Monthly Archives: August 2022

  • More poor Reach plc quality control

    Genius (or should that be genious? Ed.) headline writing from today’s Daily Post, alias North Wales Live.

    Is the entire editorial team asleep at their desks?

    Headline reads Ingenius mum shares 57p meals and cooking tips with her 572k followers

    Such a glaring spelling mistake and the obvious lack of quality control remind your ‘umble scribe of a Mark Twain quotation regarding a still extant US newspaper, i.e.

    I think the Cincinnati Enquirer must be edited by children.
  • Gentrification reaches fly-tipping

    Like many other parts of the city, the Easton area of Bristol has been subject to an immense wave of gentrification in the last decade or so, with all the usual signs: rocketing house prices, overpriced bacon butties made with sourdough, etc.

    Indeed, local house prices have risen so dramatically within the city that an old college mate’s son and his partner couldn’t afford to buy anywhere in BS5 and eventually had to move to Cheltenham in order to find somewhere more affordable than Bristol’s inner city.

    Last year the Bristol Post/Live published its own guide on how to spot the signs of gentrification.

    It would be fair to say that gentrification has given rise to some local resentment on the streets, as shown below.

    Sticker with wording Refugees welcome. Londoners piss off!

    The signs of gentrification have even started showing in the types of items fly-tipped on local streets (in a sort of waste-related version of trickle-down economics. Last month your ‘umble scribe reported his first ever fly-tipped futon base and one of his other tasks today is to notify the council of this morning’s sighting of a fly-tipped golf bag on St Mark’s Road.

    Fly-tipped golf bag


  • Bristol Post/Live exclusive: music venue moonlights as property developer

    As a linguist, your ‘umble scribe has, during his working life, always used language as a precision tool. Were using le mot juste can mean the difference between a one-off job or repeat business is confined to linguists is unusual or not, is a matter for conjecture, There are certain other professions where the use of the right vocabulary is vital, particularly in the law and in the field of intellectual property (e.g. trade marks, patents).

    It often does not apply in the world of journalism, where a columnist may be taking a deliberately ambiguous angle.

    This accuracy of language definitely does not apply to the titles of the Reach plc stable of local news titles, including Bristol’s (news)paper of warped record, the Bristol (Evening) Post and the accompanying Bristol Live website.

    As a prime example of this is contained in Thursday’s piece about the redevelopment of Trinity police station.

    Headline reads Trinity Road police station to be redeveloped into 104 flats by music venue

    The headline implies that the as-yet unnamed music venue itself will be building the housing, not some developer who has just realised that, due to the proximity of entertainment, the building bill will now be augmented by the addition of acoustic insulation.

    The police station to be demolished and redeveloped just happens to be over the road from the Trinity Centre, with which your correspondent has a long association (posts passim).

    What is obvious from perusing the article is that the person(s) writing the headline is/are different from the one who write the article. This seems to be standard practice.

    Furthermore, it is also evident that the headline writers do not carefully read what reporters have written, as shown by the latest version of how the story is presented on the paper’s website, with the soon-to-be former cop shop itself transformed a new music venue.

    Headline reads police station to become new music venue

    Sacking all those sub-editors a few years ago to save some money has really paid off in terms of the quality of your ‘journalism’, hasn’t it, Reach plc?

  • BS5 bilingualism

    Bristol is a city in which, according to the 2011 census data, more than 90 languages are spoken: no surprise for the UK’s tenth most populous city.

    Given its proximity to Wales – a mere train ride or short drive away over one of the two bridges spanning the Môr Hafren (aka the Severn Sea. Ed.), there’s always been more than a bit of friendly rivalry between the city and county and South Wwales, with a topping of mutual parochial condescension reserved for near neighbours.

    Given the diverse nature of east Bristol’s population, it’s not unusual to see shop signs in languages other than English, but the Tenovus Cancer Care charity shop in St Mark’s Road (kindly note the apostrophe you prefer to ignore, Bristol City Council. Ed.), has achieved what to your ‘umble scribe’s recollection a first for BS5: a Welsh/English bilingual sign offering – on one side at least – a free health check. The reverse of that bilingual offer is in Welsh only.

    Bilingual free check-up sign
    Cymraeg /Sais
    Welsh tenovus signage
    Cymraeg yn unig

    This is not the time that Welsh signage has turned up in use to the east of Offa’s Dyke. Back in June a Welsh bilingual road works sign was observed doing splendid work in Coventry, as Wales Online reported.

  • LibreOffice 7.4 released

    The release was announced today of LibreOffice 7.4 Community, the latest version of the free and open source office suite. It is available immediately for download for Linux, MacOS (Apple Silicon and Intel processors) and Windows.

    LibreOffice 7.4 banner

    The new release comes packed with many new features and improvements.

    • Support for WebP images and EMZ/WMZ files
    • Help pages for the ScriptForge scripting library
    • Search field for the Extension Manager
    • Performance and compatibility improvements
    Writer (Word processor)
    • Better change tracking in the footnote area
    • Edited lists show original numbers in change tracking
    • New typographic settings for hyphenation
    Calc (spreadsheets)
    • Support for 16,384 columns in spreadsheets
    • Extra functions in drop-down AutoSum widget
    • New menu item to search for sheet names
    Impress (Presentations)
    • New support for document themes

    The new features are summarised in the following video.

    LibreOffice 7.4 provides a large number of improvements and new features targeted at users sharing documents with MS Office or migrating from MS Office: such users should check regularly for new LibreOffice releases since the development progress is so fast, that each new version offers dramatic improvements compared with its predecessor.

    LibreOffice provides the highest level of compatibility within the office suite market segment, with native support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) – beating proprietary formats for security and robustness – to superior support for MS Office files, to filters for a large number of legacy document formats, thus returning ownership and control to users.

    LibreOffice for Business

    For business deployments, TDF strongly recommends approaching the LibreOffice Enterprise family of applications from its partners – for desktop, mobile and cloud – with a large number of dedicated value-added features and other benefits such as SLAs; see the dedicated business page for details.

  • Happy 25th birthday, GNOME

    GNOME's 25th anniversary banner

    Yesterday the GNOME Foundation announced the happy news that the project had reached the venerable age of 25 years old, with special thanks to its founders, Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero, plus its contributors and supporters over the last quarter of a century.

    As is fairly common within the technology world, the GNOME name is an acronym for GNU Network Object Model Environment.

    In its lifetime,GNOME has the default desktop environment of many major Linux distributions, including Debian, Endless OS, Fedora Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Ubuntu and Tails; it is also fulfils the same role for Solaris, a Unix operating system.

    GNOME42 desktop environment

    What began as a two-person project has certainly grown and flourished over the years, attracting support from not only volunteers but major players in the free and open source world such as Red Hat. Furthermore, there’s a new, special commemorative website to visit too:

    Many happy returns!

  • Local trees decide it’s autumn

    According to the Woodland Trust, “Horse chestnuts, with their mahogany-bright conkers, are the very essence of autumn.

    Here in inner city BS5, the local horse chestnut trees in the centre of Lawrence Hill roundabout and on Lawrence Hill itself have decided that autumn has come already, judging by their dry and brown falling leaves and general frowzy appearance.

    Horse chestnuts in autumn colours on Lawrence Hill roundabout
    Horse chestnuts in autumn colours on Lawrence Hill roundabout
    Ayutumnal horse chestnuts on Lawrence Hill
    Ditto about a hundred metres from the roundabout

    The horse chestnut is native to the Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Balkan mixed forests of south east Europe; it was first introduced to the UK from those areas then under the administration of the Ottoman Turks in the late 16th century, being widely planted in parks, gardens, streets and on village greens.

    The tree gets its English name of horse chestnut from the scars the leaves leave on the twig when they fall, which resembles an inverted horse shoe with nail holes.

    Besides the children’s game of conkers, conkers are also used horse medicines, as additives in shampoos and as a starch substitute. Chemicals extracted from conkers can be used to treat strains and bruises.

    Just like the local hawthorns are an indicator of the approach of spring for your ‘umble scribe (posts passim), the these horse chestnuts fulfil a similar role for the approach of autumn. Below is a Woodland Trust video of the life of a horse chestnut throughout the year.

  • Welsh language payment machine baffles monoglots


    Bilingual Welsh/English pay and display signRhyl on the North Wales coast attracts many non-Welsh-speaking visitors to its golden sands (your ‘umble scribe was once a regular visitor there as a child since our Sunday school outings all went there. Ed.) and views of the Liverpool Bay wind farms. However, its council-run car parks have pay and display machines set to Welsh as the default language; and this has been frustrating those who cannot read, speak or understand even basic instructions in Welsh, as yesterday’s Nation Cymru reports.

    According to the article, “Queues developed as non-Welsh speakers struggled to work out how to pay for their parking at Rhyl’s central underground car park near the promenade, which is administered by Denbighshire County Council.

    Furthermore, the council’s machinery also seemed to have difficulty recognising bank debit cards.

    A local with basic Welsh fluency described the experience of one monoglot: “The man stormed off when the machine repeatedly failed to accept his bank card. ‘Why are the instructions only in Welsh. Not many people in Rhyl speak Welsh’.”

    A spokesperson for the local authority defended the default Welsh language option, stating:

    We would like to remind people that there are two other machines available in the Rhyl Central car park and people can use the pay-by-phone smartphone app with location code 804281 as an alternative way of paying.
    Our pay and display machines default to Welsh, but there is a large grey “language button” that people can press to change the language. This is explained on the machines.

    Perhaps grey is not a suitable colour for the language button; perhaps the council need to change this to red and white in the style of the English flag or red, white and blue in the style of the Bloody Butcher’s Apron (which some still call the Union Jack or Union flag. Ed.). 😀

    Update 15/08/22: Monday’s Nation Cymru has yet another story on the inability of users to operate a second parking machine ‘in bloody Welsh’, this time from the other end of the country, Caswell Bay, on the Gower peninsula near Swansea.

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