Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Does Anything Work on Vista?

I've just received a warning that a major piece of software I run to maintain my business will not run on Vista. There is a promise that this will be remedied within a month, but it also comes with a warning - "based on our experience with Vista so far, we would not recommend the upgrade without serious testing as it appears to break many applications that may impact your business."

Now, having looked about on the web it doesn't seem many of the smaller software designers were ready for Vista and were ready for this operating system.

Vista also isn't compatible with older pc's, requiring huge amounts of ram and blisteringly fast processors just to open a folder on the computer, nevermind having any ram left to process the data!

It will be interesting to see what the business community make of it, especially as many programs they have used successfully for years will no longer work and will need to be reprogrammed. I wonder if any one has ever counted the number of programs in use around the world that will have to be almost totally re-written for Vista? I'm not saying that reprogramming should be unnecessary, but having had no prior warning of the OS has meant many programmers having to start from scratch again with a OS that hasn't had all it's bugs knocked out of it. And we know they're still knocking bugs out of XP, so we're used to the fact that we've got to download patches for the lifetime of it's use until the next OS is designed!

C'mon Bill! Get your Sh*t Together!

Sunday, 28 January 2007

The Hours - Thekla, Bristol January 28th 2007

The night started very well! On arriving in the car park just outside the ol' tub that is the Thekler Social, discovered that the payment meter was out of order so - Free Parking! Now for those not familiar with Bristol premier floating venue, (is there another venue afloat?), it has recently had a bit of a refurb and a lick of paint. The white paint on the superstructure gives it a little class, though this illusion is shattered as you begin your journey down into the hull and your feet struggle with the stickiness of the floor. Maybe it's time they hired a few cabin boys to 'swab the decks' on occasion! The layout and decor is pretty minimal, with the stage at the for'ard end of the vessel, a bench down each side of the dancefloor. Further back is the bar, with a seating area opposite that could probably comfortably accommodate 20 people around tables. back fiurther still are the stairs to the exit/entrance and the toilets, or should they be called the heads? There is also a gallery level, with a little seating and a balcony to lean nonchalantly over or sit and dangle your feet over. Though beware, if you do dangle unshoed feet, the people underneath will be tempted to tickle them!

The first band, well they weren't quite a band, just a 2piece on guitar and bass who started by apologising for the absence of the other band members, and didn't stop apologising for this until they left the stage. In their defence they did state they were asked to do the gig at short notice and warbled on about living in London, but being currently homeless. It was delightful to listen to their apologetic ramblings, but only as it was a break in their tedious art-school music. I don't really know how how to further describe the brand of art house music they were playing and it wasn't exactly offensive or driving me to any emotional conclusion, just a pleasant kind of noise. Didn't exactly inspire me to find out more though.

The real support were called The Master Chaynjis a Bristol Based three piece, compromising of a Too-Tall Bass Player, suitably coupled with a double bass, a violinist looking like she's just stepped out of a parisian cafe circa 1957, and an elastic faced front man strumming along on guitar with a very rich, almost operatic in depth, voice. Now this band were impressive, I don't tend to seek out Avante Garde music, but this was a fine example of the genre, love/hate lyrics delivered powerfully and with humour. At points the band did remind me a little of Nick Cave in his Murder Ballads phase with their darkness in lyric and almost jingly jangly rhythm. Your certainly going to enjoy seeing them, I hope they do play a few of the smaller festivals this summer! I think they delivered the best description of their music themselves - B-Movies set to music.

Well, the night is wearing on, people are starting to get a little restless and the dancefloor is filling, the venue looks close to capacity and The Hours arrive on stage to a very warm applause from the eager audience. The first thing that grabs your attention in their blistering audio onslaught, is how tight they are and that they look, and sound, as if they have been playing together for years. They have been described as the old new band due to the fact that they are in their mid thirties but seem so new and fresh. The music was great, the banter light hearted and witty. At one point about 3numbers in the earlier observation of how light it was in the venue was repeated as the house lights were still on at pre-gig levels, he did keep it quite polite but it didn't get any response from whoever was responsible for lighting directions, and his bitterness about this didn't show until after a call from the audience of "house lights down, stage lights up", it was not until they started the next tune that the LD got back to the lighting board and complied with the request and was then applauded by the crowd. It was a great set and a good night out. The leaving the stage after 10 numbers meant the encore was predictable, especially due to them not having played their big hit - Ali In The Jungle, and their roadie resetting guitars on stands on stage.

The encore started with a little talk by about "serious stuff" but due to crowd muppets calling out "zombie" after it was mentioned about rising from the dead,but not in a zombie way, the little serious bit turned into a zombie jam, which just showed how easily these boys work together and can adapt to the situation. Finishing the set was a blistering rendition of Ali which gave everyone a good buzz to go home with. Tomorrow the members of the audience will remember "how quick can you get back up?", but will be wondering why their shoes are sticky.
I'm wondering if they'll ever play a venue so small again after their upcoming album release.

Here's the set list for tonights show, straight from the sweaty roadies hand!

  • Murder or Suicide

  • Moment

  • Love You More

  • Breathe

  • Need To Know

  • Icarus

  • Back When

  • Narcissus Road

  • People Say

  • Big Black Hole

  • Encore

  • Car Crash

  • Ali
My final thoughts on the night - How easy would it be to sort out the ballast on that rusty tub so it didn't list at such a crazy angle.

Their album is released in February, order yours from Amazon!

A Moan About

I've just spent hours creating listings on amazon for about a dozen or so audiobooks. Now when I try to actually search for them now I have done the hard work of adding them to the catalogue, complete with picture and all attributes such as running time, unabridged, etc, etc, they do not show in searches! Not only that I can't add them to my affiliate store to provide a nice easy link for customers to browse items I have in stock. Now I can comprehend that amazon sucks on occasion, but configuring a search engine should be one of the simpler tasks of managing a website, yet amazon just seem to get it spectacularly wrong on an irritatingly high number of occasions.

I'm now going to have to do lots of painstaking work to list these on ebay. If I did think it worthwhile creating listings on Amazon for them I would, but unless they can sort out their search engine, titles like these might as well go on ebay. After all, I don't work for amazon, even though as a seller I do contribute to their profits, and I am not going to create listings for items that will not show in their search. And it's quite annoying adding lots of attributes such as running time, format, number of tapes, if amazon aren't going to include this info in the newly created listing. Also, what's the point in uploading photo's for these new listings when I have yet to see an amazon listing for an audiobook that actually displays an image.

Here's a link to the ones on amazon (note no images) Amazon Audiobooks
And here's one to those I have put on ebay. Ebay Audio books

Friday, 26 January 2007

Audio Books - CD, Tape/cassette or Download?

I've just taken delivery of a staggering number of Audio Books and am amazed at the prices these command and the lack of availability on Amazon. In over 90 editions I checked only 5 were offered secondhand and most were only available from Amazon on a 2-3week delivery, and a sourcing fee! Now most experienced Amazon users know that when they advertise a long delivery time like that their ability to actually source it are about nil, and they will just keep extending that deadline until you cancel the order.

The situation doesn't seem very different whether it's tape or CD, though it does seem to dominate the unabridged editions from Chivers, Isis, Soundings and BBC AudioBooks. But, what's the most popular way that people listen to audio books? My Girl Friend prefers tapes as it's much easier to keep the "page" your on. I know some cd players have a similair function but it's not a common one on most cd players. MP3 is something I prefer as I don't mind shuffling back and forth and it's quite easy if the recording is broken into handy chunks of chapters or 30minute blocks.

In an increasingly digital world the CD and Tape versions of the audiobook will certainly demise in popularity as more people get used to listening to mp3 players and more used to operating them. There will always be the people that have seemed stuck in the prehistoric technology era, the sort of person who'd be much happier with a horse and cart than a car. These people will probably ensure that the tape market survives but I predict a demise of the CD within the next few years.

On a different note, of the Tapes I checked I found about 1 in 5 didn't exist on the amazon uk database. What really surprised me was the half dozen i checked didn't exist on the .com site either. I expected to have practice some shifty practices to be able to list them as items that are listed on .com, and a similair listing cannot be created on the uk site. (There is a way round this though ;) It's long winded so I won't cover that here!)Imagine my surprise when they weren't listed anywhere on the internet, not even bookfinder, bookbutler or addall could find them! The big drawback to this is that creating a new listing is just as time consuming as listing an item on ebay! So have only done 2 so far! Results below!

Well they would be, but the links aren't showing the scans I uploaded yet! Maybe there's a timescale before the images can be syndicated?

Do you think I'm being a bit optimistic in charging that much?

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Book Review - The Devil and Miss Prym , Paul Coehlo

Paulo Coelho, is most widely known as author of The Alchemist, which I read at some point last year, but this is a review of a book I have just finished this year! The Devil and Miss Prym is the third novel in his trilogy And on the Seventh Day which began with By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept and Veronika Decides to Die

A stranger arrives in the small mountain village. He carries with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars. Burying these in the vicinity, the stranger strikes up a curious friendship with a young woman from the village -- Miss Prym. His mission is to discover whether human beings are essentially good or evil. In this stunning new novel, Paulo Coelho's unusual protagonist sets the town a moral challenge from which they may never recover. A fascinating meditation on the human soul, The Devil and Miss Prym illuminates the reality of good and evil within us all, and our uniquely human capacity to choose between them.
It was very hard to put down being a very fast moving plot, albeit told in the very slow setting of a mountain village in some nameless country in Latin America. A classic tale of the fight of good against evil, simply told and portrayed. Plenty of twists and turns and lovely little side tales of the past add to it's rich content, simply put, the central question posed is "Are People Bad" which is explored at depth. Evil in the red corner with good in the blue corner slog it out through this slim volume. Although an ending with good triumphing is to be expected, the author makes it very plausible that this will not transpire, and the outcome is still quite unexpected.
Read & Enjoy! 8.5/10

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Breaking up a set of Perry Mason Books

I have decided to use this blog thingy to write a little on some of the more interesting books that I come across to sell.

Starting with a large collection of Perry Mason books by Erle Gardner Spencer. Almost everyone will be at least vaguely aware of Perry Mason due to the 30's films starring Warren William, Ricardo Cortez & Donald Woods and the TV adaptations, made in the 50's and 60's starring Raymond Burr as the legendary lawyer. In the late 80's early 90's a number of made for TV films were made, again starring Raymond Burr.

Over 80 books were written by Gardner Spencer based on the cases of Mason, making him the most famous fictional legal character ever created and one who is still as famous today in legal circles as he was in the fifties and sixties.

The collection I will be breaking up and making available includes original green penguins, pan paperbacks and american consul paperbacks.

There is still a reasonable demand for his books by fans new and old, some books being more sought after than others due to limited numbers of reprints and popularity of individual cases. This makes the job of valuing them quite difficult and not particularly suited to ebay. Though I have decided that I will start by listing a small number in my ebay shop and one or 2 in ebay auctions to hopefully attract buyers into the shop and see how demand is.

the following is a list of the titles I currently have in stock and you are welcome to contact me directly to discuss, condition, availability and make offers if not already listed for sale.

"The Case of the Lame Canary","Green penguin",
"The Case of the Careless Kitten","Green penguin",,,
"The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife","Green penguin",,
"The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse","Consul",,,
"The Case of the Lonely Heiress","Consul",,,
"The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Negligent Nymph","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Grinning Gorilla","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Glamourous Ghost","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Nervous Accomplice","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Demure Defendant","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Gilded Lily","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Daring Decoy","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Lucky Loser","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Screaming Woman","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Calendar Girl","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Long-Legged Models","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Deadly Toy","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Singing Skirt","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Waylaid Wolf","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Spurious Spinster","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Blonde Bonanza","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands","Pan",,,
"The Case of the Amorous Aunt","Pan",,,

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Amazon edit product info fiasco

I'm currently fuming over some muppet who altered a product listing on amazon from a book to a VHS tape for some bizarre reason. The reason I'm fuming isn't bizarre, I've now got to contact the customer and hope they respond to my email so I can find out if they actually realised it was a book or a video. As they are using a hotmail account I don't hold out much hope for them replying. So if I send it there's a 50% chance of it not being what the customer required.
Also, the really stupid thing is that as it is classed as a video by amazon, I only received £1.44 for it instead of the usual £2.27 I would have received for selling a penny book due to the exorbitant fees that amazon charge on videos in relation to books! So am even more tempted to just refund and then demand amazon remove any neg feedback I receive as a result of refunding.
Guess I'll call amazon in the morning and find out what they have to say in regard to it!

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

ebay or not to ebay

Well ebay is great in a lot of ways, though it's listing fees are often a bit crap, especially when it comes to enhancing listings with the gallery function, this extra fee can often more than double listing fees. As you can maybe see by the display in the right, images aren't usually shown, though if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you can see that almost all items that we have listed on ebay are shown with pictures, so mustt thank the guys at auctiva for that
Auctiva also is a great tool for multiple listings and is much easier than turbo lister, also providing an alternative store front to the ebay one. Have a look Here! The other advantage is that it allows you to schedule the listing of items. Though I must mention that I do find there service is slightly unstable and sometimes unavailable. But it's Free!
Also, I feel I must plug this book which is a great tool for anyone new to ebay as a buyer or seller with some really helpful and easily understood hints. We sold out of this quite quickly after ordering a small stock of them, but plenty more still on amazon!

Still Tinkering!

Well, now that the blog is up and running (well maybe not running yet, more sort of taking a few tentative steps). I'm probably going to mumble about a few things at random.

Books I suppose are the easiest subject, being surronded by thousands of them makes it a fairly logical thing, but which book?

Well Currently I'm reading a collection of Philip K. Dick stories "we can remember it for you wholesale". And the man was a stark raving genius! Absolutely mind-blowing ideas and he's an author that everyone should read at least one of his stories. So, I'm going to see if i can link to a couple of must haves for you!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Makes you wonder -

Sold a book today about cultivating cannabis. It started me thinking in a paranoid way, if amazon handed details over to the police at all, but that's just my latent paranoia. Anyway, am going to include a link to the book in question!

More from me in the near future about the wacky world of selling books!