Posts Categorised: Computing

2Wordpress LogoFixing Rich Snippets Testing Tool for Microdata

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!

Read Full Art­icle

0Internet Explorer 9 LogoIE10 for Windows 7 finally arrives

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.

Read Full Art­icle

5Wordpress LogoAdsense ads above the last paragraph of a post

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) … Read Full Art­icle

0Comment bubbleEasily set the parent of a WordPress comment

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

Read Full Art­icle

0MS Office LogoBatch convert old MS Office documents

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.

Read Full Art­icle

0Spell Checker - Spelling PoliceInstall a spellchecker for your browser

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…

Read Full Art­icle

1Comment bubbleJetpack-style comments without Jetpack

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…
Read Full Art­icle

0HTML5 LogoHTML5 spec finished and published!

At long last, the W3C has pub­lished the final HTML5 spe­cific­a­tionDIY Media Home is already writ­ten coded in HTML5, but the final­isa­tion of the spe­cific­a­tion means that HTML5 com­pli­ance is no longer a mov­ing tar­get for either us, or the browser makers.  Hope­fully all the main play­ers will provide fully HTML5 com­pli­ant browsers soon.  In the mean­time we’ll be work­ing to ensure our site is fully com­pli­ant with the final spec.

Read Full Art­icle

0Tin full of spamHow to reduce spam with SPF, DKIM & DMARC

Since I set up con­tact forms on vari­ous web­sites I’ve had a slowly increas­ing volume of spam.  Not dir­ect spam sent to me, but bounces from non-exist­ent addresses that were being spamme, appar­ently from my address.  Unfor­tu­nately the spam was­n’t ori­gin­at­ing from my address, but my address was some­how picked up (prob­ably from before I secured the con­tact forms on the site) and was being used as the “reply to” address.  After some invest­ig­a­tion I heard about SPF which is an e‑mail anti-for­gery sys­tem.

Read Full Art­icle

6Microsoft Office Excel 2010Conditional formatting for grades v targets

So, in my oth­er life I’m actu­ally a sci­ence teach­er, and as it usu­ally gets round that I’m “good with com­puters” I usu­ally get asked to have a look at a few things.  Twice in the last few months I’ve been asked if I’d set up con­di­tion­al format­ting in excel to col­our code stu­dent test res­ults com­pared to their tar­get grades.  Whilst not exactly related to the core con­tent of this site, it is still DIY tech­nic­al help so I decided to pub­lish a full set of instruc­tions here.  Enjoy…

Read Full Article