Monthly Archives: April 2016

  • Tidy BS5 – more evidence that Bristol is 2 cities

    I’m indebted to Twitter user @StapletonRd for the following photograph of communal bins in the prosperous Clifton area of Bristol.

    Communal bins screened by Bristol City Council to protect the delicate eyes of Clifton residents
    Communal bins screened by Bristol City Council to protect the delicate eyes of Clifton residents.

    As you can see, no effort – or expense – has been spared to make communal bins acceptable to the area’s rich residents, who have sharp elbows and loud voices, not to mention the ear of the council.

    Now let’s contrast this with Milsom Street in Easton, where communal bins were imposed on residents in 2012 after a botched council consultation (with the emphasis on the first syllable of consultation. Ed.).

    communal bin in Milsom Street buried under a pile of fly-tipped furniture
    Somewhere under that pile of furniture is a communal bin.

    Somewhere under that pile of fly-tipped furniture (reported to Bristol City Council this morning. Ed.).

    In Easton the communal bins were introduced by the council as a remedy to tackle an endemic local fly-tipping problem. One can see how well it’s worked.

    One can also see that no effort has been made to make the communal bins more attractive to Easton residents: no off-street siting of bins; no wooden fencing to screen them from delicate eyes and so on.

    Many years ago, east Bristol residents campaigning to retain public access to Packer’s Field, 7 acres of much-used green space for informal public recreation, were told by council officers that they “were not the kind of people the council listened to“.

    By the unequal treatment of Clifton and Easton residents in respect of communal bins, that attitude is still alive, well and kicking very, very hard indeed down at the Counts Louse (or City Hall as some now call it. Ed.).

    One can only hope that after the mayoral and council elections on Thursday, those newly elected will finally start to break down the discrimination and unequal treatment of different areas that has blighted Bristol City Council’s administration of the city for generations.

  • Windows 10 update interrupts weather forecast

    Microsoft has a reputation for forcing unwanted updates and upgrades on users.

    Its actions reached a new nadir when it made Windows 10 a recommended update for users of earlier versions – 7 and 8.* – of its operating system.

    Since this occurred there have been numerous reports of the new operating system installing itself without either user consent or much warning.

    One of the most public of these attempted upgrades happened 2 days ago live on air at TV station KCCI of Des Moines, Iowa, as per the following screenshot.

    screenshot of Windows 10 update interrupting live TV weather forecast

    That’s right! With impeccable bad timing, Windows 10 update barged unannounced into Metinka Slater’s heavy rain and thunderstorms update. However, the TV meteorologist managed deal professionally with the unwelcome intrusion into her work and switch quickly to an alternative video source to continue her broadcast, as shown by the following video.

  • Red card for Auntie

    With the notable exception of Test Match Special‘s cricket commentary on long wave, BBC sports commentators seem to be employed more for their ability to shout than proficiency in the English language, judging from the rare bits of sports commentary that get broadcast as part of Radio 4’s news bulletins.

    This opinion received further support yesterday when the BBC Sport Twitter account sought the views of Aston Villa FC fans on news that the club at the bottom of the Premier League (that’s the English First Division in old money. Ed. 🙂 ) table would be playing in the Championship (the old Second Division. Ed.) next year, as per the following tweet, which has since been deleted:

    tweet reads Lescott says being relegated is a wait off the shoulders. What do you want to hear #AVFC fans?

    Wait off the shoulders, Auntie? This blog is giving you a red card and you should now proceed from the field of play for an early bath and thence to your reserved place in Heterograph Corner! 🙂

    Hat tip: OwlofMinera.

  • Need a Kurdish interpreter? Have a Farsi one instead!

    The wrong interpreters continue to be sent to courts throughout the country.

    Following on from a case earlier this week in Telford (posts passim) where sending the wrong kind of interpreter resulted in a delay of 5 months in a rape trial, the wrong interpreter has now also been sent to Bristol for the case of an Iranian Kurd.

    Yesterday’s Bristol Post reports on a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in the case of a man charged with possession of a knife on the city’s Fishponds Road.

    Bristol Crown Court
    Bristol Crown Court

    Regarding the interpreter blunder, the Post states:

    Arman Qabadi also said he had been provided a Farsi interpreter when he needed a Khurdish [sic] one.

    It doesn’t appear in this instance that the interpreter cock-up will delay the administration of justice since the necessary pre-sentence report had not been produced and the defendant continues to be remanded in custody.

  • Interpreter blunder delays rape trial by 5 months

    Today’s Shropshire Star reports that a rape trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court has had to be delayed by five months “after a blundering agency sent the wrong interpreter.”

    The blundering agency in question – although not mentioned by the Star is most likely our old friends Capita Translation & Interpreting, which still has the courts and tribunals interpreting contract for England and Wales despite persistent difficulty in hitting performance targets.

    Shirehall and Shrewsbury Crown Court viewed from Lord Hill's Column. The Crown Court is the low-rise, grey building on the right
    Shirehall and Shrewsbury Crown Court viewed from Lord Hill’s Column. The Crown Court is the low-rise, grey building on the right. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    Anyway, back to story…

    Roberto Roa Vallejo of Telford, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, was due to stand trial for rape at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday. Vallejo denies the alleged offence, which took place on 29th March 2015.

    At previous hearings Vallejo had the services of a Spanish interpreter with proficiency in his own Dominican dialect.

    The same interpreter had been requested for his Crown Court trial. However, basic Spanish interpreter was provided instead.

    Prosecuting counsel Ms Lynette McClement informed the court that the defendant couldn’t understand the interpreter. As no replacement interpreter could be guaranteed for today, Judge Peter Barrie adjourned the trial to the next available date, which is 19th September, with the blunder costing the public purse between £2,000 and £3,000.

    Commenting on the cock-up, Judge Barrie is reporting by the Star as saying: “It is not the court’s fault, but it is deeply regrettable.”

    When a Crown Court judge describes something as “regrettable“, one can be fairly certain s/he is in reality absolutely livid.

  • LibreOffice 5.1.2 released

    The Document Foundation (TDF), the German foundation behind the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, has today announced the release of LibreOffice 5.1.2, the second minor release of the LibreOffice 5.1 family.

    LibreOffice in use
    LibreOffice in use

    LibreOffice 5.1.2 is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users. For more conservative users and for enterprise deployments, TDF recommends use of the “still” version: LibreOffice 5.0.5. For enterprise deployments, The Document Foundation suggests the backing of professional support by certified people, of whom a list is available.

    Technical details of the release can be seen in the change logs, i.e. bugs fixed in RC1 and bugs fixed in RC2.

    Download LibreOffice

    LibreOffice 5.1.2 is available for immediate download via the following link:

    In addition, LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members are encouraged to support TDF with a donation.

    User comment

    Your correspondent has been using LibreOffice 5.1.2 since the first pre-release version was made available. It has proved itself to be nimble, reliable and I would recommend it as a replacement for your current office suite, particularly if you wish to escape vendor lock-in and support free and open source software too.

  • Noisy fire in Bristol

    Yesterday evening there was dark smoke on the skyline as your correspondent returned from an early evening pint. However, it wasn’t until this morning that its full significance and exclusive nature was revealed by the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of warped record.

    screenshot with headline reading Dark smoke bellowing over Bristol after suspected blaze in Fishponds industrial estate

    As per the screenshot above, the Post duly reported a fire at a scrapyard in the Fishponds area, although a later report moved the fire to nearby Speedwell.

    Furthermore, the conflagration must have been painful on the ears for anyone in the vicinity or downwind as the smoke was “bellowing“.

    However, as the witnesses interviewed by the paper make no mention of noise, it can only be assumed that the hapless hack had an unfortunate vowel movement.

    The later report did state correctly that “A scrapyard in Speedwell left dark smoke billowing over parts of Bristol,” but not until the hopeless howler had caused much merriment in the reports comments section.

    If the reporter in question happens upon this post, the definitions of bellow and billow are given below for future reference:

    Bellow: (of a person or animal) emit a deep loud roar, typically in pain or anger: e.g. “he bellowed in agony”

    Billow: (of smoke, cloud, or steam) to move or flow outward with an undulating motion: e.g. “smoke was billowing from the chimney-mouth”.

    Both definitions are courtesy of Oxford Dictionaries.

  • First LibreOffice 5.2 bug hunting session announced

    cartoon bugA blog post earlier this week from The Document Foundation, the organisation behind LibreOffice, the popular free and open source office productivity suite, gives details of the first bug hunting session for the forthcoming release of LibreOffice 5.2.

    There is also a page on the session on the LibreOffice wiki.

    This initial session will be held on Friday, 22nd April 2016. Tests will be performed on the Alpha version of LibreOffice 5.2, which will be available on the pre-releases servers a few days before the event. Builds will be available for Linux (DEB and RPM), MacOS and Windows.

    Mentors will be available on on the day from 8.00 a.m. UTC to 10.00 p.m. UTC. Of course it will also be possible to hunt bugs on other days, as the builds of this particular Alpha release (LibreOffice 5.2.0 Alpha) will be available until the end of May.

    During the day there will be two dedicated sessions: the first to chase bugs on the four main LibreOffice modules – Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw – between 3.00 p.m. UTC and 5.00 p.m. UTC; and the second to test the top 10 features between 5.00 p.m. UTC and 7.00 p.m. UTC. The list of the top 10 features will be decided during the week before the session and will be added to the wiki page.