Site News

Web Traffic Spike

I was looking at Google Analytics (see this previous post for details) and noted the big spike in traffic due to my post about HIGNFY. Most of the new traffic seems to have come from this link from the Boris Johnson site. Okay, so it's nothing new, and the spike is not THAT big, but it does show the power of one of thes popular sites when they link to you. I dread to think what a slashdot spike might look like!

Web traffic Spike.

Mobile Phone

When I got my new phone last year, one of the first things I did was ask 'how does my page look?' Perhaps unsurprisingly for those who know about this sort of thing, it did not 'look' like anything as it didn't even load. I did a little research today, and following a google search I found nicely toasted. Some editing yielded a movable type template for this site. The output file is here, but will only be readable on a mobile device (or firefox, with a wml plugin).

I have been trying to get a redirect for wml browsers to automatically go to this page, but I haven't been able to make it work without changing the url for THIS page. I didn't want to do it with javascript as many phones have JS switched off. I tried .htaccess, but no luck, I even tried an index.php which did the business for the PC end, but didn't redirect the WML side of things. Ah well....

I have set up the subdomain, and hope to make this slightly more usable with time - though I don't feel any great urgency, if I'm honest. It is just a geeky thing to do!

Mea Culpa

Whoops. I've been a bit of an arse and managed to delete all of the images associated with the cryptography pages. Fortunately, I had backups....

I will try to put back as many as I can, and will give preferential attention to any posts that are commented upon as regards broken images - this does, of course, rather assume that some person doesn't comment every post. This will simply be ignored as unhelpful.

The idea here is that the comments will help me if I miss any.

This site, RSS, Bloglines and

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN SUPERCEDED Someone coming to this site on the day I wrote this would probably look at the homepage and think 'Geekfest Techie site'. Someone looking at it a little while ago might think 'Bad Art', at another time, 'Politics', or even 'General Ramblings'

The truth is that this site is all of these things, and none of these things.

There will be phases of all of the above, and indeed, I may go off in another direction entirely. This site is all about 'whatever interests me at the time'.

The RSS feed for this site, obviously, reflects this - but I have provided RSS Feeds within each category so that people can focus on just their interest. The more specific the category, the less often the feed will update.

Subscribe with Bloglines What is an RSS feed? An RSS feed is like a cutdown version of a site. You can use an 'RSS aggregator' to group together feeds from MANY sites and look at them in one place. I, for example, use bloglines - a web based aggregator. Once you have a bloglines account, you can tell it the address of the RSS feeds you want to watch, and then it will do all the donkey work for you.

You can tell it to show you changed items, or not. You can group feeds together (e.g. 'read every day', 'read if you have time' / or whatever you like!)

Bloglines also deals with ATOM feeds, there are technical differences, but they essentially do the same job as RSS.

Look for RSS/ATOM or XML on a website for a feed. If you use Firefox a little icon appears when a feed is available to you.

If you know someone who has a bloglines account; they can 'invite you' to bloglines. When they do this they can select feeds that you might like. This is a nice way to get started - if you would like to be invited to bloglines, please leave a request using the comment form (being sure that the email address is correct, this will not appear on the site).

The website works well with bloglines. Like bloglines, an account on is free. is a 'social bookmarking' site. What this means is that it will hold your bookmarks for you, so they will be available when you move to a new machine.

The site doesn't look pretty, but the power is in the tag. When you add a bookmark you will be asked to provide tags, this are words which describe the link. For example, if bookmarking this page you might use 'murky', 'rss', 'bloglines', 'delicious', ''.

This site has built in links to enable you to do add a bookmark to with one click, if you have an account.

You may be asking where the 'social' comes in. Well, you can search by tag - and discover links on a particular subject. You can also subscribe to tags, and when someone else uses that tag, the link will appear in your 'inbox'. Every page on has an RSS feed, and so you can see your inbox using bloglines!

RSS is a glue that can bind many websites together!

My quietness

I've been having database problems. This has been a combination of a bug in MySQL (now fixed, I hope) and an ongoing spam issue (several hundred spams coincided with the MySQL bug). I removed the spams and it cleared up.

What a time to have database issues, though. Live8, G8, Olympic Bid and the London Bombs (when I was in London).

Personally there's been 95% on TMA05 and REM.

I shall have to keep my fingers crossed before I trust the backend fully again, but here's hoping I don't have to reconstruct from scratch.


I've been playing a little bit more with tags. The tags should only now appear in text on the homepage (and very discrete they should be too!)

As before, they click through to technorati.

In the main RSS feed the tags are in the metadata, not in the text of the article (where they were previously hidden to humans using a style declaration - not good).

Tags are not on every page, as their main use is helping 'up to the minute' sites like technorati keep 'up to the minute'.

Tags should, however, inform the in-site search box.

The tag manipulation is thanks to the Keywordlist plugin

Nothing to say here....

I've hit a dry spot. It's odd, after lots of posts about everything from ID Cards to electoral reform; from OU courses to movies; from Coffee shops to Ciak; I've written letters, and sometimes have even got replies.

I feel all posted out!

It's not as if there is nothing to talk about. ID Cards - Song: (audio alert) and Voting Reform are ongoing issues, there's also draconian restrictions on protesting.

Now, as of right now, I want to write something, but nothing is screaming 'write me' at me - though lord knows that there are things that are happening in the world that demand attention.

Guantanamo is still out there, and Geldof being silly over ticket reselling (just how is someone selling on a ticket that they can't use undermining the cause, Bob? - it's not as if touts got hold of the tickets in bulk preventing the punter from getting them, in that case I'd agree with you!)

There's Donald Rumsfeld giving interviews. This quote made me laugh in it's apparent naivety: "certainly my hope and prayer would be that any employee of this department who sees something illegal or wrong or improper would report it to the Department of Justice or the proper authorities." (Donald Rumsfeld on Deep Throat). In the case of the US president, this seems rather foolish.

There's arguments in the EU (for the record, Tony's got the right line here - one can't debate the rebate without looking at other aspects of EU funding such as the CAP), and armed men have just raided a Cambodian School.

There's Anthrax in Orissa, and plans to pump Carbon Dioxide into the depleted oil and gas reserves under the North Sea

There's the Human Cannonball, fired through fear of flying and HMV in Canada boycotting Alanis Morrissette. There's also Michael Jackson looking like he might sue Martin Bashir, but as with all things Jackson this holds little interest.

So much going on in the world, and yet I can't seem to get my act together to come up with a post for the website. I can't just do a plug for my Ebay Store, can I?

I could write a little about Cryptography, given the pages I've just moved into the main site, but I'd like to do some behind the scenes work first.

What am I to do?

What's that you say?

.... ah, right. I see your point. I'll just click 'save' now then, shall I?

(The gist of the article above re: inspiration, is semi-serious. Any comments, even if by email rather than the comment form, are gratefully received)

Today's updates

A few behind the scenes updates. Firstly, every page now has the appropriate headers (I think) which allow Firefox users to subscribe to any of the RSS feeds using the Live Bookmark feature with one click. For non Firefox users, a Live Bookmark updates automatically as the site updates.

Secondly, the ebay feed should now be tidied up, and should only update once a day.

Thirdly, gravatars have been tested, and discarded. I didn't care for them and removing them made one less thing to break.

Finally, the 'number of posts' information on the site navigation information on the category pages should be seen as advisory only. Due to the way subcategories work, there is no way to update this that I can see short of a complete rebuild of the site. I will look into automating a periodic complete rebuild of the site.

Tidying up

I've now moved a few things around on the homepage and on the category pages (dated archives and individual pages are to follow). Much of the same functionality is there (some links were removed), but it's now in a different order and hopefully will look a little cleaner. Much of the change was behind the scenes, i.e. elements that appeared on different types of pages are now included as a template in their own right (so if I edit them once they edit everywhere).

This makes the master templates a little easier to read!

Looking at it as a whole, I don't think many people would consciously notice the change - but the sidebar in particular seems to flow a lot better now.

Having tidied, the only way to drastically reduce the sidebar is to remove many of the 'recent post' links - this would remove a large amount of functionality for me and so I don't think I can take that step.


I've been giving the site some thought, and have decided that it's fundamentally a little busy. So I'll be decluttering. Short term, this may mean that clutter increases a bit (I'll add new stuff before removing old).

This may have been seen by the observant as neater RSS buttons appeared everywhere before old ones vanished. I now offer a choice of feeds, including a feed for flickr images. Once everything has settled down a bit I shall make a page which goes into what each feed actually is in detail.

As regards the cluttering, to be honest, I quite like the idea of having a veriety of things readily accessible, however at the same time I don't like the visual clutter, so it's a tough compromise. The basic colour scheme of the site will not change, essentially it'll be a look at tidying up the sidebars.

That said, at some point in the dim and distant future I might start to play with 'parallel' templates for a complete redesign of the site...

This post is my way of forewarning in case I break something. If there are any comments, please feel free to get in touch.

RSS Feeds

For a while I've had a full RSS feed. I've been toying with the idea of moving to a partial feed. The idea is to get more people actually clicking through, and hopefully get a bit more comment taking place. As a reader, however, I prefer a full feed.

What to do?

As I speak it's on a full feed, but should it stay that way? Does anyone care?

I'm slightly concerned that nobody will bother to answer that...

Referrer Logs

I thought I'd spend a little time looking at my Referrer logs (I just discovered how, terrible, isn't it?) There are some weird entries there.

Two people found my page after searching for the phrase '1101001' and another for 'binary code 1100001' - why anyone would want to such for that is beyond me. It's probably an old android joke.

I got one hit for 'eamon holmes & natasha kaplinsky'

One person found me after searching for the exact URL - surely if you know the exact URL to search for....?

I have no clue what the person who search for 'what the blip do we know' was after.

Several people have found this site via arty searches, such as 'Einstein Art', and there are lots of searches relating to 'blowing the bloody doors off'

The most popular searchphrase by far is 'fuckwit'

The most commonly used brower to use this site is Internet Explorer (for shame!) however over a quarter of you are using Firefox or Mozilla. Well done, you!

The majority of my readers are across the pond in the US, with the GB and EU following close behind. Unfortunately, most people hang around for less than 30 seconds. This is not good. Stop, smell the roses, browse a little. For the 10% who browse around for 30 minutes or more, even I don't spend that long! Feel free to comment.

This site is busiest, bizarrely, on Thursdays.

A large number of people have not repointed their rss/atom feeds to the feedburner address, this was to be expected!

As for search engines, some 75% of the traffic comes from Google, with Yahoo coming in at 8%, and a whole host of others which contribute very little. I knew google was dominant, but the margin surprised me. There are lots of sites which refer to me, but most of these seem to be automated rss things, spamming poker sites (which don't actually link to me), trackbacks and the like. No single site has pushed itself far enough up the rankings to be noticeable above the noise. sniff Nobody wants to link to me.... ;)

stumbleupon toolbarI did get a fair number of hits from something called Stumbleupon. I've never heard of this before, but I've had a look and it could be interesting. It seems like the kind of thing that only really becomes useful when you start to get a network of people building up, like Livejournal, so, if anyone has an account (or would like me to invite them so accounts start linked) then do let me know.

Finally, looking at my error logs, I really must work out how to do this favicon thing some time, favicon errors are filling my error logs!