He-Who-Kills from Khurasan Miniatures

It’s been a while since my last dinosaur miniatures roundup, so what’s new and exciting?

15mm is where it’s at. Khurasan Miniatures have continued to expand their Mystri Island range including the very nice T. rex “He-Who-Kills” pictured on the right. Also in 15mm, there are a few new additions to the M.Y.Miniatures Ice Age range. Splintered Light have blogged the greens for some raptors and sabre tooth tigers. Finally, Acheson Creations / Primaeval Designs will also be moving into this scale and have posted some photos of greens to their Facebook and Yahoo! Groups pages.

Speaking of Primaeval they now have a UK distributor in the form of Magister Militum. The prices are high as you would expect for imports but at least you don’t get stung by customs and post office charges on top of that. I picked up a few figures (Plateosaurus, Protoceratops, Feathered Utahraptor, Mastodon and both Megaloceros) from their stands at SELWG and Warfare. Now I just need to review them for Ragnarok and get my painting desk set up (ha ha, fat chance, my computer is still on the floor five months after we moved).

And in related news, the new season of Primeval airs on ITV on New Year’s Day. 🙂

Seen today – a police officer outside New Scotland Yard with a Rebel Alliance insignia pin on his stab vest. In light of the demonstrations (lots of police vans and horses around today but no sign of any confrontations) some people may find that slightly peculiar.

Latest storm in a teacup over at LiveJournal is worth a few notes.

Much of the functionality in the latest release is good or at least inoffensive (pingbacks, cross-post posts to Twitter and Facebook, add Facebook Connect alongside OpenID for non-LJ users to log in and post comments). But one item, the ability to cross-post comments to Facebook and Twitter has caused a bit of a fuss (understatement, this is LiveJournal so toys have been ejected from perambulators with great vigour).

It seems like a dumb idea, badly implemented.

  1. Context
    Why cross-post a comment out of context from the post it is commenting on (and indeed out of context of an any comments it may be in reply to, LJ having a decent threading system for comments unlike some other blogging systems)? It seems pointless.
  2. Privacy
    The fact that the choice to cross-post is entirely at the hands of the commenter and ignores the privacy settings of the original post has caused the biggest fuss and rightly so. If someone posts a friends only post to their blog, then should their friends be able to share their (out of context) comments on that post with everyone on Twitter or Facebook? Well, at least you’ll find out who your real friends aren’t…
  3. Poor User Interface
    The positioning of the checkboxes for cross-posting between the comments field and the comments submit button is likely to lead to accidents. And considering the context and privacy issues such accidents will be at best nonsensical and at worst deeply intrusive.

I would never have gotten beyond the context issue if someone had brought this up in a brain storm with me. The sheer pointlessness of this function means it should never have been developed, and now that people have expressed almost entirely unfavourable opinions because of the privacy and UI issues, should mean that it gets removed rather than “fixed”.

I hope that the cross-posting of comments, and only the cross-posting of comments, is removed soon, as it threatens to overshadow the other features in this release which offer useful functionality that can enrich the LiveJournal experience for users who use it as a general blogging platform rather than a private, anonymous, slash-fiction, walled garden.

BTW, this post was created in the WordPress blog on my personal site; cross-posted to LiveJournal; syndicated via RSS; a notification tweeted; and Facebook notes will pick it up from the RSS in a couple of days. Your comments and replies will only appear in the place they were made however, unless you use (on purpose or by accident) this misguided feature on the LiveJournal version of this site.

Checking out the Broad Street colleges on Google Maps and I saw something interesting.

Good: Balliol is shown with an appropriate higher education icon, whilst Trinity is shown with an appropriate primary school icon. 😆

Bad: Trinity seems to be located in the middle of Balliol’s front quad. 😕

See more funny videos and Technology Videos at Today’s Big Thing.

Some new dinosaur miniatures to tempt your wallet:

Khurasan Miniatures have previewed some feathered raptors that are intended to be 15mm Deinonychus but also work as 28mm Velociraptors.

Acheson Creations continue to release figures in their 28mm Primaeval Designs range, including some dire wolves, 4 packs of Neanderthals and the Nanotyrannus shown here.

A week is a long time in politics. On this blog it’s clearly ten days.

The Election

I have never yet voted (in a general election) for a candidate who got elected. This didn’t change. Overall, happy that the Greens got their first MP, happy that Cameron didn’t get a majority, disappointed by mostly everything else.

The Coalition

A Lib-Dem/Labour coalition was clearly not going to work, the numbers, personalities and media. So with the option between a Lib-Dem/Conservative coalition and a Conservative minority government, which would be the lesser of two evils? Considering that neither Labour nor the Lib-Dems can afford to fight another election and that Labour need time to pick a new leader and a new direction, I think that a minority government would have been asking for trouble. So, the Lib-Dem/Conservative might have been the least worst choice, not just for Nick Clegg, but for everyone.

The Government

There are a lot of people in the new cabinet that I don’t like. There are some I grudgingly respect and a few I actually do like. Taking a 5% pay cut is a good sign (but when the company I worked for ten years ago was getting into trouble we took a 10% pay cut…). Other than that it’s all noise and promises so far.

Rewriting the Unwritten Constitution

There seems to be a lot of confusion between the ability to bring down the government and the ability to dissolve parliament. As I see it the proposal (which currently lacks a lot of detail) will change things like this:

Currently Proposed
The Prime Minister has the right to dissolve parliament and call an election at any point, and must call one after five years The Prime Minister has no right to dissolve parliament and call an election. An election will take place automatically after five years.
MPs may force the resignation of the Prime Minister if more than 50% vote for a motion of no confidence. MPs may force the resignation of the Prime Minister if more than 50% vote for a motion of no confidence.
MPs have no way to dissolve parliament. MPs may dissolve parliament if more 55% vote in favour.

So the PM is giving up power, and MPs will gain a new power. So far so good.

The problem is with what happens after a vote of no confidence brings down the PM. Currently it would likely lead to the defeated PM resigning and calling an election. In the proposed system it would only do the first. So what if more than 50% but less than 55% of MPs hate the current government (e.g. in the current parliament, what happens if the Lib-Dems decide they want to get out of the coalition)? The PM would have to resign and then we’d be back in the same situation we were in after the election – horse trading and squabbling between the parties to form a new coalition or minority government.

If the proposed changes do become law, and if that 55% is, as the critics fear, high enough to prevent parliament being dissolved early, then Gordon Brown’s lasting legacy will be to have set the first Thursday in May as the date for all future elections.


My local candidates, assessed on the quality of their web sites.

Tessa Jowell, Labour


IA and Design: Nice use of YouTube and Google Maps (don’t re-invent the wheel, use the market leaders where suitable). Two equal width content columns means the user doesn’t know which piece of content is more important. Labour Party banner ad at the top looks like a banner ad. Accessibility and Privacy links go to labour.org.uk so how can we tell whether they apply to this site?

Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 10 validation errors. Layout breaks in Opera 10.53. Email sign up things doo.doo is a valid domain name and dfsfsfd a valid postcode. JavaScript for TinyMCE and something call admin-interface.tao are loaded on every page – maybe these should only be loaded on admin screens?

Kemi Adegoke, Conservatives


IA and Design: Best looking site, not much else to say about it – simple but efficient.

Technical: Based on WordPress. Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Strict, has 85 validation errors. Kemi claims to “enjoy web development and writing the occasional bit of code”. Layout breaks very slightly in Opera.

Jonathan Mitchell, Liberal Democrats


IA and Design: It’s a Blogger blog – with commenting disabled. Only been blogging since February apparently. Black text on a mid-green background. All the text is in bold.

Technical: It’s a Blogger blog – claims to be XHTML 1.0 Strict, has 363 (!) validation errors.

Shane Collins, Green Party

Couldn’t find an individual site, so http://www.greensarecoming.org.uk/ShaneCollins

IA and Design: Video should probably be instead of mugshot instead of tucked away at the bottom. Otherwise clean and efficient, if a bit basic.

Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 41 validation errors.

Elizabeth Jones, UKIP

Couldn’t find an individual site, so http://candidates.ukip.org/index.php?pg=show&eid=578

IA and Design: Photo looks like it came from MySpace. Nice use of UGC in the Q&A section (but … how can blood sports be “a matter for the individual to decide”?)

Technical: Claims to be XHTML 1.0 Transitional, has 131 validation errors. URL is terrible from an SEO perspective.

So, we’ve learnt that the big parties spend more on web sites than the little ones; that no candidate can make a site that actually validates; that XHTML is hands down winner over ye olde HTML 4 or bright shiny new HTML5. Not much help in actually deciding to vote for. 🙁


Picked these up at salute from The DiceShop.

I went, I queued, I shopped, I chatted to a few people, I took some rather poor photographs:

Once the house move is out of the way, I need to spend a good amount of time practising photography, especially flash photography.