archive for the Meta category

Site Tweaks

Meta Sunday 13th December 2009

Made a few long overdue tweaks to the site in the past week. I’ve added Fancy Zoom to the flickr thumbnails on the front page. It seemed to be the most lightweight of the many “light box” solutions that still had a decent feature set. Incredibly easy to setup as well.

I also added links to the blog archive and blog search functionality at the bottom of the page. Since my last re-design the styles on the blog category pages weren’t ideal so I took this oppourtunity to tidy them up. The blog archives page isn’t great, I could do with a better way of visulising all of the historic content maybe using sort of tag cloud.


New Design

Meta Wednesday 16th September 2009

A couple of weeks ago I uploaded the sixth iteration of this site. This time I’ve paired things down even more and gone for a “life-stream” style layout. I rarely write blog posts any more, but I do upload lots to flickr, spraff lots of nonsense to twitter and make various other ripples else where on the webs. I’m pointing the re-design out now as most people probably read the site via RSS and so won’t have seen the new styling. Come and have a look!

All of my various online activity is aggregated by those nice people at FriendFeed. I then use their API to pull this out and display it in a nice fashion. Currently I’m aggregating: flickr, twitter,, upcoming, dopplr, delicious and my google reader shared items. I also wanted the full content of blog posts to appear within the stream. Strangely, this doesn’t appear to be particularly easy to do. FriendFeed only caches the title of a post and none of the content. So, I let FriendFeed aggregate my blog posts but then when I come to display that entry in the stream I use the wordpress “stub” (which uniquely identifies a post) from the URL to lookup the post in my local database and display it from there. Slightly convoluted, but it works.

Of course, a day after I finished getting the stream stuff working, FriendFeed announced that they’d been acquired by Facebook. Great. I suspect that moving forward Facebook aren’t going to maintain the current feature list and API access that FriendFeed allow currently. In that regard I’ll probably look at rolling my own lifestream aggregating solution. Possibly using the SimplePie PHP RSS library and it’s very neat looking merge_items() function.

For the nice large image at the top I’m using the PHP Flickr library to grab all of the image from my Favourites set. I then cache the heck out of these images and display a randomly chosen one. I’m thinking I might add some subtle navigation to allow you to “refresh” the image to get a new one.

All comments and suggestions appreciated!


Houston, we have a problem

General,Meta Sunday 19th April 2009

My Virtual Machine got hosed. Excitingly I wasn’t doing any regular backups so I’ve had to revert to a backup I had from my last-but-one hosting account. Which seems to be from June last year :/ I’m devising some cunning way of pulling all my lost blog posts out of the Google Reader cache. Normal service will be resumed at some point soon.


Google Chart API

Meta,Technology Wednesday 19th March 2008

I had a bit of a muck around with the Google Chart API last night. It’s very neat, you just make a request to google with your chart data and parameters all encoded in the get request, you get back a jpg image. I’ve used the API to generate a nice “spark line” graph of my blog posting frequency from July 2002 to the present. You can see it at the bottom of my index page.


Google Maps API Performance Improvements

Meta,Technology Sunday 17th September 2006

As reported on the Google Maps API blog they’ve vastly improved the speed of the addOverlay() function. My bbc travel warnings mashup loading time has greatly improved. Nice one google.



Design,Meta Monday 24th July 2006

So I finally got bored of tweaking my re-design and just decided to stick it online. Still got lots of bits to tidy up…

Update: So I’ve tidied it up a bit. Made the logo clickable, added the old design to the design archives, updated the about page. Oh and yeah, it is a bit web 2.0 ain’t it? I think its the cheesey reflection under the logo. I should probably have mentioned earlier that I now have embedded hReviews for my ‘review’ type posts along with linked hCard.


Search Terms of the Month : February

Stats Highlights Thursday 2nd March 2006
  • “revolver plot explanation” – I seem to get a lot of these, it obviously makes everyone elses head explode aswell.
  • “working for waterstones” / “how do i get a job at waterstones” / “waterstones job interview” / “working for waterstones blog” – wow, someone is really keen on working at waterstones.
  • “carhartt fellow jacket” – 2nd result page!
  • “pirate toilet roll” – yarr
  • “continuous high pitched beeping from motherboard” – I did hope someone would find that post useful
  • “techno clubs prague” / “desert eagle shooting prague” – ahh, that brings back some memories.
  • “rome s first episode naked pics” – someone fully utilising the internet there.


Meta Saturday 14th January 2006

This design is starting to bug me too much. I’ve started a re-design which I’m going to aim to finish “properly” before revealing (yeah right).


Unified Feed Icon

Meta Saturday 24th December 2005

Now that IE 7 is going to use the orange feed icon developed for Firefox Matt Brett decided it was about time to vaguely standardise the thing. Seems like a good idea to me. Accordingly I’ve stuck a grey-scale version in my menu.


3rd Birthday

Meta Wednesday 20th July 2005

Crikey! I’ve been doing this for three years!

Admittedly, my first post wasn’t that inspiring.


Flickr API Integration

Meta,Technology Saturday 16th July 2005

So I did that Flickr thing I was muttering about. The pictures area now has a flickr section which shows my photo sets from flickr. I’ve only got one up there at the moment but it’s pretty neat.


Funny Search Terms Of The Month : June

Stats Highlights Friday 15th July 2005

Here you go:

  • crotch shot – err, ok
  • selkirk common riding and selkirk common riding 2005 – woo, popular
  • drunk – me? never!

(If you’re wondering what the heck these are, click below)
read on…


Gallery Upgrades

Me,Meta,Photography,Technology Sunday 12th June 2005

I’ve posted my photos from Rick & Rach’s wedding in the gallery for your viewing pleasure.

The gallery has been having a bit of a scrub lately. Using some mod-rewrite dark magic I’ve made the URLs much nicer and easier to read. Instead of having:


we now have:


A vast improvement!

The other main change is now when viewing a gallery the page is much simpler. Before I had things like: the image size, resolution, data and the filename. People won’t actually care about those things! All they want is to see all the images and maybe click on one to see a larger version. Working on customer facing e-commerce stuff has taught me a lot about removing barriers to navigation and generally making a users life easier. I figured it’s time I implemented some of it around here.



Meta Thursday 26th May 2005

I submitted the site for inclusion in dmoz months ago. I’ve done this one or two times before and usually nothing happens; no inclusion, no email nothing. But this time I actually got in! Along with the 8 gatrillion other people in the “Computers/Internet/On_the_Web/Weblogs/Personal/” category of course. Behold.


Mmm, upgrades

Meta Wednesday 18th May 2005

I just updated the site to WordPress 1.5.1 and being the numpty that I am lost all my images and themes. Stupid ‘replace’ and ‘merge’ buttons in ftp client….

Anyway, I dug through the backups and manged to extract all the bits I lost. All should be good now. If you spy any problems leave me a comment here.


Look! A Cloud

Meta Thursday 21st April 2005

Totally jumping on the bandwagon I’ve coded up a tag cloud.


Footer Fixing

Me,Meta Monday 21st March 2005

I finally fixed up the footer over the weekend to display properly in IE & Safari. It had been bugging me for a while but displayed perfectly in everything else. Giving the right footer div a width property seemed to fix it. For some reason IE & Safari were collapsing it down to the width of the link images.

I also managed to fit in a ton of work on the GameSoc re-design. It’s all top secret at the moment but I’m sure I’ll be blabbing about it once it’s finished 🙂



Meta Monday 14th March 2005

Yay, I’ve been spidered by the XFN bot thing: ( that I set up last week.


XHTML Friends Network

Meta,Technology Wednesday 9th March 2005

No, its not a support group for lonely web designers. Well, maybe it is now that I think about it. Inspired by Matt I’ve put relationships on my “friends” links to comply with the xfn guidelines. This enables links to be mapped between sites and divided into classes depending on the relationship given. Funky stuff.



Meta Tuesday 8th March 2005

I’ve decided to enable Gravatars on my blog comments to give the “commentees” a bit more of an identity. Gravatars are basically avatars that are tied to your email address. When you comment on a blog using your Gravatar enabled email address an image of your choice will show up next to your comment representing you. I think it’s quite neat and helps to make discussion a bit livelier.


WordPress Upgrade

Meta,Technology Thursday 17th February 2005

The blogging software I use for the front page of the site is the very nice WordPress. Version 1.5 has recently come out and has some very nice improvements so I upgraded last night. It was pretty painless but not as nice as the install process, could do with a little polish. The main new feature is a themes system which was sorely needed. Originally you had to hack about with all the default wordpress files to change the look and feel of various areas. This was done as nicely as possible through a web interface but still you were messing with things that could really break your blog. The new system allows you to create “themes” which are basically separate pages and styles for the different elements of your blog; the front page, the comment page etc. Now, you can leave the default WordPress theme alone and hack about to your hearts content. I converted my hacked pages to a new “cyber-junky” theme and switched WordPress over to use this. It worked surprisingly well. I had to make a few changes but that is mainly becuase of the way I use WordPress, I don’t use it soley as my front page. This theme system fits nicely into the old adage of seperating content from style, where the content is the blog logic/code and the style is the theme.

If you spot any bugs, please let me know.

update: wahey, it’s just been officially announced. Matt seems like such a nice guy 🙂



Meta Sunday 23rd January 2005

See as though all the big boys are providing fascinating stats I thought I’d knock-up some of my own.

Site Hits Per Month


Blog Posts Per Month


New Domains!

Meta Thursday 20th January 2005

I got the domain bug the other day and went a bit crazy.
I did mange to snag: which I’m sure was registered to someone last year. I also picked up: and

They are all just pointed here at the moment, but I’ll do something useful with them, sometime.


UrbanArt Updates

Meta Thursday 16th December 2004

Dumped a load of (kinda) recent images onto UrbanArt. Also made the front page a bit more responsive and useable. Check it out.


Updates a-go-go

Meta Tuesday 14th December 2004

I’ve finally cobbled together some kind of ‘About’ section, you can get to it over on the right there. In it you’ll also find the “design archive” (pretentious enough?) of past cyber-junky layouts. My amazon wishlist if also now linked from the sidebar, as is a paypal link and a brand new section of Projects. At the moment urbanart is the only one but I hope to get a few more up soon, including:

  • A demo of my ‘Collaborative Online Document Management Framework’ dissertation project
  • More amazon xml api searching fun
  • My latest toy, an online task list manager
  • Fun with php image generation
  • and much, much more…

Funny Search Terms Of The Month : November

Meta Saturday 4th December 2004
  • bittorrent changing lanes
  • father ted bittorrent christmassy
  • kerazy bittorrent
  • shag tag edinburgh
  • p0wned

Gallery Update

General,Meta Saturday 4th December 2004

A couple of gallery updates to feast your eyes on. The first is from Jed’s birthday party about a month ago which was rather hilariously fancy dress. See if you can work out who everyone was supposed to be (sorry about the lack of focus).

Jed’s Birthday Gallery

The second is from when my parents were up visiting about three weeks ago. We took them along to the Falkirk wheel which is pretty impressive and looks good in photos (see then new header image).

Falkirk Wheel Gallery


Hacker Report

Meta,Technology Tuesday 19th October 2004

Well, I got the access logs from my parent hosting company (who were vey helpful) and it seems the first accesses all came from IP addresses assigned to Romanian ISPs. Pesky Romanians…. I’ve googled around a bit for this ‘zloboz’ name and came up with one of their scam emails here. It’s based off a different site but it looks like the same kind of scam, they must have hacked quite a few sites to base their pages at. It also looks like they didn’t have everything configured properly as there are lots of errors in the logs about php scripts being unable to write to local files. The numpties didn’t setup the file permissions properly! So, any information they did harvest from the silly people who filled in their details is lost in the void 🙂


Hacker Alert

Me,Meta,Technology Thursday 7th October 2004

Urge to kill rising…….

Some little toe-rag had hacked into my site and was hosting some kinda ebay-credit-card scamming pages! Godamn! I was browsing my access logs (as you do) and noticed some strange hits to a directory called ‘zloboz’. Strange, don’t remember uploading anything called that. Uh-oh… I immediately deleted the files, which was really stupid thinking back as I could have seen what he was up to with the data. Anyway, I’ve since changed my passwords and checked the email accounts, aliases, databases, cron, redirects, everything. Just in case he’d left some sneaky stuff anywhere else.

Anyway, I’ve got the site backup from yesterday downloaded and I’m going to extract his naughty files and have a look at what he was upto. I’ll report my findings.



Meta Thursday 30th September 2004

I should really fix this content div so that it has a min-height. When I get slack on the blogging front things start to get a bit messy. As you can see…


Side Bar

Meta Thursday 9th September 2004

As you can see (except you rss feed slackers) I now have a side navigation bar/box thing. You can hide it by clicking the little triangle up in the top-right corner there. I always wanted some more navigation on here but I really didn’t like the menus that I had. But, I don’t want the navigation to clutter up the place. A hideable side bar solves the problems nicely. I did have to use a tiny bit of javascript but it works in Firefox, IE, Camino, Safari and Opera so I’m content 🙂



Meta Friday 13th August 2004

I received a very nice email from Blake Ross of the Mozilla FireFox team the other day. They are obviously trawling the web for blogs making nice comments about FireFox. The email was basically asking me to post a link graphic to FireFox on my page. Which I more than willing to do. So there it is, down at the bottom there. I utilised the “sliding door” image roll-over technique from a.l.a. to do the nice colours.



Meta Wednesday 28th July 2004

Been tweaking and re-coding bits of the site. As promised there is now an archives page, which lives way down the bottom there in the ‘WordPress stuff’ box. I’ve also added an ‘other blogs’ menu up on the top. These are basically all the site/blog/magazines that I read probably every day. I’m slowly xhtml-ifying and css-orising the gallery which was written back in the halcyon days of html 4 transitional. Don’t click validate on that page at the moment, it’s not pretty.


Two Years!?

Meta Monday 26th July 2004

I just realised that the 20th was my two year blogging aniversary. Man, two years… It doesn’t seem that long. Anyway, for nostalgias sake here is my first blog entry. Fascinating eh? I really need to sort out the archives linkage so you can browse back over my gripping life.


New Look

Meta Monday 19th July 2004

I finally managed to get the new design online. I should I have pointed out that the post below was a photoshop mockup. When comparing it against whats online now it’s suprisingly close. The shadow on the background was inspired by Alex’s background shadow technique. The drop down menus are ‘Suckerfish’ menus taken from A List Apart. They still have some bugs on Safari and Opera but seem to be working ok on IE and FireFox. Its not perfect on IE but it’s usable. I’m making use of IE only css with the star html selector bug. I’ve also converted to xhtml mainly because I’m using it at work and cause its pretty neat. I had to use yet another IE hack to get it work in IE and yet still validate.

I’ve also moved from MoveableType to WordPress for the blog engine. Mainly becuase MT was just getting too clunky and annoying. The final straw was when I realised I couldn’t use completely custom archive templates. I needed to put php in them, and I couldn’t. I was letting MT get away with stuff because I though changing over would be a hassle. I was wrong, the WordPress install is a dream, a million times easier than MT. It also managed to import all my MT blog entries perfectly. Which is pretty darn good.

Overall I’m lovin’ it. What do you think?


New Design Musings

Meta Wednesday 14th July 2004


What do you think?

Its a bit plain at the moment, but I’m lovin’ the fixed-width centred column look. I really want a largish image on there somewhere (with my own photos) and some nice vertical scrolling for the blog text. I may try moving away from shades of grey (gasp!). Basically I just want cyber-junky to be my blog and then I’ve got a separate portfolio site in the works. I’ve also got to put some effort into the ninjahosting site and finish the “ninja gallery” that Alex, Ian and I are supposed to be developing.


I apologise

Meta Friday 11th June 2004

The post below is incredibly boring.


Mmmm, shadows

Meta Friday 23rd April 2004

Did you spot them? Yep, I’ve implemented the ala css drop shadow technique (described here). I reckon it looks quite nice, it needs some slight tweaking but I’ve proscrastinated enough for now.


Mobile Edition

Meta Tuesday 30th March 2004

Tadaaa!! You can now view my blog on your mobile in a handy reduced size format. Just bookmark this link or see the ‘mobile feed’ link over on the right.


EDIT: This is for GPRS phones, not WAP



Meta Friday 16th January 2004

I seem to be getting very slack with the old blogging lately. Trust me, it will get better.


New Host

Meta Wednesday 7th January 2004

We have moved hosts after an ok-ish year with dataflame. We’ve decided on and everything seems to have moved ok, which is nice. Oh and they threw in a free domain:

The control panel software is very different to plesk but seems to be more flexible and powerful, even if it looks like ass. We’ll see how we go on this host…


Comment Spam

Meta Tuesday 14th October 2003

Recently the spammers have worked out that they can target blog comment systems to spread their rubbish. This is incredibly annoying not to mention tedious when I have to remove all the links to porn sites and penis enlargement pills. Anyhoo, the very nice Jay Allen has released a plugin for moveable type to block all these bitches. Aha! smacked-down!


What did I blog that has gone?

Meta Monday 25th August 2003
  • Banksie stuff
  • Lots of movie reviews (argh! lost! lost for ever!)
  • More flashmobbing

…and something else


Silly, silly hosting

Meta Monday 25th August 2003

Our hosting company (I’m not bitter enough to mention their name) were doing an “upgrade” of the server admin software and everything went a bit mad. The HDD failed as they were doing the upgrade and so they had to restore from an earlier backup. This meant that all of my saved mail was deleted and the sites content is about a week old. I had loads of stuff saved in a folder in my IMAP box which is the most annoying thing EVAR. Registration numbers for software etc… grrrrrrrr


Funny Search Terms Of The Month : July

Stats Highlights Saturday 2nd August 2003

Here they are:

  • funny rants
  • oliver jackson ollie edinburgh (slighty worrying)
  • funny funny funny
  • computer games don’t affect kids. if pacman affected us as kids (from the quotes file)
  • i’m in love with my flatmate (don’t worry, its from the desktop grafitti post)
  • junky movies list


New Pic

Meta Tuesday 1st July 2003

Look right –>


Eyes right…

Meta Sunday 13th April 2003

Yes thats right folks, its “add another thing to the side bar” time!
Now in a always repsectful hommage to Meg over at I add my picture of the ‘moment’.
I made it ‘moment’ so as not to put any kind of lame time constraints on it (i.e. I can be lazy).



Meta Friday 14th February 2003

I’ve re-jigged the front page a wee bit and updated moveable type to version 2.6.



Meta Wednesday 22nd January 2003


spent about an hour last night getting moveabletype set up again. Seems to be ok now…

/me is happy



Meta Tuesday 21st January 2003

We have ninja hosting.

Spent most of last night uploading everything to the new site. Will switch dns over once I know everything is running ok.

olly out