Important Messages, such as Service Disruption.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM UK time. We will try to give assistance to those people not living in the UK outside of those hours if possible.

We are closed for the Christmas holidays from the evening of Wednesday 20 December 2017 through to Tuesday 2 January 2018.

We would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year!

My Ansers to L's Survey!

Hi everyone!

L was reading some LiveJournal entries she wrote earlier on and it seems that she used to complete surveys. Please see her own blog on this site for details.

Anyway, she's handed me one of these surveys and wondered if I would like to complete it! I've tried to do as she does, giving more than a one word answer. If there are any more of these around, maybe on Facebook, I would love to complete them! I have tried to be very honest about the answers.

Enjoy reading if you would like to!

1. What curse word do you use the most?

I have never been a person for cursing in public, or even using any sware word or being impolite unless I am in very close company. However, if I am, probably the word "fuck" or "crap".

2. Do you own an iPod?
Oh def. In fact I own two. One is a first generation iPod Shuffle and the other is an iPod Nano, first or second gen, I can't remember which now. But iPod is a term which has become synonomous with portable media players, even if they are not. So I can say my favourite portable player is my iRiver H340. there is absolutely nothing, nothing, that will beat the qquality of that.

3. What person on your flist do you talk to the most?
I am going to refer to this as my Twitter or Facebook accounts. The answer is still the same. It is L!

4. What time is your alarm clock set to?
Because of the medication I am taking, I need to wake up quite naturally else I get a severe headache which lasts for some of the day. But sometimes that isn't possible, so it is set to anywhere between 4 and 7 AM.

5. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?
Yes I definitely do! Although I had better not name her as she might be reading! That wouldn't be good.

6. Do you remember where you were on 9/11/01?
Yes. We were getting ready to go on one of our holidays to Florida, and we heard the news on the TV. I was living in a house where the TV was switched on almost all day. But we had to get straight onto the travel agent to find out what would happen. We ended up travelling out there about two weeks later.

7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
Well I am blind, so I cannot take the picture and be sure it is completely accurate. But if I could, I would love to take pictures.

8. What was the last movie you watched?
"The Gathering Storm", about the life of Winston Churchill. We had a number of evenings where we watched quite a few movies and that was one of them. Just brilliant! The other one we watched that evening was "The King's Speech", again, magnificent. Other movies I like are Gigi, the King and I, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Top Hat, oh, hang on, you didn't ask me what my favourite movies are did you? Next question.

9. Do any of your friends have children?
Yes, they do.

10. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Probably, although I genuinely cannot remember when.

11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?
Yes, every day. I used to only get about 3 hours sleep a night and I used to be on the computer for the other hours of it. Now, that doesn't happen. I usually get between 6 to 8 hours.

12. What cd is currently in your cd player?
I don't generally listen to albums. I have music on my computer. In the last couple of weeks I've put together a really cool playlist which we get StationPlaylist to shuffle. It contains lots of 70's and 80's music. I think at the moment it lasts about 1500 minutes, but I am adding to it. We like it.

13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Definitely chocolate.

14. Has anyone told you a secret this week?
No I don't think so, although it has happened quite often.

15. When was the last time you had Starbucks?
I think it was when I went to the CSUN exhibition and conference a few years back. That's in America if you don't know.

16. Can you whistle?
No, definitely not. Don't ask me to.

17. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Her voice. I suppose that is natural since I cannot see at all. But she has to have a gorgeous voice for me to even think about that.

18. What are you looking forward to?
Are we talking about long-term? I would like some things in my life to become settled and well ordered. They are not at the moment. This year, I would like to get my own home to live in near to where L lives in South Wales. Ideally it would be in the same block of flats where she lives, and realistically that could happen.

19. Did you watch cartoons as a child?
Yes I did. I didn't like them all that much though. I preferred programs with more dialog in, but my older brother liked them, so we watched lots of cartoons.

20. Do you own any band t-shirts?
No, and I wouldn't be seen dead in a T-Shirt with a certain radio station name on it? God forbid! Just, goodness me.

21. What will you be doing in one hour?
Getting ready to produce our show "Down for Double", should be great!

22. Is anyone in love with you?
I am quite sure she is, yes. I certainly hope so anyway.

23. What was the last song you heard?
Little Eva, the Locomotion. I am planning a radio documentary for "The Music Machine" next week and that is featured.

24. Last time you cried?
A few weeks ago. It was a Saturday and something really bad had happened, it was just yuck.

25. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?
A laptop.

26. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
Er, no! God, ugh! Yuck! Do you get the idea! I hate the thought of them!

27. What’s the weather like?
Extremely sunny today. I went out this morning to do the shopping and it was just gorgeous!

28. Would you ever date a girl/guy covered in tattoos?
Not on your life!

29. What did you do before this?
I ate my tea and had a cigarette.

30. When is the last time you slept on the floor?
I cannot remember, probably when I was single about 18 years ago and didn't have a bed for a while.

31. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
Around 5 or 6 ideally, hopefully more than that.

32. Do you eat breakfast daily?
I didn't used to, but now L insists, so I do, and I am better for it.

33. Are your days fast-paced?
They can be, particularly if I need to be awake, have breakfast, travelling all over the country and finally crash at the end of it, yes, they can be.

34. What did you do last night?
Did a test run of Down for Double so we could get the technical aspects straightened out, they are not quite as I would like but they will need to do for now. Then, did some work on the website to see if I could get a bug tracking database in place. It was partially successful.

35. Do you use sarcasm?
Sometimes, I have done, I think most people do.

36. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
Too old Seriously, 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything.

37. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
My own, yes, I always try to improve.

38. Have you ever been to six flags?
No, I haven't, but I love love love theme parks, especially those in America. Americans have the best theme parks!

39. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex?
Definitely the opposite sex. I just find ladies far easier to talk to and always have. No, it's not that I want to date them all (grin), that is just how I am. Men are usually interested in some kind of sport, vehicles, etc, I am just not interested.

40. Do you like mustard?
Bring it on! Love it. Often when I eat in hotels, for example when I have steak for dinner, I have mustard all over it and the chips, lovely.

41. Do you sleep on your side?
Always. I cannot sleep on my back.

42. Do you watch the news?
Sometimes I listen to the news on the radio. I also follow the BBC breaking news on Twitter. I am not obsessive about it but I like to know what is going on. I think I have a good general knowledge overall and that is fuelled by listening to the news.

43. How did you get one of your scars?
Someone hit me over the head repeatedly. I can still feel the scar.

44. Who was the last person to make you mad?
Some stupid idiot last Sunday who should have known better. What a jerk! Someone with half a brain.

45. Do you like anybody?
Yes, I like lots of people and hopefully they like me. Sometimes, I think people just want to talk to me because they think I will help them out with some technological matter, that's often the way it works. But yes, I am fortunate, there are people who actually like me for being me.

46. What is the last thing you purchased?
Groceries this morning, some treats for us.

47. What side of the heart do you draw first?
I can't draw, period.

48. Can you dive without plugging your nose?
Yes, actually I can.

49. What color is your razor?
Black I think, I've recently got a new one.

50. What is your blood-type?
I don't know.

51. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
Well, I assume you mean in the physical sense, and if that is the case, it would be L!

52. What is a rumor someone has spread about you?
Well I have just come out of a marriage, and when that happens, there are always rumours spread about you, some of them inaccurate, and I think we'll just leave it at that.

53. How do you feel about carrots?
They're OK, I quite like them.

54. How many chairs at the dining room table?
There are three. I am so glad we have a dining room table here! I like eating at the table.

55. Which is the best Spice Girl?
Geri Halliwell, she is gorgeous!

56. Do you know what time it is?
7.11 PM.

57. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song?
Er, no, I don't, I am British through and through and I think that was an American show. If I lived in America, maybe I would.

58. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?
I am a very rational person, so I would probably stay calm and think about how I was going to get out.

59. What’s your favorite kind of gum?
I don't like gum. There is nothing worse than you trying to have a conversation with someone and they are chewing on gum, particularly a lady, it's not good.

60. T or F: All’s fair in love and war?
False.

61. Do you have a crush on anyone?
Yes, she's sitting here right beside me, chewing gum! Oh, hell, no, it's OK, she's eating something sensible. Thank goodness for that!

62. Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?
If I didn't know the meaning of a word, I wouldn't use it. Some people try to use words and they clearly don't know the meaning and they get all in a tangle.

63. Do you like to sleep?
Yes, although not in the day. If I do that, I feel I have wasted a good part of it.

64. Do you know which U.S. states; Canadian provinces don’t use Daylight Savings Time?
Um, nope.

65. Do you know the song Total Eclipse of the Heart?
Yes, I love it, particularly the Nikki French version.

66. Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang?
Not particularly. Get on with it. Next question.

67. What’s something you’ve always wanted?
At the moment I would settle for a really fast computer, say one with at least 8 GB of ram. Cannot think of anything beyond that right now.

68. Do you have hairy LEGS?
Very. Is this TMI or what?

69. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?
A lake, it's very very romantic sounding.

70. Do you wear a lot of black?
A reasonable amount.

71. Describe your hair:
Brown, and it's quite short.

72. Do you have Entomophobia?
Yes. I hate insects, especially ones that buzz. Very nasty.

73. Are you an adult?
I am, very much so.

74. Where is/are your best friend(s)?
Sitting beside me watching the Mary Poppins movie.

75. Do you have a tan?
No.

76. Are you a television addict?
No, I've been exposed to far too much TV and now I'm not interested.

77. Do you enjoy spending time with your mother?
We don't see each other that often, but everyone loves their mother and I do.

78. Are you a sugar freak?
Fairly.

79. Do you like orange juice?
Yes, I love it!

80. What sign are you?
Virgo.

The Envy of All I Survey!

Hi, Everyone.

Back in the days when my Livejournal was my constant companion, confidante and friend, and I read my Friends' page every day, I used to find surveys now and then. I would copy the survey, take out the filled in answers, substitute my own, and post it to my own LJ blog so that my own friends could do the survey if they wanted to.

I was looking over some old entries this afternoon, and I found a survey I had filled in last June. Obviously, my life is a lot different now to what it was then, it actually surprised me in how many ways I have moved forward and changed, so I decided to redo the survey, and see how many of my answers I had to change. The answer was, quite a few of them. So here, for your delectation, delight, and hopefully entertainment, is the survey. You should note, when I do these things I never just answer the question with a yes, no or a brief word or two. I try to fill out the answer and make it worth reading.

1. What curse word do you use the most?
I try not to curse now, well at least not in public. In private I swear more than I should, I suppose the word I say most is God which could be worse!

2. Do you own an iPod?
No, I don't. I have an IPhone, but if I had an IPod I would have to get into ITunes land, and after an earlier skirmish with it, which I lost dismaly, I am very wary of crossing swords with it again unless I have to!

3. What person on your flist do you talk to the most?
If that means my LJ friends' list it would have to be Brian Hartgen! It would be hard to avoid it, as we see each other almost every single day! Giggling!

4. What time is your alarm clock set to?
It usually isn't. With my body clock the way it is, I need to wake up naturally if I don't want mega trouble. Of course, if B needs to get up for work that's different, we get up in time for us to get breakfast and for me to pack his lunch in time for him to go to the station so it could be any time, the earliest ever has been 4:30 AM.

5. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?
Hmmm. Are we talking real grown-up kisses here? yes. His name was Steve. He had a horrible bristly moustache. He stuck his tongue halfway down my throat and I thought I was going to choke, or worse. ug!

6. Do you remember where you were on 9/11/01?
Yes. I was in bed with a Migraine, listening to a book on tape. My husband was about to take his guide dog for a run in the park. He came in and told me to turn the book off, and I thought he was throwing one of his not infrequent wobblers with me. He wasn't. He was telling me about 9/11. We had friends in Manhattan, and we called to see if they were ok, but we couldn't get through. It was like a slow motion nightmare.

7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
As I'm as blind as the proverbial bat, I guess I'll have to be in the picture, but I've always, always wanted to take pictures. I have masses of pictures on my phone, and on my computer, because I'm always handing my phone to people and saying, Could you snap this for me? I also want to make videos for youtube, but I won't do it unless I could do it properly.

8. What was the last movie you watched?
Basic Instinct, with Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, I only got to watch some of it, I've seen it before, it's very steamy but very good.

9. Do any of your friends have children?
Some of my Twitter friends do, but none of my really close ones.

10. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Yes. Sadly, it was a term levelled at me a lot when I was younger, and it's stuck, even though I know in my heart it is not the case. When you're told bad things about yourself, they stick, however many good, and kind, and amazing things people say. Like Viviene says in Pretty Woman, it's easier to believe the bad stuff.

11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?
Yes. I have taken a mild antidepressant for years, and it helps me to sleep. Without it I would very quickly become a gibbering wreck!

12. What cd is currently in your cd player?
I don't have a cd player. All my music is on my computer, but the album I last played was Leah Salonga's self-titled and brilliant album.

13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Definitely chocolate, although I can't get the kind I like in this country. Bawden's chocolate milk is the nectar of the Gods.

14. Has anyone told you a secret this week?
Curiosity killed the cat, you know. That's all the answer you'll get, nosy parker! Grin!

15. When was the last time you had Starbucks?
On a trip to London way back in the nineties. I can't even remember which year, late though, maybe ninety-nine. Can't say I've missed it. I hate cardboard cups!

16. Can you whistle?
Nope. Wish I could. My Mum can whistle like a nightingale, and I'm wildly envious!

17. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Oh, the voice. If he doesn't have a nice voice, forget it!

18. What are you looking forward to?
Meeting a certain person named Sherry Collette. I don't know when I'll meet her, but I know I will one day.

19. Did you watch cartoons as a child?
Of course. I didn't like them all that much though. I preferred programs with more dialog in, but my little brother was a cartoon freak, so we watched lots of cartoons.

20. Do you own any band t-shirts?
Nope. Nairn at all, not a one!

21. What will you be doing in one hour?
Getting ready to do Down for Double, I expect.

22. Is anyone in love with you?
If they're not, I'm in big big big, and I do mean big trouble!

23. What was the last song you heard?
Genesis, That's All.

24. Last time you cried?
Thursday evening, and it sure was a wowzer of a cry! I wonder I didn't wash us all away with my tears! Giggling.

25. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?
A laptop.

26. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
Hell to the no!

27. What’s the weather like?
Oh honestly, couldn't you think of something just a little more original? My favourite smell, favourite teddy bear, favourite candy, something? Well, as it happens, you're out of luck, because I haven't been out today, so I don't know, so there!

28. Would you ever date a girl/guy covered in tattoos?
That's a difficult one. Tatoos I can't see, so I wonder if I'd mind. I once went out with someone, middle-aged mind, who had an earring, and it put me off him a bit, I thought it was a bit posy. I think having to cover yourself in body art says something about the kind of person you are, and I think that kind of person wouldn't click with the kind of person I am, so let's call that a no, shall we?

29. What did you do before this?
I read old LJ entries, which is where I found all these silly questions! giggle.

30. When is the last time you slept on the floor?
That was at a student's party in the eighties. I was staying with my friend Clare who was at Aston Uni. We'd been to her friend's housewarming, and had a few drinkies, and crashed on sleeping bags in her friend's room. I woke up in the night, and her friend and a boy were making out in the bed. Talk about embarrassing!

31. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
At least six.

32. Do you eat breakfast daily?
Usually, unless I have a Migraine.

33. Are your days fast-paced?
No. I am a very laid back person, and if I take anything too fast I get stressed, which is when I get trouble.

34. What did you do last night?
Did a test run of Double, then I had to go to bed because my bones hurt, and I read Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott. Nothing terribly exciting, I'm afraid!

35. Do you use sarcasm?
I think everyone does from time to time. I try not to use it to be cruel though. I do use it to be funny at times though, or to make light of things which are stressing or upsetting me.

36. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
Oh, you just had to ask! Ok, forty-six, if you must know! Grin!

37. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
Now, this is the thing. Yes, I am, very. But I have noticed that I am growing increasingly dyslexic in my typing, often misplacing letters, and my spelling isn't as good as it was. I don't know if this is a symptom of my condition or what, but it worries me.

38. Have you ever been to six flags?
No. I do wish I had, it sounds such fun. I'd love to go to the Harry Potter theme park even more.

39. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex?
I think it's about equal. I have to be very careful sometimes with men, because in the past my friendliness has been taken for something stronger, but I treat everyone who I like the same. I have been told a lot that I am sometimes too intense and should be more reserved, and harsh experience has led me to try this, but I do not find it easy.

40. Do you like mustard?
Bring it on! Love it. But I like the French or American better than English.

41. Do you sleep on your side?
Always. I can't sleep on my back, it makes me feel suffocated.

42. Do you watch the news?
Never. I'm like the Ostrich in the old song. "oh peek-a-boo I can't see you, everything must be grand. Boo-kuh-pee, they can't see me, as long as I've got my head in the sand. Peek a boo, it may be true, there's something in what you've said. but we've got enough troubles in everyday life. I just bury my head." Sometimes I feel that getting through each day is enough. I leave the world to get on with itself. It may be daft, but it works for me.

43. How did you get one of your scars?
I had my appendix out, and believe me, I was glad to get rid of the little blighter!

44. Who was the last person to make you mad?
A person who should have known better. And boy they did make me screaming mad, and it is not often that I get screaming mad, but there, when someone I love is treated unjustly it does make me see shimmering scarlet. But it got dealt with, so it's all ok now.

45. Do you like anybody?
Yes, praise God! I like boatloads of people, I also love a lot of people, and I hate nobody. I really am a very blessed bear.

46. What is the last thing you purchased?
Groceries for the week. How utterly boring of me!

47. What side of the heart do you draw first?
I've never drawn a heart, so have absolutely no idea.

48. Can you dive without plugging your nose?
Yes, I can. If I plug my nose I feel panicky and out of control, so I never do it.

49. What color is your razor?
I don't have one.

50. What is your blood-type?
Do you know, I honestly have no idea, it's never something I've thought to ask. All the blood tests I've had I should know, but I don't. I'm pretty sure it's not rare though. I have a vague memory of doing blood types at school, and testing ourselves, and I think, I think it's A positive, but I couldn't swear to it.

51. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
This is a completely silly question! What kind of tie do you mean? A physical tie, emotional tie, what? Well, the answer would be the same! The only person I would ever consent to be tied to is B.

52. What is a rumor someone has spread about you?
Hmmm. A hard one to answer this because it's painful. I have twice now been the subject of hate campaigns, rumours and gossip. I will not dignify it by repeating the rumours here. All I will say is that some of the things said about me made me very sad, and some things and people I have lost I will never get back again. I think I heard it said once that a good name is more precious than the rarest jewel, and whoever said that is quite correct. If someone takes if from you it does not do them any good, and it hurts you forever.

53. How do you feel about carrots?
They're ok. I can eat them, but I wouldn't cross the street to save one from a ravening leopard!

54. How many chairs at the dining room table?
Three. Should actually be four, but the fourth one's doing duty as my dressing-table chair. A girl has to have somewhere to sit while she's fixing her face, now doesn't she, fair's fair!

55. Which is the best Spice Girl?
I hated the whole dang lot of them! But Mel C I can just about bear, if I had to. Oh, take them away, I don't want to think about them anymore! ug!

56. Do you know what time it is?
Two minutes past six in the evening.

57. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song?
The who in the what now? Um, seems not.

58. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?
Scream the place down!

59. What’s your favorite kind of gum?
Juicy fruit. Or anything fruity. Yummers!

60. T or F: All’s fair in love and war?
Complete and utter bullshit! Perfectly blithering, my dear!

61. Do you have a crush on anyone?
Yes, indeed and indeed! He's sitting right beside me. Eating pizza.

62. Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?
I would hope that if I didn't know the meaning of a word I wouldn't use it.

63. Do you like to sleep?
Oh yes. I could sleep for the whole world!

64. Do you know which U.S. states; Canadian provinces don’t use Daylight Savings Time?
Um, nope.

65. Do you know the song Total Eclipse of the Heart?
Yes, for my sins. Gosh, that really is a terrible song! Whoever told that woman she could sing... well, I won't go there.

66. Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang?
Only if you buy it for me, employ a chauffeur, and pay for tax, insurance and petrol! Oh, and respray it, bright yellow is a hidious colour!

67. What’s something you’ve always wanted?
An indoor swimming-pool of my very own. I'd love to be able to get up in the morning and just go for a dip.

68. Do you have hairy LEGS?
Nope. Another thing wherein fate has blessed me. Never have had. Think of the shaving and waxing I've avoided.

69. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?
A lake. I once swam in the ocean and a big wave turned me right over. Scary!

70. Do you wear a lot of black?
Yes, I do. It's slimming for the more opulently curvy.

71. Describe your hair:
Rich brown, shoulder length, wavy, silky.

72. Do you have Entomophobia?
Yes. I hate insects, especially ones that buzz. Very nasty.

73. Are you an adult?
I am, even though I think part of me never quite grew up.

74. Where is/are your best friend(s)?
Over at the other side of the room, washing his greasy mits!

75. Do you have a tan?
No. My skin is far too fair to let it out in the sun without massive amounts of gloop on it, which I hate the smell and feel of. I prefer to be pale and interesting.

76. Are you a television addict?
No, I have no television and never watch it at all.

77. Do you enjoy spending time with your mother?
Yes, I love her dearly and enjoy her company immensely.

78. Are you a sugar freak?
Yes, afraid so.

79. Do you like orange juice?
Yes, I love it!
80. What sign are you?
Scorpio.

And there you have it. Interesting little vignettes you get when you do these, don't you think? You might also be interested to learn that B is busily clicking beside me, engaged in filling his questions in, because I said I would not let him see the revised version unless he promised to do them! giggling here. Bribery and corruption is a wonderful thing! I'm hoping they'll appear on his blog before long.

Today has been a bit trying because of bone ache, but I have just had a very nice dinner, courtesy of our favourite Kebab house, and we're doing Down for Double on The Global Voice later, which should be aton of fun, so I wouldn't change places with anyone right now! Until next time, I will wish a very good night or good dday to one and all.

Book I am reading: The Edge by Dick Francis.

Things I am looking forward to: Down for Double later, a cold glass of wine, and, one sweet and distant day, the appearance of the mysterious Sherry Collette. Now who might she be? those who know me well will be able to guess. Everyone else can keep on wondering! Big grin!

Double the Fun!

Hi, Everyone.

What do you do when you get together with friends? Do you like to have a chat, a few laughs, maybe talk over the events of the week, and, of course, hear some great music? If so, please do join Brian Hartgen and myself, Lulu Wells, today at 20:00 UTC, 4 PM Eastern, 3 PM Central, 1 PM Pacific or 9 PM in the UK for our show Down for Double on The Global voice.

We will have all the things I just mentioned, plus our own particular brand of fun, and maybe a little bit of mayhem, who knows! Brian has a huge music library, so the music is sure to be great, and there is always plenty of room for your requests. To contact the show, please feel free to Email yourvoice@theglobalvoice.info or send a tweet to @lulu_bear.

We hope to see you later today and each Saturday, as we go Down for Double, only on The Global Voice.

Lulu Wells.

Double the Fun!

Hi, Everyone.

What do you do when you get together with friends? Do you like to have a chat, a few laughs, maybe talk over the events of the week, and, of course, hear some great music? If so, please do join Brian Hartgen and myself, Lulu Wells, today at 20:00 UTC, 4 PM Eastern, 3 PM Central, 1 PM Pacific or 9 PM in the UK for our show Down for Double on The Global voice.

We will have all the things I just mentioned, plus our own particular brand of fun, and maybe a little bit of mayhem, who knows! Brian has a huge music library, so the music is sure to be great, and there is always plenty of room for your requests. To contact the show, please feel free to Email yourvoice@theglobalvoice.info or send a tweet to @lulu_bear.

We hope to see you later today and each Saturday, as we go Down for Double, only on The Global Voice.

Lulu Wells.

A lengthy post, mainly technical and reminiscing

Hi everyone!

Well this promises to be a lengthy blog entry as quite a few things have happened, primarily technical, so if you stay with these ramblings until the end, thank you! Lets hope I can remember it all!

Let me pick up the news from last Saturday which was a Bank (Public) Holiday weekend here in the UK.

If I recall, L wasn't particularly well that day. We were due to test out some broadcasting ideas for our upcoming internet radio show, "Down for Double", but it didn't happen, but that's OK. So while L was sleeping for part of the day, I did some audio production for the following day's Music Machine show, and then I got involved with website development using Drupal.

For those who don't know, Drupal is a content management system which allows you to build websites. The more I learn about it, it makes me want to learn even more, if that makes sense. I know of a few CMS platforms, but the way you can develop websites using Drupal is excellent. I haven't seen any blogs for example delivered using alternative platforms where they have been truly integrated into a website, (or are as accessible to screen-readers), as Drupal allows you to do and I hope this website is a true testimony to that.

Getting back to last Saturday, I wanted to find out how I could place access (or shortcut) keys on some of the links on the main menu of our site and I got that done. That, for some unknown reason, lead to me discovering how to ensure that a person (if signed into Facebook) could "Like" a specific page.

The site we have and blogs are, I think, pretty good at the moment. But I want soon to experiment with alternative visual themes.

We spent some of Sunday playing some iPhone games including one which L introduced me to called "SmackMe". This is cool and is like the game "Bop-It" which some people may remember. Essentially you are given gestures that you have to copy. The more levels you work through, the faster the game gets.

That made me think about other computer games like Troopanum and Grizzly Gulch, the latter produced by Bavisoft. I went searching, and they not only still have the game on the site which you can purchase (compatible with Windows7), but my old review I produced about 12 years ago in audio format is still downloadable! I tweeted out the link and before long some of us were sharing memories of old computer games we used to play, particularly Grizzly. In fact, L has just ordered Grizzly again for us from Computer Room Services. It hasn't arrived as yet but we look forward to it doing so!

That, in turn, made me think of other audio articles I used to produce for Infotech and Main Menu on ACB Radio. I particularly have fond memories of helping to produce an article for Main Menu's first birthday. It was an article reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of JAWS and Window-Eyes screen-readers. I think it was a 3 hour programme! I wonder what the results of such a comparison would be like now! Anyway, good memories.

Sunday was also the day when I published my blog entry, "A Review of Mushroom Escape", and it is interesting that my little blog gets so many readers, (smile). Anyway, credit where credit is due, within about 24 hours, some of the suggestions I had made were implemented on the site. Thanks to all those who retweeted the publication of that blog post, particularly saying that you agree with the fact that the schedule should be in the user's own time zone. That isn't in place yet, but as a substitute they do have a clock which shows the current time in US Eastern, so you have a chance of working out what should be broadcasting relative to your time zone. That helps. They have also provided links to Wikipedia articles of drama and comedy being broadcast, together with some brief show details, a mailing list for discussion of output and the times throughout the whole of each day when shows are broadcast. So, all in all, more than a good step forward I would say.

Monday evening was absolutely wonderful. We had a relaxing evening, listening to 70's and 80's music, sharing memories (particularly of Eurovision), chatting, having drinks, it was a great evening to finish the Bank Holiday!

Apart from work this week, some of my evenings have been occupied by developing the new set of JAWS scripts for StationPlaylist Studio, the broadcasting software we use. It really is about time we had a new release with new features and an upcoming release of Studio in the future has "kick started" me into this.

I won't discuss the new features here. Sometimes, when you develop script files for an application, some features do not work out in testing as you would expect them to and may be withdrawn, and anyway the discussion of them will make for another blog post. But I can mention a few things.
1. I've been working with Jeff Bishop who is the author of the Window-Eyes scripts. It is an absolute pleasure working with him, and it is good to have someone to collaborate with and to share ideas. The implementation of the Window-Eyes scripts will not be exactly the same as those for JAWS in design, they can't be for various reasons. But the concepts pretty much are the same so noone should be disadvantaged. I think people will be pleased with both sets of scripts.
2. I have spent a lot of time cleaning up the documentation accompanying the scripts, improving it and adding descriptions of the new features. Rather than a Word document, it is going to be HTML, so a lot of time has been spent making the HTML nice and clean. Given I am very fond of bulleted and numbered lists this took some time to do. So the User Guide will be available as part of the product but also directly viewable on the website.
3. I've created a form for people to submit Technical Support issues as and when they arise, where questions can be answered to give me the kind of information I would want to know when assisting someone who wanted to report a problem.
4. I've brought the internet update facility back, so I can be a lot more responsive to fixes which are required together with new features to add.

When the time is right, I'll need to set up a beta testing programme for these scripts and I want also to investigate implementing a bug tracking database so users can submit bugs and I can log the progress of them. So that is for the future. It all takes time and a lot of work, but I will get there. I've been developing these scripts for 3 years now and it is good that they keep improving.

Well, L's show, "The Bear's Lair", is about to hit the air so I will tune into that now. I am looking forward to tomorrow as L and I will be bringing back the show "Down for Double" on The Global Voice, a show where we get together, play some music and have some lively chat. We are both looking forward to that.

Have a good week everyone!

Come Over to The Bear's Lair!

Hi, Everyone.

I'd like to invite you for your regular weekly visit to The Bear's Lair, starting today at 1300 UTC, 9 AM Eastern, 8 AM Central, 6 AM Pacific or 2 PM in the UK. Sit down on my big squashy sofa, let us give you your favourite drink, and prepare for two hours of friendly chat, fun and, of course, fantastic music.

This week, we're going on our travels in the Crank it Up corner, and we have a very dreamy Love Zone for you, as well as lots of other great tunage, and plenty of room for your requests.

If you would like to contact the show, please Email yourvoice@theglobalvoice.info or send a tweet to @lulu_bear. I look forward to your company very soon, and in the meantime, have a great day.

Technical Support for StationPlaylist Studio JAWS Scripts

If you require Technical Support for the StationPlaylist scripts for JAWS, please complete all fields on this form. The more information you can give, the stronger the likelihood of a bug in the scripts being fixed and made available to you via the Internet Update facility.

Important notice of future SPL Studio script development

Hi everyone!

I am in the early stages of development of the next set of JAWS scripts for StationPlaylist Studio. This will be an extensive project as much of the internal code will be rewritten and much of the older code deleted. In addition, the documentation will be changed and updated.

Because of the significant changes to be made, this is a very good time to ask for any new features or improvements you would like to see in the scripts. For example, I am quite keen to do some work this time around on the area of title streaming. I would like to see the ability to enable or disable this with keystrokes for all four possible options in this regard and, (if required), the ability to be automatically reminded if title streaming is enabled when you launch Studio for the first time. But any suggestions for improvement are welcome. If you have submitted something before, please send it again.

I am keen to hear from as many of you as possible at this point, so please feel free to send any suggestions to jaws@hartgen.org
Also feel free to pass this announcement onto anyone you feel may benefit.

I cannot guarantee to include all suggestions. The creation of the scripts has always been a free project and so I commit whatever time to it I can. But I will do my best to include what you send in as I always have.

When I have suggestions for new features, I will communicate them to Jeff Bishop, so we can ensure that Window-Eyes and JAWS users have the same advantages.

Thanks for reading!

A Review of Mushroom Escape

Last Sunday, the radio station Mushroom Escape was born. This was a culmination of a weekend-long festival of entertainment which ironically some of us were trying to escape from! But I am being facecious. There arre reasons why I would quite like Mushroom Escape to do well, so lets stay with that theme.

Mushroom Escape is a radio channel which streams a variety of classic comedy and drama. Its website at
www.mushroomfm.com/escape
informs the reader that the world of radio comedy and drama is vast, (which it is), and that they will bring this wonderful world to you seven days a week in a way which will keep you coming back for more. Downloads are not available on the site.

Their differences are that the schedule is planned by hand rather than an automated random selection, meaning regularly scheduled episodes of series are broadcast at the same time every week. This is important because that is what used to happen on the radio so it gives a nostalgic feel to it. In addition, they do not just focus upon American comedy and drama. A good percentage of it comes from Britain and Australia.

L and I were "brought up" on drama from the 70's and 80's especially, and for my own enjoyment and use I remember recording over ten years worth of plays continually. So I can see a lot of value in this both for those of us who are old enough to remember some of these classics and so as to introduce the subject to younger listeners. I have visited the BBC drama studios and talked to producers and actors. I used to attend recordings of The Archers at Pebblemill in Birmingham. I used to sit in the audience of radio comedy recordings. I also have really enjoyed comedy and drama from the 60's and before.

So after a week of broadcasting, what is the station like? Because of my love of the subject I had to find out.

The door to Mushroom Escape is a page on the Mushroom FM site. All the information about it (including its schedule) can be found on the same page together with a link to listen to it. The station is being slowly included into many internet radio directories including those for mobile devices.

If you live in a country and time zone other than the East coast of America, you have to do a lot of mental gymnastics to find out what time your favourite show will be aired. The way Escape works is that they have a four hour block per day which is repeated. This block starts at 6 PM Eastern and rotates. So, I am in England. It's lunch time (12 PM). I have to first work out the time difference (we are five hours ahead of Eastern) Then I have to work out from the schedule which show should be playing. This isn't as easy as it sounds, as the site only gives the initial block from 6 to 10 PM Eastern, and doesn't let us see the whole 24 hour period. By the time you've worked that all out it is probably time to give up. Are we really saying that there isn't the technology as yet to display the schedule in a user's time zone? What is so marvellous about US Eastern?

As a potential listener, the other difficulty I have is determining details of the programme episode I will be tuning into. For example, they are streaming Paul Temple dramas. Now I have heard plenty of Paul Temple drama going right back to the late 30's. I know about this man and this drama! So I am keen to find out which story they are running. I cannot. It just says "Paul Temple" - no drama title, no episode number, no synopsis. If the drama on this station is carefully planned then we ought to be able to see what we can potentially listen to.

I see a lot of tweets and Facebook posts about how much people enjoy drama, so I am certain this station will be a winner and has a lot going for it. If they could just make it a bit easier to find out what we could listen to, that would be a help. In addition, there are two more things which would add value.

First, some people would want to read some background on the drama. For example, Mushroom Escape introduced me the other day to the Lux Radio Theater. I wanted to learn more about it so I looked them up on Wikipedia. It might be nice to have links to Wikipedia articles of the dramas for background reading.

Mushroom FM is a station which seems to pride itself on listener interaction. So why not build on that? Why not create a Twitter account or blog where people can post comments. Maybe get some discussion going about the station's output. People could share their memories and thoughts about other dramas they would like to hear.

So in summary, I think the concept of the station is good but it needs a lot more power behind it at the moment. But it is early days to be fair. Lets watch and wait. Dramatic suspense?

The Music Machine is looking for your memories of 1979!

Hi Everyone!

This Sunday at 16:00 UTC, 5 PM UK, 12 PM Eastern on the Global Voice, we have the first in a number of special Music Machine shows coming your way.

If you enjoy the music of the 1970's, you are in for a real treat. I'll be playing some of the best sounds from that wonderful musical decade, and I'll be diving back into my vinyl record collection to get out some of the more unusual songs too that are hard to find! Your requests for your favourite 70's songs would be very welcome, more about that in a moment.

But for the second hour of the programme, we go back to 1979, I'll explain why during the show. I'll be playing some of the best hits from the year and telling you about the singles chart too. You'll also hear about the news events of the year. But I won't just tell you about them, I'll take you there, back to 1979. You'll hear audio archives of the news and other key events of the time so you can find out what it was really like!

Your memories of 1979 would be fantastic to hear about. Were you at college during the year? Were you perhaps starting your first job? Did you meet someone special? What about the music of 79, which songs in particular do you remember? Do you have any favourites?

Do please let me know your 1979 memories by writing to brian@TheGlobalVoice.Info or by sending tweets to @brianhartgen.
It would be wonderful to hear from you!

I cannot wait to be with you this Sunday only on the Global Voice with our sensational 70's show!

Pages

Subscribe to HARTGEN CONSULTANCY RSS