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

Saturday November 22 2003


As the enthusiastic but ignorant owner of a large herd of unruly frogs, I decided to do a bit of research into the creatures. My knowledge - based on observation using impeccable scientific methods and a fair few stubbies - was sketchy. I knew they hopped around in my garden, and I knew they congregated in my pond. I knew that the wetter the weather, the more likely they were to quit the pond for the garden; infact they often seemed to leave home altogether. They learnt the hard way that Cowley Road is a harsh environment for amphibiae, as indeed it is for most life-forms. I knew that they sometimes greeted my appearance with panic, and sometimes with total indifference. I knew that either I had at least two distinct types or that the sexes differed considerably in appearance - or perhaps both. I knew that they got very noisy in the spring and then a lot of spawn appeared in the pond, and deduced that the spring is definitely the time to be on the pull if you're a frog. With legs that size, who wouldn't want to get them over? I knew they'd be in the house given half a chance, but felt that probably it wasn't the Miles Davis albums that drew them.

I knew, in real biological terms, f*ck-all about frogs.

But it has been, and is, nice to have them around. They look good. They need to not be trodden on by people, and this can be tricky around here where the population is generally nocturnal and well-refreshed. But they're cheerful little animals, and when I'm sitting out in my yard in the summer it can be amusing to watch them hopping about.

I went off around the web looking for information on frogs that a biologist of my level - which is to say pretty lowly - could understand. I gave up pretty quickly, because I remembered that submarines hang around water too and I'm really interested in submarines; after all, I have about twenty or thirty frogs to watch, but no submarine. But before becoming thus distracted I found Frogland! It's got a lot of frog data and it's infectiously enthusiastic.

And now I'm off to have another look at it.



Posted at 8:56 pm by Jim Woods

Friday November 21 2003

Shut Up, Little Man

Words cannot describe. You'll have to have a good look... I think I used to know this lot.

Posted at 4:15 am by Jim Woods


Well, not that much to tell at the moment. I've done a ton of stuff around the house in terms of tidying, cleaning and general electrickery. I've played up at the pub, which was fun. I've drunk some red wine. It's all gone swimmingly.

I haven't surfed much though, and that's why there hasn't been much linkage posted. Mind you, my general rate of blogging isn't too disgraceful by the general standard; nothing wrong with a day of anything from time to time.

I'll be back.


Posted at 1:11 am by Jim Woods

Wednesday November 19 2003

Links page thoroughly checked

Having finished my housekeeping chores rather more quickly than I thought, I set about a bit of good net-keeping. I checked through the links on my links page. This was an interesting experience in several ways. Firstly, it had been rather too long since I last did it. And I did it the old-fashioned way for a bit of fun; I manually clicked all my links - and there are a fair few - and took a quick look at the sites. This reminded me how much really good stuff there is out there.

I was also interested to see that fewer than ten links were dead, and there's a fair amount of healthy change on the DOS sites particularly. Great - I love old technology, and did the page edit in a simple text editor to get my hands on. I can't get too fired up about using a complex HTML design package for a simple page like this. I fantasize that dialup medievalists might thank me for this as the site loads fast and is very legible, whatever its other good and bad points may be.

I find myself slightly regretful that no matter how much time I spend on the web - and I push it to the bleeding edge as it is since I have to make a few quid - there will always be more great content out there than I have time to read. It's a nice problem to have though, isn't it? Hats off to the people who make all those weird and wonderful sites happen.

If you haven't, take a look at my links page. It's a fertile jumping-off point for any serious critical study of odd music - and even a few other things.

I'm listening to The Ornette Coleman Trio at the "Golden Circle" in Stockholm, volume 2. Cor.



Posted at 2:08 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday November 18 2003

You really need to see this as well

Absolutely amazing pastel street art. This really is exquisite. No matter how hard I look, I cannot see this man's drawings as two-dimensional although of course they are.


Posted at 9:22 pm by Jim Woods

Electro magnetic weapons

You know, I never realised that electro magnetic (they seem to use the two separate words where I'd say electromagnetic, but hell - it's their stuff) weapons were so, well, cuddly. Bless 'em! Look at the sweet little rail guns. "Designed to fire a non magnetic projectile to hypersonic velocities using Lorenz forces" indeed. Don't mind if I do, vicar. "Microwave Oven Experiments and PowerLabs Microwave Gun"? Ooooooh, madam. "Electro Thermal and Electro Thermo Chemical (ETC) Guns". Put me down for one, and tell my friends I may be some time.

Why is a persistent image of my neighbour's particularly irritating dog flashing before me?

You really have to look at this stuff. Watch the videos. Soil your virtual self in awe.



Posted at 7:47 pm by Jim Woods

Perhaps your mobile is cooking your brain after all...

Bon appetit!


Posted at 7:40 pm by Jim Woods

Sturmey Archer

The very words! The central feature of the gentleman's iron horse! I never knew their product range was so broad. A 7-speed Sturmey Archer sounds like a semi-automatic shotgun to me: a damned un-English weapon. I'm a long-time devotee of the AW 3-speed hub, principally because it has been there for me all my life. I cycle a fair bit, for my sins. Not in a short of wiry, leg-shaving 60 miles before breakfast way though. More in a sort of kebab in one hand, bottle of red in the other way. A force of nature mildly distressed sort of way. A looking at the scenery, colliding with a skip sort of way. A sort of two-wheeled hybrid of an elephant and an off-licence, frankly. I watch the Tour de France fanatically every summer, but I'm having to come to terms with the fact that I may never win it. But I love my bike, and that's mostly because it has a real, made in England Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hub. With planetary gears. It's as epicyclic as f*ck. Splendid.

I was under the impression that Sturmey Archer had gone out of business, but in fact they've simply been bought out by the Taiwanese. If that's what it takes to keep me ticking gently into the third millenium, that's what it takes. The site is brilliant, even including technical info on dismantling and servicing the units. Superb.


Posted at 5:08 am by Jim Woods

Monday November 17 2003

Change to the page

I see that as a by-product of the recent changes Fahim has been making to the workings of Blog (the software I create this site with, if there's anyone who's somehow missed my endless evangelism of it) when you now click on a link I've put in an entry, that link will open in a new window. This was not the case until a week or so ago.

In some respects this is irritating. It means that if you are using a non-tabbed browser, such as - ooh, let me think here - Internet Explorer, you're the kind of unquestioning, unimaginative sheep who are part of the reason why we live in such a crap-filled, lowest common denominator-oriented world you will end up with a load of IE windows open, cluttering up your taskbar. And I'm afraid it will serve you right. If you're still using IE it's reasonable to assume that you like popup windows, banner ads all over the place, random organization in general and inconvenience in specific. Get yourself a Mozilla or Opera or something, or an IE shell like MyIE2. I recommend MyIE2; you have the works of IE enabling you to use all web sites nailed together by cretins who feel that the world does not need a choice of interface to the web or for that matter a choice of car beyond the Vauxhall Vectra or dinner other than a burger designed mainly or exclusively for IE while having a great interface and the functions you need these days. Having converted to a tabbed browser you will almost certainly feel that there's a great deal of merit in having links open in new tabs. You won't need to back up to get back here, for one thing.

I could change the code easily enough to revert to the old method of link-opening. But I'm not going to, because I think it's better. Wherever you go from here, my site will lurk there in the gloomy background, its fetid breath steaming and its yellow teeth gently grinding. Waiting. And I like the thought of that a lot.

I'm getting soft in my old age.


Posted at 7:28 pm by Jim Woods


Zoom Player is small and fast and free and it pretty much does everything you'd want from a media player. If it has a fault, it's that the thing is so configurable that it could take you until Christmas to work out exactly how to set it up and how the various settings relate to one-another. Still, it'll do what 90% of people want straight out of the box, so I'm definitely recommending this one.


Posted at 7:23 pm by Jim Woods


I rather like that word.

Relatively uneventful day recording today, so here's a few neat things I've found. Haven't the energy for a rant.

Actually, here's one and a half neat things. A link and a repeated acclamation. The Internet Wayback Machine is a superb facility. It aims to have stored copies of web content from 1996 to a few months ago. This means that all sorts of stuff that is no longer on line for whatever reason can be found there. Which is dashed handy.

And did I say how nice the latest beta of Blog is? I'm sure I did, but here's a quick word: the latest beta of Blog is nice. Get it. Blog. It's the new Wild West.


Posted at 1:52 am by Jim Woods

Sunday November 16 2003


Frogs are cool. I am the custodian of a green army of frogs, and I wanted to know more about them than that one has to not tread on them and they have it off a lot in the spring and gloat about it noisily. During the course of my researches I found this excellent site - Frogland. Hop on.


Posted at 2:21 pm by Jim Woods

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