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

0AVStoDVDHow to burn files to compliant DVD-Video

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…. 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

0VPS ServerNew VPS host

So, there haven’t been many new articles on the site in the last 2-3 months.  Partly this is because we’ve been busy in our day jobs, but also it is because we decided it was time to move to a VPS instead of our previous hosting package.  So, to cut a very long story short, we’re now up and running on the new host.  There is still a lot of tweaking and tinkering to do, but the site should be noticably faster thanks to various caching and other options we’ve been able to use with the VPS.  Once everything has settled down and is fully functional you can expect quite a few new articles, starting with a substantial (7,000 word and growing) guide to how to set up a VPS!

In the meantime, if you find any broken functionality please let us know with a comment, e-mail or message via social network. You can also see more details on the changes we’ve been making on our site updates log.

Cheers, Jon

8Samsung Galaxy S2 WhiteNetwork sim unlock the Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100

I was recently given a Samsung Galaxy S2 which was locked to T-Mobile, and was asked if I could unlock it so that it could be used on any network.  I naively assumed that rooting the phone would achieve this aim, but sadly this was not the case – it seems that some network providers are still sim locking phones, even on contract, and that breaking these locks still isn’t always straight-forward.  With enough research however, it becomes a fairly straightforward process.

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

0Windows Media Center eHome LogoGet Media Center 8 free

If you’ve got Windows 8 Pro, and wish to add Media Center to it you need a key from Microsoft.  In future this wont be free, but you can get one free until 31st Jan 2013 thanks to a Microsoft offer.  I have registered for mine, even though I don’t run Windows 8 because I may want to use it in future so why not!

Read Full Article