Localization Thanks

I try and make a point of localizing all software I produce so that it can be used by as many different people as possible. Last year I wrote some articles (Translating WordPress Plugins and Localizing WordPress Plugins) detailing how to localize a plugin and theme from both a developers and translators point of view. Since then my plugins have been receiving a steady stream of translations and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s not only helped produce translation but also pointed out areas of my code that were not yet localized.

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Late New Year Update

Yes, this is one of those late-late February New Year round-ups! And what a year it’s been in general. Moving back to the ‘real world’ (aka London) has now come and gone, and I’m safely wrapped up in trying to stay ahead of the world’s general downward curve.

This site has fully moved from it’s previous Dreamhost location and is now being hosted by Slicehost. This has allowed me to add bug tracking through Redmine, which has helped considerably in keeping track of the state of things. I’m still experimenting with the right settings, and there are occasional weekend dips as I move things around, but everything should now be running quite nicely with a combination of Apache and Phusion Passenger. If you’re not afraid of managing your own system then Slicehost are highly recommended.

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Chinese Relapse

After a prolonged lapse I will soon be restarting my attempts to learn Chinese by signing up for proper classroom-based lessons. My hope is that I’ll be able to learn better than previous DIY attempts. I’ve even been provided with a student ID card, effectively turning me into a bona-fide student once more.

On the development side of things I’ve finally updated all of my WordPress plugins to support the latest version of WordPress, as well as fixing most outstanding problems. I’m also planning to distribute the plugin library that I’ve developed over the course of the past few years. This will likely take place as a series of articles documentating how to use it. Hopefully this will prove useful either as the basis for other plugins, or simply as a learning resource.

A Change Of Location

Next week sees the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Rat, and with it millions of Chinese will celebrating with their families. The rat symbolises wealth and prosperity to the Chinese, and I’m hoping this is a good sign as by the end of the month I will be moving to London to restart Life 2.0.

My feelings about this are mixed. In many respects I’m looking forward to having access to all the modern goodness that I’m used to, but in others I’m expecting severe culture-shock as I rejoin the familiar rat-race (pun intended). Like many Chinese at this time of the year I shall be catching up with family (although hopefully not hampered by extreme weather conditions). Following that I’ll be faced with the rather more difficult prospect of finding employment and a place to live.

Seeing as the internet is ideally built for self-promotion I thought I may as well mention that if anyone happens to be in the position of needing a full-time London-based developer then please do get in touch. There’s some more details about my skills here, and it should be noted that I can do other things besides PHP/WordPress. Pimp-mode over.

China Freeze

I’m cold. Very cold. For the past two weeks China has been experiencing the worst winter in fifty years. Much of the country has been covered in snow. Living in the relatively warmer climates of Southern China you would expect winter to be a mild affair. Last year it was, but this year the temperatures have dropped to around 4 degrees (daytime). Now this isn’t such a low number when compared to other parts of the country, but the important factor is that the South is completely unprepared for such weather. For example, the building I live in has absolutely no insulation, the windows have gaps along the edges, the door leading to the balcony is an interior door, and there is no heating of any kind. The building itself is made of concrete and this only seems to intensify the exterior temperature. I can safely say that this is the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced – cold, damp, and miserable. Prague seems balmy in comparison.

The weather has affected the country just before the main Chinese New Year holiday, and right at the time when millions of migrant workers want to return home. Apparently 500,000 of them were stranded at the main train station here in Guangzhou, due to cancelled trains elsewhere on the network. The situation is so bad that the army was called in to calm the situation. The estimated cost to the country is about 18 billion yuan. Ouch.

All I can say is roll on spring.

Christmas in Bejing

After two years in China I finally managed to do something I’ve been planning to do for a long time, namely visit Beijing. As Southern China is such a very long way from the North, Christmas seemed as good a time as any, and after some last-minute clicking I had a flight and hotel booked to see me through the Christmas period.

Not only is Beijing geographically distant from Guangzhou, it’s also different in most other respects. The people look different, they behave different, they eat different, and they speak different. It would be easy to convince yourself you are in a different country entirely.

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A Year In The Life Of A Secret Mac User

Just over a year ago my long-suffering Windows laptop decided enough was enough and stopped working. As writing software is my profession, and it being the only computer I possessed, I was forced to make a quick-purchase decision for a replacement.

After some research I was going to settle on an Acer TravelMate 8204 laptop, it being a logical progression from my existing TravelMate 800. With money in hand I ventured out and visited a series of computer stores and cubicles in Hong Kong’s electronic forest, before returning home satisfied and with a shiny new computer – not an Acer, but an Apple Mac Mini – a major departure from my original plan, and the beginnings of a voyage into completely unexplored territory.

It’s over a year now since I first tasted the world of Apple and I thought it would be interesting to write about my experiences, the software I’m using, and why my next computer will almost certainly be another Apple.

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Made for Karaoke – The state of Chinese music

Ktv Party World

Recently I’ve been trying to find examples of good modern Chinese music. It’s been a hard search. Most Chinese music appears to be made entirely for the karaoke market. The reason for this is probably one of simple economies – the karaoke market in China is huge. Almost everyone takes part in it, both men and women, young and old. Karaoke centres are vast buildings with hundreds of private rooms where people go to sing on all manner of occasions – with friends, lovers, even on business.

TV is also full of karaoke-style shows. At any moment of the day it is likely that somewhere there is a TV station in China broadcasting amateur singing. It’s taken very seriously, with big competitions and major prizes. Often a popular karaoke singer will go on to start a successful pop career. It even goes deep inside the state with CCTV7 broadcasting the unintentionally funny army karaoke show (or at least, that’s my interpretation of it).

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Inside WordPress: A series of WordPress guides

I’ve started a series of WordPress guides which I’ve titled ‘Inside WordPress‘. My aim with these is to explain different aspects of WordPress from a practical point of view. That is, they will be focused on showing you how to do things rather than telling you what to do. I’ve already made a start with several guides explaining some of the more simpler aspects of WordPress, as well as some going a little further. The guides will not always be aimed at beginners and, if there is enough interest, I already have plans to dig deep inside the belly of the beast.

The series contains the following new guides:

And I’ve added existing guides into the mix as well:

As with everything else readers are invited to give feedback and ask questions. If there are any areas of WordPress that you are unsure about or would like an in-depth explanation of then please do suggest – it may just be used as the basis for a guide!