The Marxmen

My g/f came down from East Gringstead to visit me yesterday. It was great to see her and as a treat I took her on a Marxist tour of Ramsgate as run by Simon Mores(?) who is running the Magical Marxist exhibition up at IOTA. I really never knew how much time Marx spent in Ramsgate. About ten visits in all and a couple more than that by Engles. We did have a fun time... well, I did.. my poor girl puts up with all sorts for me. The tour itself was wittily called Land Marx and finished at the Churchills for a quiz called Top Marx. We even got Karl Marx masks to wear at the end. I'd hoped to pick up all the information for the quiz on the tour (plus a bit of skim reading before hand) but it didn't actually have anything to do with Marxism. Shame really as I don't know anything about Coronation Street. Still, he was a question writer for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, so I can't really complain.


Don't know how we finally did in the quiz. At half way we were third, but we left before the end to go to Balmoral in Broadstairs to try and catch some of the acoustic stuff that was going on there (a real jolly jaunt around Thanet). Shame really as I noticed a note behind the bar stating a £30 drinks tally for the winning team.... unused. Could that have been my £30 worth of drinks that I've missed out on by leaving?


Btw, I'm using a blogger plugin on my linux here that despite having a field for the 'title' of a post, doesn't actually fill it in, but rather puts it as the first line of the post.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 1:25 am, , links to this post


Dropping off the radar

I seem to have dropped of the local blogging radar of late. The circuit seems a little rife with attitude at the moment and isn't the same one that I joined a couple of months ago. It's nice to have some of the more prolific writers back but it would be even nicer if everyone got along with each other better. Due to the increased level of writing I'm now only able to get around a few of them now. Especially seeing as I also have to continue the work on oonagi and the local original music scene in general. This also means alot of time spent on myspac. I sometimes feel like I need more than one kevin at a time to spread around the place and do everything that I want to do.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 5:27 pm, , links to this post


Football

Sunday the 25th of June is the biggest event in this years football calendar. We will be holding the interband 5-a-side football tournament in Dane Park Margate. This is the sixth year of this event and has become the original music scenes biggest community day. Of course, this year it seems to have ended up clashing with another football game of some kind or another which all sorts of people are banging on about. So we are going to have to hammer through our event quick smart so people can go watch TV! Would you believe it??!? Most of the time people don't care about football, but when they hear the Ecuador are playing they get all excited. Curious. Anyway, I best sleep as I have to be up at some ungodly hour, like 9am! Btw, I've got my laptop back now, so am a happy Kevin again.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 2:02 am, , links to this post


rock star

I often dream that when I grow up I'll become a rock star. As time passes on though it seems less and less likely to happen. I came close to it this week though after I was asked to play as bassist in a currently running project for a young lad called Henry Johnson. Henry is playing the Eastcliff bandstand this Saturday along with some other bands which include ex-members of Primal Scream, Brand New Heavies as well as various other top quality professional musicians. While still pre-twenties, Henry's talents were spotted by a local musician who offered to musically direct an album for him as well as sort out gigs (you can hear the drummer in the project talk about it on oonagi webcast 5).


So how did I end up being involved? Well, frankly they were at the eleventh hour and didn't have a bassist. I certainly wasn't the best person for the job being out of a band for several years, but I was there when they needed someone bad. The problem now though is that I can't seem to get the time off work... and neither can the drummer. That's the whole rhythm section they lost and we only knew yesterday. Still, the music is fantastic and I think it may sound even better in a stripped down fashion. Looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer till I become a rock star though.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 4:46 pm, , links to this post


Right, on to the next machine

Well, since the demise of my laptop (a tear begins to form) I have had to move back to my old computer as continued use of my mums wasn't going to go down to well. The problem with my old machine is that it was a bit used and abused. Though still a fine piece of equipment with a more than adequate 2ghz processor, the big dell symbol always made me want to give it a hard time. So here is what I have done to it now to get it up and running... I've installed ubuntu linux on it. The poor thing, I've installed and re-installed various operating systems on it over time. Still, if I'm to achieve my goal of uber-web-geek I have to get to grips with what 80% of the internet is run on.

I've used GNU/Linux systems before but have always run into problems with them. This is probably the biggest issue that the open source community faces, thats noobs like myself continualy hit stumbling blocks each time we try to install it. There are linux based systems out there that do detect everything without a problem, but they tend to be live versions (boot and run off a CD without installation) like knoppix. It's a shame the installable versions versions so often require you to be tech savvy.

This is what I found to be so good with ubuntu. It has had no problems thus far with the install. It even detected my TFT monitor without an issue, which commercial versions like Suse9.2 failed to do. I guess I'll have to see what happens over time, nothing is fullproof.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 10:38 pm, , links to this post


Where am I?!

Sorry guys, not been around much of late so I've not been blogging or reading others much.

It's been a hell of a week. I've been visiting family in Wales. They have a beautiful B&B on the side of a mountain near Barmouth overlooking Cardigan Bay. It's nice to just hide away sometimes. I stopped off at the girlfriends in East Grinstead on the way back. She's been stressing about her upcoming exams for her masters, so I thought I'd try to help her chill out. Alas, she's a stressed bunny so I'd like you to all send her calming thoughts.

I lost my phone while I was there. On a bus between there and Crawley. I called it a few times, but it was hung up a few times and then switched off. It didn't take me long to put two and two together and come up with a crime report number and barring the phone. As it turned out though, a nice young skate lad had found it but just couldn't answer it as he was at work. We arranged to meet up and I now have my blocked phone back.

When I got home I discovered the wireless in the house had broken, so I couldn't access the internet from my laptop.. my pride and joy. I didn't have time to mess around, I tried a quick wireless fix (turn everything on and off) but it wasn't happening so I chucked the top into my bag and headed out to my favorite public hotspot to check my mail before I went to The Boss album release party that night.

I bought their album. I nodded my head to some tunes. The gig was cool. Hung out with my fellow geologist Jay where we talked geeky about things like css, ajax and Second Life. Life was sweet as we moved on to Broadstairs for late night hacky sack on the pier. I slept well that night.

I woke up the following (Saturday) morning and had a bit of time to sort out my wifi before I had to go to work for an 11 hour stint. I got out my laptop and... Horror struck. The screen was horrifically shattered and black 'ink' oozed outwards from every crack. It was ruined and I was crushed. I sat dazed, induced by the sense of loss at what had become a close and well modded friend. Appalled at the knowledge that I have no insurance since canceling it a few months back.

I couldn't help but have a look at my now defunct policy to see how much I was missing out. The policy didn't cover cracked screens, or theft, or anything from the looks of it. Memories came back as to why I cancelled the most pointless insurance I'd ever seen. I looked on the internet to see if I could find the cost of a replacement screen but for some reason or other I couldn't find my model anywhere. I gave in and dropped it round at the local friendly computer shop safe in the knowledge that they'll make my wallet a good £200 lighter. What a crappy day.

So how do you cheer someone up? I'll tell you now, if the person serving you doesn't seem to be too happy do not demand that they smile. The best you will get is a snear.

I'll tell you what cheered me up. A local band called Waterhorse. They play such pretty music. By the end of the shift I felt almost relaxed and the 11 hours (all be it at minimum wage) will go some way towards the new screen and at least the phone is covered by insurance. I guess it will all be ok afterall.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 3:42 am, , links to this post


Feaky moment of the week

What are those markings?
I was reminded of a blog called Boing Boing by the Flying Doctor today. This lead me on a merry maze through the internet till I came across a very bizarre post that I thought I'd share:

SWAPATORIUM: Faces

The point raised in the post was that this fella acquired slides of these girls, many of them with numbers written on their foreheads. He posted the picture in the hope that someone would solve the mystery.

I'm not convinced by some of the suggestions for the reason of this, but it's interesting to wonder. The set of pictures themselves are a little on the weird side.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 11:27 pm, , links to this post


I want valid!!!

I'm still stewing over not being valid. Word on the blogger circuit is that it is nigh on impossible to make your site valid without some serious grubby code work above and beyond the call of duty. For a start, the toolbar at the top of every blog is invalid (this is why sometimes it looks funny if your overloading you're browser)! I can remove it (that's advice that is given), but I don't want to! It's useful! ok... That's enough exclamations for one post.

Even the basic templates aren't valid. Google (who own blogger) should bloody well be more professional than this. Even the template that I am using now was designed by a worker at Google and it's riddled with errors. Invalidation means frustration. It's one of the main things that slows a web page down because it means the browser has to fix the problems in encounters on a page before it can display it.

It seems once you (well, me) start down this road of validation obsession, which covers others sites too, continued returning to the validator at W3C becomes tiresome. You want to be able to check validation of pages you come across on the fly. Here is where favelets (sic) come in. These little beauties are like clever bookmarks which you hit when you want to do something with the page you're on.

Here is the W3C validator favelet page.
Here are some other favelets, like translators.

Anyhows, now my exams have finished I'll spend some time cleaning this blog up and probably telling you all about the troubles I'll be having along the way.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 4:54 pm, , links to this post


Copyrighting my blog

Actually, I think it would be better to say that I'm copylefting my blog. While reading my Technology Guardian from yesterday I was reminded of a certain gentleman called Lawrence Lessig who set up the CreativeCommons.org. Because I can, I'll copy + paste what they say on their site:
Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of freedoms and protections for authors, artists, and educators. We have built upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. We're a nonprofit organization. All of our tools are free.

The basic jist of it is this: you can do whatever you want with the work I do on this blog, modify it, make money from it, whatever. So long as you promise to share your derivatives (that's my only stipulation). You'll find some way down on the right hand side a license to this effect as well as on this post. I know it's unlikely that anyone would, but if you do you don't have to feel bad for stealing my trash. We have also had one of these on oonagi for some time, lest you want to use any and abuse info from that.

In other Thanet blogger news, I see that Lucy Mail of Ramsgate now has her own blog, at long last. This blog has the funniest title/sub-title combination I've seen for some time and has tickled me, so I'm compelled to add it to the links to the right.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 England & Wales License.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 4:30 pm, , links to this post


Web is links

I'm not sure how comfortable I feel at the moment in positioning myself as the Thanet Bloggers geek guru after reading a resume like this. Still, I've made my bed and never let it be said that I'm not one to lie in it.

As laid out by the internets founding father, Tim Berners-Lee, the web is so called because of the use of links. Rather than having to go to a central repository of indexed information we find our way following links placed on sites. Not everything shows up on front page Google, so we follow these little alleys and at times we find gems.

I've seen a few of my fellow bloggers here having problems with links. It's easy enough for most of us to make links in our posts. A case of highlighting the text we want as a link, clicking the little world with a chain next to the T with a colour pallete in the create post window and cutting and pasting the address from the address bar into the pop-up. More info here.

The problem most people seem to have is putting links into the blogs sidebar. There is no quick easy way with this. You're going to have to get down and dirty with the code you find on your template page. Near the bottom of this code you'll find the links you already have on the side, they say things like 'edit me' or 'google news'. All you have to do is replace these with similar like information for your own links. Just make sure you re-publish your entire blog. Anyhows, the good people of blogger have provided instructions for this.

Funny though. When I first started all this blogging it seemed we all tended to just add any local blogging link. Now there are a few more of us it's giving us the choice to be a bit pickier, if we want. I would certainly feel uncomfortable removing a link once I had one. Funny really, despite the webs percieved anonymity, you don't want to hurt peoples feelings, no matter what you think of them. Hmm, risky topic this, think I'll move on.

My point of writing this is that I feel if we have our own webspace, like the blog, we should be providing links to stuff we like, or not. Things we find usefull, or even pointless. But for the sake of being able to find things we would of anyway, we should link. I guess thats why I like sites like del.icio.us, a social bookmarking site.

Here, I've banged on about links now so I'll give you one that you would never have searched for: Ian's 17 steps

posted by SkinOfStars @ 7:08 pm, , links to this post


Am I valid?

The straight answer is no, on this blog I'm not. I've been playing with the W3C's validator tool. Mainly for oonagi as it makes a difference to how high you appear on a search engines results (we call this Search Engine Optimisation, SEO). It's taken me a bit, but I've managed to make oonagi valid all bar one warning (though this isn't an error, so I'm still valid). My feed from Arts & Elbows. This is all down to the ampersand in his title. Still, I've asked him if he wouldn't mind terribly fixing it and then it'll be all good. On this blog I have 56 errors, maybe I'll sort it out when I have more time on my hands as it's good practice. I'm not as bad as Thanet Life though, with 443. It's no biggy and I'm not too worried, even the big guns don't bother. Today the BBC had 37 errors and yahoo have 253!

Snailpace asked that I post some instructions to turn comments in blogs on to help out The Angina Monologues, but it seems that in not getting help from us he's getting his friends daughter to visit. I wouldn't want to deprive the poor old boy of that pleasure as well as confusing him with my technobabble.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 9:13 pm, , links to this post


Tuesday Hangover


It's been a few days since I last posted. Lifes been a bit hectic. Had to go to Dorset for family functions, but I won't depress you with tales of that. I may as well say about seeing some hill down that way which I found while sneaking round some back streets. I just thought it was neat but as it turned out it was used in some hovis advert. I had no idea, but my sister insisted. She then pointed out a large fiberglass loaf of hovis. The street was so pretty, it didn't need that sort of trash.

Yesterday I had my first of three exams this year (assuming I don't have to re-sit any). Many of us celebrated by excessive drinking. I was done for by about five in the afternoon. Still, it was a nice day so we headed down to the Westgate gardens, downtown Canterbury. There was a few guys there with the spinning/circus stuff. I had a go on the poi, where I only whacked myself in the nuts a couple of times. Then had a bash on the juggling clubs for the first time in about 8 months. Surprised I could still do a few tricks. To be honest though, I was far to drunk for all that kind of thing. So I headed home with a little help from South East trains and was asleep in bed by 10pm. Very early for me, the night owl that I am.

Anyway, thats enough about my silly day. What usefull webness shall I come up with today. Ok, my sister got herself an mp3 plaer yesterday, so I'll go along those lines. If you've got windows media player and your ripping your music tracks to your computer it does it by default to a file type called Windows Media Audio (files end in *.wma). Though pretty well used, this isn't a universal format. So not all your mp3 players will be able to play it. If you want to save them as .mp3 then the update thing on windows media player 9 asks you to pay for the mp3 codex (thats the thing that does the conversion). You can get round this by just downloading windows media player 10 for free.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 12:26 pm, , links to this post


I've been naked all day!

Eek! It's like when you're having a dream where you're in a public place without any clothes on. I kept trying to say 'look again', as if they'd be there next time, but nope, stripped bare.

Of course this isn't a dream, it's the internet. Though I'm sure many other parallels could be found, I'll leave it there. My internet nakedness today has been my lack of a cascading Style Sheet (CSS). Where as once upon a time all webpage were made from HyperText Markup Language (HTML), laying the page out with things like tables. Today they are normally a combination of HTML files and CSS files. The HTML holds all the things like headlines, text, links and suchlike. CSS deals with the layout and the style. This means that if, for example, you are visually impaired, you can have your browser just show the text, without and confusing graphics, or even just use a Braille reader.

The problem I had today? My CSS file was held on google servers somewhere and it wasn't being called to action for some reason or other. My solution? I'm now hosting the CSS file on my own webspace at oonagi. Thanks Mr Snailspace sir for pointing this problem out.

If your still just seeing the text only version, then try holding shift and clicking refresh. Doing this does a full reload rather than reloading with some of the temporary files on your computer.

Also, I've removed the link to thelrsessions.blogspot.com to the right as they don't a) update and b) don't have the HTML file, thus, no content, which is poor.

While bouncing around the local blognet I spotted a neat chart on one of the sites which displays all mentions of 'thanet' on the blogosphere. I liked it so I added it to mine too.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 9:46 pm, , links to this post


The Angina Monologues

I'm doing an open post here in a vain hope that it may be spotted by the author of the blog by the title we see above. Though I know it unlikely to be spotted due to techy the nature of my blog, I'll try anyway. If you want to visit it, just click here.

The blog name is excellent, especially considering the demographic. He (I thought it to be a she at first, considering the title) was an Eastcliff Richard fan, but lost his way after the link was removed from the doctors site. I know I'm still linked, for now. Anyway, I wish the writer the best of luck and hope they keep writing. Unfortunately I can't tell them directly as they currently have the comments and all forms of contact turned off.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 4:21 pm, , links to this post


My night with Bob Hoskins

Or not, as the case may be. I was at the wrap party last night for the thanet film Ruby Red Chequer which stars Bob Hoskins. For those of you that don't often grace the red carpet, a wrap party is a celebration of the end of filming. Alas, Bob wasn't at it as he was off filming elsewhere, but that didn't stop the party. Each guest was given free drink tickets but the organisers neglected to inform them that these were only for certain drinks, which meant some angry punters. I've never seen so many people complain about free drinks. Anyway, everyone seemed to get very drunk and did seem to be having fun, in that 'trendy gliterati' style. There was a fella going round doing card tricks who was very good, though I like to be fooled by those things. He also got a lady to lay on a table while he cleft her in twain with a power saw. People made speeches, smoked cigars and generally slapped each others backs in congratulations. Though I guess that's what it's like at these feature film shindigs and as they are locals who put it together I can only say good luck and I hope it does well. btw, I did already meet Bob.

posted by SkinOfStars @ 3:43 pm, , links to this post