Monday, 26 February 2007


I just tried to simplify the typography for sans-serif text on this web site by limiting the choice of fonts to two: Lucida Grande and Lucida Sans Unicode, the former being available on Mac OS-X and the latter on Windows. The web site now looks much better on the Mac but not on my Windows laptop, presumably because the Mac has decent font anti-aliasing whereas the Windows laptop doesn't seem to know anything about anti-aliasing. I'll think about that conundrum later, it's time to go to bed.

Software Patents in the UK

Tony Blair had been busy answering petitions on the No 10 website recently and he has just replied to the one on software patents. The response is short, straight to the point and says that no patents should exist for inventions which make advances lying solely in the field of software. So in theory it's all good and it means that software patents are unenforceable in the UK. Of course, there will be a grey area for everything that is not purely software or depends on particular hardware. Mobile phones come to mind as such an example.

This is a step in the right direction. Let's hope a European directive or a future government doesn't contradict it now.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Blogger Labels

Google have apparently revamped the internals of Blogger and we now have the ability to add labels to each post, a feature that had been thoroughly missing up to now. I started doing that and added labels to my last 25 posts. I will try to keep doing it and categorise all the posts since the first one but it will take time, if I ever manage to do them all. As is not completely unexpected, the top label so far is technology. Worryingly, the second one is rants. Have I been that negative recently or is it just a sign that I use this weblog to vent my frustration?

WWF-UK Climate Change Campaign

WWF-UK are currently running a climate change campaign. This campaign includes a petition to Tony Blair, that you can sign online on the campaign page and is focused on precise, achievable aims. It is always fun to petition No 10 and this is for a good cause from a well respected charity so go ahead and add your name to the list, you know it makes sense.

Contacting Sainsbury's

Last week I went to the Sainsbury's in Richmond as it is the only place in my area where I can recycle drink cartons. When I got there, the recycling centre was drowned under plastic bottles because the plastic bins were full and people had been dropping their recycling next to them. I put my cartons in the proper bin (which wasn't full luckily) and when I came back home I decided to contact Sainsbury's and complain. I found the contact form quite easily on their website and filled it in, half expecting to get a half cooked excuse in response. But no, to my surprise I got an email on the Monday saying they had contacted the store's manager and they were emptying those bins every day. I even got the details of the manager so next time I go there, I can theoretically talk to him directly if need be. And then later this week I got a £10 Sainsbury's voucher through the post! Could it be that Sainsbury's are actually listening to their customers? I shall see next time I go if the plastic bottles recycling bank looks better maintained. And I shall spend my voucher.

Friday, 16 February 2007

House Prices

Shock! Horror! Kensington & Chelsea has the highest average house price in the whole country according to the BBC. But more importantly, the source of the news is a very nifty web site called where you can find everything about the housing market anywhere in England. Their house price heat map is really cool and an example of a great custom Google Maps application.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Fairtrade Fashion Show

Fairtrade is not just about bananas, tea, chocolate and coffee any more. To demonstrate this, the Ealing Group is organising a fairtrade fashion show at St Paul’s Church, including 4 catwalk shows at 11.30, 1.00, 2.30 and 4pm. Tickets are £2 for adults and £1 for under 16’s at the door and each of them includes a raffle ticket.

There will also be 15 stalls with an amazing range of jewellery, clothes, accessories and homewares for sale. They are all from small companies who operate on ethical principles and who support workers in countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe!

Light refreshments will be on sale and there will be wine-tasting courtesy of the group’s main sponsors, the Co-op. All the proceeds will go towards the group’s work in promoting Fairtrade in Ealing.

Fairtrade Fashion Show poster