heaven tonight, as BBC Four shows a whole night of programmes about the London Underground! Loads of excellent stuff, and also Underground Ernie (the poor man’s Thomas the Tank Engine, surely?) which appears to be there purely to plug CBeebies.

Why stop at just London, though? I think BBC Four should go around all the nation’s mass transit systems, dedicating a night to each of them: Subway Sunday, Merseyrail Monday, Tyne and Wear Metro Tuesday, Metrolink… er, Wednesday, Tramlink Thursday and Supertram Saturday.

And on Friday… they’re on strike.

19th March 2007

Good News, Bad News
Posted by at 1.16pm | It's My Life | No responses

Good News: I’m off work this week! Hurray!

Bad News: This is what I saw when I logged into my online banking last night:

Available balance: £3.81

This has to last me until I get paid on Wednesday! 🙁

The museums are still free admission, aren’t they?

22nd March 2007

Raping Bread
Posted by at 1.31pm | Fun, Television | No responses

Hilarious video clippage from US talk show host Conan O’Brien.

24th March 2007

Posted by at 3.41pm | Meta | No responses

The 4th anniversary of my first blog entry sailed past without any official celebration from me.

So, er… yay! Four years! Here’s to four more (not likely), eh?

25th March 2007

Fred’s Weather Map is Gone

Turns out the museums are free, and on Tuesday I spent the afternoon at Merseyside Maritime Museum. I ended up in the Hello Sailor: Gay Life on the Ocean Wave exhibit. This became entertaining for all the wrong reasons when a group of scallies walked in, were taken aback by what they saw (Pictures! Of sailors! In dresses!) and ran off very quickly before things got too uncomfortable.

Then I visited the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery. In the 18th century, Liverpool was one of the biggest ports in the British Empire, in large part thanks to the slave trade, and this unfortunate part of the city’s history is something which needs to be dealt with and acknowledged.

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether there should be a formal apology from the UK for slavery, and after seeing exactly what African slaves were subjected to, I think some sort of gesture would be welcome. After all, short of building a time machine and stopping it from happening in the first place, there’s not a lot else we can do now.

27th March 2007

Posted by at 8.55am | It's My Life | No responses

Energy-saving light bulbs. They’re modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly.

They also make a hell of a mess when you drop one on a hard floor.

28th March 2007

I am the Music Man, I come from far away (a useful skill to have)
Posted by at 7.22pm | Music | No responses

I’m quite the Luddite when it comes to digital music. Call me old-fashioned, but I like holding a freshly-purchased CD in my hands (shiny!). However, I’m in the middle of a 7-day free trial of Napster. Now, the question is: do I want to extend it and actually pay for the service?

Apparently if I pay ten quid per month I can stream as much music as I want and download it to my computer, although they are WMA files with DRM which will expire if I cancel my subscription. And I can’t burn any downloaded stuff to CD unless I pay an extra fee-per-track on top of the subscription. Obviously I don’t have a subscription at the moment, but if I did, I would still have to pay more. Although I could do without the subscription and not get the streamed music, and just download things by paying per track. But obviously that’s not unlimited. In fact it’s quite severely limited. Or I could pay a little bit extra per month and transfer unlimited amounts of stuff to an MP3 player. But I don’t have an MP3 player, so that option is somewhat limited in scope.

I’m sure I had a point here somewhere. Oh well.

On the good side, I’ve been able to listen to Supermarioland by the Ambassadors of Funk for the first time in God knows how many years.

One definite plus is finding songs I’ve never heard of (bearing in mind my musical knowledge is based entirely on Simon Amstell’s autocue gags on Never Mind The Buzzcocks) and would probably never come across in the normal course of things. Like William Shatner’s cover of Common People, for example. Or I Predict a Riot as performed by McFly.

31st March 2007

Open letter
Posted by at 6.37pm | Television | No responses

Dear Dr Who,

Please don’t be shit this year.

If you’re going to be shit, at least be less shit than Torchwood.

Lots of love,