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Government defeated. Again. And again.

Tony BlairLast time he lost a vote, Blair threw his toys out of the pram, then said he’d not lost his authority. Yet, despite having a Parliamentary majority of sixty-six MPs, he still can’t get legislation through Parliament.

Let’s break this down. Mr Blair leads 356 MPs. There are only 290 other MPs. Yet Mr Blair can’t get legislation through Parliament. As much as I happen to agree with the fact that this particular legislation is completely useless, it cannot be denied that Mr Blair is losing his authority.

No doubt Mr Blair will make a big deal of the fact that he only lost by one vote. But that means that at least sixty-seven of the people he ‘leads’ voting against him. That’s nearly 20% of the Parliamentary party. And not only did he lose, he’s so out-of-touch with his own party that he thought the legislation would fly through, and didn’t even bother voting himself. Now that’s losing authority.

This 807th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

West Wing axed

Martin Sheen as President BartlettFor those of you, like me, who are having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the seventh season of the West Wing will be the last, you may be heartened to know that today’s G2 has a couple of articles (here and here) about the show’s demise. And me being somewhat behind, it means I still have 36 episodes still to go. But with 118 gone already, that’s no so comforting.

There’s rumours flying around all over the place, though, that the final episode will give a proper send-off to the late John Spencer, which would be right and fitting. Some would says it’s too late, and that the show should have ended when Sorkin left, but I say The West Wing still can die with dignity. Let’s hope it does.

This 806th post was filed under: Media, Reviews.

Mr Gates loses the battle

Two years ago today, Bill Gates promised he would rid the email world of spam within two years.  18 emails I’ve received today says he’s failed.  Unless, of course, “teen girls get anally violated” and “Very sad German statistics say in average” don’t count as spam, for some reason.  Luckily, I have Reg to back me up on this one.  He’s failed miserably.  Let’s all point and laugh.  (via)

This 805th post was filed under: Technology.

WordPress turns three

Screenshot of the WordPress Admin PanelThe software that powers this very site, WordPress, is three years old today. I’ve been using it for over a third of its lifespan now (there’s a scary thought), and for my needs, it’s the best blogging software I’ve come across. I can’t give a full and completely fair review of every blogging tool out there, but as a previous user of three, I can offer some (possibly outdated) opinions on those.

The good ol’ days of The LBSC were powered by Movable Type. Admittedly, I’m commenting on an old version of Movable Type, and that’s not entirely fair, but I didn’t particularly like it. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, but just somewhat over-powerful, and not terribly easy-to-use. It’s not particularly pretty, either. But the main thing which stopped me using the Movable Type software over here is that it seemed incredibly difficult to install, and it’s emphasised that no support is offered for the free version. Given that I originally hoped to have multiple authors on here, too, Movable Type had a financial disincentive compared with other blogging tools.

As a complete novice, I was taken in by Blogger. This is designed as an incredibly simple blogging tool to use, and there’s no question that it fulfills that requirement. It’s literally click-and-publish blogging, which can be hosted either by Blogger themselves, or can be published to your own host. I used the latter method, and it worked well for some considerable time. Eventually, however, I became frustrated with the limitations of Blogger. It is an incredibly difficult , if not impossible, tool to modify, as it is entirely run by Google, and so outside of my personal control. So if I want to display something in a slightly different way, if Blogger doesn’t have a built-in expression for it, then that’s too bad. Also, every time I made a simple change to the site template, the whole site had to be re-uploaded, because Blogger serves static pages. When you only have a handful of posts, this is no problem. But when you’ve got a wealth of them, it becomes a very real issue, and it can take extraordinary lengths of time to correct the smallest of spelling errors in the sidebar, for example.

So after a while, I moved over to WordPress. I haven’t looked back since. Its got almost everything I need built in, I can tweak the PHP to my heart’s content to do cool things, and there is a huge amount of support available when I get stuck, from the fantastic community who’ve helped me out time and again, to the codex when you just can’t remember the parameters for a particular command. The latest version even looks pretty visually stunning. And on the occasions I think WordPress is missing something, there’s almost always a plugin available to fix the problem. Most recently, the new built-in spam filter has made the pretty huge headache of comment spam on the site a complete non-issue. And all of this for free.
If I was facing the decision of what tool to use again today, there is no doubt in my mind that I would’ve chosen WordPress. I’m unsure whether I’d have gone for the Blogger-style easy hosted set-up offered by WordPress.com, or set up the site myself, as I have done now (which is remarkably easy to do), but WordPress would undboutledly have been the tool of choice. And with the flexibility now in-built to bring posts over from a number of other blogging services, there’s really no reason for anybody not to swtich, even if they already have a blog elsewhere.

So Happy Birthday WordPress. May you continue to grow and develop, and make my life ever-easier.

This 804th post was filed under: Reviews, Technology.


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