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Dancing Queen and the End of Popular Music

The other night, as I lay sweating in my mum’s flat in boiling England in the early hours, a crowd of 20 somethings spilled out of a nearby club. The usual hubbub of indistinct chatter ensued as they prepared to disperse. Then the females (I assume; I couldn’t actually see anything) started singing something together, and, gradually the song they were singing emerged: “Dancing Queen”, by Abba, released as a single in 1976. The lassies, who can’t have been born when it first came out, all knew the words (no big surprise, perhaps, given it’s been covered by 20 other artists and was rereleased byContinue readingDancing Queen and the End of Popular Music

Gadgets That Are Stupid, #2

In the second of my series on gizmos “that seem to do things right but suffer a design flaw that renders them hazardous to one’s health, or peace of mind, or that of one’s partner” I present the bedside console of The Wharney Hotel in Hong Kong. These kind of things are popular in hotels and this room is brand spanking new. And on the surface everything looks to be there and in the right place: clock, alarm, do not disturb, radio, buttons for each light and a master switch. But the same old problems linger: Every button — and the red LED that comesContinue readingGadgets That Are Stupid, #2

Another Popup Blocker, But This Time From Minsk

Here’s a new version of another program designed to block popup ads, but which also performs the (admittedly increasingly common) trick of opening multiple browser windows at once. It’s called AdsCleaner. I haven’t tried it, but I do like the honest PR release, just out, so I am going to quote: “New version features optimized process of ads blocking that has greatly influenced the operating speed. In opinion of AdsCleaner users, deceleration during the process of ad blocking was, perhaps, the main inconvenience peculiar to the early versions of the application. Now this inconvenience is eliminated.” I wish other companies were so honest. AdsCleaner 2.0 costContinue readingAnother Popup Blocker, But This Time From Minsk

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