It seems that the formerly “do no evil” google have decided to remove all ad blocking apps from the Play Store. Fortunately it has always been possible to install apps directly from the APK files — as long as you can find them. The 3 most popular ad blocking apps are still available to download in apk format, all you need to do is enable the installing of apps from “unknown sources” somewhere in your phones settings.
Over 2 years ago I published an article on how to fix problems with WordPress themes which didn’t pass the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Since then lots has changed — WordPress and most themes have better support, HTML5 and CSS3 have arrived, and Google, Yahoo and Bing got together and decided to focus on Microdata, via schema.org. At the time microformats seemed the easiest way to mark up pages, and the testing tool had the most comprehensive support for these. The move to Microdata and the changes to WordPress required a new article: this is it!
Another item that we’re a bit late to cover is the arrival of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (and Server 2008 R2). As with past releases, older OSes are being left behind with no support for Vista or XP, which are stuck on IE9 and IE8 respectively. If you have Windows 7 we recommend upgrading (even if you don’t use IE) and of course there is no harm giving it a try. We’ll probably be sticking with Firefox and Chrome ourselves, but IE sometimes has its uses.
I’ve been a little slow getting round to updating content on the site recently, and this news was one item that got left behind. The BBC have announced that BBC HD is to be replaced by BBC2 HD. The majority of content on BBC HD was from BBC2 anyway, so most will notice little difference, but expect a new logo and minor changes to the programme line-up. The expected switchover date is 6am on Tuesday 26th March.
You may have noticed that we’ve tweaked how we display our adsense ads. We wanted some small text-only ads near the bottom of each article, which would be added automatically. This took a little bit of tinkering, but eventually we developed a solution which works well and doesn’t seem to knock page processing times much. Simply add the following code to your theme’s functions.php (don’t forget to change your adsense IDs)
As is documented in the site update log, for a while we had a problem with our theme where it wasn’t possible to reply to a comment so that the reply would appear correctly in a threaded way. We have no fixed this problem, but have been left with a significant number of comments which really need editing so it is easier to see what they are in reply to. With a standard wordpress install this requires going into the database and editing there, which is very tedious. Instead, we’ve used some simple functions to add an option to the comment-edit admin page, to set the comment parent there. Eventually this will be developed into a proper plugin to enable this functionality. For now the code is below, just add it to your theme’s functions.php
As I’ve documented well on this blog I run all my TV through a server and Windows Media Center. Occasionally I want to archive some recorded TV to DVD. Not a DVD of data-files, but a standards-compliant video DVD that will play in set top players. This isn’t always straight forward as proper DVDs have to conform to various standards, including being encoded in MPEG2 and having a PAL or NTSC resolution (480p or 576p). Most of what I have recorded is 1080p and I also have some 720p, and most of this is encoded using H.264. So turning these files into a standard DVD video means both recoding and resizing the videos. (more…)
I’ve been trying to sort out an enormous (100+GB) or teaching resources that I’ve built-up over the years. After the obvious steps (deleting empty, temp and duplicated files) and sorting the big files (e.g. videos, application installers) I was left with a large number of office documents. I am slowly working through these, but many of them are 2003 or even older format documents — some as old as Word 6! Every time I open one of these files I am prompted with various security warnings. Whist these can be turned off (see below) it is more secure to leave them on, and I wanted to convert all the files to office 2007 (docx, xlsx etc) formats. Batch conversion was definitely the way to go.
Let me start with an admission: I’m one of those pedants on Facebook who likes to correct your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Some of you will think this is perfectly reasonable, whilst others will probably want an explanation. If you are one of the latter read on.
The simple fact is that as a social species our existence depends on communication, the clearer the better. When their only contact with you is virtual other people will make judgements about you based on what is available to them — including your SPG. I correct spellings on Facebook for 2 reasons: 1. because I’m a teacher so it’s a habit; 2. because with modern web-browsers there is quite simply no excuse for incorrect spelling. So, to help everyone, here is a quick guide to enabling an automatic ‘Microsoft word like” spell-checker in your web-browser…
One of the best things about wordpress is the built-in social aspect provided by comments. Getting your comment section right can be very important to any website, including ours. Over the years we’ve experimented with various comment plugins including Disqus and more recently Jetpack. However, we’ve always ended up bring things back in house for management, performance and privacy reasons. When I moved back from Jetpack comments I really missed some of the slick features provided by Jetpack, both the social-network logins and the general slick styling. Anyway, to cut a long story short I finally had time today to take a good look at how wordpress “does” comments and figure out a way to build an in-house system which looks nice and slick like the comment interface provided by jetpack. Best of all its surprisingly simple and does things the “proper” way…