Christmas is almost upon us, and I nearly forgot to mention this year’s Child’s Play drive. For those unfamiliar, it is the gamers’ charity, started by Penny Arcade, which you can support by purchasing toys and videogames requested by participating children’s hospitals. Sadly the remaining items on the list for the UK’s Alder Hey Hospital are now unavailable, but might I suggest New Orleans as an alternative target for your generosity? Contributions so far have demolished the $1 million target, but that’s no reason to slow down.
You will by now have heard that Rage Against The Machine successfully won the close-fought chart battle to take the Christmas #1 spot. While it’s festive nature may be questionable, I must admit the news has left me feeling significantly more Christmassy than the alternative regurgitated ballad that I fear risks inducing narcolepsy and suicidal tendencies in equal measures (note: this is not an attack on Joe, who seems like a perfectly good singer and took defeat rather graciously in the end; it’s just an attack on the insipid song forced upon him). The real victory behind this is that it exposed many consumers to the wealth of legal music download services available beyond iTunes. Particularly since price comparisons were shown, it will have given many their first exposure to the great 7digital amongst others. Hopefully this will not only push people towards these services in general, but also make them savvy to shopping around rather than just lazily buying through iTunes.
And finally a few links gathering dust over the past couple of weeks:
- “Torrents and the TARDIS”: an article on BBC America closing the gap between UK and US airings of Doctor Who, and the resulting effect on viewership and illegal downloads.
- 61 Free Apps We’re Most Thankful For: Lifehacker compiles a grammatically questionable list from reader suggestions on the current best free software.
- Beat The Reaper is the debut novel from Josh Bazell, a thriller told by an ER doctor/hitman, which I picked up in a Borders book store, heaving with vulture-like people tearing the remaining carrion from its carcass. I quite like (and agree) with the Amazon reviewer who described it as a cross between The Sopranos, Scrubs and Quentin Tarantino. Meanwhile I stalled reading Chuck Klosterman’s collection of pop culture essays in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs because we fell out when he attempted to write a piece on Vanilla Sky without even mentioning Open Your Eyes.
- Rainmeter v1.1 is now available, a more user-friendly release of the great tool for desktop customisation with various meters and widgets. I’m currently running a modified version of the Enigma desktop. Sleek but certainly less minimalist than my desktop has been in the past, it offers a wealth of information as soon as I boot up including email, calendar notifications and the latest news.
And, of course, have a Merry Christmas. I’ll be working up until Christmas Eve so the holiday will likely take me by surprise. Hopefully not so much of a surprise that the snow prevents me from getting back to Croydon though.