Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We won't give a fig

Some poor sod wrote to Micro Mart last week describing his doomed attempts to get Puppy Linux to work on a PC with a dialup connection. Sure enough, this week two Linuxbots have written in lambasting him for actually trying to do anything useful with Linux.

I dislike Microsoft as much as anyone, and continue to test new versions of Linux as they appear in the hope that one day I'll find one that's usable. But I don't believe that lying about Linux' shortcomings will achieve anything.

I won't stop buying Micro Mart every couple of weeks or so either. It has its shortcomings - it prints a lot of filler (I haven't seen so many stock photos since I used to read the Methodist Recorder), and one of its columnists once boasted frighteningly about how he enforced his will on his children 'with an iron fist'.

But in other respects it's the closest you can get these days to the can-do spirit of the computer magazines of the early 80s. And it's only £2.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I've spent the last few evenings improving on a Radio 4 adaptation of Diary of a Nobody from 2005 or thereabouts. Carrie Pooter had been rewritten as a shrewish sitcom character, and worse still she was played by Annette Badland. It couldn't have been worse if she'd kept shouting 'I'm shaking my arse and farting' like she did on New Who.

So I cut out all her smart-arse remarks, with the ironic exception of one passage where she asks 'Have you been listening to a word I've said?'

This alone left the production at least 15 minutes shorter.

I also had to go through the Burwin-Fosselton episode and take out most of his lines, because he'd been rewritten from a pompous, pretentious arse to an appalling gay stereotype who even Russell T Davies would have found a bit anachronistic.

I did however keep in one bit that the adaptor had added, where Pooter finally loses it with B-F and lays down the law over some fish knives. Unlike many of the other changes, it was in character for Pooter and it worked.

I should also say that the voice they'd chosen for Lupin was perfect. Some of his scenes had been rewritten to characterise him as a spoilt teenager - out they went - but even they couldn't spoil it.

There was also a fairly amusing running gag about the trains passing the house, culminating in this exchange:

Pooter: Ah, the ten-to-ten to Tenterden.
Lupin: But that's in Kent. We're on the Midland and Northern.
Pooter: The experimental routing

One change I couldn't undo was the mysterious renaming of 'Jackson Freres' champagne to 'Frere Brothers'. Wtf?

I was however able to change all the American dates - 'October twentieth' - to appropriate British style - 'October the twentieth' - by copying Pooter saying 'the' and pasting it in where appropriate.

I managed a partial salvage job on Hardfur Huttle. In the adaptation he's merely a name whose card Lupin gives to his father, and I couldn't alter that, but he's also just a frontman for an American businessman. In the original of course he is the American businessman, which is why he has an amusing American-style name. I don't understand why this change was made, or why they didn't at least give him an appropriate British name.

Finally, Mr Crowbillon was referred to throughout as 'Mr Crowbillion'. I had a good go at cutting out the superfluous 'li' in each reference and turning him back to Mr Crowbillon.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to paint the backs of our Shakespeare, and an old pair of boots.