Because I forget stuff. Part of

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March 2006

Posts made in March 2006

Mr Wolf Is Wrong

What time is it Mr Wolf? If Mr Wolf is this blog, about an hour behind what it should be (at least it was). Apparently MT doesn’t understand BST. I must have known this before at some point, but forgotten. Timezone adjusted an hour forward, so this post shows the right time when I’m composing it :-)

Talk to Each Other, Maybe?

Screenshot from the newspaper website showing two conflicting stories published on the same dayThis is a screenshot taken from the online version of the local newspaper. The astute will notice that I’ve highlighted a couple of stories. The first (Taylor Out For Season) I noticed earlier today. The second (Taylor Simply Raring To Go) appeared a bit later. Yes, that’s the same (Stephen) Taylor. Apparently Stuart Rayner and Alan Oliver don’t bother to talk to one another. About as much communication as the defence they’re commenting on…

Flickr Favourites And Me

My discovery of Lost Film has apparently sparked a renewed interest in Flickr. Basically I’ve subscribed to the RSS feeds from a load of groups and keep hitting the “interesting” from the last 7 days page, as well as a couple of tools giving random photos (such as the Random Photo Browser which picks randomly from people’s favourites). As I’ve went I’ve been marking those shots I like most as Favourite (link goes to a random selection thanks to FlickRandom). Having reached 216 (that strange number arises because that’s six pages worth) I’ve just went through them; here’s what I’ve noticed.

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Using Word

This was inspired by having a quick try of the XUL based ajaxWrite. I banged in a bit of example text of the top of my head and then went to play with it. First thing, turn the first line into a heading. And stop short. No simple way to do that. After a moment’s thought I realised why this is. ajaxWrite purports to have the look, feel, and functionality of Microsoft Word and the problem is that people are taught to use Word in a way which is simply wrong (that and the fact that ajaxWrite’s claims are way over blown).

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So Who Stays?

Season effectively over, though we’re apparently no closer to answering the question of who’s next, one begins to wonder exactly which players who ever takes charge should be looking keep. Who could actually find their way into a top, champion’s…

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Well I Don’t Know What Happened There

Bllody hell, at some point just now MoveableType managed to get confused over which category a lot of entries belonged to. Strangely a database restore didn’t seem to help (???) either. I’ve reassigned categories by hand, so some things may have moved around slightly (individual permalinks should still be working fine though). The database just got a complete export too, as a backup. It’s far too late at night to be worrying about now.

Faded Dream, Faded Season

In truth this FA cup dream probably begin to leak its colour as soon as the numbered balls spoke their destiny. Even an out of sorts and misfiring Chelsea are still the best team in the league, one of the…

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It All Looks Funny

If your viewing this blog, and you’ve seen it in the past, then it probably looks a little different. It’s been tweaked around a bit to fit in more with the rest of Things are more or less OK now but still quite fragile. if you’re using IE then the sidebar especially probably looks a bit funny thanks to that browser being a piece of crap (roll on IE 7). Get yourself a proper browser. Code fixes are ongoing however, so don’t be too surprised to see some things broken for a little while yet.

Pass On The Word

If you’re a developer building some sort of user registration system at what point does it seem to you a good idea to send an unencrytped confirmation email with the user’s password in plain text? This is just stupid. They just gave you the password; is it really that likely they’ve forgotten it already? Just show some respect to the password and don’t do it. It’s not just the intercept across the web possibility—odds are your site isn’t secure anyway—but it increases the somebody looking over the shoulder possibility at a point where you really shouldn’t expect to see security information displayed (this is the exact reason that password fields display ******). The number of places which do this is amazing. Just don’t. Message over.

Mother, Is That You?

My alma mater (well one of them), The University of Newcastle still values my opinion it seems (despite the fact that the department which gave me my degree no longer exists :-( ). They pinged an email my way asking for comments on their proposed Corporate Visual Identity (CVI). You can see the proposals outlined in the questionnaire (closing date for responses is March 20, not sure if that page will be up after then). In short they propose changing the name (except for a few formal things) to Newcastle University and producing a new logo to appear everywhere (it’s mainly which logo one considers best which is being asked about). I thought, partly for my own record, I’d record my response here (well, the additional comments anyway—I think it may have been longer than they were expecting, given the size of the comments box).

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Creating Scientists

Just when you thought that we were safe from some of the greater excesses of our transatlantic cousins it turns out that anything the US tries we have to just import. Not content with our president prime minister following his leader’s lead in being led by “God” the whole creationism thing raises it terrible, rearing, but only 4500 year old head. It’s seems somebody thinks this sort of thing should be introduced to science lessons. Probably they think it will make it more modern and relevant. The only problem is that this sort of thing has very little to do with science.

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Speaking of Accessibility

Taking of the accessibility of data, it’s good to see the accessibility of websites being given a boost by the UK publication of something being touted as “Publicly Available Specification” 78. The Register Article actually manages to give a fair overview. What struck me though was that given the number of charities, publically funded bodies and not-for-profit organisations involved wouldn’t have been nice if the thing didn’t cost you £30 to look at (that’s without VAT and seems to be £30 for the real thing or a PDF download—why the second isn’t cheaper I don’t know)? That way not only would small, independent webmasters who are maybe maintaining a site as part of other duties be able to consult it but the users themselves could see what they may expect of sites. I understand the unfortunate economics which leads to the charge, but it’s actually something which bugs me about a range of standards maintained by our “National Standards Body”. Companies have a large range of standards to claim compliance to (are these claims checked?) but it is difficult, or at least costly, to find out what the standard is they’re matching.

Update: The Web Standards Project points out that the specification is now freely available from the Disability Rights Commission. About bloody time.

A Map for the Future

Bravo for the Guardian’s take on public data. Too long have we sat here jealous of one of the things the US have got right. It is amazing that we should be effectively forced to pay for data that is morally “ours” to start with. It is also quite clear that the publically funded and endorsed collection and collation of such data gives those with such a mandate an enormously unfair advantage, which they are then further forced to squeeze every last drop from. Anybody doubting the grip held on such public data should look no further than the hoops one is made to jump through by the Royal Mail to simply look up a postcode. Having encouraged the public over and over again to use said postcodes (because that makes letter sorting simpler and hence saves money) they then require a registration to actually look one up, so they can restrict the number checked! This is ludicrous even ignoring the fact that those who would look up large numbers of postcodes are probably businesses, who themselves are actually encouraged to use the more logical and parallel numeric encoding to help with sorting. The useless far from street level detail available of the largest scale map available from the Ordinance Survey’s site is another case in point. Come on, give us our data back, as a public service should.

Erm, Testing 1,2,3

It’s always possible, partly thanks to the way all this moveabletype stuff is now horribly mashed together, that I’ve broken comments, so thought I ought to, you know, check.


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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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