Archive for Site Updates

Born on a Leap Year

I’d like to apologise to anyone born on a leapyear! Sounds like an odd thing to do, but the reason is quite simple. While my contacts database flags up the correct forthcoming day that someones birthday will fall on, this happens a day late for contacts who were born on a leapyear. This means that they don’t get wished a happy birthday by my site until a day after their actual birthday.

The same code issue will also cause people who were not born on a leapyear but for which the current year IS a leapyear to be wished a happy birthday a day early. People with birthdays at the end of February or beginning of March may see slightly more odd behaviour, but its all down to the same problem.

I hope to fix this issue in the next few days so that birthday wishes will be correct no matter when your were born or what year it is now. Oh and happy belated birthday to Drew who’s birthday was on Friday (not Saturday as my site would have lead you to believe)!

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Contacts database checkup

My contacts database has been running for a month or so now and I wanted to post an update on how I think its going. I decided to add a small(ish) number of people to it and see what the uptake would be like and so whether to invest my time and effort in adding the rest or my contacts.

Sadly, its not as good as I’d hoped. Of the 47 contacts I have currently added, a staggering 20 of those people have never even checked their details by accessing the system and many of these people will thus have incomplete details in the database. Others have checked their details but not bothered to update them, despite the fact the checking interface makes very clear what needs to be added to/updated and makes easy provision for the updates to occur.

I have to say I’m slightly disappointed with it all. I coded the system because I’m not very good at keeping in contact with people and I’m forever forgetting peoples birthdays so I wanted something that would remind me in a location I visit every day – my blog admin control panel. It must be said that if people don’t start using it then I’m going to pull the plug on my usage of it and release the code for others to have a go in case they have more luck.

It really doesn’t take long to check your e-mail, click the link and fill in your missing details (a minute maybe?). No one else will see them apart from me and I’ll actually remember your birthday. Your details will be perfectly safe. Obviously I can’t force you, and I won’t even try to force you – if you don’t want your details in its fine and I will delete your entry, but I don’t have a brilliant memory so if you don’t hear from me and/or I forget your birthday and you have ignored my e-mail about the database, its not my fault. It would certainly help me a lot if people used it and for my friends I’d hope that fact alone would be enough of an incentive to use the database.

I’m sure people will start to suggest that I should use facebook to check peoples birthdays, but because it is more open people don’t place their addresses in there, nor does facebook e-mail me when a birthday is coming up and let me know what day its going to fall on so I can time the post correctly for sending a timely birthday card. My system does all of these things for me, so you can see its a great help.

Sorry if this sounds like a moan, I guess it is in a small way, its just that without something like this I’m significantly more lost as to whats going on with my friends and aquaintances. In the next 3 days or so I’ll be sending out a reminder for those who have missing details so if you’ve lost your original e-mail for the system and want to help keep me up to date, you’ll get your chance soon. If you never got placed in the database and you’re reding this thinking “I’d like to help” then please e-mail me and I’ll add you

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New header

You can’t fail to have noticed that I have a new header to my site. This came about after I was thanked for my help on the Xilo forum that I moderate on and someone suggested there be a logo/header competition for my site to allow people to chip in thanks in the form of designs. The winner or should I say the only entry came from Gary, but its very good in my humble opinion and so after a week or so of the competition running with no further entries it now has pride of place on my site. Comments are most welcome and big thanks to Gary for this lick of paint!

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Blog reactions slowdown

A while ago I added and duely blogged about a blog reactions addition to my site. While this was a nice feature it wasn’t well used and seemingly was causing some quite severe slowdowns on the server – on occasion knocking this and other sites clean offline. This feature has now been removed from the site so hopefully the server slowdowns should stop and a faster service should resume for this site too. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to other users and sites on the server for any slowdowns or outages and for not spotting and rectifying this sooner.

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Uptime project to close

It was with great sadness today that I read the uptime project is to close. This was a service that allowed PC and server operators to track their uptime, compare their uptime against other users and also broadcast the information to their sites and in forum signatures by way of a dynamic .png image. Money and time have been sited as the two main reasons for the closure which is sadly the way so many good and innovative websites go these days. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the uptime project team for their hard work and their innovative idea and wish them all the best for the future.

As for this site you will have noticed that Lara’s uptime is no longer displayed in the sidebar. I am currently working on a hand-rolled solution to displaying my uptime and the overall averages so hopefully you should be able to track my personal server’s uptime the way you’ve always been able to. I may even provide an RSS feed or similar for it this time around 😉

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Dead phone number

I realised today that my phone number on the contact me page of this site had been dead for a week or so. This has now been rectified and was due to confusion over the billing period on the part of the phone company. I ask you, is anything easy and trouble free these days? Anyhow apologies to those who were getting the disconnected tone and needed to get in touch. I trust you found other ways of speaking to me.

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Contacts database

Some of my friends and family will no doubt have noticed a message in their e-mail with a link in it allowing them to click and make amendments to their contact details. This is a part of a large contact details database (see the faq) that I have added to my site which will allow me to look up individuals details and stay in touch with them.

If you’ve already got your e-mail or get one in the next few days or so, congratulations – you’re a part of a select group of my friends I’ve chosen to help test the system and make sure its good to hold and manage every single one of my contacts details. You don’t have to do anything special to test it out, just read the FAQ and click your link to make sure I have your details correct and that any omissions are completed. Every update gets back to me so I’ll be able to see if things are working as they should.

If you’ve not got an e-mail, don’t fret, within the next two weeks I will have all of my contacts in the database and you will be able to amend your details every time they change using your e-mail link. If you still don’t have your link after that feel free to contact me and if I know you I’ll add you. Be rest assured that providing your details this way is as secure as handing me a piece of paper or sending me an e-mail with them on and you will not be spammed as a result of being in my database. In case you didn’t already know, I absolutely hate spam and those that send it.

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Canned Spam

As part of my zero tolerance on spam I’ve now started to publish a running total of the number of spam blog comments I’ve deleted, or canned as I like to call it, in the sidebar of my site. Considering this anti-spam system has only been in operation for a little over two weeks from the date of this posting its quite shocking to note that over 800 spam comments have already been caught by it. Just goes to show how much of a war spam really is and its one we need to win. Anyone who wants the code to add to their WordPress blog to publish how much spam they have canned then contact me.

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Blog reactions

Keen eyes will have noticed the recent appearence on this site of little blog reaction links with the technorati logo on them appearing below all my blog postings. Thes provide an indicator of how many blogs have linked to each blog posting I have written. This might be useful to you if you want to read what others have written on the same subject as I have. Simply click the link and you will be taken to technorati where you can see a list of what sites have linked to my posting and peruse them at your leisure.

As a quick guide if the link is grey there are no links from other blogs to that posting. If its green then others have written about my post and you will see a listing when you click it. Enjoy!

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WordPress upgraded

In line with the latest WordPress release the core code running this website has been upgraded to the latest version. This update closes some known security loopholes as well as providing a few tweaks to the admin side of things which should make brining content to you even less hassle free.

I encourage all users of WordPress to upgrade to the latest version to avoid potential security issues. You can get the latest release on the WordPress site

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