AVG Free / Spybot S&D

A quick note for anyone who uses the Grisoft AVG Free anti-virus package. I tried to run an update this evening which kept failing. I then downloaded the programme and installed it again, and it now works fine. There was a new build released on 10 Jan and this must be the root of the problem.

I have also been having trouble downloading updates for the Spybot Search and Destroy malware scanner. It turns out you can select different mirrors for the download, which stops you getting the “bad checksum” error.

Quietness

Things have been pretty quiet over here recently. I guess I have just been concentrating on other things.

First up, I have started to host the Impnet forums – a site for fans of Lincoln City Football Club. This has involved me redesigning the phpBB board and making a few changes to see if it can help increase participation. At the moment the site is stored at http://davebriggs.net/impnet but this will change to http://impnet.co.uk – the traditional domain for the site – just as soon as the registrar geeks have sorted it out.

Otherwise, Palimpsest has been pretty busy – see the Fetish Detectives thread for some amusement – and I have been helping one member set up a blog of their own to join Chilli and Rick. I don’t think the blog is for public consumption just yet so I won’t mention anything for now.

I’ve been playing with the new beta of version 2.0 of FeedDemon, which is excellent so far. The integration with Newsgator is very useful – meaning that blogs I read at work using NG on the web are marked as such at home on FD. Fab. I also got to have a copy of the NG plug-in for MS Outlook, which I had a little play with even though I don’t use Outlook for my email (for obvious reasons…). It seems to work pretty well and integrates nicely – a good choice if you must use Outlook. I haven’t been making any link blog posts recently because things have been pretty quiet since Xmas and the New Year. Maybe things will start picking up now. Having the FD/NG sync will help me sort the wheat from the chaff anyway.

Back now

Well, I am back now and should be posting again more often.

Here’s a few things I have been playing around with recently, some of these things may never see the light of day.

  • I’m looking into trying to do for football discussion what Palimpsest did for books. Still not sure on the title. Stewart, who is helping me out, suggests Goal Mouths but my original idea was the slightly clumsier My Cultured Left Foot. Any thoughts would be appreciated. The site is hidden away here. It’s running on phpBB at the moment, as I doubt numbers will be great enough to warrant the investment into VBulletin, say.
  • I have installed a version of Drupal, which lifts various stylings and user accounts from a Vbulletin install. I had the idea as I wanted a CMS that could create some sort of directory of authors, with biographical information, bibliographies, appropriate links and whatnot. Am not entirely convinced just yet, as Drupal seems to be more of a blogging platform than anything else, but more playing might reveal a way in which it could be used. The work in progress is here. Drupal is being used in the interesting Open Source Theology project.
  • I received a job lot of Ubuntu CDs at the weekend. 32 and 64 bit ones, and some Mac ones too. If anyone would like one, email me your details and I will post it through.

Google Print, Firefox, Google Portal

A day off work today. A few quick things before I get on. Maybe more later…

  • Google Print is online. Had a quick play, looking for H.G. Wells’ The First Men on the Moon. Sadly that text is still under copyright so not all of it is available. Plenty of other classics are there in full though. Haven’t had a chance to see what options are available for printing – I am guessing that it is probably just an on screen thing.
  • Firefox has reached a 10% share of the browser market, according to ZDNet, linked to by John Naughton. This is good news, not least because the more people using FireFox means that they can’t be ignored, and web sites will have to start complying with standards to ensure their sites are displayed proplerly.
  • Google’s personalised portal is now released for the UK. Has a few new links for UK related stuff, like news and even the London Review of Books! Sadly, the UK-centric weather service focuses only on a select band of cities – the closest to me being Wolverhampton, which is almost completely useless!

Microsoft Going Live

Microsoft have released two websites just recently: one that barely works and one that doesn’t actually do anything at all.

Live.com

The first is live.com, some sort of portal that seems rather like start.com, though Robert Scoble, Microsoft’s chief apologist, claims there will be more to it than that. At the moment though, it doesn’t work with Firefox. Joel Spolsky gives it a thorough spanking.

MS Office Online

The second is officelive.com, which appears to be an attempt by Microsoft to head off the potential competition of Web 2.0 style applications, presumably by offering online services that MS Office currently lacks while still tying users into the core desktop applications. Either way, all you can do at the moment is register an interest.

There are a couple of issues to be debated around here. One is the current fad, which is to release stupidly early beta versions of software, which I assume Google is partly responsible for. Is there some sort of credibility to be gained by having beta releases floating around at a really early point? Possibly – the other factor might be that these companies are getting a whole load of free testing being done, and with the growth of blogs and accurate searching via Technorati and the like, it’s all very easily collated.

Secondly, if Microsoft is taking a turn in this direction, then it must be pretty worried. Maybe the constant rumours of a Google powered OpenOffice have got Bill Gates and co. a little worried. But the ease of sharing and collaborating on documents across the net is becoming a number one priority for software makers, and this will have interesting affects on all sorts of things, not least the way people work. Soon, people working from home, given a fat enough broadband connection, will be able to do everything that someone based in the office can – and they can be anywhere in the world, and using any operating system. Maybe Microsoft try and use their web services to tie users into their existing platforms, but they would be unlikely to succeed long term.

The key to all this is the creation and acceptance of an open standard for documentation formats, to ensure that peope can work across all services, so that it doesn’t matter what application or site someone is using: the file can always be opened.

Gutenberg formatting

Palimpsest’s Book Group is reading two H.G. Wells books at the moment. Being a skinflint, I thought I would download them from Project Gutenberg, a library of free books available in ext format, and sometimes HTML.

The two novels are:

The trouble is that often the HTML option isn’t there, and the text files are formatted with hard line breaks, which means that the lines break at that point whether it needs to or not. So if you load them into a word processor and change the font and text size to get the page count down for printing, the results look terrible.

Surely, I thought, it must be possible to automatically remove these line breaks, somehow? I asked in various places:

All to no avail!

Until Carfilhiot suggested a tool called GutenMark, a command line tool for linux or Windows which takes the text file and reformats nicely it to HTML. It is released under the GPL, so it should be possible to have a look at the source and see if it can be persuaded to produce just text files, though it may be possible to cut and paste from the browser to a text editor to see what results from that.

Carfilhiot has hosted the reformatted versions of the Wells texts:

Excellent – and the copy-and-paste to text file seems to work too!

Writely

John Naughton links to Writely, an online word processor.

This is the sort of thing I have discussed earlier, that Google could provide after their link up with Sun, using the OpenOffice.org applications as a base.

This might be useful for something I am working on, where three people are editing the same file. At the moment it is a Word file being emailed around, and obviously version control can be a nightmare.

The Writely folk also maintain a blog.