The Smith's Journal - April 2010

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Office renovation

Tags: Computers, Pro

At long last I've been renovating my computer room, in order to make it a more productive environment conducive to actual work. I bought a cool new desk second-hand from Anthony's Furniture in Stotfold. It is quite unique and has keyboard and mouse shelves which slide away when not in use, as well as integrated in+out trays for letters. I also got a nice dark blue Bisley cupboard to store all my files and 9000+ photos. It's taken a while installing my computer and re-routing cables, but I finally have a nice ergonomic setup. My old computer will be kept in my Deep Beige cabinet, solely for backups and burning CDs.

I've always loved interior design, and a good office should blend form and function, aesthetics and high tech. Once the filing is fully organised, we hope this will streamline my affairs, giving more time to keep on top of things like my music and website work for instance. And of course, all of our systems are powered by lovely Free Software... :-)

Get Linux"We are using Linux daily to UP our productivity - so UP yours!"
- (Adapted from Pat Paulsen by Joe Sloan), seen on /. 2010-03-22


Our Silent Skies

Tags: Eco

Wow, all UK air travel is grounded due to an Icelandic volcano spewing ash clouds into the atmosphere! Is this somehow their revenge for the Icelandic/English Banking Crisis? Damn these sons of Vikings! ;-)

YIPPEE! I'm gonna try and go on a dawn chorus recording mission while it's nice and quiet... :-)


Dawn Chorus

Tags: Studio, Eco

In homage to John Cage, I got up at 4:33am and took my DAT recorder and fluffy mic out for a walk to the woods to capture the dawn chorus, making the most of the silent skies. I'd intended to go yesterday morning, but slept in :-( Luckily, Air Traffic Control were still worried and extended the ban on flights until at least Sunday, so I had another chance to record the dawn chorus...! :-)

YAY! Mother Nature speaks out against our Tech-No-Logical Age of folly... with volcanoes, no less! She is obviously keen that I should get out there and show people what lovely peaceful sounds we are missing out on...

The birds had already woken up by the time I got out there at 5am, and sadly so had some road traffic, despite it still being dark (the sun rose at 5:58am). I had hoped to capture some sounds of running water in the stream before the birds started singing, but having had no rain at all recently, the stream was empty and no water flowed. But I didn't mind this, since the weather conditions were otherwise almost perfect: no wind whatsoever and a perfectly clear sky (no doubt mocking all those stranded air travellers).

I left my recorder gathering birdsong in the woods and strolled around, then came back and moved it to other locations and out in a field by a busily chirping hedgerow. Out of 26'00" of recordings, I only managed to get three two-minute sections where there is no traffic noise, but that is good going in our overcrowded South-East of England! [I may post sound clips here soon. Until then, someone else did the same...] It's amazing just what a difference it makes walking around outside without the droning noise of traffic and aeroplanes we've unconsciously grown used to without realising the negative effect it has on our state of mind. In this calmer world, you can hear every tiny sonic detail. It puts you back into a deeper state of restfulness that we've forgotten how to reach nowadays. I'm going to start a New Religion whereby on one day of the week all motorised travel is banned (apart from emergency vehicles). Instead, people will just enjoy the peace and tranquility of walking and cycling and appreciating nature. We can call it "Sunday"... :-)

[ Benington Lordship moat and gatehouse folly ]Benington Lordship

Tags: Places

Later on, while visiting a friend for a jam session, Lorna and I looked round the splendid ornamental gardens at Benington Lordship, a large manor house on the site of a ruined Norman castle keep, remains of which resemble a curious grotto behind a convincingly 'authentic' castle gatehouse folly built onto the side of the house in the 1830's.

>>> More photos...

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2010-01-02 - last updated 2011-05-23