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Sunday, March 20, 2005

The VOSS is going to be so good, it’s worth an extra week waiting! Click here for details!

Welcome to day 368 of the northlondonhippy blog! Anything can happen, so keep an eye on your wallet!

I haven’t been here since Friday, I’m lazy, what else can I say. I haven’t done very much of anything, aside from a few things around the house and a trip to my local supermarket on foot this morning. I’ve wrestled with a few entertaining computer challenges though. Oh and I’ve loaded up my virtual iPOD, but more on that later.

On Friday, another of my deliveries arrived, this one carrying the very desirable Microsoft Intelliwheel Mouse for Bluetooth. I chose it to work with my G5 iMAC on the recommendation of a friend.

I was able to connect it up with my computer in a matter of seconds and it was much more comfortable to use than the Apple one-button mouse I’ve been using. There was one slight problem. When the mouse went into sleep mode, it lost the Bluetooth connection with my computer and didn’t automatically reconnect. I was mouseless.

A quick check of my system settings revealed that the mouse was indeed recognised by my computer, but it wasn’t “pairing”. As an earlier adopter of Bluetooth technology, I knew this was a bad thing. I tried to re-pair it several times, but it just wouldn’t happen.

I phoned Apple for some free technical support. They pretty much said they couldn’t offer me any help and said that if my Bluetooth was working with other devices (which at the time it was), then the problem was with the mouse. Apple provided me with the MS helpline number.

I then called Microsoft who were suprisingly good to deal with. I had the tech support guy on the phone within 5 minutes. Basically, he told me that this mouse had been specifically designed to work with Windows XP service pack 2 and would never work under Mac OS X. Bad dum bum.

He offered me a full refund if I sent the mouse back to him, but I didn’t want to give up so easily. Besides, the return process sounded a bit complicated anyway.

Instead I hit the net, which I probably should have done to begin with. Basically, it is a common problem with this mouse and Apple computers, many people were in the same boat. They were all holding out hope that a third company would be providing a driver to make that mouse work under OS X.

I went back to the Apple mouse and have decided to give the MS BT mouse to my younger brother. He runs XP SP2 and would benefit not just from the mouse, but the BT adaptor as well. Sorted!

The only Bluetooth mouse recommended (ie supported by Apple) is a Kensington Pocket Mouse and I’d like to see one before I buy it. I could just use a corded mouse, but I like the fact that very little is connected to the G5 and I’d like to keep it that way.

On Saturday, I tried another Bluetooth session, this time with my Sony-Ericsson s700i mobile phone. I paired them off the day I got the computer and everything worked fine. Then I ran the Bluetooth firmware updater and updated the software.

And now my phone and computer weren’t on bluetooth speaking terms. Somehow the update screwed up their pairing.

So I did the only thing I could think of, which was to delete the pairing on each device and try again. Guess what, it wouldn’t pair.

I did a decent job of searching the net for an answer and came up dry, so I decided to phone Apple again for some of their free advice.

Apple are pretty good on tech support, at least so far. This was Saturday around 5pm and I got someone on the phone in only a few minutes. I explained the problem, that it was working, then I updated the BT stuff and now it’s not. He told me to try re-pairing, I told him that I already did.

I asked him if there was a way to clear out the bluetooth records completely on the phone and start from scratch. He had me delete a file in the system library which contained all the bluetooth user data, including the keyboard and mouse details.

He then had me restart my system.

Then the phone line went dead.

Yes, you read right.

When the computer came back up, the mouse was not working. I couldn’t move the cursor to log in.

I phoned Apple back frantically, tried to get the first guy on the phone and couldn’t, instead the second guy said he would help me. I plugged in a corded mouse from my old PC and it worked instantly, thank god.

I had to re-pair the Apple bluetooth mouse, which worked fine.

Then we tried to re-pair my mobile, which also worked, the process finished perfectly the first time. What a lot of drama over nothing!

But now that the computer and the phone are friends, I should be able to do some pretty fancy things. Besides being able to send photos and video clips from the phone to the computer, I can also browse the phone from the computer and poke around its files. I can also use the phone to control the desktop, like a mouse. I can use it to run the media player, I could even use it to trigger a presentation, though that’s probably never going to happen.

I could see catching something interesting on the phone, on video though. I can easily import it into iMovie and edit it. Final Cut Express will do the same, when I finally get it. It’s all dead cool.

The other thing I’ve done is rip my entire CD collection on to my virtual iPOD. I say virtual, because I don’t own one yet. What I did was rip nearly all the CD’s I own into iTunes.

I couldn’t do all my CD’s, since some of them are old and worn an couldn’t be read. And they said they would last forever! Other CD’s fell into the “what was I thinking when I bought this rubbish” stack, and I didn’t bother ripping them either.

All told, I’ve got 1,600 individual songs, which take up about 6.33gb of hardrive and would take 4.7 days to play back. It’s made up of 123 separate albums and 108 recording artists. That’s a lot of content. That makes getting an iPOD a lot easier and shows me how sensible it could be.

Now, I started from scratch with my music collection about 15 years ago and most of it was on cassette. I didn’t move to CD until a few years after that, so that’s really about 12 years of purchasing. And it doesn’t include stuff I’ve downloaded that only ended up on my old mini-disc. That stuff is lost now.

What it tells me is I don’t need a 60gb iPOD. I might not even need the 30gb and could probably get away with a 20gb. So ripping all my CD’s now has actually saved me money on an iPOD. Imagine that.

This blog is turning into tech-geek corner. Sorry.

Don’t think I haven’t noticed that my blog is going downhill fast. It’s not as good as it used to be, could become my latest catch phrase. The observant reader might have already caught it up at the top of this page in my tag-line. I put it there on Friday, my first anniversary.

I reckon I’ve got two choices, I can either buck-up my efforts and try to make things more interesting again or think about hanging up my hippyhat. I’m not going to make any rash decisions today, not with the big VOSS coming up next week. I wouldn’t let you all down on that, it will happen.

What’s worse, is I had a great topic yesterday, the British government re-opening the debate on cannabis classification. They downgraded this hippy’s favourite substance to class “C” about 15 months ago, but are asking the medical council to review it “in light of recent findings relating to its dangers.”

Specifically a couple of studies that link cannabis use with psychotic episodes and schizophrenia.

I’ve done this rap before, on how people with mental problems seek out stuff like weed to self-medicate. They already have a tendency towards loopiness, dope doesn’t set it off, puberty and adulthood most likely do.

Let’s take the same group of kooks and see what their experience is with alcohol. Gosh, they all drank as well, I guess booze makes you crazy too!

Look fuckers, I’m a grown-up and if I want to pollute my body with any substance, it’s my goddamn business. As long as I’m not behind the wheel of my car or in my local park, I’m not hurting anyone, am I?

When I shroom, I do it in the privacy of my own home and no one is the wiser. Except you guys, of course. Who else would I tell?

You want smackheads and crackheads off the street? Give them someplace safe to use, where you can keep a discreet eye on them. Want them to not steal your car stereo? Make all drugs legal and sell them at the same price their sold in their country of origin. That would make them super-cheap, just pennies a day. Grandma wouldn’t get her throat slit for her pension money. Everyone wins.

But no, there’s a general election coming and Tony B’s worried. When people look at a spooky old fuck like Michael Howard and start thinking “hey, even he might be better than Tony,” you know you’re in trouble. Blair wants to seem tough and this move with weed is a pre-emptive strike against any possible Tory criticism.

Hopefully, after the election, this nonsense, like the crap about making fresh magic mushrooms illegal will just fade away. Or maybe, the general medical council will say, “you know Tony, the declassification didn’t go far enough. You should make spliff legal, sell it in shops and cafes and tax it. Let all the dopeheads be happy and live in peace. Dig it?”

Yeah and then this hippy woke up.

I have a dream, fuckers! A dream where marijuana is legal and I can walk into any shop and order the strain of my choice, loose, pre-packed or ready-rolled. And then I could visit a nice coffeeshop for a cannabis cappuccino and spacecake.

The dream exists, but only in Amsterdam so far. And fuck me if they’re not thinking of changing their policy. I’m hardly an expert in Dutch politics, but their example of tolerance deserves our praise and respect. I hope they will see sense and keep their very workable drug policies exactly the way they are.

And until things get better here in the UK, I’ll stay smoking behind my net curtains.

Unless you can point me to a nice, underground cannabis cafe here in London. I was aware of a few of them, but they’re all long gone. Show me the way to a new one and I’ll get you very high!
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