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.