More Experimentation

This blog has just been upgraded to support Gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatars) in the comments thread. Check the comment below to see what I mean. If you would like your own Gravatar, you can register for one here. (Note, however, that they have no means of deleting an account. You can remove all your pictures, which has the same effect, but I know some people get unhappy about services that won’t let you go.)

Plug-In Testing

I’m testing a WordPress plug-in that allows you to subscribe to email notification of follow-up comments. It isn’t really for here, because I get so little debate, but it may be useful on SFAW, and I’d rather test it out here first. You should see the link for subscribing if you try to leave a comment. I know the sidebar is missing on the subscription page. Please test.

Technology Sucks

If you happen to be viewing this site under IE 6 you may have noticed that the sidebar has gone away on some pages. Well actually it hasn’t gone away, it has dropped down to the bottom of the page. IE 7 appears to work fine, if you feel like upgrading. In the meantime I am going to go away and say bad things about Microsoft for a while.

Anyone else out there who has a theme based on Sadish Bala’s Mistylook might want to take note because this probably affects you too, though only if you upgrade to WordPress 2.5.

Update: Hopefully fixed now, though I do mean “hopefully”. SFAW uses a similar set-up and the fix that worked fine here worked fine for SFAW on the test server but not fine when I sent it live. Thankfully dropping another pixel off the div width seemed to fix it.

Anyone out there using Safari 2, which is another browser that tends to cause me style sheet disasters.

Update 2: I forgot to mention that if you are having problems like this I now know where to get copies of old browsers to test. Thank you, evolt.org!

Test Post

I’m in the process of upgrading all of my blogs to WordPress 2.5. This involves a lot of worrying about whether plugins and custom code will still work. So far so good, but I can’t test the LiveJournal cross-poster offline, so here goes a live test.

Update: Phew, that seemed to work. Much relief all round.

Trying out the Turbos

While I can get by in a variety of programming languages, most of my professional coding has been done in Pascal. Those of you who know about such things will therefore not be surprised to learn that I was delighted to see Borland re-launch their “Turbo Pascal” range last week.

I will be writing more about these new products in future. In particular I’m interested in the differences between the packages: do you need the “professional” versions, or can you get by with the free “explorer” versions. There’s also the question as to whether you need plain old Turbo Delphi, or the Turbo Delphi for .NET. Unfortunately, because you can only install one Turbo product per machine, I can’t do a lot of evaluation. I daren’t strip off the existing Delphi environment I have because I have clients to support, and I only have one PC here in the UK that is capable of running the software. (I’ll be looking at virtual machines today.)

In the meantime, Jeff Duntemann (who, like Jerry Pournelle, I find to be a much better writer about technology than a writer of science fiction) has written a nice introductory article about installing the new products. And Nick Hodges of Borland has an excellent series of animated presentations (with audio) explaining the new products to beginners.

Update: The virtual machine software that Duntemann recommends looks very interesting. Unfortunately you need to have your operating system install discs with you in order to use it. Looks like I might end up buying a PC after all.

Life Online

At the last count, a mere 10 pieces of comment spam since the blog went online about 24 hours ago. It will get worse. This is why I recommend people who can’t cope with all this nonsense to go for something like LiveJournal that protects them from all the horrors. And to think I once tried to persuade my mother to learn to use a computer.

Accelerated Web Development

So, he we are, and entirely new look at feel to a web site. It is a little short on content right now, but that’s easy to drop in. The important point is that the site was up and running, and looking rather impressive, in an evening. Most of that time was spent selecting a theme, uploading files, and watching the Giants beat the Padres in extra innings (yay!). The amount of actual web coding was minimal. Like I said, probably an hour or so.

Of course no WordPress theme is ideal. I spent a lot of time looking at nice designs but eventually went with one that was fairly simple but supported all of the latest tweaks to the WordPress software. It is also worth noting that I’ll probably now spend a long time tweaking the design to be just how I want it. Finally, the one downside of running a web site on a PHP/mySQL backend is that it really helps if you have a basic knowledge of databases and a copy of phpMyAdmin that you can use to keep an eye on things. This is particularly useful in fighting comment spam (Emerald City has had over 3000 items of comment spam in the last week.)

I should also note that, with the profusion of browsers out there, it is hard to know is any CSS-based site is going to work for everyone. If you see weird stuff, let me know.

In case there are any WordPress geeks out there, a few more techie comments are hidden under the fold.

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