James Blunt, Some Kind Of Trouble.

Yes, my brand new signed copy of James Blunt’s fantastic new album has turned up today and I couldn’t be happier.
People give Mr. Blunt a bit of a hard time for only releasing albums that have a slightly depressing theme to them but this album certainly is a bit more upbeat and on the happier side. For example one of the songs is called “no tears” which shows how there is no longer “tears and rain” for James as there was in one previous album and shows how he’s cheered up a bit over the past few years.
It would also seem that Mr. Blunt is taking a bit more of a liking to the ladies from some of the song titles such as “stay the night” and “I’ll be your man”.  He would also like the ladies to “turn him on”. It’s brilliant. Anyone who doubted him being a ladies man can now go and sit in a ditch because if “your beautiful” wasn’t enough to convince you this man is a big fan of the opposite sex then these incredible songs really will.

For those of you who don’t like James Blunt, I think you should give him another chance with this album and his latest songs. On the other hand you could continue being an absolute fool.

Goldeneye Wii

Today, I awoke to various things that were good and bad. The bad was that I woke up with an empty wallet and a screaming headache, the good was that the postman arrived with a parcel adressed to Mr Timothy C Ford.

The parcel wasn’t exactly anything special, to be honest it was a grey bag with a brown box inside. It’s what was in the brown box that was exciting. It was in fact a re-release of one of my favourite games of all time, Goldeneye.

Goldeneye brings back good memories for me and I still regard it as one of the best multiplayer games ever made. It is possibly the most entertaining first person shooter I have ever played and I honestly don’t know why. It was one of those games you played all the time and no matter who you played it with it was great, even if it was with your brother who’s gut instinct was to punch you square in the face every time you killed him.
I haven’t had time to get into the multiplayer due to unforeseen circumstances (A hangover) and lack of friends but from what I’ve read on various websites it will not disappoint and still has whatever that key formula was to make it so fun.
I managed to get through the first level, Dam which came with the first surprise of replacing good old Pierce Brosnan with none other than the latest Bond, Daniel Craig. I’ve no idea why they decided to do this but it doesn’t really change the game play seeing as the majority of the time you spend looking at a hand or a gun and unless your missing parts of your hand the chances are the Wii’s poor graphic output would make absolutely no difference in what the hand would look like.
The second surprise that came to me was how terrible I am at video games. I haven’t played a shooter in a long time but I thought I would be able to beat the game with no issues, especially when I had wielded my new Golden classic controller. Turns out I was wrong and spent a fair amount of time staring at my 50 inch Plasma Television fill with blood. I am sure that I will get better at the game as soon as I get used to using the classic controller but I’m used to the layout of the playstation controller at the moment and the golden button box may just take a while to get too grips with.
After a long shift tonight I’m sure I’ll be up for playing through some more of it tomorrow although if the past few weeks are anything to go by after an eight hour shift I tend to sleep for almost all the next day.

Spotify, iTunes and Piracy of music.

Spotify is an incredible little application that appeared from nowhere with a big ambition which it seemed unlikely to succeed but so far has been a pretty big success here in Europe.

I discovered Spotify in the early days when it wasn’t open and when it was invite only, unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get hold of an invite. So I waited and waited until it was available openly and downloaded it and have been using it avidly since. The problem with this was, it was avid listening that ended up with me using up the 20 hours I had been given free pretty damn quickly. This was the first problem, then came the second, Adverts. It was fine at first to think that Spotify was ad supported, in fact it was like running your own litte radio show with your music and a few adverts here and there, I actually quite liked it to start off with and then came the last few hours of my 20 hours. I started to get annoyed at the fact that soon I would not be able to listen to the music that I had put into playlists without paying £5 a month to remove the limit and the adverts when many of my friends were getting as much music as they liked although still receiving adverts. Then there was the other option of having a £10 a month deal in which I could save the music to my iPhone and have the playlists offline on my mac, essentially giving me unlimited mp3 downloads. Yet again this is restricted, in a year I could buy 120 mp3’s from iTunes for this and that would be music I want to keep, granted there might be a few albums in there too bringing the mp3 count up. They would work no matter what on my iPhone, Mac, PC, PSP, PS3, Netbook and DS. But with Spotify, the moment I stop paying the £10 a month this music becomes worthless and un-usable. When compared to microsoft’s zune pass which is currently US only though would convert to about £8.99 over here, you get the spotify experience with 10 free mp3’s to keep a month which seems like a much better deal straight away. So with that I could be getting the iTunes experience of 120 MP3’s a year and the spotify experience of streaming any music I wanted, wherever and whenever.

The problem spotify currently has is it’s pricing strategy is all wrong, at the moment there charging you £5 a month just to get rid of adverts and a limit, for this I could go make a youtube playlist, hide the window it’s playing in and have the exact same experience without ads for free. Then there is the £10 a month just to use it with all the devices I need to use my music with and that doesn’t include keeping any actual music. It just doesn’t seem right.

For casual listeners I definitely recommend Spotify but for someone like me who listens to music for hours a day whether that be in the car, on my phone or just about the house it just isn’t worth the subscription. There’s better deals out there and these music companies are not gonna get anywhere in the battle against piracy unless they drive there prices down. Artists are still in these dreamy days where people are willing to pay good money for a CD but it’s just not like that any more. People can store millions of tracks on a computer, thousands on a device thats smaller than your average wallet and music is changing and growing faster than ever before. People will buy music if the price is right and at the moment there still isn’t necessarily a great way of owning music or buying it. iTunes is the best solution for a lot of us and they are charging £1 for a song that’s popular and less for ones that aren’t. Who listens to a song that isn’t popular? why are we still being ripped off for music?

I will continue using Spotify until my hours run out each month but I’m not subscribing until the music business isn’t overpricing itself. I’m not making any choices on my main source of music. The other day I listened to an hour of spotify, bought two songs off iTunes and bought James Blunts new album on CD. I should be able to get all the stuff I need in one place at a good price. Until then music industry, you will be at war with the pirates.

I’m Reading The Paper Now.

I had never read an entire newspaper in my life until today. It never appealed to me. The big broadsheets were a nightmare to hold, organise and read. I’m pretty sure that even today I could suffocate in one of them.

The only real experience I’ve had of the writing style of newspapers is the odd snippet here and there or the websites of various columnists and the ugly metro. But about a week ago the independent, a newspaper I understand to be of neutral political ground, released it’s new paper called “i’, targeted at people who don’t really have the time to be reading broadsheets or the bigger sunday papers. I am not someone who doesn’t have the time, I could probably find it somewhere however I am someone who genuinely couldn’t think of anything worse than reading an absolutely huge newspaper everyday only to know that I’ll have to do the exact same thing the day after and half the stuff that I’m reading, I genuinely couldn’t give a shit about.

“i” is in the perfect format for me, it’s a concise paper with lots of information about lots of different things. I have a short attention span, this very post your reading I probably will have left and come back too about fourteen times by the time it’s finished and published however with “i” it gives me enough variety without giving me too much, short enough to not bore me to the point where I would actually love to throw myself off a bridge and written in a way that’s easy to digest without being trashy like the red top papers or retarded like the metro. Not only that the daily paper only costs twenty pence and being a student, I don’t exactly want to be spending over a pound a day on a paper when I could technically get the same information off the internet. Although saying that, reading the paper is a completely different experience to reading off the internet, it sort of has a bit more charm  to it and you don’t look at it in such a way to criticise or throw yourself into a comment war with a bunch of stuck up wierdos about something, the chances are you can’t ever change. So that alone to me makes it worth the pennies.

So with all that, I recommend the “i” newspaper to anyone who can’t be bothered with the bigger more expensive papers or anyone who wants to avoid the absolute trash that is written in the red tops.

Half Term Over.

Yes, the whole week that I spend an average of 6 weeks looking forward too is over all but too soon and whilst I complained about it at the start it actually turned out to be alright.

I’m now actually back on the road and little punto has been running quite well to be fair to it and by quite well I mean it can be driven and get you from A to B. I do not mean that it is at all a comfortable, relaxing and quick drive. No, punto doesn’t do that. Punto simply gets me from A to B. That’s what it does, that’s all it will ever do and hopefully in the next year or so it will be doing it for somebody else and not me.

As for the rest of the week i’ve got up too a few things such as going for a curry with the “curry club” on Friday to a place called La Hoar which was extremely amusing. After leaving the house to pick up my two friends who i’d be escorting to the dismal city of Newport, I received a panicky phone call from my friend Arvin who insisted that not so long ago the La Hoar curry house had been closed as some Alsatian meat was found in the fridge, naturally this was a bit of a shock to the system although we did already have a table booked and I’d eaten there not so long ago and was delighted with the curry which was served. For this reason exactly I insisted that the boys gave the La Hoar a chance and we all came to the conclusion it was indeed a very good curry. We did however have a great time reading through the menu which offered a grid format in which it was possible to order a “chicken curry” and a “mushroom vegetable”. Interesting choices from a traditional indian cuisine. We actually came to the conclusion that if we ordered one of these, rather basic dishes that the curry house offered, the staff would undoubtedly look at us like we were in dire need of a neurologists expert advice.
The night also became a lot funnier when we ventured back to Usk to our favourite public house. The reason for this being is a young gentleman who nobody really knew decided to invade our personal space and annoy us for the rest of the night. This included repeatedly mispronouncing names, talking in a way that could only be defined as bellowing and making inappropriate references to parts of the female anatomy. Naturally the lads of the group found this absolutely hilarious and were aiming to find out exactly what else the “space invader” could do which lead to a completely hilarious night which ended with three of us actually pretending to drive home and then pegging it back to our houses in the hope that he would not invade our personal properties as well.

As for Saturday, I just worked at that very public house and got on with my job as I usually do. Enjoy serving the familiar faces and the people who are genuinely pleasant people and then winding myself up about the absolute ridiculous people who think it is funny to deliberately mess the bar staff about when the exact thing they are trying to retrieve is in the sole control of the bar people themselves. Seems silly to me that people think they are going to get a laugh out of me when it is indeed a lot easier for me to just turn around and say that I’m no longer going to serve them. It is then me with the final laugh and it’s something that I have learned since working at the pub. It’s a great job so long as you can put up with the odd comment here and there be patient with the people who are struggling to shift through the depressing amounts of change they have left from the money they have already spent getting themselves into a position where they can hardly hold their head above their shoulders. This is not too say that I have never been in that position but the more and more I work at the pub the more and more i’m put off by the situations that extremely excessive drinking actually does. It’s not till your stood up for eight and a half hours observing that you actually realise how incapable people become by deliberately intoxicating themselves. But what can you say, everyone does it, I do it and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Sunday was just a very relaxed day that involved me getting as much school work done as possible and the watching the results of the X Factor at my friend house in Caerleon and then returning to Usk to meet some of the boys at the pub where 4 out of 5 of us drove and were drinking soft drinks and the only one without a drivers license sat and indulged himself in the finest ales and whisky the Kings Head has to offer.

And now it’s back to sixth form.

Pontypool Dry Slopes

Ventured up to Pontypool dry slopes yesterday. I’ve never been too sure on the dry slopes. As a keen snowboarder and skier I’ve always liked the idea of the dry slope however it’s always been a poorly maintained slope and the experience just isn’t close enough to the real thing. However this time I went up and snowboarded with a friend who was skiing. It was good fun after we’d gotten used to the slope but the problem was again with the maintenance of the slope. I’m sure it’s more fun for skiers because you might be able to pick up a bit of speed doing the “penguin dash” but on a snowboard you could be going down the reasonably steep slope and just stop solid because the material just was too sticky to slide on. This could also be partly due to the fact that the snowboard I rented had massive scratches down it and some deep cuts into the board and looked like it had never been waxed.
Then theres the pommer lift that’s terrible. Placing the button between your legs and pulling a lever to engage the pull on the pole is fine but then your dragged up the hill with a series of jolts in random places and it actually wears you out because the surface beneath is so sketchy and you have to keep control of the board and at the same time and strangely enough, avoid some nutcase dog who is interested in nothing but getting in your way and after you dismount the lift, trying to catch the pole and button in it’s mouth. Strange thing to have at a dry slope I thought.
Turning on the slope was fine if you could get up enough speed to actually do one before stopping in a random part of the slope and there was also a small ramp and rail at the top of the slope of which I managed to hop onto and slowly move across because this ramp and rail are so near the top in a position where a snowboarder would struggle to keep up with a zimmer-equipped elderly person.
All that said though, we did have fun up there and with a few more of us up there it could be absolutely hilarious although if we do go again I think I will have to ski in order to do somethings a bit quicker and get more out of it. The price was alright too, £10 for I think pretty much as long as we wanted and equipment (although that was awful) and we lasted about an hour and a half before discovering how incredibly unfit we are and staggering to the leisure center in dire need of a drink.

So yeah we had a bit of a laugh up there and we will probably go again. It’s just a little rough around the edges that’s all but when your skiing somewhere it never snows and always rains you expect it to be.

Angry Birds

As you may of noticed earlier today I wasn’t exactly in the best of moods, so in a desperate move to avoid boredom I decided to buy myself a new app from the App Store. I ended up buying the latest iteration of Angry Birds which came in the form of a Halloween themed version of the original with new levels and challenges.
I’m not exactly fussed on Halloween, it’s pointless. I’m not going into that though or it will just end up with me ranting some more. I am, however, fussed on Angry Birds. The incredible little game that came from Rovio has been one of the best selling apps on the app store since it launched and this particular version of it was more challenging and more fun than ever before. I’ve completed the first one and just finished this new Halloween edition and whilst frustrating when you can’t  beat a level for a while but the satisfaction of destroying all these annoyingly smug little pigs is great.
Angry Birds is just great and one of the things that has helped it along it’s way too having extremely good sales figures is without a doubt the price. I paid £0.59 which is just about what a pack of crisps costs nowadays and for the amount of fun you get out of it whilst it lasts that really is an incredible price to pay for a game that should last you  a good few days before completing it and a good few months before perfecting every level with 3 stars. I really recommend this game to anyone who owns a device that will run it (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

Half Term Boredom

It’s been half term for 2 days and I’m already bored out of my mind.

This is partly due to the fact that living in Usk is potentially the least entertaining thing anyone could do. It’s just a boring place to live. Not a lot happens and when it does, it’s either targeted towards the youngest of people or the middle aged wierdo’s who still love to disco.
Another reason I’m so bored is that my absolutely useless fiat punto has decided to fall apart leaving me with no mode of transport other than my feet and that strikes another problem, I’m an atypical British person. I don’t like walking anywhere. I’d rather pay for fuel and use minimal energy pushing pedals and shifting gears to get me where I want to go.

If these 2 days are a sign of things to come of half term and your sad enough to actually be on this website reading what I do, then expect to see another rant about how extremely un-entertained I’ve been for the past week.

Back To Mac Verdict.

Back To Mac event
Back To Mac.

Mac OSX Lion

I’m new to mac in a few ways. Although knowing my way round almost all Mac OSX machines and knowing where to go and what I’m doing with one (which isn’t hard), I’ve actually only owned a macbook pro for a year or so. OSX Snow Leopard was a minor upgrade from leopard and whilst adding a few useful features nothing made me think it was anything great. The reason I bought a macbook pro was pretty much hardware based, the battery life. Software wise the only thing that stopped me buying a windows machine was the fact Snow Leopard started up faster. But now Apple announced Lion and showed a preview of it at the ‘Back To Mac’ event I would be much more likely to buy a mac based on it’s software.
Apple really have managed to put something together that changes the way we use computers and the way we manage windows. Productivity can be improved with this software update and mission control does a great job of combining some of macs best features in to one package.
Full screen apps were something that came as a surprise to me, as a main feature of a new OS it really doesn’t say a lot about what mac OSX was capable of before. It was always something that confused me when buying a mac that most applications just didn’t go into a full screen and that maximise button really didn’t do anything however full screen apps i’m sure will be a welcomed addition to the operating environment by most.
Then we have launchpad and the app store. Something so simple that can make a mac seem a more worthy investment after having already invested in an iPad. Personally i’ve skipped this current iPad as I’m not a fan of the hardware (no camera?) however the app store and launchpad make an iPad seem even less worthy of buying now, i’d now much rather go the extra few hundred and get a macbook air. It’s a much more functional device with a full sized, physical keyboard.

iLife 11′
iLife was a great suite and surprise to me when I started playing with my mac. In particular iPhoto. I’ve never seen a more organised and simple way of looking after the hundreds and hundreds of photos i’ve had and the software variants available on windows have nowhere near the amount of polish iPhoto does. The update has some really great features and I’m sure I will make good use of them when I buy iLife 11′. iMovie and Garageband I never really used. I feel iMovie is a horrible video editing package and garageband just isn’t a piece of software I would ever need to use unless bored out of my mind and had nothing else to do. It sort of reminded me of that sony ericsson ringtone maker on my old T610.

Macbook Air

The 13.3-incher seems like a massive contender in my choice of next laptop. The thinness is incredible, the specs are great for it’s size. The SSD is possibly one of the best features to go along with what made me buy my current MacBook Pro, the incredible battery life. The 11-incher really doesn’t bother me, I really struggled to get along with my old notebooks smaller screen and the 13.3″ screen I use now is still reasonably small. Had the new air not had such a high resolution screen chances are i’d still have my eyes on a 15-inch MacBook Pro again.

So that’s what I think of Apples latest doings.

New Blog

Hi, I’m Tim Ford.

I’ve run several websites and blogs before and they just haven’t all done what I’ve needed them to do. So today i’m starting a brand new blog which will have similar posts to my previous ones however should be maintained and updated more than ever before.