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sjhoward v21.0 released today

…Much the same as v20.0, to add intents and purposes.

Yes, it’s my birthday today, as well as Lizzie’s. I’m sure the lack of national pomp and ceremony is related solely to the fact that I’m fifty-nine years younger, and no reflection of importance within our modern country 😉

Thanks for all the birthday messages in my email inbox – they certainly made me smile.

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Irritating front-loading on news programmes

I don’t care, I’m going to moan about them anyway. That was my response after being told I’m too easily irritated by minor things, and they probably don’t make blog posts that can be described as interesting. But it’s not going to stop me.

Front loading on news programmes is annoying. This is the conclusion I’ve reached, after seeing an epidemic of front-loaded introductions to news reports spreading across all UK news outlets. It’s like somebody reading the Daily Mail outloud, and it’s incredibly tedious and irritating.

Worse, though, is that it undeniably introduces an element of bias, through implicit agreement with the statement made. News broadcasters often say things like:

The death toll from the Chernobyl Nuclear accident twenty years ago today will be much higher than government estimates predict. That’s according to Greenpeace…

There, they are clearly agreeing with Greenpeace over and above what the Government estimates might suggest. You can never imagine them using this construction for something they find controversial, or that they might disagree with:

Asians are invading Britain and stealing the jobs of hard working white people. That’s according to the BNP…

It would never happen.

On top of this, I have no idea what to make of the statement that is being read to me until I know the credibility of the source. Compare:

Tony Blair should resign immediately in order to protect the future prospects of the Labour Party, backbench MPs have said today.

Tony Blair should resign immediately in order to protect the future prospects of the Labour Party, his cabinet have said today.

The first one’s a non-story, the second is huge. And yet they delay bothering to tell me until they’ve got the quote out of the way first. Irritating! What’s wrong with

Tony Blair’s cabinet have today announced that they beleive he should resign immediately in order to protect the future prospects of the Labour Party.

I realise it pushes the content of the news story back by, ooh, two seconds, but it actually allows me to assess whether the story is a real story or not straight away.

This post was filed under: Media.

Tweaking the site design… again

Regular readers will have noticed a bit of a change to the site. Essentially, the sidebar has gone, and been replaced by dynamic boxes, which appear and disappear according to which particular page you are on. These boxes have shifted to the right-hand-side. This changes very little functionally about the site, except for some tidying up of the Permalink pages – the ‘More about this post’ and ‘Related Posts’ sections are now in dynamic boxes, allowing comments to flow more freely from the bottom of the text. A menu has also magically appeared below the banner-head, replacing some of the sidebar’s functionality.

The aim of the change was to put more immediate emphasis on the latest content, that being what people visit to read. To aid this, the size of the headlines has increased by about 15%, and long titles now (rather cutely) shrink-to-fit, as best as possible (particularly in the ‘My Work’ section, there are still some two-liners). Also, external links have sprouted their own page as well, instead of being forever stuck in the sidebar. This allows more links to be added, which is a clear improvement. The site background has changed a little bit, too, and new posts no longer turn red for an hour after posting, as I felt this played against the unified blue design. The site guide has been updated to reflect the changes.

It’s almost six months since the last design tweak, so I don’t think I can be accused of changing too much too often! Overall, I hope you’ll agree that the freshened-up design gives the site a cleaner, clearer look. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to add them to this post. You know what to do!

This post was filed under: Site Updates.

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