Tuesday, 30 December 2008


It seems that while I survived Christmas, my laptop wasn't quite so lucky. Following the trip to my parents' it wouldn't turn on properly. Briefly there was hope, as I got into Windows and got online. Then, just as all seemed to be going normally, it crashed completely and wouldn't even load up in Safe Mode. A few turn-ons later and I can't even get as far as selecting Safe Mode, since it refuses to turn on for more than about 2 seconds.


Another victim of Christmas rail travel.

Still, on the positive side, I have a new laptop. Also, most of my stuff was backed up, and many of my more recent documents and files will either be attached to e-mails (on webmail accounts), on my MP3 player, or in some rough form in my notebook (the old-fashioned paper kind). Some things might be more difficult to recover, however; I guess I'll find out more about that later today [sigh].

Anyway, there was a point to this post: namely, that I now have the ideal opportunity - and the motivation - to start investigating backing up more of my stuff online, and perhaps getting into the whole cloud computing thing - anything to make any subsequent hardware failures easier to deal with. In other words, for better or worse, expect a few posts along those lines in the coming weeks. And probably at least one more entitled 'Argh!': when I fire the new laptop up for the first time I shall finally be entering Vista territory...

Oh joy.

Sunday, 28 December 2008


The Best of the Festive Season Lists list will have to wait a few days, I think. And not just because of the usual post-Christmas listlessness (or 2009, as some people are already calling it); mostly, I just haven't spent all that much time online this Christmas. However, a few things did catch my eye over the last few days, so here are a few links to be going on with:

The Dark Roasted Blend blog has an excellent collection of Christmas oddness; including this family who sawed holes in floors, celing and roof to accommodate a giant Christmas tree (actually, they didn't but that was the effect they seemed to be looking to achieve).

The world's largest floating Christmas tree (BBC footage here). And who knew there'd even been others?

This one, perhaps, isn't especially Christmassy, but then again, who of us hasn't received Lego for Christmas at one time or another? So here's the Gizmodo photographic timeline of nearly every Lego minifig ever made. Amazing fact: there are now more of them than us...

The Guardian's resident pipe-smoker, Jack Schofield, has this snippet about Amazon's sales figures this Christmas. And no wonder they did so well: the handiness of the usual Amazon bargains at this time of year is one thing, of course, but if you're going home for Christmas on public transport, shopping online has another advantage over the high street: believe me, getting everything delivered directly to your destination lightens your luggage no end :)

(A slightly belated) Merry Christmas from Radix, and a Happy 2009!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Well, everyone else is at it

Ah, yes, it's that time of the year again - list time. The shopping list, the Christmas card list, the Amazon Wish List, the walking unsteadily home from yet another Christmas party list, and of course the sundry and various lists that, year after year, never fail to pad out almost every publication you care to think of (online or otherwise) until the end of January.

The first list that caught my eye this year was the Guardian's Top 100 Websites. Instantly, I thought, "Aha! There's an easy blogpost - a Top 10 of the websites/web-apps I use/visit most often. Brilliant." Unluckily for me, they were all included. Sigh.

Still, a few didn't feature, so all is not lost :)

In no particular order (well, after the first one anyway)...

- Number 1 on my list of favourite sites this year has to be Spotify. I wrote about it on here not long ago, and I've had my gripes with it (albums becoming unavailable for no given reason), but one or two missing albums have returned, it still works smoothly, and despite the aforementioned disappearances the catalogue of available music has definitely and noticeably grown even over the last couple of months. What might make it of particular interest to music geeks, as well, and which I didn't mention in my review, will be the number of singles - and therefore B-sides and obscure tracks - available on there. Of other interest might be that I have two spare invites, again - anyone?

- Miro made the world of YouTube a whole lot more navigable for me, and made saving anything worth (offline) repeat viewing a doddle (if a sometimes slightly glitchy doddle). More of a browser than something online itself, of course, but still, it's pretty handy.

- Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's movie reviews podcast is unmissable. Never mind whether you're a movie buff (I'm not), or even whether you share Kermode's unlikely fondness for both The Exorcist and High School Musical 3 (I don't), the bickering and ranting is always a joy to listen to. For the more book inclined, the Book Panel podcast from Simon Mayo's Thursday show is excellent too.

- I can't say that Kayak will get you the cheapest plane fares available, because I have no idea whether that's remotely true; but whenever I've had to fly it's certainly got me cheaper ones than I've been able to find for myself.

- Garfield Minus Garfield. An unexpected formula for bleak hilarity.

- Another blog: Bent Objects. In which wire limbs and other things are inventively added to everyday objects. Sometimes funny, sometimes artistic, and sometimes just a bit baffling (occasionally there's an American reference that I just don't get, I think); but definitely worth a look.

- Should you have an interest in all things publishing Book Trade News is an excellent source of, erm, what it says really. There's a daily e-mail to subscribe to, too.

- These are some of the most alarmingly beautiful photos you'll see this year. There was an exhibition in this blog's home town for a few days this summer - it really should go national.

Anyway, those are some of my suggestions. For more online exploring check out the comments here - you'll find any number of funny/interesting/useful/publicity-seeking sites that the Guardian missed from its 100.

NEXT TIME: A list of online lists, probably.