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

Friday September 6 2002

Categories coming soon

The software (Blog) which I use to provide all of this cracking content, to a select elite if my counter is to believed, is shortly to be able to categorize entries. And a lot of other neat stuff too besides, but instead of me going on about it visit the Blog site if you're interested. Link button at the bottom of the page.

The addition of categories means, surprisingly enough, that I will be categorizing stuff here; not retroactively though - that feature isn't going to be added by Fahim. Therefore I need to decide what the headings will be. If anyone has strong feelings about this - or for that matter wants more of a certain type of content - email me! All anatomically-respectable suggestions will be gratefully received...

Posted at 3:41 am by Jim Woods

Uboat.net expands
Uboat.net is now expanding to cover the First World War operations too. If the database is as comprehensive as the WWII one they already run then we're in for a treat... (sound of dive klaxon as Jim departs)
Posted at 12:48 am by Jim Woods

The Labyrinth
Here's The University of Georgetown's resource centre for medieval studies, an excellent place to start looking if you're doing obscure (or not) historical research.
Posted at 12:46 am by Jim Woods

Chili orgy
Here is an obliging company that will ship you fresh chili pods or even live plants (444 types). I love chilis, and I'm still admiring the photo gallery on this site. There are some here that are terrifying just to look at. Who'd eat them? I would. Bring it on!
Posted at 12:40 am by Jim Woods

Make your own tropical island
This guy has done just that. I have to say it looks fantastic. Possibly it would be a bit less desirable moored on the Thames at Oxford, but c'est la vie...
Posted at 12:39 am by Jim Woods

Wednesday September 4 2002

Currently engaged upon research

I'm up to my ears in stuff to do at the moment, so things here have been quiet.

Any time now that will change!

Posted at 8:13 pm by Jim Woods

Monday September 2 2002

Browsery ranting

Those who know me will know that I'm a browser fanatic - I am always hoping that a browser will appear that offers me the ultimate ergonomic interface to the web! I require this mythical beast to do all things, stably and now. So it will be no surprise that I have found reason to hold forth on this topic again now that Mozilla 1.1 is out. It seems to be a noteworthy occurrence, as indeed was the release of 1.0 which I seem to remember prompted me to write a eulogy (which you'll find somewhere in the archives). And hey, I'm in the mood for writing. So how do we stand, browser-wise, at this point? When will we be able to plunge our arms to the elbow into our screens and just grab exactly what we want? Okay - this is a little way off I imagine, but some browsers seem to pretty much put up walls between user and web by their ineptitude. Let's look at the options!

First off, good old Microsoft Internet Explorer. Can't be arsed to review this, frankly. If you haven't figured out the plot with this one then might I respectfully suggest that you care so little (and that's fine) about what you use to surf that the rest of this article will just bore you. Go read about the neat property in Spain or whatever, and I'll see you next time. Suffice it to say that IE is free, works pretty well and so on and on. BUT it won't be my sweetheart until they build in popup-killing - and ideally advert blocking too - and make it a tabbed interface so that my taskbar doesn't clutter up like an old person's mantlepiece as I surf multiple sites. And clean their act up and be standards-compliant. And DIS-integrate the thing from my o/s, instant messenging and so on. Sorry Bill, but I feel like a sellout Joe Normal advertising victim globalisation fiend when I use it. No dice for me, probably the answer to everyone else's prayers if the usage stats are straight...

Secondly, a plethora of half-arsed "shells" for IE. Gents, you know who you are. Take my advice - if you're going to be using the Microsoft page-rendering engine then just use IE and be done with it. If you don't understand this, fine. Might I [ blah blah see above para notes ] These shelly-things are seldom written by people who are more on the case than Bill. Sorry. Cheque to the usual address, William.

Thirdly, Netscape 7.0 and Mozilla 1.1. Basically the same thing. Netscape comes with lashings of extra corporate crap, and the popup-killer is nobbled. I smell commerce. I no like. But they are both free, which is cool. Mozilla is actually great - I use it. I can't really cope with the flaky built-in IRC client, but then I hate buil-in stuff unless it's pretty damn faultless anyway. I quite liked the idea of a built-in AIM in Netscape until they did it - and I realised how much better Trillian is than any other client anyway if you want to just use one piece of software to do all the services. But the uncluttered tabbing feature just turns me on. True, I'd like the whole Mozilla to look a little better - and I don't mean skins which get on my nerves. Face it, IE has very unobtrusive and elegant interfacing. Something a little more, well, elegant would be nice for ol' Moz. Please PLEASE can they soon fix the dire bookmark management - sorting is screwed, IE-style direct manipulation of items is nonexistent, the whole thing is a nightmare with regard to intuitiveness. Still, apart from that, right now it's the browser to watch.

And last of all I'll talk about Opera. I've fallen out of bed with Opera a bit really, as it seems to have trouble with my own site and this is frankly irksome. It seems to have trouble correctly, and sometimes even usably, displaying a lot of sites in fact. So the fact that it's pretty much perfect in every other respect (well, ok, it looks a mess) is all the more of a shame. It's small and tight, and apparently they are writing an even tighter major release as I type this, and it has all the features. I paid for it - you don't have to if you can live with a few fairly unobtrusive ads, but I couldn't. Please guys - get it to display MS-generated oddities as well as strictly-compliant stuff and I'll come home.

Don't use the pikey mail and news clients in browsers, boys and girls. Use Pegasus. It's free and it's the best. Ooh - a bit of a non-sequitur. Well, webbers, I think the time has come for a summary then. I'm clearly tired of the browser rant. Summary: Mozilla 1.1 is the one to watch at the moment.

I think a bit of general software advice might be in order at the moment, so here's how to avoid the realm of the pike in your netting (there's a terrible joke just crouched ready to spring in there somewhere).

I am fussy as hell, and I won't stand for adware, crashing or really much trouble at all from the packages I use. They have to be stable and intuitive and they have to work properly all the time (if Windows lets 'em). They have to not overwrite important system files on installation. They have to uninstall cleanly so that I can reinstall when needed - ideally never. They have to have a clear method of backing up personal configs and data, although I don't mind a little manual file copying. They have to be GOOD, baby... So here's what I'm using:

Pegasus for email

Xnews for newsgroups

Trillian for instant messaging

Mozilla, IE and Opera (in that order of frequency) for browsing

and a whole slew of bits and bobs which I'll write another novel about when I'm fizzing some time.

I hope that all this has raised a bit of consciousness as regards alternatives to the stuff that came installed on your pc. There's better...

Posted at 7:41 am by Jim Woods

Infrared games
Here is the official site for One For All brand remote controls. If you need setup codes or whatever this is the first place to look. Can't say I ever got my "universal" model to do much though... Be aware that these sort of remotes seldom cope well with devices newer than the remote. And furthermore that they may not be as upgradeable as they seem. Maybe I'll chronicle my home entertainment control problems (and I don't mean compulsively buying the kit) with a real snoozefest of an entry some time...
Posted at 3:12 am by Jim Woods

Buy a home in Spain

Sit in the sun. Listen to jazz records. Drink like fury with both hands. Save a lot of money all round while you do it.

Yes yes - watch me go!

Posted at 2:58 am by Jim Woods


If you're a Sky Digital subscriber and you've got a blown digibox then you need a cheap source - unless you want to pay 350 for another. This guy sells guaranteed, tested used boxes.

Posted at 1:11 am by Jim Woods

Sunday September 1 2002

No bed!

Not yet. More stuff. More non-internet-and-computer-related stuff.

Maybe I've gone a bit funny with my bunkers and bogles and all that. Perhaps something else.

This is a handy exchange rate calculator for most currencies. We all need one at some point.

Night night...

Posted at 5:18 am by Jim Woods

I cannot remember

- much at all, when I think about it. So I may have featured a link to this somewhere already. This site is a piebald thing with little or no centralised indexing that allows cross-referencing or specific searches for content. And I'm not the kind of girl that writes things like that using arcane server-side scripts or whatever. Or even in fact a girl at all. If I attempted to write such a thing and put it up for public use I expect it would bring about the end of the world or something.

I am no programmer.

The lad who writes Blog - the software which I use to generate this, well - blog, is intimating that the next version will have categories and all sorts of neat stuff. For the moment it's a manual trawl...

A proposition, then. I'll just bung stuff up and you read it. I know you. I know that you will not look at my long lists of unsorted (for the most part) links. I know you will expend next to no effort to find the gems I have cast before you. I know you probably don't think this is funny. Good.

So if you want to read all about the bunkers and so forth of the WWII Atlantikwall - and I can scarcely believe that anyone wouldn't - get to here and check it out. You can go to France and buy cheap trousers and rolling tobacco and look at bunkers. Don't worry about direction in your life. I'm handing it to you on a plate!!!

Must be about time I went to bed now.

Posted at 5:08 am by Jim Woods

The Temple Mount
Here you can find a very comprehensive examination of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from an archaeological point of view. Masses of measurements, surveys and readings on the whole site aimed ultimately at precisely locating biblical features. Not for everybody. Not for nobody either though. Go to it, geekwallah!
Posted at 5:03 am by Jim Woods

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