Wikipedia Day

I’ve been following the Wiki dramahz going on today (and just spent a fruitless 20 mins trying to explain it to one of my housemates), but managed to completely miss that it’s Wikipedia’s 8th birthday! See the official blog. I can hardly believe it’s 8 years old, and even less that I’ve been there for almost half that time. Happy Wikipedia Day everyone!


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 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…

P.S. I’m on twitter now –

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!


OK, so the blog-a-day experiment was a miserable failure. The good news is, it’s because I’ve been keeping busy in real life. Lots of fun, and some secret plans – which I’m sure I’ll be posting about soon. Anyway I went to a talk by Roger Penrose today, and am quite proud of the fact I survived three quarters of an hour before getting totally lost. His new theory is quite cool, if a little confusing, maybe I’ll find time to write about that (or what I understood it to be) It’s scary – I got there 20 minutes early and the lecture theatre was almost full. And this is a BIG lecture theatre, given that it seats all the Part IA Phys NatScis for Maths lectures. Apparently they had to turn away 200-300 people.

Also, Screenwipe is back. Huzzah!


Ok, so there was no post yesterday. I blame being unexpectedly dragged into the lab, resulting in being out from 8.40 till half past midnight. Although the later bit may have been due to watching “classic” 80s music videos in the MCR. Hooray for Sky! I did make it home for about half an hour actually, but getting food somehow took priority.

Anyway, I finally took a look at the Wikimedia Foundation’s first Annual Report. It’s impressively professional, it really shows how far the Foundation has come. And I say this having been to a careers fair today, where I was bombarded with many nicely put together booklets. I think the WMF one is my favourite, and not just because it’s something I’m rather close to. The report is well worth a look if you want to find out more about Wikimedia – the “anatomy of a wikipedia article” in the middle is particularly wonderful.

El Presidente

Apparently there’s some sort of election going on. I did think there’s nothing I can write that hasn’t been written already, but apparently I can. I’m strongly favouring Obama, and I don’t think I know (in real life) a single person who would vote for McCain given the chance. But whoever wins, the world will still carry on tomorrow. If McCain wins, the Earth probably won’t implode (although if he snuffs it and Palin comes to power, that might be a different matter). And if Obama wins, life isn’t all fluffy bunnies and rainbows from here on out.

No time for a title

Well, Brianna posted about “NaBloPoMo” – National Blog Posting Month. Even though I’ve missed 2 days, and have less than 10 minutes left to post this, I’m going to try and post every day for the rest of November. Should be a challenge, given my previous neglect of this blog. There’s a few things I have in mind to write about, and just never get round to it, so this should be an incentive. And I’m sure I can throw in some filler without enraging too many people.

Here’s some awesome music to start things off: