Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2005

Ruby :symbols understood - "A symbol is an object with a name"

Back in August, I blogged about Ruby's symbols as I tried to get my head around what they really were. Jim Weirich made a post yesterday entitled 'Symbols Are Not Immutable Strings' which really helped solidify my understanding, his main two points being:

* Symbols are not immutable strings
* A symbol is an object with a name

Thanks Jim!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Support the new blog/RSS feed icon

Based on the Firefox RSS feed icon, (and adopted by Microsoft) is the transmitting symbol that with a big push from Feed Icons is trying to become the standard symbol that means "this is an RSS feed". I've added it to my blog today to support the effort.

Let's make RSS feeds simple enough for anyone to recognise - none of this orange XML this or RSS that...

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Migration to Ruby for Java developers

As an experienced Java developer converting to a Ruby newbie I found the following posts from Sam Newman rather helpful in making the switch:

* Ruby For Java (and C#) Programmers, Part 1 - Conventions, methods, modules, and classes
* Ruby For Java (and C#) Programmers, Part 2 - Operators, methods, and more on classes
* Ruby For Java (and C#) Programmers, Part 3 - Introducing Arrays, Hashes and the typing system

If your anything like me having a good book by your side can really help when picking up a new language. There is one Ruby book that everyone seems to have, Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide. It really is an excellent book, I liked the first edition so much that I bought the second as well!

Let me know if you find any other resources that would be helpful to anyone else making the switch.

Another useful resource for people interested in see what Ruby is all about is Try Ruby! - an online interactive Ruby terminal that runs in a browser, created by the rather in…

Missed your bookmarks when was down? Not if you've got Foxylicious!

If you are a regular user you will most probably know that they have had some server & database troubles over the past couple of days that caused the whole system to be unavailable for a considerable number of hours.

What you might not know is that you could have had access to them (if you are a Firefox user) if you had the Foxylicious extension installed. It maintains a copy of your links as normal Firefox bookmarks and I blogged about it back in April.

I find the Firefox extension better for posting to, but nothing beats Foxylicious for ensuring that you have fast local access to all your bookmarks should every have problems in the future.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

DevBoi - the Ruby on Rails & web development quick reference sidebar for Firefox

If you use Firefox and develop either websites in HTML/XHTML, CSS & JavaScript or web applications in Ruby on Rails (or PHP) then the DevBoi sidebar written by Martin Cohen is a pretty handy extension to have.

Rob Sanheim has a great post introducing the new features and the offline version comes highly recommended if you ever want to develop whilst not connected to the net.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Increasing your USB gaming mouse polling rate with USB Mouserate Switcher 1.1 (usbmrs11.exe)

In my last post I talked about how to check your gaming mouse polling rate with a Windows utility called mouserate. You may have noticed that my polling rate was way above the standard 100Hz - in this post I'll tell you how I did it. This obviously only works with USB mice but there are not that many PS/2 gaming mice sold these days.

Important Disclaimer: Although I have not had any problems since running this patch, there have been reports on various gaming forums that people's mice or other USB devices have stopped working as a result of applying this patch. For some people it was fixed by choosing a slower patch rate but I wanted to mention this, as if you follow my instructions below and something goes wrong with your setup - your on your own... (it might be best to have a PS/2 mouse handy or know the keyboard shortcuts to revert the patch).

Ok with that disclaimer out the way, let's get stuck in and really ramp the polling speed up. First download USB Mouserate Swi…

Check your gaming mouse polling rate with mouserate.exe

I'm not a big PC gamer but I do enjoy the odd hour online playing ET (Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory). Recently I've been disappointed with my accuracy and aiming, I just seem to always miss when in the middle of a frantic firefight.

I had read on an ET forum that a good way to improve your aim was to download and consume 'Aiming by RaZiel'. After reading some of the documentation and watching a couple of the movies in this pack I wanted to try and 'tweak' my mouse configuration.

One tip was to increase the mouse polling rate within Windows so that it would be read faster and therefore give a more accurate reading on the mouse's position. One way that you can check your mouse polling rate is with the rather handy 'mouserate' by Oliver Andreas Tscherwitschke.

It's a tiny download that contains a simple executable file that pops up a window which gives you an area in which to move your mouse around, and a list of the polled rate on the right-hand s…

Creating a Trac instance on Debian Linux

In a post back in October (has it really been that long?) I walked through how to install Trac on Debian Linux. This post will cover the configuration of Trac so that at the end you will have a running Trac system that you can use as a wiki, ticket manager and Subversion repository browser.

First you need to decide where you want your Trac instance to live, I wanted mine to be accessible via a sub-section of a website, but I wanted the instance to live outside of that website's directory structure. I decided on /var/www/Trac which I would link to from within my other website.

To create the instance run the trac-admin command as the root user like so:
trac-admin /var/www/Trac initenv

It will now ask you a number of questions about your environment and project:
* Project Name - enter a human-readable name for your project, this will appear on emails, webpages, etc.
* Database connection string - just hit return to use the default SQLite
* Path to repository - the directory path to your S…

Summary of last night's AgileNorth meetup - "The Game of Life Kata"

Last night was the November meetup of the AgileNorth group. It was kindly hosted by the computing department of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. They provided a sizable room, with great presentation facilities and even sorted out some tea, coffee and cakes!

There were 10 attendees in total (which was double the size of the first meetup that I attended), and the session was run by Murray Tait & David Draper. The topic was "The Game of Life Kata".

So what is a code Kata?
A Kata is an exercise in karate where you repeat a form many, many times, making little improvements in each. The intent behind code Kata is similar. Each is a short exercise (perhaps 30 minutes to an hour long). Some involve programming, and can be coded in many different ways. Some are open ended, and involve thinking about the issues behind programming. These are unlikely to have a single correct answer. - Dave Thomas

A number of acceptance tests for the rules of the game were provided by M…

Firefox Greasemonkey script for Yahoo! Mail

I've had a Yahoo! Mail account for years now, but I've never really been a fan of webmail, mainly due to the clunky slow interface that so many web-based email clients exhibit. Then everything changed when Google came along with GMail, I signed up for an account and love the interface, but still liked my Yahoo email address.

My main grip with Yahoo Mail is the time it takes to browse between multiple 'new' emails, I hate the page reloads for each one. Imagine my delight when I happened across a post on the Quick Online Tips blog talking about Ajax Enabled Yahoo Mail.

It mentions two ways to get a better Yahoo Mail experience, one is a firefox extension and the other is a firefox greasemonkey script. I'm a big fan of greasemonkey so I've opted for that version of AJAX Yahoo! mail by Viamatic Softwares.

Just install it like all the other Greasemonkey scripts and now in Yahoo Mail you get a little arrow at the side of each mail in the Inbox which when clicked expa…

Digiana Audiax II - an excellent car FM transmitter for your MP3 player

I recently bought a new car which didn't have a tape deck so I couldn't plug my MP3 player into the car so that I could listen to my latest podcasts. I couldn't live with it like this so I started to research into FM transmitters for my player.

I had heard mixed reviews regarding these FM transmitters, quite a lot of people were reporting that although they were ok, but a large amount of interference was received when travelling in built up towns and cities. Most of these transmitters can only be configured for one, four, or maybe eight different frequencies, meaning that the choice you have is severely limited.

After quite a bit of surfing I managed to stumble upon the Digiana Audiax II. It supports tuning to around 200 different frequencies which covers the full UK radio range, it's really small and comes with a car charger and a battery.

It's incredibly easy to setup and tune, I have mine tuned to 106FM as there is very little around in that frequency range in m…

Installing Trac on Linux (Debian Stable)

Now that you've installed a dummy Debian package for Subversion you are ready to install Trac. I wanted to use the very latest version of Trac so I opted for building it from source using the latest code via the Trac Subversion repository.

The first thing to do is install the current Debian stable Trac package, this will install all the dependencies that we need (there are quite a few):
apt-get install trac

Once that's complete, we want to remove just the Trac package so that we can install it from source:
apt-get remove trac

To be able to build Trac from source it requires the Python development libraries:
apt-get install python-dev

Then we can checkout the latest version of the Trac source code (I did this in my home directory):
svn co Trac

Then change directory into the Trac directory and as root issue the following command to build and install Trac:
./ install

This step is optional, but if you want to ensure that get the latest versio…

A new agile blog by Gavin Hope

Kevin Rutherfordposted recently about a new blog by a British agile developer called Gavin Hope. His name seemed strangely familiar, and then it dawned on me - he was one of the presenters at the Agile North conference that was held last month.

He presented a session titled "Fitting Agile Teams in a non Agile Organisation" along with his colleague Lindsay McEwan. His session was the best one of the day as I was concerned, I was impressed by Gavin's enthusiasm for trying to take a traditional development team through the transition to a truly agile one. I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to say about his team leading experiences over the next few weeks and months...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

I've fixed my Bloglines Shrinker - and so soon I hear you shout!

Thought I'd take a quick look into the issue of my broken Bloglines Greasemonkey script and spotted the issue straight away. It's a pretty simple thing really...

They've changed the title of their site from "Bloglines | My Blogs" to "Bloglines | My Feeds". So all I had to do was update the little bit of code in the script that checks the title to read "if (document.title == "Bloglines | My Feeds")" and upload the script to my website.

The script is available here, or through my original post which covered installing Greasemonkey as well as details of installing the script.

UPDATE: I've moved some files around on my server, I've not changed any of the content of this post.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bloglines breaks my Bloglines Shrinker GreaseMonkey script

Back in May I blogged about modifying a Greasemonkey script written by Matthew Gertner over on the Peer Pressure blog.

Well the recent additions to Bloglines has stopped my script from working, all the icons and text are back to their rather large size. I wish there was an option to set the feed list text to be small but the blog post text to be big. As that's the main reason this script exists.

I'll have to see if I can figure out what's breaking it, but don't hold your breath, I'm no Javascript wizard!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bloglines gets hotkeys!

I was in for a treat when I got to work this morning and powered up Bloglines to catchup with what's going on in the world of tech whilst enjoying my first brew on the day.

A little message at the bottom of every page informing me of some rather handy keyboard shortcuts.

This was followed up sometime later by an official announcement on the Bloglines News blog.

My personal favourite is the s key which moves you to the next sub-folder and just keeps going to the next, and the next, and the next...

The 'next article' j key seems interesting which moves the right-hand pane to the next post from that blog, but if you have a multi-page post it will skip too far - I prefer to still use the down cursor key.

The real nice thing with these keyboard shortcuts is that you can navigate around your feeds without loosing the keyboard focus on the right-hand side - I'm not sure of how many times I've pressed down on the cursor key expecting to scroll down in a long post only to find t…

Oddiophile's Technorati Tags Bookmarklet is available here

One of my more popular posts is regarding a bookmarklet by Oddiophile that will create the html template for any number of space-separated Technorati tags.

For quite a while now the Oddiophile blog has been offline, and after quite an exhaustive search on the web I cannot find a bookmarklet that offers similar functionality.

As I use it all the time for my posts (as you can tell from the bottom line of every post) I have a local copy. I'm going to put it up for distribution, if anyone has any issues with this duplication please get in touch with me by commenting on this blog post and I'll take it down (if you have a damn good reason why the blogosphere shouldn't benefit from this rather fab tool!) :)

Ok, here you go...

Oddiophile's Rather Fab Technorati Tags Bookmarklet

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Creating a dummy Debian package for Subversion (svn)

Since I've installed Subversion, I've been looking around for a good wiki and ticket management system so that I can get the whole 'development environment' setup on my home server.

I installed Wikipedia's MediaWiki at work, after our Instiki wiki came unstuck and left me with a whole load of nothing after it decided to stop writing archives to disk for about 5 weeks! MediaWiki is a little heavyweight for what I need, so I started to look around. I noticed on the Ruby on Rails website that they had a pretty simple ticket system, and after some investigation it turned out to the the open source Python-based Trac.

Trac also has a rather pretty Subversion repository browser so it seemed perfect for the small home projects that I want to develop.

I went to 'apt-get' Trac on my Debian Stable server, only to find that it wanted to install Subversion as a dependency even though I had a later version installed from source.

The Debian package management system works g…

Ruby to replace Java - or compliment it?

I've been singing Ruby's praises ever since I started researching the language a couple of years ago. I've not written much Ruby code, picked up the 1st pickaxe book, read it a couple of times, then the next year came round so I've now got the 2nd edition!

I've written a few Ruby 'scripts' (no objects or classes) and have been impressed with how quickly I have been able to get it to do my bidding compared to Java. One application running on Linux needed to read some data from a Postgresql database, generate a Windows Zip file then FTP it to a remote server. When I thought about coding this in Java I started to shiver, Java's strong point has never been it's ease to interact with the command line, and FTP libraries are not part of the java. or javax. packages.

Several people have asked "so are you saying that Java is rubbish and we should all move to Ruby?". My basic answer is "no, but I want to really get into a scripting language a…

Feedback from yesterday's AgileNorth conference.

Note: This is a long post as I've tried to get down all my notes, please skip this post unless you really want to read all my view of the AgileNorth conference!

These are my notes from yesterday's AgileNorth conference held in Preston in the north west of the UK. It was a full day and to be honest, I was knackered! It's funny how listening and talking all day really tires you out. There were approximately 50 people, which seemed about right for the size of venue.

What is Agile? by Kevin Rutherford

The day started with introductions from Phran Ryder (chairman) and Katie Taylor (secretary) covering the format of the day, followed by the day's keynote from Kevin Rutherford, who ran his discussion as a number of agile iterations.

We all added 'requirements' (topics to potentially cover) to the board, then Kevin suggested a number of them that he would get through in the first 'iteration' (10 minute speaking block). It covered a whole host of topics, but t…

Off to the AgileNorth conference tomorrow

I'm off to the AgileNorth conference tomorrow, which is "a conference for local technical and business staff who wish to learn and share their experiences of becoming and being agile."

It's a 1-day event in Preston in the north west of the UK covering a range of topics including "What Is Agile?", "Test Driven Development", and "Refactoring". I'm particularly looking forward to the "Fitting Agile Teams in a non Agile Organisation".

I'll let you know how it goes...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Constants in CSS - it's like waiting for a bus

I'm more of a server-side programmer really, and don't deal that much in client-side stuff like CSS and JavaScript, but I try to keep an eye on what is going on in those areas as they tie so closely to the backend stuff.

I was reading the lunchroom blog a few weeks ago where Scott was talking about how he's modifiedJim Weirich's Ruby Builder object to be able to express CSS files in Ruby so that you can implement things like CSS constants among otherthings.

Then a week later Eric Meyer posts about Shaun Inman's update to CSS-SSC. Which funnily enough is another way to achieve CSS constants (CSS-SSC stands for "Cascading Style Sheets Server-Side Constants")

It's just like London buses... ;)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Trying to understand Ruby :symbols

After reading Kevin Clark's recent post on Ruby symbols made me want to learn more about this mysterious part of the Ruby language. After writing some unit tests to ensure that a symbol really is the same object as any other with the same name, I have come to the following conclusion: symbols are immutable string objects, same named symbols share the same object and therefore the same object_id.

Kevin's example points out that they make great keys for hashs, and other indicators of what action to take (:get, :post, etc.)

Coming from a Java background, symbols have made me hit my head a number of times, this rather helpful post from Rob Sanheimhelped clear things up a lot for me.

Why the lucky stiff also has a good explaination, he suggests:

Symbols are words that look just like variables. Again, they may contain letters, digits, or underscores. But they start with a colon.

:a, :b, or :ponce_de_leon are examples.

Symbols are lightweight strings. Usually, symbols are used…

Configuring Subversion (svn) on Linux (Debian Stable)

My last post documented how to install Subversion. This post will cover the resulting configuration of Apache, plus the creation of the initial repository.

When you install Subversion, it adds two LoadModule lines to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf. This is not wanted as the Debian version of Apache2 installs things slightly differently from the default Apache (httpd.conf is not used, all this configuration now lives in apache2.conf, plus the loading of modules is done differently). edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf and remove the 2 uncommented LoadModule lines.

Debian loads modules a little differently that the default Apache2. It lists the available modules as individual configuration files within a mods-available directory, then enables these by linking to them from a mods-enabled directory.

We need to create the two required module configuration files that are required by Subversion (we just removed them from /etc/apache2/httpd.conf!):

cd /etc/apache2/mods-available
echo "LoadModule dav_sv…

Installing Subversion (svn) on Linux (Debian Stable)

This post details my recent install of Subversion 1.2.1 on DebianStable. The Debian packaged version of Subversion is currently only 1.1.4, but I wanted to install the latest version as it supports full WebDAV autoversioning & has the FSFS repository back end as the default.

I wanted to access Subversion via the WebDAV protocol, this requires Apache2. As Debian Stable only recently included the apache2 package, I had to update to that version first.

Note: all these commands were run as the root user.

Install Apache2:

apt-get install apache2

That installs the web server and all the required packages, it does not start Apache by default, you need to edit /etc/default/apache2 and change NO_START to 0, then run /etc/init.d/apache2 start to get the basic web server running.

When you build Subversion from source, it requires the apxs2 tool to be able to build and install the Subversion extension modules. This is hidden away in the apache2-threaded-dev package, it's not available in an…

Mr. IT Conversations (Doug Kaye) discovers my podcast post

Just took a quick look through my StatCounter logs, and found a strange link from Google Groups pointing at my recent post about the podcasts that I listen to. I followed it through to find Mr. IT Conversations himself, Doug Kaye, thanking me for my review:

"There are new blog postings like this one *literally* every day, but I particularly liked what Andrew had to say"

Cheers for the kind words Doug!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

A list of the podcasts that I subscribe and listen to

Peter Cooper asked a few days ago about what podcasts people are subscribing to. Here's my list:

IT Conversations
IT Conversations got me into podcasting, it's the original and the best for anything to do with technology. They have loads in interesting recordings, the best ones for me are recordings of presentations given at conferences like eTech and Web2.0. If I could only subscribe to one podcast it would have to be this one.

For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report
Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz are two communication professionals who discuss public relations, corporate communications and how that intersects with technology in a twice-weekly show, each show is about 1 hour in length. They normally discuss what's happening in the blog and podcasting worlds including any new tools or sites that are of use in tracking what is going on. Shel and Neville get some great banter going and so this podcast is one of my favourites…

Pretty printing Java classpaths using Ant's pathconvert task

Lance Hankinsposted on Saturday about more readable classpaths using the <propertyregex> task. It jogged my memory back about 4 years when I was trying to solve the same problem. This was back in the days of Ant 1.4.1 and just before the existence of the optional Ant-Contrib package. Back then I was considered a bit of an AntMeister by my colleagues as I managed to spend hours tweaking the smallest of things in my lovingly created Ant build environment searching for perfection...

So how did I solve this particular issue? A clue is in the title of this post, I used the <pathconvert> task, which is normally used to convert lists of files, directories, etc. and convert them to a different platform's style. So path separators using Windows ';' get converted to Unix ':', etc. But you can also use it to convert the path separators to something else, in my case a nicely formatted string for displaying in a printable form.

Here's the code:

<!-- get th…

Add fresh RSS content to your website with Feed Digest

Peter Cooper in the UK has just launchedFeed Digest, the successor to the very popular RSS Digest.
It's a tool that allows you to put a section of HTML on your website which is powered by one or more RSS feeds so it means that your website is updated by these RSS feeds.

Here are a number of things you could do with it:

* Show the latest BBC news.
* Display your latest 10 bookmarks.
* Display your latest blog post in your home page.

I haven't thought of my use for this yet, If I add too much other data, the blog posts will disappear into a sea of links, but it's an interesting service none the less.

The other thing that is interesting about this service is that it's powered by Ruby on Rails. This is a Ruby-based web framework that I've been reading about lots but haven't got into yet. There are quite a fewUS-basedsites that use it, but Peter's is the first UK one that I've heard about.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Google maps gets even better with 'Hybrid' mode!

I've been using UK Google Maps as my mapping website of choice for a while now. The road layouts are so clear and it's great to be able to drag the map around.

Peter Cooper has pointed out this morning that it's just got even better, now overlaying the road names on top of the satellite view. Check out this map of Ormskirk (the town where I live) to see what I mean.

All I can say is "wow".

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Great project managment podcast by Scott Berkun

Finished listening to a great podcast this morning on my way to work. It's an audio recording of a presentation that Scott Berkun gave to BayCHI on "What To Do When Things Go Wrong: Saving Design Train Wrecks".

Scott is an excellent presenter and it is both entertaining and informative. He discussed a whole range of topics on program/project management and how to save death march projects.

I really enjoyed it.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

How to use HaloScan's TrackBacks

Last night I detailed how to add trackbacks to Blogger, a free service provided by HaloScan. In this post I want to cover how to actually use trackbacks to enable the conversation.

So you've read a blog post that you want to comment on. You want to say more than just 'great post!' but don't want your finely crafted response disappearing into someone else's comment bucket. Not only would this be never found by your blog subscribers, but it's also difficult for you to see if anyone is adding to the comment discussion.

Enter trackbacks - a way for you to inform the original blog post that you have made a comment on your own blog, and that they are regarding the same topic of conversation.

How do you actually use them then I hear you ask?

Trackback URL

First of all, make sure that the original blog actually has Trackback capability. If you can't see a 'Trackback' link mentioned at the bottom of the blog post, that author (or blogging system) doesn't …

Adding TrackBacks to Blogger using HaloScan's TrackBack service

After being an RSS consumer for a while I started to pay attention to 'TrackBacks'. They are a way to allow you to comment on your own blog regarding someone else's post, but inform their blog that you have done so. By using this feature you can continue the 'conversation' without having to leave comments on the original blog and remembering to check back every now and then to see if someone has replied to you.

Blogger doesn't including this feature but you can add it in easily by using a free service provided by HaloScan. I added the trackback feature quite a few weeks ago, I'm going to try and document the steps I went through as I know that Lee Hopkins has had some trouble recently, and my friend Robert Baillie is too lazy to figure it all out himself!

The first thing to do is go to HaloScan and register to become a member. Once you are signed up and logged in, click 'Instructions/Code' in the 'Members' menu on the left-hand side.

Select… adds tagging bookmarks for other users

This post on the blog caught my eye recently, a new
feature has been added that allows tagging a bookmark for someone that you think might be interested in that webpage.

You tag the bookmark 'for' someone else by using the 'tag:<username>' syntax, for example to tag a bookmark that you think I might be interested in use 'tag:abeacock'. To see the bookmarks that other people have tagged for your interest, go to

An RSS feed is provided on that page so that if you subscribe to it, it will keep you informed if anyone is tagging bookmarks 'for' you.

By using this feature you can pass around bookmarks that you think your friends and colleagues would find interesting and/or useful.

Now I just need to wait for my mate Robert Baillie to become a user (if he's not one already!) so that I can pass relevant bookmarks his way...

UPDATE: Just visited Rob's blog and found that he is already a member…

Nice podcast mention from Lee Hopkins' Better Communication Results

I have just listened to Lee Hopkins' latest podcast tonight and was delighted to hear not only that he was mentioned me, but that he gave my blog a favourable review!

I've been enjoying Lee's 'Better Communication Results' podcast for quite a number of weeks now, having been referred there from the rather good 'For Immediate Release' podcast produced by Neville Hobson & Shel Holtz.

Thanks again for the mention Lee, just hope I can keep up the quality of posts that gave you such a good impression!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Even more blog usage statistics via StatCounter

Lee Hopkins (who hosts an excellent podcast on business communications) posted a comment to my last post about MyBlogLog with a suggestion to also try out StatCounter for some excellent website (and therefore blog) statistics.

It's a cookie-based system, with a small amount of JavaScript that is inserted into each and every page on my blog (easy with the use of the Blogger template). It can then report all sorts of interesting information regarding number of visitors, returning visitors, browsers & OSs used, resolutions, etc.

I really need to start posting to my blog a bit more frequently, I've got a bit stuck in a rut lately, not really trying out new stuff and so my blogging has suffered.

Maybe these stats will show that people do read this blog, and that might give me the kick I need, who knows... :)

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Track outgoing links on your blog with MyBlogLog

I read an interesting post on Successful Blog last night that mentioned a site called

It's a site that with a little scriptlet that you drop into your blog template allows it to track what links on your site have been clicked, so you can see what links your readers are interested in.

I've only just added it to my blog, so I've nothing to report yet but if I get any interesting statistics I'll drop them here.

How to create Technorati tags

Each of my blog posts has a list of relevant Technorati tags that makes it easy for Technorati to categorise my posts, hopefully generating more readers of my blog. I read about Technorati's tagging system a while back, but didn't really want to handcode the HTML at the bottom of each post.

I set about searching the web to see if anyone else has the same issue and can across the Oddiophile blog. There is a post from January which provides a bookmarklet that does all the work for you.

You drag the bookmarklet link to your bookmark toolbar (that's the installation process!), then whenever you want to create some tags, you click the bookmarklet, type in the tags with a space between each one, click 'OK', then copy the resulting text and paste it into your blog post.

That's it, nicely formatted Technorati tags, without any of the work or possible typing errors!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Foxylicious hack for experimental popups

After receiving some help from my mate Robert Baillie, I've finally managed to finish my 'hack' to Foxylicious (v0.4) to enable the experimental interface when you right-click and choose 'Add to'. This gives a slightly larger window than the default one but includes the recommended, popular, and your tag lists making it easier to categorise your bookmarks.

So why use this over the experimental bookmarklet provided by For a start I find it much easier to right-click than to navigate to a bookmarklet up at the top of the screen. Another reason is that if you are using Windows (XP at least) then with certain tabbed browsing settings the popup window goes behind the current window (it doesn't do this under Debian). I also wanted to give hacking an extension a go, and this seemed an easy way to try it out.

I can't be bothered trying to create a full extension, and don't want to take credit for the excellent Foxylicious, so to use m…