About This Web Site

Its Context | Navigating It | Viewing it: 1) Device Types 2) Browser Types
Java Applets | Indexing Policy | Mobile Friendly? | Site Statistics | Web Servers

Its Context

Full responsibility for the content of this web site is exclusively mine. No other party, such as any who hosts it on the Worldwide Web or publishes it with my permission via any medium, is responsible or liable in any way for its content. Any part of the content of this web site, no matter how large or small, is to be taken as existing only within the context of the whole of the content of this web site, and nothing but this web site. The entire content of this web site is my personal observation, perception and opinion taken from my unique personal point of view within time, space and the social order. None of it is to be regarded as a statement of absolute fact within any legally envisaged notion of objective truth.

Navigating It

It is possible to enter this site at any point in its document network. The point at which you enter depends on the search path you took though the World Wide Web or the key words you entered into the search facility you used. Having read the page at which you entered, you can follow one of its links. You may however prefer to move up this site's hierarchy towards its home page, or even go straight to its home page. This is facilitated by the links that usually appear in the navigation side frame of each page, with some specific links appearing at the end of the text.

Viewing It:

This site automatically sets itself to be viewed in a browser window with a viewport of 924 by 840 pixels. At this window size, the text will be at its neatest when viewed in the default font set in my CSS script. I want as many people as possible to be able to read my work - including those of you who need larger type. For this, the pages may be magnified using your browser's zoom facility.

1) Device Type

This site may be viewed clearly and comfortably on a personal computer or work­station or on a mobile tablet device with down to a 10-inch screen. It may be viewed usably on devices with screens down to 7-inch, but side-scrolling of the viewport will be necessary. It is possible to view this site on mobile phones with screens as small as 6-inch, provided the phone can be tilted to show the content in landscape mode.

I have viewed this site on a mobile phone with a 5-inch screen portrait-only. This can be quite frustrating, especially for viewing diagrams and animations. The con­tent of this site simply does not lend itself to viewing on a mobile phone and it was never designed to be thus viewed.

The appropriate expression, I believe, is "horses for courses". One would not sens­ibly try to win the Derby on a hill pony; nor would one sensibly go mountain trekking on a thoroughbred. Likewise, one would not sensibly expect an A2-format illustrated atlas of the world to be printed in A7 format, which is one thirty-second the original size. [My 5-inch LG phone has a screen just a tad longer than an A7 sheet of paper.] No matter how one may try, an illustrated atlas cannot be made 'A7-friendly'.

2) Browser Type

I highly recommend that you view this site with a Mozilla-based browser such as Firefox. Webkit-based browsers [such as Google Chrome, Opera and Safari] will not, at the time of writing [2018-09-17], render the text tidily in all places. This is be­cause the Webkit browsers do not implement the soft hyphen [shy] correctly, while their automatic hyphenation does not work correctly on run-around text. Perhaps, one day, this will be corrected.

Java Applets

Since 1998, embedded Java applets have been running perfectly well and safely on this Web site. Unfortunately, however, as of 2017, embedded Java applets are not supported by popular web browsers. Instead, what used to be Java applets could be launched as Web Start applications by clicking on the image of the applet.

However, since the beginning of 2019, this would only work if your system were run­ning Open Source Java [open-JDK-8] with the corresponding Open Source "IcedTea" browser plugin. My [and millions of other] Java Web Start applications will no longer run on Oracle Java, which now only runs commercial Java applications that have been certified by certain "authorities" recognised by Oracle. Such certification is far too expensive for application authors like myself. Notwithstanding, since a further update to browsers in early 2019, browsers no longer support the embedding or the triggering of any form of Java application.

Like much intellectual content on the Worldwide Web, my site is replete with Java ap­plets, whose purpose is to dynamically illustrate physical and mathematical prin­ciples. There are 26 applets on this site, some of which are large comprehensive programs. Some appear many times, operating in different modes. They comprise tens of thousands of lines of proven code. They represent a lot of work.

Lots of these applets merely animate a principle on the screen. They access no data other than what is stored in static arrays within their class files. Others read data from data files that are contained in their '.jar' files. In fact, they have access to nothing outside of their own respective single '.jar' files. None of these applets writes data to anywhere. Not to your local storage device. Not to my server. Consequently, they contain no inherent means of gathering personal data from you, corrupting your stored data or otherwise harming your computer. The functionality to do so simply isn't there.

Nonetheless, the self-appointed 'guardians of the Internet' have decreed that my applets are 'too dangerous' to be allowed to run either embedded within my web pages or as separate stand-alone applications. And unfortunately, when ignorance is in the hands of power, ignorance reigns. And as always in such a circumstance, the loser is the user.

In an attempt to overcome the loss of my Java applet illustrations, I shall endeavour to place a link, where the Java applet images appear, through which you may down­load a '.zip' file containing the respective Java application, together with running instructions.

Of course, if you would like to see my illustrative applets in operation this way, you will have to ignore the 'hellfire & damnation' warnings from the mainstream about the mortal danger of running a program from an 'unknown' source. Notwithstand­ing, all my applets are open-source. The source-code is published on a link within the respective web page. So I have nothing to hide. You can, if you wish, look at the source code and verify for yourself that it is safe.

To me, this whole saga of the birth, life and death of Java applets is yet one more - perhaps the greatest - reiteration of the old programmer's adage: "Never use more than the minimum necessary & sufficient facilities of an underlying platform". Per­haps, one day, an academic Web browser will emerge with the safe minimum necessary & sufficient facilities to support illustrative applets. After 55 years of hands-on programming, I regret that I am now too old to embark on such a project.

Of course, one way of viewing my site's embedded applets is to use a pre-2017 version of Mozilla Firefox with Java 1.6. That would be perfect - and safe!

Indexing Policy

Machine-generated indexes are notoriously useless. Technical manuals produced by certain large well-known names in the IT industry bear overwhelming witness to this. At least, they do to the poor person who has to use them. Semantic indexing - the only effective kind - can only be done by the human mind. This is because at least half the keywords a user will think of when looking for information on a given subject will not actually appear in the content of the most relevant documents. The relevant content will appear in the form of phraseology, which far more powerfully expresses the notions concerned than would the large keywords thought of by the person seeking the information. That keywords most likely to spring to a searcher's mind are unlikely to appear in an actual text has been known about for 700 years.

Unfortunately, authors of some commercial web sites have abused this principle by inserting what are called 'false attractors' in their keyword meta tags. These are words like 'erotic' which some authors place in their keywords list to attract more visitors to their site. Search engine operators have realised this and responded by building what they call anti-spamming filters into their indexing robots. These penal­ise documents whose keyword meta tags contain words which do not actually app­ear in the body text. They do this either by not indexing an 'offending' document at all or by lowering its relevance rating below what it would otherwise be.

It is in my opinion, under present technology, fundamentally impossible for an auto­mated device to make semantic judgements in the context of an index. This is well evinced by the very latest version of a very well known word processor whose grammar checker often gets wrong the use of 'their' and 'there'.

Despite the inevitability of being penalised by popular search engines, I have de­cided to stick with proper practise for meta tag keyword indexing in this web site. I therefore include relevant keywords which do not necessarily appear in the body text so that academic search engines at least will make it better visible to those seeking the information it contains. If, in consequence, this site is penalised by popular search engines for this practice, then so be it. To maintain good practice, such inappropriate penalisation by popular search engines must simply be accepted as an unjust encumbrance.

Mobile Friendly?

Google, the search engine which is monopolising the Worldwide Web at the time of writing seems to have adopted a policy of penalising any website that it deems - according to its own rules - not to be what it calls 'mobile friendly'. A penalised web page appears much further down a search results list than the relevance of its content would otherwise merit. This policy seems to require that each page of a website comply with the following criteria.

  1. It must contain a viewport meta tag. If this meta tag be absent the site is regarded as having an error for which it is penalised.

  2. The viewport width must be set to 'device-width'. Thus, if the page has a viewport metatag but the width of the viewport is set to any value other than 'device-width' the site is regarded as having an error for which it is also penal­ised.

Incidentally, setting the viewport width to 'device-width' renders the viewport tag redundant since 'device-width' is the default in the case of the viewport tag being absent.

  1. It must display its text large enough to be read within a galley equal to the width of whatever device it is being viewed on. If, on a small mobile phone, the text appears too small, the site is regarded as having an error for which it is again penalised.

  2. However small the viewing device may be, the page must display hypertext links sufficiently far apart for the user's finger to touch each link separately. With viewport width set to device-width, this is impossible to achieve without totally revamping the content to suit these search engine criteria.

As I have explained already above, setting my viewport to the 924 by 840 pixels for which the site has been designed, I can get reasonable visibility on even a 5-inch phone screen. Notwithstanding, my site is thereby penalised with two outstanding errors and is not therefore classified as 'mobile friendly' and is consequently penal­ised in search results.

It is analogous to Amazon or Waterstones arbitrarily deciding to penalise books that are not 'A7-friendly'. In other words, it is as if the large book stores were to locate only small-format books in the prominent parts of their stores, relegating all larger format books – like the A2-size atlas of the world – to the back room, irrespective of their types of content.

Containing large diagrams, photographs, animations and applets, the idea of trying to shoehorn my website into a 5-inch phone screen is ludicrous. I therefore re­searched other means for my site to be found. By far my greatest hit-rate to date comes from the Kademlia stub-file technique, which does not involve conventional search engines.

Site Statistics

Part of this site won the Study Web 'Award for Academic Excellence'.

Web Servers

Web Address (URL)Location
http://robmorton.20m.com/ Oklahoma, USA

This website has previously appeared at "home.clara.net/robmorton".

My Out of Date Web Site

Sometime in the mid-nineties, Computer Weekly started a web hosting service at http://users.computerweekly.net/. They offered 10 megabytes of free web space to readers, together with a dial-up number and some client software for email etc.. As a long-time reader and a then-frequent contributor to the readers' letters section, I signed up for this free service. It was my very first web presence.

I maintained a web site there for several years. Then they changed the password system for the FTP access to the web space. My previous passwords no longer worked. My email account did not work either.

I tried to make contact with the administrator. However, no email address was given on the server's home page and the service now seemed to be completely separate from computerweekly.com. The result is that since about April 2003 I have been unable to update that web site. It is thus frozen in the past forever.

Finally, on 21 September 2011, I was able to get through to some company that now administrates the server and got them to remove the site.