Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sixteen, utterly fantastic, years.

Today is MJL's birthday. Sixteen years ago Anna and I were doing lots of things, starting with sleeping peacefully, and ending with sleeping fitfully. In between we did grinning insanely, shouting in pain, staring astonished, some more grinning, and lots, and lots, of hugging. We are stilling doing much the same, although not so 'compressed: you run through the steps first in just 24 hours, then you repeat them slower over the next sixteen years apparently.

As a 'product' I think that we have moulded well - he's strong and clever, vocally adept and adored by his friends. He can be lazy, but he can work like a Trojan (sic) and he's not uncomfortable on the eye ;-)

As a person, he is a self-made Man. What he has accomplished in sixteen years is a source of wonder and pride to me, and his entire family. He is entertaining and engaging, a little shy, but with a laugh that makes me join in just at the thought of it. He is clever and insightful, seldom moody, (he's not very good at it) and very, very funny.

It has been a delight and a privilege, thank you and happy birthday Marcus Jordan Lister Hollingsworth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gotta love Lego

I'm re-reading Archangel (just because I have nothing else I want to get started before Christmas!) and coincidentally, I'm playing Poker online, and one of the players has an image of Karl Marx as his Avatar.

Putting 'gim Karl Marx' into my excellent search-bar addin by YubNub.org resulted in a picture of a Lego Karl, and this eaqually excellent Lenin figurine.

It's the simple things that make me smile!

Friday, October 02, 2009

THATS why I'm going to be a Dad again!

Tonight, I'm very, VERY proud of Adam, Arthur, Lotte and Marcus. They played at their school tonight, supporting Rod Aldrige and Phil Hogg's presentation of the new Falmer Academy to prospective parents of next year's intake.

From the start, they were confident, accomplished, the words had meaning, and they gave their audience what they wanted.

Rod Aldridge on the other hand....

I believe the Children are our future(sic).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hornby 1991(ish) - 2009


18 years ago this month, Anna and I were settling into the evening in our new flat in south London. Suddenly, through the part-open window, in streaked a brown and black blur, scooting across the living room floor and disappearing into the Kitchen.

Upon entering the kitchen, we were more than a little surprised to observe a cat peering at us from inside the washing machine! A quick phonecall to the Martin (the previous tenent, landlord and mate) explained the weird goings-on -
Hornby (for 'twas his name) was used to waiting in the drum whilst his food was dished-up.

And so began Hornby's adoption of Ben and Anna. Throughout his 18 years with us (we STILL don't know when he was born) he has supplied the ammunition for many a good tail (sic) - for example, buy me a drink and ask about the first time he saw a Seagull - and has provided us with cuddles, scratches, bits of animals (he's seen a couple of Hamsters off too) and adorable photos.

We have been feeding him by hand for the past few days, and Anna and I said goodbye to him finally around midday : old age won, as it always does. As is the Family tradition, he will be laid to rest in his garden this evening.

Thank you Hornby - for everything. We love you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Your favorites on Flickr


I was trolling through my favourites on Flickr tonight, and I realised how little time I spent reviewing these. Watching them as a slideshow, with Speech Debelle (thank you once again Mercury Music Award!) playing in the background, I can honestly say I am proud of my selection.

Of course, the next step is to start reviewing your contacts favourites, or much creepier, the favourites of people who call one of YOUR pictures a favourite!

as an example, read these instructions once, then go back over them and do as they say....

1. click here to start playing The Model, by Kraftwerk.
2. watch Keith's Favourites list by clicking here.
3. See if you can spot my wife - Anna!

I'd like to point out that neither of us (to my knowledge) knows this man. Hmmmm...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Black Mirror / rorriM kcalB

Arcade Fire launched a fantastic site to support the release of 'Black Mirror', where you can mix the 6 tracks that constitute the song in its entirety. Drop all tracks except the Strings (6) and the treated vocals (5) for an ethereal backing to an equally well-matched video.

I wonder where remixers get their source tracks - they can't simply request tracks they'd like to play with, can they? If anyone knows of a scheme or perk whereby these guys get sent multitrack copies for remix purposes, drop me a line please!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More evidence that machines are becoming human...


Pipsqueak Star Unleashes Monster Flare: "The flare was first observed by the Russian-built Konus instrument on NASA’s Wind satellite in the early morning hours of April 25th. Less than two minutes later, Swift’s X-ray Telescope caught the flare and quickly slewed to point toward EV Lacertae. The flare was so bright, that when Swift tried to observe the star with its Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope it shut itself down for safety reasons."
Excellent! A satellite that blinks at the (a) Sun

Full article appears on the equally excellent thefutureofthings.com

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Note to self : Mausoleum

Note to self : If you haven't done anything about Project Mausoleum (the one Marcus and Dennis dreamed-up at the Toucan Inn, Tobago) by the time you read this again, GET OFF YOUR ARSE!

Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain (2001)


Perhaps because I watched the glorious Amelie tonight, I felt compelled to post. There are a number of subjects I'd like to cover this evening, so perhaps you would be good enough to take your seats, put any Chewing Gum in the bin, put fingers on lips and pay attention.

I have four sections ('Modules', if you will) :
Prologue: The 'Sideband' on how I came to be watching Amelie
1: Amelie (in brief)
2: Thoughts subsequent to the film (or more precisely, observations and the thought processes around them, as influenced by watching said film, such as why Anna still uses a Filofax when the iPhone does a much better job in every single area, the answer to which is, I suspect, that the iPhone still can't approach the Filofax for classy, and by extension; cool).
Epilogue: Disappear up my own arse, explaining why I'm writing a blog post about how I came to be writing a blog post

I the interests of terseness-less-ness, I have reviewed the modules in advance, in reverse order, and decided its not worth it.

Good night.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

siouxsie who?


siouxsie who?
Originally uploaded by benhollingsworth.
Although I love the metrics aspect of Last.fm, I find they raise more questions than they answer (possibly that's what Metrics are for).

So please answer the following questions:
1) have you heard of 'Boards of Canada'
2) have you heard of 'Siouxsie and the Banshees'

Now, I would have thought, in a straw-poll, and possibly based upon universally recognised measurements such as record sales etc, that the second question would have garnered more positives.

Looking at the plays and shouts shown on Last.fm however, one could postulate that despite the Record Companies protestations to the contrary, listening to music on the internet is a truer reflection of public consumption - and the bands that have been earning money from the 'traditional' distribution models have not been the bands that the public, money being no object, would actually have listened-to (and therefore made rich).

Or am I talking bollocks?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dominic Wilcox


I have recently discovered Dominic Wilcox - a London-based artist with some marvelously silly ideas beautifully executed. I'm sure Mario will appreciate this! Have a browse around some of his pieces in his very slick site.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pascal Schiphorst

Franc, Renate and Martijn have a new addition to their Family!Pascal Schiphorst seen here for the first time.

Love and hugs from the Hollingsworths, and I'm sure, all who know you.

big, BIG :-) xx

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jacko's Virtual boy


Jacko's Virtual boy
Originally uploaded by benhollingsworth.
Spotted among the vast collection of Arcade Machines that are being sold off by Michael Jackson. View the Arcade Catalog here

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gettin' all Techie

I have dipped my toe back into the water of Hardware this week, just a little, and I had to do some digging into some subjects that have been tickling my notice over the last few years. Of particular interest, I decided, was the rise of Hosted IT Infrastructures.
I believe in Co-location, don't get me wrong, co-location I like, but Hosting the whole she-bang? Nah, I feel a list coming on....

Why companies shouldn't be Hosting just yet



  • Wired magazine ran an article on Google's new enormous Datacentres and how they were built. When searching for a site for them, a key consideration was the price of electricity. cheaper electricity was worth Millions of dollars to Google.
    And what do we KNOW about 'getting what you pay for'? We know cheap means that something, however small, has probably been taken away to make it cheaper.
    I'm not talking about Bad Electricity, I'm talking about security, maintenance, choice of partners (Comms line companies, service engineers) and staff training, to name a few. These will all be compromised in the search for greater profits. Lets face it, a company considering hosting is NOT doing it for any other reason than to save money either, what makes them think those higher up the foodchain are working for any other reason? You want to save money so you exchange a little control over your own destiny for filthy lucre, disguised as savings.

  • What happens if you don't like the Hosting company you are with? Easy, you just turn up one day with a court order and a van, and you take your servers, routers, firewalls and tape drives away, and you plug them into the socket in the Kitchen at the office....job done.
    Except that's co-locating. You don't own the servers that your company conducts its business on if you go hosted. You don't own the software, or the backup tapes, or the IP addresses. Even if you did have a DR Backup, you'd have to assemble a replacement server and storage setup, and even then, you probably wouldn't have the passwords to restore it.

  • So if you want to move hosting companies, you have to do it when they still think you like them, because you are going to need their help, and a lot of it. And its not cheap.
    Large corporations can afford a few grand to have engineers on stand-by and backups ready to be biked from one end of the county to another and Fucking comms companies on stand-by in Mumbai but not in bloody London on a Sunday evening. It's only a teeny-tiny proportion of their annual worth, but to a small company, the same service has to be done during the week, in working hours, because otherwise it's too expensive. And because its during working hours, they lose productivity, and money.
    I bet hosting companies don't talk about THAT in their sales blurb.
    Christ, if we're not careful, we'll see Disaster Recovery companies resurrecting like Pheonix-leeches from the flames, with 'service offerings' including migrating your data from one Hoster to another, (a service which your insurance company will say you you have to have even thought they charge you higher premiums on indemnity and liability policies because you use an outside hoster...Gasp), but which nobody is ever brave enough to use.

Portacabins full of 20-somethings porn-surfing and nose-picking and having their mates over when the Security guard has sneaked upstairs to bed and getting stoned whilst porn-surfing some more......ahh, those were the days....

I'm sure there are more reasons, complaining about Hosting might even become a hobby....but I think I may put up some arguments too, like "Why don't you host your own Blog on your Own servers Ben..."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Music coming of age (still)


It seems music sharing is getting closer to my ideal month on month so I thought I'd do a round-up for future reference, and probably derision once Apple invents the iEar. Its not exhaustive, and there are many that have risen only to fall by the wayside (Pandora, Muxtape et al) but they are at least all usable. Most still rely on a single computer or mobile device to play (Pandora for example used to stream via Squeezebox) but that is only a matter of time....

So here it is, my username, where applicable is in (brackets) so feel free to contect with me on any of the services -

  • with the iPhone came Simplify. Share your music with your mobile device and up to 30 mates can reciprocate. Its slow but very cool

  • Songbeat is a neat package of seeqpod and other search engines with nice features such as Last.fm integration

  • Finetune.com has been around for a while and is great to use as a clever radio station It limits you to only 3 tracks per playlist from any particular artist, and has some peculiarities, but overall very useful (beejbaby)

  • Last.fm is smashing for both recording what you've been listening to, and also for suggesting alternative tracks and artists based on your play history. This is probably the most useful attribute as I love being introduced to new music and I have a fetish for cover versions - for example, have you heard 'our friends electric' as performed by An Pierlé ?! (beejbaby)

Spotify is my player of choice at the moment, it has a vast range of tracks that are expanding despite some scare stories of late, and used in conjunction with Last.fm it is pretty much the zenith at the moment. It's still in Beta, but email me if you want an invitation ;-)
I addition to simply playing music, you can create links for other Spotify users (here's one - Random, an album of Gary Numan covers!) which lends itself nicely to blog-type mashups, like this one where Afront has taken photos of his CD shelves and linked each album to the corresponding item in Spotify - Cool!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sounds of the future....


I have long enjoyed tinkering with my audio facilities (as many, not least Anna, will atest) and they have moved though a dizzying series of iterations...

I've had reel-to-reel tape (courtesy or Unit One Productions) when they cost thousands, I had Napster when people thought it was a Horse tip service. I've had Tablet PC's controlling bastardised laptops full of MP3's and I now control iTunes via my iPhone, and listen to friends music collections via Simplify.

One of aforementioned friends put me onto a wonderful looking bit of kit today that has me reaching for the Piggy Bank (nationalised) with the kind of fervor only a devout Futurologist can muster.

Popcorn Hour A-110. It even SOUNDS like a 1950's prediction of the future. It is in fact, getting close to what true Home Entertainment serving was conceived for (you can read a full review by CNET here). Thanks Nick (he runs a very select consultancy between 6pm and 11pm most nights at The Crown, in Shirley, near Croydon) for the tip.

But my ponderings on the heritage of this rather smashing (albeit ugly) bit of tech, led me to this article reproduced from an Associated Press article in, you guessed it, 1950.

Its a fairly ubiquitous piece, at least as far as we imagine articles in the 50's talking about the year 2000 to be, but it has some amazing predictions (listen, I've read LOTS of old SciFi, they feature HoverCars and Time Travel, but never the banning of cigarettes in pubs).
It predicts correctly :

  • The 3G Mobile Telephone

  • Spy-in-the-sky Satellites

  • iMax Cinema

The incorrect ones are as you would expect, much more prevalent. They can be categorised many ways:

  • Ecologically naive - the population of the world will be 300 Million (currently estimated to be 6,700 Million) and the complete purification of the atmosphere

  • Technologically naive - The demise of Radio as an entertainment medium, and of course, Airplane/Car hybrids.

But the best is the one trying to foresee the continuing emasculation of woman-kind, and I quote:
"By the year 2000, She [modern women-kind) will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver."
It all goes to show you, we are just amateurs at predicting what is round the corner, but while there continues to to be better and better ways of serving older and older music around my house, I'm glad we can keep guessing.