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New Year, New Site Design

A change of scenery here at my personal site has been long overdue, I think, so I’m pleased to usher in 2012 with a refresh of the site’s design!

A screenshot of the new site design

Keeping Things Compact

The first thing you’ll likely notice is the new compact, fixed header, with the navigation to the major parts of the site. It stays fixed in place, so you can always get back to any of those pages at any time. (It also swaps out the legacy image gradients for exciting new CSS3 gradients where available!)

Who Shot the Serif?

I have also moved away from Bitstream Charter/Georgia as the main font around the site, in favour of Helvetica Neue/Helvetica/Arial, combined with the existing accents of Gill Sans (where available!) for the headings. I think the site now has a more contemporary feel — and reads particularly well on devices where Helvetica Neue is available, like the iPad.

There is also a new webfont in use for the ‘Peter Upfold’ text in the header — Charis SIL (generously licensed under the SIL Open Font Licence).

Practising What I Preach

Cookie picture, by amagill -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/34754258/

As a strong proponent of users having control over their privacy online, I am pleased that the Do Not Track initiative, for indicating the user’s preferences about tracking technology on the web, has gained traction in many web browsers. Because I support the rights of users to make choices about the code running in their browsers and what information it is collecting about them, I took this opportunity to begin the implementation of Do Not Track support on my site.

» Read the rest of this post…

Amalia is Now Open Source

Amalia

I am very pleased to announce that Amalia, the content management system I helped to develop for Van Patten Media, has now been released as an open source project!

Amalia is designed to be a content management system ‘for the rest of us’ and to make it easy to manage a small website. Amalia is a database-less CMS, so it doesn’t need the complexity, maintenance, and expense of a MySQL server, making it possible to run on even many of the most limited of web hosting packages.

There are, admittedly, some missing pieces in Amalia — and it certainly isn’t perfect. I am excited, however, about the possibilities of Amalia and its future potential as an open source project. We would certainly love your feedback, ideas, Core code, plugins, and any other contributions you might want to make.

Please head on over to project’s GitHub page for the code and to get involved. You can also check out the install guide (PDF) and an install video on YouTube.

DfontSplitter for Windows 0.3.1

DfontSplitter logo

“What? I thought you updated this yesterday?”

Well, I did. πŸ˜›

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s auto-update-capable release, is DfontSplitter for Windows 0.3.1. This version includes a single fix, introducing a new method of avoiding the dreaded ‘corrupt font file’ error. For some unknown reason, sometimes Windows simply will refuse to work with the original fondu output file, but if simply DfontSplitter makes a duplicate of the file, it will happily see it as a TrueType font! It is very odd behaviour, and this fix only works in some cases, but it should reduce the incidence of ‘corrupt font files’ being output from DfontSplitter for Windows. This means users will less frequently have to go through a secondary hoop to get Windows to play nicely with DfontSplitter’s outputs.

Here are the official release notes:

New Features and Bugfixes

  • Uses a new method to decrease the incidence of ‘invalid font file’ errors on Windows. More fonts should now convert correctly without requiring further intervention.

Known Issues

  • Some fonts still require further conversion after DfontSplitter has created the TrueType font file. FontForge is one option for this.

As always, you can always get the latest and greatest version of DfontSplitter by downloading it from the the DfontSplitter project page.

DfontSplitter for Windows 0.3

DfontSplitter logo

I have just released a new version of DfontSplitter for Windows, version 0.3. The main change here is a brand new automatic update notification system. Like the Mac version, which uses the excellent Sparkle Framework, users of DfontSplitter for Windows can now keep the application up-to-date without having to manually check the website. This makes my development of the software easier, as I can release smaller feature releases more frequently, rather than large releases that must have a longer lifespan.

Unfortunately, because the automatic update feature is new, previous users of DfontSplitter 0.2 are not going to be notified automatically about this new release. πŸ™

If you know any other users of DfontSplitter for Windows, please let them know this update is available so they might have the opportunity to keep up-to-date with this new feature too.

Here are the official release notes for this version:

New Features and Bugfixes

  • New automatic update facility, similar to that of DfontSplitter for Mac. Users can now be notified of new releases in the future, which may include new features.

Known Issues

As always, you can always get the latest and greatest version of DfontSplitter by downloading it from the the DfontSplitter project page.

DfontSplitter 0.4.1 for Mac

DfontSplitter logo

I have just released a new version of DfontSplitter for Mac. It is a bugfix-only release, containing a single fix for an issue that affected some non-English versions of Mac OS X.

New Features and Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug where DfontSplitter would report valid files as not being in the correct format on some non-English versions of Mac OS X. File type detection is now done through uniform type identifiers, avoiding this issue.

Known Issues

  • Converting TTC files on Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) does sometimes run into problems, where the TTC splitting script can’t open the TTC file. The reason for this is currently unclear.
  • Moving TTF files that have been extracted from a .dfont over to Windows β€” please see this workaround.
  • Some Font Suitcase files may not contain TTF data that can be extracted.

Users of DfontSplitter for Mac should update their copy of the application by launching it, and choosing DfontSplitter > Check for Updates from the menu bar. Alternatively, you can always download a fresh copy from the DfontSplitter project page.

WPGet 1.0 Released

It has been quite a while since this bit of software was updated, but please welcome WPGet 1.0.

As well as the milestone of reaching version 1.0, this version now sports a host of new changes, including:

  • Switched over to Perl regular expressions for better forwards compatibility
  • Ability to show only posts in a specified date range in WPGet&#8217s output
  • Ability to show only posts that match a specific search term in WPGet’s output.
  • Support for stripping links out of WPGet’s output.
  • Drops support for PHP 4

The best way to install WPGet if you’re setting up a new installation is to use the hosted WPGet Installer. Existing users can upgrade their installations by running only Step 1 (‘set up for the first time’) of the installer and uploading the updated wpget.php file that will be generated.

Alternatively, you may download the installer to run yourself from the WPGet project page (or even perform a manual install if you are proficient in PHP).

The new release is also available at the PHP Classes page for WPGet and at HotScripts.

New Portfolio Page

Just a quick post to say that I’ve put up a brand new portfolio page here on my site.

The old one was way out of date and had no images, so I am pleased I have taken the time to put together the new page, which features some Software Development projects I have been working on, some Blogging and Podcasting that I do and some information about my web server and the Systems that I am familiar with.

Feel free to take a look and let me know what you think.

DfontSplitter 0.4 for Mac

I have released a new update to DfontSplitter for Mac. Here are the release notes for this version:

New Features and Bugfixes

  • The Font Suitcase format is now supported. TrueType font data inside a FFIL Font Suitcase can now be extracted with DfontSplitter.

Known Issues

  • Converting TTC files on Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) does sometimes run into problems, where the TTC splitting script can’t open the TTC file. The reason for this is currently unclear.
  • Moving TTF files that have been extracted from a .dfont over to Windows — please see this workaround.
  • Some Font Suitcase files may not contain TTF data that can be extracted.

Screenshot of DfontSplitter for Mac

As always, go across to the DfontSplitter project page to download the new release.

If you’re already using DfontSplitter for Mac, simply go to DfontSplitter > Check for Updates within the application to upgrade to the new release.

Toggle JavaScript and Plugins in Safari

I don’t like to browse the web with JavaScript and Flash and so-on automatically enabled unless I think I need it. A large percentage of ‘web annoyances’ can be avoided simply by turning off JavaScript and plugins unless you really need them. There’s also a security argument to doing this too.

In Firefox, I use NoScript to do this and it works really well. I’ve been using Safari more and more frequently in recent times, however, and I am not aware of a similar solution for the Mac’s default browser.

So I have devised a couple of AppleScripts, which were heavily inspired by and partially derived from the example on this Mac OS X Hints page. They allow me to toggle on and off JavaScript and plugins, respectively (I never have big Java switched on at any time!)

Please note that this is for Safari for Mac OS X only and is designed specifically for the new Snow Leopard Services functionality.

I have created them as Automator Services. The benefit of making them Services is that you can then assign a keyboard shortcut directly to the script and be able to simply press that keyboard shortcut to quickly invoke the script and do the toggle. It’s a lot quicker than hunting through a script menu or launching an application and doesn’t require any third-party software.

System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’d like to use these Services, download them below. Once unpacked, drop the files in ~/Library/Services, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts, select Services from the list and assign your desired shortcut to the two scripts.

These scripts use Growl to notify you of the toggled state after the script has run. You’ll need Growl installed to make full use of it.

Download the Toggle JavaScript and Plugins scripts (zip archive, 270 KB)

DfontSplitter 0.3 for Mac

DfontSplitter 0.3 for Mac screenshot

I’ve been busy beavering away in Xcode and I am now proud to release version 0.3 of DfontSplitter for Mac.

So, here are the release notes:

New Features and Bugfixes

  • Now supports the splitting and extracting of TrueType Collection (TTC) files in addition to traditional Mac Datafork (dfont) files.
  • The conversion of a .dfont will no longer fail if there is already a TTF of the same name in the same directory; it will now overwrite the existing file.
  • Users of Snow Leopard on Intel Core 2 and Xeon Macs will now be running the DfontSplitter application in 64-bit mode.
  • Improved error message text.

Known Issues

  • Converting TTC files on Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) does sometimes run into problems, where the TTC splitting script can’t open the TTC file. The reason for this is currently unclear.
  • Moving TTF files that have been extracted from a .dfont over to Windows — please see this workaround.

As always, go across to the DfontSplitter project page to download the new release.

If you’re already using DfontSplitter for Mac, simply go to DfontSplitter > Check for Updates within the application to upgrade to the new release.