Monthly Archives: January 2007

The best free fonts

Vitaly Friedman compiled a list of the best 25 free fonts available, and then he found 19 more a year later. Well worth a look.

Comments are back

Well you wanted them, so they’re back. Commenting is now open on the majority of posts on Ejecutive1 and old comments are visible again!

For the meantime this is just going to be an experiment to see if enough discussions start. The commenting system is clearly bolted onto my theme instead of being seamlessly integrated, so if I do decide to keep comments open after the trial period then I’ll be refining them more.

Every comment is going through moderation at the moment, not because I’m going to cherry pick comments or because I don’t trust you lot, but it’s because of a bug with UTW and WordPress 2.1 that deletes the tags off a post if a comment is made. Until this bug is solved every comment will have to go through moderation to make sure I don’t loose all my precious tags.

So get commenting and discussing, and I’ll be sure to write about more controversial topics to provoke some of you lurkers.

  1. You’ll find most recent posts don’t have comments open because WordPress in it’s infinite wisdom decided to disable comments on all new posts I made even though my theme didn’t support comments. I’ll need to work up some sort of SQL script when I get the time.

Subliminal ads found on the Food Network

If you thought subliminal advertising was something from science fiction, then think again. The Food Network in the US seems to be running single-frame McDonald’s adverts in their programming.


Disillusioned with WordPress

Change is a good thing, it symbolises progression and improvement (or at least the attempt of), which is why I was looking forward to WordPress 2.1 with eager anticipation.

WordPress 2.0 was released into the wild over a year ago. Taking a year for a minor point upgrade for a piece of software is a long time in anyone’s book, especially as it’s open source, being actively worked on and has a huge community backing it. But I hear you cry: “look at all the bug fixes and features they’ve managed to implement in that year”. Of all the new features, only four really interest me, and the two that I would use regularly are badly implemented.

  • Auto save. Long needed and long awaited. The number of times I’ve had whole complete posts lost because I’m in the middle of writing something, and accidentally click a link or press a key (usually backspace when not having the cursor focused on the text box, so the browser goes back) is beyond belief. But why do we have to write a title before it starts auto saving? If anything I title my posts after I write them, and that’s how it’s always worked. You can save posts manually without titles so why doesn’t the auto save feature do this?
  • Tabbed editor. TinyMCE isn’t great, so sometimes I have to edit the HTML it produces myself, and this tab is a big time saver. But, what were they smoking when they decided to use form buttons as the tabs? What is going on here?
  • Lossless XML import and export. Saves me doing a database dump every time I move hosts, which to be honest almost never happens, but it’s nice to know it’s now easier.
  • Privacy options. Useful for the one private blog I write for, although this can be done fairly easily manually in your theme anyway.

Of the supposed 550 bug fixes, I don’t see one that really interests me directly. But I can say that the new “improved” TinyMCE editor is giving me nothing but trouble. AdBlock Plus, now blocks the majority of buttons on the toolbar of the editor, when it never did this before. Easy to fix but annoying none-the-less.

Inserting a link is now broken, I like the new AJAXed popup, which loads a bit quicker than the new window before1 but seems completely broken. There seems to be no insert button on mine, and pressing return on the keyboard does nothing. Clicking the close button on the top right does nothing either, so when I get this dialog up, I can’t get rid of it, which means I loose any changes in the editor as the dialog is modal2


There is an enforced category called Blogroll. I consider this a bug as I have no use for it, and there is no way to disable it. The old Links system was pretty bad, but at least it was optional, I don’t like the way they assume that everyone needs to have a blogroll.

This release has made me completely disillusioned with WordPress. One whole year of progress has given me next to nothing in terms of useful features. Blogging should be a hobby I enjoy, and to a certain extent I do, but I can’t help think that a better blogging platform would allow me to enjoy it even more. Maybe what I need is my own custom blogging application that I’ve been thinking about writing for months, but never have the time to properly sketch out my ideas.

There is something exciting around the corner, something new and fresh, written with passion and flair. It’s called habari, and I’m going to be following it very closely.

  1. I still prefer the old custom dialog which loaded up instantly though
  2. It’s the only thing that can have your focus and everything else on the page is disabled

ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 released

Microsoft has released ASP.NET AJAX 1.0, after being in CTP and release candidate stages for months. I’ve been using it on live production projects since the first CTP and it’s been by far the easiest way that I’ve found for implementing AJAX on ASP.NET websites.

WordPress 2.1 released

WordPress 2.1 is out, the first major WordPress release for months. I’m updating Ejecutive now so be prepared for some wonkyness.

53 CSS techniques you couldn’t live without

A very comprehensive list of CSS tips and tricks linked up by Smashing Magazine.

A quick recovery

I feel much better today compared to yesterday so lets just hope it was a one off. Got that brain?

The sleep toll

Last nights sleep was the most bizarre I’ve ever had in my life. I experienced being conscious but not in control of my body. I woke up in the middle of the night from hearing something or someone behind me. Of course my first reaction was to turn my head to look, but when I tried nothing happened. So I tried moving my body, and nothing happened. As hard as I tried, my body wouldn’t move. I then tried to talk, and the most I could muster was a very slight exhale while trying to shout. And then suddenly I got all control of my body back.

I’ve talked to some people who’ve said they’ve experienced it before, and if you haven’t I can tell you it’s very scary. Not having any control of your body while you’re awake and you think there’s someone in your room behind your view is not a nice experience. I could feel my heart racing.

I eventually did manage to get to sleep around 00:30 last night (or should it be this morning), knowing I had to get up at 05:30. This usually isn’t a problem, I have a two hour commute in the morning where I can usually power nap for at least 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes more if I need it.

My first alarm fired at 05:30, a radio alarm clock that’s tuned BBC Radio 1 at a rather loud volume. And then my second alarm fired, a mobile phone alarm that’s set to maximum volume. For the first time ever, neither woke me up, but they did manage to wake up my mum who sleeps in a room in the opposite end of the house, and she woke me up at 06:10.

As I was got up late, I had to catch a later bus than usual at 06:36, which I almost missed as well! I got on the bus and instantly fell asleep, which I thought was a bit unusual when I woke up again later on only to find that the high winds today meant traffic was at a standstill.

So off to sleep I went again, waking up at the Canary Wharf and then Aldgate, where I put on my coat, gloves and scarf in preparation of getting off at Cannon Street, the next stop five minutes away. However sometime between Aldgate and Cannon Street I managed to fall asleep again, despite my best efforts, only to be woken up by the driver at the last stop Victoria, another half an hour down the line!

Not being able to wake up is seriously worrying me now, most people would put it down to fatigue, but I felt find last night and my schedule has been consistent. It could be down to an excessive amount of energy tablets I took while clubbing on Saturday, or another suggestion is that power napping has finally taken its toll on my body. Either way if I keep getting this after the weekend I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor to get my head sorted out.

Stupid Alert: Illegally selling Windows XP keys on eBay with a picture showing the key

eBay US member oshkoshcomputers is selling two Windows XP Home keys on eBay which he claims to have gleamed from a Toshiba computer.

Not only is this illegal as the license is non-transferable, but he shows the CD key on the item picture, and it’s clearly legible. Now that this has been posted on Digg and lots of other news sites, these keys have no value as they’re certain to be black-listed by Microsoft.

Why there wasn’t any Mac in MacWorld 2007

Scott Stevenson gives some pretty good reasons why nothing Mac related was mentioned at MacWorld 2007:

I think it’s pretty clear the the reason Leopard, iLife, and iWork were not discussed is because they would have gotten buried in the announcement of a mobile phone. The best thing Apple could do for the Mac is not allow it to play second fiddle in a keynote.

New Airport Extreme with 802.11n announced

Yesterday during the big MacWorld keynote speech where the iPhone and Apple TV were announced, Apple quietly introduced a new AirPort Extreme base station that looks like the Apple TV and has 802.11n networking built in.

MacWorld 2007

Contrary to what I expected, there were only two major announcements at MacWorld today. The Apple TV (formerly iTV) and the iPhone (formerly… iPhone). This was a much more of a consumer orientated event than I expected. Seeing as we are at MacWorld, next to nothing was mentioned about the forth coming release of OS X called Leopard, absolutely no new Macs were announced, including the two I predicted: 8-way Mac Pro and 12″ MacBook Pro, and nothing about Adobe’s new CS3 applications or the long awaited Universal Binary version of Microsoft’s Office.


My predictions about the iPhone were correct, apart from its name. This is interesting seeing as Linksys (owned by Cisco) own the iPhone trademark, so Apple must have struck some deal with them to be able to use it. It’s much more of a fully featured product than I expected, out of all the fake mock-ups thrown around online, I don’t think anyone expected the iPod “Video” form factor, but considering what they’ve done with it, it’s pretty logical.

From what I’ve seen on the iPhone website, the interface is remarkable. This is the first real world application of multi-touch touch screens I’ve seen, and it’s on a slim phone! There are just so many great ideas rolled into one product, from the iChat style interface for text messages to a self-correcting, on-screen QWERTY keyboard. They’ve made a brave move not to include a camera, but it keeps the phone thin and sleek. Correction: the iPhone does have a camera.

I’m very impressed and will probably be one of the first to buy them when it comes out in the UK around Q4 2007.

Apple TV

According to Apple this ships in two months, which is faster than I thought it would be. I love the idea of streaming video and music from iTunes on a PC or Mac. I love the 40GB local storage so you can automatically sync your iTunes library. I love the built in WiFi. I love the price of $299.

But, what about your current DVD collection? I don’t think iTunes is going to receive an upgrade that decrypts and rips your DVDs into its library, so you’re limited to either the iTunes Store movies (and even re-purchasing the movie), or rip and encode the DVD yourself, which isn’t very user friendly.

That is probably the deal breaker for me, they have to find a way to use my current DVD collection (which includes over 100 DVDs), I mean they can rip CDs, so why not DVDs? I promise not to pirate them, I mean I’ve bought the DVD already, and any DVD you can buy has been pirated already. This is not hurting the illegal pirates, but mainly me, the consumer.

MacWorld Expo 2007 predictions

For what it’s worth, here’s my predictions of what will be announced today at the MacWorld Expo 2007. Note that my last prediction turned out to be wrong.

  • iPod Mobile (or iPhone). Considering the number of rumours going around blogs and even respected mainstream press, there is a high likelihood of an iPod Nano style device with a phone built into it. This is the main one of personal interest to me, as I’m due for a phone upgrade in March and this would be my top choice, it if exists of course.
  • 12″ MacBook Pro. There’s a gap waiting to be filled, and filled it shall be.
  • New interface for OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and release date. We’ll get something similar to the new iTunes 7 interface (either that or a new version of iTunes will be released with the new interface style), and a release date before that of Vista.
  • iLife ’07. This has been an annual recurring theme and I don’t see why they’d stop it now. Expect iPhoto performance enhancements. Should be available for purchase immediately or when Leopard ships.
  • iWork ’07. Will include a new spreadsheet product, perhaps called iChart. Also available immediately or when Leopard ships.
  • Dual quad processor Mac Pro, perhaps Mac Pro Octo. Now that Intel have quad processor Xeons, I don’t see why Apple wouldn’t want to sell the Mac Pro in an 8-way configuration. Especially seeing as its already been proven to work without any modifications to a Mac Pro Quad.
  • New displays with iSights built-in. With the separate iSight camera being discontinued for months and no successor in sight1 new iSights will appear in all of Apples new Cinema Displays. Hopefully a price drop that brings them closer to what Dell charges for the same panel too.
  • Adobe CS3 demonstration. I expect to see demos of the recently released Photoshop CS 3 Beta, and perhaps other Adobe CS3 applications. Might also announce a release date for CS3.
  • Mention of iTV. I don’t think Apple have the iTV ready for sale, but they’ll provide an update and maybe demonstration of a prototype.

  1. Pun not intended.

Fitness 2007: Cravings

I cut my jog down to a fast one kilometre today and added in one kilometre of rowing and a fast two kilometre bike ride. I was going to do weights but me legs are dead from the rowing and bike ride. To top that off, I now have a craving for beef jerky…

A List Apart’s Style Guide

A List apart has an excellent style guide for it’s own article submissions, which anyone who gives a damn about writing should look over.

Fitness 2007: The beginning

I started my exercise plan today, with a two kilometre jog and then a two kilometre bike ride. I’m tired but feeling good!

Introducing Incognito

It didn’t take me long to get bored of black text on white background, so I present the Incognito style for Opacity2. If you have a low contrast monitor, I feel for you.

Photography is an expensive hobby

I almost spent £400 on a Nikon 18-200mm VR lens today, but I was beaten to it. I’m still not sure whether that was a good or bad thing…


I just had a small physical down at the gym; came back with 150/86 blood pressure, which is fine but a bit high on the first figure, that’ll hopefully go down the more I exercise. My resting heart rate came at 70 which is fine, my cholesterol is too low to measure1 and my blood glucose level is at 3.2%, which apparently is considered pretty low. All-in-all not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, although my blood pressure has gone up since I last measure it a couple months back2 it’s still not too much of a worry.

I got shown around the gym by a cute little blond3 and I was surprised to find the exercise bikes and treadmills all have built in TVs. I was also given a little key fob that records every work out, including the calories burnt!

I’m now looking forward to giving it all a try on Monday.

  1. While at my age you’d expect that, my diet hasn’t been very healthy lately but I think my light lunch did the trick into fooling them!
  2. But back then I was swimming 30 to 40 lengths a week, and now all I do is walk up some stairs everyday.
  3. Dyed blond of course and she looked a bit chavvy, but her cute, cheeky personality offset all of this, although she still worried me when she said now, take your shirt off and lie down.
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