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Category: "Web & IT Stuff"

IE6 Must Die!

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on August 3rd, 2009 @ 08:30:39 , using 224 words,
Posted in Web & IT Stuff

I don't often set out to criticise software applications, but in IE6's case, I'm willing to make an exception. Like many others around the world, it is the default browser in the company I work for - what a piece of garbage! Whilst the company web filtration software is arguably more of a direct impact on my 'research' activities, I cannot fault it's ability to do its job exactly 'as it says on the tin'. IE6 is a far more insidious piece of junk. For the most part it will display the web page you are looking for, but then there will be that piece of text that is now mysteriously left justified instead of centred, the comment field that is listed but not actually displayed, or the complete lack of the ability to spell check what you are entering when said comment field does actually appear. Its ability completely distract you from the task in hand must be almost unparalled - please would all the organisations still firmly clamped (like a buldog to a postman's leg) to this junk, have a rethink and then as painful as it might be, get rid of it? To what I don't care, IE7, IE8, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, anything but this. I implore you for the sake of browsing folk everywhere, please do the right thing...

Twitter, bit.ly and their connection to flickr & Izdihar

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on June 29th, 2009 @ 21:51:43 , using 1121 words,

If I were to look back a few posts on here, I'd eventually find that this blog got set up a good couple of years ago, since when traffic has been somewhat tricky to come by. I don't know much about SEO, in fact I know virtually nothing. I post something, I get a few views, there's a cross link here and there at flickr and on some of the forums I partake of, but nothing too serious. That said, Izdihar.com does come up as the fourth ranked link if I search for "Izdihar", but who does that other than me?

Now I've never really played around with too many of the social networking sites, to be honest their point was eluding me. I have a Facebook account but I turned that off around 18 months back, as I was getting a little jaded with being asked to take part in the dumb games and inane quizzes it plays host to. In a moment of weakness a couple of weeks back, I decided to re-awaken the account because I'd noticed one of my favourite flickr contacts was on there. Before I know it, I've ended up tracking down a bunch of work colleagues past and present, as well as family members, some of whom I've not seen in 20 years. I add the blog link to my Facebook profile and maybe I get one or two views showing up in the stats that suggest a small connection has been made somewhere, but I'm not exactly being inundated.

A few days back, I decided to set up a Twitter account, mainly because a man in the office suggested it's worth registering yourself on all these things, just to protect your identity and prevent someone else passing themselves off as you - seems a reasonable suggestion. Now I mentioned a while back in these parts that I'd had a Pownce account which lasted right up until Six Apart pulled the plug on it - thank you Messrs Rose, Burka & Ms. Culver :no:. I used to quite enjoy it, I liked the idea that it was smaller than Twitter and I could get my head around what was going on.

Anyway the new account is created, but I know (as in have actually met or spoken to) no one on there, so what's the point? Who have I heard of then that's on there? Well I knew that Photoshop Creative had something going, there was an article on doing Twitter backgrounds for your profile page in the latest issue, let's add them then. So far so good, I'm now seeing a whole bunch of links I can look up, vast quantities of which seem to be using the bit.ly thing - no idea what that is, but make mental note to investigate when I remember. Who else then? Well I noticed that Ms. Margolis had a link listed across at 'The Girl' - that could be interesting, let's follow that one then and in the process I added SandieQ who'd listed Twitter as her homepage in a comment on one of Zoe's blog posts. So that's three then - not very many but enough to try and work out what's going on - and there's that bit.ly thing popping up again...

So a few days pass, I start adding some random thoughts of my own (they are very random I assure you) and once in a while, I'll see a comment from either Zoe or SandieQ and perhaps I'll add my own thought to theirs. So far so good, but I don't see any fireworks going off in this, it's just good clean, low level fun with a small 'f'.

So a day or two passes and Monday (today) arrives in the calendar - no real reason why it should be any different. The weather here in Riyadh has been crap the last couple of days, no real sign of the sun due to the dust hanging in the lower atmosphere, looks like it's going to rain, the sky is brown, but it's still 45C out there. A few more posts get made of no great import and the working day draws to a close. Then Ms. M makes a post about a book she's contributed a piece to - it's called "The Atheists Guide to Christmas" (snappy title), exactly what you need in June, and there's that bit.ly thing again. 'bout time I found out what that was...

It turns out that bit.ly is a URL shortener much like TinyURL, but unlike that one, it's not blocked by the KACST, or at least not yet. In itself, URL shortening is nothing new, but it really comes in its own where Twitter is concerned, because of the 140 character limit that it imposes. But the real benefit comes from a couple of clever little tricks that have been included there: One is that you can create an account, use it to create your shortened URL and post it directly into Twitter; secondly it will give you stats based on the traffic that passes through that short URL. Now that is interesting, time to do some tests...

Newly armed with a bit.ly logon, I notice that my flickr photostream has just ticked over the 11,000 views mark, 11,001 to be precise - let's try Twittering the stat from bit.ly. By the time bit.ly has managed to refresh the screen, it's showing that the short URL has been clicked on 3 times. Now bearing in mind I've only got 11 people following me on Twitter, 4 of whom I've blocked, this comes as surprise. By the time I get flickr refreshed, it's had 11,011 views. OK, let's try that on the blog and see what occurs. One Tweet later and I can see the stats in the blog back office collect another 10 referrals.

Now out in the serious world of SEO, the figures in of themselves are quite pathetic and not worth a mention, but considering I have a largely ignored blog, a flickr account that gets maybe 40 views a day and a Twitter following that ranks barely above single figures, the ease with which I've driven traffic from one to the other (in minutes) is something of a revelation to me. I've now converted some of my forum links into bit.ly URLs, more because I want to see what the stats do, what's more I can see where to clicks are coming from.

This could be worth watching, in fact for my next trick, I'm going to turn the permalink for this post into a short URL and Twitter it - if you've read this far, you may well have just become a statistic...

Minor Layout Issues

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on June 20th, 2009 @ 21:51:25 , using 62 words,
Posted in Web & IT Stuff

OK, so I broke the layout a bit. All will be fixed shortly, assuming I'm reading the b2e forum advice correctly - needed to restore the index.main.php for Vastitude to how it was around 6 months ago first though.

EDIT: All done and I can now sleep soundly at night.

EDIT2: Upgraded b2e to 2.4.7 whilst I was at it.

A Few Small Skin Tweaks Done

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on March 13th, 2009 @ 15:51:00 , using 128 words,

Link: http://www.colorsontheweb.com/colorwizard.asp

At long last, I've got round to altering some of the text colour settings on here. Whilst on a decent contrasty monitor everything looked fine, once seen on something of a lesser standing, things began to blend in a little too much. All I've done is use the colour picker at the link above to select something with slightly more saturation so that the text stands out somewhat from the background. There's a definite improvement to my eyes, but I'm still not convinced that #393939 is the best colour for the bit that reads:

Written by: Chris of Arabia
Published on March 13th, 2009 @ 15:51:00 , using 94 words, No views
Posted in

No doubt I'll get back to it in a few months time... :.

EDIT: Decided I prefered #2f2f2f instead


Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on February 16th, 2009 @ 22:31:59 , using 305 words,

The MRI happened last night. Nothing too dramatic about it to be honest, dress me up in a kinky grey gown, strip any possible piece of metal from my carcass, set me up and roll me into this big white tube. If it hadn't been for the complete lack of bar code, I could have been being swiped across the Tesco checkout. You can't move much in one of those thing and they fix your head in one place - given that I was in this tube for around 45 minutes, I inevitably fell asleep - no surprises there then.

It takes about a week to process whatever it was that they recorded, so there's yet another visit planned to see the consultant next Sunday - at least that means another entertaining drive at high speed through the camel souk in the dark, always fun.

It was Fight Club last night again, so feel free to check out the Trash Can for my offering this week. Also see the shot I did for the Boxer Turtle theme, "Better than Sex" - it's a bit of an in joke for the members at TPF, but judging by the votes I've received so far, it fell a little flat.

Today's major news is that as an organisation that is prepared to hang on Bill Gates' every last work, today we have not only got PHP installed on one of our IIS6 servers, we also have an open source application running on it; in our case, the Mantis bugtracker which we intend to use as an action tracker for internal use. So far it looks good, we just need to tidy away a few extraneous options and give it the 'look and feel'. Quite pleased with that one myself. Wonder if I can get them to install b2evolution?

Breaths a sigh of relief...

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on February 14th, 2009 @ 22:33:18 , using 215 words,
Posted in General, Web & IT Stuff

Finally and at long last, I think the laptop is finally set up. Took long enough though. First I had to do a rebuild back to the default factory state to get rid of what the shop put on it, then un-install half the crap that comes with the factory build, download and install McAfee, add Firefox, then install Office 2007 Ultimate (502 Mb download), get all the MS updates (another 307Mb of downloads) and finally this evening, I've got it hooked up to the WiFi network, once of course I'd replaced the older Netgear DG834 with the wireless Netgear DG834N. Hallelujah! It all works - at least at the moment.

Wonder if I can have a little peace now to track back into Piglet and start messing with the PHP? Not a chance I shouldn't think.

Tomorrow gets the MRI on my back out the way, so another trip to KFNGH. At least I'll get to lie down whilst that happens - maybe I'll even catch 40 winks... &#59;)

Whilst I'm here, check out this image over at flickr: Day 154 - Living Room Levitation. I first spotted one of Lisa's photos around 12 months back and she just keeps getting better and better. If you have a moment, drop in and say hi, tell her I sent you...

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