Random Sunday

So I’m still persevering with my zen experiment, even though I know that I’m definitely not an early-morning person. That’s one reason why the idea of the B-Society appeals to me.

Still, today has been quite productive so far as I take care of many things I’ve not paid much attention to in recent weeks.

Updated my LinkedIn profile, and the bio section here (forgot to do that following changes announced a few weeks ago). Managed to reduce my email inbox from over 1,000 unread items to less than 20 now. And no, not by just deleting everything.

I must admit that email in its current form will never again be a communication channel that will have my full attention. One reason is so much spam. Even with some pretty robust spam filters on my email server as well as protection enabled in Outlook, at least 70 percent of all email that makes it onto my computer is spam.

Who has time to go through it all looking for the odd email that isn’t spam? I did this morning and while I didn’t find any genuine email in there, I did encounter a couple of gems that are right up to the minute – two offers for iPhones at deep discounts. But I’ve now stopped doing that. And joined a new Facebook group called ‘declaring email bankruptcy.’

The other reason is that I’m finding it increasingly easier, pleasant and more effective to connect with people that I really need to, and want to do so, via other means. Those means range from Skype text to Twitter and Jaiku to Facebook. I’ll try out Pownce as soon as I can get hold of an invitation.

Channels like these, plus niche ones like MyRagan.com and the Melcrum Communicators Network, I do give a lot of attention to right now as that’s the place where I encounter like-minded people including many others I know, who are all doing the same.

What I’d really love to have is a single interface that lets me manage all these different channels on whatever device I want to use. As far as I know, there isn’t one. Yet.

Speaking of interfaces, I’m fed up with Windows Vista this morning.

Ever since I installed it on my Dell XPSGen5 desktop, it’s exhibited a behaviour that is totally baffling – now and again, at random moments, the computer will lock up as the hard drive light comes on and stays on for at least 30 seconds, often longer.

Perhaps ‘lock up’ isn’t the right phrase as the mouse works, I can click on things and widgets keep running. But nothing actually happens until that behaviour is over. And there’s nothing in any of the event logs about this.

I did find a thread on one of the Dell forums (thought I’d bookmarked it but can’t find it) that seemed to be in the area of this, but relating to something about a RAID setup and the Intel processor. I don’t have RAID set up on this PC so that can’t be it.

Anyone have any ideas? Although I still think that Windows Vista rocks (mostly), this is damned annoying. It didn’t do this on this PC when it was running Windows XP.

Nosmoking-largesign-thumbToday’s the day when the smoking ban in England comes into force so that the whole of the UK becomes a smoke-free zone, meaning you can’t smoke in any enclosed public space.

That means pubs and restaurants in addition to the places where smoking bans have been in force for a while (offices, airports, train stations, etc).

The difference now, though, is that it will be illegal to smoke in such places, not just voluntarily abide by a ban.

The government’s Smokefree England website has some great resources including MP3 files.

They call those MP3 files an audio book. Good initiative but it would have been much more effective if they’d been offered as podcasts, meaning RSS-enabled so you can subscribe to them rather than only manually download them. Get them on iTunes, too, for really wide distribution.

Missed a trick there, I’d say.

Free-princeAnd a final bit of my random Sunday is from my “Ostrich Head in The Sand Dept” and it concerns the music industry.

Today’s Mail on Sunday is giving away the latest album from Prince. Yes, giving it away – the complete album. You can’t buy it in the shops or get it online. Only from the Mail or if you go to a Prince concert.

Note a bit of clever buzz-building – you can’t actually get the album until July 15.

Naturally, some in the music industry are up in arms about this. A great quote from Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association:

[…] It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career. It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

I think it’s more an example of the collision on the way for record retailers if they maintain attitudes like that. Just look at the irrevocable changes already happening in the music industry.

Embrace the changes, Mr Quirk. Find a way to be part of this evolution. Or become irrelevant.

Ok, enough random. Back to enjoying Sunday!

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Chip Griffin

    I have seen similar Vista disk behavior on my Dell laptop. When I open task manager and look at disk performance, it appears to be related to the Desktop Search function — in other words, stuff on my hard drive is being indexed. I haven’t found a solution, though it doesn’t happen to me as often as it sounds like it may be happening to you.

  2. neville

    That’s very kind, pierro. Yes please!

    That’s interesting, Chip. I’m reasonably sure that the lockup tends to happen most when I’m active with Outlook. Maybe the live search function. Something to look into…

  3. neville

    Ok, Chip, time for some testing.

    What I’ve done is follow Microsoft’s own advice on how to disable Instant Search in Outlook. Let’s see if that makes any difference.

    If not, I may then try Scott Hanselman’s advice on disabling Windows Desktop Search entirely. That is a registry hack.

    Something else occurs to me. I use Copernic Desktop Search which carries out indexing. It’s an excellent utility. I’m not convinced even a jot that Copernic is the problem.

    But one thing at a time!

  4. David Burgess

    I just wanted to let you know that I have used linked in for several months and find that it isnt very useful. If people want to contect me to share ideas, they have to pay linked in therefore, they dont contact me. I want to contact someone and share an idea, I have to pay so I dont contact anyone. There is no news on anything…its just a static database….I dont see how it is possibly useful..

    Try http://www.congoo.com or facebook.com. Congoo.com has industry news too. My two cents.

  5. Chip Griffin

    Neville, if you have two desktop search search utilities active simultaneously, that could well be the cause of your problem. There was a period of time on a different system where I had Google Desktop Search and Microsoft’s live at the same time and they would frequently have contention issues.

    My current issues are infrequent enough that I haven’t spent a lot of time investigating, but if yours are more frequent I would definitely look at that potential conflict as a possible cause.

  6. neville

    Chip, I’ve discovered that I don’t have Windows Desktop Search installed at all. Nothing listed in Programs & Features, no files in Program Files. Nothing. Don’t even see anything in the registry.

    In any event, disabling Instant Search in Outlook doesn’t seem to have made any difference. So I am now considering Copernic as a potential culprit. Run the PC without it loaded for a while, see what happens.

  7. James Tyler

    You mention the B-society in the opening of this post. Just to let you and your readers know that there is a U.K. website now where you can register and learn about / pass on your thoughts on this important change in society.
    It’s http://www.b-society.co.uk


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