Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This blog has moved

This blog has moved to and will no longer be updated on this url. Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls (assuming you still want to be dazzled by my rambling, that is...)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wordpress is pretty cool...

Having heard a lot about Wordpress in the past, I decided to take the plunge when I wanted to create my iPhone blog. I downloaded it and installed the virtual server hosting package I use for my other sites, and after setting up the MySQL database things were up and running very, very smoothly.

I chose a nice-looking theme for the iPhone blog initially, Justin Shattuck's Salmon, but I soon realised it had a few bugs. Since there are so many great themes available it hardly seemed worthwhile to go to the trouble of fixing it, so I found another one, even nicer, that you see on the blog currently.

I then decided to re-do my magazine site using Wordpress, and that went really smoothly as well. The more I use Wordpress the more I like it: being PHP-based, it was easy for me to tweak the install a bit to track keywords, and the themes which are widget-aware make fine-tuning the sidebars an absolute breeze.

I'm currently working on a site redesign for a client that will use Wordpress as a CMS for what is mainly a static site (although with the blog functionality there anyway, there will be a blog too), and it's going really well too.

So it's only a matter of time until this blog moves over to Wordpress as well. Blogger has been very useful as an intro to blogging, but now that I have experienced the elegance and control offered by Wordpress, there's no going back. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 30, 2007

O2 and Carphone Warehouse to get iPhone?

The rumours are starting to get persistent, and now there's some circumstantial evidence as well: O2 and Carphone Warehouse seem to be the two that the smart money are on for iPhone in the UK. More on my UK iPhone blog.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The JewWatch petition again

Some well-meaning people seem to be circulating a petition which last did the rounds a few years ago. It concerns an anti-semitic site known as, and the creator of the petition hoped to get Google to remove it from its position at the time as the first result for a search on the word "Jew".

Although the petition easily exceeded its stated goal of 50,000 signatories, Google did not of course censor the results, for reasons which are obvious to anyone who knows how Google's search algorithms work: they did produce an explanation for those who don't.

Of course, that algorithm cuts both ways, and a web campaign of links to the Wikipedia page on Jews or on Judaism, using the link text "Jew", means that a search for "Jew" now returns those pages as number 1 and number 2 results, and not So there is no need to continue to circulate the petition email. The problem has been solved, although if you want to include a few relevant links on your web pages, that could help to ensure it stays solved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Clarkson drives to the North Pole

Yes! He did it! Clarkson and Captain Slow have become the first people to drive to the (magnetic) North Pole! They did it in a magnificent Toyota Hilux pickup, beating the Hamster in a dogsled. Yay!

It's a great moment for petrolheads everywhere. And, as JC says at the end, about the supposed environmental damage, the inconvenient truth is that they left barely a scratch.

Hotmail is silently destroying mail messages

I hate Hotmail. I really, really hate Hotmail. A few months ago one of my clients had problems with email being rejected by Hotmail. It seemed at the time just to be a bit of a scam to get people to sign up for their (expensive) implementation of the Sender Policy Framework, but by using a free SPF service, I was able to get things going again.

Fast forward to the present. Over the past few days, my client reports that a number of his clients with Hotmail accounts are simply not getting his messages. No bounce report, nothing. At first I'm quite skeptical that even Microsoft would just silently kill emails with no bounce report. But it seems I was wrong.

A lot of people are reporting just that. Microsoft's SmartScreen is silently killing emails, and tech support won't tell you why. Some people are reporting that email sent from Outlook gets through; other mail apps not so lucky. Sound familiar?

So is that SmartScreen, or We-just-can't-help-baiting-anti-trust-laws-Screen?

The truth about detox and other food myths

Pretty impressed with the BBC's Truth About Food programme: lots of scientific rigour brought to bear on some food myths that are prevalent in our unfortunately not-always-rational popular culture.

The one I really enjoyed looked at the food myth that annoys me the most: the "detox diet". They took two groups of young, urban party-type girls, and put one on a detox diet and the other on a normal diet for a week. Result, predictably, was that the detox diet had absolutely no effect, apart from making the detox group feel really awful.

Another complete waste of time is drinking two litres of water a day to improve your skin.

But it's not all about debunking unscientific nonsense. They also looked at some more evidence-based diet ideas, which include eating spinach to prevent or reverse macular degeneration, and eating tomatoes to protect against skin cancer. The trials proved their effectiveness.

Pretty good stuff! You can watch all the programmes on the website.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pokemon players

There's a really cute story by Penny Arcade's Gabe this week. It seems he went along to a Pokemon tournament at his local mall, expecting to find a lot of guys his age, way more seriously into Pokemon than he was. Reality was slightly different.

But what I also liked about his story was something I noted myself when my son was majorly into Pokemon: it's a very engaging world, with cute monsters, a good competition ethic, and it engenders in the kids an enthusiasm that is very positive and nice to behold. Nice to see it continues!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The iPhone in the UK

I've just created a new site to track news about the iPhone's release in the UK. With all the rumours flying around about which network has the contract, and when the launch will be, my aim is to create a dedicated resource for carrying the latest news, speculation and analysis. (If 02 is the winner, why hasn't anything been announced? It could be that Steve wants to do a Europe launch, announcing the launch date and all of the European partners together. Some sources are talking about a September launch, which would fit with Steve's record of under-promising and over-delivering on launch dates.)