The Metro is a free UK newspaper aimed at commuters (it’s available from train, bus and tube stations). It has a massive daily readership (distributing 886,912 copies every weekday morning, and most people leave it behind for other passengers) and is actually pretty good.

Whilst it comes from the same stable as evil tabloid The Daily Mail, it’s not awful like that rag because it doesn’t usually contain mindless tirades against asylum seekers, single mothers and foreigners.

Its letters page is great. A bit of politics, current affairs and a fair bit of humour. Many people I know who read The Metro read the letters page first (OK, second, after the front page. ner). That’s why it was nice to read this today:

To [people] plagued by pop-up ads on the web – try another browser. For PCs and Macs there is Mozilla (from, which allows you to specify different sorts of advert and pop-up to block as well as ‘images’ that don’t come from the same server as the page you’re looking at. There is also Apple’s own browse Safari (, which has pop-up blocking built in as standard. Both these browsers also have other useful features such as tabbed browsing that make Microsoft Internet Explorer look pretty poor by comparison.

But a big “Boooo!” to balanced reporting for also printing this letter:

To stop pop-ups from, well, popping-up download the new Google toolbar for Internet Explorer. I’ve been using it for about two weeks and its been working perfectly (

But still, nice to see Mozilla getting coverage in a the national daily press.

Following up on those notes to myself, there’s a decent RDF and Mozilla tutorial I just found. It’s pretty ancient, and the examples probably don’t work any more (I’ve not tried yet), but I was messing about with Mozilla a year or so ago, creating XUL documents, learning jpw tp use the chrome stuff and how to call web services from within a webpage, and enjoyed it loads. Since then I’ve found out about RDF and FOAF, and am enjoying that loads too.

If I can find any time (chance would be a fine thing), I’d love to have a play with loading and manipulating RDF with Mozilla. Cross-platform RDF apps built into the browser…..mmmmm.

(of course, this is where Neil Deakin is supposed to be going with Topicella)

It’s not quite my thing, but seeing as I posted a bit about XUL recently I thought this might be interesting:

Zulu is a layout engine for producing rich cross-platform user interfaces, using XUL standard and Flash MX technology

As I may have mentioned before, we have really bad documentation and specification practices at work (i.e. none).

That’s why we love tools like the great ESSModel. UML diagrams and documentation from Java source! Hurrah!

Having spent the day doing some maintenance work on one of our legacy sites, I can hand on heart say that old sites using tables for layout are far, far, far harder to edit than current sites using CSS for layout.

Even given its weaknesses (the web dev department’s favourite this week has been inline-block, or lack thereof), give me CSS any day of the week.