I am reviewing the album The Hour Of The Bewildebeast by Badly Drawn Boy which is one of the best albums I have ever heard. This album sold 300,000 in Britain and is widely regarded as his best album. It won the Mercury Award ┬áin 2000 which in Britain is quite highly regarded. Badly Drawn Boy’s real name is Darren Michael Gough and he was born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire in 1969. His stage name came from a cartoon character featured in a children’s tv series. He had done some EP’s prior to this album on an indie label with limited success and plenty of critical acclaim. His music although being indie music is quite ambient, features quite a lot of acoustic guitar and brilliant tunes to many of the tracks. He made a highly acclaimed soundtrack to the movie About A Boy although his more recent albums have been considered too commercial by many critics. He has had quite a lot of single success and did do quite a long tour of the USA but got homesick. He is very much a kind of indie DJ and has released his more recent stuff on his own label. I think anyone who heard this album wouldn’t fail to be impressed by it.

The book I read to research this post was Mind Mapping Secrets – Freemind Basics by Katie Darden which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This is part of a series of 3 books on Mind Mapping. I think I’ve covered what mind mapping is in other posts. Freemind is a free mind mapping software that requires the latest version of Java Run Time to run available at http://java.com. Freemind lets you draw mind maps and you can right click where you want there to be a new node or press f2 and name it. You can click insert/ new cloud to insert a cloud. In the menus there is a whole paraphernalia of things you can insert. This software probably isn’t as feature rich as those you pay for especially those intended for business and projects which can get quite pricey. I especially like Inspiration 9 which I bought quite cheaply from Amazon. This book is somewhat short and I think it is a bit of a cheek charging anything for it but it is useful none the less. Katie could have done with merging all 3 books in the series into one decent tome like I notice she has with the printed version although even that is still a bit short. I think my favorite book on mind mapping is probably mind mapping for dummies which also has quite a bit of information on mind mapping software. I’d probably suggest getting that instead although this book is better for learning about Freemind. There are also mind mapping websites and many of these are free and let you stream your work around things like tablets.

The book I read to research this post was Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 by Mitch Tulloch et al which is a very good book which I downloaded from kindle. Actually Microsoft Press are doing a range of e-books including this one for free in the hope of encouraging computer professionals in business to upgrade to the latest products. This book isn’t a how to guide to Windows Server and is instead an overview of the latest features. The biggest upgrade within the program is it’s support for cloud computing which probably is the biggest emerging trend in the computing world at the moment. It integrates with Microsoft products like Azure and Office. The client computers have to either run one of the variants of Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 although there is also support for tablets and phones running their various forms of Windows 8. There have simplified the entering of passwords and credentials so that although there is in fact increased security you generally can do it once and can then do your work. In the Datacenter Edition you can have an unlimited number of clients and devices attached to the network. I think the other versions are Standard and Enterprise. It has increased support for virtualization and hardware support isn’t such an issue with it booting from SCSI drives, virtual drives and even a DVD boot disc. Many machines now don’t even have an IDE controller. I enjoyed reading this book and think it is great that it is free. Microsoft Press still sell more specialized publications. This book is a decent length and does seem to cover the subject well. I definitely recommend reading it.

 

I am reviewing the music album Sheezus by Lily Allen which is her first album since 2009 and is very good. Her father is the comedian Keith Allen who used to appear in the Comic Strip Presents … shows and her mother is a film producer who produced the film Elizabeth. Lily had a part as a Lady in Waiting in that. Her brother is the actor Alfie Allen who has a part in A Game Of Thrones and she was offered a part but turned it down. As a pop star she is hugely successful and it is a bit strange she is still in her 20’s and quite young. My favourite track ever by her is The Fear from The Fear EP which made number 1 on the British Singles Chart. Her music is very mainstream pop music and she writes certainly most of her songs. I did enjoy this album which has a cover of Lily coming out of a posh hotel with 2 corgis obviously a parody of the Queen having 2 corgis.

I am reviewing the album X pronounced multiply by Ed Sheeran which is his second album and is very good. Ed was born at Hebdon Bridge in Northern England but grew up in Framlingham, Surrey and moved to London to get his pop career going. This album has been quite favourably received by critics and made number 1 on the British Album Chart. It features the incredibly popular single Sing which in the pop video has a puppet that rather cleverly resembles him. Prior to him becoming famous he co wrote a song on Taylor Swift’s album Red and supported her concert tour. He has also written songs for One Direction. Jamie Foxx in the early days saw him in concert and let him use his recording studio. He won the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for best single for The A Team. He was also nominated this year at the Grammy’s. He did 312 concerts in one year and apparently saw an interview with James Morrison where he said he did 200 and wanted to top that. Sing is probably the best track on the album. He did originally like a lot of pop stars got spotted on You Tube and got a recording contract. Initially he did a couple of EP’s before doing any albums. I did quite enjoy this album and I think he is one of the most promising singers at the moment.

The book I read to research this post was How to Use Linkedin to Sell More Books which is quite a good book which I bought on kindle. Actually I think this book was a free download. This book focuses on a very narrow field namely selling books on Linkedin and there is very little telling you how to actually use the site. If you want to learn how to use the site I recommend Linkedin For Dummies. This book which is very short just tells you how to make new contacts on the site. Mostly via contacting someone who knows the person or joining a group the person is a member of. There is also a little on how to do searches in Linkedin via the search box at the bottom of the page. There is a little on marketing books and e-books in general. If you are lucky enough to get a publishing contract publishing houses in general do little or no marketing especially for new up and coming authors. I think this is more of an inspiration piece for budding authors than a how to manual. I’d recommend this if it is free but I think even if it is for sale for 99 p there are better books available for the same money. The authors haven’t put much effort into it. I also think there are too many books available on selling e-books & I have read lots and found little new here.

I am reviewing the album Coming Up by Suede which is their most successful album both commercially and critically and an excellent album. It featured 5 top ten hits including Trash which made number 3 in Britain and was there joint biggest hit. They were an indie band from London who won the Mercury Prize for their debut album and it was also the biggest selling debut by an artist in 10 years. They are probably more of an albums band than a singles band. Fans had high hopes for the follow up to Coming Up which though turned out to be a disappointment and the band split up soon afterwards  reforming for some concerts in 2010. Brett Anderson the lead singer did do some solo albums. Brett had a relationship with Justine Frischman who later had a relationship with Damon Albarn of Blur and would later join all girl group Elastica. My favourite track on this album is probably The Beautiful Ones which iis quite haunting and widely regarded as their best song ever. Suede did later on have problems with drugs but for a while were one of the most promising indie and britpop bands.