Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • Use Your Head

    Integrate Bristol is a local charity formed to help with the integration of young people and children who hail from other countries and cultures.

    In addition, Integrate Bristol campaigns against all forms of violence and abuse against women and girls and promote gender equality; it aims to raise awareness of and promote education around these issues through its creative projects.

    One of the forms of abuse Integrate Bristol campaigns against is the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Although strictly illegal in the UK, FGM still continues and laws set in place to protect children do not adequately ensure the protection of girls from practising cultures.

    The most recent creative project organised by Integrate Bristol is the #useyourhead video. #useyourhead is the title of the song that launches the next part the campaign by Fahma Mohammed and the young people of Integrate Bristol against FGM. This had its première on Thursday 26th June at Bristol’s Counts Louse (otherwise known as City Hall by some. Ed.).

    The video was filmed in many locations around Bristol and features some well-known Bristol personalities, such as the gentlemen from my local kebab shop. Also making it through to the final edit are a couple of dubious dance moves from a pair of Bristol’s minor political irritations, but don’t let that put you off enjoying the video. 🙂

    If readers have any concerns regarding FGM, they can call the free 24-hour helpline on 0800 028 3550.

    For more information about the work of Integrate Bristol, see

    Update 04/07/2014: from @MsMottram on Twitter, news arrives that the video is now featured on the Cosmopolitan website, where it’s described as “our tune of the summer so far“.

  • West Midlands Police consulting on interpreting contract with Capita

    According to a couple of my Twitter contacts, West Midlands Police are currently looking at their interpreting contract with Capita Translation & Interpreting, a name not unfamiliar this blog.

    The first indication of this came yesterday from Agata McCrindle.

    This was followed later by Geoffrey Buckingham, Chairman of the Association of Police & Court Interpreters (ACPI).

  • GNU licences now adapted to Swiss legal language

    According to, reading the original text of open source licences is very challenging. Swiss IT legal specialist Wolfgang Straub has made a new translation into German of three major open source licences, the GNU GPL, GNU LGPL and GNU Affero GPL and aligned them with Swiss legal language. In addition, he is also providing an introduction to the law on open source licences and various checklists for download free of charge at

    The licences of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) have been amongst the most frequently used open source licences for many years. In 2007 the FSF published version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL). The Berne-based IT legal specialist Wolfgang Straub has now made a new translation of the text of these three licences.

    Linguistically, the initial German translations of the GNU GPL and the GNU LGPL by Peter Gerwinski are based as closely as possible on the original English text. They are based upon German legal language. Wolfgang Straub has made a new translation of the licences and adapted them to Swiss legal language. The wording and presentation are aimed at the best possible comprehensibility. The new translations are published under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence and are available for download free of charge at the Swiss Open Source Portal as PDF and ODF files.

    Wolfgang Straub is the author of several publications on Swiss information technology law. He is also the author of the book “Softwareschutz – Urheberrecht, Patentrecht, Open Source” (Software Protection – Copyright, Patent Law, Open Source) published by Dike Verlag in 2011. The chapter on open source software is now available free of charge for download (PDF). It contains a systematic overview of legal matters concerning open source licences, a bibliography and various checklists for practical use.

  • Art up the Feeder

    In recent years, Bristol has hosted two very successful public arts trails.

    Wow! Gorillas was a project sponsored by Bristol Zoo Gardens in 2011 that displayed 61 decorated life-sized fibreglass gorilla sculptures on the city’s streets. It coincided with the zoo’s 175th anniversary. At the end of the event the sculptures were auctioned off, raising £427,300 for gorilla conservation work and for local Bristol charity Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

    2013 saw Gromit Unleashed take to the streets of Bristol. This saw 1.18 million people visiting the Gromit Unleashed trail and associated exhibition over the 10 weeks of the event last summer. Church Road at Lawrence Hill was one of the sites chosen for a Gromit; it hosted one named Lodekka (posts passim) after the fondly remembered Bristol double-decker bus commonly in use when I first moved to the city in the 1970s.

    After these events, the places where any remaining sculptures can be seen on public display can be counted on the fingers of one hand. One gorilla can be seen in North Street, Bedminster and one Gromit adorns the bows of one of the Bristol Ferry Boat Co.’s ferries plying the city docks.

    However, there’s one place where both a gorilla and a Gromit can be seen together – Feeder Road alongside the Feeder Canal, historically an area associated with grime and industry, not art of public view.

    If you look up a couple of hundred yards beyond the traffic lights, you see them.

    sculpture of the roof of Manor Scrap

    Both were bought at the respective charity auctions by Manor Scrap. According to their website, Manor also acquired another gorilla, but this cannot be viewed from the road from what I could see.

    Chatting to Pete, the boss of Manor Scrap recently, I understand that the next sculpture trail to be organised in the city will be based on another Aardman animated character – Sean the Sheep.

    Will Shawn end up down the Feeder too?

  • Bristol Post: England invests £168 in roads

    Road works traffic signAccording to yesterday’s online edition of the Bristol Post, the Department of Transport is to invest the princely sum of £168 – the largest amount it has spent on tarmac for four decades – in England’s road network.

    Of this total, the amount earmarked for local authorities in the Bristol area swells magically to more than £2 mn., according to a this piece by an unidentified Post hack.

    The second paragraph of the report reads as follows:

    The handout from a £168 funding pot which will see more than £3 million potholes filled is part of what is being billed as “the biggest investment in roads since the 1970s”.

    For those who prefer their information unmangled by the illiterates of the local media, the original Department of Transport press release is available here.

  • LibreOffice 4.2.5 released

    The release of LibreOffice 4.2.5, codenamed “Fresh”, has been announced by The Document Foundation. This is the fifth minor release of this free and open source office suite. However, for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests they continue using LibreOffice 4.1.6 “Stable”.

    image of LibreOffice Mime type icons
    LibreOffice for all your office suite needs: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database, drawing and formulas

    More than 800 contributors have helped develop both LibreOffice 4.2.5 and LibreOffice 4.1.6 since the launch of the LibreOffice project in September 2010. “This is a wonderful
    achievement”, said Thorsten Behrens, Chairman of The Document Foundation. “We have managed to attract at least three new contributors per month for 46 months in a row, with an average of more than 200 new contributors per year.”

    A total of 150 bugs have been fixed in the latest release. Details are available for bugs fixed in both release candidates, RC1 and RC2.

    LibreOffice 4.2.5 and LibreOffice 4.1.6 are both available for download. In addition, extensions and templates to complement the installation of the software and to add specific features are available at

  • Court adjournments continue due to interpreter absences

    A quick search of the local media reveals that every week courts all over England and Wales are having difficulty booking interpreters when they need them since Capita T&I gained the contract for providing them for the Ministry of Justice.

    On Tuesday The Bolton News reported that a suspected cannabis farmer had to have his court hearing adjourned because his Vietnamese interpreter did not attend.

    The defendant, Hiep Thai, was remanded in custody by Bolton Magistrates Court.

    Meanwhile in Swansea Crown Court, four Latvian defendants were unable to enter pleas in a case concerning an alleged kidnapping and assault in Carmarthen, according to the Carmarthen Journal on Wednesday.

    The defendants were unable to enter any pleas because the court had been unable to arrange for a Latvian interpreter to be present.

    Judge Peter Heywood ordered the 4 defendants to return to Swansea Crown Court on 5th September (will Crapita be able to arrange an interpreter at such short notice? Ed.) for their next hearing, when they will be asked to enter pleas. In addition, the court was informed that a Latvian, Polish and a Bulgarian interpreter would probably be required for the trial to take place.

    One defendant, Juris Udrins, remains on remand in Swansea Prison, whilst the other 3 – Aleksandrs Turcans, Armands Nikiferovs and Guntis Goldins were bailed.

  • Fresh LibreOffice 4.3 bug hunting session announced

    The Document Foundation (TDF), the organisation behind the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, has announced the dates for the second bug hunting session for the 4.3 version release of LibreOffice. This will run from 20th to 22nd June. The LibreOffice community has already made a huge collective effort to make LibreOffice 4.3 the best ever, based on automated stress tests and structured tests by Quality Assurance volunteers.

    LibreOffice banner

    Business and private LibreOffice users can now contribute to the quality of this free office suite by testing the 4.3 release candidate (RC) to identify any issues with their preferred configuration.

    Taking part in the bug hunting session Participating is easy. Details of the bug hunting session are on TDF wiki. The list of new features for LibreOffice 4.3 needing testing for bugs and regressions, is also on the wiki.

    Prospective participants will need to have a PC running either Linux, MacOs or Windows and a copy of LibreOffice 4.3 RC1 (which can be downloaded from Previous LibreOffice Quality Assurance experience is not mandatory.

    Experienced volunteers who will be available via the QA mailing list ( and QA IRC channel (irc:// to assist newcomers in filing bugs.

  • Photo captions: out of focus

    There’s a certain art to captions for photographs used to illustrate news pieces; photographs provide additional interest to what could otherwise be a dull bit of prose.

    Today the Bristol Post features one story which seems to provide an element of unintentional comedy, as shown by the following pictures and their captions used in a slideshow in the piece in question.

    image of police car with wrong caption
    Foxtrot Oscar?
    image of dancers with police car caption
    Thank you for a lovely evening on the beat…

    The International Journalists Network has published guidance on writing photo captions. Its first paragraph states:

    Photo captions are often the first elements of a publication to be read. Writing photo captions is an essential part of the news photographer’s job. A photo caption should provide the reader basic information needed to understand a photograph and its relevance to the news. It should be written in a consistent, concise format that allows news organizations to move the photo to publication without delay.

    I’ll note quote the rest of the photo captions advice, but would recommend it be read – and acted upon – by the residents of Bristol’s Temple Way Ministry of Truth. 🙂

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