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May 08, 2007


They tell me that the latest phenomenon to hit the internet today is a blook. An online book. Not sure why the word book gains an 'l' - to me that implies that the word "blog" should be an online bog, which can't be true...

Nowadays you can go straight to Lulu and upload your blook. Anyone can download it and you can even charge to make money! Hurrah! All I need now is a book and somebody to buy it.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of Lulu is the option to publish your book. That's right, for real, actual publishing. To me this seems like one of the most useful options. Suppose I've a massive pdf document and I can't be bothered to read it online. If I print it i'll end up with a right mess of pages falling apart. So instead I can upload it and order a printed copy, hardbound if I desire, and the rates aren't insane.

For a while I've had plans to try and compile a modicum of Change Ringing theory into a text. My lack of knowledge implies a selection of contributors may need to be chosen, but it's a relief to realise that the hard job of having the thing printed is actually quite a bit easier than anticipated.

The question now is whether anyone will want to spend £40 on a full-colour 500-page ringing textbook...

May 04, 2007

Blog Updates

The cheeky people at Blogger have been updating their engine, temporarily breaking the beast which is Windows Live Writer. No matter, a quick journey to the writer home page, a seamless install and we're going again.

They do tell me that it's possible to blog from MS Word these days, though I'm quite happy with the writer so haven't really tried it out. I don't like editing anything other than documents with word because I like the "Print View" mode far too much. Messing around with web pages has an unfortunate habit of switching things to other views, which is incredibly annoying when I later come to edit a document.

The updates at Blogger are quite interesting. When developing applications or libraries it's usually reckoned that changing interfaces is a big no-no. You're free to modify the implementation of your system as much as you like, but it must talk to the outside world in the same way. Add new functionality if you must, but most importantly remain backwards compatible!

Blogger hasn't done this - they broke Windows Live Writer, and they also broke their own Word Toolbar, leaving just the simple message:

Note: Development on Blogger for Word has been discontinued, and is no longer available for download. We don't have plans to update it for the new version of Blogger. If you feel strongly about the loss of this feature, though, please let us know via our Feature Suggestions form. The following article applies only if you are still on the old version of Blogger and have previously downloaded Blogger for Word.

They won't have a problem, of course - they're offering a service people want for free. Who cares about the raft of applications which depend on the way it works? Is this just another big company trampling on the little guy(s)?

Of course keeping "the way it works" the same restricts the range of upgrades you can offer to your service. The choice to upgrade is difficult. Is it really necessary? What are the implications? I'm sure the guys at Blogger thought long and hard about this, and no doubt the upgrade will prove useful if I ever figure out what it offers...


I'd just like to point out that Madeira Cake is very high on the list of greatest cakes known to humanity. It manages to be luxuriously moist, proving far better than many inferior sponge cakes which generally prove to be dry and crumbly.

It's not quite up there with Mille-feuille, of course, which combines several of life's finer pleasures - Puff pastry, icing, strawberry jam and cream.