Feet up!
Thursday, May 30, 2002
Nice football blog

Another day, another Jabber server
Well Jabber.at is nice in that it's this side of the pond and has (mostly) working Yahoo, MSN & ICQ gateways, but it's been a little unreliable so it's no longer my fave. Jabber.com & Jabber.org are ok but they're a bit too slow for my liking and also they were both down to just one external gateway (MSN) last time I looked :-(

The new server is amessage.de and it's got more external gateways than you can shake a stick at (MSN, Yahoo, AIM & ICQ), plus lots of bells and whistles like email or web to Jabber gateways and more! In fact to send me a Jabber message just fill in the form below:

Jabber to Jim
Your email address:(for reply)
Toy of the week!
-- --- .-. ... . -- .- -.-- .... . -- Endless fun and games with dots and dashes...

Centering (sic) crimes
How hard can it be to spell centre? Far too tricky for Yanks apparently...
God knows what's happened to my archives! Later, it looks like I've broken the javascript and Blogger keeps republishing the broken stuff :-(
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Minor tweaks to get this HTML mostly compliant with the standards.... Just one link to fix (I hope)!
Withdrawal symptoms
Oh :-( Blogger is throwing a tantrum, maybe I should get on with some work instead, why oh why do people post event logs on status pages with a time but no timezone, how do I know where they are? Dumb, dumb, dumb, btw it's 11:33am here and that's not a GMT time either...
<P> Madness...
That's wonderful, I've messed up the formatting of the blog, hopefully I've fixed it all now, let's see...
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
News tickers - what are they?
In one word, obsolete :-) Not so long ago news used to arrive at various organisations (trading houses, newspaper offices etc.) via a printer which would sit there all day churning out stories as they happen. The machines have fallen out of use, but the phrase lives on for online news services and "ticker tape" parades.

One of the best news online services imho is NewsNow who are really a news aggregator taking news headlines from dozens of other sites and displaying them with links to the stories. You can select various subsets of the full news for more focused news, for example I keep up to date with my football team Southampton by leaving a browser window open which auto refreshes and brings you the news as it happens.
Monday, May 27, 2002
Kashmir again
Another reason I've been humming it is there's a rather cool remix version playing in the background to the BBC's cool Manga style trailers for the World Cup. I wonder who did it?
How broad is your band? or ADSL/Cable vs 802.11b
Community wireless has a hell of a lot going for it, what with decent 802.11b cards now down to the 60 sort of region. If you use one, do the decent thing and tell your neighbours! Consume.net are one of the leaders in this field in the UK, browse their web site and mailing list for info on your nearest nodes.

Kewney's new haunt
Guy Kewney - veteran UK tech-journo - has a new(ish) website about all things wireless Guy Kewney's Mobile Campaign - recommended!
Musical interlude...
Funny enough I was also talking to Paul (ballistics not C++) about music; Paul has probably the largest music collection of anyone I know, literally thousands of CDs and LPs, and he's in the process of copying them all to MP3 for easier listening. It's what I've done with my much smaller collection, although I've got to the stage where I'm now very tempted to re-do the whole lot (CDs at least) at both a higher bit rate for normal listening and a lower rate for music on the move. I suppose the next progression will probably be to Oggs, as those I've heard are certainly as good as MP3s, "more disk space Igor!"....

Here's my recommendations for MP3 software, it's not perfect but none of the products annoy me half as much as some of the competition...

Player: FreeAmp - Clean interface, nice playlist handler, plays streams & Oggs, open source, multi-platform. It's a nice product with just a few rough edges, and it certainly makes the competition look bloated and ridiculous, I mean just what is the point of that funny little menu in WinAmp? And why does RealPlayer insist on associating itself with files it can't play?

Ripper: Exact Audio Copy - Does exactly what it says on the tin... Re-reads a CD as necessary to get the audio off, I've had it successfully read disks that are too badly scratched to play on anything else, highly recommended.

Encoder: L.A.M.E. - LAME Ain't an Mp3 Encoder, yeah right... For various legalistic reasons at one time it wasn't really an encoder, however the copy I've been trying certainly is! It's fully featured and produces very good quality MP3 files, the r3mix settings being especially good, if you can tell these files from the original cd audio, you've got far better ears (and audio equipment) than me.
Friday, May 24, 2002
Beer and ballistics
Met a few of the nice chaps from MS Instruments for lunch at a little pub in Bromley. Alan mentioned some of the places really worth visiting in Bromley (mainly pubs) and one hotel that's best avoided... Paul talked about a newish venture of theirs; Ballistics News, an irregular journal of things that go BANG!! which sounds fun if a litle noisy :-)
Linux distros and mail
Jabbbering away to Paul Grenyer about various Linux distros and how to handle mail. He's writing a series of articles for the ACCU about his experiences in setting up a simple Linux server for home or small office usage. Paul's gone for the common denominator in using Red Hat and postfix for his email, personally I'd have used Debian and exim, but I suppose at least he's not having to use sendmail :-)

World Cup goes mad!
Blimey, still a week to go before the soccer World Cup starts in Korea and Japan, and the news tickers are going beserk. Yesterday's news: Irish captain Roy Keane gets thrown out of the squad after a bust up with the coach, and what seems like half the Swedish side get involved in a bundle over a rather vigorous tackle. Today's news: Cameroon finally arrive in Japan after what seems like a round the world tour, they're already having a fun World Cup! The curse of the metatarsal strikes again, this time it's Danny Murphy who breaks one. A metatarsal is a bone in the foot and other recent England players who fell victim to the same break include skipper David Beckham, and haphazard defender Gary Neville; Beckham is recovering hopefully in time to play, Neville and Murphy are out of the World Cup. I wonder who's next, maybe Steve McManaman will still get called up!

General wittering
Today's musical choices (so far) Mike Scott: Still Burning and Paul Weller: Stanley Road both nice and mellow(ish), well it is Friday!

Jabber - What is it?
Jabber is an open source instant messaging platform, rather like MSN, AIM, or ICQ but without the big company heavy handedness and Big Brother implications, and if you don't like the client software (or even the server) there's nothing to stop you improving an existing one or even writing your own! A big plus is that many of the public Jabber servers also serve as gateways to the other messaging system, so from one client I can chat to friends on Jabber, MSN, AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo!

ACCU - Who?
The ACCU are the Association of C and C++ Users, an international organisation based around these computer languages (and Java). They produce a number of journals, have some pretty active mailing lists and support the standardisation efforts of both languages.
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Team Waste mailing list, shock, horror
Team Waste the bunch of lovable rogues who inhabit the lively Cix bikers conference have started their own mailing list, probably as an alternative from Cix's sloth like WCS (Web Conferencing System) which isn't a patch on traditional Cix access (fortunately still available).

Naturally I've joined the list, it's hard to find a higher quality of humourous banter on a range of varied subjects (bikes, beer, politics, computers, cars, you name it) than the cix bikers conference. Whether it was wise to forward the email to my Locust account is another matter, I foresee the phone bleeping a little today...

Cix - what is it?
Cix is a nominally British based conferencing system somewhat akin to the Well or Bix, it's a virtual community with about 15,000 subscribers and conferences covering pretty much every topic under the sun.
Here comes the sun, da-da-da-dah
Another sunny morning, being awoken by a hungry baby at 5:20 meant I got to see lots of early morning sun, unfortunately it was a while before my eyes were really up to the task...

Music for today, Skunk Anansie's Stoosh, what a cracking album!

For some reason I've been humming Led Zep's Kashmir, rather ironic with Indians and Pakistanis fighting over it quite so intently, I'm blaming it on BBC Radio 6, for the music not the war, although I suppose some of the DJs are a little confrontational at times.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Initial posting to get this thing going...