Aweditorium Hot Toddies

In the iPad ‘top hits’ section of the app store at the moment (in the UK at least) is an app called Aweditorium. It’s a really nice app to explore bands, and you get to swipe and pinch your way through various music, images, and see random popup information ala VH1’s Pop-Up Video. It’s from thesixtyone.com, which is a website that does the same.

I came across a band called the Hot Toddies, singing a song called HTML. You should probably just listen and make up your own mind:

HTML is not hard to spell,
When I’m with you, when I’m with you
Binary code is just ones and ohs
I thought you knew

You are so swell, just like DSL
You touched my modem, you touched my modem.
We went to the bop, my heart gigaflopped

Hot Toddies HTML

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Change of RSS

I’ve been using FeedBurner to power the RSS feeds on this site for a long time now, and I can’t exactly remember why. They seemed to be causing problems with the ‘read more’ link so I’ve switched FeedBurner off and gone native.

Google Reader should auto-update any subscriptions (at least, it did for me), but if not then consider this my I-really-should-have-mentioned-it-before-clicking-the-button message to update your RSS reader.

Burrito Friday

There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town (Barburrito) and following on with the good tradition set by fellow Burrito Friday eating colleagues, I thought I’d check it out.

Surprisingly healthy stuff with ‘all natural ingredients’ (I’m still waiting for the factory-grown meat), a bad pun as the tagline, and a donkey. What more could you ask from a burrito?

The Internet, powered by tape

In an effort to remove the amount of work that updating the site requires I’ve had a bit of a spring clean. The support forums have been deprecated, moving them over to the WordPress.org forums, and I’ve removed the bug tracker (which required way more work to maintain than it was worth). Hopefully this will give me more time to update plugins.

Although the site has been running WordPress 3.0 for some time I finally got around to using some of the new features and now several of the custom plugins (read ‘hacks’) that were running have been removed, thanks to the wonderful custom post types.

More dramatically, the site theme has been swapped over to Twenty Ten (or Twenty Ten One as I’ve unimaginatively called my child theme). This includes all the new feature goodness built in and is very slick to use. The galleries and thumbnails are particularly nice. The time cost involved in producing something that looks good is a lot lower, and in general I feel more inclined to post (which can only be a good thing for a blog).

Anyway, I’ll end this with a photo of my internet connection. Due to the layout of my apartment I have a low-profile Ethernet cable running under the carpet and through a door into another room. At some point something slipped in this arrangement and the cable was nipped, breaking the connection. Rather than rewire the whole thing I cut the cable, stripped the ends, and patched it all together with some tape:

Amazingly it’s been working just fine and runs at full gigabit speeds.

Unassigned IP Address

I recently upgraded to a gigabit router, with the intention of having my various computers and backup devices all wired in together and backing up at gigabit speeds. The router (a Billion 7800N) worked great, and the wireless-N speeds are very nice indeed. However, when it came to connecting to my Mac using an Ethernet cable all I got was:

Unassigned IP Address 169.x.x.x

I’d actually experienced this before while staying in a hotel and trying to use their free internet but had assumed it was the hotel’s problem. Not what I wanted to see from a new router.

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A New Kind of WordPress Spam

SpitalfieldsApart from bills the only thing that comes through my post box are flyers for local pizza companies and private hire taxi firms. I wish I could get Akismet for my post box (or maybe this already exists – a big dog).

Anyway, a while back I found an unusual hand-printed business card had been slipped in alongside the junk. I almost threw it away before noticing that it contained the URL for a WordPress.com blog. On closer inspection it turned out to be an advert for a blog about the area in which I am living, and which must have been hand delivered by the author – an unusual way to promote a blog. I can’t imagine that a similar online method of promotion would have made it past spam filters.

The card reads:

Over the coming days, weeks, months and years I am going to write and tell you about my life here in Spitalfields at the heart of London. How can I ever describe the exuberant richness and multiplicity of culture in this place to you? This is both my task and my delight.

The blog itself is an interesting read and I’ve already learned about several places of interest in my local area, as well as reading about some of the more colourful local characters. It seems that sometimes hand delivered spam is ok.

Automattic

Earlier on this year Matt Mullenweg got in touch to see if I was interested in doing a bit of work for Automattic, with the idea of allowing people to post to their blog using email. I jumped at the chance and after a few months of part-time tinkering and a shock exposure to MIME, out came Post by Email and an introduction to the vagaries of spam.

Today marks my first day working full-time as a ‘code wrangler’ for Automattic. As a prelude to this the past three weeks have been spent manning the support desk at WordPress.com, which has been enormously useful in learning how WordPress.com works.

Suffice to say that I’m very excited about what’s coming up, and I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the team. There’s a whole bunch of good stuff going on and after having spent four years using WordPress, writing about WordPress, and developing more than a few plugins for WordPress, I can’t wait to get stuck in.

A Case of a Weak Escape

All of my plugins should now be WordPress 2.8 compatible. For the majority of them the only issues involved were based on the use of the WordPress SQL escaping function. Previously I was calling this statically:

wpdb::escape

A bad habit I probably picked up from somewhere back in the WordPress 1.5 days that has stuck around. In WordPress 2.8 this function no longer works statically. The simple fix is to change it into:

$wpdb->escape

I’ve mentioned this here in case it’s useful to anyone else experiencing a PHP error along the lines of:

Call to undefined method _weak_escape()

A preferable change will be to make use of the new SQL prepare functions: Data Validation.

In other plugin news I’ve add a Geo IP locator service to this site, which is now used internally in my plugins for mapping an IP address to a location. Quite a fun excerise, and one less reliance on external services (which have a tendency to change without you noticing).

All About Email

I’ve been doing a bit of work recently for Automattic, culminating in Post by Email. If you’ve not seen it yet it’s a nifty way of publishing a post to WordPress.com by sending an email. Text and attachments are all converted into a WordPress post, and everything works just as if you’d typed it into a browser. All told a very quick and simple way of publishing and it’s been a lot of fun (and frustration) to develop.

Talking of which, the pace of development at Automattic is really quite astonishing and there’s a lot of very exciting stuff going on. From a technical point of view I never realised just how deep the rabbit hole goes. From a user’s point of view this is exactly how it should be.