Monthly Archives: April 2011

April 2011 Round-up

So, that’s the first third of 2011 out of the way, and it’s time for the usual monthly thingy.


More of the usual ups and downs, with no change beyond my daily fluctuation range.

April 1: 227.8 pounds (16 stone 3.8 pounds, 103.3 kg)
April 30:  228.4 pounds (16 stone 4.4 pounds, 103.6 kg)

Difference: a more or less insignificant rise of 0.6 pounds (0.3 kg)


This has been a bit more variable. Not too many Greggs visits. I suppose.


Out of eighteen working days in April, I walked to work, err, not at all, with the same result for walking home. I did manage a couple of quite long lunchtime walks, though.


Another moderately chatty month, with a total of 64 posts.


More photography was done. Website redesigned. More things need to be done, though.

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 April 2011

Hmm. Down a bit today, but not by any significant amount. I did, shock horror, manage a wee bit of exercise today as I walked to Tesco’s this morning.

Today’s picture is one from a recent riverside walk, given a bit of mono tweakage in Lightroom.

High Level Bridge

High Level Bridge

Doctor Who – Day of the Moon

It’s OK, this is safely spoiler-free. It’s just my initial reaction to tonight’s second episode.

Wow. Excellent mixture of scares, laughs and with an extra-large Moffat-sized dose of what the photon just happened?

There was a nicely unexpected bit that looks likely to be a set-up for the Big Bad things likely to be happening in the build-up to the mid-series cliffhanger. Very nice indeed.

And there were several unanswered questions, which may or may not be cleared up later.

A more coherent post may follow when I’ve had a chance to watch both parts of the story again, and after a decent interval has passed to allow for anyone crazy enough not to be watching it as soon as it’s on.

Flattr – Social Micropayments

Ys, it’s anothr of those things which suffr from a shortag of th fifth lttr of th alphabt.

But seriously, Flattr is an interesting concept. It’s a way for people to give small financial awards to things they like on the internet. This isn’t for proper donations, where you might give someone £10 or so (other currencies are available), for a bit of software, or to support a site you like. This is for smaller amounts. The idea is that you decide how much money you want to hand over each month, and add that to an account at Flattr. Then, so long as you’re logged in, when you see the Flattr button on a page, you can click it to make a donation. The trick is that at the end of each month, your total amount of money is split between all the sites you’ve Flattred. Or is that Flattrd? What is this thing about leaving out the letter e, anyway? Sorry, I’m digressing again. So if you decide that you want to donate a total of €5[1] each month, and you click the Flattr button on ten sites, then the owner of each site would get €0.5 from you.

I’d seen the button on a few sites, and I’ll be clicking it from now on.

Which leads me to the other side of the equation – unless I’ve broken it, or stopped using it at some point between the time I’m writing this and the time you happen to read it, you should see a little Flattr button on my posts. Who knows – by the end of the year I might have made enough for a sausage roll…

[1] All payments are done in Euros. This is a European-based service. So there.

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 April 2011

Randomly back up today, but that seems quite normal at present.

I’m off work for over a week now, and I’ve got a couple of photographic outings planned, subject to the weather behaving reasonably, of course. But in the meantime, here’s another Tyne Bridge Tower picture:

Clearing up

Clearing up

It looks like the rubble is being taken (dropped, maybe?) down the core of the building, where this nifty machine is used to move it out of the way until it can be taken off site.

Weight and Stuff Report – 28 April 2011

No change today, which isn’t a bad thing, I suppose.

I mentioned recently that I’d revived my espresso machine. Well, I was so happy with the results that I decided it was time to take things further and upgrade my espresso making facilities a bit. Not the actual machine, you understand – I’m happy with that, and the only thing that would make me upgrade would be total failure of the machine or a large lottery win. But there were a few things I could do, and I’ve done them.

The first thing was to get a proper heavy duty tamper. That’s the thingy that you use to press down the ground coffee in your portafilter. The machine came with a basic plastic thing for doing this, which sort of does the job, but needs a fair bit of force to work properly. So I spent £20 on a real one. It’s got a good heavy bit of smooth metal to do the pressing, and a nicely polished wooden handle, which makes it feel very comfortable to use. Its weight means that it just takes a quick twist to tamp down the coffee nicely.

The next thing was something I’ve been vaguely researching for a while – a grinder that can actually produce coffee fine enough to work properly in my Gaggia. I’ve tried a few but they weren’t up to the job. Looking into it suggested I could spend very silly amounts of money on serious grinders, but I didn’t want to go that far. A bit more research suggested that Gaggia’s own MDF grinder would actually be quite adequate for my needs, and seeing reviews on a few sites reinforced that. But where to get it? The best UK price seemed to be a slightly expensive £175. But then I remembered the nice people who sold me the Gaggia Baby D – Caffè Italia. While they have a UK domain and correspondence address, they seem to be mostly based in Italy, and send the goods from there – quite remarkably, Gaggia still manufacture their toys in Milan, so this is where you need to be. Their price was a much more friendly £124, to which I added a base – this is a slightly expensive thing for what it is, but it is neat. You get a platform to hold your espresso machine and grinder, with a drawer for knocking out the grounds after each coffee. It took just over a week to arrive, which I was quite happy with. Here’s a quick iPhone picture of my upgraded coffee kit:

Back to the grind

Back to the grind

More editing fun and games

Last year, I gave myself the entertaining task of moving all the photographs on this site from Gallery2 to WordPress’s native image management. It was a lot of work, but it was worthwhile. What I didn’t change at the time was the smaller (but still significant) number of images I’d linked from my Flickr photostream. After all, Flickr isn’t (very) likely to go away, I thought.

But what did go away was the ability of the code created by the plugin I’d used at the time to, you know, actually display the pictures. I noticed this when I was checking things over after the recent redesign. I was moderately alarmed to see this kind of thing on a lot of posts:

What the Flickr?

What the Flickr?

Apparently, whatever the plugin is doing is convincing Flickr that I’m trying to link to a non-existent video.  This is probably down to a change in how you’re supposed to link to things. :rant:

I didn’t want to leave those posts in that state, so I had a choice. Fix up the Flickr links and hope that Flickr don’t change things again, or move the pictures into WordPress. The latter option would be more work, but would be more future proof, and would give me control over how big the inserted images are.

So yes, that’s what I’m doing. Identifying the affected posts required a bit of MySQL fun – I did a search for the plugin shortcode directly in the database, and exported the results to Excel. Now all I have to do is edit each post in turn, grab the photograph number from the shortcode, paste that into the address bar on a Flickr photo page to bring up the full-sized image, drag that to my desktop, then add it to the post in the usual WordPress way. And repeat, and repeat, and repeat…

Only another 150 posts to fix. Probably.

I’ve now updated all the borked posts. That was fun…

WordPress 3.1.2 is out now

There’s a shiny new security release of WordPress available now.

The security issue in question appears to be relevant only if you allow others to register on your blog, but there are also some bug fixes, so it’s worth installing anyway.

It should be available from the Updates section of your dashboard, or you can download in the usual way. Full details in the WordPress blog post:

WordPress 3.1.2 Announcement

Weight and Stuff Report – 26 April 2011

Ho hum, up again today.

Here’s a picture which shows why it’s important to pay attention to where you’re walking…

Walk to the river

Walk to the river

Accidentally walking (or falling) down those steps could have unpleasant results…