State of the blog 2008-12-31

The server move I mentioned previously has finally been completed.  So far everything seems to work except for some WordPress plugins – Disqus, Zemanta, WP SuperCache, XML Sitemap Generator and WP to Twitter.  Currently I suspect a problem in the way Easily have set up security or PHP on the new server.  Regular posting will commence as soon as all this is fixed.

As it’s almost the end of the year, this might be a good time to take stock of 2008.

I posted a lot more in 2008 – 168 out of my 196 posts were written this year.  I posted almost daily from October through December (until the sever move problems).  I also had a lot of comments and discussion on a few popular posts.

I switched from Blogger to WordPress and moved servers a couple times.

So what about 2009?

I intend to continue posting more or less daily.  Beyond that I don’t really have any plans.  I tend to be always trying out new technologies, so there’s no way to know where that will lead in the coming year.

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ShareTabs

ShareTabs logo

ShareTabs logo

Today I read an article about ShareTabs.

ShareTabs is a URL shortener like TinyURL, Bit.ly, Cligs etc. except that you choose multiple URLs to combine together behind a single ShareTabs URL.

When the ShareTabs URL is followed, you get a page showing thumbnails of all the URLs and set of tabs so you can quickly switch between them:

ShareTabs screenshot

ShareTabs screenshot

I haven’t had a reason to use ShareTabs yet but it looks like a useful service and I’m going to keep it in mind to use at the earliest opportunity.

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State of the blog 2008-12-22

MusicBrainz Servers
Image by mayhem via Flickr

Apologies for the lack of posts recently.

My website’s been having some connectivity issues since I had it moved to another server to get PHP5.  My host (Easily) can’t find what the problem is so they told me they wanted to move my site to another server.

I took a backup of the site and stopped posting, but it’s taken longer than expected to get it moved over, so I’m going to start posting again.

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get the site moved over soon, but there’s no telling exactly how long it will take – especially with Christmas and New Years coming up.

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Beware of the Doghouse

Excellent JC Penney ad:

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Thinking about changing themes

I’ve been using the Evanescence theme on my blog for almost six months now.  I still like it quite a bit, the only problem I have is that it’s a fluid-width theme and that messes up my layout if the screen is wider or narrower than I expect.  I originally chose a fluid-width theme intentionally, but after using it for a while I’m thinking of switching to a fixed-width one.

I have a thing for skies and clouds – I have a picture in my mind of what I’d ideally like in a theme, but I haven’t found a perfect one yet.  My WordPress/theme/CSS/HTML/PHP/art skills aren’t really up to making it myself, although I may give it a shot at some point.

One of the themes that I’ve found that closest matches my ideal is called UpDown Cloud.

Here’s the current theme – Evanescence:

Evanescence theme preview
Evanescence theme preview

And here’s the theme I’m thinking of switching to – UpDown Cloud (the WordPress page for the theme has disappeared):

UpDown Cloud theme preview
UpDown Cloud theme preview

Which one do you like better?  I’ve created my first PollDaddy poll – feel free to vote or leave a comment.

Slightly off topic – why is a plugin browser built into WordPress 2.7 but there’s no theme browser?

EDIT: Apparently the reason the reason the WordPress page for the UpDown Cloud theme disappeared was the theme contains a link to the website that created it, so if I use it all of my pages will link to them.  Hmm.

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Footnotes plugin for WordPress

I’ve wanted to add footnotes to my blog posts for a while – it’s a writing style I enjoy using – but it’s only recently that I actually thought to look for a WordPress plugin – doh.

The new WordPress 2.7 plugin browser makes that a lot less painful.  There were a few different footnote plugings, but in the end I settled on WP-Footnotes.

Once you’ve installed the plugin, using it is extremely simple – you just put your footnote in the text of your post surrounded by double parantheses.  When you view the post the plugin replaces the text in the double parantheses with a number and puts the footnote at the bottom of the post1.

The number is automatically generated so you don’t have to work out the right one to use if you have a lot of footnotes, and the number is made a link so your readers can click on it to jump to the footnote and then click on a link there to jump back.

The only (very minor) problem I have with the plugin is that the footnotes are placed below the Zemanta related links and the Outbrain rating stars, but above the Disqus comments, so they can be hard to see.  It’s not the footnote plugin’s fault, it’s just a bit unfortunate.

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Burn Notice: The End Game

Burn Notice: The End Game book cover

Burn Notice: The End Game book cover

The first book must have done well enough – Tod Goldberg‘s writing another Burn Notice novel – Burn Notice: The End Game is coming out in May!

To be honest I don’t know a lot about it yet, but the fact that it’s Burn Notice is enough :D

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The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Around The Bend

Here is a fun retro music video for The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s song Around The Bend (as heard in the iPod Touch ad):

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Spinnerette – Ghetto Love

Spinnerette - Ghetto Love EP cover art

Spinnerette - Ghetto Love EP cover art

Spinnerette have released the Ghetto Love EP for digital download (yay!).  It costs $5 and features four tracks that will be on the yet-to-be-released album Valium Knights:

  1. Bury My Heart
  2. Distorting A Code
  3. Valium Knights
  4. Ghetto Love

My favourites are Valium Knights and Ghetto Love, though the other two tracks are good too.

Here’s the excellent music video for Ghetto Love:

EDIT: I’ve already started getting hits for people searching for download links for Valium Knights and Ghetto Love.  Just buy it you cheap pirates – it doesn’t cost that much and if you’re really a fan then you’ll want to support the band, right?  The announcement email even contained a plea from the band:

Please note that we are putting this out ourselves and that downloading for free, “stealing” will mean that we might not tour as far and wide as we’d like to, due to a lack of funds…and also Santa will steal your Mom away and make her a gift wrapping slave. But seriously think about it and think about doing good and lovely things for each other, after all these are the best gifts of all. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed making it. 

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Google makes domain squatters' life easier, everyone else's harder

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

Don’t you hate it when you do a search or follow a link or type in a URL and you get a domain squatter?

These are people that buy up thousands of domains and don’t use them for anything real, they just stick ads on a page with no actual content.  Why do they do this?  Because they make money from the 0.00001% of people that click on one of their ads – same logic as spam.

Even worse, they often buy domains for misspellings of real domains so if you type the URL in wrong you see their ads instead of the page you wanted (this is called typo squatting).  It’s internet pollution.

This is also why it’s pretty much impossible to get the domain name you want anymore – they’re all owned by domain squatters.

Now Google is helping these people (and hurting you) by creating an AdSense program specifically for domain squatting.  Because Google gets paid same as the squatters do when those ads get clicked on.

I guess “do no evil” gets trumped by “recession”.

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