Donncha's Friday Links

No more confusion. Today is Friday! TGIF!

  • Latchiko has an image in the RTE Guide 2008 Calendar! Well done!
  • Tone Mapping plugin for GIMP. Interesting, but I found more interesting effects by changing the mode of the new layer to Divide.
  • John McAWilliams photoblog is now running WordPress with a spiffy photoblog theme called “Grain“.
  • Dave wonders if the Advertising Standards Association is sexist.

    So when Aero launched their ‘Bubbles’ ad campaign I decided to make a complaint. I took the text of the complaints made against adverts featuring females and changed the sex to male.

  • So, for those of you reading from outside Ireland, our prime minister is being quizzed over certain moneys he received. So far he’s been slippery and nothing has stuck but Gavin explains the latest controversy. His solicitor lent him money to pay his court fees! The mind boggles.
  • Damien covers the Eircom Web 2.0 fund, but I have to wonder who’d jump into bed with them? Read those contracts carefully.
  • Business blogging or why blogs aren’t just for the kids and geeks. Paul explains in clear points why business should be blogging.

    Seems like our 100,000+ unique visitors is nothing in the blogging world, but most Small to Medium Irish Business (SME’s) would kill for that kind of traffic. So since I’m an ‘expert’ (and when exactly did that happen ?!) here’s the 10 minute guide to get your business on it’s way.

  • Condition 1 weather at the McMurdo Station in the Antartica. You thought the weather was bad didn’t you?

WIP: Blog Voyeur and Custom Akismet screenshots

Here’s a sneak preview of some stuff I’m working on, besides WP Super Cache and WordPress MU.

First of all, there’s my Blog Voyeur plugin. It’s a visitor logging plugin like many other ones, but this one only records hits from users who have left comments here. The screenshot below is what you see in the backend listing page. I took out the names of the users for privacy reasons but so far it’s worked quite well. I’m not sure yet if this plugin will see the light of day. After discussing this with Mark he came up with some possible uses for it. Inventive fellow is he. Comments in brackets by me.

“When I made that post yesterday criticising Matt, I wondered if he would look at it. Well now I know he did… and because he didn’t comment he’s guilty…” (paranoid?)

Match your cookie thing with crazyegg 🙂 (excessive?)

Have a popup – “Hi Matt!” (annoying?)

See returning user, see no comments so send them an email asking for their views on the posts they did not comment on. (obsessive?)


I mentioned this second plugin already. It’s a modified version of Akismet. You can download it yourself if you want to play with it. If someone else wants to take it further feel free to. It’s all GPL code. I’m posting a screenshot because it’s amazing to see so much spam from one IP address in only a few days. Just goes to show what a good job Akismet does.

akismet numbers

Donncha's Wednesday Links

Confusion reigns again. As promised yesterday, today is Wednesday’s Links! I really gotta get that plugin written so it’ll create these titles automatically. Happy Thanksgiving to all my US visitors!

  • Automattc Projects lists most of the commercial and GPLed projects Automattic has worked on. I’ll be looking at the secure admin plugin later. Should be useful for WordPress MU installs.
  • Lorelle reports on a new form of spamming and copyright theft called spinning. There are pay-for online services out there that generate nonsense content that search engines think is English, but is really fragments of content taken from other sites with words replaced to avoid the duplicate penalty. If you find someone scraping and stealing your content, you can get your own back on them. If they use Adsense, Daily Blog Tips recommends that you report them for copyright theft. Hopefully the thief will have their Adsense account suspended. Excellent idea.
  • George Barr has a great post on camera design. I love his opening paragraph.

    Someone sent me a joke the other day – one of those, “how come” type – one line of which was “how come they put a man on the moon before they put wheels on luggage?”

  • Preventing ad blindness from DBT again. Useful ideas if you have advertising on your blog.
  • Pop culture will eat itself – what a great capture!
  • Happy Blog Birthday to Dave. 10 years young!
  • Everyone eats right? Even the cloned Storm Troopers in Star Wars needed somewhere to sit down and eat. Here’s what happens when Darth Vadar wandered down to the canteen. Via Emmet.

    If you like that one, check out Darth’s hidden talent which I also got from Bifsniff.

A Simply Silly WordPress URL

I’m not sure why I noticed this protest sticker. It’s stuck to a lamp post on Patrick Street, Cork but maybe it was the typo in the URL that triggered my subconscious. One thing I can be certain of is that is not taking sides in any conflict of any sort! GPL software can be used by anyone just so long as they stick to the agreement with which they accepted the software.

Silly Stupid Typo

As expected, points at an old blog of theirs as they have now moved to their own server at

Glossing over the .org mistake for a minute, why do people still put the “www.” in front of long-winded urls? It gets stripped by anyway. Why not put “http://” there instead? Makes more sense to me. Three cheers for the no-www movement!

So, have you seen any glaring typos on posters, fliers, stickers or blogs that made you look twice? Today’s link post doesn’t count. I did that on purpose to make a point. Sure. 🙂

Donncha's Thursday Links

  • Mark explains why we should support the writers strike in Hollywood. Can you imagine watching reruns of JAG or Melrose Place? Please! Everyone sit down and resolve the situation before it’s too late! Love those clips too. Writers are the wrong group of people to piss off when it’s so easy to get your message out with the power of the Internet and Youtube!
  • Conor notes the rising cost of baby formula, a subject close to my heart. Not only have the large boxes of Aptamil formula gone up, but the small 200ml cartons have gone up from 99c to 119c.
  • Check out Alex King’s WordPress plugins including such favourites as “Popularity Contest” and a useful plugin to redirect Moveable Type URLs to WordPress ones. He’s available for hire through Crowd Favorite, his software development company.
  • Nice, Loudervoice is sms powered now!
  • A Wired article on the Creative Commons quotes Jim who shares the same concerns I do about the license scheme. Ironically, it appears Wired staff used many “All rights reserved” in a recent blog post. They’re not the only ones to misunderstand licenses. Honestly, does anyone outside of the blogger and photography communities even know about Creative Commons? I doubt it somehow.
  • Here’s a slightly edited version of The Big Lebowsky shown on cable tv. They ruined it!

    Via Blame it on the voices. Check out the “short version” of the film too, but be warned that it’s definitely not safe for work if your sound is turned up!

  • I asked Damien and Niall about their link posting habits. Niall replied by email, but Damien responded on his blog. Thanks guys. Both replies were very helpful. I’m writing a link posting plugin for WordPress. Anyone else want to share what they’d like to see in such a tool?
  • Would it be evil to keep track of the visits to your blog by people who comment on it? Yes, something else I’m working on ..

Google Maps glimpse into the past

Google update their Maps service on a semi-regular basis but their images of Cork City are hopelessly out of date.

Elysian Building Site
The Elysian Building Site

The Elysian will be a large 17 storey tower with offices, apartments, shopping centre, parking and gardens. It’s been years since that building site looked like it does in the image above!

  1. Elysian building site.
  2. Cork City Hall. (The building work behind that is now complete)
  3. Cork City Fire Brigade HQ
  4. Anglesea Street Garda Station
Patrick Street
Patrick Street, Cork City Centre

They can be forgiven for not having this updated. The large block marked with red has only recently been demolished while superwomen walk past and railing hide the view down by the bottom-right corner of the block.

Nice to have these before pics of the city.

Donncha's Tuesday Links

  • Senator David Norris reveals who his first crush was. Warning! graphic images! 🙂 Yes, people do get paid to write such guff, and we lap it up!
  • European Consumer Centre Dublin launched Howard, a cute wide eyed owl who will help you shop online this year. Simply enter the url of the site you’ll be shopping at and they will present the following:
    1. When the website was registered/updated.
    2. The results of an search.
    3. Official Company Register information about the company.
    4. The results of a Google search.
    5. If the website is a member of an e-commerce trustmark scheme.
    6. Trustmarks to look for in the country in question.
    7. The general limitation period in the country in question.
    8. The general cancellation period in the country in question.
    9. Examples of price comparison sites to look for in the country in question.
    10. Contact information to your national European Consumer Centre.

    I entered because of my previous experience with them but the only negative result was the lack of a Trustmark certificate. I’m glad the first link of the Google search points at my post. 🙂

  • Fellow Automatticer Alex Shiels talking at WordCamp Melbourne.
  • Want to see inside a datacenter? CIX Open Day on the 29th! Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll make it.
  • A really simple way of generating a thumbnail of your site. Finally, a use for Snap!
  • FSF release GNU Affero GPL to address using GPLed software on public servers. The GPL requires code to be distributed if the software is made public, but there’s a loophole. Code running on a web server is more like a service. The code stays on the server and therefore code does not have to be made public. GNU Affero GPL rectifies that problem. However, if WordPress was licensed under such a license anyone who uses it would have to release any modifications they make. Read the post for more details about why the loophole still exists in GPL 3.
  • <@J^raxis> Some people have some weird fetishes. Which is fine. Then they take photos of them, which is not.

Donncha's Monday Links

The first thing I look at in the Sunday Times is the magazine. Just about every week there’s a feature on a photographer and a few weeks ago that was the late Bob Richardon. I can’t find the article online but I love this quote,

‘I have always photographed loneliness because that is my life.’ Richardson wrote in his memoir. ‘People say that my work is sexual. Look closer, stupid’

  • Donal noticed that Meteor updated their online texting service! Looks much better now.
  • How to communicate across domains using frames. For security reasons this isn’t a good thing.
  • XSS – Proof of Concept
  • Gamma spotted some photoshopping of Cork Opera House in the new Rory Gallagher DVD. Good catch!
  • As seen in several places, Red Cardinal has the news that Google Local is now in Ireland. If you have a store front business, you should register there to put yourself on Google Maps!
  • Blogs run on WordPress MU. Here are the plugins they use, including my Flickr Widget!
  • A huge collection of GIMP plugins have been updated to work on GIMP 2.4 and now available as the GIMP FX Foundary. I downloaded the package, installed them in ~/.gimp-2.4/scripts/ and only got through a couple of the scripts so far. There are loads of effects there. Cool.
  • A wedding photographer shares her workflow, including using the GIMP. (via)
  • Who cares what the bokeh looks like? As long as you love the picture. See featured comment.

Donncha's Friday Links

I really have to resurrect that link posting plugin I wrote for WordPress. Meanwhile, if you’re groaning under the deluge of comment spam that Akismet catches, try this modified version which orders the spam comments by IP and url. Rename the file to akismet.php and drop into your plugins/akismet/ folder. It’s the same idea as the Akismet Worst Offenders I blogged last year but rewritten from scratch. Looks dog ugly but maybe someone will carry the work forward?
Later today I’m going to check in changes to the super cache plugin to create html files in the root folder of your blog. You have to explicitly name the path, so there’s no danger that your blog directory will be overrun with lots of new folders.

  • actually exists! (via Google Inside)
  • Adam compares ads vs reality and would eat the real fast food. Come to think of it, so do I, even after I read Fast Food Nation.
  • And via comments on the post above, Gaz hates the iPhone.
  • Gavin blogs a 2 hour documentary on the war in Iraq that appeared on BBC last month. I need to find a 2 hour gap in my life to watch it!
  • WordPress plugin authors, if you already know the ins and outs writing plugins, of using hooks and creating tables, then Custom Queries should be high on your learning list.
  • is now the second most visited blog site in the world, knocking Typepad into third place according to Nielsen Online.
  • You can worry about content length or you can go with the flow and write great content. Good points about scannable content WRT certain audiences however.
  • A trip to the creationist museam. Fun. Look at the Flickr set too. This is what really happened to the dinosaurs, who only died out 4,300 years ago.. via Damien.
  • Meet the GIMP has a few interesting posts and videos – panoramas, Support Creative Commons! (no, sorry, I won’t!), and selecting selections in the GIMP.
  • Webmaster Console – I logged in yesterday with my hotmail account and added a few of my sites. You should too, and add your sitemaps. Looks like haven’t penalized my sites, but I can probably count on one hand the number of hits I get from them!

PS. There’s a baby boom in Ireland! Congrats to Robert and Sylwia on the birth of their son, and also of course to my cousin Orla and her husband Henry on the birth of their son Conor! Adam will have another cousin to play with! 🙂

Donncha's Thursday Links

I have to admit, I preferred how WP 2.2 displayed lots of draft posts on the edit and post pages. Having to go to the Write page and click on the “54 more” link is annoying. For some reason, this post didn’t show up as the newest draft. Now it does, maybe because I deleted another (newer) draft post of the same name. When I created another “Donncha’s Thursday Links” post it didn’t show in the drafts list either. I had to search the drafts posts for “donncha” and it appeared at the bottom of that list. Strange.

I should get used to having my photos ripped off, but I don’t think I ever will. It’s as upsetting now as it ever was.

PS. Ray D’Arcy appears on the Restaurant tonight on RTE 1 at 8.30pm!