As you will by now have seen, the Yorkshire Viking has not been updated a while. I was firstly dispirited by the new laws in Norway that came into effect in 2014. Since then, however, many things have happened; the political world is scarcely recognizable today after the British vote to leave the EU. In terms of how that has realigned how I identify with myself, and my relationship to the place I grew up, it has ruled out reactivating a blog that proudly displayed the colours of Adwick School.
I have indeed decided to restart Yorkshire Viking. However, the whole site will be updated. As for the logo, that looks like it will stay, even though that is based upon Adwick too. The reason is that that is something which I have created to stand for me. It is a derivative work of my own. Furthermore, although I see myself as utterly estranged from a community that has (as I see it) stabbed my grandparents’ generation and my own upbringing in the back, I cannot deny that I did come from it – and I see no sense in trying to erase that which denotes my origins in the logo.
For this same reason, indeed, neither will the Yorkshire Viking Site disappear either. It will be archived – complete in its present form – and accessible from the revamped blog.
Norway’s New Law on Universal Design
That I write this on my old WordPress blog is something of a personal defeat. I had tried publicizing the matter on my Norwegian blog, but alas there has been very little response. However, I have not time to get myself feeling down over it. It is very important to get the word out over what is happening in Norway.
From the 1st July, with few exceptions, Norway introduced a Law that both dis-empowers people with websites as well as bureaucratically telling them how they are going to design them. You cannot decide to ignore the new Law either. If you do, you will be prosecuted under the new discrimination Laws. Not only will you end up fined, but since you are breaking the Law you will presumably end up with a criminal record far more injurious than any financial penalty.
I cannot overemphasize the sheer outrageousness of what Norway has done. Using the visually impaired as their pretext – and a cynical excuse indeed this is – the authorities now lay down for you a whole set of criteria that you shall abide by if your webpage is going to be legal. The Law applies to you regardless of your nationality, regardless of where your webpage happens to reside physically (ie. regardless of where the server or the domain of your page are in the world) so long as your principal readership is the Norwegian public. In practice, this will apply to people residing in our country and their webpages, since it is unlikely that you will be prosecuted if you live outside it (even though it theoretically would be possible, reading the new Law).
Under this shameful and cowardly pretext, which I am sorry to say some of the organisations for the blind have swallowed lock, stock, and barrel in their welcoming of this Law, the authorities now remove your freedom to design your page as you want. Firstly this applies to all new pages, but from the year 2021 every single webpage in Norway must be compliant. The Law now tells you:
- what colour combinations you can and cannot use
- what contrasts of text you can and cannot use
- standards for your fonts that you must follow (ensuring that they can be changed for the visually impaired)
- rules you must comply with before you put in your hyperlinks
- standards you must comply with when using headlines to your text
- mandating the use of alternative text when you use media (sound, video, or pictures). Apart from making the job of putting a video online much harder, it will also in practice make it impossible to post if the text you now are mandated to include of necessity requires you to use copyrighted lyrics (as in music) which you do not have the rights or the money enough to put online.
- criteria your publishing tools must satisfy (ie the programs you use to design your webpages)
- a whole list of about forty other technical criteria, including amonst other things translation of your content into other languages, that you MUST comply with by Law.
Google Translate this: http://uu.difi.no/veiledning/nettsider/krav-til-nettlosninger/krav-wcag
If you are reading this, you are probably thinking that I am overreacting and have got the wrong end of the stick. Not at all. Norway has appointed an entire Government Department to start following up, and making sure that this new Law is obeyed. You can find out yourself by Google Translating what they have on their own webpage www.difi.no and more to the point http://www.difi.no/digital-forvaltning/universell-utforming. I say Google Translate, because despite these bureaucratic busybodies’ interference with your freedom as a webmaster telling you how you must make your content fully accessible into other languages, they themselves have not completely translated everything they are telling us in Norwegian into English. I wonder why? Perhaps because the Law is more suited the old Soviet Union than a modern democracy like Norway (if Norwegians are generally too Law-abiding and meek to stand up and say what they think, perhaps this is not something they want to advertise to the whole world?)
So why should you be outraged if you are not already outraged over your freedom of expression being taken from you? Because in my opinion this has nothing to do with accessibility at all. It has to do with money. Already, in the wake of this Law, commercial firms are creeping out of the woodwork with offers to make people’s webpages Law compliant. My belief is they have been in on this all along, and this is just a cynical measure to force us to pay for what we have been doing ourselves for many years.
Even worse, there are cases – though I shall leave them for you to find yourself and shall not name anyone here for legal reasons – where the “solutions” you and I now are required by Law to buy if we are going to have a webpage are to all intents and purposes this FREE WORDPRESS PLATFORM. You heard me right. There are certain Norwegian firms now SELLING solutions using WordPress and other platforms that were intended to give you and me FREE publishing on the Internet. In practice, because of the new Law’s strict criteria, what is going to happen is that Norwegians will still have webpages – but they will have to pay a third party for the privilege of using what they previously have used completely free (so the average person can guard against not being in compliance with the Law). If you are a developer of WordPress, you should also be outraged. Can someone explain to me why if I were to try selling Google Earth (as some do), that would be called a SCAM…. but certain Norwegian firms are now using this Law to make money selling WordPress?
I beg you to check out what I have written. Every word is true. It is time the world knew about this, and if this isn’t the time to use the “F” word and tell these power sick people where to get off, I don’t know when there is one. I haven’t named any commercial venture here, but if you Google the new Law you will find people offering courses for several thousands of Norwegian Crowns as well as “Internet Packages” for those who want to make personal webpages. Some of these “Internet Packages” are basically barely modified WordPress or Joomla.
This Law won’t affect personal blogs, but it will affect all other private webpages you might have – as well as schools, school music bands, football clubs, churches, and any organisation that uses the Internet. All of these, thanks to corporate greed, are now going to have to start paying up if they want to have a webpage in Norway.
Dam them. Dam their hypocrisy, because this has nothing to do with their pretended accessibility (if you don’t like my colours or fonts, you can change those in your browser or operative system today). And dam their attack on our freedoms to hell!
With the stiff competition from Arctic Organist – there you’ll find the “countdown to the midnight sun” – and coming to you further South, Yorkshire Viking Norway cannot hope to beat Arctic Organist on being first. The Arctic Organist will have the midnight sun three days before we do.
So Yorkshire Viking Norway is going new ways to be first! We will now tell you that from today there is no more night. This deserves some qualification, since the last twilight you can see tends to disappear at about quarter to nine (this of course will soon be a quarter to ten when we adjust the clocks tonight). However, scientifically speaking the darkest time of our day is no longer night. That is because the sun is never lower than 18° below the horizon. This means that astronomical twilight never ends.
For those of you who are scratching your heads, there are three types of twilight. The first is what you get immediately after the sun has set, or just before it rises. This is defined as being the time when the sun is below the horizon, but no lower than 6°. This is called civil twilight. In this time, it is usually possible to continue outdoor activities without the aid of artificial light. Then you have the second type of twilight, which is called nautical twilight, when the sun is somewhere between 6° and 12° below. This type of twilight is what I call the “blue”-type, and in this you do need the aid of artificial light to continue doing things outdoors. Lastly there is the twilight when the sun is lower than 12° but no lower that 18°. The sun’s illumination is almost imperceptible, and unless conditions are optimal you won’t see it at all. Even if you do, it will be no more than a very faint trace on the horizon.
So there really wasn’t so much to make then of today’s great happening – other than beating Arctic Organist to the goal. The next landmark in our Arctic year will be on the 13th April. From then on nautical twilight never ends, so perhaps that is the point at which you would notice that it never really gets dark any more (weather can of course still alter this). Finally, before Arctic Organist beats us by three days in getting the midnight sun on the 21st May, from the 2nd May there is nothing more than civil twilight. That is to say that, in practice, it is by then light all day even if it is cloudy as well.
In Lødingen, the midnight sun will be visible from the 24th May. Tonight, as pointed out above, we move the clocks an hour ahead for summer time. Remember to change yours before you go to bed!
I’ve been using SeaMonkey for two years. I’m amazed there aren’t more of us.
Many don’t even know what SeaMonkey is. I’m referring to the browser. Today a lot swear to Chrome, or Safari, and there are even a few who stick with Internet Explorer. It’s not these people who surprise me; it’s those who have chosen Firefox, and specially those who use that with Thunderbird I can’t quite understand.
Seamonkey does the work of both! This browser has the same “engine” as both Firefox and Thunderbird. It has the same technology underpinning it. The only difference is that you get everything in one process on your machine! Like the older Netscape, SeaMonkey is a “suite”. Indeed you get an address book, webpage builder, and chat module as well – and it still goes a lot quicker than Firefox in my opinion!
There’s something odd about us human beings. We’ll use lots of money on software like Microsoft Office when alternatives like Open Office are just as good, and won’t cost a penny! That said, I have to admit that SeaMonkey could have been promoted a lot better than it has been. Many people have quite simply never heard of it.
Nevertheless I strongly want to encourage you to try SeaMonkey. If you’re coming from Firefox, there’s no need to feel uncomfortable with something you’re unfamiliar with: you can actually make SeaMonkey look exactly like your old browser by using a so-called “theme”. So try SeaMonkey now!
this post was a translation from today’s post in the sister blog, CQD.
Once again the Yorkshire Viking (Norway) blogger and Arctic Organist joined forces. This time it was at Finnsnes Church. We did so for a concert on Saturday 8th February.
The first time we co-operated was back in 2012. That was when Jon Blamire, aka Arctic Organist had just arrived in this land. I crossed over from my neck of the woods the scenic way, taking the ferry over from Andenes to meet him.
Jon’s blog had already had a profound effect on this one. Indeed had it not been for the arrival of Arctic Organist my English blog, then a separate publication, would have been discontinued; I had begun a Norwegian one the previous year, and had decided to concentrate on that. The (unexpected) competition from Lenvik caused me first to redesign the original blog, experiment with black and white, and finally “wed” it to the Norwegian one as its “twin”. The Yorkshire Viking Norway you read today is therefore largely due to Jon!
Then we came together again last August. This time Jon Blamire came to us in Lødingen. The idea was to raise money for our parish, and neither of us took any money for this other than reimbursing the petrol money. Then as this week we put on a concert for our parishioners.
This last weekend was therefore the continuation of that August concert. This time I should visit Finnsnes where Jon works. Once again we took absolutely no money for ourselves, and other than my petrol money all proceeds exclusively went to the parish.
So we put together a concert using both the impressive organ and the beautiful grand piano in Finnsnes Church. I started the concert with Haydn’s Piano Sonata in B Flat (HOB XVI:2), and then Jon performed a piece on the organ. He had put the program together such that the piano and organ provided as much variation as the different genres of music we had set up. However, Jon was to remark that he did have the disadvantage of having to change his shoes every time he went to or from the organ. In this respect, I have an advantage, since I have not used shoes for the organ for about twelve years.
Lenvik is very fortunate to have found the Blamire family. They produce music of a very high standard, and crucially are convicted of their Christian calling in their work there. I have no doubt at all that my own music making will ultimately prove to be adjusted and improved upon in a similar manner to my blog, as Jon keeps me “on my toes” (if you’ll pardon the pun for an organist who doesn’t use shoes anymore).
I was both delighted – and horrified – to find that he had a piece of technical wizardry that provides a recording of the concert. While the concert was an undiluted success, I was able to hear areas I need to pay more attention to, something I needless to say intend on doing.
For the concert, I wore THE tie. That has now become fast tradition. When we also worked together for the Sunday morning service, I replaced it with propria. That is because while I have made the green, white, and black something of my brand, the Adwick tie is irreplaceable: it is in use for concerts and the 24th December only. At a distance, the propria do the same thing on those lesser occasions that I want to do that same thing.
I am indebted to Jon and Sarah for their hospitality. They kindly suffered me for the three days I was over there, and in addition to providing me with a bed to sleep in treated me to a wonderful Sunday dinner before I drove back home to Lødingen. For the dessert we had Christmas pudding, which they had made themselves. This was in answer to my post at Christmas.
This post marks the return to the blog propria, or colour scheme inherited from the disused uniform at Adwick. All entries previously published in colour remain visible for blog members. Ordinary service is now resumed at Yorkshire Viking Norway.
RENOVATIO IMPERII ADVICII: QUIS EST SCHOLAE NOSTRAE IUNGATUR MIHI:
Andy Crane has just been talking about language on Radio Sheffield. More specifically, those expressions that “really get one’s goat”.
I don’t buy the linguists’ reassurances. He had one of these on his program. The English language is getting simpler. That isn’t in dispute. As it does so, however, my opinion is that it is losing nuances. Having more and more new words, which linguists like to mention supporting the idea of language growth, is a red herring. When I broke a set of china that I had inherited (during moving house), I had many more pieces of china than I had had before – but it certainly wasn’t worth the same.
Having now been away from England for a quarter of a century (!), I am sensitive to quite a lot of the changes. The wonders of the internet have allowed me to listen to Radio Sheffield, and it is a surreal experience listening to what I used to listen to as a schoolboy from my DAB/FM/and Internet radio here in Norway. I notice the language immediately, and when Andy Crane decided to talk about this – I couldn’t resist writing.
One of my pet gripes is the loss of the word “pupil”. Right from primary school, children are now called “students”. I know from correspondence with teachers this is done deliberately. “Student” is felt to be more respectful, or as the Outwood empire of schools based at Wakefield puts it “Students First” (yes, I know they are “academies” now, but I don’t have time to moan about that here). Yet this is firstly a loss of an important distinction, and secondly disingenuous in my opinion.
Firstly, a word about “in my opinion” though. That has to be the last time I write this. I remember when I went to the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield, we were told by our lecturer David Lennox that we should have the confidence to write what we thought. It should, he said, be obvious that it was our opinion; and now that we had got a place in higher education we should have that confidence about our own competency on the subjects we were writing about. I mention this because I can almost hear somebody thinking already, “well, that’s only your opinion”. Yes indeed it is my opinion, and that is why I write a blog about it!
By calling children “students” one is being disingenuous. Contrary to what you would think from an age with corporal punishment, schools were less autocratic when I was brought up. Looking at the “discipline policies” anyone can read for themselves on most schools’ websites, it seems to me that instead of calling it “a rule” one calls it now “a policy” – and somehow “policies” seems much nicer. My impression of the “student” life at school is that it is just as controlled as mine ever was as a pupil, if indeed not more so. Now these same policies for “students” are regulating their life even outside the school gates.
Yet there is another problem with “student”, which really comes back in the face of teachers thinking they are showing them respect. Let us say these teachers are successful in sending these “students” into higher education, there will now not be anything special about their new status – as students. Being a student formerly implied a greater degree of autonomy. If this were not so, then there would be no argument either for abandoning the term “pupil”: as we have seen, “student” is thought to be more respectful. Yet now this word “student” has become devalued and one denies today’s youngsters this later status.
I have already written about how language can sometimes do one’s thinking for a person, instead of the other way round. That English is simplifying (acknowledged by the linguists) means that everything we say today, Shakespeare could have said – but the opposite is not true. No Shakespeare didn’t know about computers, but he like we would have been able to invent a new word for something he hadn’t seen before. That is because in addition to words, as in the above example, we also have grammar. It is the grammar – not words – that is simplifying. In one respect, the argument that modern translations of the bible are more accurate is patently false: the English language can no longer distinguish between the singular and plural address. Given that biblical texts constantly alternate between “thou” and “you” within one sentence just like we alternate even today between “I” and “we”, there is no way that the paraphrasing into Modern English can be more accurate.
In 2004 I wrote a deliberately provocative essay on just that. It is called “Your Body Is NOT the Temple of the Holy Spirit”. Most churches in England and America are completely wrong on this. You can read why here. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49207268/Your-Body-Is-Not-The-Temple-of-The-Holy-Spirit
The distinction between “you” (singular) and “you” (plural) always used to be a problem for me when I lived in England. Once you grasp this, and start thinking it, then it can become a constant irritation for you. The model of communication is supposed to be TX (transmitter, ie speaker/writer), medium, and RX (receiver, ie hearer/reader). If I am transmitting “you” (plural) but in my receiver’s brain “you” (singular) pops out…. there is a real problem.
There is a problem. Most of you cannot see this, and if you do then chances are you have another language. It was only because fate brought me to a country where this distinction is a day to day part of my language that I escaped this.
So yes language is changing. That does not mean that this is necessarily progress, if that word is only understood to mean something good. I think the English language is much poorer today. One reason may well be that it is a victim of its own success. In order to become an international world language, it has had to adapt and simplify. Yet that has come at some cost.
Whatever the competition does at Arctic Organist, we’d better do even better….
So without further a do…. Jon posts pictures, so I’ll post video 😉
Happy New Year to Everybody!
(and of course to you Jon, whose competition keeps Yorkshire Viking Norway on its toes!)
Our sister blog www.cqd.nu has embedded the King’s New Year Address.
Never let it be said that we don’t acknowledge when we’re beat. We’re beat.
We have (of course) the most beautiful blog and logo.… 😉 based on the smartest school uniform that ever used to exist 😉 a tradition to maintain the tie for special occasions, and well, we’re just the best…. 😉 and in none of this has our competing Arctic Organist the slightest chance of beating us… even though we admit he takes some darned good pictures of our local nature.
But this time we’re beat. He wins! He managed not only to get his wife to make him Þe olde CHRISTMAS PUDDING – but his wife even flames it as well!
He wins this one. We’re beat! His post can be found here http://arcticorganist.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/christmas-catch-up/
Yorkshire Viking Norway would like to congratulate you, Jon, and wish you a Happy New Year. We (that’s the pluralis maiestatis of course) look forward to more creative competition within the blogsphere in 2014.
I have now placed my school tie back into its draw, most likely for another year. However, here is a tongue-in-cheek account of my tradition. I don’t want anyone thinking this is some modern nostalgia! Therefore, lest you should think it…. the whole (more serious) point of this, is that the tradition has not just occurred now that I have become Norwegian, but has been constantly in use since (at least) 1988.
It hath long been my custom (as I bare witness herein in mine aforementioned posts) to take up the colours of our school at Adwick in Doncaster, whensoever certain occasions have presented themselves.
Which tradition hath furthermore continued long after those hallowed buildings ever were occupied by an alien entity, and verily now after they in these latter days have been destroyéd by the same. And whereas (and lest) the minds of some slanderous folks should perchance question my motivation, that peradventure this be a mere vain invention of more recent times, it hath pleased me to go diligently unto mine archives for to prove what long standing my said tradition most surely hath.
Wherefore doe I present unto you this photographic evidence, taken in sundry years, that ye now may know the certainty thereof, and that this same childhood relic continueth in use whensoever it be meet and right for it to do…
And whereas the custom of this blog doth but permit the same school colours, and whereas these pictures are therefore published unto you in monochrome (save for any portrayals of this relic which by very nature thereof are herein permitted), thou mayest click upon each same to show it in original colour! Thou shouldest click upon the resultant picture once more if this breaketh the confines of thy computer screen forasmuch as the majority of browsers will then adjust it for thee! 🙂
And from these mine earliest times in Norway, I did take away my facial hair in 1994… pictured showing my resignation from my position on the island of Hitra. Ye that truly and earnestly make examination of the above picture shall be able to make out my first logo, that preceded that ye now see above my work, which I used from the year of Our Lord 1990 – until 2012.
Thus I stood that same day outside Fillan Church, forasmuh as the tidings of my departure had reached unto the local scribes who publish the tidings of that island, and there did wait upon them for that they wished to speak with me…
And so it was that in October 1994 I played for my last service in Nordbotn Chapel, on the island of Fjeldværøya, and there did give a farewell concert unto the residents thereof. Afterwards they presented unto me their tributes, with flowers and good wishes.
And thus I departed those parts, and came hither, unto this Arctic abode of Lødingen. Now in those days there was a military fort in these parts, and exceeding greater opportunities for employment.
And thus I began my service in Lødingen – both as organist and music teacher. Ye see me here even in the classroom. As for the occasion that surely did merit this tie I now wot not. It suffice to say that I have only ever used the tie for special happenings, and this must therefore have been one of such.
These were the first days I therefore platyed the organ in Lødingen, and at that time I should also travel to the nethermost parts of this great land to entertain others in concert…. So it was that, that same first Summer, I went on a tour in Trøndelag and in Møre and Romsdal. And it was from this time that the School Tie became a part of my concert routine. Before it had only been used at Yule.
The last of these concerts was at Rindal. Here I am pictured with the other musicians three. The tradition of the School Tie was therefore well established, ere ever our school had ceased to be…
Now I remember putting upon me this Tie in the year of Our Lord 2000, but two years later our old school was deposéd by a new. And all that which we once knew – which by then had waned so greatly that I had foreseen the end as early as 2000 (and had written in that year a great chronicle concerning the decline thereof) was finally lost to history. Peradventure I failed to observe the Tie tradition in 2002, knowing our Rome was sacked. Yet ere the new Empire of Wakefield laid claim unto its land, I restored the traditions in memory of yore! Here ye see me before I left Bergen in 2005!
Now this is the account of my Tie tradition, for those that would say it be a modern invention now that I have joined the Viking tribes, and made myself as one of them. Forsooth I say the Tie tradition goeth long way back, even unto my time as a student at Huddersfield. Even from there did this begin! And not even the great Arctic Organist himself hath ought quite like unto Þe Olde School Tie Tradition of mine that hath so greatly influenced the making of my Yorkshire Viking Norway Blog!