Archive for the 'Tools & Resources' Category

Blwdi spammers

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

If you’re a WordPress user with the Akismet plugin installed and are currently getting spammered (hundreds in the moderation queue in just a few hours), you need to upgrade to version 1.15. Sorted immediately.

Many thanks to the Maned One for the tip-off.


Sunday, July 9th, 2006

That’s not a typo, it really does have three o’s. And thanks to Sharon, I now know that Zoomr.com is a new Flickr-like photo hosting service where you can:

  • Show your favorite photos to the entire world in anyone’s language (well, 15 languages currently)
  • Actually put your photos on the map
  • Add sound to your photos
  • Have full RSS support for looking at photos from your favorite news reader
  • Use the trackback feature to see who’s linking to your pictures
  • Login using your Level9, GMail, Meetro, LiveJournal, or OpenID account
  • Apply tags that allow you to define photos for convenient searching later
  • NEW! Zooomr Pro will allow you to upload 2GB of photos every month with unlimited storage!

There’s more information about Geotags and lightmaps but it’s late and my eyes are glazing over so I’ll just point you to the page where you can find out more.

Anyway, a friend of ours bought a Nikon D50 earlier this year and it wasn’t long before I was round there lusting after his equipment, so to speak. And since I have the most beautiful dog in the world, I’ve taken up the Zooomr offer of a free Pro account to any blogger who signs up and posts a Zooomr hosted picture.

Daisy looking pensiveDaisy looking pensiveHosted on Zooomr

Sweet ma.gnolia

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

I signed up to Ma.gnolia months ago but after importing my bookmarks from del.icio.us, admiring the beauty of the design I (blush) kind of forgot to go back very often. But I went back this week and have to confess that the girlie in me still loves the design, it’s just such a pretty place to be. Yes, it’s a tad slower than del.icio.us but I think I can live with that. The interface is a bit clumsy too – I was going to explain the problems but Jim Ramsey sums it up rather well:

If I want to see more than the 3 bookmarks on my homepage I have to click on “View All” which takes me to another page. And then, if I want to add a tag to one of my bookmarks, I have to click “Edit Details,” which takes me to another page where I enter the tag and click “Save” which changes the page to show the current details for that bookmark.

Then, if I want to go back to my list of bookmarks, and click on “Bookmarks” in the top nav and I go back to the homepage, which only has my last 3 bookmarks, and I have to start all over again!

But it’s so pretty! So I’ve decided to stick with Ma.gnolia for a while, have installed Barry Price’s Ma.gnolia plugin 0.1 (if your host supports PHP5 you can use the more recent 0.2 version) and the link feed will display over there in the far right hand sidebar.

I’d love to keep the links here permanently (port them to an archive page after a certain period of time/number of links?) but I’ve no idea how to go about it. Any suggestions happily accepted.

Oh and while I remember, does anyone know what font is used in the Ma.gnolia logo?

Deliciously autoposting

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

If all goes well at midnight GMT tonight a post will automagically appear here containing links I’ve added through the day to my del.icio.us bookmarks.

How to go about this is explained in Kevin Lim’s post, From Del.icio.us to WordPress: How to automatically post daily links.

If it works well I could replace the sidebar blog on the right but I like more control over the appearance of the sideblog and Morgan Doocy‘s mini-posts plugin works so well it would be a shame to replace it.

Well, let’s see if works first, eh?

Validating your css

Monday, May 1st, 2006

I’m knee deep in the redesign of a multi page website for a nearest and dearest, trying to make it accessible, validate, blah, blah, blah when I suddenly came across a great tip for validating your css even when your (x)html isn’t yet ready for validation. Ever seen this message from the W3C validator?

“Please, validate your XML document first!”

Frustrated, I googled for that phrase and came across an excellent article by Zoe Gillenwater in Making it Legal: Validating Your (X)HTML and CSS. Here’s an excerpt:

The CSS Validator accepts more than just .css files, which is handy if your styles are embedded or inline, instead of linked or imported. Just put in the URL to your (X)HTML page (or CFM page, etc.), and the validator will find the styles in it and validate them. It can also find and review linked or imported style sheets this way, but it is recommended that you validate external style sheets directly, not by submitting their parent pages to the CSS Validator. This is because if the XHTML page has errors or warnings itself, trying to validate its external style sheet can result in the error “Please, validate your XML document first!”. To avoid this, simply validate all external style sheets directly, rather than through the page they are linked or imported from.

I was going to point you to the error message for this site but blow me down, now my css validates (unlike the code and don’t get me started on the now borked archive page) but here’s a quick summary of what you need to do to validate the css independently of the (x)html:

  1. You’re using Firefox, right?
  2. With Chris Pederick’s Web Developer extension for Firefox, click on View CSS and your style sheet(s) will open in a new tab or page.
  3. Click on the hyperlink to the page(s) containing the css For example, the css for this site which will in turn open in a new page or tab.
  4. Click on Tools > Validate CSS to automatically use the W3C Validator.

If you like the Web Developer extension for Firefox you might also want to get the the Web Accessibility Tools Consortium Web Accessibility Toolbar for Internet Explorer and the (still in beta but very useful) Microsoft Developer Toolbar.

Validation using the above method doesn’t seem possible at first glance (no time to delve right now) but there are plenty of other tools to make it very worthwhile downloading.

Right, I’m off to make a pot of tea, find some good coding music at Pandora or Last.fm and wait for the phone to ring…

Flickr virgin

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006


Despite having signed up with Flickr in ye olde dayes, I’ve not really used it much (the result of a crap camera and always having hosting space elsewhere) but I’m finally “getting” the community aspect of it all – bear with me while I find you all and add you as contacts and gasp in admiration at the wonderful pictures you’ve been taking.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

I’ve missed at least two birthdays recently (Pam and Graeme) but in a recent conversation with Andrew I rashly promised to look at something that would make it easy for our little corner of the world (virtually speaking) to make it easy to find a fellow blogger’s birthday.

I’ve had a look at Google Calendar, Kiko and 30 Boxes calendars but don’t you think it would be nice to have the option to list birthdays along with a url and a picture (avatar, gravatar, etc.)? So I’ve set up a Frappr map here at Blogaday:

World map showing location pin for Daisy

Your pins are welcomed. But is there a more suitable tool out there? One that makes it easy to view birthdays in a particular month? Oh and how about an rss feed that will display a list of that week’s birthdays/anniversaries? Ideas, people!

Stating the obvious

Catching sight of a pretty woman really is enough to throw a man’s decision-making skills into disarray, a study suggests.

File under “Why on earth did you spend money confirming that?”, researchers at the University of Leuven* now say that sex cues ruin men’s decisiveness.

* Disclaimer: Many moons ago I dated a medical student and the halls of residence at Leuven will always bring a twinkle to these old eyes.

Colour Contrast Analyser 1.1 – Update

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Screenshot of colour palette

The fantabulous Colour Contrast Analyser 1.1 has been updated is now out and available for download.

This tiny (319 kb) tool sits on your desktop, not only a perfect tool for checking foreground & background colour combinations to ensure that they provide good colour visibility, it now has sliders so that creating colour schemes is as easy as pie.


ScreenGrab extension for Firefox

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Firefox logo

Do you ever need to take a screen capture of an entire web page, even the bits beyond the fold? There’s an excellent Firefox extension that’ll do take a screenshot of an entire web page, Andy Mutton‘s ScreenGrab.

You can save the entire page as an image, just the visible portion, or the browser window.

And it’s free.

Online organisation tools : AirSet.com

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

I’ve been roadtesting Airset.com these past few days. There are lots of organisation tools out there now, you may remember that I was a fan of EssentialPIM but since failing to receive a free license for the Pro version (and judging by the support forums, quite a few long time users had the same problem while new users like my brother got one practically by return of mail). Not that I’m bitter or anything. Ahem.

Anyway, now that our internet connection is (fingers crossed) fairly stable it occurred to me that it might be an idea to start keeping stuff online rather on one machine (in ePIM and OneNote), giving me access to resources, ideas, plans and so on from any machine rather than the one I use daily. I’ve looked at quite a few tools such as 30 Boxes, SpongeCell, BackPackit and so on but what I really want is a combination of all of those – i.e. a calendar and note making facilities and reminders and a contacts database. I need a single place to put lists, notes, plans, bookmarks and so on – well, what a good PIM software does but online.


EssentialPIM Halloween offer

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Just popping in quickly to say that EssentialPIM are offering free licences to the Pro version today only – 31 October 2005.

I’ve been using the free version for months now (having tried oodles of free/cheap organiser, diary softwares) but this is the one that’s stayed on my desktop and actually gets used, along with Microsoft OneNote. ‘Course I don’t often get done the things on the To Do list but that’s not the fault of the software. I just need a good kick up the arse.

Why is this software so good?

  • It’s free
  • It’s very easy to use
  • It stores everything you could possibly want to store (text, pictures, links)
  • You can import contacts etc. from Outlook (not just on installation)
  • Includes 128-bit encryption on password protected files (I haven’t tested this yet)
  • You can view (and print) your schedule by day/week/month or year
  • Notes are stored in a tree hierarchy and you have lots of formatting tools (colour, font, etc.)
  • Did I mention that it’s free?

Better than a list of features, take a look at the screenshots.

So how does it work? You download the Pro version, enter your name, email address and country (you’ll have to select “Not applicable” for “State” if you select a country other than the U.S.) and the registratation key will be emailed to you in 48 hours (but you can go ahead and start using the software right away).

Is it worth upgrading from Free to Pro? Absolutely!

Happy Halloween!

[Later addition: Apologies to Maccies and other OS users, this is for Windows only.]

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