Category Archives: Web Design

A post from the future

Do you scheduled lots of posts on WordPress?
Do you then find yourself posting an immediate post 10 seconds before a scheduled post is going live?
Do you kick yourself for ending up with two posts so close together?

If yes to all three, then my plugin may help.

Scheduled Planner is an admin plugin which appears in the Add New / Edit Post section of WordPress. At the moment it just rests in the top right as I’ve yet to work out how to make it in to a nice widget. It shows the last two posts published on your blog, and then all the scheduled posts. Allowing you to work out if it is safe to hit Publish or if you should schedule this post for 3 hours time.

Schedule Planner Screenshot

To install just download the ZIP file and dump in your wp-content/plugins/ folder or use the Add New feature in WordPress (search for Schedule Planner)

Tested on 2.8 and 2.9.

Latest version now hosted on here:

Donations welcome

We buy any Garf (dot com)

One of the office jokes is to replace a word in a song with Garf. For example instead of Parklife we have Garflife.
Last week David started singing We buy any Garf (dot com) to the annoying but catchy tune from adverts. A few hours later and the domain was part of my collection, and a few hours after that the DNS was pointing at my VPS.
That night I sat down and created our first song, Total Eclipse of the Garf.
We now have three videos on our Youtube Channel, a cut out Halloween Mask, a SMS shortcode, photos on Flickr and a Facebook group.
If you have any suggestions for future songs, or social media ideas leave a comment below.

Talking like a pirate

For those of you who follow me on twitter it might soon look like I’m talking like a pirate.
The reason? I’ve recently purchased a short url format to use as a custom URL redirect.
For the moment it only works with my blog posts and the BBC News website, and it’s only available to me (although if you do a RT nothing will break).
Anyway I welcome to the collection of domain names I now own.

Introducing twhash in time for #bbcqt and #ashes

For the last few weeks in my spare time, I’ve been trying to create a hybrid of Dabr (a PHP open source twitter client which supports oAuth) and juitter (a javascript jQuery client).


Today I can announce twhash.
To do anything you need to be logged in to the site, via the oAuth call to Twitter (don’t worry if you don’t understand, just follow the links on the site).
Then you select the #hashtag you want to follow, and in near real time the tweets appear on the page.
If you want to take part you can enter a tweet at the top of the page, and if you want to reply to a message hit “reply” first and it will fill in the @name and set the flag to link the tweets together.

EXCLUSIVE: Top 10 LibDemBlogs of June

Following on from Charlotte’s post here on her views from the Wikio stats, I’ve gone through MyBlogLog and extracted the top 10 LibDemBlogs based on click throughs.

There are some major caveats in the stats:
a) these are clicks from, this doesn’t include people who use the RSS feed, those who have sites in their own RSS feed readers/aggregators, sites which are accessed via bookmarks or those linked from other bloggers.
b) I only checked the “top” 50 blogs, as the current method needs me to enter each url in to the MyBlogLog one by one, and wait for the results. This means that a long tail blog could have been missed.
c) Those who post lots will have more clicks to their sites, this doesn’t mean that they are more popular.
Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Top 10 LibDemBlogs of June

Another redesign

I had been thinking for sometime that the blog was due a makeover, but just couldn’t be bothered to sort it out. Then last week I needed to move LibDemBlogs over to a new server, I planned to move the blog with it, but at some point in the future when I had some free time. Turned out that the old server needed renewing now, so the plan to leave the blog for a bit was turned into a Bank Holiday of coding.
Then with the blog on the new server I just got a white page. I had modified my old template over the years with some random pieces of code and one of them was causing an issue, hours of attempting to fix it resulted in no luck. In the end I decided to re-install WordPress from scratch (whilst keeping the old database) and from here I installed this new theme.
After all this I then discovered I had quiet a few duplicate comments in my database (possiblily from when I moved from Blogger to WordPress, or from Haloscan to WordPress). I deleted all of these, but then discovered around 70 comments weren’t attached to any post. Unfortunatly there doesn’t seem to be any way in WordPress to move comments from one post to another so I had to manual edit the database using mySQL queries as well as trying to work out which post from 2004-2006 people were on about.
Hopefully the backend to the blog won’t need much more work, and I can focus on making a few tweeks to the template in the coming days.

Thank you

Yesterday afternoon I had to make a big decision. Whether it was finally time to stop working on LibDemBlogs. Attempting to read over 200 blogs every 30 minutes, every day was causing a massive strain on my shared server. I had already received some polite but threatening emails from my hosting company and knew without moving packages to at least a VPS it would continue. The problem being my bank account currently has no cash and the £300 upgrade fee it’s exactly small change. As my server also hosts a couple of local party sites, my blog, LibDig and some other random stuff, I decided that to keep those up and running I could no longer run the cron tab which updated LibDemBlogs in the background.
So I posted a message on LibDemBlogs informing people of what was happening, and asked for donations to get the site running again. In the last 12 hours I have already received 29 donation and three requests for my details to send a cheque (payable to Ryan Cullen, posted to 27 Gibbeson Street, Lincoln, LN5 8JP).
I have now received enough money to pay the upfront costs to host LibDemBlogs for a year and am waiting for the new server to be configured. Once this is done I can start the process of transferring all the files from the old machine to the new one. I hope to get most of this done over the bank holiday weekend.
The last step will be waiting for the DNS servers to update across the internet pointing everyone to the new site.
For the time being I will be making manual updates to LibDemBlogs through out the day.


Goodbye Haloscan

When I first started blogging I used Haloscan to manage my comments instead of Blogger. This was because Blogger had only just introduced comments and Haloscan had a ton of features.
After a while I discovered that I was helping out a lot on the forum, and soon after I became a moderator and got a free premium account.
When I finally moved from Blogger to WordPress I decided to stay with Haloscan for the comments, however today I finally moved on.
There are several reasons. Haloscan was “sold” sometime ago, and the new owners just weren’t the same as Jeevan. I’ve also been running LibDemVoice and noticed that the built in WordPress comment system isn’t too bad (although still more spam than Haloscan which was around 0.001%). And with WP2.7 around the corner I might even play about with having threaded comments.

It’s been a good four years and I wish the new owners the best with running the site.

Sidebars to the left of me…

…content to the right, here I am, stuck waiting for the page to load as you’ve got some Javascript widget which takes forever to load and I give up reading your site.
It’s also really bad when trying to read your blog on a mobile* as you have to scroll past lines of links to blogs that I don’t care about just to read the punchline.
So if you are a blogger and are looking for a new template, make sure the sidebar is on the right and if you do insist on it being on the left, use CSS to ensure that the blog post appears in the HTML first.

*slight lie, with my new fancy phone webpages look the same as if they were on a PC but my wife still has the problem.