Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

And all that malarkey

  • According to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the word ‘malarkey’ is unknown. Which is a shame as it’s such a brilliant word. Sadly it wasn’t included in the recent BBC Wordhunt.
  • The Microsoft presentation yesterday was interesting as expected. Essentially it focussed on how Microsoft is ‘opening up’, through its Office XML in Office 2007 and through its shared source initiative, but it also criticised the GPL for being too restrictive, in that if you have to provide source code and the right to modify it with your software, how do you expect to be able to make money? Still, it was interesting and we got a demonstration of Office 2007, plus a slightly technical look at Office XML files, and the demonstrator’s copy of IE6 did crash in the process. Usually when MS demonstrate something here something goes wrong and obviously today was no exception. I also got a free pen and a few students won some free MS software.
  • The student union elections are just over 3 weeks away with the candidates being confirmed at the end of this week. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say, but I’m not personally standing for a position. I did last year (and came third), though I didn’t post anything much here about it (mainly because of the election regulations saying I couldn’t). A few people I know are standing though, so it could be nice to be able to help people with their campaigns rather than run one myself. A bit like being a grandparent instead of a parent – when the situation gets a bit sticky, you can hand it back.
  • Winamp 5.2 is out. It’s not on the main site yet, but you can download it from the forums. It adds portable music player and an improved media library, so you can use your iPod or Zen with it without installing extra plugins. Seems to work well on my machine.
  • What doesn’t seem to work well here is the latest version of the drivers for my Intel Extreme Graphics. The control panel icon is now called ‘Can’t find requested string.’ and it doesn’t do anything when you click on it. Whoops.
  • Six Apart have set up the Trackback Working Group, to have Trackback approved as an IETF standard (like Atom was) and sort out its numerous flaws (namely to do with internationalisation and spam). Like with Atom it’s being done through a Wiki, which you need a LiveJournal account or OpenID server to login to. Best of luck to them and I’ve joined their mailing list as an interested party.
  • And finally, I have 4 only 1 more invitation to download the beta of Windows Live Messenger, the successor to MSN Messenger 7.5. Drop me a line if you would like to try one – I’ll need the email address you use for your Microsoft .Net Passport.


  1. Hi Neil,
    First time posting on your blog. Been a long time anonymous reader of your website. I particularly love your excursions, with photos, to various places of interest in England. I did the same when I was based in Sheffield for 6 months a couple of years back.
    I would love to beta test the new MSN messenger version. Would appreciate if you could send me an invite.
    Thank you.

  2. Hey Neil,
    American here. Avid reader of your blog. Would love a MS Messenger Beta invite.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. If you’ve still got some invites left I’d be glad to take on off your hands 🙂

  4. I’ve got a friend with an Intel Graphics Chipset Neil and if you go to then you’ll find a step-by-step process to fix the bug.
    Good luck!

  5. Sounds like you’ve gotta suck up a little be before “poppin the question”. I went to the same university and I read you site everyday, I love you neil… actually, I don’t need a Messenger Live invite, so what am I saying.
    By the way, it sucks big time. Horrible horrible horrible.