Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

February 26, 2004

Outages

So, there was the obligatory downtime when moving house (and server) and waiting for appropriate cables to be installed. Then there were sporadic power-downs due to really bad wiring in the house. Then there were power-downs due to electrical fires and electricians pulling out power-cords to see what was going on. Then we started using a firewall which was unreliable (it would work for about fifteen minutes at a time, before needing to be rebooted). On replacing that with the old firewall, it was discovered that the heavy rains had gotten into the place where the box was stored, and the CPU was fried and the disk drive was dodgy. After long struggles with crap firewall software, there is now a new firewall and it only remains for faults in the cable service to provide downtime. That and the work on fixing the wiring in the house, which happens this week and next.

And as I write this, I note that the cable service has gone down again (shortly after I got everything back up and running after it went down last night). I think it will only take another couple of years for me to turn totally into Catweazle.

Posted by jamie at 10:00+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

February 13, 2004

Have I been here before?

It turns out that some people have done something which might be fairly close to what I am planning for mapping Germanic migrations, in terms of the software to drive the creation of maps and so forth: the Historical Event Markup and Linking project. I say “might” for the following reasons:

So, I can’t actually see the samples on the HEML site. I would simply read the documentation, except the site annoys me by using frames and failing to wrap text within my browser window. Yes, I know that that is largely a separate issue from what is actually said on the site, but really, I think people could pay attention to the small and simple things.

Okay, irritation over; I’m going to read a book — one of those things that is well designed and actually works.

Posted by jamie at 20:25+13:00 | Comments (4) | Permalink

February 07, 2004

Germanic migrations project

For a few days now I have been itching for a new project to dedicate myself to. Perhaps a foolish feeling, given that the academic year commences in a few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be kept more than busy enough by course work and paid employment. However, in doing preparatory reading for the linguistics paper Danish and Comparative Germanic, I struck gold. For those that don’t know, there were hundreds of different Germanic tribes, and it seems that barely a year went by from 300–800AD when at least one of them was not busy moving around in a not infrequently successful attempt to take over Europe. It is confusing trying to keep track of all of it without a map. Or rather, many maps.

It occured to me that really what would be better than a set of discrete maps is a program which will show an animation of the various movements, with a facility to select parts of Europe/individual tribes/particular time periods, and also to show primary source references for particular events, etc. Nothing strained or bizarre, just a collection of data from which different views can be assembled.

This leads me to small rant about how much better children’s books tend to be at presenting information than books for adults. Children’s books tend to have an abundance of graphics complementing the text, and these are often extraordinarily effective, much more so than large amounts of text. One example I recall has lush colour illustrations of buildings in South America (Mayan, perhaps?), with a partially transparent overlay — with the overlay down the illustration was of the building intact in an exterior view. Lift up the overlay, and you get to see part of the interior. Marvellous! Then I read an academic book which has six small, poorly labelled black and white maps to cover the entirety of Germanic and pre-Germanic movements from the time of the last ice age.

So anyway, I have to go and start this project. What fun!

Posted by jamie at 16:18+13:00 | Comments (4) | Permalink