12 Apr 2005
(updated 12 Apr 2005 at 20:54 UTC) »
I am was never a huge fan of Doctor Who and was fairly ambivalent to the new series, and forgot to watch the first episode of the new series. The prospect of former pop-singer Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston (who I vaguely recall from Shallow Grave and other bits and pieces) and memories of how cheap and tacky looking it used to be didn't fill me with much hope of it being any good.
As a fan of all kinds of science fiction I have occasionally watched episodes of Doctor Who but not many that did not feature the Daleks. I distinctly remember watching an episode explaining
the creation of the classic sci-fi villians the Dalek by the evil scientist Davros.
On April 2nd while busy finishing off some work at the computer and in hurry to go out to dinner for my birthday, I watched the second episode playing in the background. From the first beat of the distinctive Doctor Who theme tune I was immediately filled with optimism and was more than a little distracted from my work and delayed quite a bit. I was suprised by quite how funny the new Doctor was and enjoyed the clever writing which included humour and pop-culture references. One of the jokes involved a historical artifact the characters mistakenly believed was called an iPod, and they went on to play a well known pop song but it is described as a traditional ballad
. Blink and you'd miss it but Rose (Billie Piper) compares Cassandra - a gender confused character with a plastic surgery problem - to Michael Jackson, and in response Cassandra recommends plastic surgery to Rose as she "has a bit of a chin". Okay so maybe trying to explain the jokes isn't such a good idea but watch it yourself and you might find it surpisingly amusing.
It is not often you see Welsh people in Science-Fiction but Doctor Who is made by BBC Wales and the third espisode is set in Cardiff and makes a few jokes about it, but Welsh people are nice so I don't expect they'll mind.
Fourty Five minutes of Science Fiction unintterupted by advertisements, good writing, a bit of humour and Billie Piper is easy on the eyes. Basically I think the new series of Doctor Who is great fun and I will be making more of an effort to watch the rest of the series.
Unlike most other channels the BBC doesn't show a lot of repeats, so only yesterday did I finally get to see the first episode and I was very grateful when a friend generously lent me a copy. I expect the legendary Doctor Who theme tune will be stuck in my head for weeks.
MIDI Technolgy still live and kicking
At the moment I am studying (revising and learing a few new details) MIDI so I have an excuse to play around with the Sound Editor Audacity. The lecturer was at great pains to explain to us and make it distinctly clear that MIDI is not a sound but a set of instructions that can be used to make sounds.
What particularly interested me was how MIDI was a cheap and useful technology that became extremely popular and continues to be sucessful and that MIDI was uses for other purposes the designers never unexpected, controlling more than just musical instruments but also devices such as such stage lighting and special effects.
Give some people an inch and they'll think they're a Ruler
My suggestion to turn rulers off by default in the GNU Image Manipulation Program was declined. Many programs with the Rulers and Guides functionality like Inkscape and Adobe Photoshop (and I informally surveyed a few others) have their Rulers off by default which I think gives a better first impression as it makes for a cleaner layout and a better use of space, although the downside is that it makes the Rulers and Guides functionality a little more difficult to discover. It was my opinion that Rulers are not frequently used and that the trade off was worth making but others did not agree. I made the suggestion and they considered the idea which was all I let myself hope for. Oh well, it was worth a try.
If you liked the game Marble Madness (and you like cross platform software) then I encourage you to give Track Balls a try. Track Balls Screenshots
Today I was interested to learn that Trinity offers a degree in Deaf Studies and Sign Language.
The %s link is to test a %s theory I have about Mozilla and Google. If it works I might explain it later.