Sunday, 11 May 2008

Tom Waits

(contains a pretty thorough biography)
"Here is a beautiful song performed by the great Tom Waits.
Thomas Alan Waits (born in 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice (a gravelly sound reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf, a booming, feral bark, or a strained, nearly shrieking falsetto), described by one critic as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months and then taken outside and run over with a car." With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock styles such as blues, jazz, and Vaudeville (he embraces a number of styles largely ignored in pop music, including primal blues, cabaret stylings, rumbas, theatrical approaches in the style of Kurt Weill, tango music, early country music and European folk music), and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. Waits has also worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including "The Fisher King", Bram Stoker's "Dracula", and "Short Cuts". He has been nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work.
Lyrically, Waits' songs are known for atmospheric portrayals of bizarre, seedy characters and places, although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters, despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best known to the general public in the form of cover versions by more visible artists — for example "Jersey Girl" performed by Bruce Springsteen, "Downtown Train" performed by Rod Stewart, and "Ol' '55" performed by the Eagles. Although Waits' albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries. He has been nominated for a number of major music awards, and has won Grammy Awards for two albums.
Enjoy Tom Waits' unique style!"

All the Italicised stuff is out of the sidebar of this video on Youtube. i didn't write it, but I agree with it.
And I like the images used as background to the music.

Maglev Train+Liquid Nitrogen Cooled Ceramic Magnet


Xulrunner.exe:- Tom Tom Update Borks My Satnav.

Yep.. Rashbre's right. "Xulrunner"
does sound like a scary robot...

Oh yes. Xulrunner.exe.
You see, I'd planned to be somewhere else right now. Where?
oh, never mind. Point is, I thought I'd hook my TomTom One gps/satnav up to the computer, make sure it was fully charged, and check out the route and how long it would take to get to my destination. Easy, ha?
This was at a little past midnight, by the way.
So of course, TomTom home starts up, looks for updates... downloads a gps quickfix, basically an update of satellite data, then it says... there is a new version of Tom Tom home... would you like to install it now?
Yes, I know, more savvy people, i can see you shaking your heads wisely and backing away from me, as if I have the plague. And you're right. Without writing my will, donning body armour, or taking any other sensible precautions, i hit that "yes" button. Fuckwit!
As you have, by now surmised, it did not go well.
As in. Computer froze.. processor working at 100%.
As in... Kill process. As in swear a lot.
Oh. A dialogue box. Xulrunner.exe failed to start with error -0, if problem persists please re-install from........
I did. Several times. I tried to restore my computer to an earlier date, everything. TomTom home is a vile, broken programme. It does not work. what's worse? it borked my TomTom one.
And all the attempts to get it to work?
well, my TomTom backups are gone. Just gone. The company's support pages are diabolical, a mess, and no help at all. So of course, I googled the problem. It seems there are a vast army of lost souls who have battled the same problem. "tomtom xulrunner" gets 1,580 hits.
And there have been problems for a long time.
Yet TomToms own helppages have no search results for Xulrunner.exe. I wonder why?
Their humans don't work weekends.
So I gave up a little before four this morning.
I've found no solutions. Turn off bluetooth, said one TomTom reply to one forum complaner. Well I have no Bluetooth enabled.
Since I got it?
A year ago?
Well when it works, it's great.
However. From new it had a habit of freezing. Turns out that's a common problem too. I'd got it almost how I wanted it. I'd got used to its quirky faults. Like the fact that although I live in northern England, if I choose in the help menus, nearest Police station, it thinks the nearest police station to me is 126 miles away, across the Irish Sea, in Northern Ireland. As is the nearest pharmacy. Yet it can tell me my nearest doctor is about 800 yards away, at the end of this road.
Its battery life away from a power source is poor. It is slow to locate satellites from start-up. It keeps telling me that reception is poor, am I in a building? Even in the open air.
Yes, I'm aware the TomTom one, regional is the cheapy, entry level device, it doesn't play youtube videos or store my entire music collection, it will not show me the latest blockbuster movies.
I just want it to navigate. That's all. And it did that pretty well until TomTom released a screwed up update of their computer interface. And screwed up my device.
Am I mad about it. Hell yes!
Be warned.

Don't Buy TomTom!!!!
Google them first. Find out what their users experience is. And how hard it is to get anything fixed.
If I end up ditching this damn thing you can be sure its replacement won't be from the same company.

Update. After a lot more hours, I've finally got it running. Gettingpast the xulrunner block lead to another brick wall.
removing all traces of tomtom from my computer, seeking out all those scattered files (like the ones in My Docs/user/documents/applications/etc... wiping every one. Reformatting the sd card in the device.... installing fron the original disk, oh, that was only the start of the battle, Of course, when I got it running, it could not see the internet, and refused to connect, then it couldn't access the device at all....
hours. Hours.
And no help from Tomtom, just lots of trawling other people's problems, mostly not directly compatible with mine, but a few helpful pointers. a lot of people quoted the answers given them by TT, which were often accompanied by outbursts of frustration, because those answers did not address the problem. Or they were the classics of any stumped helpdesker "have you tried turning it off, then back on again?" "Have you tried rebooting your computer?"
So yes. I did my installs in safe mode with everything not vital to my computer shut down. Even all the usb devices, printers, scanners, everything physically disconnected.
Only 'C' drive powered up...

Well done Tom Tom. This TomTom Home software rivals Sonyericsson's PC suite for the most bugfilled software I have ever struggled to coax into a semblance of usability.
It's so far from being ready for general use, I'm amazed the company survives.
Yes, I'll agree, TomTom devices, when they're working, are amongst the best. I hear that other makes continue working. Reliably.
And the next time you decide to release a new version, please keep earlier versions live, so at least there's the option of staying with one that works.
Shall I bill you for ten hours?