Monthly Archives: March 2017

  • Unfit for office

    Yet more proof emerged this weekend of the complete lack of suitability for any public office of disgraced former Defence Minister Dr. Liam Fox MP, the allegedly right honourable member of Parliament for North Somerset (aka the Clevedon Conman. Ed.).

    Foolishly appointed as Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade by Theresa May, the UK’s not at all unelected Prime Minister, Fox was appearing this weekend (and taking time off from golf. Ed.) on Sophy Ridge’s Sunday morning current affairs show on Sky.

    During the course of the interview, the small matter arose of a very inaccurate tweet sent in March 2016 arose. This is of current relevance because of the current UK government notion of a post-Brexit replacement of EU markets by enhanced access to African Commonwealth countries, an idea reportedly scorned by sceptical civil servants and thus dubbed “Empire 2.0“.

    Fox’s tweet reads as follows:

    “The United Kingdom, is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not need to bury its 20th century history” #scc16

    Even when it was displayed on a big screen in the studio behind him, Fox, in a masterful display of brass neck, denied ever sending the tweet in the first place, claiming it was The Guardian that was the perpetrator, a textbook example of the “a big boy did it and ran away” defence.

    screenshot of Fox on Sophy Ridge show with offending tweet

    If the sentiment in his denied tweet is to be believed, Fox has a very selective view of British colonial history, a story of theft, plunder and conquest stretching back many centuries. Referring solely to the 20th century as per Fox’s tweet, Britain wasn’t exactly a benign imperial power, as the following list of incidents will reveal.

    As regards the non-imperial history of Britain in the 20th century, incidents of which the country should not be proud include the Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot Agreement (from both of which much of the conflict in the Middle East since the end of World War 2 originally stemmed. Ed.), plus wartime blunders such as the Gallipoli Campaign (posts passim) and the carnage of the Battle of the Somme, as well as atrocities such as the fire-bombing of Dresden.

    Your correspondent is well aware that history does not feature much in the curriculum of the medical course of Glasgow University, but Fox’s sweeping of so much incriminating historical dirt under the carpet in fewer than the 140 characters permitted by Twitter is breathtaking in both its audacity and stupidity.

    As with the Adam Werritty affair while he was Defence Secretary, Fox has once again proved by both his naivety and lack of ability to tell the truth that he his totally unfit for any public office

  • Announcing LibreOffice 5.2.6

    Readers may not be aware of it, but the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite comes in two versions, codenamed “still” and “fresh“; and it’s the “still” branch that concerns us today, with the announcement by The Document Foundation (TDF) of the release of LibreOffice 5.2.6.

    LibreOffice 5.2.6 is the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family and is targeted at businesses and individual users in production environments.

    LibreOffice 5

    As usual, TDF recommends professional support for large-scale deployments of LibreOffice in major companies and public sector organisations.

    LibreOffice 5.2.6 is immediately available for download, whilst the change logs and technical details for both Release Candidate (RC) 1 and RC2 are likewise available.

    Users who wish to assist in LibreOffice development can also download pre-release versions from the pre-release server or nightly builds from the dedicated nightly builds server.

    Several companies sitting in TDF Advisory Board provide either value-added versions of LibreOffice with Long Term Support or training and migration consultancy services.

    Finally, LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members are invited to support The Document Foundation with a donation.

  • Chronicling allergy

    At least once a week, the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of warped record, comes up with an exclusive, although this might not be immediately apparent to the casual reader.

    Today is no exception as, buried in this report on the recall of dodgy products is the revelation that some people are allergic to written records of discrete events organised by date, as revealed by the following screenshot.

    text reads this poses a serious risk to anyone with a diary intolerance

    No illiteracy or lack of proof-reading skills should be inferred concerning the alleged “journalist” involved. 🙂

  • Newcomer’s guide to LibreOffice released

    LibreOffice guide coverThe Document Foundation’s Documentation Team has announced the release of the new Getting Started with LibreOffice guide version 5.2.

    The guide has been updated to include developments in LibreOffice 5.2 and previous releases.

    The guide is an introductory text for end users using the LibreOffice office suite. It is written for both individuals and organisations using LibreOffice as their preferred office suite. The text allows users to become conversant with the features and resources of LibreOffice.

    The guide was produced in LibreOffice Writer in Open Document Format (ODF). The team worked to not only update the contents, but also to tidy up the formatting. This had two objectives: firstly to make the text suitable for computer-aided translation (CAT) tools and secondly to generate an online version (XHTML) of the guide.

    The Getting Started with LibreOffice guide, its PDF and ODT versions, can be downloaded or read online by visiting this page, where plenty more documentation on LibreOffice is available.

  • GB Spring Clean weekend in Bristol

    Last weekend was the highlight of the Great British Spring Clean campaign when Brits were exhorted to go out and do their bit to tidy up the UK.

    Bristol did its part, needless to say with the campaign dovetailing neatly into Mayor Marvin Rees’ Bristol Clean Streets campaign, for which he’s has made a pledge that Bristol will be measurably cleaner by 2020.

    Marvin launched the Great British Spring Clean weekend in Bristol by returning to his old school in Easton.

    Marvin Rees on Stapleton Road with children from Hannah More Primary School, plus Tracey Morgan, CEO of Bristol Waste and Kurt James, Bristol Clean Streets lead officer
    Marvin Rees on Stapleton Road with children from Hannah More Primary School, plus Tracey Morgan, CEO of Bristol Waste and Kurt James, Bristol Clean Streets lead officer. Picture credit: Bristol City Council.

    Litter picks were organised all over the city in both (so-called) deprived areas and prosperous communities alike, from Lockleaze to leafy and well-to-do Stockwood. It seems that litter is a problem with no class distinctions.

    Needless to say the Tidy BS5 volunteers were out as well, getting their hands dirty. Two were spotted doing their own impromptu litter pick in Easton’s All Hallows Road, whilst there was a more premeditated litter pick of Owen Square Park organised by Up Our Street as part of the Love Your Community day at next-door Easton Community Centre.

    In addition, Tidy BS5 also organised a stall on Lawrence Hill, near the entrance to Lidl. Leaflets featuring a residents’ pledge (along the lines of “I will do my bit to keep BS5 tidy” Ed.) were handed out to Saturday morning shoppers, mainly as a means to get them giving their views on the general state of the area. The photo below shows Hannah and Anthea on the stall, which also comprised daffodils which were handed out as a thank-you to all who stopped by.

    The Tidy BS5 stall at Lidl

    Finally, there was also some public service grafitti on the footways of Easton for the Great British Spring Clean campaign. Did it survive long enough in the weekend rain to get the message across?

    grafitto reads drop your litter in a bin

  • Struck off and die

    There’s a skill to writing an intriguing headline that invites the reader to engage with an article.

    Besides the above that skill also involves the ability to make the headline make sense.

    It’s an ability that seems to be lacking down at the Temple Way Ministry of Truth, headquarters of the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of (warped) record, as shown by the screenshot below of the head of this article.

    headline reads Nurse who forced feeding tube into girl's stomach and died is struck off

    Comments on the piece accuse the Post’s headline of not making sense, but to your correspondent it does make perfect sense… as long as nurses can get struck off posthumously.

    Update 07/03/17: Perhaps prompted by the mocking nature of the comments, the headline has now been amended to reflect the gist of what actually happened.

  • Bing bombs

    Bing, Microsoft’s alternative to Google Translate, is used by Twitter to provide instant translation for users.

    However, it isn’t very good, as this blog has repeatedly pointed out.

    And it doesn’t look as if any improvements will be forthcoming soon, if the evidence below from your correspondent’s Twitter feed today is to be believed, where Bing mistook English for Estonian, a language belonging to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family.

    screenshot of tweet with Bing mistaking English for Estonian

    If Bing cannot even identify the language correctly, one has to question the quality of any translation it produces.