Photo Nudge

It took far too long in the sorting but our Iceland trip photos are finally online and well worth a look through – a truly wonderful country full of surprises

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Brompton Hire

Could these be coming to London soon – competing with the charge by the hour experience of the Boris bikes? Spotted this Brompton hire station on the South bank of the Thames while out for a stroll today, charge is £2.50 for a day

  

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Shadow and Light

Out and about for a walk yesterday afternoon the winter light was just so perfect I had to take this snap of my own shadow, the warmth of the hue from the trees beyond was truly remarkable

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Candle Fail

Usually when you buy a scented candle the scent is released from the wax as it burns, however there are others available which have a twin layer of glass, the internal “cup” containing the candle and the outer “cup” containing a gel which, when warmed by the internal cup candle, releases the scent.

Over Christmas my parents had purchased one of these and had it burning on the coffee table, releasing seasonally inspired scent into the living room. All of a sudden a large, tall flame was observed. While it was possible to extinguish the flame simply by firmly blowing on it, the flame was quite large and could have ignited other objects surround the the candle on the table. When extinguished it was clear what had happened; the outer layer of gel had somehow ignited and had started burning at a furious rate (shown in the photo below)

Having mentioned this to friends I’m now aware of at least one other of these types of candles which has caught fire, as such I’d recommend anyone that has a candle of this type not to use it and to dispose of it for safety.

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PPTP VPN in Ubuntu 15.10

Recently I had cause to connect to my home VPN from my laptop, being out of town and on a connection not part of my usual trusted network. I tried to connect as usual using PPTP via the network manager on the Xubuntu desktop but no dice – the connection was failing every time. After establishing my iPhone was able to connect from the same network, I realised that the last time my laptop had successfully connected to the VPN was prior to my upgrade to Ubuntu 15.10 and therefore something must have changed with the default settings under the hood to cause the problem.

To cut a long story short, after much digging and hair pulling, I established that you need to enable 3 kernel modules to get the PPTP VPN client back up and running in the latest version of Ubuntu. Add the following to /etc/modules and reboot

nf_nat_pptp
nf_conntrack_pptp
nf_conntrack_proto_gre

After that you should find that your PPTP VPN connection invoked in the usual way from the network manager no longer fails. Happy days!

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Christmas 2015

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Much more organised with the camera this year, Shweta and I took a smattering of Christmas photos throughout the holiday period, capturing the spirit and essence of the season on film

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Calendar 1.3.7 Released

I suppose it should be called the “Ho, ho, ho!” release given the proximity to Christmas, but no, just another little bug fix release for loyal Calendar users. Tested with the latest version of WordPress and with a couple of annoying niggles fixed, it’s well worth hitting the update button. As usual, any problems in the forums please.

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Last FM Plugin

While for many Last FM stopped existing as a service when they ceased their premium subscription radio service, there remains a very viable use for the service that even existed prior to the launch of streaming – “scrobbling”, or in lay man’s terms, the logging of every track you listen to across a variety of services for statistical purposes.

For many years I posted the last 10 tracks I had listened to in the side bar of my website but never released the code I wrote to do this. I had even registered a plugin URL with WordPress for the purpose, but never uploaded the code that powered it. Last night that changed and I’ve released the full plugin code that powers the side bar widget – meet Last FM for WordPress. I’d very much welcome any comments regarding its functionality and also ideas for future development; as my forum suggests I had grand plans for this plugin when I first registered its URL back in 2010 and given the ephemeral nature of Last FM’s future, it may well be wise for me to step up and pursue some of these development goals sooner rather than later!

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Calendar 1.3.6 Released

While 1.3.5 didn’t really merit a posting on account of it being a very small patch type release, 1.3.6 has a bit more meat on the bones.

Translations have made a bold debut into the WordPress plugin repository with a nice GUI for any code-shy translators to assist with their language skills. As such I’m now bundling all translations for Calendar that I have access to with every release. This makes internationalisation easier for users and ensures the plugin is fully compliant with all the repository features.

Other bug fixes were bundled into the release, most notably some performance improvements regarding the checking of the calendar database tables to ensure they were up to date with the code.

In a the next release we’ll be looking at a substantial tidy-up of the code, an attempt to move closer to some of the newer (and nicer) features of the latest WordPress version and some serious performance improvements regards the loading of events from the database.

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Blackberry Haul

It’ll be a delicious blackberry and apple crumble for pudding make no mistake! 

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