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I have not been writing much on my b.log recently because I have been busy with a new creation. Started in 2014, forgotten about for three years, then picked up over the past week or two - it is a manga viewer for RISC OS.
You see, on Android and the like, there are apps which make it pretty easy to browse "scanlations" (that means somebody scanned the original and then translated it) of manga (comics from the far east (mostly Japan, some Korean), and unlike western "comics" are frequently intended for adults), often with simpler friendlier interfaces than the website offerings of the hosts of such content.
On RISC OS? There was the double issue of not only was there no pretty UI based way to read manga, but also that the websites use Javascript to various degrees, thus making them less functional on NetSurf (they might fair better under Otter, but Otter is such a memory hog that does not run sensibly in a 256MiB (or less) machine).
Because of these issues "Manga" was born. It interacts with the site in order to present a list of available manga (nearly 4,500 to date) and it interacts with RISC OS in the usual ways (menus, things to click on...) providing a simple interface to aid you in reading manga - click a menu item to choose a manga to read, click in the selection window (describes the manga) to begin, then click on the visible page for the next one.

Here's the manga selection window, showing a part of The Big Menu that lists all of the manga alphabetically. Scaled down because the menu is really big:

If you look at the selection window, you will see that I have read up to chapter 18 page 1 of Azumi. The "Where left off" option is ticked by default, so to continue reading from the very page I stopped at, I just need to choose a manga that I have started reading (each one read is added to the History) and then click on the "Go!" button.

And here's a screenshot of Manga in action. It's as simple as can be - a window showing the current page. Click to read the next page (or right button to go back a page). There's no menu, and the current page information is in the title bar. It is simple by intention.

Manga is not available for download yet, as I am still waiting on the name being officially allocated. If you have RISC OS and would like to try Manga, then head over to the ROOL forums and search for "Manga". There's a topic there where I've been posting links to zip files held on my private server (the development Pi).


Random rants #1 - Charlie Gard

Little baby Charlie... It stands to reason that the entire world is going to have an opinion on this by now. So here's mine.
The child suffers from a condition known as "mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome" which has the result of the body essentially failing to develop correctly. What started off as a seemingly healthy baby is now being kept alive by ventilator. His internal organs failing, his eyes (when opened) not even pointing in the same direction due to muscular dystrophy. As for his brain, there is almost certainly severe irreversible damage (not that the parents are willing to accept that such damage is in fact irreversible).
The child cannot move, speak, or react in any way. He is fed by way of a tube, and he is kept alive by mechanical means.

The parents, however, have played the media quite well: what with storming out of the court every time they don't get what they want... with those pictures of little baby Charlie posing with his toys (remember, the photos lie - this is basically a near-dead child posing with toys that he is pretty much incapable of sensing)... and, of course, the parents seeing a fairly serene looking child and announcing that he is not in pain. You know, I am willing to place money on a bet that if I took a kitchen knife and stuck it into his arm, there would likely be no perceptible reaction. When a body is essentially wasting itself away due to massive severe malfunction, pain is a relative concept. Does a brain dead car crash survivor experience pain? We see a body, we don't realise what is going on inside. It's the same with Charlie. We see a little baby. We don't realise the scale of what is going on inside.

There has been a lot in the media across the globe about how awful it is that the courts (and by extension the state) are dictating to these parents what they should do and are not letting the parents exercise their right as parents to make decisions for their child.
Well, the immediate response to that is the outcry when children have been abused by parents and all the "why wasn't anything done" with the implication that the state/schools/police/social workers should have stepped in and "done the right thing" regardless of what the parents wanted. Sorry guys, you can't have it both ways.

More specifically in the case of case of Charlie, it is extremely clear that the parents are simply incapable of accepting no for an answer. Their desire to have their sick baby "fixed" means that they are blind to the fact that should there be a miracle medicine that can help with his specific illness, he simply cannot make a full recovery. At best the degeneration can be slowed or maybe even halted, so he can enjoy a pleasant life of unknown levels of suffering hooked to machines to feed him and assist with his breathing. He is not going to get up and go play football. The doctors understand this, the parents...don't seem to.

It is genuinely amusing how many religious crackpots have turned out to spout their typically ill-informed opinions, saying how letting him die is "not Christian". Even the Pope, has said something to the same effect (an article on CNN calling it "a powerful, profound and much-needed lesson to the entire world about how to love unconditionally our brothers and sisters"). His Popeness and all the other so-called Christians fail to realise that if their imaginary sky fairy was so wonderful and magnificent, He (with a capital H) would not have blessed this child with such an illness as this. In fact He would surely take the necessary steps to bend the laws of reality such that all the good, nice, kind children never ever die from plane/car/bus crashes, acts of terror, sickness and disease... but no, it's not like that, is it? The hypocrisy is resounding in the utter silence of God's will.
If God exists and this is supposed to be a lesson, the lesson is surely "your puny attempts at medicine are no match for my vindictiveness, hahaha".

What should happen next? Well, to be honest, I think that the courts should rule that baby Charlie should be allowed to go for treatment in America with the proviso that the entire consequences of what follows rests upon the parents. Will this help Charlie? Unlikely. However with the money already raised I'm sure they can figure out a way to get him safely to America. And then it will cease to be a problem for GOSH (in the news today are GOSH staff members being threatened...for what, for doing their jobs? Without GOSH, this baby would already be dead), it will cease to be a problem for the British legal system, it will cease to be a drain on the NHS' already woeful resources, and it will free up a place for a child who may actually stand a decent chance of making a recovery.

The POTUS has offered baby Charlie citizenship of the United States in order that he be able to go to America for experimental treatment. I wonder if he'll also be willing to pay for the level of care Charlie will require for the rest of his life?

But, alas, Charlie is still at GOSH and his parents are still engaging in amateur dramatics every time the courts point out that there is no miraculous fix. There are charlatans crawling out of the woodwork to propose radical experimental medicines - it is difficult to comprehend the now-stated ten percent improvement (by what measure?) given there's been something like sixteen known cases of this in the world. And, of course, there is an army of stupid people willing to hold the courts responsible, willing to lay blame on the hard working staff of Great Ormond Street, willing to threaten people who are trying to do their best in what is pretty much a hopeless case, and completely unwilling to accept that have to say goodbye.


Random rants #2 - It sucks to be a woman

First up, I do not know what it feels like to be a woman, I am not one. And even if I felt unhappy with my "assigned gender" and decided I would prefer to "identify as a female", I still would not be a woman regardless of what my passport says. That "man" that give birth? Is not biologically a man. Anybody that didn't fail elementary level biology will know why a man cannot give birth...

However - I can observe. I can observe the number of girls being raped in England these days (including by other children). I can observe the huge pay disparity with the BBC's highest earners. I can observe an entire country melting down because a woman dared to wear a skirt in a place where women are supposed to be mere possessions. And I can observe the internet melting down because the next Doctor...has boobs.

The origin of all of this is, simply, religion. You see once upon a time "the old crone" was a respected figure. An elderly women, lots of life experience and advice to hand out. Now? Now she's old and wrinkled and ugly. A grey haired man can wear a dapper suit and be successful. A grey haired woman is just way beyond her Use By date. A huge number of comments about (French) President Macron's wife are due to her age, as if there is something seriously wrong about this pairing. He is 39, Brigitte is 64. That's seriously messed up, isn't it? But, wait, hang on a minute... Trump is 71 and Melania is 47... That's pretty much the same thing isn't it? But, no, it really isn't. Because an older man marrying a woman who could be the age of his daughter is kind cool whereas a younger man marrying a woman the age of his mother is just messed up. One is a playboy, the other is an Oedipus complex. Why? Why this gender based disparity?

The thing is, in the natural evolutionary scheme of things, man is not the important gender. A man's contribution to evolution is to grunt for a few minutes, and then spend years taking care of the woman as the baby develops, is born, and then is raised through childhood. The woman plays the important role, the man is subservient. We see this pattern repeated over and over in nature.
But somewhere along the way, the men decided that they did not like this arrangement. They constructed lengthy stories where the great sky fairy was a man, who created men on earth that looked like him (how's that for a liberal dose of egotism?), a story where man lived in a beautiful paradise but was lonely on his own so a woman was created from a bit of him (thus woman came from man, to reinforce the idea that man is all great and powerful). And, of course, everything that went wrong is the fault of woman - Genesis 3.6 says "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." Did Adam say no? Did he say "this stuff is forbidden?". Of course not. He let Eve take the fruit of the forbidden tree because it sets the scene for the misogynistic rantings of lunatics for the next thousand-odd pages. It doesn't matter if you look in the books of the Bible, the Torah, or the Koran. It's all the same - women are bad, mere possessions at best. Some parts of the world are still firmly in that mindset, which is why a woman in a skirt caused an uproar. We in the more liberal West try to talk big about equality, but we're not there yet. How many important women are there in Western politics? When you look at a photo of the big leaders doing whatever it is they do, Mrs. Merkel of Germany stands out as she frequently wears brightly coloured outfits. Somewhere in the crowd you may also see Theresa May, who is sort of all of the worst bits of Maggie Thatcher. And... um... well... There are two others, making four out of thirty six people. This may be a part of why President Macron wants to engage more women in political life. There cannot be any true democracy unless both genders are properly represented. However, as long as religion continues to promote the magnificence of man, demote women, and large organisations (of men) continue to exclude women, there is still a very long way to go.
We live in a world where a deranged brainwashed individual can receive glory for killing and maiming teenage girls for the horrific sin of...enjoying themselves.
Yes. We have a hell of a long way to go.


Random rants #3 - Britain still doesn't get it

So David Davis turns up to an EU meeting without paperwork, then leaves a mere few hours later because he obviously has more important things to do. Westminster is still refusing to accept the EU's demands on treatment of citizens and their immediate relations - they're now offering a really epic startling FOUR years. Which has been received with the expected level of Meh by the rest of Europe.
The rights of EU citizens in the UK (and by reciprocation UK citizens in the EU) really ought to be a fairly simple thing to sort out. Morally, as well as legally, the offer proposed and expected by the EU is sound and justified. But the British government is just not understanding this.

Neither are they understanding that David Davis' return to the rhetoric nonsense of the UK preferring to walk away with nothing than get a bad "deal" is insanity. Oh look, you twats opened your mouths and let spew out the sewerage that passes for constructive thought in the pages of The Daily Mail.

And lo, for the world was beholden by the shocking insanity and thus did respond by clobbering the Sterling. At the start of 2016, the exchange rate was that one pound would have bought around 1.35 euro. At dropped sharply after the referendum in June 2016, so by January 2017 a pound would buy around 1.16 euro. Today? 1.11. It fluctuates, as currencies do, but by and large it has been a downward trend. The more a simple issue is dragged out with "don't wanna", the less hope anybody has that anything sensible will be resolved in the... what it is now? A year and a half until the UK parts ways with the EU?

Always remember, this is not the EU being nasty to the UK. It is the UK deciding to walk away with airy-fairy ideas and nothing that even remotely resembles a concrete plan of how to go forward without being a part of a trading bloc larger than the United States. Newspapers and politicians alike are still discussing possible plans such as The Norway or The Switzerland in order to derive the most benefit with the least fallout. Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but shouldn't the plan have been decided PROPERLY before Article 50 was invoked?

I no longer pay much attention to the British news. My face is sore from all the times I have facepalmed at the incoherent ineptitude of the elected group of right wing nutjobs.

But, Westminster, please pay attention. YOU ARE NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK YOU ARE.
Seriously. You're a mere group of islands in the north west trying to exert muscle you no longer have against a huge collective of countries that are, for the most part (Poland excepted) acting together. It isn't perfect, there are many flaws, but it's better than conflict and war. Which might be the outcome within your own country if you're actually dumb enough to walk away with nothing and no realistic plans of what to replace that nothingness with.

Or, in the words of a quote I heard recently: Britain was cool - they gave us the Beatles, the Sixties, the postal service, laws of gravity, evolution, great literature, television, the web, and football. What has gone so horribly wrong?

What, indeed.



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