Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Before this one I’ve only made thirteen “real” blog posts this year. Twitter, Facebook and work have eaten up my time and creativity. But maybe I need to spring clean this place first – always easier to work in a pleasant environment. (Or maybe that idea’s just classic procrastination…)

  • Remove the Sociable plugin – every upgrade breaks my layout. Done
  • As a replacement for the above add Twitter, Facebook and Google+ buttons directly in the theme template.
  • Exclude the Weekly Twitter posts from the front page – having a backup of my tweets is a good thing, displaying them on the homepage of this blog isn’t.
  • Rethink syndication – how exactly do I want to share posts with Live Journal, Facebook, Google+, etc.?
  • A new design?
  • Most importantly – more content

'Out of this World' at the British Library

Last Thursday evening I attended the launch of the Out of this World science fiction exhibition at the British Library. I’ve blogged about the exhibition for work.

The launch night was fun in a peculiarly geeky way as I got to play spot the author/critic/BNF. Some people (Kim Newman to give the obvious example) are easy to spot but far too many fall into the general category of middle aged men with greying beards. In fact I could easily have been looking at the crowd at Salute or @media instead.

At the same time that I was listening to China Miéville give a speech to open the show, Lettice was at a different exhibition launch with Cilla Black and Ringo Star. There’s probably something profound in that contrast but I’m really not sure what.

Sunday’s automatic weekly twitter round up was the 1000th Very True Thing.

Well done me. :-)

I have been a bad blogger. My mojo has deserted me. Posts have become rarer than Wales rugby wins.

There are dinosaurs to talk about. Adventures with HTML5 and microformats/microdata to discuss. A Doctor Who Christmas special to look forward to.

I will do better.

Latest storm in a teacup over at LiveJournal is worth a few notes.

Much of the functionality in the latest release is good or at least inoffensive (pingbacks, cross-post posts to Twitter and Facebook, add Facebook Connect alongside OpenID for non-LJ users to log in and post comments). But one item, the ability to cross-post comments to Facebook and Twitter has caused a bit of a fuss (understatement, this is LiveJournal so toys have been ejected from perambulators with great vigour).

It seems like a dumb idea, badly implemented.

  1. Context
    Why cross-post a comment out of context from the post it is commenting on (and indeed out of context of an any comments it may be in reply to, LJ having a decent threading system for comments unlike some other blogging systems)? It seems pointless.
  2. Privacy
    The fact that the choice to cross-post is entirely at the hands of the commenter and ignores the privacy settings of the original post has caused the biggest fuss and rightly so. If someone posts a friends only post to their blog, then should their friends be able to share their (out of context) comments on that post with everyone on Twitter or Facebook? Well, at least you’ll find out who your real friends aren’t…
  3. Poor User Interface
    The positioning of the checkboxes for cross-posting between the comments field and the comments submit button is likely to lead to accidents. And considering the context and privacy issues such accidents will be at best nonsensical and at worst deeply intrusive.

I would never have gotten beyond the context issue if someone had brought this up in a brain storm with me. The sheer pointlessness of this function means it should never have been developed, and now that people have expressed almost entirely unfavourable opinions because of the privacy and UI issues, should mean that it gets removed rather than “fixed”.

I hope that the cross-posting of comments, and only the cross-posting of comments, is removed soon, as it threatens to overshadow the other features in this release which offer useful functionality that can enrich the LiveJournal experience for users who use it as a general blogging platform rather than a private, anonymous, slash-fiction, walled garden.

BTW, this post was created in the WordPress blog on my personal site; cross-posted to LiveJournal; syndicated via RSS; a notification tweeted; and Facebook notes will pick it up from the RSS in a couple of days. Your comments and replies will only appear in the place they were made however, unless you use (on purpose or by accident) this misguided feature on the LiveJournal version of this site.

I always enjoy Peter-Paul Koch’s blog posts even though currently I’m only on the very distant edge of the mobile world (as a user I use my phone for making the occasional phone call and nothing much else, as a developer I’m dipping my toes in the world of mobile web and couldn’t care less about apps). Today’s seems to sum up the situation with Apple perfectly:

Is it a good idea for Apple to go to war against several major players and piss off developers all at the same time?


At the start of the year I was working Wicked Web in Clerkenwell, living in West Norwood and had been going out with for six months. We went on holiday to Boston and Tennessee. WW moved office to Old Street in the spring. I went to Las Vegas for Andy’s stag weekend.


I took Lettice to Budapest for her birthday. WW started laying staff off towards the end of the year.


WW went into liquidation and hence I was made redundant. I became self-employed and started freelancing for many ex-WW clients. Went to the south of France with Lettice’s family – first time I’d ever seen the Mediterranean.


I spent the first part of the year working on a site for the BBC. Towards the end of the year I started doing contract work via an agency which meant that I got a large refund from the tax man, eventually. I went on a falconry day and flew a Harris Hawk. I asked Lettice to marry me.


I started this blog and spent several months working for the Home Office.


I gave up freelancing and started work at Visit London. I started cross posting this blog to LiveJournal and joined LibraryThing and Last.FM. I moved house to larger flat, ten minutes down the road from the old one, and Lettice moved in. We got married and went on honeymoon in Canada. :-)


I learnt XSLT. :-( Lettice also started to work at VL. I joined Flickr


Relaunched with a new CMS, clocking up a stupid number of days off in lieu in the process. I did jury duty. I joined Facebook. We went to Dublin and Amsterdam.


We went to Venice. I learnt JSP and jQuery. I joined Twitter


We went to Barcelona and tried to buy a house. I grew a moustache for charity.

I blew it

The sidebar says that there are 25 posts in November. But 5 of those are the automated weekly posts of Twitter updates. And 2, including this one, were actually written a week into December and backdated.

Not good. Worse than last year in fact. I fail at blogging. :-(

November has arrived accompanied by wind and rain and cold (and indeed a cold). How to spend the month?

Well mostly Lettice and I will be spending it buying a house. Or trying to. The other day we took a tame civil engineer to have a look round the place we’re hoping to buy (in a sort of “look for the massive faults before paying a surveyor” kind of way) and he could only see one potential problem. Fingers crossed that it isn’t.

Like last year, I’ll be taking part in NaBloPoMo as a form of half-hearted solidarity with the people who are attempting NoNoWriMo.

And I’ll be growing a moustache. Some banter in the office on Friday has somehow led to me agreeing at the last minute to take part in Movember. Now, despite having a silly name and being an Australian import, this is a very good cause so please make a donation. I promise to only post very occasional photos of the mo’s progress.

Finally I’ll be hiding from the bad weather and watching telly, not least Doctor Who which is back for a special on the 15th.

Ragnarok 55The latest issue of Ragnarok, the journal of fantasy and science fiction wargaming, was published this week and contains the usual mix of useful and off-the-wall articles. I liked the Daleks, the moon landings and the discussion on alternative history.

The SFSFW have been busy and can now be found on Twitter and Facebook. They also have their own blog (which I’m syndicating on LiveJournal, if that’s your preferred platform).

Today, I’ve been updating the society’s web site:

  • Combined two stylesheets into one (originally the second stylesheet had been @imported in order to hide it from Netscape 4, those were not the good old days)
  • Converted the site to HTML 5, just because I can, and added some ARIA role attributes for accessibility
  • Pulled in the latest blog posts onto the homepage (using Magpie RSS to do so)
  • Added all the new sites to the navigation
  • Added social bookmarking links to most pages so visitors can send the page straight to Google, Facebook, LiveJournal, Delicious, Stumbleupon or Twitter

Total domination of the interwebs, here we come!