Monthly Archives: October, 2005

Express Scribe

If you ever need to transcribe audio recordings, I recommend Express Scribe, a lovely utility which is available for Mac and for Windows, and which is now free.

I set it to play back the audio at half-speed, and assigned a couple of global control keys to stop, start, and skip back 5 seconds. Then I could control the audio without ever leaving my wordprocessor and my rather poor typing could just about keep up with it. Very nice.

Stanley Park, Vancouver


A couple of days ago.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

I’ve just seen the new Wallace and Gromit film, and it’s wonderful stuff. If, like me, you are a fan of the early Aardman work but felt that Chicken Run wasn’t quite up to the mark, then fear not! The dynamic duo are back! It’s just as good as the shorts, probably even better, but this time in full feature-length. Jolly good fun and highly recommended.

Oh, and any Archers fans will find Mr Growbag’s voice strangely familiar…


Lost Sherlock Channels

I almost never use the Sherlock application that ships with Mac OS X, but if I find myself in a U.S. city wondering what movies are playing nearby, it is one of the easiest ways to find out.

I fired it up this evening and found that all the channels seemed to be missing. An empty window – even less inspiring than some of the movies on offer at the moment.

If this happens to you, go to ~/Library/Caches/Sherlock and delete what you find there, then empty the Trash. That fixed it for me. Elementary, my dear…. oh, never mind.

Spanish Laptops

Here’s a bit of nostalgia. Anyone remember Digital? How about the AltaVista search engine?

I was browsing through some of my old mail and came across a message from the dim recesses of January 1998. I had just tried the AltaVista translation service to convert a
Spanish review of a Digital laptop into English. It did some wonderful things like occasionally translating ‘desktop’ as ‘tablecloth’ and I thought the results were
quite charming. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Portable, Compact and Powerful. Digitalis HiNote Vp 575

“An equipment of high benefits that competes seriously
with those of tablecloth – by Abel Manto’n”

To the good thing one is accustomed immediately. Portable 575 HiNote VP
stand for casks is so powerful, that one week whole without igniting the
desktop computer can be happened nor remembering for anything him.

One is a cacharrito of 3.4 kilos of weight, with 2.16 gigas of hard disk and
one piece that combines in the same space the disquetera and the reader of

From the last name comes to him there bent to this machine of 765,000
pesetas in its standard configuration. The computer that we have proven bond
something more, because it included an extension of memory, happening of the
16 megas of the basic equipment to 32.

The memory difference, as already it has been written so many times, is
fundamental to shoot the yield. Unfortunately, the extensions of memory
accustom to being specific for each model and the prices notice it.

An equipment to taste.

Paltar to choose a portable one well is necessary to have precaution in
verifying how the tastes of user to three basic parameters adapt: the
keyboard, the screen and the mouse, that with the programs that run is

On the keyboard it is necessary to say that a little out of place have some
keys, mainly the one to suppress, the one of beginning and the one of aim.
Model proven had keyboard English, which always incomoda a little, but more
annoying is to have to look for key to erase, which it is where it is
without leaf return, and is an infrequent place. By the others, it is
written wonderfully.

The screen is irreprochable. 12.1 inches, active matrix and a fantastic
angle of view. Sure the graphical card, that has much to do, is a PCI of 128
bits (pure lujazo), of most efficient. It allows a resolution of until
1024×768 points, although doing a trick of panning. That is to say, it
creates a virtual screen that ‘ sale’ of the visible screen and moves on
this one when the leader of the mouse takes towards the ends. Recommendable
and the appropriate thing is to use the resolution of 800×600, with HD
color, that produces the best visual results, without trap nor cardboard.

Thought for the day

The great thing about getting older is that the percentage of the opposite sex that you find attractive is roughly proportional to your age.

The worst thing about getting older is that the percentage who find you attractive doesn’t quite work the same way…

Cambridge Blogs

My friend Geoff Jones has created a website of bloggers based in Cambridge, England at If you’re in our part of the world, go and find your friends and add yourself…

I’m not actually in our part of the world at present, having driven from Vancouver down to Seattle yesterday afternoon. The trees in B.C. are just starting to turn red and the colours will be just phenomenal in a couple of weeks’ time. A very nice part of the world.

Dear Frankie

Dear Franki poster
I’ve just seen a real gem of a film.

Dear Frankie is the story of a woman who has run away from a violent husband, taking her very young son, Frankie, with her. Frankie grows up writing letters to his ‘Da’, whom he believes to be an officer far away on a cargo ship , not knowing that his mother is actually reading the letters and writing the replies to protect him from the truth about his past.

Then one day, Frankie reads that his father’s ship is going to be arriving at the dock in a few days. His mother has to either tell him the truth, or find somebody who will pretend to be his father for a day or two. You can guess what happens. Ah, but can you?

This is Shona Auerbach’s first feature-length film, and what a way to start! Highly recommended.

Cillit Bang

Just how low will marketing people go?

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser