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Windows XP Zune Theme

Following up from my post about the leaked Royale Noir theme, I’ve been told that Microsoft’s Zune theme for Windows XP is essentially the evolution of this theme.

It’s pretty nice actually and feels much more ‘finished’ than the Royale Noir theme. It’s now running on my Windows desktop.

Download it from Microsoft here.

ZuneThemeZuneTheme Hosted on Zooomr

Thanks for the tip, Adam.

WPGet 0.7 – your input wanted

You might notice that WPGet hasn’t been getting much development time recently. Basically, I was really happy with the 0.6 release and we’d had no reported problems, and I had no new feature ideas at the time, so I left it.

However, I’ve been scribbling down ideas for WPGet 0.7 and I’ve got some cool stuff I want to do. But what do you – the users think? Please feel free to contact me in any way you want (comments on here are fine!) to let me know what works for you, what I should add and what sucks beyond belief.

A few ideas so far are below. Please note – these ideas are subject to being scribbled out, and to more being scribbled down. This list doesn’t guarantee a feature will make it.

  • New style system – the output from WPGet will have templated styles (plus custom stylesheets as well, and original mode)
  • Perhaps generation of images (for off-site use, in forum signatures etc) from WordPress posts?
  • Support for WordPress author, so you can see who wrote what in the WPGet preview.
  • Stabilise the multi-category support (currently considered beta quality in 0.6)
  • WordPress page support? (Is this even needed?)

UPDATE: Forgot to add – test it with WordPress 2.1

Any idea with a question marks on it is definitely not guaranteed.

So, tell me what you want and I’ll build it!

Shout all about it – new Megaphone source release

I’m really sorry about the title. Coding for too long* makes me go crazy.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, it was about time for another Megaphone source release, and here it is. The offending messy code has been eliminated for now, and I’ll add it back and and tidy it up when necessary.

Instructions for installation are in the archive in the INSTALL file (Windows users should open the .DOS.TXT files, as they are Notepad-friendly).

The archive includes the current PHP source, .htaccess files for mod_rewrite (required!) and a database skeleton SQL file.

Let me reiterate – Megaphone is not ready for the prime-time. It’s pre-alpha, pre-release, in development software. It has a tendency to eat your pets if you upset it. 😛

All the relevant stuff is in the archives available at the project page.

As ever, it’s released under the GNU General Public License, making it freely distributable and all that open source stuff. Share your code!

* Well, it’s been 6pm until 10pm last night, about an hour this morning and 4pm to 7pm this evening. But it’s awesome and I really do love doing it. It’s probably good thing the only thing I really do is tech…

Megaphone progress update

After a couple of weeks off Megaphone development, the hacking has begun again and I’m working on strengthening the wobbly legs of basic infrastructure Megaphone has.

The new HTML sanitiser function (graciously contributed by Jacob Peddicord) is now up and running and is now in theory protecting both submissions and comments from unwanted HTML tags.

There’s also various bits of new functionality, including a new administration panel (where you can add a user) and some tweaks for better UI.

There’s still no styles (apart from an OpenClipArt logo), that’s a job for much later.

Screenshot, anyone? Click to biggify.

Megaphone Screenshot

I promise I’ll get out another source release real soon. At the moment there’s still some redundant code that’s been ported from another project than needs weeding out and sorting out.

One more note – I’ve started writing up some developer documentation to explain how the project work and the technical details behind it and lay down some good coding practices. Any patches/code will be received gratefully and have a good chance of making it into Megaphone – this is open source!

As ever, development updates will be here as they happen. Just to reiterate, Megaphone is free/open source software under the GPL and the project page is here.

Partition shuffling

Up until a couple of days ago I still hadn’t tried out Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 which I downloaded a long time ago. Unfortunately, I discovered that the ethernet driver for VMware doesn’t work (and it used to in Beta 2), and so I was forced to wait until a convenient moment to install it on a physical machine (which wasn’t going to be my main desktop, funnily enough).

Windows Vista’s installer is still pathetically fussy about where it will allow you to install Vista. It requires installation to the first primary partition on a hard drive which is master.

Well, that’s really convenient, considering that my partition layout on the first hard drive on this machine was as follows:

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40060403712 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4870 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1        1912    15358108+  83  Linux
/dev/hda2            1913        1988      610470   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda4            3009        4870    14956515    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/hda5            4054        4870     6562521   83  Linux
/dev/hda6            3009        4053     8393899+  83  Linux

hda1 was my CentOS server installation, hda5 was a few gigs of data left over from somewhere else, and hda6 was my Ubuntu Dapper installation. Of course, the Windows install required the monopoly on hda1, which currently was occupied.

Well, thank goodness for the flexibility of Linux. I simply used the low level tool dd to make images of all the partitions (onto a spare 160 GB drive also in that machine), and then wiped off the disk.

One Vista install later, and the drive now had just one primary partition of rougly 17 GB with Vista on it.

I then created a partition to match the size of the CentOS install, and dd‘d the image back. After tweaking a few configuration files via the Ubuntu Live distro, I then rebooted with my GRUB bootloader CD in the drive, typed in the boot commands and CentOS booted like nothing had happened. 🙂

I then reinstalled GRUB to the hard drive (with a boot menu obviously, I don’t type boot commands every boot!) and added Vista to the list of OSs to boot.

The Ubuntu Dapper partition unfortunately would no longer fit (by about 2 GB), as Vista is now using a lot of the space, but instead I installed Edgy, and I’ll recover the important files off Dapper when I need them.

So after about half a day of partition shuffling, it now looks like:

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40060403712 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4870 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1        2040    16384000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda2            2040        4870    22733220    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            2040        3952    15359384+  83  Linux
/dev/hda6            3953        3985      265041   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda7            3986        4870     7108731   83  Linux

hda1 is now Vista (NTFS), hda5 is CentOS, hda6 is Linux swap (for both) and hda7 is Ubuntu Edgy Eft.

The things I do to test Vista…

My search engine experiment

Wow. It took Google just over 1 day to index my site and produce results for the following (previously a no-hit) word:


That’s probably helped due to the fact that:

  • I’ve registered this site on Google’s Webmaster Tools
  • My site has a Google sitemap (generated by this awesome WordPress plugin)
  • Google consider my site worth enough to crawl it pretty regularly

In fact, Yahoo also yields results as does Windows Live Search.

I’m surprised at how fast it came through actually, considering my site isn’t exactly that popular (Google reports 3 out of 10 PageRank, but I’m sure that’s undeserved).

Anyway, interesting experiment.

Getting Firefox 2.0 yourself on Linux screencast

I did a screencast yesterday of getting Firefox 2.0 yourself on Linux, at FOSSwire, which also features a lot of Linux/FOSS tutorials, tips, reviews, articles etc.

If you want to know how to install Firefox on Linux yourself, then this screencast is for you!

Watch it here.


Search engine experiment

Excuse me, this post will sound a bit random.

I’m actually conducting a quick search engine experiment.


I’ll tell you what I’m doing a bit later. I’d also appreciate it if you don’t link to this particular post for now. All will be revealed.

CNET editor James Kim found deceased

I didn’t post about this while he was missing anywhere I blog – partly because it was covered so many other places.

Basically, CNET editor and geek personality James Kim went missing with his family in the Oregon wilderness a while back. His family were found, but until today, he was still missing.

I got the news via Engadget that he’d unfortunately been found dead by rescuers today.

This is so sad.

While I have to admit that I hadn’t actually heard of James Kim before this story first broke, it’s still quite shocking to know that this happened to someone so high profile. You just don’t expect something like this to happen. The sad fact remains – it does.

My thoughts and prayers are with Kim’s family as well as anyone else affected by this. I know this isn’t directly related to me and as I said I hadn’t actually heard of him before I initially heard of them going missing, but I felt compelled to publicly offer my condolences to anyone affected by this.

For crying out loud!

My good friend (and Oratos co-founder) Huw Leslie has just started a personal blog.

I just thought I’d give it a quick mention here to my (apparently 20-25 according to FeedBurner) subscribers, so if you’re interested in anything at all that he might have to say on tech, British politics or anything else, get over there and get subscribing!

From the about page:

I kinda thought I should have a personal blog; not necessarily to write what I had for breakfast everyday, because that’s not interesting to anyone. I expect this will be more like a personal column, with my opinions and writings on the world.

Gizbuzz is great, but the brand is Gizbuzz, not me. Sometimes I feel that restricts what I write, because I don’t necessarily want to write within Gizbuzz’s niche all the time. For example, if I have something to say about British politics, Gizbuzz just isn’t the right place for it.

Great domain name too –