Monthly Archives: December, 2004


And, while we’re on linguistic topics, how about some Clerihews?

World Wide Words

“Seen as part of a Toys-R-Us advertisement in the Daily Telegraph in Nov 2004: ‘Pictures are for illustrative purposes only.’ You don’t say …”

From Michael Quinion’s wonderful World Wide Words site, which I’ve written about before. Well-worth browsing, or try the Surprise me! link.


S5 is ‘A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System’. It uses a single HTML file to create the content for Powerpoint-type slides, and CSS & Javascript to draw them. Not highly sophisticated, but very bandwidth-efficient, and all you need is a browser. Try looking at the sample slideshow and doing ‘View Source’.

Perhaps the nicest examples of what CSS formatting can do, though, are to be found at CSS Zen Garden, a whole host of web pages which all use the same HTML but are formatted with different CSS stylesheets to get very different looks.

OpenOffice 2.0 preview released

This Inquirer article lists some of the good things coming up in OpenOffice 2.0. The most important new feature is probably the database facility. The two most critical things missing in the Open Source world, I think, have been a good alternative to Microsoft Access, and a good accounts package. It will be interesting to see how close this comes to dealing with the first one.

Link from LWM

Work station?

John has a nice picture of the dead Windows screen at Cambridge station. It’s been like that for ages. Here’s a picture I took more than two months ago using my phone. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen it then, and it still hasn’t been fixed:

Screens at Cambridge station

My friend Tim Glauert jokes that they need three displays so they can display “Departures”, “Arrivals” and “Please press Ctrl-Alt Del”. This is why Newnham Research is going to do so well…

Migrating from Radio Userland to WordPress

Well, I’ve done it! Regular readers will notice that, after nearly 4 years, Status-Q has a new look. Actually, this is temporary and there’s lots of tweaking to be done yet. It’ll soon look a bit more like its old self.

But the underlying reason for it is that Status-Q is no longer produced using the Radio Userland software package, but with the very nice new web-based WordPress. Setting up and running WordPress was easy. Importing all my old posts and trying to make sure that all my old URLs still worked was rather more challenging. I’ve been writing up the process on the WordPress wiki in the hope that it may be of use to future pilgrims following the same trail.

So why the change? Well, Radio Userland was a wonderful program in many ways. As a combination of scripting engine, database, webserver, outliner, RSS viewer with a nice front-end, it was pretty revolutionary in its day and you could do some very cute things with it. It also had the advantage that you could write as much as you liked while disconnected and then upstream to your server when you were next online. All very cool.

However, when it went wrong, which it seemed to do from time to time for absolutely no reason, it was a devil of a thing to debug. The documentation was impossible to find, the scripting language and error messages often rather unhelpful, and since Dave Winer departed from Userland Software there doesn’t seem to have been much active development on it. And I could count the times that working offline has been important to me on the fingers of, well, no hands.

So I’ve been meaning to move to something else for some time, but the task of converting my past posts and keeping my URLs intact seemed pretty daunting. I’d looked at doing it with Movable Type and it appeared that a lot of manual editing would be involved. When Radio died again just over a week ago, though, it gave me the incentive to go and find out just how difficult it would be with WordPress, and the answer was, with a bit of hacking, not too hard at all. So here I am! Let’s see how it goes…


Jambo is a new version of OpenOffice translated into Swahili. Mzuri sana!. From Living Without Microsoft:

“A Microsoft spokeswoman said that Windows and Office are not available in Swahili at present.”

And they probably wouldn’t be affordable for most people if they were! More info at Kilinux. A sort of Tyndale for technology…?

Supply and demand

[Original Link] Doc Searls, the editor of Linux Journal, writes an email column called Suitwatch, “Views on Linux in Business”. From the December edition:

At PC Forum in March 2003, I asked Intel COO Paul Otellini why Intel didn’t release Linux device drivers along with ones for Windows. He pleaded absence of demand. I replied:

“There are two ways that markets happen. One is you wait for the demand to materialize and satisfy the demand. The other is you invent something that’s killer, and the demand follows. By one, necessity mothers your invention; by the other, your invention mothers the necessity. ”

Don’t you wish you could be…

[Original Link] a saggar-maker’s bottom-knocker?

Virtual Bubblewrap

[Original Link] A valuable way to pass your morning.

Clusters of colour

[Original Link] Now this is one of the most colourful sites I’ve seen in a while. Full of great photos. I want to try this, but am wondering how much dieting I’d need first….

And here’s some more wonderful aerial photography. I’ve always thought that flying radio-controlled aircraft was a pretty poor substitute for the real thing, in the same way that I feel sorry for all those kids who grew up wanting to be astronauts and now end up working in satellite-control-rooms. But attaching a camera to the plane gives it a whole new meaning…

[Thanks to Martin King for the links]

Politely turning down viruses

[Original Link] If, like me, you get a little bit miffed when people unnecessarily send you stuff as Microsoft attachments, you might like to make use of the standard reply that John’s posted on LivingWithoutMicrosoft.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser