Apologies

Sorry to any of you who got a warning from Google about malicious software download. My server was hacked by a relatively dumb robot which put a malware distribution script at the top of some of the static html files. I assume you will be happy to know that I have cleaned out the infection and re-secured the server.

Again, apologies.

A convergent visionary

If you have been following this blog and you are interested in the area of convergent technology, then you may want to take a look at the site I have put together to gather my scattered writings and thoughts on this interesting and rich field.

Frank Carver – a Convergent Visionary

To start the new site I have copied over a selection of the more convergence-related posts from this blog. In the future I plan to focus on software development and personal items here, and on business and convergent technology on the new site. If possible I will arrange some sort of cross-posting or notification for people who prefer to read everything in one place.

As a new site it’s not very visible in searches yet, so as a personal request, I would really value any links from other blogs or web sites. If you have ever enjoyed or found useful anything on this site or any of my others, please consider joining the discussion or linking to my new site.

Many thanks,

WordPress syntax highlight plugin problems

Up until recently, I was using a WordPress plugin called “WP-codebox” to format my code samples in this blog, but today it broke my RSS feed, so I have abandoned it. I liked the “geshi” syntax highlighting engine used inside it, but unfortunately it generated flaky HTML, and was not smart enough to disable JavaScript in feeds.

I have now replaced it with WP-syntax. using it is very similar, just wrap code examples in (for example)

<pre lang="Java">
class Whatever {
  public void thing() {
    if(thisHappens()) {
      doThis();
      doThat();
    }
  }
}
</pre>

gives

class Whatever {
  public void thing() {
    if(thisHappens()) {
      doThis();
      doThat();
    }
  }
}

Please let me know if you have any problems with the appearance of code samples, especially if you use a feed reader or aggegator.

Some of my web sites temporarily unavailable

Following an unfortunate hacking exploit, some of my web sites are temporarily unavailable while I clean them up and review the number of web sites I currently manage.

If you are interested in any content which used to be available on any of these sites, please start by checking the Internet archive “Wayback Machine”. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, please let me know and I’ll try to help.

site URL
Frank’s Education Pages education-pages.co.uk wayback
The Podcast Player podcastplayer.org wayback
Site Master Pages sitemaster-pages.com wayback

Thanks for your patience

Frustrated with the WordPress tag cloud widget

As you can see if you are reading this on the blog,punchbarrel.com web site (you will need to imagine if you are using an RSS reader or some fancy blog-to-email thingy), this blog has a “tag cloud” in a sidebar. I really like the way that a tag cloud allows quick and easy access to existing posts without searching or browsing.

However, the tag cloud widget built in to the version of WordPress I am using defaults to display of a small number of tags (around 40, as I recall.) This is a piffling amount and results in most of my low-volume tags not being displayed – largely defeating the point of tags for navigation. I did find a place in the widget PHP where this value can be overridden, and that’s how I have been showing a reasonable number of tags over the last few months.

The modification I found has one big problem. It is reverted every time I upgrade WordPress, and so far I have ended up searching through the WordPress code to find where to make the change again. Each release I have hoped that this obvious value will be available as a widget parameter, but to no avail. With the latest WordPress update I could no longer be bothered to look.

So today I decided to abandon the existing tag cloud widget and look for one more suitable to my needs. The one I eventually settled on was Configurable Tag Cloud (CTC). This plugin acts a widget in the same way as the built-in one, but is much more configurable. best of all, it defaults to showing all the tags – just what I want!

As an additional bonus, and only a few months after it was pointed out to me by some of my users, I have finally fixed the CSS styling when hovering over a sidebar link, so that it no longer obscures the link text with a big opaque blue blob. Now the current link is indicated with a gentle yellow background.

Enjoy!

Bored with emailing links and stuff

It took a while, but I finally got fed up with sending links to interesting articles and web resources to friends and colleagues. So I have set up this traditional “linkblog” to share what I find.

Sounds a great idea, but the challenge will be encouraging people who might benefit from what I find to actually read/subscribe to the thing.

Oh well, it’s worth a try.