Friday, 9 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Big Blogger Bug / Big Bugger Blog / Bug Bigger Blog ...

A few people have reported problems opening the posts and pages of this blog.

The WCCA blog has recently been up-dated to use Google's new - 27 Sept 2011!Dynamic template that upgrades and improves the former 'traditional' Blogspot/Wordpress type graphic user interface.

Read the article on the link page of the WCCA blog about the Dynamic system, which only came available in late Sept 2011. The new system, still a bit buggy, uses recent software improvements, and so requires the use of up-to-date software.  If on PC, this would mean MS Windows 7 as OS, and MS Internet Explorer 9 as browser.  
There do not seem to be problems on Mac that have been reported so far.

We recommend, in order
1) Update your PC browser to the current IE 9 (if you can afford it!).
2) OR download Google's own browser, Chrome for PC, and use that - it is better anyhow! And costs nothing.
3) OR even Mozilla Firefox 6. This browser also costs nothing!
4) Perhaps run the latest version of MS Windows (7), although it works well enough on XP and Windows Vista in our experiments!

Please use the comments system below to add you own perspective on these problems.  We can then pass on advice as to what to do to improve matters.

HOT NEWS on 16.12, 6 Dec 2011:
We have been able to simulate the freezing & crashing as described by one or two liverymen on an old PC using Internet Explorer 8.  We encourage using the Chrome browser, which worked on the same old-ish weak-ish machine, while IE8 did not!  It was a bit slow, but...

Google reports that on 7/12/2011 the WCCA site was being accessed using the following browsers in proportion...
On that day there were in all 304 page views.
Below, the chart shows  the proportion of Operating Systems being used...

1) Tom B has complained that the 'post' dates do not have years as well as date and month - Google will no doubt revise this  in due course.  While back posts are easier to find now, few will actually want to search by date prior to a year.  If one did want to find something specific, one would use the search facility in the top bar, which seems to work very effectively.

2) While this blog works fine on i-phones and i-pod touches, showing a special hand-held interface, on a normal computer screen, the top black bar with its lateral 10 'buttons' is only visible if the screen width achieves a certain size (900 pixels?).  On very narrow screens this bar's buttons may be invisible, but a drop-down menu with the same buttons appears top left instead.  We recommend making the screen width as large as practicable.

3) Blog readers will not be able to see the WCCA blog if the JavaScript option is turned off, or if their browser (like some mobile browsers) don’t have this option switched on. 

WCCA blogmaster

Friday, 2 December 2011

Yet more books for your Christmas season reading

I knew it was a mistake to start down the road of promotion of books produced by members of the Company but it is a pleasure to know that we have among our number so many authors.

James Stevens Curl has three offerings (the covers of which are shown alongside):

Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, and Influences  - this is a new edition to the original based of further research and available in hardback at £45.00 + packing and postage from Historical Publications Ltd, 32 Ellington Street, London N7 8PL.

 First published in 1993, Georgian Architecture in the British Isles 1714 - 1830 this is a fully revised and newly illustrated guide to the architecture of the British Isles during the reigns of the first four Georges. This is available from English Heritage Publishing Sales, Central Books.99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN. Email: Price is £45.00 inclusive of a 10% discount and packing and postage.

Also from the Historical Publications stable is Spas, Wells, & Pleasure-Gardens of London. These facilities attracted London Society at all levels from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The book ranges from the simple medicinal wells such as those at Sydenham, to celebrated spas such as Bagnigge, Islington, Saddler's, and Beulah. It then proceeds to the many Tea- and Pleasure-Gardens, small and large, that provided entertainment and relaxation distanced from the insalubrious London air.

The book is available at £25.00 per copy + £4.00 for packing and postage.

And from Stephen Games comes his recently published book Pevsner - the Early Life; Germany and Art.

For two generations, Nikolaus Pevsner was the godfather of modern British architecture. He was a historian, but unlike many historians today, he believed that the modern world should have its day in the sun, and not be forced unnecessarily to defer to the past. This put him at odds with the conservation culture that he helped to create, and there were times, as co-chairman of the Victorian Society, when he had to absent himself from a vote, for fear of going head to head with other members. Where did Pevsner develop this passionate and complex commitment to the new? The British have always taken it for granted that Pevsner was a modern, along with a lot of other assumptions about this honorary Englishman. Now, for the first time, Stephen Games has gone back to look closely at Pevsner’s origins, not as an Englishman, or a modern, or a specialist in architecture, but as a German, a conservative and an art historian. In the first volume of his new biography, Games looks at the tensions that shaped Pevsner’s early life, at the influence of his neurotic mother and the social pressures he encountered as a schoolboy during the First World War, and at the role that art history played in the troubled German psyche in the 1920s and 30s. Based on extensive interviews in Europe and years of research in Pevsner massive archive in California, Games presents a picture of Pevsner’s early life that will overturn many of the comfortable notions we have had about him. “Pevsner – The Early Life: Germany and Art”. Now out in paperback and available from AMAZON

And from even further afield

En route as it were to the TeamBuild Competition the Master, accompanied by his Lady, Past Masters Alan Downing and Roger France and by Stephen Wagstaffe Pictured here), attended the annual Dinner of the York Guild of Building held in the splendid medieval environs of Merchant Taylors' Hall. 

The Hall, along with that of the Merchant Adventurers of York, give a fair idea of what many of London's Halls might have been like had not fire and war rearranged the environment.

It is a real privilege for the Company to be invited to participate in this occasion on an annual basis and the Master looks forward to welcoming his opposite number to our Livery Banquet in March.

from somewhere wel north of Watford

One of the more technically challenging tasks that falls to the lot of a Master is that of participating in the annual TeamBuild Competition which aims to promote understanding and co-operation between young professionals in the construction industry. Nine six person multi-disciplinary teams were put together by a range of practices and organizations and given a weekend to persuade the judges they they are deserving of the prizes on offer. 

As the Company regularly donates one of the major prizes - that for Procurement Strategy - the Master gets to be one of the judges. Other prizes are given for the best overall performance, Excellence in Presenattion Techniques and, this year, for the Most Innovative Use of Materials.

Teambuild 2011 challenged teams to plan, design and deliver a world-leading eco-town development. The Exemplar phase of NW Bicester, developed by a consortium led by P3Eco, was granted detailed planning permission in August. This fascinating project provided the basis for a series of taxing scenarios at all stages of the construction process, watched and scored by eminent Judges from all fields across the construction industry. Eight teams, representing 22 top construction companies, made it through to the hotly-contested finals, and impressed throughout with their professionalism, and dedication.

The overall winners were Greenprint - a team from BDP's London Office while the WCCA Prize was won by Concordia - a team from the Homes and Communities Agency who are pictured above with the Master..

Never let it be said that the Master's lot is just about eating and drinking. This event was, he reported, 'hard work and as just about as stimulating as anything I have experienced since I was a student'.