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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Saturday July 6 2002

Hat Joy!

Just look at these superb South American hats at South American Imports! Because a good hat is a better friend than most.

Posted at 8:12 pm by Jim Woods

The browser, a rectangular friend in your computer

I use web browsers so much that I occasionally wonder if I might not just have a few menus and toolbars etched onto my retinae to alleviate the anxiety of viewing the world unarmed. This means, however, that I have become fussy as hell about the browsers I use. And I tend to comprehensively thrash anything I can find in this line because nothing's ever good enough (see my electronica page for further exploration of this ethos).

There are quite a few choices of browser really, but any kind of close examination reveals that many are simply glorified alternate menus for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. So let's get Internet Explorer out of the way first. The good points are that it is in fact a fairly quick and stable thing - and of course many pages are so ill-written (HTML is a standard, people, not general advice) that they will not display properly or function in anything else. Bad point is mainly that there are not that many useful bells and whistles. It is heavily integrated with the operating system, which is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective. Personally I don't care how integrated it is as I don't make much if any use of that integration. Still, we Windows-wallahs pretty much all have it on our machines by default, and it's handy for sites that don't work with anything else.

There are, however, some other browsers out there which are serious candidates for full-time use.

The new 6 series of Netscapes is in my opinion a barely-functioning bag of nails (or pig's breakfast if you prefer) so I'll keep trying new releases and hope that something improves. When I can actually install it without the system falling over trying I'll have more of a look. Past attempts to play around with it have been mostly thwarted by such frequent, severe and inventive crashing that frankly I was afear'd for my box.

Opera is great in many respects, but still seems a tad unstable for my liking. This will of course depend on your specific machine and setup, so don't be put off by my experience there. It's not like it constantly crashes or anything, just that for me it's a bit more prone to it than Mozilla or IE. Nonetheless I paid the 30-odd quid to register it because I like it and use it a fair bit. It's very lightweight in its demands for system resources so it's a good one for anybody trying to get the last bit of use out of their wood-burning steam abacus. It does the tabs rather than windows thing, and I love that. The gestures thing is cool too - excellent for speed surfing.

Mozilla 1.0 though, now that's cooking. I'm pretty much using it full time now. It's stable, it can block ads and kill popups in of itself without a gaggle of external utilities, and it pretty much copes with anything. Has the tab thing (cheering). Only the clunky bookmark management and dysfunctional IRC part - which in fairness I don't use anyway - mar it!

I don't intend to write a flailing great essay on all these browsers, but my point is this: check out Mozilla! It's probably the first serious adversary to stand up to Internet Explorer and maybe win. Great! Now there's a bit of real choice.

Posted at 7:28 pm by Jim Woods

Rock and Roll :>

Not a lot of action here on the site for a couple of days as I've been going to see bands, or rather more specifically Minus Toke (link soon) as a duo (thank you Oxford City Council for doing away with as much music in our local pubs as you can - you'll be remembered for it) and as a trio. I recommend you do the same if you can... Gig lists on application.

Posted at 4:27 pm by Jim Woods

Thursday July 4 2002

Tour frenzy muted however...

I am once again reminded that I shall have to put up with the appalling commentary and footage on Eurosport since Channel 4 decided a couple of years ago to stop their Tour de France coverage in favour of (yawn) the cricket :(

It used to be so good...

Posted at 7:37 pm by Jim Woods

Tour de France

If you're a devotee like me you'll know that the Tour starts on the 6th of July. The official website is here. And it goes to Avranches this year - one of my favourite places in Normandy.

Posted at 12:27 am by Jim Woods

Wednesday July 3 2002

Instant messaging - choice, choice, choice

Seems like Trillian is still the best client if you need inter-operability. As far as my researches have taken me anyway. No ads in it, which I personally always like.

Given that it DOES contain an ad engine, one that the excellent Ad-aware picks up, Odigo has some neat features including for me the Holy Grail of such things - the ability to co-surf by directly sending links to your co-surfees browser. Of course, how much you trust this potential security issue is another matter. I'm sure it's ok but there's definitely a case for taking a long hard look. Still, that probably applies to any software...

These days I need a client that copes with the various protocols as running four different clients - AIM, Yahoo, ICQ and MSN - is cumbersome to say the least. Trillian copes with all of them and adds rudimentary IRC support although I don't have a lot of luck with this particular feature.

Still, it appears that the IM people are mostly taking steps towards implementing inter-operability to their clients - this has to be a good thing for us. Roll on the day when it is really is as simple as choosing the client one prefers and then cheerily using it on whatever services one has contacts on. At the moment Trillian is the best and closest to that one can get.

Posted at 2:54 pm by Jim Woods

350 shipwreck links Enough to keep even me going for a while.
Posted at 3:49 am by Jim Woods

I'm impressed

I can't get over how easy it is to do the journal and so on by this blogging method! Some of you will remember that I used to do this sort of thing by hand, and I tell you now it was no joke coding it all up and dating it and uploading it etc.

Well, it wasn't the end of the world, but it was a minor pain. I suppose what I'm really saying is that this is so easy that it really encourages me to post stuff - as you'll have noticed :> - but that's good for content. And with content we learn to walk with the gods.

All praise Fahim A. Farook, author of Blog!

Posted at 12:16 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday July 2 2002

Industrial ruins and suchlike

Have a look at this site for some beautiful photography of derelict power stations, factories and all sorts of other incredibly cool stuff. And be sure to check his links! They contain gems like Lost America where you'll see the most beautiful nighttime photography of abandoned Americana.

The UK's Cold War defences are given the full treatment. Some fine bogle* to be revelled in.

* a bogle is a relic/plot/person related to historical events in such a way as to foster continuing doubt/speculation/searching. Amelia Earhart's disappearance is borderline boglery, Nazi missing loot is a bogle of the first water, but many things are not bogles at all but facts. The bogler should take care to avoid excessive conspiracy theoreticising and should always read the appropriate accredited material before getting into a heavy bogle-session. So now you know.

It's my ambition to hunt a bogle someday. You can certainly expect a fair degree of bogelry on this blog, so don't say you weren't warned.

Posted at 10:58 pm by Jim Woods

Some gestures at a structure for the blog...

Right, theme needed for entries I feel. Today it's another cool wet English summer's day - and they still debate the rationale behind colonialism :> - and all right-thinking people including myself are thinking "we may as well be cool and wet in Amsterdam". So here are a few links to facilitate the planning and execution of that worthy deed:

The Channels Amsterdam, loads of info and reviews

Coffeeshop guide and reviews

Expatica with a lot of stuff on living in The Netherlands, in case you really HAVE had enough...

Time Out guide for this month in Amsterdam

The Stedelijk modern art museum which you really shouldn't miss

Van Gogh museum a personal favourite

Maloe Meloe blues cafe

Barney's Breakfast Bar coffeeshop - one of the best

That little lot should put you in the picture!

A quick plug: I've now been blogging for less than a day and this free software, Blog, seems excellent. After all, you're reading the evidence that it works. A little plain-Jane perhaps but I'm a big fan of short on style and long on content anyway. It runs on one's own machine, thus neatly eliminating dependence on anything other than one's ISP, and couldn't be easier to set up. If you're looking for something in this line, there's a link to the author at the bottom of the page...

Posted at 4:30 pm by Jim Woods

First entry!

World awaits with baited breath the arrival of more of Jim's blog entries...

Posted at 2:52 am by Jim Woods

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