What did Europe do to annoy Adobe? (And how can we fix it?)

Good news everyone! Adobe just made Creative Cloud the official replacement for Creative Suite, with all their new developments now exclusively going into their rental apps which, to be fair, are quite affordable compared with buying outright (at commercial rates, at least). And while I’m still trying to work out if I’m in any way whelmed by the new features (we’re mostly talking workflow tweaks and fixes for retina displays, as far as I can tell so far), at least the price is staying the same.

But about that price… It’s $49.99 (=£32.17 at today’s exchange rates) per month for the complete package in the US (best rate, assuming an annual commitment). In the UK, at £46.88 a month, that’s a 46% premium. Why?

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How much for an iPhone 5?

How much for an iPhone 5?

I put this together to compare the cost of buying an iPhone 5 on contract with the major UK networks with the cost of getting an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple and adding an equivalent SIM-only pay monthly service. (Note, I didn’t look at Pay As You Go, but 12 month contract SIM-only deals which seem to be the best value. Most of these are quoting special 12 month discounts, but as you can shop around for a new one after 12 months, I went ahead and assumed you could get the same price for a second year – you can always go somewhere else with an unlocked phone!)

Thanks to PC Pro who posted all the prices in a nice clear table first…

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Spiderman – in how many dimensions?

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is pretty good. Just not quite amazing, at least my wife and I both thought so, and it’s hard to say why. I loved the action, and the cast were very watchable, but a great film is all about the story and characters. 

The story’s not so different from the 2002 Tobey Maguire version. It’s the old frustrated boy meets mutant spider routine with the girl, family and supervillain thrown in. The rest is SPOILERS so stop reading if you’re determined to avoid them… Continue reading


The difference between pop singers and artists

Pop singers sing what’s popular. Artists redefine what’s popular.

Pop singers imitate. Artists originate.

Pop singers need to be consistently good. Artists must be, at least occasionally, surprisingly brilliant. Performance may vary.

People enjoy pop singers who meet expectations. People love artists who blow expectations apart.

It’s enough for a pop singer to do something you enjoyed another pop singer doing. An artist has to do something you believe only they could do. That is what defines them.

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Eurovision party cards

Every year at Eurovision we get together with a mixture fellow song contest geeks and bemused neighbours and friends who just like eating and drinking.

This year it was my turn to organise the sweepstake, so everyone has some sort of vested interest in every country, and I made these cards. I think they were meant to be like passports to start with, then I realised I wanted useful extras like facts about the artists (taken from the incredibly patchy biogs on the official Eurovision site). And I’ve made them to print on a home inkjet printer, without too much ink, so they don’t look much like passports in the end.

Feel free to rip them off! (Print pages 1-13, then do page 14 on the back of each one, cut and fold…)

What are we learning from the London riots?

What are we learning from the London riots?

I have no idea about the politics of this, and I don’t know who does. Sky News reporters seem fairly confident about presenting their opinions as facts, though, so I’m just going to go by what I can see on the TV.

Obviously this is serious and difficult stuff, especially as it’s something hard to understand and spreading. There’s a helicopter flying near my house in Bristol right now (and we had local riots earlier this year). It’s in extreme events when I think about how ridiculous we’ve made the world sometimes.

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Help! I like and loathe this record at the same time and I am confused

I don’t LOVE the Cher Lloyd debut single, but I do like it and it is stuck in my head. At least the chorus is, the verse is mostly forgettable and the song as a whole is so annoying that I want to shout at myself every time my brain wants to hum the chorus again, which it does a lot. It’s a recipe for madness.

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A church without mission is like a car without wheels

It can still have nice comfy seats and music, and be a good place for people to meet. It’ll have the advantage that people always know where it is!

It will have an engine which may seem a bit pointless. The car will rarely need to be filled up with fuel – so rarely that people may argue over whether being filled up is something which only needed to happen once or needs to be done on a regular basis. People probably won’t remember the last time you needed a refill unless you’re running the lights, music and windscreen wipers an awful lot.

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Pips go pop – most ridiculous BBC over-engineering ever, and it fails?


Apparently there used to be a joke at the BBC about how over funded everything was – “Where’s the stapler?” “Sorry, it’s his day off.”

Now Radio 4 listeners have been treated to a lengthy explanation about why there were no pips at 5pm the other day. They’re generated by a computer which failed. So did the backup computer. Engineers spent hours on the case and finally got everything back to normal by 8pm.

Does it say something about the BBC that no-one thought to avoid listener hassle and just use a recording of pips? I think I might have a BBC sound FX CD with them on somewhere. Or, hold on, there are at least a week’s worth (168) successful past pippings available on the hugely expensive “listen again” machinery, if they’re really stuck..???

No, our machine has died and those are the only official pips allowed, and we don’t want any fake pips “pipsgate” scandals, so we’ll interrupt the news to tell you about all this.

PS, sorry for not getting round to telling you that salad is potentially lethal until yesterday, we were really busy with stuff like this.