Yesterday evening, at about 6.20pm, much of London was plunged into chaos by power cuts. We had a little taster of the problems experienced a couple of weeks ago by people in eastern America and Canada. The blackout only lasted about fifteen minutes in my case, and power was restored within half an hour to all areas.
It came during the evening rush, and hundreds of thousands were trapped on trains, 250,000 underground. Some passengers spent more than an hour stuck on their trains. Although power was restored to the tube system within 30 minutes, it was not possible to switch the electricity back on because people were still in the tunnels after being evacuated from their stalled trains.
It is too early to say what went wrong, but it appears that transformers failed at three south London substations. The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has called the blackout 'a disgrace' and has called for a public enquiry.
Nick Bradbury has released another beta version of FeedDemon, the RSS reader for Windows. The build, among other things, allows reading of AOL Journal RSS feeds. Fifth Beta you ask? Nick's response... "Now, the fact that there's a fifth beta will make some wonder just how many betas there will be. The answer, of course, is 'as many as it takes!' It's important to me that FeedDemon - like TopStyle - is considered very reliable, so I won't release the final version until testers (ie: you!) tell me it's ready."
I've been trying out a Web-based email service, Oddpost. I am finding it excellent, and may well continue with it full time. Not only does it give me another email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, but I can also use it to pick up mail sent to other POP3 or IMAP addresses. It can also be used to subscribe to RSS feeds so that a message is received each time they are updated.
Donald Johansson's site reminded me of a useful little utility I've been using for a while; SLUGS (Simple Little Utility for Generating Schemes) is a simple colour picker which can provide suggestions for colours which look nice together. SLUGS is free, even for commercial use, and you can download sourcecode under the Clarified Artistic License. It is available as both a Windows standalone application and as a plugin for HTML-Kit. Take a look at http://www.opensourcepan.co.uk/programs/slugs/.
The usual way to publish blog posts is to use the browser interface. This has, of course, several drawbacks. I've started to use an excellent Windows freeware program called w.bloggar to compose and publish my posts. It works like a dream. Because it runs under the Windows GUI it allows the user to edit his posts without being connected to the Internet, saving locally one or more texts to be posted in the future. Another great advantage of w.bloggar is that it is compatible with most of weblog systems available, allowing an advanced user to have one only interface to several accounts hosted on several different sites, under different publishing systems.Currently w.bloggar is compatible with Blogger API, metaWeblog API, MovableType API (which includes TypePad) and b2 API.