Skip navigation

 Home page

 Design Services

 Domains and  hosting

 Terms and  conditions




 Spotlight on...


 Roger's CV

Archive for July, 2008

Ancient and modern

Monday, July 28th, 2008

You wouldn’t expect working in what I still think of as "New Technology" to lead you into making connections with museums, antiquities, archaeology: and yet…

I didn’t mention, when I wrote recently about hearing Maureen Almond read her poetry, that her book, Recollections, has a double relevance for Cornwell Internet; not only is it published by our client Flambard Press, it is inspired by items from the Museum of Antiquities (now in the process of moving to the Great North Museum), a joint museum of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

We dined this weekend with the editor of the Society’s News Bulletin who told us she had just been to London for the press preview of the British Museum’s Hadrian exhibition. "Of course I’ll be writing about it for the newsletter," she said. "After all, we’ve loaned the BM some of the exhibition’s key items…"

Quite apart from that, she gave the exhibition a very favourable review.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in London, the Wellcome Collection has an exhibition of skeletons from the Museum of London. Maybe I’m just squeamish, but I’m not entirely comfortable with the practice of exhuming skeletons and putting them on display. Nonetheless, I was interested to see from the Guardian‘s gallery of photographs from the exhibition that Ann Cleeves is not exaggerating when she describes long-buried bones as "red" – which is why she has called the third volume of her Shetland Quartet Red Bones.

"Dark and terrible goings on in the world of juvenile letters."

Friday, July 18th, 2008

An entertaining and instructive article by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker examines the history of of children’s literature in the United States through the opposing figures of Anne Carroll Moore, who pioneered children’s libraries, and E. B. White, journalist and author of Stuart Little. What brought them into conflict was the notion of "suitability": what is suitable for whom, and who gets to make those decisions.

This link goes to the first page (of eight) of the article, while this one links to the article on a single long page.

Neil Gaiman, in whose diary I found the link, quotes from it a passage from Katharine White (E. B. White’s wife, and one of the first children’s book reviewers:

It has always seemed to us that boys and girls who are worth their salt begin at twelve or thirteen to read, with a brilliant indiscrimination, every book they can lay their hands on. In the welter, they manage to read some good ones. A girl of twelve may take up Jane Austen, a boy Dickens; and you wonder how writers of juveniles have the brass to compete in this field, blithely announcing their works as ‘suitable for the child of twelve to fourteen.’ Their implication is that everything else is distinctly unsuitable. Well, who knows? Suitability isn’t so simple.

Experts, it seems, have been saying No to Age Banding since the 1930s.

Work / related

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Two outings in two days, both of them connected with work and both of them great fun!

On Tuesday evening we were at the Lit & Phil, for a panel discussion on translation. This was quite a coup for the Lit & Phil: from five books short-listed for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger, three of the translators were present, two days before the winner is announced. The CWA gala dinner and awards ceremony is tonight, and then we’ll find out which of the books has won – exceptionally, this is a prize which recognises that a translation is collaboration between author and translator, and rewards both of them.

So Ros Schwarz, Stephen Sartarelli and Peter Millar are rivals for the prestige (not to mention the cash) which goes with the Dagger; but you wouldn’t have known to hear them speak. It was more like being allowed to eavesdrop on a conversation between fellow professionals who were enjoying comparing notes on their job, discovering which things they did alike and which they did completely differently. For Ann Cleeves (who, as a partisan of crime fiction in translation, did a fine job of chairing the session) , it was less a matter of getting her guests to speak and more of trying to hold them back when the conversation raced off in all directions! It was a lively and often very funny evening (and the only disappointment was that one of the publishers had failed to deliver copies of the books under discussion, so it wasn’t possible to buy them).

Then yesterday we headed south to Middlesbrough, to mima where Smokestack Books were launching two poetry collections from a USA we don’t often see: a radical, left-wing USA, a USA in which the colonised speak louder than the colonists. It was an unusual poetry reading in that two of the rpoets were reading from anthologies, not their own work (Jon Andersen, editor of Seeds of Fire, who told us that if you exclude a twenty minute detour across the Canadian border, this was his first trip outside the USA, and Ellen Phethean, publisher of The Ropes). The star performer was Martín Espada, who didn’t so much read his poems about Puerto Rico as sing them, and even dance them.

Unexpectedly, the two events turned out to be linked by yet another of our clients. One of the questions Ann Cleeves asked her panel was "Which book would you most like the chance to translate?" All of their responses sounded fascinated, but Ros Schwarz’s nomination of Le Message by Andrée Chedid rang a bell: Flambard Press had published a collection of Andrée Chedid’s short stories. Better still, Flambard Press, in the persons of Peter and Margaret Lewis, were present to say so.

Flambard Press were not in Middlesbrough yesterday – but one of their books was: another of the supporting readers was Maureen Almond. Her current book is Recollections, a collection of poems about pieces in the Museum of Antiquities, each poem accompanied by a photograph of its subject taken by Glyn Goodrick (and taken, Maureen explained to us, after he had read the poem). South Shields God (as posted in Maureen’s blog) is one of the poems she read.

Drinking with footballers

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

One of the things I love about my job is that you meet such a wide variety of interesting people – and what’s more, they meet interesting people, too. Helen Savage has just sent me a photograph of herself with footballer David Ginola.

Why? Well, oddly enough, there is wine involved: and all is now explained on Helen’s web site.

Here’s to the next ten years!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Celebrating ten years in the web design business for Cornwell Internet

On Sunday, Cornwell Internet celebrated its tenth birthday as a web design business.

Of course, we’ve been building web sites for longer than that, for ourselves and for others, professionally and as a hobby. But it’s ten years since Roger Cornwell took early retirement from BT and went into business for himself: that was at the end of June 1998, and we celebrated his independence with a party the following Saturday, July 4th. Ten years on, we felt it was time for another party!

This time, we invited all our clients to join us at Newcastle’s Stephenson Works, the world’s first purpose built locomotive works on Forth Banks, where the famous locomotives “Locomotion” and “Rocket” were built. Not only is it a delightful space to be in, it also seemed appropriate as an important site in the new technology of its day.

Some of our clients are very far flung (indeed, there are some we have still never met!); and people tend to have other commitments in the summer. But we were delighted that so many people were able to come along, both those who had traveled specially from London or Lancashire, and those for whom the venue was only a short way away on the metro (some of whom enquired whether the space would be available for their own future events!). We also received a number of birthday cards, which charmed and delighted us!

People seem to have enjoyed themselves (I certainly did, but that’s not quite the point!) – but then, we thought they would. A comfortable location, delicious wines (thanks to Helen Savage) and our own-label beers from the Durham Brewery (Webmaster, Uploader and Downloader) and plenty of nibbles to accompany them (thank you to Gail-Nina for heroic sandwich-making!) – but what really makes a party successful is the people. And, as I keep saying, we have the best clients!

New domains to conquer

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

The organisation of the internet was in the news last week, with the announcement from ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the body ultimately responsible for allocating internet addresses) that it ia about to expand the number of top level domains (TLDs) available. The TLD is the bit of your domain name after the last dot: the com, or uk, or info, or ru.

As those examples show, there are two kinds of TLD, the country codes (.uk, .ru, .fr and so on) and the international domains (.com, .info, .org – we tend to behave as if these were the property of the US, but in theory at least they are equally valid for all countries). (There’s a helpful list on Wikipedia, which explains in detail some points I have simplified here).

There are good arguments for being more flexible about the two letter country codes, if only to allow countries where the Latin alphabet is not used to have web addresses in their own language: if I were a Hellene, I might not be happy to have my website at a .gr address (representing "Greece", a name I didn’t call my country in a script I didn’t write in). Russia and China are two powerful countries who might also have something to say on this topic.

What will the additional general TLDs be, and what will they mean for us? We don’t entirely know yet: ICANN’s announcement says that the implementation plan is still being finalised, and will be published early in 2009. But they do give some examples of what is proposed:

"This proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices are most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable. It is expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as (the existing) .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community (as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere). There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain, like .nyc (for New York City), .berlin and .paris."

So someone might, and sell .bank addresses to – well, to banks. Or .shopping, and sell addresses to shops. While ICANN’s examples focus on organisations who want a domain which promotes who they are, other applicants will presumably want domains which they can sell profitably. There is a well-established lobby to establish a .xxx (or, indeed, .sex) domain for ‘adult’ sites, and ICANN give no indication of whether this may now be approved (though they do spell out that they will try to pass this hot potato on to "an international arbitration body utilizing criteria drawing on provisions in a number of international treaties" rather than make the decision themselves).

The Guardian predicts a "new net goldrush", as companies stampede to register every possible variation of their name: they quote Thomas Herbert of web hosting company Hostway:

"If the domain name system is completely relaxed, cybersquatting will turn into a far greater problem, with companies struggling to protect their websites and intellectual property… For example, Amazon would have to register many more domain names including,, amazon.electronics."

To the extent that the expansion does seem to be driven by the desire for profit, I suppose that could happen; and I’m sure that some companies will panic and splash out on multiple versions of their domain, just as they do at present. Cornwell Internet already advises clients which of the options available they should register (.com, .org,, .info – there’s quite a long list) . Occasionally it makes sense to have more than one, but we don’t recommend trying to collect the set. Sometimes there are perfectly good reasons why someone else wants ‘your’ name ( and are two different people, as are and and neither of you should be able to bar the other from the web! If someone has more sinister motives, well, there are laws against trying to gain an advantage by pretending to be someone you aren’t. Better to invoke those than try to think of every possible option: if someone is determined to impersonate you on the web, they can always find another domain to use.

So we don’t expect Cornwell Internet to be directly affected by these changes: we’ll wait and see what TLDs are released, whether it’s a fixed list or a free-for-all, and how much it’s likely to cost. On the other hand, we’re happy to advise about the existing TLDs. ICANN’s statement says "Presently, users have a limited range of 21 top level domains to choose from — names that we are all familiar with like .com, .org, .info." But you might not be familiar with .cat (for websites in the Catalan language or related to Catalan culture). Or .coop (for cooperatives as defined by the Rochdale Principles). And Roger points out that there is currently a special offer on .eu domains, and that if any of our clients is interested in emphasising the European nature of their activities, now would be a good time to contact him about it!

This I love my job blog is powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).