Archive for November, 2016

Birmingham Mail website makeover

New website for the Birmingham Mail newspaper. In design terms it’s quite pleasing. Nice clean layout, although I run AdBlockPlus so my first glimpse of it was without adverts. An eight second load-time for the front page, for me. Photos not too ‘shouty’ or ‘grim’, but I still blocked all news story images on it […]

Birmingham City University – research repository

Birmingham City University has just launched a public research repository. Currently it’s too new to be indexed by Google, which would enable one to discover if there’s actually any full-text open access PDFs in there. Most record pages I tried were “full-text not available”, even when one went back a year or two. Which seems […]

Dull Brum

A stunning level of boring uniformity and dullness was on show to the press yesterday, as Birmingham’s bosses officially backed the Coventry bid for City of Culture. Expect better odds on the gritty bid from Stoke-on-Trent as the winner of City of Culture, from today.

A Midlands Engine mis-fire

Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace appears to favour Coventry for City of Culture, while forgetting about the equally major bid by the West Midlands city of Stoke-on-Trent… “Sir John said the Midlands is readying itself for a “golden decade” which will include the arrival of HS2 in 2026. Birmingham has also put its name […]

Middle Earth, a major Tolkien biopic

I’m pleased to hear that a very major Birmingham / Staffordshire movie is going ahead. Directed by James Strong (Downton Abbey), Middle Earth will explore Tolkien’s early life, his romance with Edith Bratt, and the loss of nearly all his friends in the war. The screenwriter will be Angus Fletcher, and The Lord of the […]

New Art Gallery, old leftist tactics

I see that the bedraggled remnants of the political left are scaremongering widely in the media around a possible “closure” of Walsall’s New Art Gallery. Aided by Walsall’s Labour-led council, which used the word “closure” as part of a pitch aimed at justifying and driving through a rise in Council Tax. One has to dig […]


The perils of keyword-based affinity algorithms: Facebook thinks that lots of my acquaintances like Stoke-on-Trent City Council, therefore I should start a Facebook group for them. I know better, looking at the top candidates for membership of such a group. Talking about the Council doesn’t mean they like it, quite the opposite in fact.

Libre Baskerville

Libre Baskerville, a historical Birmingham font now made web-tastical… “Libre Baskerville is webfont optimized for web body text (typically 16px). It’s based on 1941 ATF Specimens, but it has a taller x height, wider counters and minor contrast that allow it to work on small sizes in any screen.”