Jim's Inchoate Weblog

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

Saturday December 14 2002

GPS drawing

A couple of guys who seem to be local (Oxfordish, UK) have hit upon a fine pursuit, namely driving about creating drawings by plotting the GPS data of the journey. This is a splendidly amusing misuse of resources (as they say in Linux). Have a look at the results here.

Posted at 11:55 am by Jim Woods

Reporting nothing to report

I've been a bit busy over the last couple of days, hence not much updating. Still eagerly awaiting Apple box, on which I shall report when I have it up and running.

Posted at 11:06 am by Jim Woods

Thursday December 12 2002

Hmph, Fuji

If you read this site regularly you'll know that one of my pet hates is unreliable or inferior electronica. In the former category, the Fuji Finepix 2800 digital camera. Dead as a dodo with two days behind it and fifteen pictures under its belt. Time to see what their customer service is like, I guess. Pity really. From my little experience with it I was impressed by the image quality, the main thing after all with a camera. It would be nice if these things were a little more robust though.

Durability in electronics seems to have entered the downward slope of a parabolic curve now...

Posted at 6:50 pm by Jim Woods

Dream box
Dream in Germany produce some great PVR/Sat tuner hybrid boxes with Ethernet. These sorts of things are the way of the future in home entertainment, and the Dream units look better than most. Of course I'll be wearing out my old Panasonic Sky Digibox and first-gen Tivo before I start getting too hot under the collar about anything newer. It would be nice to get a dual LNB rigged up on my dish too, but due to my chronic head for heights I think that will have to wait for a while yet.
Posted at 1:22 pm by Jim Woods

Actually, what's the point?

What is the point? OK, let's make it a smaller question. What's the point of having my mug shot on the main page when it's already in the photo section. Girls, don't crash the server. I was just playing around transferring some pics from the new Fuji 2800 camera - impressed so far, by the way - and I came across some old cat pics (Joy! Cat pics!) including the one that has usurped me to your left. It's the animal known usually as Smell-Creature contemplating escape to the wild. I find this picture particularly resonant, for some reason.

Posted at 2:13 am by Jim Woods

Wednesday December 11 2002


As the more observant amongst you will notice, I have yielded to the temptation to emblazon my likeness prominently on this page. And in fact all other pages of the site, such is the wizardry of the archiving format. Of course, for the hardcore fans, this picture is available much more splendidly-dimensioned in the photos section - but what the hey; now I'm watching all the time. Ladies, form an orderly queue please! Not, of course, that I'd be ironic.

I should get some more pictures up soon, as I have a splendid new Fuji digital camera toy for the moment.

Posted at 11:58 pm by Jim Woods

Posted at 3:34 pm by Jim Woods

Festive fun with HTML

Well, according to every Html validator I've tried, the code for this blog is so broken they wouldn't know where to start correcting it. Actually, that's not quite true: A Kinder Gentler HTML Validator charitably produces a list of a hundred or so errors. Of course, they don't know what I'm trying to do here... :>

Seriously though, even though this site works perfectly well in every browser I've tried it in apart from Opera (some silliness over font sizes), I feel I should probably rewrite it to be strictly compliant. As a learning exercise, if nothing else. So if it looks weird over the next few days you'll be looking at a beta. I crave your indulgence. My general coding ineptitude is the stuff of legend...

Should you wish to scare yourselves to death by trying your own code out against a validating service, here are some links to 'em:

W3C MarkUp Validation Service (the official World Wide Web Consortium affair)

Web Design Group HTML Validator

There are loads of these things out there; these two are just ones I've tried.

Here's a link for HTML Tidy. This neat (free, of course) utility will parse HTML for errors and tart it up. It is available both as source code and as executable code for every platform you're ever likely to run. I recommend using it in conjunction with NoteTab. NoteTab is a cracking free (in its Light incarnation) text editor. And the HTML Tidy support is built-in. If you don't think text editors are very exciting you need to try this one. Many, many timesaving and useful features.

Happy HTML hacking...

Posted at 12:43 pm by Jim Woods

AceMoney update

You'll recall that I was evangelizing AceMoney as a good free personal finance package recently. You may also remember that I said I was having problems with importing my data as QIF files from MS Money 2000. Well, in an incredible display of dedication - remember, it's free software - Alexander from MechCAD Software, the AceMoney programmers, had within a few days read my comments and contacted me to try to sort out the issue. We're trying to nail it down now. I was very impressed indeed that these guys clearly search the web so thoroughly to find out what's going on with their product, given that this site is not exactly aggressively promoted on the search engines.

Who said service isn't what it used to be?

Posted at 12:45 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday December 10 2002

Learn Spanish
Here's a site dedicated to, well, learning Spanish. You never know when it may be useful... The part of Spain I visit regularly is Catalan-speaking, of course.
Posted at 9:08 am by Jim Woods

Codec Corner has a massive arsenal of audio and video codecs, for playing those recalcitrant media files one sometimes gets. Is it just me that finds the whole issue of these things amazingly confusing? Also ABME has an unbelievable amount of stuff to do with the playing, spitting and transmission of multimedia. Well, these are the guys who spend most of their time doing this, after all :>
Posted at 8:42 am by Jim Woods

Monday December 9 2002

Much, much Linux software

Go to Tucows. And give yourself some time.

Posted at 7:07 am by Jim Woods

A couple of software repositories
Moochers - all free, and most pretty old. You may find old, hard-to-find versions here UtilityGeek - emphasis on diagnostics and utilities (surprisingly enough)
Posted at 5:55 am by Jim Woods

The Apple of my eye

Urgh. My ex-wife is giving me another Mac. What I'm hoping will distinguish this one from two previous ones is that it will be a beast. I have a II SE with a single floppy and no hard drive, purely of interest to historians, and a neatish Performa which currently requires a SCSI hard drive in order to function. Looking for that, if anyone knows of one cheap or being chucked. The new thing is an ex-Photoshop workhorse, so that should make it very pokey with any luck. We'll see....

Posted at 3:14 am by Jim Woods

Linux update

Well, sensing how deeply you care, here's an update on how things are going with my attempts to (at least partially) switch over to using Linux. I have found the Mandrake 9.0 distribution to be pretty good in that it works stably and supports the bulk of my hardware well. Previous goes at Linux have generally stumbled over dodgy graphics drivers; I'm a little masochistic, but not sufficiently so to want to do everything in text mode at the command line. So, given that I have the desktop - and the vital internet connection (and was that fun) - up and running I'm happy enough. I'd recommend Mandrake. It was fairly painless, and comes with a good selection of apps - a decent office suite for example, a great boon to many Windows defectors.

What I have not managed to do is find enough apps I like yet. Now, if you read this blog regularly you'll have noticed that I concern myself far more with applications software than I do with the operating system itself. My reasoning is that the o/s should just sit there and work, by and large, and provide a stable platform upon which I can run whatever it is I am doing. It's essentially Windows's (and yes, I tried XP) failure to fit the bill in this regard which has prompted my Linux experiments over the years. What's wrong with Windows? In a few words: unstable, insecure, expensive. We'll debate all that another time (and if anyone expresses an interest).

Back to apps... Given the time I've spent - in fact it's ongoing - finding the software I use has taken a very long time. To repeat the exercise is not a trivial matter. Therefore I will be turning over to Linux for some tasks and not others, for the immediate future. I am also awaiting the arrival of a new box to be a dedicated server running Linux. Until that is here, I am only going to be using the dual boot setup I currently use as a learning tool for me to thoroughly familiarise myself with the o/s. So, the amount of work I put in on looking for apps will be limited. To you that means loads of tips on Win32 freeware to come. Yippee.

I continue to learn Linux...

Posted at 2:50 am by Jim Woods

Sunday December 8 2002

News servers
Here is a good place to find publicly-accessible news servers and track down groups.
Posted at 5:29 am by Jim Woods

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