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the eFestivals blog

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Neil

new festivals website

Well, almost :D

eFestivals now also has the domain eFestivals.com ... it was on sale from a 'domain broker' (that's a domain tout to you and me) for very very VERY silly money - $35,000. But I'm pleased to say that nothing anywhere near as stupid was paid for it. :D

It was bought mainly to protect the efestivals.co.uk brand. If someone else had bought and used it to start a festivals site then I'm sure it would eventually have impacted on (this) efestivals.

At the moment, I'm not sure how it'll be used - I have a few idea I'm kicking around in my head, but for the moment it's been setup to re-direct anyone using it to efestivals.co.uk.

Neil

holidays

Well, for the first time in six and half years of running eFestivals, I decided to take some time off last week. I'd forgotten what doing nothing was like!

And now I'm back, refreshed and raring to go ... watch out world. :D

Neil

the cult of celebrity

The last few weeks have shown that we as a society have sunk incrediably low into the cult of celebrity. People are trying to censor others reasonable opinions on the actions of these celebrities, as tho the only thing allowed is star worship.

And thinking back 50 years, we used to take the piss out of the cult of leadership in dictatorships: at least those leaders had a real effect on people's lives of more than fluff. :D

Neil

fun with Fedora

Geek alert - Fedora is a version of linux.

Why does anyone buy Windows? Having just downloaded and installed Fedora, it's bloody brilliant! It's got everything a 'normal' computer user might need included - including an excellent fully featured 'office' suite (word processor, spreadsheet, etc) - and it's dead easy to install!

The fun comes when you start to try and set it up anyway from a 'standard' install. So far I've managed to break apache (the webserver that comes with it) several times - it doesn't seem to want to do what it should config-wise, tho I'm hoping that the problems are being caused by the 'user friendly' (huh!) graphical config tool. So when I've un-installed it again and re-installed it (to put it back to default config), I'll be editing the apache config file by hand and hoping that does the trick.

Neil

computer death

It's always a real pain when a computer dies, but thankfully my most recent computer deaths have been about as kind as they could possibly be.

Prior to this one today, I last had a computer die on boxing day last year. That was my own 'work' computer - the one I run eFestivals from - so it really couldn't have died at a better time. Nothing happens in the festival world between Xmas and new year, so that gave me the chance to get another built and configured before everyone started back at work in the new year ... the only down side was that I spent the xmas hols working.

Today, my 'test server' has died - very conveniently at the end of the festival season. The test server is a linux server that mirrors my live servers set-up, and is used for developing and testing new things for the website. I've not looked at why it's died yet - I'm hoping it's just a power supply (and I always have a spare or two of those in my computer bits cupboard),l and if that's all it is then it'll be going again very shortly.

This test server is the oldest PC that I have, and I've had it in mind to build a new one this autumn anyway (the plan was that I'd do that before the old one had problems). It's also got a very old version of Red Hat on it, and it would be good to have an up-to-date version.

Currently I'm downloading the CD images of the latest version of Fedora (the free version of Red Hat linux) - there's five to download, each of 600+MB which I then cut to CD, and then use the CDs to do the install ... it should all be straightforwards, here's hoping.

Then I'll probably have to install some extra bits and pieces to get all the functionality I need, but it's possible that these extra bits now come within Fedora (they didn't in the old version I had) ... I hope they do come within it, because doing these extras will be where things will get complicated - I'm far from a linux expert even tho I do know a fair bit. Time to get on with it all I guess....

Neil

free money

yep, it's true, there's now this thing called free money, here's how it works.

What you do is set up or have a business. Then when you have some work to do, don't be a fool ... don't go doing it yourself! Do what Rupert Murdoch has his staff doing at the publisher Harper Collins (which he owns).

They come up with a book idea, an idea they know zilch about. Rather than waste their own time doing their job and researching it all, they try to find a few suckers - today I've been their target.

No wonder that c**t Murdoch owns the world. :P

Neil

moan moan moan

Six months ago I got flashed by a speed camera in Bristol (where I live). Thru came a form giving me some options, I ticked the "i want to pay a £60 fixed penalty", and sent it back. Then nothing.

Today I got a summons. So not only have I not had the option to actually pay the fixed penalty (the first form didn't give the option to pay at that point), the frigging summons is for Taunton Court - how does that work then? :P

So I phone the camera unit and say "I never had the option to pay the fixed penalty". They insist that the notice was sent out (yeah, of course it was ... they can't operate any of their other administrive systems properly - as I've proved to them in the past!! - but they manage to send out every single letter. Yeah, right.).

So I ask what can be done. They tell me nothing, that my only option now is court. I point out that to proceed to court is a waste of the courts time, they say tough. I point out that if it gets to court I'll get wacked a bigger fine plus costs, they say tough.

So ... my only chance now of getting just the £60 fine (which I'm happyish to pay, I was speeding) is to grovel to the court explaining that it's not my fault. But of course they're goinbg to believe me aren't they ... courts never have people stood before them telling them it's not their fault, do they? So as I'll be unusual doing that, they'll believe me. Yeah right. :D

What's wound me up is no one will take responsibility for THEIR systems not working: it's now down to me, to try and win a decent outcome in a system where the system never takes responsibility for their own failures. :)

And I've noticed this is the way things are going: no govt dept or agency has anyone or any systems for dealing PROPERLY with complaints - all they do is pass you along the line till you eventually you get to someone who tells you tough, you're f**ked.

I tried taking up a complaint against the dangerous doctors surgery I was with a few months back, the one that was so crap I ended up having to dial 999 for an ambulance and hospital admittance after failing to see a GP despite 60+ hours of trying to see one. Guess who is the ONLY place you can complain to? That doctors surgery. And of course, they're going to pass up the line complaints about the danger they put their patients in, aren't they, NOT? I wouldn't send a sick dog there, yet they're allowed to keep putting their patients at risk because their bosses won't accept a complaint against them.

No f**king wonder the country is f**ked. :)

Neil

very Beautiful Days

god, I needed that sleep. :)

What can I say? I don't think I've enjoyed a festival that much in ages. :D

But next time, they need to book Steel Pulse for a 3 hour set. :P

Neil

As some of you might be aware, eFestivals is committed to giving 1% of turnover (turnover, not profit) to charity, and our chosen charity is WaterAid. I've just given them another sizable donation (the second this year) as a result.

Thanks goes to every user of eFestivals - without your support of eFestivals, this just wouldn't be possible.

WaterAid is an international charity dedicated to helping people escape the stranglehold of poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation. http://www.wateraid.org.uk

Neil

blaggers

Well, it seems as tho some people think that eFestivals are the people that hand out passes for festivals, and some people will go to extraordinary lengths to try and blag a freebie.

Yesterday I had someone telling me how they're a director of a couple of music biz related companies, and he suggests I check at Companies House. So for the fun of it I check, and it turns out one is dissolved and the other is dormant.

He also told me how he knew one of the directors of eFestivals, so I asked which one. He gave me a name, which was a name that had never been a director of either of the companies that has owned eFestivals.

If you're gonna bullshit, at least make it credible, eh? B)

Still, his emails provided some great entertainment on an otherwise boring afternoon. B)

Neil

Blockheads

Lee, the guitarist/manager of The Blockheads has posted a few comments in the Summer Sundae forum, saying just how much they all enjoyed playing there at the weekend. He also dropped me a mail, asking if eFestivals had managed to photo their second performance at Summer Sundae (nope), and I took the opportunity to say thanks...

A couple of years ago my son (then aged about seven) went to Plymouth Festival with his mum, and afterwards he phoned me all excited, to tell me that he'd somehow (I never discovered how) managed to get backstage and meet the band, and was also given a CD.

It turns out that Lee remembers him, and was how my son managed to get backstage - he said "I saw them after the show and was so surprised that he was enjoying himself so much that I asked them if they wanted to come back".

He's a kid that's loved 'New Boots & Panties' since almost his first breath, and one of my favourite memories of him at a festival was him dancing his socks off to The Blockheads at Guilfest (when he was about four), so he really was totally thrilled to meet his heros. Thanks again Lee! :ph34r::(

Neil

fakers

I've had an email from someone today who was emailing to say hello to the efestivals staff they met at the Big Chill. ... the only thing is, the people they met aren't efestivals staff. ;)

In the past, I've even heard of someone who slept with a girl at a festival I wasn't at, and they were claiming to be me. ;)

I guess imitation is a form of flattery. :(

Neil

dodgy addresses

The second lot of passes for V Fest have turned up today, for the efests reviewer and photographer that are attending.

Somehow, the press office seem to have lost the first line off the efestivals address on these passes (the set that turned up yesterday for the other site were fine), and they only contain the company name, town and postcode.

Luckily I seem to have a smart postie, who worked out where they should go - thanks Mr Postie. ;)

God knows what would have happened if they'd have gone astray. ;)

Neil

eFestivals on TV?

I've just had a chat with a reporter from Channel 4 news. They'll be running a piece (probably this Thursday, 7pm) about the explosion of live music and festivals, and they wanted my expert ( ;) ) advice to help with their piece.

They said that eFestivals would be mentioned, and it would either be a quote from me (not my voice tho) or a screenshot of the website ... but I never quite believe these things till they happen. Anyhow, fingers crossed!

Neil

well, things are starting to slow down at eFestivals now - there's finally time to breathe - as most of the announcements about festivals for this year have been made, so there's not so much in the way of news and updates each day.

But even with the extra resources that eFestivals now has there's still lots and lots to do, with the chance (finally!) to catch up on some of the things that have been put to the side - sometimes for several years - because there's just not been enough hours in the day/week/year.

In a month I'll lose my current temporary assistant, and I guess I need to start to think about finding a replacement, and what sort of replacement - with what skills - is going to best suit eFestivals & eGigs future needs. I'm starting to think that alongside writing and organisational skills, an assistant would be most use if they were also able to program in PHP and had an understanding of databases, so that some of this can be taken off my plate (as I still don't have time to get it all done). If you happen to know someone who might suit and be interested, and they can work in Bristol, get them to get in touch!

Neil

free tickets

Every now and then, I get emails from people that think eFestivals are the organisers of the festivals we list. In the last week I've had a few of these, and in each case it's people trying to blag free tickets. The most common theme is "I'm a mate of so-and-so, and he said to email you to sort out a freebie".

Oh yeah? If you're such a good mate of so-and-so, how come he isn't sorting you a freebie himself? ;)

;)

Neil

chilled out big

having been ill and missed Sparks at Guilfest, I made a late decision to go to the Big Chill. I hadn't been before, and Lynz_star was going for efests, so I attached myself to her little group (who made me feel very welcome - thanks peeps :)) and checked it out.

It's a great festival - bigger than I expected, and more free of corporates & advertising than most fests. The majority of time is spent sat down (it's the big chill after all :D), with regular trips to the bars for more cocktails (yummy ... and they work out cheaper than beer). The downside (actually, more of an up than a down ;)) is the hill of hell when you want to get back to your tent.

Music-wise , Arrested Development were superb, X-Press 2 Live were as live as my CD player (except for the "hello Big Chill" ;)), and Sparks were .. erm ... like 80s power synth-rock, and not what I wanted to hear (I enjoyed hearing the 'hits' tho). The stand-out act for me were The Blue Man Group (http://www.blueman.com/), a great mix of music and performance.

As ever, I bumped into a few faces, including old efester Suzy of the Butterflys (who a few of the older efesters might remember?) who it was great to see. Suzy was helping me out when I started eFestivals back in 2000, and without her help I'd have been floundering in the dark.

As a result of too much beer and cocktails, Lynz is now forever to be known as Lynz_lightweight :D. But I'm sure she'll get her own back, by pointing out that I skipped Sunday ... but then again, I'd gone mainly for Sparks, and i fancied a day off (I'm allowed an occasional one each summer, surely?).

Now I think it was a waste of a day off, as today I've woken of feeling shit, I think i'm going down with something nasty. :(

Neil

I've today removed the 'member mugshots' feature that's been part of this website since 2002.

It was originally included as a way for members to put up their photo, but since this feature was added to the forums at some later point, the 'member mugshots' section had near enough become redundant ... and it hadn't worked for a while as well for uploading new photos, due to its integration with the forums membership and the fact that the forums had changed how it encrypted users passwords - I could have fixed it, but there didn't seem to be much point.

If you want to put your photo in your forum profile, you can do from the 'My Controls' option at the top right of the forums pages.

Neil

blog software install

To help people get started, there's some step-by-step instructions on how to set-up your own blog here:-

http://www.efestivals.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=66794.

--------------------------

Well, the install of the blog software all went smoothly ... the difficulty came with sussing out a few bits and pieces of the configuration, and I had to ask for a quick bit of support from the makers to get a few things sorted out.

They were on the ball with getting the bits fixed, but what they haven't said is what exactly they've done - I don't much like that, as I have no real idea if things have been properly fixed forever, or if the same problems might surface after an upgrade of any one of the three extra components now attached of the forums, or the forums themselves.

And it appears that I might have found a bug that the makers are looking into, and don't have a fix for at the moment. Where it has "Forums Blogs Help Search Members Calendar" at the top right of the Blogs pages, it should also have 'Gallery', as the gallery component is installed. (And it should also have 'Flashchat' too, but that's something I'll need to add in myself, as the Flashchat chatroom isn't made by the same people).

Anyway, that's enough for now.



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