Going on Safari

I’ve never really been a fan of Apple’s internet browser. It’s never looked like it’s been finished to me, missing all sorts of features that you can find in the likes of Firefox.

However, Safari Beta 4 is starting to turn my head. It looks rather nice and seems quicker than Firefox 3. Unfortunately, I like to use Delicious to bookmark interesting sites and Safari doesn’t have a Delicious plugin.

Except: it does.

I’ve never seen DeliciousSafari linked to from the Delicious site but it only took a very quick Google to find it. How did I miss this before?

So, OK. I can save my Delicious bookmarks from Safari, but I can I sync my browser bookmarks between machines like I can with the Foxmarks plugin for Firefox?

I didn’t think that I could, but apparently the next iteration of Foxmarks, Xmarks, can.

I’ve installed both of these free plugins and they both seem to work. We’ll see if they’re as fully-featured as the Firefox versions but it’s all looking OK so far.

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon Firefox but I am going to explore my options with Safari. It’s fast and uses Cover Flow to see your browser history (pretty, if not exactly a must-have). I like the current approach to the browser development, although the Windows version is an utter dog. I’ll only be using it on my iMac.

Now, let’s see if I can Google for a Safari version of the NoScript plugin…

Upgraded to WordPress 2.7.1

I’ve just upgraded to the new minor version of WordPress (2.7.1).

I had a couple of problems that required me to deactivate the Automatic Upgrade plugin (perhaps I should just remove that now considering that the core has the ability built-in now), plus there were a few problems with file permissions which required me to fart about with my FTP client.

This means that I may have broken something in the process. It’s looking OK at the moment but if you see that something is stuffed then please let me know. I’m aware that the theme doesn’t work properly in Internet Explorer 6, but if you’re still using IE6: why? Get it upgraded already. Or use Firefox or Opera.

Blogging from the iPhone

I’m sat here on my sofa with my iPhone tapping away on the little touch screen to see how easy, or usable, it is as a blogging tool.

There are several limitations. There’s no copy and paste, so linking is going to be a pain. I’m not about to be typing them out by hand. The iPhone WordPress application seems OK but basic so I can’t see myself using it much.

It’s simple enough and might be handy every now and again. I can now blog from anywhere!

Once again with the theme changes

I can’t help myself. I just can’t stop messing with the theme for this blog.

Expect things to change around a bit over the next week or so. I quite like this Firebug theme but I’ll need to personalise it a bit with bigger fonts and some other changes here and there.

I’ll try not to break it…

WordPress 2.7

The latest, and possibly greatest, version of WordPress is now released. Named after freeform Jazz pioneer John Coltrane this new major release delivers an entirely new backend, the design of which was driven by the WordPress community. Apparently.

It seems very nice – certainly an improvement over the previous version although it’s taking me a little time to figure out where things have been moved to.

I’m also going to want to fiddle around with the blog design when I get time. I’ve changed the theme – again – and I’d like to personalise it a bit but I also need to bash on with some revision for my OU assignment.

Onwards and upwards, then.

Nasty personages

There are some rotten sods on the internet.

Over the last two weeks I’ve had a few problems with this blog. These issues have been caused partly by the incompetence or laziness (or both) of people sharing my hosts server but also by the desire of malware writers to infect users’ PCs.

I was “hacked”. My site managed to acquire some extra javascript in a few files which caused visitors to be redirected elsewhere. This new site was designed to download malware, or “badware” if you prefer, onto your computer. This is not a good thing and coincided with a weekend, over which I did not have any internet access. I didn’t notice the attack until someone I know on-line sent me a message wondering why Google hated me.

Google has a very welcome feature that identifies sites providing malware downloads and my site was flagged up. People visiting here using Firefox were presented with a bright red page giving a warning about suspected viruses. Google also, for a time, identified my site as being possibly dangerous.

I’ve sorted out these inserted scripts and Google has reassessed my site as clean. However, I should urge regular readers (if there are any!) to run a complete virus if you’ve been here over the last two weeks and noticed any odd behaviour. I’m sorry if anyone has been affected as I should have noticed it sooner.

My site host has sent out a warning that this has been happening on a number of their servers. They suspect that the attack has been carried out by some unscrupulous bastard taking advantage of some out-of-date scripts used by some accounts. I only use wordpress on here and it is always kept bang up to date. Hopefully this will not happen again but I’ve taken some extra precautions against something similar happening.

In other news, I’ve noticed that it’s been over two whole months since I last posted. This cannot be! I’ve been a little busy with moving house (again), OU work and having to commute to Coventry for work but surely I should have posted  more frequently. I promise that I will try and do so from now on – I certainly have lots to say but perhaps not don’t have quite the same amount of internet time that I used to.

Science rocks my socks

Adam Savage is rapidly becoming one of my favourite TV presenters. He’s just a big, ginger, beardy kid with a love of science (and blowing things up). What’s not to like?

Here’s proof:

Remember kids – don’t try this at home!

Found via Bad Astronomy. Cheers!

Cancer – good for your stats

Cancer is a horrible, horrible disease but it seems that one recent cancer-related news story has driven a considerable amount of extra traffic here.

It was announced on Tuesday that Jade Goody has cervical cancer. This is a sad state of affairs even if I do think that Jade makes a pretty worthless “celebrity”. It’s unfortunate that she’s had this diagnosis and I honestly hope that she’s able to beat it.

So, why has this story suddenly driven extra visitors here? Well, I happened to mention a certain Ms Goody in a post around the time she was in Big Brother. I also used such intellectual words as “naked” and “tits” in posts around the same time, and so I started to get hits from people looking for images of a certain (very) minor celebrity displaying her nether-regions and other such rude things. I then made the matter worse by creating a post called “Jade Goody Free Naked Pics” where I complained about this unfortunate happenstance.

Since then Google has been serving my site with visitors interested in seeing Jade Goody sans clothing. It’s by largest key phrase for search engine hits and highly inaccurate. I don’t have any naked pictures of the young lady and I really don’t want any.

The upstick of this whole search débâcle is that I ended up with nearly twice my normal number of visitors yesterday – 159 up from 89 the previous day. I’m not saying that these are “quality” visitors, in that they’re really not going to see Jade’s kebab or anything, but its always nice to see that peak in the stats graph.

There are a couple of things that I find a little disturbing about this. Firstly, the new breaks that Jade has cancer and the first thing that goes through some people’s minds is to seek out naked pictures of her. How messed up is that? I’m also a little distressed, but not surprised, to see that The Sun newspaper seemed to think that Jade’s diagnosis is the most important news of the day, inserting “Jade Has Cancer” in huge letters across its front page. It’s sad news, especially for her and her family, but it’s certainly not the most important thing happening in the world at the moment.

Anyway, I hope she recovers. I hope that anyone with cancer is able to beat the disease.

Yet another new theme

You know, I just can’t stop fart-arsing about with my blog theme. I think it’s a disease or something, but I’m finding it impossible to stick with just one.

What makes my blog indecision harder is that Smashing Magazine keep releasing excellent free themes. This newest one, Infinity by yichi, looks gorgeous and I couldn’t help myself. I’ve installed it, fiddled with it a bit and am now going to keep it.

There are no widgets and each post requires a thumbnail, by way of WordPress’s excellent custom fields. I don’t intend filling every post I’ve ever done with a thumbnail (there are far too many to do that) but I might as well attempt to try to cover most of the latest posts in each category. It doesn’t take long to do and the result is rather nice.

The design buggers up the single pages, sadly, but there’s a workaround and as I only have two (my “about” page and my CV) that won’t take long. I’ve also changed the top background image from one used in the Colorise theme, but I’ll eventually create my own. Eventually being the operative word.

I like this one a lot. It’s quite striking and I should be able to customise it to my own ends. Thanks yichi!

Evolving. Slowly.

I’m taking a naturalistic approach to this site’s design at the moment. I’m trying different things out and seeing if I like them – assuming the site still works afterwards of course.

I subscribe to the rather excellent Smashing Magazine and they had a great post about textures and patterns in web design a little while ago. Some of the sites featured in that article made great use of backgrounds, something that was somewhat passé only a short time ago. I figured I could use something similar for this blog and went off to BgPatterns to have a go at creating my own.

I made an orangey tile that makes a wallpaper-like pattern over the background. I quite like it and started to faff about with transparent settings in the site CSS along with changing the site width and positioning.

The problem with this approach is that I made quite a few small changes to the CSS without once checking that the site still worked in Internet Explorer. I did most of the changes while working on my iMac so I don’t even have the opportunity to check IE from there anyway, however I got a text from my Dad this afternoon wondering why my blog was being obscured by a large, white sheet of whiteness.

I’d succeeded in buggering it up and this was largely down to my own ineptitude at coding with CSS. It’s also a problem that IE has its own idea how CSS works and most designs have little IE-specific workarounds to cope with this. The template for this design has such a workaround but this didn’t work well with the changes I’d made to the width of the site.

I’ve fixed it now so the site should display almost how I want it to in IE. Somehow the site is centred in IE but I wanted it left-aligned – pretty much how it’s being displayed in Firefox. No doubt I’ll take the organic approach to fixing these problems and cope with them as they arrive.

It’s at times like these that I’m glad I’m not a professional designer.

Things may seem odd for a bit

There’s not been a lot of activity over here for a while but I hope to be posting more often very soon. I’ve had an extremely busy few months, what with getting married and trying keep my job and all that, so I’ve not really had either the time or inclination to be posting much at.

However, life is starting to normalise again. It turns out that I’ve had three different job offers from our company’s reorganisation interviews and I’m going to be staying in my current post. I’ll be working out of our Coventry office instead, but at least I’ll be employed. I see that as an extremely good thing!

Life just seems to be getting better and better here in Nottingham. We’re not going to be moving away from here even to shorten my commute. We love the area and there seems no point in moving while Jo can get the bus or cycle to work.

In other news I’ve updated WordPress to the newest version 2.6. I even managed to do it with the minimum of fuss for a change without breaking anything. If you see anything odd happening with the site then please let me know. However, I’m intending to mess about with the site template over the next couple of days (and about time too!) so things may well start to look a bit skewiff for a while.

Band website

A few months ago I took over the job of Public Relations from my old mate Ray at band. I took the decision to take the opportunity to update the band website and I’m close to getting the site how I’d want it.

It’s temporarily on a new domain while we get the old one transfered over to my 123-reg account, but you can see it at carltonbrass.co.uk.

I’m using a great magazine-like WordPress template called The Morning After. It has loads of good features that you’d normally associate with a paid-for premium theme – all provided free of charge. I shall be tipping them once I’ve finished faffing about with the design. So far I’m very impressed.

I’m still tinkering with the design but if you have any comments about it then please leave them here rather than over there.