Friday, January 28, 2005

Silence Is Not Golden

Two days ago I installed the latest update for my iPod. It told me to charge the iPod so that the update would happen, but on returning it to my laptop, iTunes told me the update had failed, try again.

So I did, and this time iTunes said that it couldn't read the iPod and I'd have to Restore Factory Settings. Since this means losing ALL data on the iPod, I'm guessing this is a nice way of saying "rewrite the table of contents and stick basic files back on".

Obviously I'm in no hurry to wipe the iPod - unlike some of the kids I was out with on Tuesday, my laptop can't hold my entire iPod collection - it's hard disk is smaller than the iPod's (just). So for me to rebuild my music collection on it would take a long, long time.

I think of a solution: take the iPod into the lab at uni, dump its content onto one of the laptops there, then get iTunes to import all the songs again. I may lose some track information (I'm not sure if all data is stored in ID3 tags or elsewhere), but that can be fixed over time.

But before I waste a day doing that, maybe I should check with Apple, see if they've got any better ideas. I called tech support last night and got an intelligent Irish guy who gave me a few unnofficial tips that might work, including installing an older version of iTunes to see if it has problems accessing the iPod.

Good idea. Wish I'd thought of that. It's not like a fresh install of iTunes is going to Restore Factory Settings on an iPod WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST, is it? That would be idiocy. Apple are smarter than that, or so I'm told.

10 minutes later and my iPod is blank.

So this morning I'm in the lab, having just spent £18 on the only file recovery software I could find that was able to recover my MP3s. I don't like throwing money at stupid problems like this, and I like paying for software even less (not that I steal any, just that it's been a long time since I had to buy any). All I can say is this better work!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Burn "The Big Picture" Night

I have now just about recovered from Tuesday's activities. A 9am exam, the hardest of the course (Glasgow folk: think DAS4) was followed quickly by a trip to the Bobbin for drinks and lunch (the smallest "Big Kahuna Burger" ever), then a trip to the beach for bowling (via Joe's flat).

The bowling was good fun, with much alcohol consumption, my scoring a turkey and still failing to win a game, and Gaz's unusual bowling style. Had a few games of pool with Jon afterwards (had to win that, obviously).

Next stop was Archie Simpson's (back in the city centre) for a fine haggis, neeps and tatties (my second helping in a week, but I felt the need to assert some scottishness among so many border-jumpers). By this time it must have been around 7pm, and there wasn't any danger of the drink flow ceasing. There were a couple of Liverpool supporters in our crowd, so we all headed on to Stadio to watch them play Watford. Some more drink helped pass the time until about 10pm, when I left the group to meet Keith and Pete in Slains, but made the schoolboy error of telling the others where I was going - they joined us in Slains about half an hour later.

So by now I've been drinking since midday with no real pacing involved (besides having to walk between venues), so when I went to the toilet at one point I was a bit unsteady on my feet. In fact I was all over the shop. So much so that on my way out I cracked my head off the corner of a wall. There was another guy in the loos so I thought "Play it cool, keep walking, act like it didn't happen", but had to turn back to the sinks when I realised my head was bleeding. Great stuff.

As an encore, Keith, Pete and I were heading to Moshulu (to discover it was closed) after Slains, and I'm told I said something along the lines of "Careful, it's slippy", before going my length and taking some skin off my hand. I'd say Windmill Brae is a pretty good street to have clubs on, as the bouncers can gauge how pissed you are by whether you make it to a club door on a wet night without injury.

We ended the night in Exodus, with me drinking water, watching a guy waste £20 on a bandit, and getting annoyed with the boys for continuing to drink when I was feeling tired.

I Am Honestly Honoured

Ever since I've joined the realm of authors, I've been receiving emails from other organisers inviting me to attend their conferences. The following is by far the best I've had, as it seems to have been translated to English for free by AltaVista or some such tool.

A quite academic and splendid international conference ICCI2005 will be held from June 26th to 29th, 2005 in Beijing, Capital of China. We honestly invite you to attend this worldwide conference covering almost all communication and information topics. Your attendance is our honour. In addition, famous professionals, professors, companies and high-tech promotion organization, telecommunication operators, local government will also be our respected guests.
For the most recent progress about ICCI2005, please see the website at, and
As you know, 3G could be a hardly start in China while our conference, the future of 3G is still very fuzzy. Near observation will let you know the truth. Broad band wireless, terrestrial wireless HDTV standard could reach the final, NGN an NGI infrasture could be further clear. Many things are related to the time while our conference.
Finally, honestly invite you to make your contribution to the conference, come to see around this quite fast-developing country to find your opportunities, travel along the old but extremely modern and beautiful cities and landscape.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I'm Off To Join The Writer's Guild

I got home from studying at uni to be greeted by a rather large parcel from America. It was from my supervisor of old, and contained 2 copies of the proceedings of the conference where my paper was presented.

I am now a published author.

Anyone who feels the strong desire to own a copy of my work can buy it from IEEE, or view it for free if you're in a uni with an IEEE subscription.