Archive for the ‘Site News’ Category.

Things To Do

Julia's

I have been looking at the dates of posts and noticed how very lazy I have been.  I have been back from honeymoon since the middle of June and haven’t posted anything at all.  So here is the list of things I need to do (just like the Ten Commandments, “in no particular order”):

  1. Tidy up my Links list – many of the links are now dead and many of the others need pruning and I need to seriously reorganise the categoriesdone, let me know if you see any dead links
  2. Start to write about the audio adventures of Sapphire & Steel
  3. Find some things to get angry about so I can rant about them for your pleasure and delectation
  4. Update my LibraryThing library (not blog related, but needs to be done) - done/ongoing
  5. Post up the honeymoon photos and videos
  6. Organise some posts that I can put up here in the slack times – just general info/fluff/ideas posts
  7. Just get more organised in general here – this site has seemed a bit unloved for a while

I’ll cross these off as I do them and maybe add more if I think about them.

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Get WordPress 2.8.1

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...

Just noticed that the latest WordPress.org update has been out since Thursday.  This time round the update does the following:

  • Certain themes were calling get_categories() in such a way that it would fail in 2.8. 2.8.1 works around this so these themes won’t have to change.
  • Dashboard memory usage is reduced.  Some people were running out of memory when loading the dashboard, resulting in an incomplete page.
  • The automatic upgrade no longer accidentally deletes files when cleaning up from a failed upgrade.
  • A problem where the rich text editor wasn’t being loaded due to compression issues has been worked around.
  • Extra security has been put in place to better protect you from plugins that do not do explicit permission checks.
  • Translation of role names fixed.
  • wp_page_menu() defaults to sorting by the user specified menu order rather than the page title.
  • Upload error messages are now correctly reported.
  • Autosave error experienced by some IE users is fixed.
  • Styling glitch in the plugin editor fixed.
  • SSH2 filesystem requirements updated.
  • Switched back to curl as the default transport.
  • Updated the translation library to avoid a problem with mbstring.func_overload.
  • Stricter inline style sanitization.
  • Stricter menu security.
  • Disabled code highlighting due to browser incompatibilities.
  • RTL layout fixes.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you can read all about the changes between 2.8 and 2.8.1 here, and more details are here.  I upgraded using the auto-upgrade feature in the dashboard and it took under a minute.

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Moving

Soon, this blog shall be moving home.  Mine host has decided to go for a better deal.  And no matter what you all say, I trust him on this implicitly.  There will be some preparatory changes, most of which you won’t notice.  The one that you will notice is that I shall be disabling comments during the move.  This is so that none of your wonderful comments are lost during the move.  If the move happens close enough to my extended holiday/honeymoon they will be re-enabled sometime in week 3 of June (or maybe week 4).  Otherwise, I’ll just tease you by re-enabling them and then disabling them.  Depending on how the mood takes me.

If this all goes as well as I think it will, you won’t really notice the move.  Otherwise, well, stock up on tinned food and ammo and batten down the hatches, it’s gonna be a cold cold winter.

Public Privacy Policy Now Public. No Longer Private.

Yes, the rumours are correct: I now have a Privacy Policy.  And, somewhat confusingly, it’s no longer private.  If you can get your head around that, here’s some more stuff that I will lay on you.

This site has always had a privacy policy.  Like most important documents, I carried it around in my head and, if you so wished, I would have presented it to you upon request.  However, the grey beards of the internet were unhappy with this state of affairs.  They felt that this wasn’t right and proper and insisted that I created a written version that people can see without asking.  Now, you know me and you know I can be trusted “word is bond” and all that.  Yes, I may have used your address to buy a few personal items on sites I wasn’t too sure about – security on the internet is very important.  Oh, if those passports I ordered turn up, could you hang onto them for me.   Thanks.

They have obviously got at Sire as it’s his fault that I wrote this down.  This now means that instead of just trusting me, as you should do, and accepting that all is kosher and pukka on this site you now have to read the Privacy Policy and understand it and then explain it to me every single time I decide to amend it.  Tedious but apparently necessary.  So yeah, read it, understand and then leave your front door keys under the mat, I’ll bring the van round.

Unrelated Footnote: While writing this, I had a thought.  Is it possible to get someone accused of a crime on the internet without actually doing so?  To explain, in the above post I have put URLs under “Sire” and “it’s his fault“.  These links are now indexed by search engines.  If I were to write a completely normal and ordinary post, but use certain phrases as keywords and give them links, could I construct a letter to the data mining authorities via these means which would mean that Sire could get a call from the Aussie Stasi?  And, if I wrongly accuse him, would this cause him to form an Aussie A-Team?? Hmm, I feel an experiment coming on….

By the way, apologies to Sire for singling him out – it was those two links that kicked off the train of thought.  Obviously I wouldn’t implicate him in any crimes.  Obviously.  No, really.

Dropping Out of the New Interest Based AdSense

Having read a couple of posts from bloggers who, I believe, know what they are talking about, I am opting out of the new Google AdSense advertising.

The new ad system will give you, the reader, ads beased on where you go from here.  So if you read mainly technical posts across the web, you’ll start to see more and more technical ads.  If you are a new parent and want to look for baby things, you’ll start to see a lot more ads aimed at the new parent.  So far, it doesn’t seem so bad, does it?  I mean, targeted ads can’t be bad, right?  Thing is, what if you are looking for presents for the new baby of your friends?  Will you get incorrectly targeted ads for the next month until your browsing goes back to normal?  And, in an extreme case, the spouse is away for a while and you’re feeling lonely and need some “me” time…  Will your browsing be doged by ads which will proclaim what you’ve been doing as surely as if you’d admitted it?  And will those ads mean that perfectly normal sites will get tagged as undesirable by content filters?

Fact is, if I opt in I will be sending you a cookie and that cookie will follow you like the kid at school with a very big mouth.  And I don’t want to give up your privacy to anyone else.  Giving up your privacy to me is fine – simply knowing about this site gives me the right to come round your house and riffle through your wardrobe when you’re out, by the way.  But I don’t want to give your rights up to another company unless you want me to.

Will this mean I could potentially lose out on revenue?  Possibly.  But then losing out isn’t a big deal – the ads are there because I’m interested in what the ads show and it amuses me.  So far I’ve made nothing at all out of it and don’t give a monkeys.

Maybe, if enough bloggers follow this stance we can get Google to rethink what they’re doing.  I have no quarrel with Google, I use their products and will happily tell others about them, but I don’t like this method of advertising.

What Does Lijit Do? (and why is it over there?)

While doing my daily read through Atheist Revolution (read it, lots of things to think about), I spotted vjack’s post about Lijit.  “Oh ho”, thought I, “that looks interesting”.  So I popped over to the site, signed up, grabbed the plugin, installed the widget and removed my normal search bar.  See how much work I do on testing these things?

I haven’t gone into it in any detail yet, but if you need to search the site, you can use Lijit to do it.  So please give it a go and let me know whether you prefer it to the default search.  I notice that it uses Google (and displays Google Ads) so the algorithms and the like are sound.