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      • Contactplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigContact

        If you have a burning desire to contact me, use the discussion form below. Anything you say remains private between you and me.
      • Cookie Policy & GDPRplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigCookie Policy & GDPR

        There are NO tracking cookies on this site!

        The Cookie policy is straightforward. This site only uses cookies that are required to make your experience of using this site better, and only uses session cookies (see exceptions below). Session cookies are deleted when you close your browser.
      • Downloadsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDownloads

        Orbital Calculator Current Version This is a portable application, meaning there is no installer. Just unzip into a folder and run the executable. Since it is portable, it can be run from a USB stick.

        A full description and a list of the features are available
      • International Space Stationplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigInternational Space Station

        This page has a portal through which you can view the current location of the International Space Station, updating in real-time. The tracker itself comes from the European Space Agency (ESA).

        Part of the tool doesn't seem to be working properly yet, raising an error when the widget first loads. A possible explanation for the error is detailed below. There is also a handy link to get email notifications direct from NASA when the ISS is visible in your night sky.
      • Mars Mission Locatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Mission Locator

        [Mars Missions] The location of all the missions that have gone to Mars can be confusing when you don't know where they went. Many missions never made it to the surface successfully, or had a malfunction that prevented them from working properly. Some of the landers introduced themselves to the surface with a little too much vigour. Others sailed on past Mars never to be seen again.
      • Mars Weather Reportsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather Reports

        These reports are provided by NASA's InSight lander in the south-west corner of Elysium Planitia. Daily readings are usually a couple of days behind reality.

        This page is updated as new data is detected.

        Last update: 00:50 Fri. Nov 27th, 2020 GMT
      • NASA Image of the Dayplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigNASA Image of the Day

        Date: Thu 26th November, 2020

        Title: The Great Turkey Nebula

        Surprisingly reminiscent of The Great Nebula in Orion, The Great Turkey Nebula spans this creative field of view.

        Of course if it were the Orion Nebula it would be our closest large stellar nursery, found at the edge of a large molecular cloud a mere 1,500 light-years away. Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula is visible to the eye as the middle
      • Near Earth Objectsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigNear Earth Objects

        (c)www.astroart.org The following data is reproduced from the NASA NEO (Near Earth Object) database, and is updated daily. Each record represents an object such as an asteroid or comet, and notes the date and approximate time the object is closest to the Earth as it passes by. The data is refreshed daily covering the period displayed on this page.
      • Perseverance Roverplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPerseverance Rover

        Perseverance has launched succesfully and the clock is now counting flight and ETA time. It is due to land on Mars on (times and countdown timer based on NASA's timer):

        * Feb 18th 2021. * * * * * * *
      • Rules on Reviewingplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigRules on Reviewing

        First off, you should know I only have a limited amount of time, so I can't review a hundred novels at once. Sorry, but that's basic physics for you. If I agree to review your novel, you may have to wait a while for me to get around to it, and then I'll need time to read it. I only review hard copies.
        • A Keen Interest In Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigA Keen Interest In Mars

          [MOLA globe of Mars]You may have noticed from pages such as the Mars Weather Report page, that I have a keen interest in Mars, Martian weather, and the InSight lander.

          Mars itself, and the incredible science we are doing there is of course a fascination in and of itself. However, my interest goes deeper than that. My latest novel (at the time this article was written - March 2019) is about the exploration of Mars. NASA have provided a wealth of data and information for …
        • A New Siteplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigA New Site

          Yup, the old site was as ugly as sin and to find a blog entry you had to scroll through the feed or take your chances with the search option.

          This new site is just as easy to maintain, has extensive search capabilities, and both orders and structures the entries. Not only does this make it easier for you to find stuff, it encourages you to browse around. It's not as ugly either.
        • Getting To Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigGetting To Mars

          [Mars] Edit: updated to include

          There are multiple ways to get to Mars, and each has pros and cons. The one thing they all have in common is orbital mechanics. Some options can get to Mars in a short period of time, while others could take up to a year. Some are better suited for robotic missions, others for crewed missions. This article takes a look at the problems of getting to Mars (and getting back) and what options are available.
        • How do I Calculate Distance from Period?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigHow do I Calculate Distance from Period?

          I've been asked how Orbital Calculator can calculate the distance an object is from a gravitational mass, using just its period (the time it takes to complete an orbit). The technique is relatively simple, so I'll explain it.
        • NASA Boarding Passplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigNASA Boarding Pass

          I took the plunge and got my NASA boarding pass for the Mars 2020 Rover mission.

          [NASA Boarding pass for Mars 2020 Mission]

          Get yours here: NASA Website SEND YOUR NAME TO MARS
        • NASA Receives 2 Emmy Awardsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigNASA Receives 2 Emmy Awards

          NASA recently won (14th-15th Sept 2019) two Emmy's for interactive content. Aside from the obvious achievements of winning the awards, there is something else going on here that should be recognised and encouraged. Awards, of course, are intended to recognise, encourage and promote excellence, but I'm talking about NASA not only reaching out to the public, but interactively engaging them.
        • Orbital Calculator v1.0.0.5 Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator v1.0.0.5 Update

          You can now calculate distance from a gravitational mass using the orbital period. The image above shows a calculation for Mars which has a 687 day year.

          I've allowed the use of tokens to identify time components to make it easy to use. The examples shown in the image should explain how it works.
        • Orbital Shenanigansplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Shenanigans

          [MOLA map of Mars coloured by elevation]

          Edited: 2019-03-14

          Sometimes when you do some research – actually, quite often – you find out some really interesting stuff and end up changing your mind. In my story, I had some people on the ground on Mars, and wanted a spacecraft in a geostationary orbit above them to give them communications between them at all times. Just for info, when talking about geostationary orbits, the accepted term for Mars is aerostationary. I’ll use g…
        • Adjustment to Mars Clocksplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigAdjustment to Mars Clocks

          [Martian clock showing time at the prime meridian] The Martian clocks (keeping Martian time) on the Mars Weather page also display the L (pron. ell sub ess) - a way of describing where the planet is in its orbit, and the displacement of the sun in the sky at midday. I noticed the value for this was out by some distance, and after pondering the problem (and the code) for a while, the penny dropped.
        • Another Dayplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigAnother Day

          A busy day today. I had an interview for a job today, so fingers crossed. Orbital Calculator got some attention too: I added the ability to have escape velocities output in km, metres or miles (per second) in the Gravity and Motion calculations - previously, output was just in km/s. I've tested and compiled and tested again, and I'll zip up the various releases and upload them to this site tomorrow (actually, later today - it's nearly 3am!).
        • Automatic Weather Updatesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigAutomatic Weather Updates

          The Mars Weather page is now 99.99% automatic, with rebuilds regularly throughout the day. The 0.001% that's not automated? Once a week I have to update the image that shows the relative positions of the inner planets. I think I can manage that
        • Hogfather Update 2plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigHogfather Update 2

          The Website will be down for a short period Sun, Aug 2nd 2020 while the site is upgraded

          I shall be taking the site down for a while on Sun, Aug 2nd 2020, while i perform the upgrade. Although I have a local copy of the website, I also do a bit of experimentation on it, so the two are not perfectly synchronised, so I'll have to make a backup of the site and download it first. It'll actually take longer to do that than perform the update. It should all be over in less than tw…
        • Info Reportplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigInfo Report

          N.B. This page gets bumped every now and again when new info is added.

          I've been pruning some of the stale articles and blog posts. If anything is broken, please let me know.
        • Mars July 2020plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars July 2020

          It's mid-July now, and temperatures at the InSight lander's location on Mars (south-west corner of Elysium in the northern hemisphere) are teetering on the edge and about to fall. At the end of the month - July 30th - NASA's Perseverance rover (formerly known as the Mars 2020 rover) gets its first launch opportunity. It had previously been scheduled to launch two weeks earlier but, you know, things happened.
        • Mars Solar Conjunctionplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Solar Conjunction

          This page is currently inactive for 2019 conjunction (until next conjunction in 2021)

          Mars is heading for a solar conjunction, which in layman's terms means it's on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth. For a short period, no commands will be sent to the Mars spacecraft (which includes landers and rovers) since the sun's corona could corrupt those commands and result in unintended actions, disablement of the spacecraft or worse.
        • Mars Weather Data Flows Againplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather Data Flows Again

          It appears that after a long hiatus, Mars Weather data is flowing again.
        • Mars Weather Page Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather Page Update

          [Temperature over time] I've updated the format of the Temperature Over Time chart on the Mars Weather page to make it more readable. The sol numbers were overlapping each other, despite being broken into two rows. The chart is now interactive, in that you can use your mouse (or other pointing device) to select a position on one of the temperature graphs, and the sol number will be displayed at the bottom.
        • Orbital Calculator 2.0.7 Releasedplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator 2.0.7 Released

          This is a maintenance update. see Release Notes for details.
        • Orbital Calculator v2.0.6 Releasedplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator v2.0.6 Released

          [Orbital Calculator v2.0.6] Four major new functions for acceleration and gravity and a few tweaks under the hood. New functions include: Constant Velocity, Free-Fall, N-Body Centre of Gravity (in 3D space) and Distance/Speed/Time.

          These powerful functions allow you to calculate speed as a constant, as constant acceleration or as increasing acceleration, as well as determine the common centre of gravity of any number of astronomical or artificial space-born o…
        • Pi Zero Planplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPi Zero Plan

          I've been wondering what to do with my Raspberry Pi Zero, and didn't think I'd come up with an idea for a few months. Like most things, it's not necessarily a good idea to go looking for a use for it: wait until a use suggests itself.
        • Raw Weather Dataplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigRaw Weather Data

          I have (at last) managed to get hold of all the Mars Weather data that's been missing from my dataset. In fact, I've got hold of so much (over 110Gb) that it's going to take some processing - it bears little resemblance to the data I currently fetch. I need a plan.
        • Scatter Graphplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigScatter Graph

          I've added a scatter graph to the Near Earth Object page, to show when objects are at closest approach and at what distance.
        • Site Softwareplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSite Software

          Some people have expressed an interest in what software I use for this site. It's built around DokuWiki with some extensions to make it work like a blog, keep it transparent (all the articles and entries are visible in the treeview menu) and to spruce things up - such as the auto-tooltip which displays the first part of a page when the user mouses over an internal link (this also works in the top-bar menu). Some extensions make administering the site easier, such as moving articl…
        • Site Statisticsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSite Statistics

          For the last year I've been using a plugin for my site that generates a statistics page, through which I can keep an eye on how well the site is doing. A couple of days ago, it stopped working. After a bit of analysis I discovered the data structures it was creating in memory had consumed too much of said memory and my hosting service had auto-assassinated it.
        • Updatesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigUpdates

          The physical Martian clock... I have to come up with a better name for it than that. PiMars! Yup, I like that. The PiMars clock was up and running and displaying data at a crucial time. It was just a couple of hours before the end of the day at the InSight location, and as luck would have it, I had it display time at that place.
        • Weather Page Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigWeather Page Update

          Mon Aug 10, 2020

          I've made some updates to the Mars Weather page.

          * Bugfix to Wind direction chart to correctly show most common wind direction and sample count * Smoothed the max/min data lines in the Temperature over Time chart so anomolies don't distort the location of the lines
          • Pi-Mars Installationplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPi-Mars Installation

            You require an RPIv2 or later (to use the SmartiPi Touch 2 case, you require an RPI4). It will not run on an RPI1 or an RPI-Zero. This installation and configuration guide assumes you have installed an operating system on your Pi and can login either directly (with a keyboard/monitor attached to the Pi) or indirectly through SSH or VNC across a network.
          • Pi-Mars v1.1plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPi-Mars v1.1

            Pi-Mars is a clock for the Raspberry Pi, that tells the time anywhere on Mars. It has options to nominate ad-hoc locations, pre-selected locations and sites of the various missions that made it to the Martian surface. It is skinnable and highly configurable.
          • SmartSuitplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSmartSuit

            SmartSuit: A Hybrid, Intelligent, and Highly Mobile EVA Spacesuit for Next Generation Exploration Missions

            Developer: Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

            I think the title says it all, but just in case it wasn't crystal clear, this is what they have to say about it:
          • THE MOST Space Telescopeplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTHE MOST Space Telescope

            [Disambiguation: this page is about The High Étendue Multiple Object Spectrographic Telescope, not Canada's MOST space telescope]

            Few telescopes can honestly say they've reinvented the concept, yet THE MOST certainly has. It works on a surprisingly old principle, by passing light through two prisms. As Isaac Newton demonstrated, this first splits light into its constituent components, then recombines it back again.
        • Dragonfly to Explore Titanplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDragonfly to Explore Titan

          Credits: NASA/JHU-APL Few worlds excite exoplanetary chemists like Titan, Saturn's enigmatic and largest moon. It is the second-largest moon in the solar system, and the only one known to have a dense atmosphere. As such, it is seen as an analogue to the early Earth, and therefore important in understanding how life might have evolved on our homeworld.
        • How Big Is The Universe?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigHow Big Is The Universe?

          [Hubble deep Field Image]

          I recently came across a youtube video explaining a method for multiplication that was quite different from long multiplication. To explain why this was so interesting, let’s first talk about long multiplication and what’s wrong with it, and then we'll calculate the size of the visible universe in centimeters.
        • Landing the Mars 2020 Rover Safelyplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigLanding the Mars 2020 Rover Safely

          Autonomous landings are always fraught with danger. One of the most dangerous terrains any landing might occur on is a boulder field. Not only would the impact of the landing on these hard objects be a threat, but the boulders are likely to be jagged too. Another threat are the steep cliffs of the crater - not falling off them (although that's a possibility), but crashing into them.
        • Magnetic Field Lines on a Galactic Scaleplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMagnetic Field Lines on a Galactic Scale

          [Powerful magnetic fields are visible]

          The Cigar galaxy (M82) is already famous for the speed at which it creates new stars. The composite image shows the powerful magnetic field lines on a truly epic scale, wrapping around the entire galaxy. NASA's SOFIA observatory (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy - a converted Boeing 747) has shed light on what is happening.
        • Mysterious Starplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMysterious Star

          Back in 2016, Tabetha Boyajian gave a TED talk about a star with nifty little name KIC 8462852. The Kepler space telescope had studied it and lots of other stars over the course of four years, but this one stood out.

          Also known as Tabby's Star, it is a main-sequence F-type star located in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,480 light-years from Earth. Its claim to fame of course, is that it was suggested that alien megastructures would explain the weird data that Kepler had recor…
        • NASA Got it Wrong - Oops!plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigNASA Got it Wrong - Oops!

          It's not every day you get the chance to tell NASA they screwed up.

          I was reviewing the data I'd collected from NASA's Mars Weather page, and I noticed that the graphs they generated didn't match the summary data.

          For example, the summary data for Sol 169 shows the maximum temperature peaking at -17.6°C, while the graph for the same day showed the temperature never rising above -25°C.
        • To the Moon and Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTo the Moon and Mars

          [The Moon - watch out, here we come (again)!]NASA has outlined an aggressive timetable for an equally aggressive return to the Moon, with a view to making the Moon a waystation for trips to Mars. This requires the development of a whole slew of new technologies, as well as ramping up existing technologies and capabilities to whole new levels.
        • Calculate your Age and Weight on the Planetsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigCalculate your Age and Weight on the Planets

          This little calculator allows you to calculate how old you would be on each of the planets in the solar system, and what your weight would be. If you have weight issues, don't look at the result for Jupiter!
        • DLCounter Pluginplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDLCounter Plugin

          [screenshot]

          This download-counter plugin for DokuWiki enables you to keep track of the number of downloads of media files such as zip, gzip, tarballs and pdf's (your choice of media formats). This plugin has been developed and tested on “Greebo
        • DLCounter Plugin Bugtrackerplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDLCounter Plugin Bugtracker

          If you have any issues with the plugin, leave a comment here.
        • Orbital Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator

          I needed to calculate orbital characteristics for any orbit around any gravitational mass (because I write sci-fi stories), so I wrote this program because I'm a programmer and I'm too lazy to do it by hand all the time. The program has expanded over the last few years, sometimes from suggestions by other writers. I make it freely available and as simple to use as possible. It now has a list of functions as long as your arm (assuming you're not a tentacle user), and the numbe…
        • Orbital Calculator v2.x Release Notesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator v2.x Release Notes

          This lists the important notes on each new release, explaining what has changed and what's new.

          See the Downloads page to download Orbital Calculator for various platforms. A full description of the product is available on the
        • Surface Gravity Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSurface Gravity Calculator

          Want to know what the surface gravity is on any celestial object? You just need to know it's mass in terms of Earth masses (e.g. Earth = 1, Venus = 0.815, Mars = 0.107 etc.) and it's radius. This calculator will do the rest.
      • Animal Farmplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigAnimal Farm

        As a writer, I love sitting at my computer and either writing my next novel, or working on the development phase - world-building, character creation, plot development etc. However, after 12 hours sitting at my desk I'm getting a bit uncomfortable and if I listen very carefully, I can hear the sofa's siren call
      • Description or Teaser?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDescription or Teaser?

        When you write the blurb that goes on the back of the book, should you write a description or a teaser? This article explores that question, explaining why each of them work and what their effects are, and why sometimes one is a better choice than the other.
      • Oh, The Facts!plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOh, The Facts!

        [Only the facts, ma'am]There was a litany that writers used to be told, but is rarely heard these days. If you've been a writer for more than ten years you will probably recall it: “Stick to the facts!”. Does that mean your story ends up a dry, soulless, sequential list of equally dry, soulless facts? Of course not.
      • Proper Paragraph Spacing and Indenting on Web Pagesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigProper Paragraph Spacing and Indenting on Web Pages

        This is a short article on how to setup the correct CSS in order to replicate the paragraph spacing and indenting displayed in a book on your web pages. It will also enlarge and embolden the first character in the scene.
      • Self-Publishing Trapsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSelf-Publishing Traps

        Sometimes it's a while before I post a new book review. Usually this is because I've read some self-published novels that I don't want to review. When I post a review, I'm telling readers about a book I'd recommend. This is good for readers, and it's good for the authors who get the recommendation. I'm not out to harm someone's writing career - which can always be turned around in the future - and I'm certainly not the sort of pompous umm, donkey, that simply lets my mouth…
      • Smart but Dumb Aliensplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSmart but Dumb Aliens

        We all know the problem, especially from video games and movies, where the super-smart aliens turn out to be really dumb. This is usually because the creator hasn't put much thought into it.

        So, you're creating a super-intelligent alien or species or civilisation for your short story or novel or whatever. How do you avoid the pitfalls of dumbing them down?
      • Story Structure (Hero's Journey)plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigStory Structure (Hero's Journey)

        The Hero's Journey is an overlay for the 4-part story structure. See how they work in conjunction with the character arc.

        ----------

        Click on this image to review it, then click it again to see it full size

        Other Structures
      • The Prophecyplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Prophecy

        [Myrddin]Prophecy is a common theme in fantasy, partly because it tugs on the strings that are entangled with mythos - somehow it just excites us - and partly because it is a huge convenience. Never underestimate the power of a single word. In all of writing, there are few words that are as powerful as
      • Voices in the Darkplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigVoices in the Dark

        A scene that is all dialogue and no action creates the dreaded “voices in the dark”. Perhaps they're at a conference table, or standing around talking things through before making a decision that will propel the story into its next phase.
          • Silvertongueplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigSilvertongue

            [Silvertongue]

            Silvertongue is the first in a series named “Remnants of Magic”, and both the title of the novel and the series become readily apparent in the first scene. Speaking of the first scene, it's a big one at 100 pages spanning eleven chapters, but don't let that put you off - it's one hell of a scene. The story kicks you straight into the action and that first scene is a long and continuous battle - and the poor protagonist (Jon) hasn't got a clue what's going on or why…
          • Beyond Falcon's Reachplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigBeyond Falcon's Reach

            Beyond Falcon's Reach by Jay Northearn, is a mish-mash of high fantasy, gothic-horror, steampunk and electropunk, with a dash of semi-intelligent machine-learning AI's thrown-in to boot. Yet for all of this, the world Northearn has created is homogenous and holistic - two watchwords I'll bang on about until the cows come home, to anyone who'll listen. Giving everything in your world a place and a reason for being there is something that every writer should always keep i…
        • The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universeplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe

          [The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe]

          The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe is a very funny guide (read: hilarious) to things surrounding quantum mechanics. Who the major players were, how the major theories won out over each other... or didn't. Tons of interesting facts you can toss around at parties and make it look like you know what you're talking about when discussing anything to do with quantum theory, quantum mechanics, who was who…
          • Creation Machineplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigCreation Machine

            Andrew Bannister’s “Creation Machine” is the best novel I’ve read this year – and that’s saying something, I’ve read some of the best sci-fi novels from the last five years in the last ten months.

            The breadth and depth of his imagination is incredible. He’s created an entire artificial galaxy, given it character and taken us on a tour that is as exciting as it is varied.
          • Iron Godsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigIron Gods

            Another novel of The Spin, and following on from Creation Machine, Iron Gods continues in much the same vein. There are intriguing and plausible characters, a spaceship AI that has had its lobotomy reversed, strange worlds and even stranger economic forces.
          • Stone Clockplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigStone Clock

            The third outing in The Spin series from acclaimed author Andrew Bannister, Stone Clock, has a dark edge to it. Already an accomplished writer, Bannister has taken things up a notch.

            His usual mélange of lucid and slightly demented imagination is in full force, and the array of modes of humour are all present and permeate the pages as if they’d been dipped in the stuff.
          • Hard-Boiled Wonderlandplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigHard-Boiled Wonderland

            [Hard-Boiled Wonderland]

            Chris Morton is a writer with a certain pedigree, having been shortlisted for a Guardian award, this story is his third novel and his first in science-fiction.

            It tells the story of a man (Maggie Flycatcher) who has almost certainly the most boring job in history: he's a lemon tree supervisor. The creative talent that can come up with such a pointless job is one that deserves some recognition, so it instantly grabbed my attention. Flycatcher's …
          • Colony One Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigColony One Mars

            [Colony One Mars] [4.5 stars]

            Colony One Mars promises to be a fast-paced sci-fi thriller, and it certainly delivers. The prologue is short and sweet, and although it doesn't offer any story information that isn't in the story proper, it does set up the atmosphere for what is to follow. The tension ramps up very quickly and most unexpectedly, and everything changes before we've had a chance to grab our breath.
          • Colony Three Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigColony Three Mars

            [Colony Three Mars by Gerald M. Kilby] [4 Stars] The third instalment in the saga is even messier (for the protagonists) than the previous two, ramping up the tension and the action, and making the solution even harder for the reader to predict. The cast of protagonists has grown a little, but that's fair because the cast of antagonists has too.
          • Colony Two Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigColony Two Mars

            [Colony Two Mars] [4 Stars] Colony Two Mars picks up the story a few years after the preceding story, Colony One Mars left off. I really enjoyed the first instalment in this trilogy, but this is a much better, much stronger story. As the overarching story of the trilogy begins to emerge, Kilby's eye for a good story starts to pay dividends.
        • Science Fiction Double Featureplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigScience Fiction Double Feature

          [Science Fiction Double Feature ]

          This pair of novellas comes courtesy of Zombie Pirate Publishing, and indeed the stories themselves come from the publishing house's founders and resident editors, Sam M. Phillips (Into the Eye) and Adam Bennett (Phosphorus).

          Since they come as a pair it is necessary of me to review each in turn before giving an overall impression, and I've chosen the order they appear between the covers.
    • DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDokuWiki

      wiki:dokuwiki DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable Formatting Syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in
    • Formatting Syntaxplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigFormatting Syntax

      DokuWiki supports some simple markup language, which tries to make the datafiles to be as readable as possible. This page contains all possible syntax you may use when editing the pages. Simply have a look at the source of this page by pressing
wiki:syntax

Formatting Syntax

DokuWiki supports some simple markup language, which tries to make the datafiles to be as readable as possible. This page contains all possible syntax you may use when editing the pages. Simply have a look at the source of this page by pressing “Edit this page”. If you want to try something, just use the playgroundplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPlayGround

PlayGround
page. The simpler markup is easily accessible via quickbuttons, too.

Basic Text Formatting

DokuWiki supports bold, italic, underlined and monospaced texts. Of course you can combine all these.

DokuWiki supports **bold**, //italic//, __underlined__ and ''monospaced'' texts.
Of course you can **__//''combine''//__** all these.

You can use subscript and superscript, too.

You can use <sub>subscript</sub> and <sup>superscript</sup>, too.

You can mark something as deleted as well.

You can mark something as <del>deleted</del> as well.

Paragraphs are created from blank lines. If you want to force a newline without a paragraph, you can use two backslashes followed by a whitespace or the end of line.

This is some text with some linebreaks
Note that the two backslashes are only recognized at the end of a line
or followed by
a whitespace \\this happens without it.

This is some text with some linebreaks\\ Note that the
two backslashes are only recognized at the end of a line\\
or followed by\\ a whitespace \\this happens without it.

You should use forced newlines only if really needed.

DokuWiki supports multiple ways of creating links.

External

External links are recognized automagically: http://www.google.com or simply www.google.com - You can set the link text as well: This Link points to google. Email addresses like this one: andi@splitbrain.org are recognized, too.

DokuWiki supports multiple ways of creating links. External links are recognized
automagically: http://www.google.com or simply www.google.com - You can set
link text as well: [[http://www.google.com|This Link points to google]]. Email
addresses like this one: <andi@splitbrain.org> are recognized, too.

Internal

Internal links are created by using square brackets. You can either just give a pagename or use an additional link text.

Internal links are created by using square brackets. You can either just give
a [[pagename]] or use an additional [[pagename|link text]].

Wiki pagenames are converted to lowercase automatically, special characters are not allowed.

You can use namespaces by using a colon in the pagename.

You can use [[some:namespaces]] by using a colon in the pagename.

For details about namespaces see namespaces.

Linking to a specific section is possible, too. Just add the section name behind a hash character as known from HTML. This links to this Section.

This links to [[syntax#internal|this Section]].

Notes:

  • Links to existing pages are shown in a different style from nonexisting ones.
  • DokuWiki does not use CamelCase to automatically create links by default, but this behavior can be enabled in the config file. Hint: If DokuWiki is a link, then it's enabled.
  • When a section's heading is changed, its bookmark changes, too. So don't rely on section linking too much.

Interwiki

DokuWiki supports Interwiki links. These are quick links to other Wikis. For example this is a link to Wikipedia's page about Wikis: Wiki.

DokuWiki supports [[doku>Interwiki]] links. These are quick links to other Wikis.
For example this is a link to Wikipedia's page about Wikis: [[wp>Wiki]].

Windows Shares

Windows shares like this are recognized, too. Please note that these only make sense in a homogeneous user group like a corporate Intranet.

Windows Shares like [[\\server\share|this]] are recognized, too.

Notes:

  • For security reasons direct browsing of windows shares only works in Microsoft Internet Explorer per default (and only in the “local zone”).
  • For Mozilla and Firefox it can be enabled through different workaround mentioned in the Mozilla Knowledge Base. However, there will still be a JavaScript warning about trying to open a Windows Share. To remove this warning (for all users), put the following line in conf/lang/en/lang.php (more details at localization):
    conf/lang/en/lang.php
    <?php
    /**
     * Customization of the english language file
     * Copy only the strings that needs to be modified
     */
    $lang['js']['nosmblinks'] = '';

You can also use an image to link to another internal or external page by combining the syntax for links and images (see below) like this:

[[http://php.net|{{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png}}]]

Please note: The image formatting is the only formatting syntax accepted in link names.

The whole image and link syntax is supported (including image resizing, internal and external images and URLs and interwiki links).

Footnotes

You can add footnotes 1) by using double parentheses.

You can add footnotes ((This is a footnote)) by using double parentheses.

Sectioning

You can use up to five different levels of headlines to structure your content. If you have more than three headlines, a table of contents is generated automatically – this can be disabled by including the string ~~NOTOC~~ in the document.

Headline Level 3

Headline Level 4

Headline Level 5
==== Headline Level 3 ====
=== Headline Level 4 ===
== Headline Level 5 ==

By using four or more dashes, you can make a horizontal line:


Media Files

You can include external and internal images, videos and audio files with curly brackets. Optionally you can specify the size of them.

Real size:

Resize to given width:

Resize to given width and height2):

Resized external image:          

Real size:                        {{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png}}
Resize to given width:            {{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png?50}}
Resize to given width and height: {{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png?200x50}}
Resized external image:           {{https://secure.php.net/images/php.gif?200x50}}

By using left or right whitespaces you can choose the alignment.

{{ wiki:dokuwiki-128.png}}
{{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png }}
{{ wiki:dokuwiki-128.png }}

Of course, you can add a title (displayed as a tooltip by most browsers), too.

This is the caption

{{ wiki:dokuwiki-128.png |This is the caption}}

For linking an image to another page see Image Links above.

Supported Media Formats

DokuWiki can embed the following media formats directly.

Image gif, jpg, png
Video webm, ogv, mp4
Audio ogg, mp3, wav
Flash swf

If you specify a filename that is not a supported media format, then it will be displayed as a link instead.

By adding ?linkonly you provide a link to the media without displaying it inline

{{wiki:dokuwiki-128.png?linkonly}}

dokuwiki-128.png This is just a link to the image.

Fallback Formats

Unfortunately not all browsers understand all video and audio formats. To mitigate the problem, you can upload your file in different formats for maximum browser compatibility.

For example consider this embedded mp4 video:

{{video.mp4|A funny video}}

When you upload a video.webm and video.ogv next to the referenced video.mp4, DokuWiki will automatically add them as alternatives so that one of the three files is understood by your browser.

Additionally DokuWiki supports a “poster” image which will be shown before the video has started. That image needs to have the same filename as the video and be either a jpg or png file. In the example above a video.jpg file would work.

Lists

Dokuwiki supports ordered and unordered lists. To create a list item, indent your text by two spaces and use a * for unordered lists or a - for ordered ones.

  • This is a list
  • The second item
    • You may have different levels
  • Another item
  1. The same list but ordered
  2. Another item
    1. Just use indention for deeper levels
  3. That's it
  * This is a list
  * The second item
    * You may have different levels
  * Another item

  - The same list but ordered
  - Another item
    - Just use indention for deeper levels
  - That's it

Also take a look at the FAQ on list items.

Text Conversions

DokuWiki can convert certain pre-defined characters or strings into images or other text or HTML.

The text to image conversion is mainly done for smileys. And the text to HTML conversion is used for typography replacements, but can be configured to use other HTML as well.

Text to Image Conversions

DokuWiki converts commonly used emoticons to their graphical equivalents. Those Smileys and other images can be configured and extended. Here is an overview of Smileys included in DokuWiki:

  • 8-) 8-)
  • 8-O 8-O
  • :-( :-(
  • :-) :-)
  • =) =)
  • :-/ :-/
  • :-\ :-\
  • :-? :-?
  • :-D :-D
  • :-P :-P
  • :-O :-O
  • :-X :-X
  • :-| :-|
  • ;-) ;-)
  • ^_^ ^_^
  • :?: :?:
  • :!: :!:
  • LOL LOL
  • FIXME FIXME
  • DELETEME DELETEME

Text to HTML Conversions

Typography: DokuWiki can convert simple text characters to their typographically correct entities. Here is an example of recognized characters.

→ ← ↔ ⇒ ⇐ ⇔ » « – — 640×480 © ™ ® “He thought 'It's a man's world'…”

-> <- <-> => <= <=> >> << -- --- 640x480 (c) (tm) (r)
"He thought 'It's a man's world'..."

The same can be done to produce any kind of HTML, it just needs to be added to the pattern file.

There are three exceptions which do not come from that pattern file: multiplication entity (640×480), 'single' and “double quotes”. They can be turned off through a config option.

Quoting

Some times you want to mark some text to show it's a reply or comment. You can use the following syntax:

I think we should do it

> No we shouldn't

>> Well, I say we should

> Really?

>> Yes!

>>> Then lets do it!

I think we should do it

No we shouldn't
Well, I say we should
Really?
Yes!
Then lets do it!

Tables

DokuWiki supports a simple syntax to create tables.

Heading 1 Heading 2 Heading 3
Row 1 Col 1 Row 1 Col 2 Row 1 Col 3
Row 2 Col 1 some colspan (note the double pipe)
Row 3 Col 1 Row 3 Col 2 Row 3 Col 3

Table rows have to start and end with a | for normal rows or a ^ for headers.

^ Heading 1      ^ Heading 2       ^ Heading 3          ^
| Row 1 Col 1    | Row 1 Col 2     | Row 1 Col 3        |
| Row 2 Col 1    | some colspan (note the double pipe) ||
| Row 3 Col 1    | Row 3 Col 2     | Row 3 Col 3        |

To connect cells horizontally, just make the next cell completely empty as shown above. Be sure to have always the same amount of cell separators!

Vertical tableheaders are possible, too.

Heading 1 Heading 2
Heading 3 Row 1 Col 2 Row 1 Col 3
Heading 4 no colspan this time
Heading 5 Row 2 Col 2 Row 2 Col 3

As you can see, it's the cell separator before a cell which decides about the formatting:

|              ^ Heading 1            ^ Heading 2          ^
^ Heading 3    | Row 1 Col 2          | Row 1 Col 3        |
^ Heading 4    | no colspan this time |                    |
^ Heading 5    | Row 2 Col 2          | Row 2 Col 3        |

You can have rowspans (vertically connected cells) by adding ::: into the cells below the one to which they should connect.

Heading 1 Heading 2 Heading 3
Row 1 Col 1 this cell spans vertically Row 1 Col 3
Row 2 Col 1 Row 2 Col 3
Row 3 Col 1 Row 2 Col 3

Apart from the rowspan syntax those cells should not contain anything else.

^ Heading 1      ^ Heading 2                  ^ Heading 3          ^
| Row 1 Col 1    | this cell spans vertically | Row 1 Col 3        |
| Row 2 Col 1    | :::                        | Row 2 Col 3        |
| Row 3 Col 1    | :::                        | Row 2 Col 3        |

You can align the table contents, too. Just add at least two whitespaces at the opposite end of your text: Add two spaces on the left to align right, two spaces on the right to align left and two spaces at least at both ends for centered text.

Table with alignment
right center left
left right center
xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx

This is how it looks in the source:

^           Table with alignment           ^^^
|         right|    center    |left          |
|left          |         right|    center    |
| xxxxxxxxxxxx | xxxxxxxxxxxx | xxxxxxxxxxxx |

Note: Vertical alignment is not supported.

No Formatting

If you need to display text exactly like it is typed (without any formatting), enclose the area either with <nowiki> tags or even simpler, with double percent signs %%.

This is some text which contains addresses like this: http://www.splitbrain.org and **formatting**, but nothing is done with it. The same is true for //__this__ text// with a smiley ;-).

<nowiki>
This is some text which contains addresses like this: http://www.splitbrain.org and **formatting**, but nothing is done with it.
</nowiki>
The same is true for %%//__this__ text// with a smiley ;-)%%.

Code Blocks

You can include code blocks into your documents by either indenting them by at least two spaces (like used for the previous examples) or by using the tags <code> or <file>.

This is text is indented by two spaces.
This is preformatted code all spaces are preserved: like              <-this
This is pretty much the same, but you could use it to show that you quoted a file.

Those blocks were created by this source:

  This is text is indented by two spaces.
<code>
This is preformatted code all spaces are preserved: like              <-this
</code>
<file>
This is pretty much the same, but you could use it to show that you quoted a file.
</file>

Syntax Highlighting

DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDokuWiki

wiki:dokuwiki DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable Formatting Syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in
can highlight sourcecode, which makes it easier to read. It uses the GeSHi Generic Syntax Highlighter – so any language supported by GeSHi is supported. The syntax uses the same code and file blocks described in the previous section, but this time the name of the language syntax to be highlighted is included inside the tag, e.g. <code java> or <file java>.

/**
 * The HelloWorldApp class implements an application that
 * simply displays "Hello World!" to the standard output.
 */
class HelloWorldApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello World!"); //Display the string.
    }
}

The following language strings are currently recognized: 4cs 6502acme 6502kickass 6502tasm 68000devpac abap actionscript3 actionscript ada aimms algol68 apache applescript apt_sources arm asm asp asymptote autoconf autohotkey autoit avisynth awk bascomavr bash basic4gl batch bf biblatex bibtex blitzbasic bnf boo caddcl cadlisp ceylon cfdg cfm chaiscript chapel cil c_loadrunner clojure c_mac cmake cobol coffeescript c cpp cpp-qt cpp-winapi csharp css cuesheet c_winapi dart dcl dcpu16 dcs delphi diff div dos dot d ecmascript eiffel email epc e erlang euphoria ezt f1 falcon fo fortran freebasic freeswitch fsharp gambas gdb genero genie gettext glsl gml gnuplot go groovy gwbasic haskell haxe hicest hq9plus html html4strict html5 icon idl ini inno intercal io ispfpanel java5 java javascript jcl j jquery julia kixtart klonec klonecpp kotlin latex lb ldif lisp llvm locobasic logtalk lolcode lotusformulas lotusscript lscript lsl2 lua m68k magiksf make mapbasic mathematica matlab mercury metapost mirc mk-61 mmix modula2 modula3 mpasm mxml mysql nagios netrexx newlisp nginx nimrod nsis oberon2 objc objeck ocaml-brief ocaml octave oobas oorexx oracle11 oracle8 oxygene oz parasail parigp pascal pcre perl6 perl per pf phix php-brief php pic16 pike pixelbender pli plsql postgresql postscript povray powerbuilder powershell proftpd progress prolog properties providex purebasic pycon pys60 python qbasic qml q racket rails rbs rebol reg rexx robots roff rpmspec rsplus ruby rust sas sass scala scheme scilab scl sdlbasic smalltalk smarty spark sparql sql sshconfig standardml stonescript swift systemverilog tclegg tcl teraterm texgraph text thinbasic tsql twig typoscript unicon upc urbi uscript vala vbnet vb vbscript vedit verilog vhdl vim visualfoxpro visualprolog whitespace whois winbatch wolfram xbasic xml xojo xorg_conf xpp yaml z80 zxbasic

There are additional advanced options available for syntax highlighting, such as highlighting lines or adding line numbers.

Downloadable Code Blocks

When you use the <code> or <file> syntax as above, you might want to make the shown code available for download as well. You can do this by specifying a file name after language code like this:

<file php myexample.php>
<?php echo "hello world!"; ?>
</file>
myexample.php
<?php echo "hello world!"; ?>

If you don't want any highlighting but want a downloadable file, specify a dash (-) as the language code: <code - myfile.foo>.

Embedding HTML and PHP

You can embed raw HTML or PHP code into your documents by using the <html> or <php> tags. (Use uppercase tags if you need to enclose block level elements.)

HTML example:

<html>
This is some <span style="color:red;font-size:150%;">inline HTML</span>
</html>
<HTML>
<p style="border:2px dashed red;">And this is some block HTML</p>
</HTML>

This is some inline HTML

And this is some block HTML

PHP example:

<php>
echo 'The PHP version: ';
echo phpversion();
echo ' (generated inline HTML)';
</php>
<PHP>
echo '<table class="inline"><tr><td>The same, but inside a block level element:</td>';
echo '<td>'.phpversion().'</td>';
echo '</tr></table>';
</PHP>

The PHP version: 7.2.34 (inline HTML)

The same, but inside a block level element:7.2.34

Please Note: HTML and PHP embedding is disabled by default in the configuration. If disabled, the code is displayed instead of executed.

RSS/ATOM Feed Aggregation

DokuWiki can integrate data from external XML feeds. For parsing the XML feeds, SimplePie is used. All formats understood by SimplePie can be used in DokuWiki as well. You can influence the rendering by multiple additional space separated parameters:

Parameter Description
any number will be used as maximum number items to show, defaults to 8
reverse display the last items in the feed first
author show item authors names
date show item dates
description show the item description. If HTML is disabled all tags will be stripped
nosort do not sort the items in the feed
n[dhm] refresh period, where d=days, h=hours, m=minutes. (e.g. 12h = 12 hours).

The refresh period defaults to 4 hours. Any value below 10 minutes will be treated as 10 minutes. DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDokuWiki

wiki:dokuwiki DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable Formatting Syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in
will generally try to supply a cached version of a page, obviously this is inappropriate when the page contains dynamic external content. The parameter tells DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDokuWiki

wiki:dokuwiki DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable Formatting Syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in
to re-render the page if it is more than refresh period since the page was last rendered.

By default the feed will be sorted by date, newest items first. You can sort it by oldest first using the reverse parameter, or display the feed as is with nosort.

Example:

{{rss>http://slashdot.org/index.rss 5 author date 1h }}

Control Macros

Some syntax influences how DokuWiki renders a page without creating any output it self. The following control macros are availble:

Macro Description
~~NOTOC~~ If this macro is found on the page, no table of contents will be created
~~NOCACHE~~ DokuWiki caches all output by default. Sometimes this might not be wanted (eg. when the <php> syntax above is used), adding this macro will force DokuWiki to rerender a page on every call

Syntax Plugins

DokuWiki's syntax can be extended by Plugins. How the installed plugins are used is described on their appropriate description pages. The following syntax plugins are available in this particular DokuWiki installation:

1)
This is a footnote
2)
when the aspect ratio of the given width and height doesn't match that of the image, it will be cropped to the new ratio before resizing
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wiki/syntax.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/02 12:55 (external edit)

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