Monthly Archives: May 2005

New Look

Finally sick of looking at blue (Kate Bush wrote a symphony in it, you know), I ditched the Kubrick theme that I had both on the old Serendipity web log and also here on WordPress. The new, cleaner, look, is based on Robin Hastings‘ Letterhead theme.

No Legitimacy

Journalist, author and accessibility pundit, Joe Clark, presents an interesting article, suggesting that web logs should qualify for an ISSN. Thinks me, “this is great – legitimacy for Smiffy’s Place”.

Sadly, this is not to be; quoth the issuer of ISSNs in Australia:

Thank you for your ISSN application. We do not assign ISSNs to the following online resources: personal or organisational homepages, advertising sites, weblogs and/or diaries.

Oh well, illegitimacy never held William the Conqueror back.

Coldest Day

This morning gave the lowest temperature so far this year, according to my weather station. Whilst the temperature was logged at a minimum of 1.1°C, a quick look at the database shows that it actually dropped below freezing for a couple of readings, although not enough to show.

You just downloaded what?

The latest Handler’s Diary from the Internet Storm Center (sic) has a useful note on the verification of downloaded software. I found this Linux Online article especially interesting.

And yes, I have to confess that I have taken things on trust for far too long and have only been following these procedures myself for a relatively short time.

Think security – they’re out to get you!

A New Start (Again)

Here goes with my third web logging system; first it was Google’s Blogger (for about 24 hours), then it was Serendipity, now it’s WordPress. There are various reasons for this most recent change; I’m happier with the database schema of WordPress and I think that the system appears to be, well, more semantic.

I was foolish enough to try to move the data from Serendipity to WordPress typing SQL in live – not a good idea when tired and a bit spaced out with a middle-ear infection. Whilst it can be fun to live dangerously, in future, I will do a database dump (backup) first before I try anything “clever”.

Hoorah, now I can go to bed. (Stayed up late due to timing of my next antibiotic dose. Grumble, grumble, ear infection, grumble, grumble.)

Media Circus: Schapelle Corby

The whole case has been a complete media circus, with massive support for Corby (at least in Australia). The TV equivalent of the tabloid press, Channel 9 (not the only guilty party though) has, as usual, sensationalised the whole thing as “poor Aussie girl done wrong by horrible foreigners”. (Note for horrible foreigners: Australia is only as multicultural as suits the white European [British] contingent; I’ve heard the terms used to describe Aussies of non-English descent, so goodness knows what they think of the ones who are not only of foreign extraction, but actually live abroad. Just like the UK, the USA, the…)

If Corby is, as she claims, innocent and that the drugs were actually put in her luggage by airport baggage handlers (not beyond the realms of possibility), yes, gaol is a tragedy. However, I have no evidence either way, therefore I’m not making any judgements. I just love the way that half the country has suddenly become legal experts, with access to all the relevant evidence.

The real villains? Well, in my view, it’s whoever put the dope in Corby’s bag (whether a third party or her – we’ll probably never know) and the media (as usual). The winners? The media (“let’s get ratings!”) and the lawyers (“we’ll get paid no matter what – let’s see if we can stretch this out as long as Michael Jackson’s”).

My sympathy goes to Corby’s friends and family – if what was happening wasn’t bad enough, having the vultures circling and coaxing them into emotional situations really takes the biscuit.

Further sympathy to the state of Indonesia – attempts to interfere with a nation’s judiciary amount to attempts to undermine that nation’s sovereignty; a great way to treat your closest neighbour.

I won’t even put in a link about the case – if you can’t find it through Google News, you’ve probably got your computer switched off.

For speakers of en-US (including most of the populations of Australia and England): gaol is the en-GB spelling of jail.

My First Perl Module!

A Perl user of over five years, I now have my first module on CPAN. It lurks at; cool, eh?

I also have a project page on this site for the module, HTML::XHTML::Lite.

This module was written to make it easier for me to produce accessible documents; I find the legacy not to be the best thing for getting all of the “new” stuff (like Dublin Core declarations) into a document head.

Microcontrollers: Samples

The first of my articles in the series
The Big Microcontroller Question
deals with getting samples from the manufacturers.

Just to remind you, the players are Atmel, Freescale (Motorola) and Maxim Dallas; all three companies offer free samples to qualified developers – one of the three, however, hasn’t delivered.


Super fast – samples on FedEx the next working day. Super slick and speedy.

Maxim Dallas

No hassles with samples, although expedition is not a quick as Freescale (standard post used). What I really, really like about the Maxim Dallas system is how the e-mail confirmation comes with links to datasheets and application notes, rather than having to trawl back through the
site. Well cool.


I love the AVR devices (especially since I’ve invested in an STK500 development board an have spent quite some time working with AVRGCC), but I’m not so impressed with Atmel, the manufacturer. On two occassions (the first some five months ago) I have attempted to put through sample orders. Both said that the samples would be shipped to the local agent; perhaps they were – I never saw them, nor heard any more. Until I see some measureable improvment in customer service from this company, I won’t be looking at their devices for any new designs. (I will still finish my evaluation of the Atmel devices in this series of articles because AVRs are still pretty cool.)


(Originally posted to WAIIG mailing list.)

For anyone using Mozilla or any other platform that understands XUL, I have just written a very simple in-browser keypad programme for locator-only navigation.

I actually wrote it so that I could “surf” with one hand whilst the other is occupied with essential caffeine and calories, but feel it may be of interest to anyone working without a keyboard.

The code is here and the associated stylesheet (all 20 lines of it). Whilst this works fine over my intranet, I can’t get it to execute from my web server – something wrong with the mime types, I guess. Interested parties will probably need to download and use locally.

If this is of use to anyone, please feel to take it and use it; extension/modification is simple – a little knowledge of XML and JavaScript is sufficient, even for those who have never looked at XUL before.

Forcemeats II

As a follow-up to my forcemeats posting, the result was an outstanding success.

A second attempt using beef, pork and lamb lacks a certain je ne sais quois – or should I say bacon.
This batch is almost too lean; the bacon fat adds more than just flavour.