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

Friday February 27 2004

I have had

the most tremendous craic for the last couple of days, involving some really enjoyable playing. I have not, however, written a sausage on the net. I have not found anything interesting on line either. After the weekend I imagine that things will change in both cases.

Except I did find this very funny thing. Possibly I am the last man in Britain to discover this, but whatever. Slays me. Watch the videos!


Posted at 2:13 am by Jim Woods



Wednesday February 25 2004

Wow! 10000 on the counter

So it was me. It was going to be someone wasn't it?


Posted at 8:35 am by Jim Woods




What have we here?

A load of new links is what. Down the left hand side of the page here, below the site links, the astute will have noticed that there are a load of links to my favourite freeware programs. Not all of them, but all the vital stuff. Everything on that list is something I've used for ages and found largely indispensable. Solid gold, baby.

There are reasons for this. First is so that you can all enjoy good software regardless of economics. This is something I believe strongly in. If I could code my way out of a wet paper bag I'd write software, but as I can't I'll at least evangelize it. Don't pay and don't steal until you've tried these packages. Second, I mention these apps as reference points all the time, and I can rant more if I can rant quicker; one way for me to rant quicker is for me to not have to link every mention of a program to its site. The links are on the left.

If you use any of these programs do take the trouble to send at least an email to thank the authors. They've given you a present after all.


Posted at 7:15 am by Jim Woods




Up early as hell,

which means fiddling with software and watching the sun come up all over Europe (thanks, Webcam Watcher) and drinking expensive real coffee from Whittard's don't you know (thanks, sis)? Ranting and guzzling and tweaking and installing like a rat on a treadmill. A sword-boat captain; is there anything better? Oh wait, I'm not. And I've got a head on. Better share it around then. Brrrrowsers! They're so damned fascinating because they rhyme with trousers! That's my theory and I'm sticking to it like a munter to a benefit.

So here's a browser for ya. K-Meleon. I've mentioned it before, and doubtless I will again. But it means I can do a bulletty list, and that's all good.

Why should you at least give it a go?

  • It's Mozilla based, so it's quick and ethically sound and not entangled with your operating system.
  • It lets you use your IE Favourites, and if you play with browsers much you'll know how vital that is.
  • It's simple, which is why most poor sods use IE after all.
  • If you're crazed you can do all sorts of things with it by editing the config files in plain text. Gratuitous! Jazz! Make things harder for yourself and be saved!
  • Helluva clean interface.

 

Anything bad about it? Yeah - this is me writing you know.

  • Cookie management confined to yes or no in the main. Try using Cookie Monster with it. In fact, you may want to check out this little utility regardless of your main squeeze browser. It's a gem.
  • Page info rather too basic. No list of links, for one thing. Shame.
  • No easy way to confine it to one instance with multiple "layers" (same as tabs in other browsers). Irritating.
  • Not enough bad points to allow me to use a million bulleted list items.

 

Worth a try for the curious though, definitely.

 


Posted at 6:53 am by Jim Woods




What's the big deal with blogging?

An interesting article.


Posted at 6:49 am by Jim Woods




Relax,

it's not as bad as we thought. Here's a mildly reassuring piece, partly from the horse's - or report author's - mouth to say that actually the GBN were only looking at a worst-case scenario! Everything's fine! Get on with your lives! Consume, breed, don't worry!

Thank God it was a worst-case scenario! That means we can ignore it. That would be the prudent thing to do. I mean, who but an idiot would sacrifice an empty materialistic existence in a declining natural world just because it might bring about the end of the world as we know it?

It was all just a cynical ploy to make sure that the f*ckwit Bush didn't get re-elected, after all. Not that he was elected last time, apparently. So it's all fine, and we can watch as he prevails - then we'll all be much safer.

Is it just me or is there a theme to threats to humanity these days? I mean, it's either terror or climate change, right? But in either case the bottom line is that people - perhaps not entirely European or North American or Canadian (or, would you believe it, white) people at that - want to blow us up and probably take our stuff. Maybe they'll borrow our CDs and scratch them, and maybe they'll force their way into our larders in a howling pack. But anyhow they're up to no good. I mean they don't think our Western lifestyle is right, do they? They want to replace it with nasty things like religious observance and making sure people don't starve. It's appalling, and it's a good job we have the moral high ground.

Bloody hell, I'm moderately right wing and I can't stomach the bollocks that's going on. Who elects these clowns?! Oh yeah - no-one did.

I could go on at some length, but what's the use. Me, I'm going to keep the worst case in mind because nothing has ever persuaded me that it's foolish to do so. It's why we Westerners insure the buggery out of everything. And it means that although I may sometimes be a little fearful for the future I don't have to lie to myself, which makes me rather less afraid than average I suspect.

Hmm - I was going to be more upbeat here wasn't I?

Better write a load of stuff about browsers then! Wasn't going to do that either, but hey - the leopard cannot change his spots.


Posted at 6:15 am by Jim Woods



Tuesday February 24 2004

Getting sarky

seems like a nice idea.


Posted at 7:07 pm by Jim Woods




Despite

declaiming in lordly tones that there are better and more important things to do than piss about with computers - and that among said better things is probably not writing about doing it - I am pissing about with my computer again. Well, with its software at any rate. I have found good free things. Abilon I mentioned yesterday. Cool stuff. Shove your favourite RSS-enabled sites in it, and let it tell you when they're updated and show you the headlines. Great for news, blogs and what-have-you. Well, loads actually, since you ask. So adding feeds is a slightly irksome process, as you need to manually create entries in Abilon for them after you've snouted around a site a bit to see if there's a feed available on it.

Imagine my thrusting, impure joy then when I found this toolbar toy. RSS Explorer sits there quietly until you are browsing a site with an RSS feed version available, whereupon it grabs said feed into its address bar. Should you be moved sufficiently by the site content to want to keep an eye on it in future you can then simply hit a button on the toolbar gizmo to add the feed to your reader. Painless as a bloody good drink! Snags? Yeah, nothing's perfect...

Doesn't really work with Abilon. Does work with a slew of other readers though. BottomFeeder is a nice and free one that works well in this setup. And what a name. Even has pictures of fish distributed around it. What's not to like? And (drawing a deep breath before speaking of the devil lest he etc. etc.) you'll need to be running IE to get the full benefit of the RSS Explorer toolbar. I did get it going with MyIE2, which is my shell of choice for IE's rendering engine, but the toggling on and off is broken. Doesn't really matter, but there you are.

So you have my rare approval to fire up IE, using a popup blocker and applying all security updates from MS of course, to use this neato toolbar. Just don't come whining to me about the lack of facilities. I know. I'm stuff with it too for my feed-scouting.

But hey, I'm so well-informed you'd think I had a life. Off you go - inform yourselves to buggery. You know you want to...


Posted at 2:20 pm by Jim Woods




There

This looks interesting. Maybe not to me in particular, but interesting nonetheless.

Update: Whoa! Just read the user reviews. Arse. Another nice idea turned into tawdry exploitation. And URU Live got cancelled too. No online persistent graphical virtual world for me just yet. Back to the odd MUSH. If you don't know what MUSHes are, check 'em out via Google or something. They're great fun for social interaction in text via dialup. A getaway for the skint indeed.


Posted at 4:02 am by Jim Woods




Good

I have at least restored the look and feel of the site. All archive links work, and all pages have the new look.


Posted at 3:22 am by Jim Woods




Test

to see if my efforts to recover the snazzy new template I lost as a result of last week's upset has worked. Fingers crossed. There is a gap between the 19th of January and the 13th of February because I screwed up and lost the data, as I've said. I may restore it, but I don't think there was anything earth-shattering in there. Regular readers will have seen it all at the time in any case. It's a bugger to restore, although I may have a look and see exactly what there was in there and perhaps selectively put some back. I still have far greater concerns, headed by family illness. I have decided that it would be inappropriate to go into this in greater detail here. If you know me and it concerns you, you'll be in the picture. If not, you'll need to find a more confessional blogger to read for this sort of stuff. I'm going to try to be a little more positive here, because if nothing else it might cheer me up a bit.

Not, of course, that I'll pass up the opportunity to rant like hell when something annoys me. But let's face it - one's secure and effective operation of one's computer is hardly life and death stuff is it?

So get your up-to-date anti-virus in, use Spybot S&D, install all security patches for Windows and IE and stay off Outlook Express and don't open emails or their attachments if you don't know the sender. And we'll leave it at that for now.


Posted at 3:16 am by Jim Woods



Monday February 23 2004

Aargh

The BBC have dropped coverage of The Boat Race from next year. That's a catastrophe.

Why? Because it's becoming a more and more commercial event and therefore more suited to ITV, who will start coverage in 2005. Arse.


Posted at 9:54 pm by Jim Woods




Abilon again

Well, it's as good as I said it was. But I've remembered what the problem is with these feed readers: you could spend the rest of your life reading news headlines, which of course are far more often depressing than not, while your life goes sailing merrily by. So don't anyone say I haven't warned you.

What's up with this climate change then? All looks really, really bad to me if what they say is true. When I did my human geography degree fifteen or sixteen years ago we spent much of the course examining this sort of dire prediction, and learning how industrial capitalism was one of the chief culprits - well, that and the alternatives to it. In fact, all modern human activity. If you want a car, limitless electrical power, cheap consumer goods and, well, pretty much all the stuff that we at least feel makes life worth living, then you have to pay. Man, do you have to pay. No future.

Remember Blade Runner? That's now. The future isn't half so rosy. Actually, I thought as much - I'd got a degree in it. But what can you do? Virtually nothing except have a bloody good drink. You never could. In the middle ages you didn't have a vote, and the tossers got to run everything for their benefit. Now you do have a vote, and you use it to choose from a small range of tossers while the rest of society often doesn't even bother to vote. The result remains the same: tossers one, "us" nil. And because we fly to our cheap hols, and drive our cars and use our electrical devices and so on the tossers have the ultimate defence: "We only gave you what you wanted". Well, advertisers persuaded us of that at least.

Probably what we wanted was to sit quietly and play a little music (live) and perhaps grow something nice in a small garden. Go for a walk, find some work we thought was worthwhile and which paid the bills. Only those with small cocks who had somehow escaped maturity wanted the big cars and the expensive lifestyle, but when we saw that it was these tossers who had the neat stuff we couldn't help but want to get even with them. So that was that. No-one's environmentally friendly when it means being seen as a dropout, a failure - someone who is not part of mainstream society. We're social animals. We want to belong.

Ah, enough of this. What's the point? Nothing much we can do. What should we do? Have the craic. Really. Live for today. May never happen.

And anyway, all the experts could be wrong. They often are. Just don't count on it. All that stuff you were going to do one day? Do it now. It's a healthy way to behave in any case. If you can't afford it, then find some ambitions you can afford. Not much worth having costs money, after all. No one should have forgotten that in the first place, but of course we all did and do. Life isn't like a dinner menu where you work your way through the courses; it's a buffet, and if you want your jelly with your shrimp vol-au-vent then who's to say you can't do that. You don't have to live in a sequence dictated by the market, and you shouldn't expect constant growth and improvement; that's an advertiser's lie.

That's the spirit.


Posted at 9:18 pm by Jim Woods




Abilon

is a good find. A free RSS feed reader that allows you to keep up with a ridiculous amount of news very easily. I have only played with it for a couple of hours as yet, but my initial reaction is that this is a gem - very small and powerful and quick. Get it here.

Unless of course you have no idea what I'm on about, in which case you may well be missing out. If you are at all a heavy web user you probably need to check out RSS. Really.


Posted at 3:36 am by Jim Woods





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