Colin's Journal

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

February 19th, 2003

Where does this stuff come from?

Apparently the “Lords of the Rhymes” has been around for a few months, but it’s only recently that they’ve added a video. To give you an idea of just what you’re letting yourself in for if you follow the links, I quote:

The video, directed by famed hip-hop director Curufin the Crafty (aka Morgan Barnard)
features a bevy of Middle-Earthian characters, including hobbits, dwarves, ents, elves,
Nazgul, and even a cameo appearance by the Dark Lord Sauron himself.

” There was no half-steppin’ on this one,” said Quickbeam in a statement released yesterday,
” We knew we had to turn it out large and we did.”

I have to thank, once again, Why Do They Call Me Mr Happy for this one. I’ve no idea where Iain finds this stuff, but it’s truly a wonderful way to waist a few moments of the day.

February 18th, 2003

Bits and bobs

So everyone (or a fairly close approximation to that number) knows that Google bought Pyra, the makers of blogger. On numerous different weblogs you can read educated, and otherwise, guesses as to what the future holds and why Google though it was a good idea. You can even read the initial reaction, in a weblog of course, of the guy who started the company and sealed the deal.

Despite all this however, no one seems to have yet commented on the fact that the news made the front page of the BBC this morning (EST morning that is). Consider that:

  1. The BBC doesn’t tend to put companies buying each other out on the front page
  2. Pyra only employed 6 people

Surely this should warrant some kind of record. The challenge now must be for someone to get a company news worthy enough it gets (however briefly) the front page, but with only 5 employees.

February 18th, 2003

The new look to BBC News

The BBC news site is my main source of mainstream news, and I happened to be trying (and failing) to locate a page on it during the roll-out of their new look. It’s nice and clean looking, with plenty of white space around things.

Of course the ” [an error occurred while processing this directive] ” message on most of the pages spoils the effect, but I’m sure that’s a temporary glitch…

February 18th, 2003

Tweaks to the site

Robin suggested that I should add the archives link section to each of the monthly archive pages, so making the task of reading through all the posts that much easier. It’s an easy change, so I’ve done it. I’ve also tweaked the CSS sheets, as I thought I might have to, so that the archive link section should now render in IE reasonably well. The gods of syndication are obviously smiling on me this week, because the LJ feed didn’t screw up as I had feared it might when changing the number of articles in the RSS feed.

February 17th, 2003

Weblog changes

I’ve implemented a few changes to my weblog, if anyone has any opinions on them the feedback would be helpful. I’ve extended the main index, and the RSS feed, to have 7 days worth of posts rather than 5. LiveJournal seems to be using a particularly brain-dead RSS aggregator, so I’m sure this change, like all others I’ve done, will screw-up the friends pages again. There’s nothing I can do about it execpt hope that they’ve made some changes, like really parsing the XML and keeping hashes of the posts to work out which entries are new.

The other major change I’ve made is to make monthly archives of the weblog available. I’ve always had perma-links to the individual days worth of posts, but no way of getting to them beyond the index page. My initial plan was to have the archive pages contain just the title of each post, along with an excerpt, and then links to the perma-link page. Instead I’ve made the archive pages hold the full post, with perma-links available in the same way as the index page. The layout may change as I re-think my templates, and I need to check to see whether any of the new pages work in IE.

As you can see from the links, my posting over the years has been somewhat sporadic. It’s only with November 2002 that I’ve really been posting anything worth reading (at least IMHO), but I’m keeping the old stuff around, at least for now.

February 17th, 2003

A small bug fix

It’s that time of week again, Monday, so it must be time for yet another release of SimpleTAL! I’ve just uploaded release 2.3 which, this time, addresses just a single defect.

In previous releases there was a problem with using ‘tal:repeat’ over empty lists, namely an exception would be thrown during template expansion. I’ve changed it so that if the list is empty, it will behave in the same way as Zope, and tal:repeat will treat the expression as though it had evaluated to nothing.

Thanks to Barry Pederson for finding and reporting this.

February 13th, 2003

On the differences between libertarianism and liberalism

Matthew Yglesias has an excellent post on why liberals should not use libertarian arguments, and so helps, at least for me, to define the differences between them. The example subject he chooses is that of government policy discouraging homosexuality, and how libertarians think that the state should not be attempting to influence peoples sexuality, whereas liberals would argue that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.

The argument that liberals should not use the libertarian position is for me difficult. The problem is that I agree with both positions, so supporting the libertarian view is not in anyway a dilution of my liberal views. I imagine that a large number of people, who would describe themselves as liberal, would also tend to agree that it’s not the governments place to regulate relationships in this way. While politics inevitably ends up dealing with issues of morality, it should be clear by now, that there is no place for legislation on the nature of relationships between consenting adults.

The social issue of reducing, and it could be hoped eliminating, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is not harmed by stating that it is not the governments role to regulate adult relationships. Legislation that criminalise such discrimination can be supported by those that argue against the government trying to regulate relationships, on the basis that the legislation is extending that argument of non-interference into the world of work. A company discriminating in hiring, is in effect, the same as a government discouraging homosexuality through legislation, in that both acts create a society that is intolerant and harmful to gays. The scale of the effect is certainly different, with the government legislation being far more damaging, but it’s essentially the same question of imposing a particular moralistic view of relationships on others.

February 12th, 2003

Frozen hair & radio stations

It was rather cold this morning. So cold in fact that, within the short time it takes me to walk down the road, any dampness that might have been at room temperature before would freeze. It is a strange feeling to find sharp, crispy, strands of hair upon your head while waiting for a street car, although thankfully no damage seems to have resulted…

A couple of recommendations for anyone looking for radio stations to listen to on-line. Advert free and good listening:

February 10th, 2003

The long road to valid HTML

On the seventh day he rested, for what he created seemed OK, at least as far as he could tell. The next day was a work day however, so it wasn’t until he got home and updated his weblog software to produce validating HTML that he was reminded, once again, of the perils of releasing software.

Despite my confident pronouncements that version 2.1 of SimpleTAL would output valid HTML, I had, I’m sorry to admit, made an omission. You see for HTML to be valid it requires a document type declaration, and version 2.1 of SimpleTAL, like all those before it, would swallow any document type declaration present in the template.

The good news is that the fix was trivial, and so I also took the opportunity to fix a few other oversights, like comments in HTML, and processing instructions in XML. The new release, version 2.2, does now definitely outputs valid HTML; I’m using it for this very weblog, and this weblog now validates.

February 9th, 2003

Bug fix release of SimpleTAL

I’ve just uploaded a new release, version 2.1, of SimpleTAL. This release fixes a defect in the HTML compilation that meant that some HTML templates could never be valid HTML, and that the output of those templates would never be valid HTML.

The problem was that, prior to this release, all open tags that had TAL attributes had to always have a corresponding close tag. In HTML 4.01 there are several elements (e.g. img) that are forbidden to have close tags, and so the choice was either use invalid HTML that contained close tags, or not use TAL in those elements.

In SimpleTAL version 2.1, HTML templates can now have TAL attributes on open tags, for elements that are forbidden to have close tags, that have no corresponding close tags. Additionally HTML elements that are not allowed to have close tags will have them removed from the template output. More details can be found in the notes, and the new version obtained from the download page.

Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

Email: colin at