The Tex Avery Collection (DVD box set)

As a kid, I was a big cartoon fanatic.  Loved them.  I particularly loved watching them with dad.  Nothing made me happier.  Out of all the cartoons, Tex Avery was perhaps my favourite director of them all.  His Droopy and Screwball Squirrel cartoons were some of the silliest, craziest, funniest stuff ever.

So I was delighted, after a particularly stressful week, to discover that a DVD box set exists of some of Tex Avery’s best cartoons.  It’s not exhaustive by any means, but there’s enough material here (6 discs, 17 cartoons per disc) to last quite a while.  Interestingly, this has never been released in the UK.  It’s a Dutch/French release with English/French audio and Dutch subtitles.  Thankfully you can turn off the subtitles and watch the thing in English.

I tell you this – last weekend I have never laughed so hard in my life.  They’ve still got it.  They’re still super crazy, super silly and utterly surreal.  And they are as funny as hell.Sure, Avery tends to recycle a lot of the gags many times over, but overall it’s still as fun as it ever was regardless of whoever is being smashed around the head with a mallet.

WARNING: Contains nuts.
WARNING: Contains nuts.

It’s not just the silly gags either.  The animation, the character design, the sound effects are all top notch.  It’s hard to believe this quality was possible – especially when you consider that many of these cartoons were released during wartime.

I think the next thing on my sights – maybe after I’ve passed my driving test.  IF I pass my driving test, is the complete Looney Tunes collection.

You’re never too old (or young) to enjoy a good quality cartoon.

Google Play Music would be the best streaming service if only..

.. it had support for offline support for albums being borrowed on subscription.  Practically every other service has this.  Even more oddly, the mobile app does have offline support.  So why not on the desktop?  And speaking of desktop, there really isn’t a desktop version – you run it within a web browser.  I use Google Chrome – I’m a big Google user – but even I recognise that there are certain limitations with listening to music via a web browser.  I’d much prefer a properly written desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux.  On the other hand,  even with Google Play Music operating in a web browser, the experience is 100 times better than Apple Music and iTunes!

Speaking of desktop, there really isn’t a desktop version – you run it within a web browser.  I use Google Chrome – I’m a big Google user – but even I recognise that there are certain limitations with listening to music via a web browser.  I’d much prefer a properly written desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux.  On the other hand,  even with Google Play Music operating in a web browser, the experience is 100 times better than Apple Music and iTunes!

The real beauty of Google Play Music is that one can upload up to 50,000 DRM free tracks and access it in a browser or a mobile app along with the subscription music.  It forms a very powerful and well-integrated system.

So, Google, offline support for the “desktop” and/or a proper desktop app – and I’ll happy keep subscribing.  Which I will.  Until Amazon’s own music subscription comes along when I’ll be checking that out.

As for Apple Music – much trumpeting from Cupertino yesterday about a forthcoming redesigned service, but no mention of fixing server errors, iTunes Match muck-ups and all that malarky.  No apologies, nothing – and we know it’s affected a great deal of people.  Especially those who are heavily into their music collections – the very people Apple are trying to target.

My biggest complaint with Apple services that outside of the US, it’s pretty much a load of old rubbish.  I’m really still not happy with the speed of development of high-resolution apps for the iPad Pros.  I’m not happy with the tvOS uptake of video app for Apple TV (still no All 4, no support for BBC Store in the iPlayer app, no ITV hub, and unlikely that tvOS will get an Amazon Prime video app).   Apple may be providing the platform, but damn it if developers are taking the bait.   As for watchOS 3 – the speed differential should have been there at the launch of the Apple Watch on day one.  As for the other stuff – many features already present in other platforms or third party apps.  And they’re mainly niceties, not must-haves.

In preparation of switching back to Windows at home..

.. a little light reading.

I remember the bad/good old days where MS-DOS and Windows came with official documentation that came close to the size of this book.  Now everything is a single sheet of paper or the manual is in electronic form which requires that you figure out how to operate the device first.

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Don’t like the new Top Gear?  Here’s a solution..

.. turn off your TV.  Or change channels.  Or read a book.   Or listen to music.  And never tune into the thing again.  Because you’ll just keep having a moan.

Anything but the repetitive droning on about Chris Evans shouting; that it’s boring; that they using canned laughter (they’re not – and indeed, it seems that people and newspapers are obsessed over the BBC using canned laughter – what flipping century are you living in?); that this is the same; that it’s too different; insert all manner of swear words and insults because people seem to think THEY own Top Gear.