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The Other News From England.

26 Oct 1998.

We are currently redesigning The Other News From England. It will be somewhat sparse for some time yet, but as we now have the software to change printed text into typed text without typing it all in, the intenetion is to begin to publish some older stuff that was written as far back as 1990 (! pre-internet, almost) to give it more varied interest.

However, there are lots of articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below) and new articles attached hereto.

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

The Summer was a great diversion for everybody, but we hope these articles will continue soon.


There is a single cartoon on the site. The intention is that you will be able to download it, but I am still not quite sure how this is done. Presumably you just select `view source` and copy it.

If this can be made to work, I will then know how to make the sheet music accessible (some people have complained!), and if I get one email saying it has worked I`ll put some more there.

The problem is largely to do with file types. I have hundreds - maybe thousands - of cartoons, but the only program I have that will make them into a suitable file type keeps crashing.

One cartoon to look at.


I don`t know if the television companies count as a consumer subject, but thought you might be interested to know their response to an approach from a person I know who suggested a children`s story to them involving `alternative therapy`.

The response was that they must be responsible in the programs they put out (yes!) and that some of the children who watch might be very ill, and misled as to the potential of these therapies.

A good point one might think, but that doesn`t take into account the fact that television material can be so edited as to completely lose the writer`s original intention - quite possibly frequently is - and that therefore anything that might lead anybody to believe anything can be either inserted or taken out, accoding to the aspirations of the program editor, the station, the government of the day (was it Stalin who first realised the potential of the media?), or whoever happens to have control on that occasion.

It also doesn`t take into account the fact that some very big financial interests need `conventional medicine` to survive whether it works or not in order for them to be able to survive, and will be quite happy to see anything that might be cheap, simple and effective suppressed .

I don`t have a television, but on the rare occasions when I have been confronted with the sickly soup of hype that is children`s television my response has been along the lines of `fancy teaching children that unless you can be supertechnicolourloudandfast life ain`t worth living!`.

Surely something a little more like real life would be a good thing, even if `alternative therapies` are just as questionable as `conventional therapies`?


(This article held from last week, owing to another crash - I decided to load a program that didn`t like my machine and effectively wiped the whole system. Still, we`re back in business again.)

It all started with making a recording. The recording was one to send out as a demo tape to agents to get work playing in hotels and the like.

I will not go into the detail of how many days I spent overhauling the fifteen-year-old recording equipment I raked out of cupboards - in fact some was over twenty), but it did all work exceptionally well by the time I`d finished.

But I wanted to do the whole job well, so I decided to print proper labels for the cassette. It would mean struggling with a graphics programme for a bit, then learning how to use a label-printing programme, then borrowing Daisy`s new printer to print it out, and finally sticking the labels to the cassettes (ah -that was another thing. Where do you get C45s, preferably without any wrappers or sleeves, for very little money?).

I searched high and low for label-printing program and eventually found one. Everyone I had spoken to had said there were plenty of them about, but none of them offered me the chance to use their one.

Then there was the question of the printer. If I did them on my machine would they print on Daisy`s printer?

So whilst I was ordering cassette label blanks (yes, they don`t stock them except for laser printers!) I noticed that I could have a printer, scanner and fax machine all in one for about 300 pounds. I`m actually a bit short of money, but given that the idea was to maximise my chances of getting work I thought it probably a good idea to buy the machine - particularly as they had offered me a ten percent discount (see last week and above).

When I installed the machine in Windows 95 the LPT port would not find the printer, except once for about half an hour, so I spent a day or two trying to get it to work. It had some nice programs with it, and I wanted to try them out.

Towards the end of the second day, I decided that it might be a good idea to format the hard drive and start again, so I asked the machine to do that, but it replied that as a program was still running it would not co-operate. The program that was still running was the printer/scanner program, that had the grip of a bulldog - it was trying to find the printer and would not give up till it did. It was grabbing a large amount of memory too, so everything went rather slow.

An hour or so later, I decided to see what would happen if I tried the emergency startup disk (this machine had W95 pre-installed), because if it put back in whatever was missing from the printer`s point of view then everything would be OK.

The machine told me it couldn`t read the disk in drive A:. So whilst I at least had the a: prompt, I decided to type `format c:`, and as it was completely the wrong disk the machine finally formatted itself!

If only I had known before it would have been easy.

Now all I had to do was to take the dos disks and load up some dos followed by simple Windows 311.

But as the machine now had no operating system it wouldn`t accept the dos, because the dos was just an upgrade, so I had to go out and buy a set of non-upgrade dos disks, and finally I had some dos. Then I put in the Windows, followed by all the other programs I had wiped off the drive.

Now I have to learn all the new programs before I can print any labels.

Should be done by the end of the week.

The recordings were made on the 3rd. October!

That`s all for this week folks