Bill P. Godfrey et al

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Adventures in websites - Beyond blogging

This is the third in a series looking at personal web sites. You may or may not wish to read the earlier installments.
Part One - Student days
Part Two - Bishop to Blogger

I like to write. Most of this blog is made up of stupid little articles but occasionly I completely go off the handle and write deeply technical stuff. It took me ten minutes to find these - and I know what I'm looking for. In a month's time, even this list will disappear under the waves.

I'd love to be able to tell a potential employer to go to my website and bask in my unaccountable brilliance, but they will probably just find articles about jumping and links to animations about rabbits who chase cats.

This is my main beef with blogging software, that it doesn't make for a very good document publishing system. There is a layout for blogs, and thou shalt not deviate from the norm.

I could use one system for the bloggings and another for the longer articles, but this just felt unsatisfactory. Each did its own job very well, but together, it was an unprofessional mish-mash of different styles, different commenting systems, inconsistent navigation, etc.

What I'd like is a document management system that includes a capable blogging sub-system. If I can't find the perfect one, I'll just have to make it myself. You have been warned.

(Coming up in part four, Lettuce to the Editor.)
Subliminal message by Neil Massey.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Iluzii Optice

A visit to Escher's world. Excellent!

Story and animation by Eugen Erhan.
Music, Do You Dream of Me by Tiamat.
(Via Optical Illusions Etc)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Jump day


Didja didja didja?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Adventures in websites - Bishop to Blogger

"In my day, the Canadians would use magnetic tape and I was the editor of the Hamster Times."
This the second in a series looking at personal web hosting.
Part One - Student Days

Web publishing has got very easy these days. Time was that if I wanted to make a page on a web site, I'd create a text file in a text editor and I'd start by typing
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
and write the rest using raw HTML. Woo hoo!

That's all fine if you want to produce single, stand-alone documents, but if you want to have some sort of organisation with consistent navigation (like a blog) you need some tools. Enter...

Bill's Incredibly Stupid Home Page.

My route to blogging started way back in March 2002. I decided I would try it out, but I needed some tools. Back then, there was a bit of a mish-mash of blogging tools, none of which really suited me. But I'm a software engineer, dag nabbit. I'll engineer some.

For a C++ program knocked together over a weekend, it did the job. Even having frivilous touches like a month view of posts and an RDF feed.

One downside was that it had no scope for reader comments. Instead I included an email link and I would post "Lettuce to the editor" pages when I'd have enough to warrant it.
(I shamelessly stole that pun from Neil.)

The big problem was that it was a pain to use. I abruptly gave up blogging in June 2003. Then in November 2004, I started again. This time I used Google's blogger service, which works in a very similar way to BISHOP, but done right.

Generally dissatisfied with my prior bloggings, I started afresh with my new domain, although I have re-posted a few of my better efforts when I've been stuck for something to write.

Now, my writings are enjoyed by eleven people all over the world. I've finally made the big time! (Ish)

(Coming up in part three, Beyond Blogging.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Adventures in websites - Student days

Welcome to the first of a series looking at personal web hosting. We start with a bit of a tardis journey to the year 1995. (Note: Its quite possible my memory is faulty.)

Coventry University, 1995. We see a twenty year old Bill Godfrey hanging about in a computer lab called DY35 or "The Dungeon". He is talking with his friends Mandelorian and ShadowDweller about starting a personal website.
(We all had silly nicknames back then. I was Bill the Hamster.)

We had looked at professional web hosting services. A .com domain cost $100 for two years up-front and the cheapest hosting service I could find cost £45 a month.

Then, in a day that changed history, Dave told me about a free service for personal web pages. Geopages! The adresses you were given were inexplicably goofy ( [StupidName]/ [FourStupidDigits]/) but I didn't care. I was finally on the web.

Today, a .com domain today costs me £21 for two years and my professional web and e-mail hosting service costs me £50 a year for one domain. That's about a ninth of what it would have cost me eleven years ago. It frankly amazes me that MySpace and its ilk are so popular with students and teenagers when a fiver a month can get you a website and there is so much free PHP based software for blogs, forums, photo galleries, etc. Clearly I have different values.

With a touch of irony, that old website I had once sought has become an embarrassing millstone. I've long since lost access to it and its terribly out of date. I try asking them to delete it, stating that I can't get in to do it myself, but its still there.

At least its not the top Google search for my name any more.

(Coming up in part two: From the Bishop to

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mr Blue Redux

A few weeks ago, I posted a link to Shawn Couzens's family video set to ELO's Mr Blue Sky. Here are YouTube's count of visits.

Three of those are me. Twice to test the link and the third just now to take this screenshot. (Woo hoo, I have eleven readers!)

If that were not enough, here's some more Mr Blue Sky I just had to link to. Enjoy.

First up, James Roberts has this nice semi-animated film. My main criticism has to be that it's so short, cutting off just as its getting good. Still, its a very clever debut effort.

And also, Rock Onic and Bob put on a show in a pub garden. Mr Blue Sky on the banjo!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mmmmm, tuna flavoured pudding. *slobber*

(Song by "Weird Al". Animation by Nathan "ZekeySpaceyLizard" Malone.)

If you'll excuse me, I have a lot of pictures to take down from my bedroom wall.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Spouting gibberish

My father showed me this trick ages ago. No idea where it came from. Read this passage...

Dair daygo, fort el oreh zeen arrow.
Demaint laures, demar trux.
Fulov kausan hensan dux.

Now read it out aloud. If it still makes no sense, record yourself reading it out aloud and play it back. Much hilarity awaits.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

View From My Porch

I'm lucky in that I don't have to travel to see fireworks. I live about 2 blocks from the point from which they're fired several times a year. So, I just have to go out onto my porch and look up. I was able to get a few decent pics of them tonight and wanted to share with you the view from my porch.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

"Freedom isn't a given. Its a taken."
-- Scott Adams (Cartoonist)

Happy 4th of July to all Americans out there. In hono u r of the 230th 4th of July, Thia has decorated the banner for the day.

(That is to say, the 230th Independence Day. After all there's been a 4th of July since Julius Caesar invented the month.)

(Thanks to for the flag image.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Its a kids show!

"Deano" raised an interesting issue, just now, in response to my article on today's Doctor Who episode.
I hate to say this in umtv Bill, but isn't Dr Who a children's programme? It's like the opposite of Battlestar Galactica which is the only sci-fi show I think is geared for those who have outgrown lasers and join the dots storylines.
-- Deano
When the revival of Doctor Who was announced, I was surprised to see it described as children's show. When I was younger and actually watching the classic series, I never thought of it like that.

Children's television were zany cartoons, dramas about children raised by single parents, tame comedy shows and Grange Hill. Doctor Who was none of these.

(By the way, I never really got Grange Hill. It was nothing like any school I ever attended. If Mr Bronson turned out to be Sutekh the Destroyer in disguise, I would not have been at all surprised.)

I had never seen the William Hartnell era with the more overt educational trips into history. By the time I started watching (near the end of Tom Baker's turn) as far as I was concerned it was just a pure drama show.

Next week, an analysis of The Flumps, which I'm sure was a serious documentary series.

Doctor Who trepidations

I've been enjoying the new Doctor Who series. Some I've liked (Father's day, Empty child, Girl in the fireplace) and some I've not liked so much (Aliens of London, The long game, New Earth).

With tonight's episode, Army of ghosts, I offically have low expectations.

Two reasons. First is the appearance of Derek "Mary-loves-Dick" Acorah. Secondly, Barbara Windsor will also be appearing, which isn't a bad thing in itself except she is credited as playing "Peggy Mitchell", her character in the soap opera Eastenders.

"Let us go to the Queen Vic for a pint of be-er."
"But we are barred since you ex-ter-min-ate-ed Phil Mitch-ell."

"I have to go to the laund-er-ette to pick up my serv-ice wash."
"Sor-ry. I ex-ter-min-ate-ed Paul-ine Fow-ler when she ru-ined my del-ic-ates!"

"Oh look. Der-ek 'Ma-ry-loves-Dick' Ac-or-ah! EX-TERM-IN-ATE! EX-TERM-IN-ATE!"

As I write this, it all starts at 7PM, assuming the England vs Portugal world cup game doesn't go into extra time. That would be rude.

UPDATE (After watching it.)

That weren't so bad.