Jul
27
2009
0

A Golden Age!

Talk of the 1980′s in the previous article reminded me just how dire that particular decade really was.  However, some young people, especially  teenagers, seem to think they were some sort of Golden Age.  A few weeks ago, I was talking to Jaime McDonald who is in her late teens, who was telling me how great the clothes from the ’80′s were, and how she and all her friends loved wearing them, and what a great decade it must have been.  I was at a loss for words, I mean I was there, I knew how awful people looked back then.  I remembered listening to bands like  Flock of Seagulls on the radio because there was nothing else on.

Then it struck me, when I was her age, I thought that the Sun shone from the 1960′s, which must have been the hippest time ever.  There must be something about the decade of your birth that makes you want to idolize it when you are a teenager.  It was not until I  got to my my mid twenties that I realised that whilst there are some notable things about the 1960′s that are worth praising,  so much of the naff also survives.    By this time I had been living an adult life for a few years (in the 1990′s which was, truth be told another naff decade), I realized that it was better to enjoy the place in time you were actually living in, and not to yearn for some mythical Golden Age that never really existed.

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Fashion,Miscellaneous Musings |
Jul
21
2009
0

The Personification of Uncool

With Spoilers.  You have been warned.

Today saw the start of filming on the fifth series of Doctor Who since it returned in triumph to television.  It is the start of the reign of Matt Smith as The Doctor.  Yes after six months, we finally get to see what will look like in the role.  My first thought on seeing the photo was Indiana Jones, no not the leather jacket and bull-whip Indy, I mean the respectable archaeology lecture Dr. Jones  we see at the start of each movie.  You know the one that looks so boring and predictable, the one who is just waiting to get out there and give those Nazis/Commies a good kicking.  Doctor#11 is the personification of Uncool, in his tweed jacket with leather elbow patches and red bow tie.  Someone who looks that young should not be so fuddy-duddy, but we know that despite his outward appearances, he really is not young, he is a 950 year old Time Lord and he is the cleverest person in the room.  Below is the picture that the BBC has released.  Not the most interesting of shots from Aunty, I should imagine that there will be more to follow soon.

The Sun had a much more interesting photo, featuring Alex Kingston.  Yes, River Song is back.  Not my favourite of characters, but she is a Moffat creation, and given the “wibbly wobbly, timey wimey” nature of the series, going back to before she died, possibly when she first meets The Doctor is not surprising.

nurses-karenAnyway, apart from the return of River Smug, today saw the announcement of more details of Karen Gillan’s character.  Apparently she is called Amy Pond and is speaks with Karen Gillan’s natural Scottish accent.  The outfit that she is wearing in the various photographs that the paparazzi have sold the various newspapers  just screams 1980’s at me.  All that was missing was a pair of woollen leg-warmers.  It would be nice to have a non-contemporary companion this time around, and the 1980’s is still close enough to the present day as to be comfortable in the modern world.  But we still know precious little about Amy Pond, like if she has a family that she visits regularly and what she does for a living.  Now if she were a nurse, then she would be from the era when nurses still looked like nurses, in shapeless dresses with big belts, black stockings with sensible shoes and silly hats on their heads, like the photo-shopped image on the left.

And I have to say just how much I hate the new TARDIS prop.  I know that the spods out there hated the prop that used to be used on the current run because it did not look enough like a MacKenzie-Trench Mark III GPO/Metropolitan Police Telephone Box.  At least they had made an effort with that prop.  The new one looks terrible, like a child’s drawing of a Police Box.  Just plain awful.

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Doctor Who | Tags: , , , , ,
Jul
15
2009
0

Mirrored @ LiveJournal

The Journal of the Browncoat Cat is now mirrored at LiveJournal.  So many people I know use LiveJournal, so this gives them a chance to read my web log, and then leave that digital slum if they want to post comments on what they have read.

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Uncategorized |
Jul
14
2009
0

Eight Days a Week?

Mae saith diwrnod mewn wythnos. Felly, pam ydy gair ar gyfer “week”, yr WYTHNOS yn Cymraeg, yn llythrennol wyth o nosau,? Ydych chi’n adnabod unrhyw sy’n gwybod?

There are seven days in a week. So, why is the word for Week “Wythnos” in Welsh, literally mean eight nights . Does anybody know why this is the case?

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,
Jul
09
2009
0

Direct Your Enquiries

There has been an excessive amount of brouhaha about the new Directory Enquiry service that is about to be launched.  It will connect you directly to peoples’ phones, both mobile and landlines.  There have been complaints that it is intrusive, invasive and one step away from Big Brother.  What a load of old horsefeathers.  I think that this new system is so much better than the old directory enquiries because in the long run, it is so much safer.

In the old days, anyone could ring up #192 and ask the operator for the telephone number for any address in the land.  The operator would then give the number out to the person enquiring.  This would be done without checking the identity of the enquirer of if the person whose number was being enquired about wanted the person enquiring to have their number.   That meant that a persons’ phone number could have been handed out to any old anonymous nutter with evil intent.  Yes I know there was exdirectory, but all that did was confirm the person being enquired about lived at a particular address. With the new system, the person enquiring has to give their name to the operator, who then rings the person being enquired about, who is then given the enquirer’s name and is asked if they want to receive the call from them.  The killer fact is that not only does this stop anonymous nutters getting peoples’ phone numbers, because the only person who ever sees the number is the operator.  A much better system.

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Miscellaneous Musings | Tags:
Jun
25
2009
0

As Others See Us

ModelI was quite amused by an article in today’s Daily Mail.  One of the women featured is guaranteed to garner no sympathy what so ever from the female readership of that paper.  The reason is obvious from the photo on the right.  It does not matter what the poor dear imagines she looks like, she is 27, drop dead gorgeous, and the paper’s stylists have dressed her in a floaty silk summer dress.  Well, I say dress, strappy top would be more appropriate.

The outfit is more suited to the 17 year old girl who was  also featured in the article. She showed a great deal of sense and maturity by choosing to be photographed for the article in a rather mumsy pink cocktail dress. Proving that despite her Despite her self image problems, but she drew the line at the outfit in question.

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Fashion | Tags: , , ,
Jun
15
2009
0

Base Under Siege

The BBC has an official Web Site for Doctor Who, but since the series returned to the screen in 2005, it has not featured an official Web Forum for discussing the current series and its long and glorious history.  The slack has been taken up by Shaun Lyons’ Outpost Gallifrey web site.  The problem is that Shaun Lyons main interest is in organising Gallifrey One the annual  Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles and all the other features on the Outpost Gallifrey web site are like a cuckoo in the nest.  A few years ago, there was a sort of divorce when the Outpost Gallifrey Forum became the Doctor Who Forum and many of the extra features of Outpost Gallifrey disappeared.

At the beginning of the month, Shaun Lyons finally called time on the DWF, announcing that on 31st July, 2009 the forum would close.  At this point, in steps Steve Hill, who has been the Chief Administrator at the DWF for a number of years, with the announcement that he and the people who had been running the DWF for the past few years would be starting up a new forum called Gallifrey Base, which would take over from the DWF when it shut down.  In fact Shaun Lyons has said that when the DWF shuts, he will be reassigning the domain www.doctorwhoforum.com to Steve Hill for him to use with Gallifrey Base, so that there should be a seemless transfer.

Gallifrey Base actually opened on Saturday, 13th June, 2009, my forty second birthday.  I thought this was absolutely brilliant, because  if I joined the day the forum opened, whenever I posted to it, it would show 13th June under my name in the Date Joined field.  Best laid plans and all that, as by the time my account was activated, it had moved onto 14th June, 2009.  I know it was a silly little detail, and I was extremely grateful to Michael Blumenthal, one of the Administrators at both Fora for changing my profile.

gblogofull

As for the Forum itself, it is still early days.  It still has the look and feel of the Doctor Who Forum, being powered by the vBulletin forum software that ran Doctor Who Forum. Also most of the catagories and forums from that web site reproduced on the new site.  I should imagine that most of the members of Doctor Who Forum will move over to the Gallifrey Base.

Jun
09
2009
0

The Union Taff

union-taff

Union Taff Version 1 : Subtle Addition

Over the years, there have been a lot of complaints that the Union Flag, the official flag of the United Kingdom does not contain any reference to Wales. The original Union Flag was formed by combining the England’s Cross of Saint George with Scotland’s Cross of Saint Andrew.  The modern Union Flag also contains the Ireland’s Flag of Saint Patrick.  Surely it has been argued that since Wales is now seen as a constituent part of the Union, and not just somewhere annexed by the English it should have an element in the flag.  I have seen a number of aesthetically unappealing designs that superimpose “Y Ddraig Goch”, the Red Dragon onto the centre of the flag.  However, I think that attempts to integrate the Cross of Saint David, a gold cross on a black background would be best.  Again, I have what I thought were pretty cack handed attempts to do this.

union-taffUnion Taff Version 2 : More Obvious Addition

To the left are my attempts, although they are probably none too original. Two versions, one very subtle, like the way the Cross of Saint Patrick was incorporated into the original Anglo-Scottish design, and the second a more in your face addition. Which one do you, my faithful readers prefer?

Jun
06
2009
0

WIFI Woes Again

It is almost a year since I bought my E-System 1201 laptop.  It took me a while, but with the help of my friend Ruth,  the built in Realtek RTL8182  Wireless Network Card was made to works under Ubuntu Linux.  Unfortunately, since the upgrade to Ubuntu Linux 9.04 (Jaunty), I have having problems with the WIFI set-up on my Laptop again. At first I thought that it was a problem with my ageing  wireless router, so I started using the T-Mobile  3G dongle I use down the caravan whenever I wanted to go online with the laptop.  However, my iPod Touch found my network strait away without any problems. The problem it seems was with WPA2 encryption system that keeps unwanted users out of my network.  When I tried switching this of and leaving an open network, hey presto I got connected.  So I downloaded the latest version of NDISWrapper, WPA_Supplicant and WPAGUI hoping that the latest versions of these pieces of software would solve the problem.  No joy there.

Some research suggested that the problem was with the latest version of the Linux kernel.  Other network cards do not work with  2.6.28-11-Generic kernel, and reverting to the previous edition might do the trick.  This is only partially successful my laptop connected to my home network for about 30 seconds and then disconnected again, it tried to get back in, but after a few minute with the little icon in the panel spinning away, it just gave up. Obviously something further up in the system was objecting to the downgrade in the kernel and was squishing the secure connection to my home network.

At the moment I obviously don’t want an insecure network, so I still have the WPA2 set on the router,  or stop using my iPod,  I am back to using the 3G dongle on the laptop.  I hope that as this is a known bug in the Linux Kernel, then it will not be too difficult for the people who devote their spare time to constantly improving Linux, the open source operating system, will find a solution to this bug for the end users like myself, and I will be able to use my home network.  I am only sorry that I cannot provide any detailed information that might make their job easier.

Update 3rd May, 2010 : A few days later, an update to the Linux Kernel solved this problem.  Since then, the upgrade to Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid) truly knackered the laptop, so it now runs on LinuxMint 7 (Gloria).

Written by The Browncoat Cat in: Linux,WIFI | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Jun
03
2009
0

Bustling Away

Last night, whilst scanning through the Doctor Who Forum, I spotted a discussion about whether Karen Gillan’s character should be from the past, the present or the future.  It started me wondering what would her character look like if she were from the 1880′s for example.  I knew that there was a photo of Miss Gillan online when she was modelling a very Victorian hairstyle, so using GIMP, the Linux image manipulation software, I cut her head from that picture, and superimposed it onto a suitable picture of a woman wearing something from c1884.  And below is the finished article. Even in the full rig Victoriana, Miss Gillan would still be absolutely gorgeous.

And whilst I have far too much time on my hands whilst I am waiting for the pain in my feet to subside, I will probably do more of this cack-handed image manipulation.

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