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New design

Hello everyone. In case you’re reading in a feed reader, click through now.

You’ve probably just noticed that there’s been a bit of a change. “What, where’s the orange?”. Let me tell you a story.

This morning, I woke up and I had an idea. I knew what I wanted my site to look like in the future. So I rushed onto the computer, launched The GIMP and did a quick mock-up of how the header image for a future revision of the site might look. I decided it looked awesome, so I saved it.

Then I wondered “hmmm – I wonder what this header image looks like if I put it in a veryplaintxt theme?”. So I got the local copy of my blog on my MacBook, installed veryplaintxt and put in my header image.

I then got really inspired and started a marathon CSS hacking session (the style kind, not the DVD kind), so I whipped through veryplaintxt’s CSS and designing my new blog style.

Interrupted between a random 16-mile, 2 hour cycle ride, I worked on the CSS all day (bearing in mind I’m not all that good at CSS) and finally, I integrated my static pages with the new style too.

By that time, I liked it so much I wanted to put it on the site, make it go live, today. Actually, it came close to not going live today, due to an incident involving Mac OS X’s Finder overwriting and not merging directories, but I don’t want to relive that moment.

If you visited the site in the last hour or so, you will have been greeted by a nice page telling you a new design is coming. Well, here it is.

I’m really happy with how it’s come out. The Blogger-era orange from those days is now long gone, and has been replaced with a nice white/red/blue look. The design looks and feels cleaner (and is – the code is now a lot better than it used to be). I just hope my readers like it as much as I do!

Thanks to veryplaintxt, which was the base style that I worked from to make my theme and of course two of the best operating systems in the world. 😛 And the Konqueror, Cyberduck and Smultron projects for allowing me to upload, erm – upload, and code my new theme.

By the way, what do you think? Please do let me know your suggestions, praise, complaints and all other feedback via the comments.

At the current time, I’m aware of a few minor issues with the design, including strange navbar rendering under WebKit (but not KHTML) and a couple of pixels being off here and there, as well as some minor IE bugs. I’ll keep you posted as to when I have ironed these out. If you see any other rendering bugs, let me know please!

All WordPress 2.1.1 users upgrade now – serious security issue

If you downloaded WP 2.1.1 in the last few days, you could have nasty code in your WP install (result of a cracker who got into

Read more here.

Since I upgraded only hours after the inital announcement of WP 2.1.1 and not in the last few days, I don’t think I’m affected.

Nevertheless, this blog is updated already, and all the other WP blogs I’m responsible for (FW, GB and YMM) are down temporarily and are being updated right now.

If you are running WP 2.1.1, upgrade asap.

UPDATE: every site I’m involved with is updated to 2.1.2 and back online. Now I’m off to bed – it’s already past midnight…

KDE on Mac OS X

Just installed KDE on my brand, shiny new MacBook. I got 2 GB worth of KDE goodness (the ‘everything’ torrent) from here and simply opened up the disk image and launched kde4.mpkg.

Konqueror runs and works reasonably well as a web browser – but sadly crashes when trying to use it as a file manager (and I’m not after the web browsing portion).

Installing KDE on OS X


Konqueror on OS X


Konqueror crashed!

And crashing… 🙂

I do have a whole host of other KDE apps on Mac OS X to play with and of course much more stuff to do natively too!

OS X is awesome. All the marketing stuff about ‘working out of the box’ is actually surprisingly true. After running the initial “I’m going to ask you millions of questions” setup assistant, you fly straight into a ready-to-run system. Maybe it’s just I’ve never had a decent Windows OEM setup before (is there such a thing?), but Apple get the OOBE right.

It’s here!!

Full steam ahead on the MS FUD machine

This OSNews article.


“The deal that we announced at the end of last year with Novell I consider to be very important. It demonstrated clearly the value of intellectual property even in the Open Source world. I would not anticipate that we make a huge additional revenue stream from our Novell deal, but I do think it clearly establishes that Open Source is not free and Open Source will have to respect intellectual property rights of others just as any other competitor will.”

Clearly, Microsoft are openly admitting here that they are unable to sell Microsoft products on their own merits, and so they have to bully people into thinking that choosing open source solutions is legally unsafe by firing random bursts of intellectual property violation bravado.

Here’s a challenge for you, Steve. Show me some infringing code. It’s all out there, in the open. Show me some infringing code and we’ll collectively sort it out.

Except that’s not the point. MS don’t want to actually start a patent war – I guess they know full well they have infringed more than a few of other people’s patents, so they don’t want to open a can of worms.

The game is FUD. Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Here’s how it goes.

  • Some open source solutions are better and cheaper than MS ones. Lots of people start investigating them to use instead of MS solutions.
  • MS notices this and invents some wonderful reason why open source is ‘unsafe’ legally.
  • MS spread the idea that “open source is unsafe”.
  • The people that were investigating the open source products hear MS’s idea, believe it, and go “we don’t want trouble with MS lawyers, we better not choose the open source product”.
  • These people go on to buy MS products.
  • MS get money and retain market share.

I don’t think they can play that game forever. At some point, they’re going to have to change their strategy.

It’s just a shame they have to resort to such childish methods to sell their products. Imagine what they could do if they put all their time, effort and money into making great products instead of bullying the world into rebuying their stuff.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This is why I love blogging

I just got a comment from someone called Jack (Dunford), on my last post. That’s not remarkable in itself – I get comments from people I don’t know fairly frequently.

Checking his blog, it looks like he also attended the West Quay Apple Store opening.

That’s a pretty unlikely coincidence, if you ask me. What’s even weirder though, is that he happened to take a photo of the queue, and I happened to be in that photo! Considering there were hundreds of people at the store opening, the likelihood of someone happening to have taken a picture with me in it is really really low.

That is one seriously weird coincidence. Weird, but cool.

Here’s the full photo, and I’ve cropped it a bit and pointed me out below.

Me at West Quay

There’s also a set of lots more photos from the opening here.

Really really strange coincidence.

Oh, and in response to the comment, the OLPC would be too low powered for my needs. Not quite a MacBook with my spec. 🙂 I want to see what they’re going to do with the interface though.


My MacBook apparently got dispatched today, one day ahead of the estimated time (yay!) and the shipping estimate is now the 23rd February.

With any luck, though, the shipping will be quicker than expected too, but I won’t get my hopes up.

In any case, my MacBook is now configured and on the way (expect a rush of posts once it’s here). 😀

When will they learn?

On BoingBoing:

Arnezami, a hacker on the Doom9 forum, has published a crack for extracting the “processing key” from a high-def DVD player. This key can be used to gain access to every single Blu-Ray and HD-DVD disc.

When will the recording/movie industries learn? Attempting to lock down consumers with ever more restrictive DRM is not going to work. Soon, we’ll get to a point where it’s easier to illegally acquire content than it is to purchase it, then jump through all the hoops to get it working legitimately (in fact, you could argue that we’ve already got there, with the whole ‘HD ready’ fiasco).

Sure, there are still practical issues with distributing 20 odd gigabytes of high definition movie, but it looks like AACS really was as completely rubbish as I thought it would be.

Clearly, DRM is flawed. The whole concept is. Good security algorithms are built on good mathematical foundations, then tested for years before they’re declared as secure. AACS simply didn’t have enough time to stand the test of time and get the heck pounded out of it, before it started being used.

DRM’s downfall is pretty much inevitable now, in my opinion. With Steve Jobs openly wanting it dead, it’s just a matter of when. And then everything will be great again. Oh, hang on, then there’s still Microsoft. Damn.

UPDATE: oooh, will this mean they’ll start revoking high-def players? Brilliant. Working one day, dead the next.

I bought a Mac

  • MacBook 13″ white
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
  • 2 GB RAM 😛
  • 120 GB HDD
  • And all of the other specs of the MacBook

It will take 3 business days to configure (that RAM upgrade and the HDD upgrade), then 3-7 days to ship.

And I can’t wait.

Just to clarify – this will not mean that I will stop using Linux (I certainly now don’t have the money to buy a new desktop anyway 😀 ). It’s not a ‘switch’ either, it’s expanding my horizons, being proficient in all three operating systems (not only does that look impressive on a CV, it’s fun too) and playing around with new stuff.

Expect a massive load of Mac-related blog posts coming as soon as it arrives (unboxing photos included hopefully) and then the platform balance will probably return to about 45%:45%:15% (Mac:Linux:Windows). Or something like that. 🙂

And I’ll try and get that Safari bug to reproduce. Plus there shouldn’t be future Safari bugs, as I’ll actually be able to test in it!

I can’t wait also to have a play around in Xcode and compare it to MS Visual Studio (the latter being a very good product, so I hope Xcode is mind-blowingly good 😀 ). In fact, I better shut up right now or I’ll be here all night explaining what I’m going to be doing. And annoy everyone.

West Quay Apple store

Just got back from Southampton (~30 miles away from where I live). The new Apple Store in the West Quay shopping centre opened today, and I managed to get my hands on an exclusive t-shirt for apparently being one of the first 1,000 people to go in!

I managed to leave without buying anything, this time. It was pretty cool to go there and be there for the opening, but it was really packed and I was queueing for over an hour to even get inside in the first place!

While there, I also discovered a rendering bug with this site under Safari (which doesn’t show up in Konqueror), so I’ll have to take a look at that and hopefully get it fixed!

UPDATE: I can’t seem to see the same issue using BrowsrCamp to get screenshots, so I have no idea what caused the bug. In case it shows up again, the sidebar on the left seemed to have the text appear twice – once on top of the existing text, so you couldn’t read it. Anyone else see this/not see this with Safari?

UPDATE #2: This bug is really nasty. I’ve been unable to get it to consistently happen, so I’m afraid I’m unable to fix it. If anyone else comes on this site on Safari and sees this bug, please screenshot it, tell me as much as you can what you were doing when it happened and send me the information. Thanks.