Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

May 22nd, 2002

Just a test posting. It’s not like I’ve updated this is such a long time that no-one would ever bother reading it anyway.

This is really much better than any of the other weblog solutions out there – honest. Unless you need spell checking of course. Of a GUI. Or other such little details.

March 17th, 2002

The conclusion to the Barcelona summit yesterday was a good demonstration of what is wrong with the UK’s approach to the EU. This BBC article on Tony Blair’s response to the summit included this paragraph: Mr Blair accepted many of the reforms agreed by EU leaders would be seen by the broader public as “nerdy” and only of interest to European “anoraks”.

So where are the spin doctors when you need them? It’s no wonder that Brits have no idea what Europe is for or why the EU is important with such statements coming from our own prime minister. Here’s a list of the points that Mr Blair should have made:

  • Agreement to open up the energy market for business consumers across the EU. This is important for the UK because it will open up whole new markets for our businesses, leading to job creation and wealth, while at the same time driving down the cost of doing business in the UK and other parts of the EU.
  • EU-wide health card. This will ensure that all Brits travelling in the EU and/or working there can be confident in the knowledge that they are covered if they fall ill.
  • The go-ahead for the Galileo system. This will provide many different industries with the opportunity to use a GPS system with a guaranteed level of service, and will also secure the EU’s (and therefore) the UK’s independence from the US for this ability.

With so many positive things coming out of this meeting, and several elements that voters in the UK can directly relate to, why was Tony Blair not more positive and forth coming with his pronouncements? Instead he seems to be confirm that no-one in Britain should care about what the EU is doing.

March 9th, 2002

This afternoon I read one of the most disturbing pieces of news I’ve seen in a while. The US government is proposing to use nuclear weapons in the battle field against its enemies, if they feel it is justified.

The first of the scenarios specified is one that is well known: “retaliation for attack with nuclear,biological or chemical weapons”. However there are two scenarios being reported that should cause everyone considerable worry:

  • “targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack”
  • “in the event of surprising military developments”

In other words any situation in which the US engages in military action and is losing, or in which they feel they might lose, there is the possibility of using nuclear weapons. This development is worrying not just because of the spectre of nuclear weapons being used, but because it means that all states can now legitimately pursue the goal of developing nuclear weapons. If the use of nuclear weapons is possible in situations other than Mutually Assured Destruction then there remains no moral imperative for states not to develop nuclear weapons.

The US can no longer say that developing weapons is inherently wrong. Nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to use in self defence, they have now been blessed as available for use in any conflict.

March 8th, 2002

This is my first post to my weblog from my new XML based GUI!

There is much to fix and improve, but it’s a small step in the right direction. The screen has the Date entry (which I will try to make automatic), and a content box. All the rest of the XML is generated automatically. The entry is a little lagged – but that’s the price of using java – it’s slow!

At gone midnight this will also be a sign-off – time to check-in and get some sleep.

March 3rd, 2002

A posting from my new GUI for weblogs! There are many things left for me to fix, but this is a small step in developing a tool that is actually useful.

I need to sort out the tab settings on this!

I also need to work out how the saving of changes should work!

February 20th, 2002

Yet another huge gap between updates of my journal! I’ve been messing around with alternative systems for managing my site content, including:

  • Zope and in particular CMF. This doesn’t look to promising yet – there’s very little documentation and it’s not easy to see how to create templates so that I can have different pages that pull in other content. It does however feature web based editing – which I think it probably a good thing!
  • Building a Java GUI for my home made system. Currently it’ll display things in a tree and supports plugins, etc – it just do anything useful yet!
  • Thinking about building a simple web based GUI for editing pages in my home cooked system – this might be the easiest route to a good solution

In other news I had a trip back home to the UK recently – which was great! It’s nice to get back every few months and remind myself of what life there is like 🙂

January 8th, 2002

We have more furniture! We’ve got half a sofa (the other two cushions to follow – that’s Ikea for you), two desks, two desk chairs, and lots of boxes. The living room is much nicer now, but the second bedroom if full of all the packaging and generally needs some attention.

I’ve been playing LBreakout2 recently – it’s a really good implementation of the classic breakout for Linux.

January 3rd, 2002

Belgian Euros are landing heads up more frequently than expected.

A lot has happened since the last update to my weblog! It’s a brand new year,and this is the first upload of my new XML based weblog. I spent Christmas and New Year in Des Moines, relaxing and doing some reading. I’m now back in Toronto, and still working on my custom web content system.

The idea is to have all of the content of the site stored in XML, with the HTML being produced using XLST. For pieces of content that should not be changed, like images, JavaScript, CSS files, etc. the system should pass them straight through. It’s a fairly complex framework that allows for different URLs to be matched to different content sources (currently based on flat files), and then passed to specified filters (currently straight-through and XLST).

On another front it’s exciting to hear about the introduction of the Euro in paper/coin form finally. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get back to Europe and see them for real!

December 20th, 2001

This is the first entry of a new re-jigged weblog system. It should look exactly the same as the old one! The difference is that this is driven from an XML based system using XLST.

In theory at least it means that I can change the look/feel of the web log by editing one file instead of all the individual files that make up each entry.

July 22nd, 2001

How time flies! It’s been nearly a month since I last updated my journal – I was rather afraid that this might happen. Skating is going well, with a good trip to Des Moines, as well as skating down on the beaches. There is still plenty for me to learn, but I’m happy going a few miles now, and it’s definitely enjoyable!

I’ll hopefully have another go this evening and see if I can get better at it, but for now my feet need to rest. It has also become very hot here the past three days, and we have had to purchase another fan to try and keep things bearable.

Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

Email: colin at