Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.
Robin Catling has written 852 posts for Everything Express

How-to: Use Dashes and Hyphens on the web

A note for the  punctuationally-challenged. There’s a brilliant article on A List Apart: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters) by Peter K Sheerin from way back in October, 2001, now sadly marked “This article, while brilliant for its time, is now obsolete.” However the topic doesn’t go away and we’re still … Continue reading

How-to: Make a drop-down list in Excel

If you’re wanting data validation in spreadsheet forms and template documents, a drop-down list remains the most common way to achieve it. Skipping over the question why am I covering a Microsoft product when there’s a perfectly good LibreOffice alternative, let me just say; ‘because someone asked me.’

Review: Calvary (2014)

“Despair not, one of the thieves was spared; presume not, one of the thieves was not.” (Saint Augustine) In a small church on the West coast of Ireland, a man comes into the confessional and tells of his abused childhood at the hands of a paedophile priest; and that in seven days he’s going to … Continue reading

Review: Codes that Changed the World (BBC R4)

Aleks Krotoski explores the history of programming languages. The history of computing is dominated by the hardware; the race for speed and power has overshadowed how we’ve devised ways to instruct these machines to do useful tasks. All this week on BBC Radio 4, Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages that have been … Continue reading

Review: Insurgent (2015)

Insurgent is the difficult middle instalment of Verionica Roth’s teenage rebel sci-fi dystopian trilogy Divergent; so more of the same running, jumping, fighting, crying, and ‘it’s all about family, innit’ [copyright Eastenders or your choice of soap here]. Expect more punch-ups, shoot-outs, train-jumping, big CGI landscapes, teary heroines, betrayals and a bit of snogging (but … Continue reading

Review: A Town Called Eureka Season one (2006)

I missed Syfy Channel’s quirky TV sci-fi comedy drama the first time out, only to discover in the re-runs that is is more fi- than sci-, more wan-smile than comic and too predictable for drama. Which leaves it trading on quirky, and that just ain’t enough. Billed as a sort of X-Files-lite (even liter than … Continue reading

Review: Predestination (2014)

A man walks into a bar and tells the daftest life story imaginable. The resulting contrivance of twisty plot devices, unlike 2013’s Looper, is disappointingly loopy. Writer/producer/directors the Spierig Brothers deliver an understated new take on Heinlein’s classic sci-fi tale of causal loops in time travel, but which can’t escape the Twilight Zone tropes to … Continue reading

Captain America: The First Avenger / The Winter Soldier (2011/2014)

Re-inventing, then re-re-inventing the comic-book hero from WWII saviour to man-out-of-time in the present day, the two Captain Americas are as different from each other in tone and style as chalk and cheese. But while Captain America pulls off the all-American, White Hat hero with spotless morals, there’s an oddly asexual, homo-erotic theme in both … Continue reading

Movie Catch-up: Chloe (2009)

Gynaecologist Catherine (Julianne Moore – Magnolia, Mockingjay) believes college professor husband David (Liam Neeson – Taken, The Grey) is having affairs with his students. So she hires up-market call-girl (aren’t they all) Chloe (Amanda Seyfried – In Time, Red Riding Hood) to see if he falls to temptation. Like you do. But Chloe develops an … Continue reading

How-to: Understand Website ‘Identity Information’

…or more precisely, when a reputable website such as WordPress.com displays a warning triangle and the message: “this site does not supply identity information.” You may notice the warning triangle in the address bar on sites which use the HTTPS, SSL and TLS protocol and certificates, and get the message when you scroll over it. … Continue reading

Review: Lucy (2014)

Favourite bonkers French bloke Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Lockout) steps straight from Nikita into Transcendence via 2001: A Space Odessey and with his latest sci-fi thriller of big guns, big brains and big ideas. The science may be specious, but the action is frenetic and stylised. In typical Besson style of throwing everything at the … Continue reading

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