Friday, 4 May 2012

One long tiring day...but did I really achieve much?

For the third day in a row, I've been ticking off a plethora of little jobs at home. These are all indoor things. Just as well - the weather outside has been uninviting, or frankly cold and damp, and there has been no point going anywhere. But I will go out tomorrow, just to get some fresh air.

So what did I do today?

Unresolved post-GRC identity issue
You may recall that the new birth certificates created a problem, in that they showed me as Lucy D--- (i.e. my father's surname) instead of Lucy Melford. So how would I manage if required to show my new birth certificate to anyone in the future? In connection with insurance, or a visa application, say. The person seeing Lucy D--- on the birth certificate would want to know how I became Lucy Melford. Obviously I wouldn't want to demonstrate the link by showing my original 1952 birth certificate (born as J--- D---), and the 2009 Deed Poll (proving that J--- D---- became Lucy Melford).

The best suggestion I've heard so far is to make a Statutory Declaration to link Lucy D--- directly with Lucy Melford. I therefore want someone to tell me the proper wording for my situation. So this morning I bunged off emails to Gires and the Gender Trust, and I hope they can assist.

Memory Map: that missing Scottish island
I sent a nicely-worded email to MM, and impressively got a reply just a few hours later, with a very reasonable explanation and an offer. They said that when getting the map data from the Ordnance Survey, the OS omitted to include Canna. The OS have since owned up to their error, but nothing can be done at the moment to correct MM's 1:50,000 Landranger map.

However, at no cost to me, MM have offered to give me a section of the larger-scale 1:25,000 Explorer mapping that covers the island. Brilliant! I've accepted of course. I simply download this tiny little map of Canna, and free up 3GB of memory on the tablet.

This is the detailed large scale needed by walkers, and I've established since yesterday that you can do the Wednesday Mallaig-Rum-Canna-Rum-Mallaig voyage in a day, as a foot passenger. You get a couple of hours on Canna; and a quick bit of exploration, using ped power, with tablet in hand, will be an experience I would like to have. My CalMac ship information is admittedly two years old, taken from their Summer 2010 brochure (retained after the Scottish caravan tour that M--- and I had), and it would obviously need to be checked, but it seems that I can firm up on a big YES to a Small Isles jaunt when next up in west Scotland! What a lovely thought.

I take on DRM and lose
Why did I struggle? I mentioned that 100 or so music tracks didn't make it onto my tablet. They didn't have the right license. I could not transfer them from the PC (which runs Windows Vista) to any mobile device. So I couldn't simply connect up a USB cable and copy-and-paste these music files into the tablet's Music folder. I mean, it was physically possible, but they wouldn't play.

I spent the entire afternoon trying out a Cunning Workaround. I saw that I did have rights to burn these tracks to CD. So as an experiment I produced three CDs. I popped them one by one into my laptop, and then ripped off the tracks. The laptop ran the older Windows XP, and therefore had a much less fierce Digital Rights Management environment. The tracks showed up in Windows Media Player, and could be played there, even though the laptop must be a 'mobile device'. So far so good.  

The first snag then was that each music file had to be renamed from 'Track 1', 'Track 2' and so on to 'Hats Off To Larry-Del Shannon' or whatever. Tedious!

That wasn't all. I found it best to edit the tracks as they appeared in Windows Media Player to specify the name of the song and the name of the artist all over again. Even more tedious.

And all kinds of track information was still missing, such as which album it came from.

Anyway, having done all this, and transferred my experimental tracks to the tablet using an SD card, they played! Result!

But it was a messy and VERY time-consuming way of dealing with the problem. And it meant, annoyingly, that 'Unknown' often appeared for the artist's name in the tablet's Music Player. I couldn't see why. And there was no album art. So I now think that I'll have to bite the bullet and repurchase these tracks. It'll be from Google, so presumably I'll spend less money than getting them from some other sources. But I'm not especially happy with having to spend anything at all. DRM is very heavy-handed, and very inconvenient, and it costs the consumer every time music needs to migrate to a new device.

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Time for my evening meal and some telly. It seems to be a choice between two Fleetwood Mac documentaries on BBC4, or the film Wayne's World on E4. Hmmm. After this afternoon's music track failure, I'd rather something quite different to cheer me up!


  1. I don't know why you don't just switch on the radio....LOL. Depite the number of music tracks I have I almost never listen to them any more. I do not like listening to music whilst doing something else, especially when working. At other times I am doing something else so music is the last thing on my mind. Even whilst driving nowadays I find I am listening to a play or discussion on the radio. I might play music once in a while just for the sake of it but that isn't often. Maybe it's an age thing I don't know. I do like playing my guitar though. Strange isn't it?

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Or you couldve opened them in itunes and clicked 'convert to mp3' and that wouldve done everything including labels etc ... Bet that this info is too late though huh? Lol


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