Distinctly Black Country

Distinctly Black Country, a landscape history network “for understanding yesterday’s landscape today”.


Wadsworth’s “The Black Country” (1920)

Here’s my partial PDF assembly, from eBay pictures, of the Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth’s book “The Black Country” (1920). Introduction by Arnold Bennett, 20 black & white plates. Works originally made in 1919.



Joseph Cornell in London

The first Joseph Cornell show in thirty years, coming to London 4th July – 27th September 2015. Booking now, and probably quite likely to sell out fairly quickly.


Another Publisher-killing patch from Microsoft

Another crappy patch from Microsoft, meaning another four hours (11.10am-3pm) spent babysitting and fixing Microsoft’s problems. Microsoft Office Publisher refused to launch, presumably caused by the Microsoft Office 2013 update patch issued on Oct 14th. The problem has happened before after a MS patch, but this time Publisher refused to run in Safe mode, or even to be uninstalled.

So I had to use the official MS FixIt tool (an all-or-nothing “uninstall every Office application” tool) to uninstall it, which took my old Microsoft Office 2007 with it. I then rebooted, reinstalled Office 2007 from CD, re-downloaded 280Mb of service packs for Office 2007 (followed by a further 28 security updates), and finally spent an hour re-downloading Publisher 2013.

So in total I wasted over four hours, when I should have been working on putting a magazine together in Publisher. Thankfully there was no deadline to meet, in this instance.

Magnum Photos Symposium

Magnum Photos Symposium, Saturday 22nd November 2014 at the Library of Birmingham…

“designed to inspire, guide and advise emerging photographers [and is] aimed at photographers who are currently working on a long term, personal photographic project.” Tickets are competitive… “Applicants will be chosen on the strength of submitted proposals and the perceived benefit to the photographer’s career. Deadline: Noon, Friday 14th November 2014.”

Foggy morning


Black Country Echoes

On now: Black Country Echoes, a multi-venue festival at venues across the Black Country and into Wolverhampton. Includes a Symposium: the Black Country Landscape in Literature.

W1574-Version-2-2-300x229Black Country woodcut by Edward Wadsworth.

Pick up a tenner

Those running events or planning trips may like to know that the excellent BBC five-day weather forecast has today added a new 10-day option, complete with probability ratings.


Glug it down

Glug Birmingham, 12th November 2014, on character design and illustration.

It’s a typo

BIAD typography talks for designers, Birmingham.

Photography Oxford

The Photography Oxford Festival looks like it’s made a fine debut. Exhibitions pages.


BitTorrent Sync

Just bookmarking this here for easy future reference: BitTorrent Sync offers free ‘cloud file transfer without the cloud’, across all PCs and devices. It works by Bittorrent, so…

“Sync doesn’t store data in one central repository that can be tapped by the NSA and others.”

Wired article on Sync.


New file-dropping site, free, up to 5Gb per file: YDRay.

Flaws on flaws on flaws…

You couldn’t make it up. Microsoft Windows continues to turn into a total car-crash… “Microsoft reissues flawed Windows security update with new flaws”.


Kalev Leetaru has uploaded 2.6 million public-domain scanned pictures to Flickr, with automatic tagging. Now, if only the new Flickr was actually usable for anyone without superfast broadband…

Windows desktop replacements

Good to hear that Linux founder Linus Torvalds “Still wants the desktop” for Linux. I’m currently looking at Linux + WINE, and also the interesting reverse-engineered ‘open Windows’ ReactOS as future desktop OS replacements for Windows circa 2015.

Out of Bounds

Jon Bounds’s guide on how to avoid students in Birmingham, during those heady 21 days before their bank account is drained by iPads, rent advances, textbooks, their local Bargain Booze, and posting boxes of washing back home.

Two-year videogames production degree

A new two-year ‘intensive’ videogames production course, in Birmingham: B.Sc. degree in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).

Frothy coffees

Ah, London. The great coffee, the wi-fi so strong your coffee spoons vibrate with it. Or perhaps not…

“Why bother going to all that trouble to shield a coffee shop from Wi-Fi when pretty much the whole of London E1 and E2 postal codes have been successfully achieving exactly the same thing for the last few years through sheer apathy?”

The whole coffee shop concept is so ripe for re-invention, with the aid of technology, these days. And cats.

Pods in Brum

UK Podcasting Conference 2014 in Birmingham on Saturday 16th August 2014. Hotel La Tour, Albert Street, Birmingham city centre.