Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

27 Jul 2004

Spoof Site...

The UK government is currently trying to drum up hysteria to justify some stupid and unnecessary laws and freedom restrictions. Part of the spin is a massive waste of money on an official "Preparing For Emergencies" booklet that is being sent to every household in the country, Naturally there is an official web site, to add to the waste of tax money.

One enterprising chap has created his own version of the site. It is a perfectly valid satire of the official site, and reflects the cynicism that many people feel towards this latest example of government spin. Needless to say the site has been overloaded, and the government has got heavy handed - adding to the validity of the criticism.

Unless HM Government has bullied him off the Internet, or his server has collapsed under the load, have a look at

26 Jul 2004

Street Numbers

Most British streets use a simple numbering scheme. Starting at one end each building on one side has the odd numbers, and each building on the other side has the even numbers. If there is a large gap on one side, then usually the numbers skip the gap so if it's ever filled in the correct numbers are still available.

Our village is different. On entering a street you realise that the numbers start at one, and go up in sequence on one side, and then carry on going up all the way back on the other side. Thus number 1 may be opposite number 42, and number 1 is next door to number 2, which is opposite 41, and so on. There is nothing particularly wrong with this numbering method, but when you are not use to it, and it's mixed at random with the "normal" method, it's quite confusing...

24 Jul 2004

Good Design is Possible

Today we decided to try and find the PYO fruit farm in a near-by village. A few clicks a to our surprise Google for a web site for us. The site is not perfect, the html is a bit off, but the site does have exactly what we wanted, which is so unusual to find these days.

21 Jul 2004

Village Web Site

The people running the new village web site, seem quite approachable, and willing to take on suggestions and ideas. I sincerely hope that I can help them to achieve it's full potential.

There is hope...

19 Jul 2004

Chip and PIN

Today for the first time in over a decade a shop asked me to type my PIN into a keypad instead of asking me to sign a piece of paper. When I was a student a few shops in Leeds were trailing card+PIN purchasing, but it never caught on. Now, more than a decade later, and a few billions of fraud later the UK banking industry is again trying PINs rather than signatures for card transactions.

While it's not the panacea for all the banks problems, it has significantly reduced fraud in France where an embedded chip in the card, combined with a PIN has been common for many years.

The UK banks are now hoping that it will help here too. However, given that the fastest growing problem is now the CHNP type, I somehow fail to see how a chip in my card is going to help...

18 Jul 2004

Drip Drip...

Over the weekend we helped with the OBS stall at the Overton Sheep Fair - I'd provide a link but there isn't one...

I didn't miss the opportunity to suggest to a few more people that they don't use IE, but rather try a better browser, either Opera or Firefox. No product is defect free, but it is fair to say that IE has had more than it's fair share of bugs, many of them have been very serious, and Microsoft has not been able to fix them quickly or in some cases at all.

Not everyone tries a new browser, especially those without a fast connection, but most that do never go back. IE is such a poor product when compared with the competition: it's slower; has less features; is notoriously buggy; doesn't protect against adverts; and is a security nightmare. To think that most people still use IE makes me so angry...

The Sheep Fair

This weekend was the Overton Village Sheep Fair 2004. We had quite a few thousand visitors, and it all went rather well, even the British weather played ball.

We were manning the OBS stall. We got lots of new members, and sold lots of stuff. We met lots of people, most from the village, some from far a field.

Interestingly I ran into a few people who were less than happy with the village web site. I was not alone in my misgivings about the web site, and others were keen to hear about my opinions that the new site while better is still less than idea.

16 Jul 2004

Sheep Fair

This weekend is the Overton Sheep Fair '04. As part of the celebrations, the village web site has been re-launched. It's a lot better than the original, only because the original was so bad, it is hard to be worse. In the scheme of things the new site isn't very good, and still fails basic html, usability and accessibility guidelines.

13 Jul 2004

More Crap Web Sites

This week Field and Trek sent a flyer with some items on sale in. For once the prices are worthwhile, but I'm not willing to buy clothes on-line, I'd much rather go to a shop. So I tried their apparently award winning web site.

It's a steaming pile of crap...

  • If fails validation
  • Has no DOC-TYPE defined
  • Has no character set defined
  • The html is terrible
  • It's got illegal code points in the character set (so I assume it's some Microsoft rubbish)
  • It looks awful - like some horrid hack from ten years ago
  • It fails accessibility guidelines miserably

The list goes on and on. Some of the pages have exposed HTML in the body text, and the nearest shop's opening hours are, "ring between 9-5 to ask what the opening hours are..."

10 Jul 2004

Dual AMD Opteron Linux Box...

I won't be buying an AMD64 system yet, I'll wait for Debian "Sarge" on AMD64 to come out first, but DNUK do a very good price on a dual Opteron system...

I Should Not Lend People Books...

I really should not lend people books, forget who I lent them to, and then forget to ask for them back. I've lost my copy of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" that way, and most recently my first edition of "Web Design - In A Nutshell".

09 Jul 2004

To Busy to Read...

This week I've been very busy rolling out my Apache/Perl SAP Application Server at work. Today I was so buy that I didn't have a chance to read Slashdot or The Register until I got home...!

04 Jul 2004

US-CERT even says no to IE

While I've been away on my holiday things have not gone well for Redmond. There have been a number of serious security defects discovered in their software, and even the US-CERT now recommend any browser other than IE...

03 Jul 2004


I've been on holiday, away from everything. Lots of fine weather, good walking, and fine company.