The DB Techies Newsletter

5th November 1999
Deafblind Techies Newsletter Number.2


++ 2. WebFerret
++ 3. Web2Text.
++ 4. Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
++ 5. The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.
++ 6. To subscribe and unsubscribe from DB Techies.

By James Gallagher

Well hello again to all of you, I do hope that all is well with you all.

I have been a bit busy over the last couple of weeks finding useful information that I hope many of you will find of use for the net. these are WebFerret, Web2Text and because this issue falls on the 5th of November, I have also included why we in the UK celebrate Guy Fawkes Night tonight. I do hope that you all will enjoy this little bit of history.

I myself dislike Guy Fawkes Night very much because with fireworks going off every where it can be a bit unsafe if you are out and about with a guide dog. I myself have a guide dog called Wilma, and these fireworks can easily frighten her and any other dogs around. most guide dog owners have to stay in on this night. And many people are badly injured with the fireworks
that are going off. Over the years many people have lost there lives or have been badly burnt and I do know of people who have been blinded, all because of this time of year.

I do believe that is time that we in the UK think about calling a halt to Guy Fawkes Night, too many people are being horribly hurt. Just my little thoughts on Guy Fawkes Night.

We have over seventy members on the DB Techies Newsletter, I must honestly say that I am a little taken a back at this. I thought maybe about 20 would be the number. I would also like to thank the members who have taken the time to send me a e-mail letter, Thank you for that.

And thank you for reading the DB Techies.

Well down to business and here we go again with DB Techies number Two.

++ 1. WebFerret

As some one who has to search the internet a lot to find new information about the latest software and web sites that may help other deafblind people around this little world that we live on.

I have tried many search engines on the Net to help me with my searches and even made a page on my web site for Accessible Search Engines, where I have collected a list of search engines like Alta Vista, Dogpile, Excite, HotBot, and my own favorite Google and many more.

But for me there is nothing out there that can beat WebFerret, for me it is one of the easiest search engines on the net. But it is not on the net, It is software that you can download on to your own PC and it can be called on when you wish it when you are on the World Wide Web. And the best thing about WebFerret is that it is freeware,that means that it is free for any of us to use.

There is a WebFerretPRO version but we will talk about this later, with information about other Ferrets available for us to use.

what can WebFerret do for us, well just read on. WebFerret queries large Web Search Engines to find quickly and efficiently whatever it is that you are looking for on the World Wide Web. WebFerret will query all configured search engines simultaneously, while discarding any duplicate results. Results that are returned (often within a second or two) can be acted upon immediately. New or updated search engines are added automatically as they become available.

Now you are asking why is the Ferret software free for all who want it. well on the versions that i have been using over the past few months there is a banner with adverts on the front part of the software.

Now as a totally blind computer user these banners do not bother me one little bit. And I can use the software without any trouble what so ever. That say a lot about the software for me. it is very easy to learn to use. I was able to start searching with WebFerret within a couple of moments after starting the software. If i could work out this within a couple of minutes then you all will be able to do it a lot more faster then me, me old brain is starting to slow down...

Now if WebFerret was not good enough there are other Ferrets for us to use and a gain they are all freeware and they all have the advert banners on them but again that not make any difference to us. The others are InfoFerret, EmailFerret, FileFerret, IRCFerret PhoneFerret, NewsFerret.

The Ferrets run on Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT4. This software will not run in Windows 3.1, and it is unlikely a Win3.x version will be developed. Versions for other operating systems, such as UNIX or MAC, may be developed in the future or so they tell me..


What can the other Ferrets do ?

WebFerret queries popular Web-based search engines, quickly and efficiently finding web pages the user is looking for on the World Wide Web. I not need to say much about this as i have given you my thoughts about this one above.

WebFerret (version 3.0000 - Size of File is 711kb)
To Download WebFerret go to,


InfoFerret queries Web-based databases, including online newspapers and magazines, according to a category you select, e.g. Current Affairs, returning results that the user is looking for. Now this is my favorite Ferret, what i have found using this software has been of great use to me over the months i have been using it. This is a must have, take my word for this.

InfoFerret (version 3.0000 - Size of File is 707kb)
To Download InfoFerret go to,


EmailFerret seeks out e-mail addresses, querying Web-based e-mail directories. Addresses can then be added to your address book, copied or mailed to, using your standard e-mail client. I don't know that much about this one.

EmailFerret (version 2.0000 - Size of File is 665kb)
To Download EmailFerret go to,


FileFerret searches both Web-based file databases and the Archie protocol databases for shareware, public domain software and other files. The files can then be downloaded using built-in FTP.

FileFerret (version 3.0000 - Size of File is 748kb)
To Download FileFerret go to,


IRCFerret is the easiest way to locate other users of various Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks. Searches are specified by the keywords, matching them against every IRC user's details in the chosen channel. It will search most of the major and a few minor IRC networks around the world. I can not say very much about IRCFerret because I have never tried to use IRC, so my knowledge of it is Nil and I not that interested in it. But some one out there maybe.

IRCFerret (version 2.0000 - Size of File is 684kb)
To Download IRCFerret go to,


PhoneFerret locates United States telephone numbers by searching the most popular phone number directories. For users with the Dialer software installed, numbers can be directly dialed from the search results. This is useful to those who live in the USA but not to us who are in Europe.

PhoneFerret (version 2.0000 - Size of File is 656kb)
To Download PhoneFerret go to,


NewsFerret searches multiple newsgroups to locate Usenet articles, automatically joining multi-part messages together and decoding binary attachments. The articles can then be retrieved and displayed, or saved for later review. I use this one a lot and it is very good.

NewsFerret (version 3.0000 - Size of File is 834kb)
To Download NewsFerret go to,


And If you would like to download all the ferrets at once instead I would try the Power User Pack. I downloaded this myself and thought it was very easy to install, plus it do one or two things better then downloading them one after a another.

Power User Pack contains all FerretSoft utilities. Each Ferret is added to the Find option in the Windows 9x Start menu for easy access; desktop shortcuts may be installed as well. All seven programs are easy to use, offer several options, The setup program lets you install just the ones you want. This is the one to go for.

Power User Pack (contains all FerretSoft utilities - Size of File is 4,391kb)
To Download Power User Pack go to,


All the above URL's have been checked by my little self. I thought right or wrongly that i had to add URLs that we could use. I found it a bit hard to download these files myself so I have tried very much to make it as easy as possible for you all to get these files. I hope that i did my job well. but no doubt there will be some one who say that I get it wrong some where. But such is life......

You will need a zip program to decompress zip files using an unzip program such as WinZip. Because all the files above are zipped.

It is very easy to install these FerretSoft utilities, take my word for this yet again.

Right I did also say above that i would let you have more information about buying The WebFerretPRO now this can be sold separately or users may choose to save money by purchasing the specially priced Power User Pack. All sales are via electronic purchase and download only.

To buy just the WebFerretPRO is $26.95 USA dollars this is for a Single copy.

For the Power User Pack which includes...WebFerretPRO, EmailFerretPRO, FileFerretPRO, IRCFerretPRO, PhoneFerretPRO, NewsFerretPRO, and InfoFerretPRO.  This will cost you $49.95 USA dollars and again this is for a Single copy.

The Web site of FerretSoft is at:
And to find out more about purchasing the Ferrets, send an E-mail to:

++ 2. Web2Text

Now this is a good time to inform you of a little bit of software that I use a lot. This software Web2Text will help you to convert HTML documents into a plain old ASCII format, Search with Web Ferrets and use this to convert them, No one can say that i not plan out my little newsletter. hahah

Right less of the playing around and back down to business again, I have to say first that getting used to Web2Text is a right little devil to get the hang of it. So be warned that you will need to spend time with it. But take my word it is worth it in the long run because Web2Text is such a handy bit of software to have if you need it. I find with HTML documents that they can be very hard to read with a Braille Display but after converting them to ASCII text it very easy to enjoy a good read.

Now here is the information about Web2Text,

Unlike all the other such programs to be found on the net (that I know of), this one attempts to create a text file that retains some of the layout of the web page being converted. Most other converters merely remove HTML tags, which can leave you with a total mess, and lots more work to do. Web2Text also keeps URLs intact, this is handy for keeping a note of URLs on the document.

Web2Text is freeware, you can download it and use it to your little hart is contented and you not need pay a penny for it. Now isn't that the best kind of software there is....

Web2Text version 32-bit runs under MS Windows 95/98/NT. And there is a version that will run under MS Windows 3.1. But the MS Windows 3.1 version is no longer being developed or supported.

Web2Text 32-bit version (Size of File is 190,802 bytes).

To download Web2Text 32-bit version go to:

Web2Text 16-bit version (Size of File is 132,917 bytes).

To download Web2Text 16-bit version go to:

There is also Instructions in Swedish available as well Go to this URL for Swedish Instructions about Web2Text.

And the person who do this is Conny Magnusson e-mail address is

The author of Web2Text is Damien Burke and his e-mail address is: And most importantly of all the URL to Damien Burke Web site is:

I am very happy to send any one a copy of this software through e-mail if you are having trouble getting it from the site above. Just send e-mail to and a copy will be on it's way to you.

++ 3. Remember, remember, the fifth of November.

Guy Fawkes Night

In Great Britain to night we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night otherwise known as Firework Night. We celebrate this on the fifth of November because that is the night that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the King, which at that time was King James the First. This is the story of how it happened:

It was the 16th century and the ruler at that time was harsh King James the First. Guy Fawkes was a catholic and at that time catholics were burnt or tortured for their beliefs, if catholics didn't go and pray at their local protestant church then they were fined or even killed. Guy Fawkes joined a group of plotters to help blow up the Houses of Parliament.

So to the story behind it all.

The seeds of discontent at the treatment of Catholics in England, which ultimately led to the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, were first sown in the late 1520s during the reign of Henry the  eighth. Henry had been declared Defender of the Faith by the pope and had written tracts against Protestantism. However, dissatisfied with the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon, Henry broke away from the See of Rome, extinguished all papal power in England, and executed his investiture as the head of the Church of England. This was followed by the methodical Dissolution of the Monasteries, under the supervision of Thomas Cromwell, which aided the English war chest and was instrumental in eroding the English power of the Catholic Church. Henry's Church of England was initially not Protestant, but remained closer to his traditional belief of Catholicism.

In the turbulent years that followed Henry’s death, England swayed back and forth on a theological pendulum. Henry's successor, his son Edward the Sixes, steered the Anglican Church down the path of Protestantism, whereas his sister "Bloody" Mary the First attempted to violently restore England to Catholicism through severe Protestant persecution, until Elizabeth the First ascended the throne in 1558, when the tide was again reversed.

Fearful of a now encroaching Catholic Europe, Elizabeth embarked upon a systematic course of repression and persecution of Catholics within her own country, in an attempt to ensure that there was no discontented populace which could assist a foreign invasion, or which could be seen as a beacon if a foreign invasion occurred. When the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Elizabeth had all but extinguished the hopes for an end to persecution of those Catholics in England who saw Spain as their great ally. The previous year she had her rival, the deposed and imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, executed in order to prevent underground Catholic cells rallying to Mary’s cause and attempting to depose Elizabeth. Such activities as this had been only too evident in the Babington Plot of 1586 which uncovered Mary's coveting of the English crown and which was subsequently a main reason for her eventual execution. Mary's claim to the English throne came through her grandmother Margaret Tudor, Henry the eighth eldest sister, who had married James the fourth of Scotland.

When Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, there was disagreement about her right to follow Mary I. Elizabeth's mother Anne Boleyn, was according to some, not legally married, because Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon was not legal as it would not be ratified by the Pope (the reason Henry broke away from the Catholic Church). So, upon Anne Boleyn's execution for treason, Elizabeth was separately declared a bastard, then removed from the succession by an act of the Privy Council. However, Henry placed her back in the succession, but never legitimized her.

Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign, the Catholic strongholds in the north of England, who had been instrumental in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536/37 and the Norfolk and Northern Uprising of 1569, began sending envoys to both Phillip the second of Spain and James the sixth of Scotland (the son of Mary Queen of Scots). It had become illegal to talk of the succession, yet James was commonly seen as Elizabeth's heir by both Protestants and Catholics, by virtue of closeness of blood to Henry the eighth.

The Essex Rebellion of 1601 brought the names of many of those who were at the forefront of the Catholic cause to the attention of the Government, including that of Robert Catesby, who was later to become the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. The Catholics, relieved at the prospect that the son of a Catholic monarch had seemingly been guranteed the throne after Elizabeth's death, had acquired from James the promise of toleration in the event that he did succeed Elizabeth. However, their embassies to Spain, dubbed the Spanish Treason, had been met with a lukewarm response by the Spanish Government, and in fact England and Spain signed a peace treaty soon after the last of these embassies had returned home.

When James eventually succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 as King James the First, there was initial celebration by the Catholic leaders, who under Elizabeth had been persecuted to such an extreme that any sign of Catholic sympathy risked the severest of penalties, including death. James, however, was not to be their saviour. No sooner had the Hampton Court Conference ended  with no compromise being given to either the Puritan faction or the Catholics, than James reintroduced the harsh penalties for recusancy.

Within a few weeks of this, the five core members of the Gunpowder Plot, Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Wintour, John Wright and Guy Fawkes met together and swore an oath on the Holy Sacrament to blow up King James and the Houses of Parliament when next the Parliament sat. Catesby was the charismatic son of Sir William Catesby, a prominent leader in the Catholic community who had been tried and imprisoned in 1581 for harbouring Father Edmund Campion, the English Superior of the Jesuits. Thomas Percy was descended from the Earls of Northumberland, who had come to prominence in earlier Catholic uprisings involving Mary Queen of Scots, and now worked for his kinsman Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland. Wintour and Wright, also members of the gentry, had both experienced first-hand the severity of the anti-Catholic government. Fawkes was a soldier who had spent more than ten years fighting in the Low Countries under the flag of Spain in the regiment of English exiles led by Sir William Stanley, himself a self-imposed Catholic exile.

The conspirators first hired lodgings which were close to Parliament House, and began digging a tunnel that they hoped would take them under their target. Some modern theorists claim that authenticity of the tunnel story is dubious, and its brief mention in the plotters’ confessions never confirms its existence one way or the other. Popular belief, though, indicated that the tunnel soon became unusable due to water seeping in from the Thames, or that the thick walls of the Parliament buildings prevented further advancement, so a cellar was soon acquired by Thomas Percy within the Parliament buildings. In this cellar the conspirators placed 36 barrels of gunpowder which were carefully hidden by wood and pieces of iron.

The exercise was becoming costly and more hands were required, so Catesby drew more accomplices into the inner circle of the plot, including his servant Thomas Bates, John Wright's brother Christopher Wright, and Thomas Wintour's brother Robert Wintour. In the ensuing months, Parliament's sitting was continually delayed, allowing Fawkes to return to Flanders to get more powder to replace the powder which had begun to spoil, and Catesby to organise further support  (and, some claim, to meet with Jesuit priests, including leaders of the order such as Father Henry Garnet and Father John Gerard. John Grant, Sir Everard Digby, Robert Keyes, Ambrose Rookwood, and Catesby's cousin Francis Tresham were subsequently brought into the plot.

Tresham was the son of Sir Thomas Tresham, one of the leading Catholics of the later Elizabethan period, and one who had suffered greatly for his faith at the hands of the government. Grant was the brother-in-law of Robert and Thomas Wintour, and Digby, Keyes and Rookwood were also disaffected members of Midland Catholic families. All but Fawkes and Bates were related either by blood or marriage.

On the 26th of October 1605, ten days before Parliament was due to sit, an unknown messenger delivered a letter to William Parker, Lord Monteagle at his house in Hoxton, outside London. Monteagle had been a staunch Catholic whose ardour had cooled after he had obtained favour under the new regime. The "Monteagle Letter" was an attempt to warn Monteagle not to attend the opening of Parliament because of a great calamity that would consume it. Monteagle at once delivered the letter to Robert Cecil, King James’ Secretary of State. Within hours, word was received by the conspirators that the letter existed. Catesby and Thomas Wintour immediately suspected that Tresham had written the letter, although Tresham convinced them that he had not been the author.

Over the next few days, the conspirators played a waiting game. Through their own efforts, and through information that found its way to them, they concluded that the letter had not alerted the government to their plans, and they continued with their actions. On the night of the 4th of November 1605, the day before Parliament was scheduled to open, Fawkes was caught in the cellar beneath the Parliament buildings with the powder. On his person were found the tools necessary to fire the powder train. He was immediately arrested and brought before the king. Over the next few days, Fawkes was tortured, until gradually he began to reveal details of the plot. At first he maintained the facade of John Johnson, servant to Thomas Percy, but in time he revealed his true identity and the names of his fellow conspirators.

In the early hours of 5 November 1605, news spread of Fawkes’ capture. The remaining plotters saddled their horses and left London for the midlands in twos and threes, except for Tresham who had decided to remain in London. The conspirators arrived in Dunchurch in Warwickshire and rendezvoused with a group of followers who had been gathered by Digby ostensibly as a hunting party. This group  which numbered about 60, although this figure varied depending on the source consulted, arrived at Holbeche House on the Staffordshire border in the evening hours of the 7th of November. Holbeche was owned by the recusant Littleton family who had been involved in many of the Catholic uprisings, as well as the Essex Rebellion, and it was to be the last stand of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators.

That evening, several of the plotters were injured by an accidental explosion which occurred while they were drying powder in front of an open fire. This accident lowered their morale even further. Between this evening and morning of the following day, several members of the group fled, while others still tried valiantly to rally support from the surrounding area. Just before midday on the 8th of November, the Sheriff of Worcester arrived with a posse of men and surrounded the house. After several attempts to have the conspirators surrender, a skirmish developed. Catesby, the two Wrights and Thomas Percy were all fatally wounded. The remaining known conspirators were apprehended (except Robert Wintour and Stephen Littleton who had fled), imprisoned in Worcester jail, and then transported to London to await trial. Four days after the siege at Holbeche, Francis Tresham was arrested in London and sent to the Tower of London. After spending two months on the run, Wintour and Littleton were eventually apprehended at Hagley House.

Thomas Wintour, the most senior of the plotters still alive, made his celebrated confession at the end of November. Conjecture exists today as to the authenticity of this confession, and it should be understood that the two primary sources from which most of the factscome down to us today come from this confession and the confession of Fawkes. By the 23rd of December, Francis Tresham had succumbed to a urinary tract infection and had died in the Tower. The mysterious circumstances surrounding this death still generate debate over Tresham's true role in the Gunpowder Plot, and whether he was in fact poisoned or whether he was allowed to escape.

The government now made extensive plans to track down the Jesuit priests, led by Henry Garnet, who they were still convinced were the masterminds behind the plot. Although all the plotters categorically denied any involvement by Garnet and his Jesuit colleagues, Robert Cecil was still trying to pin the blame on the Jesuits as justification for the Government’s severe anti-Catholic legislation.

Garnet was eventually captured at Hindlip, home of the recusant Thomas Habington, along with the Jesuit Edward Oldcorne and Nicholas Owen, a Jesuit lay-brother who was skilled in the building of "priest holes". The information on Garnet's whereabouts was supplied by Humphrey Littleton, who had been with the plotters on the 8th of November, and was now trying to buy himself a pardon. This attempt was ultimately to no avail, as Littleton was eventually executed for complicity in the Plot.

On the day of Garnet's capture, the 27th of January 1606, the trial of the eight surviving conspirators took place in Westminster Hall. None denied the charge of treason, and all were condemned to be executed. On Thursday the 30th of January, Digby, Robert Wintour, John Grant and Thomas Bates were executed in saint Paul's Churchyard. The following day, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes and Guy Fawkes were executed in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster. All eight men were hanged, drawn and quartered as was customary for traitors. Those who died at Holbeche were exhumed, and their heads removed to be displayed on pikes. Father Henry Garnet was executed on the 3rd of May 1606.

The fifth of November is variously called 'Firework Night', 'Bonfire Night' or 'Guy Fawkes Day'. An Act of Parliament was passed to appoint 5th November in each year as a day of thanksgiving for 'the joyful day of deliverance'. The Act remained in force until 1859. On 5 November 1605, it is said the populace of London celebrated the defeat of the plot by fires and street festivities. Similar celebrations must have taken place on the anniversary and, over the years, became a tradition in many places a holiday was observed. (It is not celebrated in Northern Ireland). It is still the custom in Britain on, or around, 5th November to let off fireworks. For weeks previously, children have been making guys effigies supposedly of Fawkes  nowadays usually formed from old clothes stuffed with newspaper, and equipped with a grotesque mask, to be burnt on the November 5th bonfire.

Institutions and towns may hold firework displays and bonfire parties, and the same is done, despite the danger of fireworks, on a smaller scale in back gardens throughout the country. In some areas, such as Lewes and Battle in Sussex, there are extensive processions and a great bonfire. Children exhibit effigies of Guy Fawkes in the street to collect money for fireworks, sometimes using the chant:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason
Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

followed by
Penny for the guy?

Fuller versions were used locally. In East Essex for instance, in the 1890s, boys would dress in cast-off hats and coats covered with old wallpaper torn into shreds. Faces blackened with soot, they would chant the rhyme quoted above but with the second verse:

This is the day they did contrive
Blow up King and Parliament alive
Through God's great mercy they were taken
With a slow fuse and a dark lantern
Holler boys, holler boys,
God save the Queen
Penny for the Guys

Nowadays the anti-Catholic theme is forgotten except in one rare and unpleasant survival at Lewes (East Sussex), where an effigy of the pope is burnt to cries of "No Popery". sad people they must be.

The Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeomen of the Guard just before the State Opening (usually again since 1928 in November) to ensure no latter-day Fawkes is concealed in the cellars, though this is retained as a picturesque custom rather than a serious anti-terrorist precaution (for which, of course, there are proper means). It is said that for superstitious reasons no State Opening will be held on 5 November, but this is a fallacy, as it was, for example, in 1957.

If you would like to read the transcript of the Trials of Guy Fawkes and the Conspirators in the Gunpowder-Plot. Then go to

For the cellar where Fawkes watched over his 36 barrels of gunpowder

The cellar where Fawkes watched over his 36 barrels of gunpowder was destroyed in the fire of 1834 that devastated the mediaeval Houses of Parliament. But portions of its fabric are on display at Sir John Soane's museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, as is the lantern Guy Fawkes carried in 1605.

I have spent some time researching about this part of British history for this issue of the DB Techies Newsletter. I found it very interesting as I really enjoy history, going into our past gives us an idea of the kind of people we really are. But thank God this is history.

I really do hope that you all did enjoy this article about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The next issue of DB Techies will not have anything more about British history,  I just could not stop myself from doing this, but I promise that the next issue of the DB Techies Newsletter will have just info that we are interested in. And I will not get carried away again with my love of history.

++ 5. The Archives of the DB Techies Newsletter.

I have included a page on my site which will archive this copy of the DB Techies Newsletter, and the last issue of the DB Techies has already been put on to my site, so if you missed the first ever Edition of DB Techies Newsletter you can get it at

I believe that this page will never hold that many copys of the DB Techies, but what little numbers that will be issued will be held on this page.

++ 6. To subscribe, send a message to or go to the e-groups's home page at

To unsubscribe from DB Techies send e-mail to: You must send the e-mail letter from the same e-mail address that you used to subscribed from.

Please remember that any suggestions about any equipment that would Be useful to deafblind and blind people, or any information, which would be useful to the readers will be welcome.

Until the next issue which will be on the 3rd December 1999, If there is another one.

"DB Techies" newsletter will be published monthly on the first Friday of each Month. And will be e-mail to the Subscribers.

I wish all the very best to all of you, And Thank you for taken the time to read this little newsletter.

All the very best to you all.


James Gallagher

End of DB Techies.

A-Z to Deafblindness