Monthly Archives: March 2010

March 2010 Round-up

Just for once, this should be the final post of the month


I’ve managed to continue to remember to weigh myself daily

March 1: 226.8 pounds (16 stone 2.8 pounds, 102.9 kg)
March 31: 225.8 pounds (16 stone 1.8 pounds, 102.4 kg)
Difference: A fall of 1 pounds (0.5 kg), but I have been as low as 224 pounds (16 stone, 101.6 kg) this month, which would have been a fall of 2.8 pounds (1.3 kg) if that had been today’s weight, mutter.


Still on the bagels for lunch, pretty much every day, and without adding anything extra. While I’ve been off work this week, I’ve kept to much the same.


The distinct lack of walking continues, but I’m going to blame my dodgy knees and ankle for that.


The posting frenzy is building. Including this post, the total for March will be 76, which is 10 more than the last full-length month. And that’s in addition to all the old posts I’ve been editing to comply with my new design thingies.


Another poor month for taking new pictures. Actual images captured on 11 days, total new pictures just  151. Must do better, etc.


Here’s another thing that’s been bothering me. It’s this sign in a small branch of Boots:



Sounds reasonable enough...

It’s the sort of thing that’s common enough on fire exits and other doors not in general use, but this is a bit odd. Here’s a wider view:

I'm confused

I'm confused

Say what? That sign is right next to the public entrance to the shop. So how are you supposed to get in and out, eh? :huh:

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 March 2010

No change today, which isn’t too bad, all things[1] considered.

Today’s picture is one I caught in Saltwell Park a while ago, and it’s been worrying me ever since:

One at a time?

One at a time?

Oh dear. Oh dear.

So why does Saltwell Park provide a play area for just one young person? Who is this person, anyway?

[1] Such as the not actually moving much so far this week

Doctor Who – 2010 Series Update

I’ve just seen the new Radio Times which has the now-traditional series preview from new Whomeister Steven Moffat. It includes titles for the first seven episodes and at least a hint or two as to what’s coming. So, in no particular order, this is a sample of what we’ve got to look forward to:

  1. River Song is back! Yes, in a suitably wibbly wobbly timey wimey[1] way, the Doctor’s old friend[2] who he met for the first time the last time he saw her[3] will return to no doubt make things much clearer[4]. If they have time to chat while sorting out a Weeping Angel, that is.[5]
  2. Daleks!!
  3. Winston Churchill!
  4. Vincent van Gogh!
  5. Fun!!

From the hints and clips revealed so far, it looks like the Doctor’s relationship with new companion Amy Pond is going to be complicated. In a wibbly wobbly timey wimey kind of way, of course. :cool:

Oh, and after all that explody stuff going on with the regeneration, the TARDIS gets a bit of a rebuild. Apparently it’s going to be even bigger on the inside…

[1] Mr Moffat gave us that phrase, and I suspect he’ll be making a lot of use of the concept
[2] Or whatever she turns out to be[6]
[3] It was the last time for her, the first time for him. It’s that time thing again.
[4] Or not. More likely not, come to think of it
[5] Don’t blink, OK?
[6] Assuming we ever find out. This could run for years…

The Smilies are really back this time

If you read this site regularly[1], you might recall me mentioning having some issues with getting nicely clickable smilies on the site. It seemed that none of the plugins I could find would really do the job nicely without breaking something else.

I had to give up on the actually very clever and fancy Ajaxed WordPress because it didn’t seem to play nicely with the theme I was using – sometimes it would happily spin the reloading thingy but not actually present the whole page. Quite possibly fixable, but I wanted something simple. Something like the old WP-Grins plugin would have been ideal, but as that one stopped working several WordPress versions ago, and Alex King didn’t have it on his to-do list, that seemed unlikely. So, I kept searching, and this morning I found it! Would you believe it? I’d somehow managed to miss WP Grins Lite, which builds on Alex’s original plugin to produce one that works with up-to-date versions of WordPress, including 3.0 Alpha[2]. Clickable smilies are available both in the admin area, making it easy for me too add the silly things to my posts, and nicely placed above the comment box, so visitors can add them too.

I’ve also reinstated the useful Comment Quicktags Reloaded, which also works with 3.0 Alpha, so you can format your comments a bit, should you happen to want to make any.

[1] And you’re not in this state :drool:
[2] I had to check that before posting a Woo Hoo post

A small tweak

I love it when I find the answer to a question that’s been annoying me…

I’ve been generally using the WYSIWYG editor in WordPress for quite some time now, having decided that I’d rather write text than tags[1], but it does have a drawback or two. When using the HTML editor, it’s very easy indeed to add buttons to the toolbar to add standard bits of code or style, such as applying the Small Caps style that I use from time to time. But the WYSIWYG editor, better known as TinyMCE, is a different beast altogether. People who can code have written plugins that add buttons, but making these work is beyond my minimal coding skills and limited patience. So, I’ve been looking for a solution involves less work. It tried the TinyMCE Advanced plugin, but that was overkill for what I wanted, and I didn’t like the way it added lots of surplus styles to the drop down thingy rather than the one I wanted.

So, after multiple searches, I was delighted to find Customizing TinyMCE without Advanced TinyMCE by Esther S White, which offered a simple solution: add a few lines of code to your theme’s functions.php file, put the CSS for the styles you want into a subfolder of your theme and the job’s done.

And yes, it works. I’ll have a further look at this technique, and see what else I can do to the editor, but for now, I’m quite happy to have found a solution to a problem that’s been annoying me for months, on and off.

Thanks, Esther :wave:

Update: I’ve since switched to using TinyMCE and its optional Advanced Styles plugin. Less work overall, and more update-proof.

[1] Changing my old habits of hand-coding, but never mind

Another Busy Day

I was planning to pop out at some point today to do some shopping, but as it was such a miserably grey day, I decided that the shopping could wait, and I’d spend some more time on the website changes I’ve been talking about.

I identified all[1] the posts with YouTube videos in, and I’ve edited them all to use the new native embedding method. Well, except for the ones that have been removed from YouTube for the usual legal reasons, and for which I couldn’t find a substitute. So that bit’s done.

Having finished that, I went back to the picture posts. My MySQL query told me that 300 posts still had the magic letters wpg2 in them, and had to be edited. Now some will be posts that just mention the WPG2 plugin[2], but most will be either posts with one or two pictures in, or links to full albums. So there’s lots of work there. But I was obviously in the right mood for this kind of thing, as I managed to get through the first 50 of those posts today.

Still lots to do, but I’ll get there…

[1] Probably
[2] As this one now does

More iPad Thoughts

I’ve mentioned the Apple iPad before, but as the US release date approaches, more useful details are emerging. Still nothing as useful as an actual UK release date or anything you’d actually need to know like UK prices, of course, but Apple have released a series of videos demonstrating the basic iPad apps:

iPad Guided Tours

These suggest several things to me:

  1. The user interface looks like it will actually work very well. Not quite the same as a scaled-up iPhone or iPod Touch, but building on that interface and taking advantage of the much larger screen
  2. I’m not sure about how you’re supposed to hold it. Watching movies while having to hold the screen at a comfortable angle seems a bit awkward.
  3. The book reading application looks very nifty

I can see I’m going to have to play with one when they eventually appear over here. Late April is apparently still the plan…

And While I’m Editing…

I really should pay more attention to improvements in WordPress’s core code, you know. For quite a while, I’ve been using the rather nifty, flexible and generally clever Viper’s Video Quicktags to embed YouTube videos in my posts. Now the plugin is Clever Stuff, and works for all manner of other embeddable videos, but as I never have cause to embed any of those, I only use it for YouTube.

But since WordPress 2.9, there is native code for putting videos into posts. No tags, no buttons, just paste the URL on a line on its own, or use the embed shortcode if you prefer. The feature also works for a load of other video sites, and so it seems I don’t need to use the plugin any more.

Well, I wouldn’t need the plugin if it wasn’t for the little matter of the existing posts that have Viper’s shortcodes in them. So, you guessed it, I’m editing those, too. While I’m fixing up video posts, I’ve found a few where embedding has been disabled, so I’ll be replacing the embeds with links. And if I find any where the video has gone altogether, I’ll fix those, too.

Once I’ve done that, I’ll disable and delete the plugin. Though it’s not a goodbye to Viper’s clever work – I believe the WordPress embedding feature uses his code!

WordPress Codex: Embeds