After the dust has settled, will anything change?

After 37,500 complaints, Johnathan Ross has been suspended for three months without pay. Will that bother him? Probably not, he’ll only be losing out on £1million.

Michael Lyons, BBC Trust chairman, said today the BBC must be “firmer on excesses” and has asked for a further report in to how the programme was approved for broadcast. What I can’t help thinking about is the producer of the show. Initially people were commenting about how he/she should have been more responsible in the cutting of all of the objectionable material from the pre-recorded broadcast.

When the number of complaints rose, attention turned to Ross and Brand, two personalities that have made their living by taking risks and sometimes doing questionable things – often on live TV/Radio. What happened to the producer of the show? Were they shown the door before Brand resigned? I’m sure it’ll be published in a tabloid near you soon.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out now that the main players have been “dealt with”, especially as it doesn’t look as though the number of complaints is going to continue to rise as the days go on. I could carry on talking about this for the next three months, but I have more pressing matters to attend to.

Do you think we’ve heard the last of Jonathan Ross? No, neither do I.

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Can Villa Break the Top Four?

Alex Ferguson reckons Villa are “the only team he can realistically see challenging for a place in the top four”. That’s quite a compliment, especially considering his past history with the club and our players.

It will be interesting to see how our relatively small squad actually copes with so many fixtures this season. The new signings are beginning to get regular places in the starting line-up, but we still have a wealth of talent on the bench as well as the likes of Delfouneso looking to break through whenever they get the chance.

We have the ability to play attractive, attacking football, but if we are genuinely going to challenge for those Champions League places we need to get results against the ‘big four’ and really make Villa Park a difficult place to come.

After years of nothing to shout about, I’m looking forward to us getting back to where we belong. Whether that will happen this season or not, remains to be seen.

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Brand and Ross Suspended: Whole Thing Blown Out of Proportion

The BBC have announced today that Russell Brand and Johnathan Ross have been suspended following a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs broadcast on Brand’s pre-recorded show on October 18th.

I don’t condone what Brand and Ross did on their show, but MPs calling for them to lose their jobs and the BBC suspending them until the incident is investigated is just blowing everything out of proportion. When the news initially broke, only a handful of complaints were made.

This is yet another case of overreaction by the British media to goad people in to complaining, even if they didn’t actually hear the incident first hand. When the news first broke, our local news reported 67 complaints, not even a handful of Brand’s total audience. After the Daily Mail featured a report on it, OfCom then decided to investigate the incident. A few days later, over 18,000 complaints and the whole thing is what everyone is talking about.

The mistake here really lies with the production team. The show was not live, it was pre-recorded, giving the producer a chance to completely cut the prank. Reports suggest that there was more that they didn’t actually broadcast, so why did some of the incident survive the cutting room floor?

Brand and Ross are two of the most popular figures on the BBC. Love them or hate them, they attract massive audiences to their Radio and TV programmes. To sack them for something that is no more than a prank taken too far would be an overreaction.

The winner in all of this is the woman right in the middle of it; Georgina Baillie, the 23 year-old burlesque dancer who has confirmed that she had a ‘brief’ fling with Brand. She’s now front page of most of the tabloids, which I’m sure will land her a lot more attention to her MySpace page (and her dance troupe).

At least it takes some of the attention of the downturn/recession/global finanical meltdown.

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Router Woes

I’ve had a Netgear DG834G router since v2 of the firmware was released (late 2003) and it served our small network of two laptops, an Xbox 360, a 500gb Landisk and Wi-fi radio quite well up until about a week ago.

Monday evening we had what can only be described as a mini powercut. The TV flickered, the Sky + box lost a signal but the laptops and seemingly (at the time) the router were unaffected. Later that night the router started to drop connection to both the ADSL and the wireless every ten minutes or so. This carried on for a few days until I took the plunge and reflashed the firmware back to factory and updated to the latest version.

Since then the connection has been rock solid, and even a little faster than normal when accessing anything over the network. Despite that, I can’t help thinking that it might be time to replace my five year old router for something a little snappier.

I’ve narrowed it down to two options; the first is the DGN2000 which looks as though it’s the bigger, beefier brother of the DG834G with the second being the DG834N, which actually is the bigger brother of the DG834G (in model number if not in styling).

There’s not much to choose between them in terms of pricing or features so I think it’ll be whatever is at PC World when I get down there tomorrow.

Do you have any suggestions? I’ve been a Netgear fan for a while now, especially after having a few nightmares with D-Link routers a few years ago.

Let me know in the comments.

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Going For It

I’ve always fancied myself as a writer. When I was 9 or so I wrote a series of them about a group of misfits who just happened to crew a spaceship. I have no idea where they got to, or even how bad the content of them was, but I realise now that holding on to them would have helped me to look back on how my writing has changed over the years.

NaNoWriMo is something I’ve heard about from regularjEN a few times in the past, but never really had the time or the inclination to do. I still don’t have the time to do it, but I’m at least going to give it a try. 50,000 words in a month is a big ask, especially considering the arrival of Bump is getting ever closer, but I’m keen to see what I can come up with in a month and whether it will be something that people will be interested in reading.

I have the obligatory word counter in the right hand side of the blog which will start to update slowly from the 1st November and there’s no doutbt I’ll get some excerpts posted here as we go.

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Revisited: How Podcasting is Helping Independent Artists

Over two years ago I was involved with Podcast User Magazine. It was an idea that a group of us had to deliver a magazine through PDF format automatically to our subscribers, via RSS. We assembled a group of well known podcasters (and some not so well known) from around the UK and set about creating content that would engage our readers.

As one of the founding members of the mag, I was asked to submit an article centered around my area of “expertise” at the time; independent artists.

Since then I’ve lost touch with a lot of the guys I used to help promote and play on my shows, but I wanted to share the article with you all anyway. Podcast User Magazine is currently on a short hiatus (well, 8 months) but they’re looking to make a return in the near future.

I’m take another look at the indepedent music scene in the near future, but for now have a read of this and let me know what you think.

Picture the scene. Early 2005 in a small, quiet house in central England. A 19-year-old guy who previously attempted to learn to play the drums, and failed, sits at his computer listening to a Podcast for the very first time, amazed that he is able to listen to some guy in the US talk with another guy and play music – their own music. The concept immediately has him thinking of the many “radio shows” he had recorded with a friend while at school. Only this time, there actually might be a chance for people to hear what he had been trying to say.

That was my very first experience of podcasting, listening to Steve Lacey sit down and have a chat with a friend from his band; Spank. They talked about everyday things, podcasting, music and their band’s impending CD-release party. I was immediately bitten by the podcasting bug and wanted to know more. How did it all work? What did I need to do to get my own one out there? These answers were quite hard to come by, but after about a week I managed to hastily cobble together a very quiet podcast entitled “El’s Thoughts”.

After the first show was complete and uploaded, I decided to do some research into the independent music scene. I obviously wasn’t the only person doing a podcast concentrating on music that wasn’t in the mainstream, but as I started to find and email bands via UKBands.net, I discovered that a lot of the UK scene had absolutely no idea what podcasting was. A good portion of the emails I sent out to bands were left unanswered, either because they had no idea what I was talking about or because they just weren’t used to people emailing them with a request to play their music.

Continue reading Revisited: How Podcasting is Helping Independent Artists

More of Me

I’ve missed blogging. When I first started in 2005 it was more to accompany my podcasts than anything. Somewhere to write the shownotes, plea for people to get in contact with me etc; a general extension and companion to my show (and it’s many incarnations).

I remember a few times I moaned about the current state of the podcasting “community”, only to be shouted at by a few of my peers for doing so. What my blog lacked was a real theme. Something that I could concentrate on while I was staring at my laptop at 2am or go out and actually do some research on, then post my opinion about.

My aim with this blog is to do that; bring you, the audience (yes, all three of you ;)) my opinion on a wide range of topics that I feel quite passionate about; y’know the same as what them “superstar” bloggers do on a very regular basis.

Look out for more changes to the site in the next few days. I’m gonna get my tweakin’ hat on.

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Netbooks

It seems that the new craze for the end of this year is for everyone to have a netbook. They’re now being sold at the Carphone Warehouse with mobile broadband packages and are going some way to encouraging people who aren’t particularly tech savvy to jump on board and get online.

PCs used to be considered gaming machines, but with the introduction of the next gen consoles and their integration in to the family home, along with the lack of many decent titles available these days (with the exception of the C&C series and Sims 3, of course ;)) they’re becoming more and more synonymous with using the internet.

There are plenty of articles on netbooks around the internet, including an article from June over at Cnet UK down their top 10 recommended netbooks. From what I’ve read, the Asus netbooks seem to fit what I’d like to use them for without being too underpowered.

I’ve been after a new laptop for a while and quite a few times I’ve had a look at the Macbooks, but just can’t seem to justify spending £1000+ for something that looks pretty but ultimately the same thing can be achieved by spending a fraction of that.

The main hurdle I’m getting to now is whether or not to go for the Windows XP or the Linux version of the Asus eeePC 1000. I’ve dealt with Linux before, with varying results; There’s always been something missing from it that makes me want to reinstall Windows and struggle along again. Looking around at various reviews around the net, I’m starting to paint a picture about the kind of machine I’ll most likely go for in the near future.

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Blogging Again

I’ve been trying to start a blog again for a few months now, but haven’t been able to get in to gear to get it done. This past week has given me that impetus to get on with it. I’ll bring you opinion pieces, posts relating to GamesAreEvil and my shenanigans over there and everything else I can think of.

As much as I can, I’ll be recording thoughts in to mp3 format and posting them here (I never was one to keep my opinions to myself and only in text form) and I’m also hoping that this time around I will actually be able to update things a little bit more frequently.

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