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WordPress Get updated

I’ve updated the WordPress Get script (you might need to Ctrl-F5 on that page to retrieve the latest version) so it now handles ‘smart quotes’ in the post body correctly. Thanks to Chris Shiflett for the smart quote to entity conversion function and to Adam at Concept:Sublime for being the first person (I think) to implement WPGet on his personal page, and of course to telling me about the smart quote bug.

I’m now going to set up a little Projects page on the blog to temporarily house scripts and mini-projects like these until my main site arrives (which will use the WPGet integration on the home page).

Oh, and another thing – WordPress Get is now officially licensed under the GPL and LGPL (so you can integrate it into a closed site design), despite the fact that there’s only the GPL header in the script. Just make sure to mention WPGet, Peter Upfold (and link to peter.upfold.org.uk please).

Oh, and if you do choose to use this script, thanks!

WordPress Get – a small script to get WP posts without using WP

I’ve just started writing a small project which is (at the moment) called WordPress Get. The idea is that it can be integrated into site designs to pull out the latest few WordPress blog posts, so you can display them in a small sidebar/box or whatever.

At the moment, this version is very embryonic and has a few features that are missing, namely email error log reporting and a nicer error message if it should go wrong. Also, at the moment all this script does is print the whole array of WP data that is fetched, you’ll need to adapt it to print just post titles, or extracts of the posts or whatever suits you.

I was going to need something like this anyway for my future site here (which will be a portal to all my stuff around the web) which will include a small box with the latest blog post or something (and a link to the main blog).

It was this post at TeenDev that motivated me to actually get started, and I’ve GPL’d this code so that you can adapt it for another FOSS project. If you want to use it in a closed design, I might consider LGPL-ing the code at some point, when it’s matured a bit more.

Thanks and enjoy.

Ubuntu Dapper Drake first impressions

Slow, I know I am. But I’ve just run the Ubuntu Dapper Drake Live CD (well, actually the standard CD is the Live CD).

My first impressions are good. It boots pretty quickly for a live distro, and hardware compatibility on this machine was very good. The only thing Ubuntu couldn’t handle properly was my 19″ CRT, but nothing seems to manage that. It ran at 1280×1024@60Hz, which was a good resolution but a very poor refresh rate.

The Gnome desktop was slick and fast considering it was coming off a CD. Not my choice of desktop, but nevertheless, Gnome has come a very long way since I last used it seriously. The Gnome applications feel very slick and Ubuntu’s icon set particularly added to the polished feel.

The applications were up-to-date, the latest Gnome (2.14 if I’m right), Firefox 1.5.0.4 and a host of cool Gnome applications. Hankering to use my favourite KDE apps, however, I wasn’t too impressed with the fact that they run with a blue internal colour scheme, compared to Ubuntu’s standard orangey look. This is due to the lack of something like KDE’s GTK-QT-Engine which translates Gnome/GTK apps to look as if they’re running under KDE. Gnome could probably use this, but the problem isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, because there are more GTK-based apps than there are KDE/QT applications.

Anyway, that’s all for now, but I might well extend my Beginner’s Linux Tutorial series by running a quick tut on how to install Ubuntu off the Desktop (aka Live) CD.

Reasons why I hate MySpace

Sorry, I just have a fundamental disagreement with MySpace, I’m not sure about other social networking sites, but these are my reasons why:

  1. MySpace is dangerous – there are dangerous people on MySpace.
  2. MySpace push malware-infected ads.
  3. MySpace uses other ad campaigns that target young people – it’s debatable whether this is irresponsible in some cases.
  4. MySpace profiles attract terrible CSS coding and terrible web usability.
  5. MySpace profiles often have irritating auto-play Flash music players and other Flash embeds.
  6. MySpace blogs are generally rubbish.
  7. I already have ‘my space’ – that’s this blog. I don’t need someone to plonk their advertising on it and restrict what I can do.
  8. From my very limited experience of MySpace, you get people posting stupid messages/comments on your profile, and I find that irritating.
  9. Rupert Murdoch has enough money already without me giving him more advertising revenue.
  10. MySpace should leverage technology like XFN to promote open standards (don’t get me started)

OK I’m sorry about that, I just don’t like and don’t intend to use MySpace. I’ll post something nice and friendly now.

Sysinternals get gobbled up by Microsoft

Popular Windows freeware site Sysinternals has apparently been taken over by Microsoft. The guys at Sysinternals do some really cool freeware for Windows, including the awesome Rootkit Revealer amongst many other useful tools.

Unfortunately, this acquisition by Microsoft could spell trouble for the freeware tools, as we now don’t know what Microsoft might choose to do with them. They could take them offline; or worse, they could force Windows Genuine Advantage validation on them. Don’t get me started on WGA – it’s a terrible idea and as far as I’m concerned it’s spyware (this is coming from someone with genuine Windows, by the way).

So I’d recommend downloading them all now – we don’t know what Microsoft might choose to do with the code. I can’t help thinking the anti-rootkit technology might make it into the new builds of Windows Defender.

A guide to files and folders on Linux

Beginner's Linux Tutorials

Find this tutorial useful?





In my second tutorial about Linux, I’m going to look at files and folders and how they work on Linux – because it’s very different compared to the Windows way of C:, D:, and E: etc.

Basically, in Linux (and other Unix-based systems, but I’ll keep it simple for now), there aren’t different drives. In Linux, everything you can access stems from the top folder in the stack. It’s called the root folder and it can be accessed using a single forward slash – /.

» Read the rest of this post…

The first ever Gizbuzz podcast – with Raju Vegesna of Zoho

Yes, that’s right! Me and Huw (Gizbuzz) interviewed Raju Vegesna of Zoho, who are behind a lot of cool Web 2.0 office applications, including Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show for the first ever Gizbuzz Podcast.

We talk about Zoho, issues of trust with online office suites, I ask a few questions about the technical side (cross-browser implementation and stuff) and we also discuss the future of rich web applications (will they go mobile any time soon?), Google and more!

This is actually a really interesting insight into what Zoho are doing and where rich web applications might be going soon.

Linux NTFS support to get better

Linux NTFS Project

Apparently, anyway. Slashdot seem to have the story that the Linux NTFS project have released a beta version of their NTFS driver for Linux that should prove very useful for those (like me) running Windows + Linux dual-boots.

At the moment, using Fedora’s kmod-ntfs (available in the Livna repository), I can read my Windows NTFS partitions in Linux, but not write to them. The Linux NTFS project claim to have read/write support.

Now I would test this out, but it being a beta and my data being important, I won’t try it out until I’ve got a backup of everything done (I don’t know that it might not do something terrible to my data).

Anyway, good work and thanks to the Linux NTFS team.

Zooomr – what’s good and what could be better

Well, I’ve been blogging a lot about Zooomr recently. I think they’re actually very interesting. Like Flickr were originally (before Flickr got gobbled up by Yahoo), they are a small independent start-up (to the best of my knowledge).

Zooomr are similar to Flickr in the fact that they are both photo sites, but Zooomr does quite a few things better:

  • They don’t have ridiculous restrictions on what is and isn’t a photo – put what you want on there (within reason, of course)
  • Geotagging is awesome (when I have some real photos to test I’ll get a better look)
  • Trackbacks on photos (Flickr are almost as slow as Blogger are on getting trackbacks on blogs, come on Blogger!)
  • Flickr has RSS feed support – but Zooomr really pushes it and I think RSS is available to syndicate a lot more things than Flickr can
  • Tagging – Zooomr’s implementation is just slick and appears absolutely everywhere
  • Uploading is great – I love the fact that multiple uploads are handled so intuitively
  • Integration with Google Maps API is everywhere, I love it

However, they could work on:

  • Speed – at times Zooomr is painfully slow, when Flickr is fine. Yes, this must be difficult to afford the server & bandwidth capacity when you haven’t got Yahoo behind you, but still it will drive people away
  • The interface of Zooomr personally I don’t think looks as nice as Flickr’s – Flickr looks and feels friendlier to the new user
  • I can’t see anything along the lines of a set creator or something like Flickr’s Organisr. This functionality would be nice
  • Something like (or better than) the cool Flash animations and little HTML snippets that show your recent photos – I’d put one on the sidebar here!
  • Publicity – Zooomr’s great, but hardly anyone knows about it. I suppose the free Pro accounts (and people like me blogging about Zooomr) will help them, but without product awareness, they’ll never beat Flickr
  • Innovation – not to say they haven’t innovated already, they have, but they need to work on some really awesome features that leave Flickr’s in the dust (feature wars anyone?)

Anyway, I hope this helps the Zooomr team try and increase their popularity – I think it’s nice to see the small players win sometimes. Zooomr – I think you won me over with the free Pro account. One question – how would you have upgraded to Pro if you didn’t get upgraded for free? I couldn’t see the option anywhere.

Voist, Hybrid Accounts and more

Finally managed to get a bit more web development (as opposed to getting pre-developed stuff online), as I’m continuing work on Hybrid Accounts. And my recent meddling with integrating phpBB into web designs, (so the forum looks an integral part of the site not just a different site) credit to the Extreme Styles Mod, has brought me to start thinking about Hybrid’s own forum solution.

Voist (as it’s codenamed, I know it sounds like a VoIP app) will be available probably under the GPL as well as a non-Free licence and its main features will be:

  • Easy and simple forum solution written in PHP and using MySQL as DB
  • Nice and friendly URLs (so site.com/topic/4 rather thanĂ‚Â site.com/viewtopic.php?t=4) which will rely on Apache’s mod_rewrite
  • Clean design with a fairly easy skinning ability
  • [This bit will be in a non-GPL version] Connection with Hybrid Accounts

As I’ve mentioned, Voist will hopefully integrate with Hybrid Accounts in the proprietary version (that will likely be the only difference between it and the GPL version, however). That means I can’t start Voist yet, because Hybrid Accounts isn’t finished.

So that’s what I’ve been working on for a bit of today, Hybrid Accounts. There’s also something very special coming up, but they’ll be more about that later.