Links 31/1/06

Ah, payday at last. December’s pay came before Christmas – this has been one hell of a long month.

Readable Permalinks

I have now converted this site’s permalinks to a human readable format. This was one of those things I had thought would be really hard, so I kept putting it off. However, in WordPress 2 it’s really easy!

Just go to the Options tab and choose the Permalinks subtab. There are a list of common options – I chose the Date and Name based one. Then hit Update Permalink structure and it saves and produces a text box on the screen with some code in it. This needs to be copied into a file called .htaccess which should be in your blog’s root folder. You may have to create this file. Save that, and you are away!

Don’t worry about links to your posts that exist which point to the old numeric style URLs – these still work!

Scoble loses blog archive

Robert Scoble has an old blog hosted at UserLand, or rather had. It’s now gone.

Oh, UserLand, where did my old blogs go?

Yikes, the first couple of years of my blog are gone. UserLand took down those blogs. I don’t remember getting an email warning me about that, but I might have (junk filters catch a lot of that stuff).

My old site used to be at and the stuff is just gone.

Lots of old blogs used to be stored there. That’s a lot of history that’s gone. Hopefully I can get it back, I just sent them email.

This is a serious problem, I guess. At least by hosting your blog yourself, you know what’s happening to it. People who write their blog posts offline with an editor can save backup copies on their own machine.

I ought to look into backing up this blog, and the others I host. Hmmm – I guess this is done by just backing up the MySQL database. I wonder if there is a way to save a flat HTML file of the site, with all the content in it?

Google Tunes / Blogging Methods / WordPress

Analyst claims so: “We believe that Google is in the midst of creating its own iTunes competitor, which we’ve dubbed ‘Google Tunes. We think this is a logical step, now that the nascent Google Video product has been introduced.”

read more | digg story

Hmmm. Does anyone know of a non-evil, non-megalomaniac search engine I could use?

This is my first post from digg, and it seems pretty cool. digg puts the links (the ones inside the quote) right at the bottom of a post, but I think I prefer them inside the quote, certainly above my comments, which means an edit. Still, I have to do that anyway to add in the categories, and the real time saved is in copying and pasting the links.

This is going to mean I will hardly write any original posts in the WordPress editor at all! When I am at home I tend to use the Performancing Firefox extension for writing posts, when browsing with FeedDemon I use BlogJet. Both these products automatically quote text and links for me, speeding up the process a good deal.

In fact, while I am at it, something that annoys me about the editor in WordPress 2 – when I select text and hit the link button to make that text a hyperlink, it doesn’t automatically add in the http:// bit for me, which was a real time saver in previous versions.

Also, it would be good if you could define a set list of links, which if that word was used in a post it automatically parses it into a hyperlink. You could make is case dependent, so camel-casing would prevent many mix-ups. So, everytime I typed WordPress, on publishing the post, that word was made to link back to everytime, meaning I don’t have to bother. That would be cool.

News Round Up

Plenty going on this morning – Today kept my attention for the whole 2 hour journey…

Blair apology to Soham parents

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair has apologised to the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman for comments he made about the Soham murders.

Sir Ian Blair told the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) on Thursday that “almost nobody” could understand why it had become such a big story.

He called the media institutionally racist in its coverage of murders.

If Ian Blair hadn’t already convinced us all that he was a complete nitwit with his sophistry immediately after the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting, he certainly has now. To infer that race plays any part in the hysterical media coverage over the Soham murders is absurd: Blair admitted himself that the coverage of the Damilola Taylor murder was an exception to his theory. He asked why the “murders of white lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce and Asian builders’ merchant Balbir Matharu” didn’t received a similar level of publicity that the Soham ones did. The answer to this is so obvious I can’t be bothered to type this.

The shame is that Blair has a point, only he is too dim-witted to make it properly. The hysteria that engulfs the media after a tragedy like that which took place in Soham should be moderated in some way, but only because it is distastful, irrelevant and unhelpful. Not because it is in some way racially motivated, which it clearly isn’t.

Hughes to launch leadership bid

Simon Hughes is to formally launch his campaign for the Liberal Democrat leadership, a day after admitting he was “misleading” about his sexuality.

Good. To be honest, I don’t think he can, or should, be criticised for being ‘misleading’. I think many commentators have been too harsh on him, and treating the issue far too frivolously. I would imagine that coming out is not an easy thing to do, no matter what one’s personal beliefs on the matter, and, given that Hughes has had heterosexual relationships as well, there is clear evidence he had some sort of inner turmoil on the issue. That he feels the need to make statements about issues such as this shows that the sad state of affairs the media is still in in this country. Who cares, really?

The only way this could be of any significance would be if it somehow emerged that Hughes played a more active role in the shameful campaign for his election in the infamous Bermondsey by-election, the conduct of which he has apologised for.

Israel rules out talks with Hamas

Israeli interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out any talks with “an armed terror organisation that calls for Israel’s destruction”.

International mediators have urged Hamas to renounce violence, as efforts begin to form a new government.

Near-complete results gave Hamas 76 of the 132 seats in parliament.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas – who also heads the ruling Fatah party – has said he remains committed to a peaceful settlement.

This seems a fairly reasonable line for Israel to take, all things considered. Hamas’ election raises so many interesting issues: the rise of Islamists and their popularity with the Middle Eastern public; the fact that they are the first terrorist organisation to jump straight into power by passing most of the democratic ‘pyramid’ (to use a kind of footballing analogy); their commitment to a referendum to introduce sharia law.

It’s pretty frightening though too. Let’s hope that Hamas can be pulled towards the centre ground as Ariel Sharon found himself.

Links 26/1/06

Stuff from MJR

Couple of interesting points from MJR:

Annoying blog comment misfeatures: letter images

Just tried to leave a comment on Sasquach wears a yellow hat at – it has one of those annoying “type the letters from the distorted image” screens (which don’t work well [w3c]). Even when I switch images on, I can’t get the letters accepted. I don’t know if it’s a problem with the site or my eyes, but it’s really annoying.

Quite right! Though what is worse is blogger blogs that will only let you comment if you register with blogger. That really is just rubbish.

Google Problems: China; and World Economic Forum TV

25 Jan 2006: google is taking a lot of heat online for agreeing to Chinese government content requests. I won’t criticise the actual decision too much, because it’s typical corporation behaviour: follow the money, like the rest of the World Economic Forum. If you’re buying Chinese products just because they’re cheaper, you’re part of the reason they have the money and part of the reason that google is following them – corporations are seldom held accountable. If you don’t like that, maybe you should Boycott Made In China as well as google?

I think most people’s problem is that it is such hypocritical behaviour – MSN and Yahoo! have had this sort of thing in place with China for ages, and no one batted an eyelid – but perhaps many people – naively – expected better from Google. At least Bill Gates never pretended to be anything other than evil… And fine, it is typical corporation behaviour. But isn’t it nice that at least once people kick up a stink over it?