Music of 2014

I’ve done similar posts to these before, but this year I thought I would do it slightly differently. Once again the list comes from one of my iTunes playlists which looks at the Top 100 tracks I’ve been playing in the last 12 months.

1. Peg – Steely Dan – The video how this complex track was ‘assembled’ by the best musicians in the business for the Aja album (in my opinion)

2. Genesis – After the Ordeal – This track comes from another favourite album of mine ‘Selling England by the Pound’ from the early 1970’s.

3. Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine – This track was used in a clever scene in the film Notting Hill starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant

4. Mason Williams – Classical Gas – No sure why I love this track so much, but it dates back to my early awareness of music and I tend to like guitar instrumentals a lot!

5. Bruce Hornsby & the Range – The Way It Is – A 1980’s classic, the track that started my love of Bruce Hornsby and his magic piano playing.

6. Gerry Rafferty – Night Owl  – Gerry has a different way of singing, but I can listen to his albums often late at night without tiring of them.

7. Pink Floyd – Sorrow  taken from the live album Pulse. I’m not always a fan of Live albums but Pink Floyd are an exception to this rule.

8. Robert Palmer – Simply Irresistible

9. Steelers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle – Gerry Rafferty again, Love the line ‘Clowns to the left of me Jokers to the right‘ it reminds me of trying to mediating in disputes at times!

10. Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight – I listen to a lot of Phil Collins tracks, love the drums on this track, especially once it gets going at about 3:15 in to the track!

Well that’s my Top 10 for 2014, but I listened to many many hours of music in 2014 and I suspect 2015 will be no different!

My favourite new track of 2014 was Pharrell Williams – Happy

Enjoy and Happy New Year.

Mac OS X – Preview

Preview on Mac OS X is a very underrated application. It has been included on every version of Mac OS X I’ve ever used, which in my case goes back to ‘Tiger’ version 10.4

Now at first sight it might not seem to be able to do a lot. You use it for viewing photo and graphic files, it also handles PDF files too, no need to install Adobe Reader… (thank goodness!!) It will also let you ‘preview’ Word, Excel and a number of other document formats.

OK so it does those… but did you also know you can do a lot more too…

For images you can:

  • Rotate images in 90 degree increments
  • Flip images horizontally or vertically (Mirrored ones)
  • Adjust the size of an image (so you can reduce the size of image before emailing it or uploading it to say Facebook)
  • Adjust the colour and other parameters of an image.
  • Crop images
  • You can annotate images with squares, ovals, lines, lines with arrows etc. Useful for adding labels and notes
  • Add Text to images in different fonts, styles, colours etc.
  • You can take screen shots of images/documents which is a quick and dirty way of creating images suitable for a website when you don’t want them to be huge in resolution!
  • You can take a PDF and digitally sign the document and save it with your signature. You do your signature on a piece of paper then hold it up to the camera.

I use Preview many times a day, it is a built in application that I couldn’t do without.

Film photography

Things you don’t often hear these days…

I have just got to finish off this film…

I am waiting for the photographs to come back from the developers…

eos_30_tcm13-26634Well yesterday I was ‘just finishing off a film’ I still have my Canon EOS30 film SLR camera, I can’t remember when I bought it, a long time ago, but it was one of the few cameras I have bought new.

I love using it, it has eye control focusing, so with the camera to your eye you look at the focusing point, half press the shutter and the camera uses that focusing point. I have never understood why Canon never incorporated this feature in to their digital SLR cameras.

After using digital for over ten years now going back to film is quite testing. There is no instant feedback in a screen on the back or with my iPad attached to the camera to see the results!

I don’t use my film camera much these days, but I won’t get rid of it!

Lefax Radio Log

I was given this item by a Filofax friend of mine. It combines my love of Filofax and the love of radio in to one!  It dates from 1928. The leather organiser is a little delicate now, but I’m in the process of preserving it to stop it getting any worse. The paper pages though are fine, I’m keeping those separate. See the post over on Philofaxy for the full story behind this remarkable find.














Radio Log 2-3

Radio Log 4-5

Radio Log 6-7

Radio Log 8-9

Radio Log 10-11

Radio Log 12-13

Radio Log 14-15
Radio Log 16-17

Radio Log 18-19

Radio Log 20-21

Radio Log 22-23

Radio Log 24-25

Radio Log 26-27

Radio Log 28-29

Radio Log 30-31


My Top 100 music tracks of 2013

Once again here’s the Top 100 music tracks I have listened to in 2013, this is an output from iTunes so it includes music I listen to in the car, whilst at my desk or wandering around. I listen to many hours of music in any week, but these tracks are the ones I’ve listened to most. In the year I listened to over 3000 different music tracks!

What do you enjoy listening to?

Name Artist Album Year Plays Last Played
1 Peg Steely Dan Aja 1977 38 22/12/2013
2 Night Owl Gerry Rafferty Night Owl 1979 30 17/12/2013
3 Anything For Your Love Eric Clapton Journeyman 1997 29 24/12/2013
4 Classical Gas (Acoustic Version) Bernd Schoenhart Classical Gas (EP) 2004 29 05/12/2013
5 The Way It Is Bruce Hornsby & The Range The Way It Is 1986 28 27/12/2013
6 Right Through You Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill 1995 27 05/12/2013
7 Piano Intro/Great Divide (Live) Bruce Hornsby Here Come The Noise Makers 2000 27 22/12/2013
8 Mary Shut The Garden Door Donald Fagen Morph The Cat 2006 27 05/12/2013
9 The Way That You Do It Gerry Rafferty Night Owl 1979 27 27/12/2013
10 You Always Want What You Have Lighthouse Family Whatever Gets You Through The 2002 27 27/12/2013
11 Get Down Tonight(Miami Club Mix) K.C. & The Sunshine Band The Very Best Of KC & Sunshine Band 26 02/12/2013
12 (Don’t Fear) The Reaper Blue Öyster Cult Agents of Fortune 1976 25 05/12/2013
13 Lovely Day Bill Withers Magic Summer Feeling 2003 24 05/12/2013
14 Everyone’s Gone To The Movies Steely Dan Katy Lied 1975 24 05/12/2013
15 Sorrow Pink Floyd Pulse 1995 23 18/12/2013
16 Run Like Hell Pink Floyd Pulse 1995 23 18/12/2013
17 Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed 1969 23 05/12/2013
18 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman Carole King Tapestry 1971 22 27/12/2013
19 Hold Me Fleetwood Mac Mirage 1982 22 05/12/2013
20 Ordinary Morning Sheryl Crow Sheryl Crow 1996 22 05/12/2013
21 Where Would I Be Now Michael McDonald Blue Obsession 2000 21 27/12/2013
22 Don’t Worry Appleton Magic Summer Feeling 2003 20 05/12/2013
23 World Where You Live Crowded House Recurring Dream 1996 20 27/12/2013
24 Sad Songs (Say So Much) Elton John The Very Best Of Elton John 1984 20 22/12/2013
25 My Favorite Mistake Sheryl Crow The Globe Sessions 1999 20 05/12/2013
26 I Might Have Been Queen Tina Turner Private Dancer 1984 20 19/12/2013
27 Too High Michael McDonald Motown 2003 19 05/12/2013
28 High Hopes Pink Floyd Pulse 1995 19 18/12/2013
29 The Tide Will Rise Bruce Hornsby Harbor Lights 1993 18 22/12/2013
30 Hot House Ball Bruce Hornsby Hot House 1995 18 05/12/2013
31 Defenders Of The Flag Bruce Hornsby & The Range Scenes From The Southside 1988 18 05/12/2013
32 For One Day Dido Safe Trip Home – DeLuxe 2008 18 07/12/2013
33 Lions Dire Straits Dire Straits 1978 18 22/12/2013
34 For My Wedding Don Henley Inside Job 2000 18 07/12/2013
35 Everything Is Different Now Don Henley Inside Job 2000 18 05/12/2013
36 New Kid In Town The Eagles Hotel California 1976 18 05/12/2013
37 Last Good Time In Town The Eagles Long Road Out of Eden 2007 18 07/12/2013
38 Do You Know Fleetwood Mac Behind The Mask 1990 18 07/12/2013
39 Murrow Turning Over In His Grave Fleetwood Mac Say You Will 2003 18 07/12/2013
40 Learning To Fly Pink Floyd Pulse 1995 18 18/12/2013
41 Woman Tonight America History: America’s Greatest Hits 1975 17 27/12/2013
42 Big Rumble Bruce Hornsby Hot House 1995 17 24/12/2013
43 Jealous Guy Bryan Ferry The Ultimate Collection 1988 17 05/12/2013
44 Tomorrow’s Girls Donald Fagen Kamakiriad 1993 17 22/12/2013
45 Other Side of the World KT Tunstall Eye to the Telescope 2004 17 05/12/2013
46 Stay (I’ll Miss You) Lisa Loeb Magic Summer Feeling 2003 17 05/12/2013
47 Nobodys Perfect Mike + The Mechanics Hits 1996 17 22/12/2013
48 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover Paul Simon Negotiations And Love Songs 1971-1986 1988 17 27/12/2013
49 Start Me Up The Rolling Stones Forty Licks 1981 17 05/12/2013
50 Gasoline Sheryl Crow Detours 2008 17 05/12/2013
51 Pearl Of The Quarter Steely Dan Countdown To Ecstasy 1973 17 05/12/2013
52 Stop Loving You Toto Past To Present 1977-1990 1988 17 05/12/2013
53 Walk In The Sun Bruce Hornsby Hot House 1995 16 26/12/2013
54 Till The Dreaming’s Done Bruce Hornsby & The Range Scenes From The Southside 1988 16 22/12/2013
55 Crying In The Night Buckingham Nicks Buckingham Nicks 1973 16 06/12/2013
56 When You Come Crowded House Recurring Dream 1996 16 27/12/2013
57 Sara Smile Daryl Hall & John Oates Hall and Oates: Greatest Hits Rock ‘n Soul, Pt 1 16 22/12/2013
58 Silence Delerium The Chillout Sessions 2 [Disc 2] 2002 16 05/12/2013
59 Expresso Love Dire Straits Making Movies 1980 16 05/12/2013
60 Workin’ It Don Henley Inside Job 2000 16 27/12/2013
61 Los Endos Genesis A Trick Of The Tail 1976 16 19/12/2013
62 Do It Again The Juju Orchestra Bossa Nova Is Not a Crime 2007 16 05/12/2013
63 Aja Steely Dan Aja 1977 16 28/11/2013
64 Never Be The Same Christopher Cross Christopher Cross 1979 15 05/12/2013
65 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper 20 Number Ones 1983 15 22/12/2013
66 Damn It, Rose Don Henley Inside Job 2000 15 05/12/2013
67 Try And Love Again The Eagles Hotel California 1976 15 05/12/2013
68 Dreams Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1977 15 05/12/2013
69 Way Of The World Genesis We Can’t Dance 1991 15 27/12/2013
70 Lifeline Spandau Ballet TRUE 1983 15 05/12/2013
71 Building The Perfect Beast Don Henley Building The Perfect Beast 1984 14 05/12/2013
72 Hotel California The Eagles Hotel California 1976 14 22/12/2013
73 Sara Fleetwood Mac Tusk 1979 14 03/12/2013
74 I Want To Know What Love Is Foreigner The Definitive 1984 14 22/12/2013
75 Any Colour You Like Pink Floyd Pulse 1995 14 24/12/2013
76 The Longest Night Bruce Hornsby Hot House 1995 13 07/12/2013
77 Son Of A Preacher Man Dusty Springfield Magic Summer Feeling 2003 13 22/12/2013
78 Bleed To Love Her Fleetwood Mac Say You Will 2003 13 03/12/2013
79 Black Friday Steely Dan Katy Lied 1975 13 01/12/2013
80 Mandolin Rain/Black Muddy River Bruce Hornsby Here Come The Noise Makers 2000 12 30/12/2013
81 Air Born Camel Moonmadness 1976 12 07/11/2013
82 Let’s Go Together Change The Final Collection 1989 12 07/12/2013
83 Into Temptation Crowded House Recurring Dream 1996 12 18/12/2013
84 The Boys Of Summer Don Henley Building The Perfect Beast 1984 12 20/10/2013
85 Ripples Genesis A Trick Of The Tail 1976 12 19/12/2013
86 Surrender the Rain Lindsey Buckingham Out of the Cradle 1992 12 21/09/2013
87 Street Life Roxy Music The Best Of Roxy Music 2001 12 03/12/2013
88 Deacon Blues Steely Dan Aja 1977 12 07/12/2013
89 Magical Mystery Tour The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour 1967 11 20/10/2013
90 The Changes Bruce Hornsby Hot House 1995 11 21/09/2013
91 Italian Plastic Crowded House Woodface 1991 11 08/11/2013
92 Northern Skies (remix) Dido Safe Trip Home – DeLuxe 2008 11 16/09/2013
93 Little Tin God Don Henley The End Of The Innocence 1989 11 25/11/2013
94 American Pie Don McLean American Pie 2003 11 24/12/2013
95 Brite Nitegown Donald Fagen Morph The Cat 2006 11 20/10/2013
96 Out Of Reach Gabrielle Magic Summer Feeling 2003 11 25/11/2013
97 Stealin’ Time Gerry Rafferty City To City 1978 11 02/12/2013
98 Tinsel Town Seal Seal IV 2003 11 02/12/2013
99 In The Cage Medely Genesis Three Sides Live 1982 10 19/12/2013
100 Another Day Paul McCartney All The Best! 1987 10 24/12/2013


I had to buy something new today. When I saw the DW5110-D1 I just knew I had made the right choice. The sleek lines of the DW5110-D1, the way it sat, the designer had obviously influenced by the design and lines of a single seat racing car. The blue and white paint scheme looked so right on the DW5110-D1.

I got if home and unpacked it quickly and fired it up and put it to work. I admired its shape and form as I waited for the DW5110-D1 to warm up. I quickly familiarised myself with the controls of the DW5110-D1. Fully charged it burbled like an F1 racer on tick over.

I flicked it in to high power mode, turning the click wheel of the DW5110-D1 to the desired setting, waiting for the acknowledgement signal and then we were ready.

I was immediately impressed with the handling of the DW5110-D1, it took the rough with the smooth, carving it’s way through creases leaving a smooth path behind it.

The impressive power to weight ratio of the DW5110-D1 was no doubt the key to its high performance over all surfaces. The small turning circle of the DW5110-D1 and its shapely designed nose shape helps it get in and out of tight spots.

A pile of shirts completed, I stood and admired my new DW-5110 Rowenta Steam iron……..

Stevie Nicks on Absolute Radio

I’ve been a Fleetwood Mac fan for longer than I can remember, certainly the early 1970’s possibly before then as a kid. I’ve also loved to hear about the background to some of my favourite songs no matter which band it is.











I came across this interview this evening, absolutely brilliant and a very enjoyable hour listening to the music from that golden era as well as hearing Stevie. Moments like this have to be captured and savoured.

Absolute Radio Icons: Stevie Nicks by Absolute Radio on Mixcloud

New Filofax Shoulder Bag

I had never considered buying a Filofax bag until recently.

I spotted a Filofax bag on offer in their sale. It was still quite expensive but I had a discount voucher that I could use so it brought the price down a more sensible price.

So this is the Filofax Architect Portrait Courier, it’s rather smart don’t you think?

It came in it’s own dust bag which I keep it in when I’m not using it.

It’s bigger than I thought it would be. It has two main pockets which are very generous in size. Turning the bag over there is another slip pocket which will take an iPad or similar full size tablet. There is a grab handle at the top, and also a strap for looping the bag over a wheeled suit case handle.

The woven shoulder strap is very generous in width and it is also quite long too but it has a metal buckle to adjust the length.

Now in terms of what will fit inside.  The smaller front pocket has a variety of slots for pens and cards but still has enough room for other small items too, including a personal size Filofax!

The leather flap has a zip pocket in it as well, plenty big enough for your smart phone or similar. The flap closes with a magnetic fastener in the middle.

The slim pocket on the back can take an iPad easily, it has a velcro tab at the top to hold it closed too.

The main pocket can take an A4 Filofax or an A4 size zipped conference folder easily. I’ve also tried it for size with my 10″ Netbook PC, and it slides in easily with space to spare. In the photo is an A5 Zip Holborn, that goes in sideways with plenty of room too. I think the biggest size of PC you could fit in would be a 11.6″ display one, such as a MacBook Air or a similar sized Chromebook.

A large ring size personal Filofax as shown here also fits inside the front pocket easily.

As you might be able to see on the detail of the front flap it is made of leather and textile lined inside. But the leather is a smooth finish and a pebbled finish in two distinctive panels.

Being a vertical format bag compared to the horizontal format of most messenger bags I find it retains it’s rigidity a lot better.

I’m very pleased with it, grab one for the man in your life for Christmas….


Apple iPod

The iPod has been a great invention. It was the first Apple product I/we owned. It was Philip my son who first made me aware of the iPod, he showed me the advert for the 1st generation iPod, it almost seemed to be too good to be true. A small device that you could slip in your pocket that could hold hundreds of CDs. I sat trying to work out how much storage space I would need for my full CD collection, which at the time was about 200 CD’s.

Before the iPod came into our lives I had been using a CD Walkman to play my music CDs on journeys and around the house. But it was limited in battery life and by how many CDs you could carry.

Sony CD Walkman

Sony Discman

Before the CD I had a Sony Walkman, this was back in about 1983, at the time I lived and worked in Cyprus and I used to record audio tapes instead of writing letters and posted them back and forth in the mail. It sounds old fashioned but it was great getting tapes from friends and loved ones. I forget the exact model number, but I bought a Sony recoding Walkman which had a built in radio and a single speaker on the back and a built in microphone too, so it was quite a versatile device.

So anyway the Apple iPod, Philip was still at school when the first one came out, he was originally going to buy the 5Gb model, but me being me I offered to give him the difference in money to buy the 10Gb model.

iTunes was also a big improvement over Windows media player at the time. I was using that on my PC before I got my own iPod. I discovered Smart Play Lists and that has been quite a bonus for me, they present music to me that I’ve not listened too for a while and that means I listen to a lot more tracks rather than buy new ones all the time.


My own first iPod was a third generation 20 Gb model, not exactly a classic but it got me started. There were a few issues with this model, mainly battery life and also the battery charging indication, because it doesn’t control the charging very well, the battery would get overcharged and this in turn would limit the life of the battery. I have changed the battery on mine at least twice, a strong set of finger nails and good eye sight is all you need to get the back off to change it!

Eventually along came the iPod Touch in Philip bought a 32Gb 1st gen model and sold his original iPod.

I also upgraded my iPod to a newer model with a colour screen and a 60 Gb drive. Compared to my previous one it was a massive improvement on the user interface and battery life too. I still use this one in the car, it holds all of my music collection and I just synchronise it every few months.

I also bought an iPod touch in 2010 although I have used it for a lot of other things as well as listening to music. Alison now uses it for listening to BBC Radio 4 in the kitchen!

Alison joined the club with an iPod Nano, she listens to dozens of podcasts rather than music. I’ve recently started using this as it is so compact and light in your pockets.

Her mini disc player/recorder still works, but interfacing it to anything is a pain

Philip replaced the iPod Touch with an iPhone 4 which he has recently passed on to me

iPhone 4 with iOS7

iPhone 4 with iOS7

Alison now has my iPod Touch, it has replaced the 1st generation iPod Touch which still works but it is a bit limited in what you can do with it now, which reminds me of my Psion organisers really!

With wireless syncing of devices to our iMacs and iCloud we no longer need to connect the latest devices to our computers every few days, just a charger by the side of the bed or in the kitchen is fine.

Over 30 years of portable music devices since the Sony Walkman through to my iPhone, the technology has got better, but one thing hasn’t changed… the music I listen to. Steely Dan and a the rest of my music collection.

Living With Linux

Linux is an open source operating system that appeared back in the 1990’s possibly earlier. I’ve been using Linux in one form or another off and on since about 1993. In the early days it was just a command line system much like MS-DOS was around about that time before the days of Windows 3.1… yes computers haven’t always had a graphical user interface!

Back in the 1990’s I used Linux to run my amateur radio packet radio mailbox system a fairly niche application but at the time given the technology available it worked well and it supported all the different protocols I needed. I ran the mailbox until late 2003 and then due to a decline in users on the system coupled with a change to our house layout I closed the system down and more or less forgot about Linux. During my year off work in 2004/2005 I revisited Linux, by this time using Ubuntu with a full graphical user interface. Wow.. this is so much easier to install and use compared to the old systems I had been using.

I had bought an old PC with a small size hard disk fitted and I used it as a bit of an experimental machine, learn by my mistakes. If it went wrong then there was nothing in terms of data I was going to miss. So it was a great work horse to rediscover things on.

When we moved to France I had a big clear out of old PC’s that had been cluttering up the garage, I find it difficult to get rid of old working things! But I managed to rationalise what to keep and what to recycle, removing the hard drives and any memory and then cycling what was left.

Having cut my teeth on my old desktop machine and learnt how to set up Ubuntu  I thought time to look at the remainder of the old machines we had. All Windows XP machines, all getting a little old and slower and slower. I picked the worse culprit… a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop we had bought this machine in early 2005, but by 2009 it had almost become unusable on a daily basis, 20 minute plus boot times and running at a snails pace afterwards. We had both bought small lighter netbooks so the Dell sat in it’s carry case not doing anything.

I pulled it out and cleared any wanted data off it. Dropped an Ubuntu CD in to the drive and rebooted the machine. Tested it out first Wifi worked, Bluetooth worked, the trackpad and keyboard all worked so I carried on and did a full install of Ubuntu clearing the hard drive completely. The machine was instantly transformed in to a useable machine again. I don’t carry it around alot it tends to sit in our lounge and I use it whilst watching TV, but I use it on our longer trips back to UK, the bigger screen helps when editing documents. As you might expect the battery life isn’t anything to boast about, but the machine all works.

I’ve recently installed Ubuntu on another redundant desktop machine, this one was a bit more powerful, this time I installed it as a dual boot system, retaining XP on the machine and adding Ubuntu. When the machine starts you choose which operating system you want to use and off you go. All of my previous installs have been a complete install over the top of the previous operating system.

Getting Started

So how do you get running with Ubuntu?  Well you need a PC obviously, ideally not your main machine, if you are a beginner then anything under 10 years old will be suitable It needs to have at least 5GB of free space on the hard drive if you are going to dual boot the system, 500MB of memory is the minimum recommended specification to run Ubuntu comfortably, more helps of course.

Download the software from the Ubuntu site, it’s free, but you can make a small donation if you wish. You can then create a bootable CD or USB drive The USB memory key needs to be about 4GB in size to work.

Put the CD in or plug in the USB memory key and start up the machine, if it boots in to the existing operating system you might need to start again and go in to the BIOS settings (F10 typically) to make sure that booting from CD or USB is enabled.

Wait a short while for Ubuntu to load and then you will be offered the chance to run Ubuntu or install it.

You will be running it from the CD if you pick the first option, it might be a little slow but it will give you some confidence that the machine is working and all the interfaces are working before you take the big leap and install Ubuntu.

So are there any disadvantages to using Ubuntu? Nothing really I can do most things without any issues, the installation includes things like Thunderbird, Firebox, Libre Office and a loads of other applications. Other applications are easy to install from the software centre. With the Dell I have a reasonable amount of memory installed (2 GB) and a reasonable size hard drive (only 80 GB) but if you have something bigger or more powerful naturally you will benefit.  Plugging in my digital camera I was able to download the pictures off of it without needing to add any additional software.  I can send emails and browse the web in exactly the same way as any other machine in the house.

The user interface is a little different, but with a few tweaks to the system it becomes second nature and you don’t have to remember or think ‘oh this is Ubuntu, how do I do this’ you just use the machine in much the same way as I do my iMac or a Windows XP machine.

I added some more memory to the desktop machine I recently converted to dual boot and it’s a very handy machine to have along side my iMac I use XP for a few legacy systems which I’m still in the process of getting working on Ubuntu. But the Ubuntu side of the machine is working well and it’s very quick.

If you haven’t tried Ubuntu yet you should give it a try…