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Archive for April, 2008

Polka d’Aveyron

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

I have been experimenting with an extension to WordPress (the software that runs this blog) that allows you to podcast, because we have a customer who is interested in doing just that. The remainder of this post describes my first podcast. If you’re interested in adding this to your site, just get in touch. This blog and the podcast both have RSS feeds, see the right-hand sidebar.

Here is a traditional French tune from the Aveyron region in the Massif Central, played by Spootiskerry (Neil Rogers, Jan Lawrence and Richard Cryan):

Download or play:

Update 26 February 2011: WordPress has been updated to release 3.1 and the podcasting extension (plugin) does not yet work with it. Existing content still works but adding new podcasts probably won’t yet. If you want to add this feature to your blog, still get in touch and we will check the current position, as I expect the software to be adapted for this latest release soon.

One man with a dream

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Yesterday Cornwell Internet attended the funeral of our oldest client, Ted Rogers, who was also my uncle.

When you have known someone all your life, it’s easier to take for granted how exceptional they are. Ted was severely burned during the war, and underwent extensive – and pioneering – plastic surgery, despite which he was extensively scarred for the rest of his life, particularly on his face and hands. Yet when he was able to, he returned to physical outdoor work: he was a bricklayer – by choice, when his brothers all worked in the professions, the Excise and the Inland Revenue, a teacher and a pharmacist. When his sons were old enough, and there was a little money to spare, he and his wife Enid bought a boat, a fifty year old ketch which they restored and sailed round the Mediterranean. In Malta, they saw a boat being built of ferro-concrete, and decided that they too would built a boat – which they named Phoenix, and sailed across the Atlantic. Off Florida, they struck a coral reef, and Phoenix was wrecked

This should be the end of the story – it is the point at which Ted ended his autobiography, Journeyman – but Ted and Enid returned to Crawley and resumed their lives. They had been founder members of Crawley Communist Party, and helped organise the rent strike of 1955; they continued to be active in the peace movement. Ted was a founder of Ex-servicemen’s CND, a contributor to the Peace Garden in a local park, a member of the Campaign against Racism and still attending union meetings shortly before his 90th birthday.

The family had gathered in February to celebrate that birthday; yesterday we met again, together with friends and comrades, in the Friends’ Meeting House in Ifield, to remember a many faceted man, an activist who charmed others into activity, a lover of people and of poetry. His grand-daughter read O’Shaughnessy’s Ode, one of the many poems Ted had loved and could quote at length from memory:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamer of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

In Journeyman Ted describes the wreck of the Phoenix:

Now, the larger dinghy had its side stove in, and one of the buoyancy compartments had been opened up on the second dinghy. I felt that our position would soon become untenable. Enid thought it already had. Very generously, she gave me a little smile, and said, "Well, it’s been nice knowing you."

It has, indeed.

Registry Offence

Friday, April 25th, 2008

That’s the headline of an item I provided for BackBytes, a blog from Computing magazine. Let me fill in the details…

Choosing the right domain name for your site is one of the important decisions you have to make. But once you have made that choice, should you set about buying all the possible variants? Well, no, it’s an almost bottomless pit. Should you buy some of them? Well, maybe, and each case has to be considered on its merits. If you’re a financial institution it makes sense to buy names that might otherwise be acquired by fraudsters. And I noticed with some amusement that has been registered by the Guardian newspaper, presumably to stop Private Eye doing so.

But on the other hand, it’s perfectly possible to have domain names that are similar but each refer to legitimate web sites. For example, is the website we continue to maintain for the family of writer Julia Darling, whereas is the site of the identically named US-based singer-songwriter. And again we chose for our customer, Alan Mann, who paints trains and boat and planes and much more besides. We couldn’t buy because that belongs to a firm coincidentally in the aviation business and has gone to a US genealogist. These sites have existed alongside each other for many years now without any difficulties arising.

But there are firms out there – Domain Registry of America is a notorious example that I won’t grace with a link – who try to make sales by persuading you to buy variations on your domain name to prevent others from doing so. There’s a particularly nasty scam when somebody rings you up (a client of ours was nearly caught by this) and says they’ve just been approached by a company wanting to register a domain name similar to yours, and saying you have the right to register it (at several times the going rate) providing you do so within the next hour.

Compared to these tactics all that Central Domain Registry of York did was to write to me, on paper, to advise that they’d noticed that was available and suggesting I buy it to avoid somebody else snapping it up. So I visited their site, (again I won’t give them a link) to see what their charges are (£34.50 per year). Just out of interest, I checked whether is available: it is, and if anybody is interested I can get it for you at the knock-down price of £25 all in for two years and still make a fair profit on the deal.

So I wrote to the diary section of Computing magazine, Backbytes, and today they have published it.

It’s a small world

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

At the Blue Room on Sunday, Peter Mortimer, as his contract with Cornwell Internet requires, handed us a copy of his latest book, Mortimer at Large – a collection of the weekly columns he writes for the News Guardian. We opened it at the first of these columns, and read the first line: “You’ll have read the local headline: ‘Granny scoops £300,000 Book Deal!'”

Aha, a reference to another of our clients!

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