Mutter, up again today. I was working at home for most of the morning, waiting for my Superhub thingy to be delivered. Once it arrived, I went into work, just as the weather was starting to get a bit damp. It’s been a bit wet and windy since then, but apparently the weekend will be drier. Who knows, I might manage to get out with a camera…
Talking of cameras, here’s another picture from Porthcawl.
Quite some time ago, I upgraded to Virgin Media’s 50Mb internet service. Not so much because I need blindingly fast downloads – it’s more the relatively faster upload speed that comes as part of the deal. Faster uploads mean my backups to Crashplan work properly, and uploading photos to my various web thingies doesn’t take too long.
Anyway, a while ago, Virgin announced that they’d been doubling my speed. And recent test showed I was getting something like 80Mb/s, which is pretty damn fast, especially if you remember dial-up connections.
Since then, I’ve replaced my router, and I’ve now got a Virgin Superhub thingy instead of the old cable modem. I was quite impressed with the activation process for that. Last time I got a new modem, I had to speak to an actual person. This time it was all done automagically – call the free number, press 1 to confirm you’re calling from the number associated with the account in question, press 1 to confirm you’ve plugged everything in. A few minutes later, it was working. Nice.
And once I’d put it in modem mode, it was time for another test:
Fast or what?
Woo, hoo, etc. Apparently it’ll be going up to 120Mb/s before long, with the potential for more in the future.
And I know some Virgin customers don’t do as well as that – it seems to vary widely across the country. As far as I can see, the Gateshead bit of their network is pretty damn reliable.
 I’ve followed the advice of most technical people who have the Superhub thingy and put it into modem mode, rather than using its router and wireless functions
If you enjoyed the first two series of Sherlock as much as I did, you’ll probably like this little book. It’s presented as John Watson’s notes on each of the six stories seen so far, with sarcastic interjection from Sherlock Holmes. There are lovely exchanges of comments on sticky notes (well, not actual ones, they’re just printed on the pages), rude remarks about police officers, assorted documents and lots of other fun bits. These won’t mean very much at all if you haven’t seen the shows, but if you haven’t, you probably wouldn’t be inclined to pick up the book, so that doesn’t really matter, does it?
Along with the “scrapbook” elements are some more general articles on the creation and development of Sherlock, with comments from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, not to mention some material on previous versions of Sherlock Holmes on TV and film.
Oh, and Sherlock doesn’t think it’s any good at all. In a delicious note on the dust jacket, he says
Don’t buy this book. The author has transformed what should have been a series of lectures into a gross and tasteless entertainment.
Which should sound familiar to readers of the original stories. Nicely done, and a nice souvenir of the show, which is due to start filming again early next year.
Following on from The Middle Kingdom, the fourth volume in David Wingrove’s expanded Chung Kuo series takes the story further.
The hostility between the rulers (The Seven) and their Dispersionist opponents turns into a more open war. And we get the first hint (which I don’t recall from my previous readings of the books) that there might be more to the renegade Major Howard DeVore than just the vicious sadist he appears to be.
But what makes the series most interesting is that, leaving aside DeVore, who is a seriously nasty piece of work, neither side can be defined as wholly right or wholly wrong. While the Seven’s rule can be brutal, it does hold billions of people in a state of peace, and at least some of the individuals on their side are sincere, decent people, doing what they believe is best for everyone. And while the Disperstionists have a rather nasty and creative line in assassination, it’s easy to sympathises with the desire for change, development. Though even they are tied to the hierarchical ways of Chung Kuo, with its levels and ritualised politeness that often hides contempt and hatred.
At this stage, we’re beginning to see the development of characters who will play major roles in the future – children wise beyond the years of their parents who will become very important indeed. And cracks are beginning to show in the invented past. Will the true history of the world become more generally known? Will the war become more violent?
As I’ve said before, this series is seriously worth reading.