Monthly Archives: May 2008

Misquoted By Google


I mentioned in a previous post that I have been helping a friend with his own blog (Brandon’s Buzz) over the past few weeks. Well, everything’s just about sorted, but we discovered something strange yesterday when playing with Google. In a Google search for “Brandon’s Buzz”, there were no results for his site anywhere to be found.

Well, since the site’s been around for a good while now and other searches for terms on his site are working fine, why not “Brandon’s Buzz”? Then it struck me. WordPress, the blogging software, has this habit of prettying up your titles and posts by converting plain old boring, straight-up-and-down, single and double quotes into fancy, curly quotes like the ones used by publishers in books and magazines. You can find them in this post too.

Continue reading

Poll: A One Way Mission to Mars – Would You Go?

There has been much debate recently over a proposal to send a one-man, one-way mission to Mars. I have been chatting away over on a thread on Universe Today with people who have a whole variety of opinions on the subject and I thought it would be fun to put up a polls to see which of the following options people would agree to if they were given the chance to volunteer:

[poll id=”3″]

And on a similar note what would you agree to if NASA was seriously considering one of the following proposals?

[poll id=”4″]

Announcing AZIndex Plugin for WordPress

Announcing the AZIndex Plugin, a flexible WordPress plugin for generating alphabetical indexes of your weblog’s posts.

Enhance your WordPress blog by creating multiple, three-level alphabetical indexes of your posts based on any combination of post title, author, extract, or custom fields of your choice. Select which posts are included in your indexes using a combination of categories and tags, display them in up to four columns on a single page or over multiple pages.

Visit the AZIndex Plugin page for more information and downloads.

My allegedly jaundiced view of the world

Somewhere between the skies over England and the haven of Stratford-upon-Avon, my trusty steed of a laptop, used and abused over almost four years of constant operation, has finally developed what could be a fatal flaw. As I powered up my Thinkpad, I was greeted by a screen-load dancing yellow splotches coloring my window on the world. My laptop has jaundice, it seems.

Alas, my Thinkpad has finally suffered the fate shared by many its Thinkpad T42 bretheren–my constant manhandling has flexed the case, and thus the system board, to such a degree that the graphics chip has been cast adrift from its moorings. Some Thinkpads suffer a mercifully swift demise as a result, but it seems that mine will struggle on until I tire of the ghastly yellow hue of dancing dots before my eyes.

Ungainly bodges, consisting of stacks of Post-it notes or other scraps of paper wedge between the graphics chip and an alarmingly bulging keyboard may provide some relief from the ghastly attack of jaundice, but will likely only stave off the inevitable. At some point, in the near future, my T42, my MUSE (yes, I really did give it that name on my home network) will be laid to rest, and Thinkpad, son-of-Thinkpad, likely faster and more capable, but no more loved for that, will take its place.

Warning: WordPress Posts Ahoy

This blog is powered by a little open source beastie called WordPress (not that you really wanted to know that), and I have been fiddling around with WordPress themes and plugins in an effort to help get the blog of a friend of mine off the ground.  (We can’t make him finish his novel, but we sure cure lure him into this blogging lark to keep him scribbling!)

The end result, after, er, copious hours of tweaking, is Brandon’s Buzz, which I hope you will agree is a worthy effort.  I am no graphic designer, so I take no responsibility for the theme or the graphics, and the writing is entirely the work of the loquacious Brandon, but there were a lot of fiddly bits in between that needed attention to get the overall effect just right.

Anyway, during the fortnight-long struggle with bits and bytes, I’ve learned thing or two about WordPress and plan on sharing some of them in the near future, in the hope that I can be of some minor assistance to my fellow WordPress bloggers as they have been to me.  I am also in the middle of writing a plugin for WordPress which may well draw a somewhat larger crowd when I make it available.

So, hopefully, there will be one or two new folks popping up around here over the next few weeks.  Unlike Brandon, I have no plans for world domination, so I will attempt to keep the normal flow (trickle?) of blog posts coming whenever something appeals to my whimsy.  But if the very idea of blogging software is like lead weights on your eyelids, feel free to skip over anything categorized as “WordPress”.  You won’t know what you’re missing, but I’m guessing that you won’t really care!