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June 2006

Music... my iPod's Top 20

I was an early-ish adopter for the iPod, getting my 30Gb unit July 2003 as a present from my wife Jill after my Chartered Engineering interview. I came across some software that allows you to look at the most played artists since the iPod has been collecting data. What was interesting was that the final list had some groups I didn't expect there... (this data was originally collected in March 2006, but took a while because of the ISP fun and games).

The stats list the number of plays for each artist so far.

1. Marillion - 1426
Marillion coming top didn't surprise me, as I already knew that their last album "Marbles" topped my most played song's list. When I got the album at the start of 2004 I found it hard to stop playing it. Even now, I still hear new things when I listen. At some point I should split this into Marillion with Fish as lead singer and with Steve Hogarth. I suspect that the later material will dominate.

2. Simple Minds - 1032
I am surprised that Simple Minds came second here – I'd actually expected them to come further down. They were my favourite group in secondary school before I discovered Marillion, and the mental soundtrack I had of "New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84" helped me through GCSEs and A Levels. However, my listening to them declined over time. I'm guessing that their second place came because of "The Silver Box", a collection of demos and live performances combined with their legendary missing album "Our Secrets are the Same" which I got Christmas 2004 and played heavily. The recent album "Black & White 050505" has also been a favourite!

3. U2 - 722
Similar to Simple Minds, U2 were favourites from school and University. "The Unforgettable Fire", "Achtung Baby" and "War" have always been albums I've loved. I did expect a lower place though.

4. Faithless - 546
I first consciously hear Faithless when I was on the first holiday away with my now-wife. We were on the Greek Island of Zante, and the local bar was playing "We Come 1" repeatedly. I bought the single after that. Last year, for some reason, I realised that tracks like 'Insomnia', 'Reverence' and 'Salve Mea' were also by the same group, and I ended up buying several of the albums off iTunes. They've been played a fair bit since!

5. R.E.M. - 483
R.E.M. have always been a favourite since I heard 'Losing my Religion' when I was away on my pre-University year out working up in Cumbria. I'd expected them to come higher in the chart, as I've played their last two albums quite heavily. "Around the Sun" was awesome!

6. Pink Floyd - 423
I became a fan of Pink Floyd while I was at University – it was one of the things my first wife and I shared as a passion. We had used to joke that here we were in the 1990s, 20 years after here parents had been at University and we (students generally) were still listening to the same stuff! My only regret here was that we didn't get to the Earls Court concerts supporting "The Division Bell", as it looks unlikely that they'll tour again.

7. Goldfrapp - 384
A more recent addition to the collection. I first heard Goldfrapp when the TV was on in the background one Sunday, with the very slinky track 'Tiptoe' on in the background. A scan of the preview tracks on amazon.co.uk showed that this was actually a little different, but the rest of them were excellent too. I ordered both the CDs they'd released on the spot! The first album, Felt Mountain, reminds me of some 50s and 60s films on an epic scale and is very very different to the usual run of the mill. 'Black Cherry' is much closer to the widely played 'Supernature' album which recently topped the charts. All are worth a good listen.

8. The Cure - 312
The Cure are a band I've always had a love/hate relationship with. I've the 'best of' album, and one that I loved at secondary school 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me'. I tend to play them a lot when I'm in the mood.

9. Keane - 273
The track 'Everybody's Changing' sold me on Keane very quickly. The piano and change from the usual dirge that a lot of British rock was really refreshing. I was a bit concerned that their second album wouldn't match up, but the first few listens that I've had have been excellent!

10. Depeche Mode - 245
A big surprise here. I like Depeche Mode, but can only attribute their tenth position to the recent album sending me on a nostalgia trip! It'll be interesting to see if they are still here next time I look at this.

Just bubbling under....

11. Massive Attack - 222
12. Lloyd Cole - 190
13. Nine Inch Nails - 180
14. The Killers - 175
15. Remy Zero - 170
16. Manic Street Preachers - 168
Spartan Fidelity - 162
18. Moby - 148
The Modern - 145
20. New Order - 144

The Modern being there is a particular achievement, as they only have about 5 tracks at the moment. I can't wait for their first album!

Stag Do Madness!

Photos from Jon's Stag do are now up! The scary photo below is me (right) and him (left!)...

Just Married

Slow Updates

I'm pretty fed up with Pipex, my ISP, at the moment as they've changed something with their FTP servers (running on an NT box from the look of the responses in the command line) which has messed up my FTP access. I'm certain it's at their end because:

1) I've not changed anything (okay, this week, four weeks in, I did run the OS X security update).
2) I can access the other ISPs I use for BITS etc with the same packages (Cyberduck and Rapidweaver - I even dragged GoLive and Fetch back out)!
3) They had FTP system problems immediately at the point that the problem manifested, which one of the support emails hinted still existed.

I've done all the usual - toggling Active/Passive etc and switching the FTP module that Rapidweaver uses. The only way I can upload at the moment is by leaving the computer's security wide open while I do so. I'm hoping that the email exchange with support will resolve this soon enough...

I suppose it is worth saying that I do think, aside from this, that Pipex is doing a fine job otherwise!