Two thousand and ten

Happy new year! I was getting tired of the radiance-based theme here, so switched to the aptly titled “veryplaintxt”. This is a lot tidier and also removes the need for me to co-ordinate colours, something I’m really hopeless at. I might make some customisations of my own at some point, and that should be easier as this theme is very nicely coded. I’m quite happy with how my Wikinews user page is turning out, so will probably use some ideas from there.

New name, new theme

Ok, so creating a theme from scratch proved to be an awful lot harder than I expected it to be. Luckily I found Lime Radiance, which was almost exactly what I wanted except a bit too… well… lime! Anyway I changed the background and a few other things around, and I’m pretty happy with the result. What really helped was using xampp to run apache and mySQL locally on my computer, so I could install WordPress and test out themes and modifications much faster. That was a trick I probably wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t looked to design my own initially, so it was definitely worthwhile.

I might make a few minor changes yet, but this design is pretty much how I want it. :D

And the new name is the obvious pun, which I think was my original idea for the name. Then when I couldn’t get the domains I originally wanted, I ended up buying astick.net, planning to do “blog on a stick”, “wiki on a stick” etc. I guess I always preferred this name though.

Upgraded

It’s funny, I’m normally very keen on keeping all my software up to date, but WordPress is just enough hassle for me to make an exception. I was trundling along on 2.5 for ages now, and given that it keeps nagging me to update to not 2.6, but 2.7, I thought I should get on with it. Did this from the family computer running Vista, and tried using Windows Explorer’s built in ftp, which as I should have guessed was a mistake – soooo slooooow! When it seemed to crash I gave up and used WebFTP. Anyway it all worked out in the end. They appear to have entirely changed the interface again, how nice. And look, the post writing box has a word count! *glee*

Another reason for upgrading is that I’ve been feeling creative recently and want to make a new theme for my site. And not just pinching one from http://www.freewpthemes.net/ like I did last time – although it is CC licensed, and there are some very nice ones there. I mean hacking one together from HTML and CSS, so I didn’t want to do that and then find out 2.7 messes it up. Having a computer that can run Dreamweaver and Photoshop slightly faster than an asthmatic snail will help too. I do like my current one, but having used it for a while it’s a little too bright for my tastes. Plus I want to play around with CSS again, like the big geek that I am. Hopefully I’ll get it done sometime before heading back to uni.

In Wikipedia news, I blitzed a lot of the backlog for the UK Portal. Then I found that the Signpost (where I get my FA updates from) hasn’t been published since 1st December :-( I really ought to help out with that, so there’s another distraction. I want to put the UK Portal up for featured status soon too, will probably not go for the massive tabbed redesign I was planning. Also next term I really ought to grab some material from the college library and work on the Downing article, it is a little embarassing to have been on Wikipedia so long and never actually written much of substance. The Materials dept could possibly use an article too.

Write Or Die

So, I was needing a kick up the backside to get some work done. And as is usual when trying to knuckle down, I found myself browsing Wikipedia again. This time I ended up at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those in the know) page. This is something I’d heard about before (after all, I did try – and fail miserably – at NaBloPoMo) and always been pretty interested in. So I clicked through to their homepage. Turns out it was last month (November, i.e. the same as NaBloPoMo). Anyway three little words on their homepage caught my eye – “Write Or Die”. Liking the threatening tone (and I only realised later, probably drawing a subconscious parallel to the anime “Read or Die”, one of my absolute favourites), I clicked the link. It turns out some guy, aptly named Dr Wicked, has written a nifty little web app which doesn’t so much encourage you to write, as FORCE you to. You’re presented with a blank text box, but instead of being able to stare at it in horror while your mind is empty, you have to write. Otherwise the screen border will start to flash, and sooner or later it begins to play annoying sounds. And you have to KEEP writing, until you reach a word count or time limit that you set before hand. A particularly devious mode replaces the annoying sounds with something else – if you don’t keep writing new words, the old ones you did manage begin to disappear before your eyes. Genius.

So anyway, that’s how I managed to write this. It makes such a change from my usual, glacial writing pace, with popping back every few seconds to edit and re-edit, then realising I have to reword everything else to make sense. I need to use this more often. Now if only I could start going to bed at sensible times…

http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html

P.S. I’m on twitter now – http://twitter.com/thewub

Oh dear god, it’s only now I’m previewing this post in wordpress that I realise how long it is compared to my usual. Yay, I guess!

Activity!? On my blog!?

This blog hasn’t seen so much excitement since… well… ever. Though to be honest, if you class this as excitement, you need to get out more.

(Note to self: Get out more)

So I’m sure WordPress 2.3 is wonderful and all (ooh, tags. how Web 2.0) but it takes too long to install. At least for me. Maybe it wouldn’t if I was actually as technically competent as I like to think, and if I actually updated my web stuff enough to start learning my way round. As it is I spend most of my time trying to remember/guess usernames and passwords that I never use. Hint: don’t pick an online pseudonym with a space in, it only causes headaches jumping between “the wub”, “the_wub”, “the-wub”, “thewub” and whatever other manglings you come up with to fit various username limitations.

While installing wp 2.3, I found that backing up my old directory took aaages. Turns out I’d installed about 6 gazillion themes while trying to select one before (and stuck with the previous boring one, I know *rolleyes*). Anyway ironically this new one isn’t one of them, I just found it on a website. It suits me fine though, or at least does in my current vaguely optimistic mood. And I really can’t be bothered to design my own theme at the moment, it’ll certainly never look this good. (As I said, only vaguely optimistic)

Well, that’s new software and a new theme. What else is new on the blog? Well, this post, but I can’t say much about that because I’m still writing it. I hope it thrills and amuses everyone who reads it. So that means web spiders. I think more blogs should cater specially to web spiders. They must get pretty bored browsing the web all the time, and coming across all this human focused blogging. Hello web spiders, here is some friendly binary: 100101110001010101110101101. I hope that didn’t inadvertantly insult your mothers.

so yeah…

Heh, that attempt at sustaining my blog started well didn’t it. Now it appears to be broken (see the nasty error on the right where the blogroll should be) – which is partly the reason I held off on a new post, I wanted to try and fix the problem or at least wait and hope it fixed itself. Needless to say both methods failed.

I didn’t have much in the blogroll anyway. If you really care:

No big surprises there then.

The blog was loading really slowly before as well, though that seems to be sorted (fingers crossed). As part of trying to solve that I switched to this theme, which is the simplest one I could find. Anyway I kinda like this plain look, so will probably stick with it for a while at least. I do hope to come up with my own theme at some point so I can tie in with the (as yet theoretical) parent site. Given my current progress expect that sometime around 2012.

Despite the long time since an update, there’s not been much happening. Finished the HoC report ok (deadline 5pm, handed in at 4.50), got rather drunk towards the end of term and have now been home over a week and done squit all revision. Much more interesting reading I, Lucifer… woah! Just went to the wikipedia entry to link it and apparently they are making a film! Starring Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor. I’m enjoying this book SO much, I had no idea there was a film planned. That’s something to look forward to. In the meantime I thoroughly recommend the book.

Meeting up with Cyril tomorrow, I expect much playing of guitar leading to sore fingers and frustration at the fact I haven’t played in over two months and have declined in ability from poor to incompetent. Again. Also planned is the Big Meal with the strange crowd, a QEGS gathering (in O’Neills of course), hopefully Northern drinks in Sheffield, plus other randomness. Also a week in Devon seeing grandparents. And at some point I have to start on Tripos questions, I’ve only just realised how many I have to do.

And maybe another blog entry? Hopefully, but I wouldn’t hold your breath…

Look alive, blogonauts!

(Title stolen from the ever wonderful xkcd)

Well, guess I should make some use of the hosting I bought myself for Christmas, other than holding silly pics for b3ta, so a blog it is! I hope my attention span for this is longer than for my previous blogging attempt, which I won’t link to out of shame

Anyway it seems I picked an ideal time to start. Planet Wikimedia has just been launched to bring together Wikimedia-related blog posts, and I get the feeling I’ll be making a few of them thanks to my full blown wikiholism.

More stuff to come, and over Easter I hope to build up the main website. I also have a couple of big things planned on Wikipedia. For now though I need to get back to the joyous world of Physics, and finish (well start to be honest) my HoC report.