• Situations vacant: woodland builders

    Reach plc local titles are an excellent source of exclusives, mainly due to the poor quality English of some of their employees.

    Today’s Bristol ‘Live/Post has one such exclusive, which also doubles up a secret classified for for very specialist workers in the construction trade, namely woodland builders, as per the screenshot below.

    Biggest woodland in a generation to be built near Bristol

    Your ‘umble scribe is glad to see that the generation of greenery has been modernised. Building woodland sounds much more contemporary and organised than just letting the shrubbery sprout naturally. It will also ensure more employment for those in the construction trade, which is always the first to suffer and the last to recover in any economic downturn. 😀

  • If you can’t contribute, donate!

    Yesterday the blog of The Document Foundation (TDF), the German non-profit organisation behind LibreOffice, published a post detailing how donations received during 2023 were used to continue development of the software and running the TDF and events

    The post included a handy graphic displaying the disbursement of funds visually, which is shown below.

    Graphic showing how donations were used in 2023
    Graphic courtesy of The Document Foundation
    Your ‘umble scribe would urge anyone who can to contribute their expertise, whether that’s writing or documentation, or helping to test pre-release versions; and if you can’t manage that, then donate! 😀
  • MO Republican embraces her inner Nazi

    Q: what links an anonymous-looking plot of land somewhere in Missouri with Bebelplatz (also known as Opernplatz) in the city of Berlin?

    A: The burning of books.

    On 10th May 1933 , Nazi supporters from the German Student Association gathered in Bebelplatz to burn books. They burned around 20,000 books, including works by Heinrich Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Erich Kästner and many other authors.

    Nazis burn books in Bebelplatz on 10th May 1933
    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    On 6th February 2024, Valentina Gomez, a Republican Party candidate for Missouri’s Secretary of State (the state’s public officer whose duties include the oversight of elections, running the state library and the preservation of state archives. Ed.), posted a video of herself on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter showing herself using a flame-thrower to destroy 2 LGBTQ-inclusive books, as reported by NBC.

    Post reads When I’m Secretary of State, I will BURN all books that are grooming, indoctrinating, and sexualizing our children. MAGA. America First

    Gomez’s text accompanying the post tells one all that’s needed to know about her extreme right-wing views of the “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” variety. The books she destroyed were also taken from public libraries in the state, so she is also guilty of vandalism or destroying public property, but as the value of the books is under $750, she’ll probably escape censure under state law.

    To return to Bebelplatz, it now contains an artwork by the sculptor Micha Ullman entitled The Empty Library, which was unveiled in May 1995. The memorial is set into the square’s cobblestones and contains a collection of empty subterranean bookcases. A few metres away is a commemorative bronze plaque containing a quotation by the author Heinrich Heine, whose books were amongst those burned.

    The quotation reads:

    Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort
    wo man Bücher verbrennt,
    verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.
    In English the quotation is equally chilling:
    That was but a prelude;
    where they burn books,
    they will ultimately burn people as well

    As to the Nazi link, LGBTQ Nation remarks:

    Whether or not Gomez understands the political and moral implications of book burning is unclear. The video could be a savvy and unsubtle reference, like Donald Trump’s use of terms including “vermin” and “poisoning the blood”, to Nazi ideology in an appeal to the most extreme of the MAGA base.

    America, history is trying to teach you a lesson. Don’t fall asleep in class or gaze out of the window.

  • LibreOffice 24.2 released

    The blog of The Document Foundation (TDF), the German-based organisation behind the free and open source LibreOffice suite of productivity software, has today announced the release of LibreOffice 24.2 Community for all major operating systems – Linux. MacOS (Apple and Intel processors) and Windows (Intel, AMD and ARM processors). LibreOffice 24.2 banner

    This is LibreOffice’s first use the new calendar-based numbering scheme (YY.M) for releases, which it hoped will help users in keeping their LibreOffice installations up to date.

    New release highlights – general
    • Save AutoRecovery information is enabled by default, and is always creating backup copies. This reduces the risk of losing content for first-time users who are unfamiliar with LibreOffice settings.
    • Fixed various NotebookBar options, with many menu improvements, better print preview support, proper resetting of customised layout, and enhanced use of radio buttons. This improves the experience for users familiar with the Microsoft Office UI.
    • The Insert Special Character drop-down list now displays a character description for the selected character (and in the tooltip when you hover over it).
    • “Legal” ordered list numbering: make a given list level use Arabic numbering for all its numeric portions.
    • Comments can now use styles, with the Comment paragraph style being the default. This makes it easier to change the formatting of all comments at once, or to visually categorise different types of comments.
    • Improved various aspects of multi-page floating table support: overlap control, borders and footnotes, nesting, wrap on all pages, and related UI improvements.
    • A new search field has been added to the Functions sidebar deck.
    • The scientific number format is now supported and saved in ODF: embedded text (with number format like ###.000E0); lower case for exponent (with number format like ###.000e0); exponent with empty ‘?’ instead of ‘0’ (with number format like 0.00E+?0).
    • Highlight the Row and Column corresponding to the active cell.
    • The handling of small caps has been implemented for Impress.
    • Moved Presenter Console and Remote control settings from Tools > Options > LibreOffice Impress to Slide Show > Slide Show Settings, with improved labelling and dialogue layout.
    • Several improvements and fixes to templates: added and improved placement of various placeholders; fixed order of slides; made fonts and formatting consistent; fixed styles and their hierarchy; improved ODF compliance; made it easier to use templates in languages other than English; fixed use of wrong fonts for CJK and CTL.
    • Several significant improvements to the handling of mouse positions and the presentation of dialogue boxes via the Accessibility APIs, allowing screen readers to present them correctly.
    • Improved management of IAccessible2 roles and text/object attributes, allowing screen readers to present them correctly.
    • Status bars in dialogue boxes are reported with the correct accessible role so that screen readers can find and report them appropriately, while checkboxes in dialogue boxes can be toggled using the space bar.
    • The Save with Password dialogue box now has a password strength meter. This uses zxcvbn-c to determine the password strength.
    • New password-based ODF encryption that performs better, hides metadata better, and is more resistant to tampering and brute force.
    • Clarification of the text in the options dialogue box around the macro security settings, so that it is clear exactly what is allowed and what is not.

    A full description of all the new features can be found in the release notes.

    Contributors to LibreOffice 24.2 Community

    There are 166 contributors to the new features of LibreOffice 24.2 Community: 57% of code commits come from the 50 developers employed by three companies on the TDF Advisory Board – Collabora, allotropia and Red Hat – or other organisations, 20% from 8 developers at The Document Foundation; the remaining 23% originated from 108 individual volunteers.

    An additional 159 volunteers have committed to localisation in 160 languages, representing hundreds of people providing translations. LibreOffice 24.2 Community is available in 120 languages, more than any other desktop software, making it available to over 5.5 billion people worldwide in their native language. In addition, over 2.4 billion people speak one of these 120 languages as a second language.

    Interoperability with Microsoft Office

    LibreOffice 24.2 offers a number of improvements and new features aimed at users who share documents with or migrate from MS Office A few of the most significant improvements are as follows:

    • Writer: improved first page headers/footers OOXML import by using the first page property in the existing page style instead of creating a new page style just for the first page.
    • Writer: templates optimised for Japanese text added to the Localisation category to improve interoperability with Microsoft Word for Japanese users.
    • Writer: import of “drawing canvas” from DOCX documents, with connectors no longer imported as simple shapes but as true connectors, primitive shapes like ellipses imported as OOXML shapes (text inside the shape can now wrap), and multicolour gradients, theme colours and glow effects for shapes.
    • OOXML: support for the SVG OOXML extension, which imports the SVG image (svgBlip element) instead of the fallback PNG, and exports the SVG image in addition to the fallback PNG image used when the svgBlip element is not supported (older MS Office versions).

    Download LibreOffice 24.2.

    Your ‘umble scribe is not using the latest official release, but an as-yet unreleased development version. If you would like to help out with LibreOffice testing and development, visit the pre-release versions server and download a development package for your particular operating system.

  • Mozilla release new version of Firefox, sets up Debian repository

    Firefox logoVersion 122 of the free and open source Firefox web browser was released last week and duly reported by the tech media, including The Register.

    Furthermore, El Reg also notes that Mozilla, the organisation behind the browser, has set up its own deb package repository, the software package format for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and its derivatives such as the Ubuntu family and Linux Mint.

    The installation instructions page on Mozilla’s website now contains specific instructions on how to access the Firefox deb repository, from downloading the repository’s OpenPGP keyring, to adding the repository to one’s own APT list of trusted sources from which to download software.

    Also included are instructions for how to download the version specific to one’s own language, if that just happens not to be EN-US, as well as such vital stuff as importing one’s profile from an old installation to a new, shiny browser from the Mozilla repository.

  • And now, a message about the prime minister…

    As seen yesterday on the fringes of Bristol’s Broadmead shopping ‘quarter’.

    Sticker reading Rishi Sunak is a pussy hole.

    As it bears no imprint, your correspondent doubts this is official party political campaign material.

    However, it is on a par with former Scottish First Minister Nicola Surgeon’s assessment of one of Sunak’s predecessors in the post, namely disgraced former party-time prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

    Further less than complementary appraisals of senior Tory politicians, including one comparing lettuce shelf-life prime minister Mary Elizabeth Truss to a marzipan sex toy, were subsequently revealed to be spurious.

  • More writing on the wall

    Yet more Bristol street art, this time from the wall of the Coach at the junction of Braggs Lane and Gloucester Lane in the St Jude’s area.

    Aeroplane with weapons plus the wording Stop Killing People You Tucking Fwats

    Your ‘umble scribe is unaware whether the Twats being referenced are involved in Israel’s latest slaughter in the Gaza Strip, the Russian invasion and occupation of Ukraine, the US and UK attacks on Yemeni Houthis for their targeting of Red Sea shipping or any one of the manifold armed conflicts – whether international or internal civil wars/insurrections – which seem to afflict the world at any given moment.

    Perhaps the artist Merny would like to comment below as to her/his motivation.

  • The writing on the wall

    Bristol has a reputation for radical politics; a reputation that stretches back to the riots of 1831 and the 1793 Bristol Bridge riot. Some might even say its radical history dates back even further: in the 11th century, Bishop Wulfstan made it his mission to end the practice of selling Christian slaves to the Vikings Ireland and spent months preaching to the people of Bristol against the practice.

    This radical tradition is continued by a new piece of street art which has appeared on St Mark’s Road in the Easton district in the last few days and clearly emphasises the area’s attitudes.

    Graffiti with words Easton Feminist Antifascist on black border
  • Tilde lands Breton parents in court

    Baby's feet being held by female hand. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.A couple from the Maine-et-Loire region has been summons to appear in court for having named their son Fañch, a traditional Breton name with a tilde (which equates to François in French. Ed.), French broadcaster France 3 reports.

    The tilde (~) is a diacritic whose use is not permitted in birth, death and marriage certificates in France, despite its existence in Breton, the traditional regional language of Brittany.

    The couple have been summonsed to appear before the family court in February for their choice of first name for their son, who was born last summer. The registrar at the maternity hospital had warned the parents that the spelling of Fañch could pose a problem, but they stuck by their decision. The mother is of Breton descent.

    The public prosecutor’s office in Angers has now initiated proceedings to ask the judge to remove the first name Fañch from the birth certificate and to give the child another first name minus the tilde, with or without parental consent. The public prosecutor is using a circular of July 23 2014 as the legal basis for his action. This circular lists the diacritics such as the cedilla, grave and acute accents and diaeresis authorised for use on civil registration documents.

    “We’ve been told we are not taking the best interests of our child into account,” said the mother. “That’s harsh. Just because of a tilde, it’s implied that we’re bad parents.”

    Strange first names often mocked

    In its summons the Angers public prosecutor’s office recalls that “The civil code provides that “the child’s first names are chosen freely by its father and mother”, but with the child’s best interests as a limit”.

    First names have often been banned because they were likely to give rise to ridicule. Thus the parents of little Titeuf, Fraise, Nutella, Mini-Cooper or the Babord and Tribord twins have had to amend their children’s birth certificates.

    First names intended to pay homage to the parents’ idols – e.g. “Griezmann-Mbappé” or “MJ” in reference to Michael Jackson – have likewise been censured, then censored.

    Fañch, a traditional Breton first name

    The problem of the tilde in Fañch is different, because in several cases the courts ultimately ruled in favour of the parents who had chosen this traditional Breton first name. Thus, one little Fañch who was born in Quimper in 2017, finally saw the Court of Appeal rule in favour of his parents after a legal case lasting over two years.

    Politicians and civil society organisations swung into action citing the European Court of Human Rights affirming that “the choice of first name has an intimate and emotional character and consequently belongs to the realm of private life.”

    The cultural council of Brittany has also commented, rejecting the argument that the “ñ” is a foreign character since it has been used “for centuries in Latin, French, Gallo, Breton and Basque and is not an exclusive feature of Spanish”.

    A long battle before the courts, parliament and the Constitutional Council

    In February 2020, a parliamentary report drew up a list of diacritics used in regional languages such as Breton, Tahitian, Alsatian, Corsican or Creole, recommending in particular use of the tilde be permitted to “clarify the current situation and to definitively thwart any refusals which could opposed parents’ legitimate requests for recognition of the integrity of their name or the first name that they have chosen to give to their child be respected.”

    The provision was then rejected by the Constitutional Council which thought this would be tantamount to giving individuals “a right to use a language other than French in their relations with public sector organisations and public services.”

    The proceedings initiated against the couple from Maine-et-Loire will therefore mark a new skirmish in this long battle.

    France is one of a handful of countries in western Europe not to have ratified the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

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