Monthly Archives: March 2004

Vintage Photo Hell

I’ve been sorting through a load of old photos, and uploading them for people to see, so check out Mira’s birthday in 2003, another Mira birthday in 2004 (I appear to be the court photographer – or maybe I just happen to take my camera to these things), and a Christmas booze-up at Kick in 2003.

Watch this space for more!

[edit: all galleries now here.]


Because SmartFTP kept nagging me to register, I stopped using it and now use FileZilla, which is open-source (i.e. free to you and me) and just as good.It does all the things I need an FTP client to do, looks OK, easy to use. It probably does various clever things with multiple connections and so on, but I don’t use them.


PSPad is a freeware text editing program, with lots of syntax higlighting and tidying features. I use it to edit and tidy Blosxom plugins (Perl), style sheets (CSS), ‘flavor’ files for Blosxom (XHTML fragments), as well as pure XHTML.

I’ve tried various text editors, and I’ve settled on this one. For the moment.

WWW2FTP is an online FTP client. It allows all the usual FTP functions, in a simple web-based interface.

The interface is in German, which isn’t a problem for me, and all the commands are pretty obvious anyway. In fact, here’s a quick rundown of the interface, with the various commands translated:


As you can see, most of the usual FTP commands are there.

  • Double-clicking on a directory name in the file list will take you there.
  • Double-clicking a file will open it in the built-in text editor.
  • Move a file by renaming it with the new directory included. E.g. use ‘..’ to move up a directory.

Beware! ‘Abbrechen’ means ‘Cancel’, ‘Speichern’ means ‘Save’. Be careful what files you edit!

The great thing about this tool is that if your FTP client won’t work, due to firewall restrictions for example, you can still edit your files.

IrfanView – Multi-format Image Viewer and Processor

IrfanView is a fantastic freeware program for viewing, processing, filtering, organising and displaying images. It’s tiny, less than a meg in size, and it supports pretty much every image file format you can think of. It’s very fast, and is simple for beginners and powerful for professionals, supporting batch processing and renaming of images, HTML export, thumbnail browsing, Photoshop plugins, the list goes on!

It’s named after its creator, Irfan Skiljan, and is the only freeware I have ever paid for, it’s that good.

Tidy and Tidy UI

Tidy is a great little tool that checks the HTML or XHTML code you have written, and fixes any errors you have made, and also tidies up and ‘prettifies’ the code. It has a command-line interface, with myriad options, so it can get a bit bewildering (for me at least)

That’s where Tidy UI comes in. It’s a Windows front-end for Tidy that turns it into a text editor, with the tidying and correcting features in easy reach.

Both are free, and very small (84kb and 370kb respectively). I use these tools most of the time for editing the site code.

SmartFTP 1.0

SmartFTP is an FTP client that’s free for personal, educational or non-profit use.

And that’s it really. It does most things I need an FTP client to do, looks OK, easy to use. It does various clever things with multiple connections and speed graphs, but I don’t use them.

NVU – WYSIWYG Web Editor

Nvu is an Open Source (free!) web editing package to rival Dreamweaver or Frontpage.

It’s really easy to use, enabling you to work directly in code, or in a WYSIWYG environment, and it generates standards-compliant code. It’s based on the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, and is currently at version 1.00PR, so there still bugs around.

Available for Linux, Windows and Mac OSX from the official download page

The GIMP – Open Source Image Editing

The GIMP is a full featured, powerful and free image creation, photo retouching, painting, drawing and general image manipulation package.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.

It runs on most systems, in my case under Windows, which involves installing GTK first. All you need has been packaged up for download here.

Highway to Hell

I’ve been following the work of veteran performance artist Robin Deacon for many years now, from his early musical work in The Attic in Bedford, through the Adamsdown years, to his current status as the premier Tooting-based performance artist currently in circulation.

So it was with a great deal of excitement that I learned he was to do a tour of 3 towns – Coventry, Cambridge and finally his (and my) home town of Bedford, with a new performance based on his experiences as a choirboy at St Thomas More School.

The piece dealt with the visit, in 1989, by ‘Sir’ Harry Secombe’s ‘Highway’ god slot TV programme, which featured the famous Goon singing while standing in front of the aforementioned choir.

Robin’s piece was essentially an investigation into the brief controversy surrounding the supposed ‘ethnic stooges’ placed in the choir by the school, in order to present a more ‘racially balanced’ image. It took in such wide a varied influences as the Bible Code, numerology, cryptology, institutionalised racism, provincial bigotry, and the reactionary toss-off that is John Ball’s Diary in the Bedfordshire on Sunday.

This was all done in Robin’s trademark style, incorporating elaborate and well-made props, video, sound, slide presentations and singing.

This was the most accomplished, slickest, longest and certainly the best rehearsed Deacon performance it has ever been my pleasure to witness. And it was only improved by the fact that I didn’t have to carry any of the props.