When does the new decade start? (Was there a year zero?)

Is tomorrow the last day of this decade or do we still have 366 days to go? Either way is acceptable, but because I love finding out the reasons for this sort of thing I thought I’d share them with you. 🙂 Continue reading When does the new decade start? (Was there a year zero?)


There are many issues that Americans are concerned with, the economy, overseas affairs, and growth as a country, as a Brit I only really had interest in a global issue; Net Neutrality.

Little over a year ago I read through all the Candidates Manifestos, to my horror only 2 made mention of Net Neutrality, Obama and Clinton. Considering the ‘policing’ done by the USA in the past I was worried that the new President might try to enforce a big business agenda on the web and grind the hobbyists like myself to a snails pace.

When the democratic party was whittled down to 2 candidates, the now President(-elect) Obama and Senator H. Clinton I was happy that at least one of the Political Parties regardless of their candidate would support this issue that is so important for the little guy.

If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is I’ll sum it up for you: currently all websites are downloaded to your browser exactly as fast as the bandwidth between your location and the hosting server can manage. This means that if Microsoft were using the same servers as me we would be at a dead heat serving pages for you to look at. What Net Neutralists are fighting for is the preservation of this status quo, there are certain advocates who believe that we should pay for our webpage serving ability, the more you pay the less resistance the is getting a page from the web; a cruel way to turn a profit.

President Barrack Obama will hopefully continue to maintain Net Neutrality during his term(s) but with so many other priorities will he find the time? Hopefully the future for all of us is connected, and fairly connected at that.

Blog Design the Third

With the move to this new location I had hoped to get this envisioned theme up and running from the get go, however it took a little longer than I would like to get everything drawn just right and displayed just so.

There are still the odd things to tweak and the header image will grow; I’ll be putting more of my favourite things onto my little island. So far I’ve got, camping, Frisbee, UK and beaches/seaside I guess we’ll see just how much I can cram on there in time.

Continue reading Blog Design the Third

SSAGO Website, Phase II

If you set your way back machine for June 2006 you’ll see a stub about how I changed the SSAGO Messageboard to use phpBB and particularly the Categories Hierarchy modification. Well the rest of the site did follow shortly after but it didn’t sit well with those viewing in Internet Explorer because of their issue with list indentation, not to mention the design compromises embossed by democratic vote.

So a new layout was needed and whilst I was at it I wanted to deliver on my promise to provide a Content Management System for SSAGO News. Well I knew I couldn’t change the forum software again so I had to find something that someone had already developed an integration method for or one I could quickly bodge together myself.

I tried a Joomla! but it was far too complicated, I had to assume that the next Publicity Officer, whether this would be me re-elected at the Loughborough SSAGO Rally AGM or in Feb 2008. I went through a slew of them; I rejected Drupal for it’s unfriendly support community, e107 worked fine but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work along side phpBB and XOOPS was just too obscure. (Thank God for Open Source CMS.)

Then it dawned on me, WordPress. I’d been using WordPress as my blog software for 6 months or so and I loved it, I’d gotten quite close to the community and familiar with the code but I wasn’t sure how robust it would be with dozens of pages stored on it.

After a quick bit of research I found a code edit to accelerate the static page listings page which had exponentially gotten slower as I added more. (link) Next issue was user integration, there was a plugin with some minor code edits that I tried for a time but realised the author hadn’t updated it in almost a year, I tried working out what he had done and update it myself but decided that it would be quicker to start a fresh development cycle than catch up on an existing one.

So I had one WordPress blog working as the CMS and as the SSAGO News Article System. Hopefully the partnership will be a fruitful one.

TV Show Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures

My original intention was to watch this as it aired with it being a Doctor Who spin-off I expected great things similar to the tributary Torchwood but something distracted me and I had to watch a rerun, I suppose I knew before I’d even watch it I wouldn’t be gripped on the edge of my seat.

Sarah Jane seemed a little friendlier than the Doctor (perhaps its her humanity?) which worked in her favour. I can see this being being a transitional series for young ones not yet introduced to The Doctor, they start young with this and as they see more of this and get introduced to the idea of the Who Universe their curiosity will build and eventually watch Doctor Who to find out about this man that affected Sarah Jane so intimately.

Whilst I appreciated that her approach to problems will be very similar to the Doctor’s utilising his technique shouldn’t work. The Doctor is highly intelligent compared to humans so he’s able to consider a great deal more solutions to a problem on the fly. In comparison a human would need a lot longer to think up as many and thus we can’t function as well as the Doctor without planning ahead. I can see some audiences getting frustrating with SJ solving problems in a manner that we can’t even understand.

The Sonic Lipstick! Brilliant idea for a lady although again it just a copy of the Doctor, who could she have series of devices that all solve different problems? Perhaps she will but with a device we can only assume to be as robust as the Sonic Screwdriver why would she need one? The Doctors managed time and again without so Sarah Jane should too.

It’s a shame she never found someone for herself in the Doctors wake but I suppose if the Doctor can find people with the seed of his perspective such as Rose, Sarah Jane, Melanie Bush, Peri Brown so on and so forth then Sarah Jane must beable to find someone and as such I expect some romantic interests at some point.

It’s a good start for things and I look forward to watching even if some aspects are disappointingly or need more unfurl time to be appreciated.

New Blog!

If you hadn’t noticed I’ve given up trying to use msn-space, it was fun and exciting in January when I gave in to peer pressure to get one going but not only could I not update the pages in FF but when I did in IE there would inevitably be a crash and I would lose 30mins/hour worth of typing. Not to mention if in the future I decided to move I couldn’t export everything so I have had a browse around the web and seen what is available.

Here’s a wicked site that truly gives credit to the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover, it mostly unstyled but the info is amazing, Blog Software Breakdown . If you’re looking to move away from msn space I would certainly look here first.

My key requirements were a database storage method, PHP, plugins no code edits ( I have to do enough of them as it is for phpBB ) and all the usual trappings you would expect from a blog; comments, photobloging etc etc.

In the end my criteria whittled it down to 3 contenders, b2evolution, Serendipity and WordPress.

Looking at it Serendipity seems like a new kid on the block compared to the rest, it didn’t quite get into the Google Summer of Code [proof] which took me back a notch or too but despite this it did have a few plugins I couldn’t find the equivilent of in other other contenders. The auto install was nice too, no need to download a plugin then ftp it into place just look click it installs, fantastic. A good starters for beginners.

Whilst WordPress seems to be the most popular for web gurus it lacked some plugin features the I really like the look of in Serendipity. It also seemed a bit much so my learning curve would be a little longer than with others.

b2evolution just didn’t really impress me visually or in the back end so despite its simplicity of install, and its gorgeously easy to read coding I decided against this one too.

My final choice was Serendipity, but after a week worth of adjusting it I found that some things weren’t quite what I expected, although their coders are very helpful and prompt through its forum in telling me what I wanted/needed to do I felt if this was the way I was going to continue I should get out now and have switched yet gain to WordPress. Which apparently can’t import from serendipity but Serendipity can import from WordPress. Having gone to WordPress and finding that a) not all the mods are compatible with the latest version and b) there isn’t a central official repository I quickly shifted back to Serendipity until there is as they say it’ll be very very soon*

So there you have it, why I chose my new blog, shiney, clever and robust so hopefully there should be more frequent updates! Not to mention a slew of other stuff!