We all know that the economy is badly screwed. And this isn’t just some country-specific problem, it’s economic buggery on a global scale, thanks to the wonders of a joined-up international banking system run by people who thought they were a lot smarter than they actually were. “Gold rushes” always collapse eventually, it’s just that in this case the gold rush knew no national boundaries and when it ended, everyone is left with a hangover, even (or perhaps even especially) the people that didn’t benefit stratospherically from the good times.

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Microsoft Songsmith is a research project that generates accompanying music to a singer’s voice (and optionally instruments), presumably using the same approach a chromatic tuner uses to identify notes. Some genius decided to feed Radiohead’s classic song “Creep” into it, to see what it would do. This is the simultaneously horrifying and incredibly funny result: Jump to 1:55 for the ultimate effect. Oh, the humanity. Edit: click here for more musical attrocities.

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Allegedly, as reported by Yahoo, MTV intend on having 5000 tracks available in Rock Band by the close of 2009. That’s right, 5000. Surely they can’t be serious? (insert Airplane joke here). That’s a completely bonkers number - sure, they blew through the 500 mark ahead of schedule and are up around 600 now, but that would average 400 new tracks every month. I can’t help but conclude that this was a misquote, marketing bravado, or a mistake.

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I grabbed the demo of Resident Evil 5 last night and had a very quick go. I really enjoyed RE4 on the Gamecube in early 2005, and although I wasn’t desperately eager for RE5 I was still interested in how it turned out. I was surprised to find myself not finding it very much fun at all. There’s no doubt that it looks gorgeous, and from memory I’m pretty sure the ‘feel’ of it is pretty much identical to RE4, but somehow I just found it rather frustrating to play.

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Tempting fate

back Health

I think I’m going to think twice about blogging about positive progress on my back problems, because whenever I do it, I seem to have a small relapse the day after! I’m not a superstitious person, but it does seem to be a bit of a coincidence. Or, maybe it’s just that when things are starting to feel really good, I go a bit overboard and push it too much.

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Via TechCrunch, Steve Jobs’ first public presentation of the Mac on 24th Jan 1984. And the crowd goes wild 😉 I was 10 years old when this happened, and still using BBC Micros in school, so I guess I would have gone nuts over this too at the time, had I the chance to see one.

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It’s been a whole week since I discarded my office chair and switched to a stand-up desk so, I’m guessing some of you are wondering how it’s gone. Well, let’s start with the difficulties. Standing up for 8+ hours a day is tough on the feet, or at least on feet that have gotten used to taking it easy for most of the day - even with the odd break I’ve found my feet are extremely painful by the evening (those who work in retail are no doubt rolling their eyes by now and calling me a wuss).

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I’m a bit of a grump when it comes to a lot of the Web 2.0 startups of recent years. I still dislike Facebook - originally it was just an in-principle reaction based on their rather irritating child-CEO and his ability to attract vast amounts of investment based on a business plan made entirely of arm-waving and wet tissue paper, but now having used it for a while, I dislike it on its own merits.

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After Kaz Hirai’s interview yesterday (only one part of which I felt merited comment), Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg has returned fire. Can we stop this now please? Negative PR, just like negative political campaigning, just ends up making everyone look bad in the end. Let the products speak for themselves for goodness sakes.

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Sony’s PR machine has been rather contrite of late, after some really quite stellar gaffes a few years ago, but comments from Kaz Harai in an interview recently are a firm return to the ‘what in Gods name were you thinking?’ school of PR. Ignoring the fanboy-baiting predictions of who’s going to ‘win’ (given the expansions in the game industry, does anyone have to ‘win’?), the bit that got my attention was when he talked about the (many would say unnecessary) complexity of developing for the PS3:

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