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New Edinburgh Wildlife Website

New Edinburgh Wildlife Website

An Edinburgh lawyer, Anthony Robson, has started a new website listing wildlife sightings in Edinburgh. The web site came about because he had taken a load of wildlife photos over the last year or so, and couldn’t find an on-line ‘this is the wildlife of Edinburgh’ resource. So he decided create one and then get people to send in photos and sightings of their own to create a map of wildlife in the city. Great idea Anth, I hope it will be a great success.

The web site can be found here.

New Bot Soc web site open for business

New Bot Soc web site open for business

After what seems like an age toiling away at the HTML/PHP/CSS coal face, I think that the new Bot Soc web site should be declared open for business. Not that I did most of the work, the scripting was done by John Garlinge of JDG Web Design, my role was more project management. What am I on about, I hear you ask. Well, the Botanical Society of Scotland (or Bot Soc to it friends) now has a nice shiny new web site, which I am in the process of adding the finishing touches to. However, as with all living web sites it will never be truly finishing, web sites are (or should be) dynamic and constantly, if they are static they are dead.

The Botanical Society of Scotland was founded in 1836 as the Botanical Society of Edinburgh mainly for the purpose of collecting and exchanging botanical herbarium specimens. Monthly meeting were also held between November and July for the reading of “papers and communications on Botanical subjects” this a tradition which continues, as is the tradition of “making Botanical excursions”. It is interesting that from the start “Local Secretaries” where appointed, while we still have a number of Local Secretaries they are restricted to Scotland and sadly no longer scattered across the globe, in such places as London, Dublin, Monmouth, Wiltshire, Cape of Good Hope, Madras, Jamaica, Switzerland and United States.

By 1840, the Society’s herbarium had accumulated over 50,000 specimens, not just from the British Isles, but from around the world, including the Alps, the Indian subcontinent, the west Indies, “New Holland”, and “a small collection of about 100 species obtained during Captain Parry’s voyages”. This collection was later (1863) to form the basis of the Herbarium collection of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, now one of the best in the world. This was followed in 1872 by the donation of the Society’s small, but valuable, library to the RBGE.

The first meeting to discuss the formation of the Society was held at the home of John Hutton Balfour (later Professor of Medicine and Botany at the University of Edinburgh, Regius Professor of Botany, Keeper of the Garden and Queen’s Botanist in Scotland) on the 9th of February, and was attended mainly by students of the University of Edinburgh. However, by the time it was inaugurated on the 17th of March, it had a far wider membership. The members consisted of “Honorary, Resident, Non-resident, and Foreign Members”, also “Ladies, who shall be denominated Life Members”. This was just as well, as the Society’s first Patron was HRH Queen Victoria, her husband Albert was also a member. Resident members (i.e. those living in Edinburgh) were required to pay One Guinea on admission to the Society and One Guinea annually thereafter at the November meeting. Persons not residing in Edinburgh could join if they were “recommended by two members of a Scientific or Literary Society, and paying a contribution of Three Guineas”, however no annual payment was required. Ladies, “whether Resident or Non-Resident” could become life members for a single contribution of Two Guineas. Membership rates nowadays start from a more reasonable £15, which you can even pay on-line.

The Society has always attracted an international membership, as the founding rules allowed a “Person residing abroad” to be admitted as a “Foreign Member, on the transmission of 500 specimens of Plants (including at least 100 species)” or provide a piece of work which they had written. Among the foreign members listed in 1840 were: His Majesty Frederic Augustus, King of Saxony, Adolphe Brongniart Professor of Botany Paris, Auguste Pyrme De Candolle Professor of Natural History Geneva, Benjamin Baron de Lessert, Elias Freis Professor of Political Economy Upsal, Janus Wiken Hornman Professor of Botany Copenhagen, Alexander Baron De Humboldt Berlin, G. Daniel Joseph Koch Professor of Botany Erlangen, Henry Frederick Link Professor of Botany Berlin, Charles Frederic Philip de Martius Munich, C.F. Briasseau Professor of Agriculture Paris, Christian Gottfried Nees von Esenbeck Professor of Botany Breslau, Auguste De St Hilaire Paris, Le Chevalier Michael Tenore Professor of Botany Naples, John Torrey Professor of Botany Chemistry New York, Ludovic Christian Treviranus Professor of Botany Bonn, Le Chevalier Govanni Gussone, and Adrian De Jussieu Professor of Botany Paris (he even got his face on the Society’s medallion). Not bad for an organisation which had started just four years earlier, more or less as a student society, the Bot Soc of the University of Edinburgh, but then this was Edinburgh and not some quiet backwater in the English Midlands.

The Society started its first Journal “Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh” in 1844 (from which the much of the information above has been gathered). The name of the journal was changed to “Botanical Journal of Scotland” in 1990, and still continues today as “Plant Ecology & Diversity“.

So if you are interested in things Botanical, go and have a poke around.

Appologies for interuption in service

Appologies for interuption in service

I would like to appologise to those who been trying to access the ubiquitous blog and found it to be unavailable, my ISP (Freedom2Surf) has just moved my web site to a new web server. I was assued that this would cause minimal problems. So when I found that the new web server was I did a Google search to find out more about them. Here is a section of what I found:

and that was just in the first two pages. In the light of recent problems, this does not fill me with confidence for the future. There were some sites which at first looked as if they were going to be positive but when I opened the link I found that these were parked domains which are hosted by Webfusion and used by them for advertising. So a move to a new web host seems to be the best course and possibility a new ISP.

When I first signed up with Freedom2Surf I did so because they had a very high level of customer satisfaction, often showing at over 80% on sites like (now Things have change somewhat since then, they have been taken over by Pipex and now they struggle hit 60%!

This is why the ubiquitous blog is now hosted on a memset dedicated server, which is providing an excellent service.



The ubiquitous blog was down for almost a week due to a technical fault, sorry about that, during this time over 200 hits were lost. The experience of being Blogless was an unexpected one, at first it was a bit like going cold turkey, I had a real craving to sit down and write something for the Blog, more ideas than usual seemed to bubble up. Being a rather lazy writer, I didn’t sit down and bash something out in Office and store it for the time when the Blog was back up. So the addiction is to the immediacy of writing something and having it posted up straight away, it is the same thing with posting to a forum, only with a forum you are more likely to get a reply.

The other effect that being Blogless has had on me, has been to shake my confidence in my ISP Freedom2surf. A year ago I was quite happy to recommend Freedom2surf to friends and relatives, as I had always had good service from them, and they had a good reputation for customer service. However, over the last year the comments I have seen have been less and less favourable, but the real test is when things go wrong. As soon as I found I was Blogless, I logged the issue by e-mail with Freedom2surf Technical Support, as recommended. A few days later there was an acknowledgement of my e-mail but nothing more, so I tried phoning the Technical Support help line (0870 242 3759). It took me three days to get them to answer the phone. When I finally got to talk to Technical Support, they were very good and the problem was sorted out in under 20 minutes, but why did it take a week for me to get a response?

At the present time, I would be reluctant to recommend Freedom2surf to anyone, and I am thinking of moving to another ISP. Obviously, moving ISP is a hassle and not something to rush into. First I would need to move my web site to another domain, maybe something like This is risky, as there can be a major loss of traffic and a drop in Google ranking (as I have good reason to know), but with care and a suitable overlap it can be done. So if you are looking for a recommendation for an ISP, try Zen Internet. When I was first looking for a broadband ISP, Zen was highly recommended by friends (who are still enthusiastic about it), but more expensive. Since then, Zen’s satisfaction rating has – if anything – improved, although the cost is still the same. If you are looking for web hosting, Zen are also highly recommended, which is useful if they are already your ISP. However, if you are just looking for web hosting and not looking for an ISP, then Memset is the one to go for, they are dedicated to web hosting, and provide a very high level of customer satisfaction.

So, Freedom2surf, before you send me another e-mail offering me one month free if I recommend your services to friends and they sign up, pull your collective finger out and improve your customer service!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
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