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Archive for the ‘sitenews’ Category

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A neat idea from Sean of since joining the 9rules community is bringing in a group of new readers, why not provide links to some previous posts that I think they might like? OK, oldest first:

I also have another blog I try to keep updating, one with a specific theme: found poetry.


Written by brian t

December 15, 2006 at 4:19 pm

Posted in blogging, life, sitenews

new links

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The move to a new site, still going on at the moment, is going to cause some disruption to other people, too: those who had set up direct links to items on this site, mostly images used on other sites. People have been taking some of my work and using it directly from their pages. When someone loaded their page, it included a direct call to my site for the image, which then appeared on their site.

I didn’t mind this, because the amount of traffic didn’t exceed the limits I was paying for, and it was interesting to see all the MySpace users with my pictures as their backgrounds. Well, that is still possible, but I don’t have the same “flat” image storage that I used to have, any more. If anyone wants to keep doing that, they will have to go to the image gallery, find the picture they want, and get the new link from there.

I haven’t yet figured out what to do with the “b3ta bodges”, the modified images and animations i put together for They’re mostly animated GIFs, which Picasa Web will not allow me to upload, probably for reasons related to the patent on the LZW compression used there – even though there has been no need for concern for two years now. Lawyers…

I may up putting them on a static page, uploading each file to WordPress individually, but that will not be quick, and will not put the pictures at the same locations as before.

Written by brian t

August 20, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Posted in internet, sitenews

ancient history

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I’m taking some time, slowly, to upload some older blog entries, so don’t be surprised to see posts from 2004 popping up. It’s a manual process, cutting-and-pasting HTML from flat files in to the WordPress HTML editor. Timeconsuming, but I don’t mind, since I can vet the posts as I go.

I could automate this with some kind of HTML -> XML Translation, but I’m leaving out some old entries that look out of place or embarrasing: yes, I’m not above a little personal revisionism.

Written by brian t

August 16, 2006 at 9:21 pm

Posted in sitenews


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Last night, after Matt from WordPress kindly fixed the Domain Mapping to point here, I bit the bullet and switched over, by taking out the DNS entries that pointed at my previous web hoster. Here’s a summary of what has changed and what hasn’t:

  • Old blog entries are not yet transferred over: that will only happen after I can upgrade the old site to WordPress 2.1, the first version that will support exporting in the XML format used for importing into (This is a new feature pioneered on, probably because the administrators didn’t want users of the hosted system to have to deal with the MySQL database format used there.)

As before, images used on this site fall roughly in to two categories:

  • Incidental images added to normal posts and pages: these will use the upload process provided with WordPress
  • Photographs and other large images: these go to the Picasa Web Gallery referenced to the right, from where they can be linked in to posts and pages, or viewed in place.

In both cases I will need to re-upload and relink them all, but I will be using the gallery more. I’ve found Picasa Web so useful, and quick, that I’ve already uploaded all the photographs I had online before, in a matter of minutes, yesterday. The captions are missing, I will fix those over time.

I’ve yet to see if ZIP files are supported for upload to WordPress directly. I suspect not, because a ZIP file can contain anything, and could therefore be used for piracy or other nefarious purposes. There’s a general restriction on file hosting through free services for those reasons, even for little sound files such as the samples I put up for download. If it doesn’t work I will see what I can do, or just do without them.

Written by brian t

August 16, 2006 at 1:24 pm

Posted in sitenews

domain name sins

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We’ve had a couple of days during which this site was unavailable, and though it was planned, it wasn’t supposed to go on this long. To cut a long story short, I made some changes to the Domain Name System (DNS) settings for this domain, to accommodate a potential new hosting service for this site. They’re offering it at no charge to the first few people who apply, but they haven’t come back with any more details, not even a yes or no. The outage could have been avoided had I done, at first, what I did to get the site back up. I’ll cover a few technical details now, for anyone interested and for my future reference.

When anyone tries to access by name, that name goes through a DNS name resolution process that converts it to an IP address, so that the actual communication by IP can take place. I was asked to change the DNS servers registered against my domain, to point at the new hosters, who would then change their servers to accommodate my site. I made the change, which means that other computers, when asking “where is”, were told “go and ask these new servers”.

Unfortunately, the new servers have not been told to expect this, which is out of my hands, so the DNS requests were being met with a resounding “Huh?”. What I’ve done now, and what I should have done in the first place, was to put the DNS servers of my current web hosters in to the list for my domain, as backup for the new ones. I didn’t think of this earlier because I thought I could only register two such servers, but it turns out I can do many more. After the new servers go “Huh?”, the request now goes to the old ones, who say “yep, he’s here”.

So, we’re back up, and I can bide my time while the guys on the other side to get round to making the changes they need to, or at least letting me know if I’m included in their tests. If I am, the site will look very different at first, and I’ll need to do more work on it and transfer the data. I’m doing it, though, so that I can hand over most of the technical management behind this site to people who are much, much more expert at the software I am using now: the people who wrote it. There will be some loss of flexibility, but I can live with that. It will also mean major changes to the photo gallery, but I can live with that too.

Written by brian t

August 2, 2006 at 10:36 am

Posted in sitenews, web design

schmap flap

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Schmap have an interesting business model: they take publicly-available material and fashion it in to travel guides, and use this in the marketing process. I only heard of them because they borrowed a photo of mine from Flickr, one that I had marked as available for commercial use under the Creative Commons license, and used it in their Dublin guide. This is something like what I had in mind, so no complaints on that score, as long as they provide proper attribution (which they have). So, grab a copy of the Dublin guide, and see some more of my work.That’s all – enjoy!

Written by brian t

July 1, 2006 at 11:45 am


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I take the previous post back: after playing around with DIVs for a bit longer, I found that the problem wasn’t so much in the use of DIVs in general, but in the way they had been implemented in the WordPress Theme I use. I didn’t create that one from scratch, but modified the “Original WordPress” theme. It had a lot of unnecessary tweaks, such as squeezing the text together, which might have given it a different look but had a negative impact on readability.

I’ve also changed the primary font to Palatino Linotype, but that may not last.The logo over the picture is achieved by using another DIV with the picture as its background, and you can expect the picture to change over time. I’ve also resurrected one of my favourite little PHP tricks: the script to calculate a new light colour on each page load, this time applied to the Sidebar background.

Apart from the known compatibility issues with using tables for layout, I also found it had a negative effect on the way the pages were being displayed. The reader would be stuck with a blank page until all the table content had loaded; because I did not fix the width of the left-hand column ,the browser had to do some calculations on the content before displaying it. I definitely do not want to fix the widths, since I have seen how badly that works on other sites, especially when viewing them on small screens.

The DIV method is a pain to manage if you’re not used to it, but the way it works is fairly straightforward in practice. The main body of the text on the page is in a DIV without “absolute” parameters, just some tweaks to the margins, so the browser does not have to work too hard to lay it out as normal.The right-hand margin is much larger, to allow space for the sidebar, which is given an absolute position at the top right, and a fixed width. If the browser does not understand this, it displays the Sidebar at the bottom.

I can see this happening on limited Internet Explorer browser on my old iPaq (which has survived its near-death experience). It’s not all good news, though, since the margin is recognized and takes up half the tiny screen. More experimentation to follow, possibly involving a script that leaves out some formatting user agent parameters. It’s all go here…

Written by brian t

February 18, 2006 at 1:12 pm