Image-56: Unfolding bracken front, Byres Hill, East Lothian - Studio Karel © 2003/04

Cookies ...

For this website we have chosen to ask your permission to use cookies, they are essential to make the website functional. Experience has taught us that many users are tired of having to give permission every time they visit a website. It is also clear that the large majority of people will automatically give permission anyway. If you are not happy with us using cookies then please feel free not to use this website. If you see no problem in accepting our cookies, please click the box and continue. We will not ask you again.

There has been much to do about the new EU Cookie Law and if you are interested you can read more at Cookiepedia.

In essence the new directive tells us that we (website owners) "cannot store or gain access to information stored on a computer, unless the user has been given clear and comprehensive information about what you want to do, and why, and has given their consent to do so."

"The exception to this rule is when the user requests a service and that service cannot be provided without storing or gaining access to information stored on their computer." (quoted from Cookiepedia)

If you wish to find out what cookies a website stores on your computer you can install simple extensions to your browser such as 'Edit This Cookie'. For Google Chrome there are many more here. For other browsers you may have to find the equivalent alternative.

You could also switch off cookies altogether, but this may cause many websites not to function properly, e.g. any e-commerse website (or other site using session cookies) would not work.

What we store on your PC ...

Like most other website, our website would not work without the use of cookies.

(a) We use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to keep an eye out on the health and performance of the website and we do the same for most client websites.

  • The __utma cookie ('never' expires). This cookie keeps track of the number of times you have visited our website and also when your first and last visit occurred.
  • The __utmb and __utmc cookie (usually expire after 30 minutes) cookies. The B and C cookies work together to calculate how long your visit takes.
  • The __utmz cookie (expires after 6 months) keeps track of where you came from, what search engine you used, what link you clicked on, what keyword(s) you used, and where you were in the world when you accessed our website.
  • The __utmv cookie ('never' expires). We do not make use of this cookie.

(b) There are cookies from the AddThis social sharing tool. This would tie in with the cc_social and cc_necessary. AddThis is a useful tool to tell others about this website.

  • The __atuvc cookie is created and read by the AddThis social sharing site JavaScript on the client side in order to make sure the user sees the updated count if they share a page and return to it before our share count cache is updated. No data from that cookie is sent back to AddThis and removing it when disabling cookies would cause unexpected behaviour for users.
  • The __atuvs cookie is also used by AddThis

(c) phpMyAdmin may leave a cookie. phpMyAdmin is a MySQL database managing package. The databases used on this website are not to collect any data, they are simply there to offer some dynamic content, such as the changing mastheads, blog content and data on our collections page etc.

  • The pma_mcrypt_iv cookie will stay on your computer for a up to a month, but this may vary. The purpose of the cookie is not entirely clear.

(d) In order to see if you have accepted our use of cookies the Cookies Directive Java script will leave a cookie on your computer.

  • The cookiesDirective cookie is created and used by the Cookies Directive Java script to see wether you have accepted the use of cookies on our website. It will stay on your computer for a year and will be refreshed every time you visit the website. Removing this cookie from your computer will cause the yellow cookie message to appear again when you come back to this website. The value of the cookie is "1".

As far as we know there are no cookies left by YouTube embedding and Twitter scripts or by the Disqus facility on individual blog pages. However if you notice any funny cookies not listed here, please let us know ASAP and we can look into this.

Not Cookies, but still information ...

Please note that we can only track the usual information that is sent ahead of you when you visit our (or any) website. It is part of the way computers talk to each other and cannot, usually, be switched off.

This information includes ...

  • the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the computer you're using.
  • the host name of the IP address.
  • the rough latitude and longitude of your IP address.
  • the website you came from.
  • the country you browse from.
  • the time-zone you're computer is set-up for.
  • the browser (and the version) you're using.
  • the operating system of the computer you're using.
  • the screen resolution of the screen you're using.
  • the colour depth of the screen you're using.
  • the Flash version you're using.
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