Daily Archives: Sunday, 11th Mar 2007

The 100 Most Prolific Bloggers

A few days back, I spotted a link in the WordPress dashboard that led me to a bit of fun at TheBizofKnowledge. Bill Belew wanted to find out which of the 5,000 billion[1] weblogs have the most posts, or indeed who are the most prolific bloggers. He invited people to report on how many posts they’ve made and how long they’ve been doing it. Well, I can never resist a bit of shameless self-promotion, so I filled in my details. On whatever day it was, my total number of posts was 1,877[2],and that was enough to get me placed at number 30 in the current list of The 100 Most Prolific Bloggers!

Of course, there will be loads of people with far more posts who are too busy posting to fill in surveys on other sites, and if we include them, my placing will probably fall to around 34,999 or thereabouts. But for now, I’ll bask in the relative glory. Or whatever it is. :laugh:

[1] Approximately. But that includes all the ones that people created then promptly forgot about
[2] It’s now 1,899. Hold on, it’ll be 1,900 when I post this :eek:

Primeval – Episode 5

The latest episode of the time warping fun and games show opened with a golfer coming to a very sticky, or at least messy, end. Which doesn’t sound that much of a problem to me, but it was messy enough for Nick Cutter and crew to be called in to investigate. At first, they’re not at all sure what’s happened. The ground isn’t disturbed, and there’s no strange sparkly thing anomaly in sight.

Meanwhile, Connor is about to get himself into a lot of trouble. He’s been staying with Abby, and when she leaves him alone in the flat, she reminds him to keep the windows closed so that Rex, that cute little marketing opportunity flying reptile she accidentally on purpose kept back in episode 1, won’t escape. So naturally he leaves a window open and even more naturally, Rex flies into his car while he’s getting ready to join the rest of the crew at the golf course. This being TV, he doesn’t notice his passenger until he arrives at the course and Rex perches himself on the roof of the car. Silly chase ensues as Connor tries to persuade Rex to get back into the car.

When I catch you, you’ll be the first animal to become extinct twice!

While Connor’s providing the light relief, Cutter and the rest of the gang work out that the anomaly is right above their heads, just in time for a large Pteranodon to come through and start chasing Connor. Cutter gets the idea that the Pteranodon wasn’t responsible for chewing the golfer and argues with Claudia (the nice one from the government) about it. He also stops the special forces guys from actually killing it, and it flies off.

Later, they track the wounded Pteranodon to a rooftop and manage to capture it. An examination of Pteranodon poop[1] reveals that all it’s eaten lately is fish and maybe a small reptile or two – it seems that it wasn’t after Connor, but Rex. Which leaves the interesting question of what did eat the golfer.

Back at the golf course, we soon find out – there’s a large flock of what are described as Agnurognathus – roughly chicken-sized flying reptiles with lots of very sharp teeth and a taste for blood, which they can smell from a long way off. So as you might expect, Claudia manages to get trapped in their vicinity while covered in the stuff.

Lots of the usual fun follows, with Cutter improvising a flame thrower from a gas bottle he finds in an ambulance, and Helen (that’s the missing Mrs Cuttter, do keep up…) arriving just in time to rescue Claudia and barbecue lots of reptiles with the aid of the gas supply and an exploding microwave.

As always, it was a lot of fun, and I’m rather sorry that there’s only one more episode to come. In that final episode, we’ll be meeting something nasty from the future…

[1] :grin:

Another quiet improvement

Ooooohhh!! I hadn’t noticed that. I was just having a quick look at the WordPress Ideas forum thingy, where users are invited to request new features, changes, improvements or whatever. One of the suggestions was about something that’s annoyed me once or twice – the “Edit Timestamp” feature. This lets you change the date and time of a post that you’re editing, which you might want to do for a number of reasons:

  • You’re catching up with the past, and you want to date a post for when you meant to publish it
  • You want something to appear in the future, and you won’t be around to publish it at the right time
  • You saved a draft using Performancing or some other client. For reasons I’ve never really looked into, drafts saved this way don’t get their post timestamps updated when published from WordPress.

Anyway, all you had to do was fill in the corrected date and time, and remember to tick the box, which is where I often went wrong. Someone requested that the date and time boxes be disabled until the box was ticked, which would have been a Good Idea. However, the developers did something that I think is better. If you edit the date or time, the box is ticked automagically, which is appears to work perfectly. And it’s one less click. :wink:

More WordPress goodies to come

Now that I’ve belatedly upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2, I’m starting to pay attention to what’s coming in the next release. Under the new “more frequent feature releases” plan, WordPress 2.2 is due to be released in late April. One feature I’ve just read about has been written by that nice Mark Jaquith. He calls it Plugin Sandboxing – the idea is that when you activate a new plugin, or edit an existing one, it is first activated in a special monitoring mode, and only if it doesn’t create a horrible error is it allowed to be fully activated. It’s a nice level of extra protection for your site, and a good sign of how WordPress is maturing. I’ll keep an eye out for more new features, and I’ll mention any that I like.

And now I’m actually using 2.1.2, can I just say that the auto-save feature is lovely? If you’ve ever had the experience of typing a long post only to lose lots of work because of a lost connection, a transient server problem or even the old “pressing the wrong button” problem, you’ll appreciate this. While you’re working on your post, WordPress saves it in the background every two minutes, which should reduce the pain substantially. To be honest, I’ve been in the habit of clicking “Save and Continue Editing” fairly frequently while typing longer posts, but that means waiting for the page to reload, which can be a wee bit slow. The automatic version is a lot better.

It’s Feeding Time!

Apologies to the millions[1] of you who catch up on Losing it[1] through a feedreader rather than coming to the site in a browser[2]. About a week or so ago, I noticed that there was a new version of the Feedburner Plugin, which redirects all requests for RSS feeds to, well, Feedburner. I quite like Feedburner – it gives me some information on how many people are at least glancing at my feeds, tells me what they’re using to read them, and also provides the feeds to people in various formats, with minimal effort on my part.

But when I switched to the new plugin, I missed a step. :duh: The old version worked pretty much by brute force. It redirected all requests for feeds to Feedburner, and used a secret magic address for Feedburner to use. The new version is more subtle, and redirects everyone except Feedburner to, err, Feedburner. Feedburner itself is allowed to connect to the actual feeds from the site. Nifty. Much cleaner and easier to maintain, so long as you remember to change Feedburner’s settings so it looks at the actual feed rather than the old secret address which isn’t there any more. Which is, of course, what I forgot to do. :duh: :duh:

Normal[3] service has now been resumed.

[1] Or thereabouts
[2] And for readers who haven’t got the faintest idea what I’m going on about, you can safely ignore this post :tongue:
[3] Normal for me, that is, not normally normal :cheesy:

Malcolm Middleton – A Brighter Beat

I’ve been waiting for a follow-up to Malcolm’s 2005 album Into the Woods since, err, 2005. And here it is. Now Malcolm’s songs are rarely what you’d call cheerful, so fans might be a bit worried by the title. A Brighter Beat? Well, fear not. The album opens with a jaunty little number called We’re All Going To Die, and things don’t get much more cheerful after that. But I tend to like that sort of thing, so it appeals to me.

The title track is a typically catchy little tune, with fewer words than usual. Here’s the video, which will give you as good an idea as anything about what Malcolm’s about:

After that, there are equally cheery songs like Death Love Depression Love Death before closing with Superhero Songwriters, a seven-minute epic that floats between big brassy bits, soft acoustic bits, and some typically self-deprecating lyrics:

Superhero songwriter
Super cliché chorus finder

It’s not the kind of album that’s ever going to appeal to a huge audience, but it has a certain something. I like it, and I hope some people will at least give it a try. On his MySpace page, where you can hear some sample songs, Malcolm is quoted as saying this about the album:

If I was forced to describe it (which I am) I’d probably say it was ‘a pop album for people who hate pop music’. Or maybe ‘love songs for depressed people who worry too much about dying and the consequences of their daily actions and thoughts to be able to enjoy life fully’

Which sums it all up quite nicely. Not sure what that says about me, though. :eek2: :uhoh: :lol:

Now that’s a serious camera

I’m really very happy with my Canon 30D :smile: . No, really. It does everything I need, and I’m only just beginning to explore its potential. But just occasionally, I see something that makes me ever so slightly jealous of people with serious cameras :eek: . There’s no way I could afford such a beast, and it would really be a waste of money, as I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the outlay. But the recently announced Canon EOS 1D Mark III is sooooooo nice :bouncy: . It’s a big beast – a professional’s tool that makes no compromises. It’s also the fastest digital camera around[1], blasting off ten frames per second, for up to 110 frames before it needs a bit of a rest so it can save data to a memory card. Lots of other features, including sensor cleaning, and for the first time on a Canon DSLR, a live preview LCD. A really quite large 3 inch LCD, too. Some of these features will no doubt appear in the 30D’s eventual successor, so they won’t be the sole preserve of professionals and people with scary amounts of money for their toys for too long. Anyway, enough babble, here’s a promotional video which shows off the camera nicely and lets some Clever Canon People talk about it.

Video has gone, and as this is now an obsolete model, I won’t bother to find another copy…

 

[1] Or so Canon say, and I haven’t seen anyone arguing so far