42 things you may not know about Darren R Hill

42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, as all readers of Douglas Adam’s Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy know. However it is also the number of factoids about myself that I thought I’d share with you. Things that will be of little interest to anyone apart from stalkers, identity thieves and perhaps you.

So, in no particular order, here are 42 things about Darren R Hill that didn’t make it on to the about page:

  1. My birthday brother (we were born on the same date) is Toby Jones, a wonderful British actor. Go and see all his films.
  2. Being an introvert I don’t like small talk, struggle to make small talk and get anxious in small talking situations… however, I love hugs… (over to you)
  3. In relation to number 2, I am an INFP (formerly INTP) in Myers Briggs
  4. And my Belbin Team Type is Plant
  5. I was born in the year of the Goat on the Chinese zodiac
  6. I was born a Virgo on the other zodiac
  7. The first instrument I learnt to play was the recorder
  8. the second was the clarinet
  9. I drink too much tea (in fact you probably already know that, although, to be honest, can you ever drink too much tea?)
  10. I believe I am Quiescent
  11. I have never broken a bone in my body
  12. I am right-handed, right-footed and right most of the time… but always open to have my rightness challenged and changed
  13. I’m probably a little too paranoid… right now, I’m wondering if you are talking about me and what you are saying (please use the comment box below and put me out of my misery)
  14. I like writing lists, but rarely seem to complete them
  15. This list will be an exception
  16. I was born in Poplar, the East End of London. I am a genuine cockney.
  17. Originally a Mac boy, then Windows, now back to Mac. I have also dabbled with Linux.
  18. Cinder toffee is perhaps my favourite confectionary
  19. I rarely eat cake
  20. Candles, incense and ritual help me grow spiritually
  21. Ritual helps me, but I hate being confined by ritual
  22. At school I played football on the right-wing, rugby on the right-wing and Joseph on the stage.
  23. I also played Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger, which led me to consider auditioning for RADA, and the other drama schools – instead I left school mid-year to be a rock star (do you ever think you’ve made the wrong decisions?)
  24. I was born exactly 434 years after Queen Elizabeth I, however sharing the same birthday has not made me a royalist
  25. I have been a page-boy, an usher and a best man
  26. Another birthday buddy is Buddy holly. It would be nice to be favourably compared to that great singer-songwriter
  27. I am 5’7” when not in heels
  28. If I had heels they would be in a size 7 (UK)
  29. The first Doctor Who episode I remember seeing was Doctor Who and the Sea Devils, which makes Jon Pertwee my Doctor and Roger Delgado as my Master
  30. I hate to use the telephone, especially to call people I don’t know (to overcome I often write down the points I want to make before calling them – yes, another list)
  31. I prefer to use public transport to a car
  32. I love to be by the sea… or rivers, or lakes, or nature in general
  33. I think I over think things
  34. My fetish may well be journals, or stationery in general
  35. I would love to live in a commune, but not sure if my introverted nature could take it – I intend to find out one day
  36. Tall, dark and handsome? If liking The Cure and Joy Division count, then I am at least one out of the three
  37. I find it hard to concentrate on just one thing, I always seem to have several projects on the go at once… this means I often lose interest and forget to finish things (I am working on this)
  38. I would rather sit and read a book than watch a movie or go to a club. Listening to music is the other way that I enjoy spending my time.
  39. I have eclectic tastes in what I like to read and listen to – but then a lot of people say that.
  40. I like pickles, spicy food and antipasto
  41. I see the cup as half full
  42. There are more than 42 things you may not know about me…

its probably a d minor

VLC the handy media file player and converter

vlc logo

VLC, by the VideoLAN Organization, is a media player. It plays audio and video, but what makes it special is the amount of formats that it can cope with. Many times I have tried to play something and the built-in media players have failed to perform, sending me off on often fruitless searches for this or that codec. Apart from broken media files, VLC has always been able to play them.

VLC is also great for converting, those awkward unknown formats, to standard formats. I have used it to convert video files to formats all computers can play, and audio files. With audio files, and with various sites restricting the size of said files, VLC comes into its own. The ability to change bitrate during conversion is really helpful. Put simply, if you need a smaller file, VLC can help.

So if you have a need to play unruly media files, or need to convert them to an alternative format or size, then VLC is the best app I have found. Download the free app from the following link, http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

My computer is gone, I am beginning to think

I feel like a penitent at confession. ‘Forgive me, it has been six days since using my MacBook.’ It is getting a new battery, and all the other attached parts – does small have to mean complicated and connected?

The upside? I am looking for one, always seek an opportunity in the midst of adversity (adversity – I am only talking about a computer repair). I have been forced to rethink how I do things. Without my normal writing tools, I have used, after a few tries and teething experiences, what is available. And what is available is what I already have.

This post is being written on the iPhone, using the WordPress app. I have also written plenty of posts using the iPad. I know that I am very fortunate to have these devices, losing my main productivity device isn’t much of a burden. However, it has made me think through what I am doing and how I do it. Just that process has helped me be less busy but more productive.

In addition, I am spending more time with my old favourites pen and paper. This is forcing me to think. Could it be that using the computer every day, seemingly every moment, I have stopped thinking? Am I regaining the use of my brain? I hope it comes back soon, all this thinking is hurting my head.

After writing this post, Darren became self-aware. He was last seen smiling and strumming his guitar.