Tag Archives | organisation

Upgrade mostly successful!

Well, I successfully upgraded. Now all I have to do is find out how to put the banner image back and a few other minor (I hope!) details. And get used to the new blog admin. Bear with me!

WordPress Upgrade coming!

In the next day or two (time and kids permitting) I hope to upgrade my version of WordPress so I can use a particular plugin (and to make it more up to date). So if there are any glitches, please bear with me! Normal service will be resumed asap etc etc…. I’ve just done all the backups so I can rescue things if it all goes awry but it’s getting too late now to do the actual download.

DS3 has his school swimming gala tomorrow morning so it won’t be then! He and DS1 are going camping with the Scouts (it is the centenary year of the founding of the Scouting Movement and 800 Newport scouts are converging on a field a few miles away… locals beware!). So I’ve been busy preparing his luggage for storms, gales and all sorts over the last few days. Not much time for anything else, alas. Baking some chocolate brownies for the scouts and a birthday cake for DH’s 50th birthday has taken up any surplus time and energy (not much of the latter these days, alas…). And reading emails of course. I’ll leave the promised photos of my value-organised stash till after the upgrade, having done a nice backup.

DS2 has ordered a new graphics card for the main computer so if that arrives he will be nagging me to install it… I’ve never done any taking-covers-off of that particular computer … I do like poking round the innards of computers. I missed my vocation. He wants to play superduper games with extra intricate graphics and the present card is too slow. Or something like that.

101 blog tips and a couple of plants…

This is an interesting list of tips about blogging which Sharon of In A Minute Ago pointed to in today’s blog post.  I don’t understand some of them so I must read up about it.  Trouble is… if you did all of this it would be a full time job, I suspect.

I planted a few seeds not long ago.  Here are some nasturtium seedlings coming up.  I love bright nasturtium flowers and you can also use them in salads – they have a peppery flavour.  If the slugs don’t beat me to it!

nasturtium seedling

And here is a photo of the avocado plant which germinated from an avocado stone which I had put out in disgust having soaked it and tried to germinate it for weeks.  It is doing well, isn’t it?  I recently planted it into a bigger pot – it had been in the small original pot all winter but as soon as spring came it grew more vigorously.  The poinsettia beside it looks quite puny and tired – it has just put all its energy into the flowers and will need cutting back soon so it can recoup its strength.

avocado plant and poinsettia on windowsill

Hotlinking and Bandwidth

A few people have asked me to expand on my post about hotlinking.

Basically, there are two ways for people to use photos they find on the web.  Either to right-click on them and save them on their computer, and then upload them to their webspace or webhost. 

Or they can find the URL to the image from the html, the path where it is saved on your webhost, and put that in when they write their own post.  That is hotlinking.  Both ways, they are using someone else’s photos and so it is breaking copyright if they don’t acknowledge it.

If you pay for webspace, you have a limited amount of bandwidth per month.  Each time someone goes to your website or blog and views it, it downloads on to their computer and the amount used is called bandwidth (so if there are a lot of photos it means that the amount is quite high because photos take up a lot of space).  I think it is also called transfer – the amount transferred between your webhost and the other computer.

Now, if someone hotlinks to a photo, it is using your bandwidth because every time someone clicks on their website, the photo comes from your webhost, not theirs. If they have uploaded the photo to their own webhost (or to something like Flickr, then it is their bandwidth and the use of the photo is merely a copyright

I don’t think you need to worry about it if you are with Blogger or one of the other free blogging platforms, unless it gets really bad and Blogger gets stroppy – it is Blogger’s bandwidth you are using, rather than another webhost which you are paying for.

I found out that people were hotlinking by going to my webhost stats on CPanel (most webhosts provide some sort of statistics for your website), clicking on ‘Stats/Logs’ and ‘Web/FTP Stats’ and ‘Latest Visitors’.  There, they gave the ‘referrer’ URL which I clicked on and found my photos on someone else’s website…  Most instructive… 

If you do find hotlinking is a problem, I found a couple of sites which explain what you can do about it.  The clearest is Thomas Scott’s Smarter Image Hotlink Prevention on A List Apart (at least I haven’t tried his php file yet because I need to try and understand where to upload it first) but I found his explanation of the mod_rewrite code the clearest (scroll down to halfway down the page) and if you want to see if you’ve got it right you can test it here.

If I’ve got any of this wrong, please feel free to contradict me!  All this is pretty new to me…

My Dreaming Spirals Button

Attention all button users!! If you use my button on your blog, please can you change the extension to .gif instead of .jpg (if you link directly to my image here with it)?

Following a discussion on the Quiltart list about webstats yesterday, I decided to see if anyone was hotlinking to my photos and I found some! Linking to my button is absolutely fine, but there are lots of people hotlinking to my photos too and using my bandwidth so I have set up a .htaccess file blocking jpgs from being used (hopefully!!) but the .gif files can still be hotlinked to.

If anyone does want to use any of these photos, I am quite happy for you to do it as long as you ask me first and upload it on to your own server… If you use any for inspiration, I would love to see pictures of the results!!

I’m sorry for the trouble caused to my button users …

If anyone has any trouble with legitimate viewing of photos, please let me know, because this blocking stuff is all a bit new to me and I might do something wrong… especially if you read my blog via an rss feed because I’m not sure if I need to add something to the code so they can get the photos. If you let me know which feed it is I can hopefully do it manually if there are any problems.

Attention Chris Mac!

Attention Chris Mac! I just tried to answer your email but it keeps bouncing… can you email me again and I’ll try again?
Update: still bouncing! Try leaving me a comment and I’ll reply to it and see if that works… or do you have another email?

Christmas busyness

Golly, I can’t believe it’s a week since I wrote a blog post. I have been busy. And then when I tried to get into my blog, my server was playing up… has anyone had problems accessing it this week? It has been pretty good for all this year since I signed up but over the last couple of weeks I have been having a few problems so if you have tried to read it and couldn’t, do let me know and I’ll try and sort it out with my webhost.

Leanne asked about rss feeds and it occurred to me that other people might not know about them, so I am copying an email I sent to the Quiltart list a few weeks ago about subscribing to feeds so you know when a blog has been updated.

Are people generally aware that you can subscribe to a blog’s feed and you can be emailed when it is updated? You can either subscribe to one online which sends you emails, either to tell you it is updated or with the whole blog entry in the email. Or you can download an rss reader which acts a bit like a browser, and you add blogs that you want to subscribe to. I use one of these, which is called Awasu.

So you don’t need to keep checking them to see if they have been updated!

Some online ones are Feedburner and Feedblitz. There are more, but I can’t think of them offhand.

When you are subscribing to a feed, if it asks you for its rss feed you can often find it on the blog itself – it’s the url ending in .rss or .atom. But most rss readers will find them automatically from the blog’s url.

Some blogs have boxes on them where you can subscribe automatically by filling in your email address like the box on mine at the top of the sidebar.

Then there is also Technorati, which is a blog search engine and picks up new blog entries quicker than Google.

So, what have I been up to all week? Hmmm… well, I went to the dentist on Monday and he took a cast of my lower jaw to make a special guard thing to wear at night. I’m collecting it tomorrow, so I hope it is effective! I’ve been having baths last thing at night to help me relax and that seems to have helped with the teeth grinding.

On Tuesday someone on Quiltart mentioned a free series of classes to help increase your Search Engine Optimisation on your website and so I signed up to that. It’s just getting going so we shall see how effective it is.

On Wednesday I started thinking about a series of work and brainstorming it but because of all the Christmas activities for the kids’ school and cubs I haven’t had much chance to do anything more about it yet!

On Thursday it was meant to be Zachary’s Christmas concert (well, advent service really) but it was postponed because of the weather – it wasn’t quite as bad as the mini-tornado in London but it got quite close! Squalls of gale force winds, torrential rain and hailstones were interspersed with deceptively sunny weather, lulling you into a false sense of security and then hitting you again… I just managed to escape one by sheltering in the doorway of an estate agents while returning home from the cancelled concert. At least Barnabas’ rugby match was cancelled too… he is usually a sub, which means shivering on the sidelines until half time and since he had flu last week I was quite pleased he didn’t have to! In the evening was the annual Cubs party at a restaurant halfway between Newport and Cardiff, and this WASN’T cancelled. It wasn’t worth going home in the meantime so I sat in the car, watching the windblown spray and listening to the hailstones clattering on the windscreen. And being inspired by the raindrops glittering on the glass all lit up by the streetlamps in the restaurant carpark.

On Friday I helped out at the church youth club, cutting out silhouettes of a nativity scene and trying to persuade the kids to help!

Yesterday, Zachary and I trawled the shops in an abortive attempt to find some aeroplane motifs to sew on to a slipper he is making for DT at school. Only one slipper, you understand…. So I rashly agreed to find one on the internet to sew out on my sewing machine. Although my machine has this embroidery facility, I haven’t used it very much, so it was very much a learning curve. 2 hours of internet trawling later I now have a selection of aeroplanes on my hard drive and a trial version of Buzztools so now I have to learn to use it and try and remember how to transfer it to the card …. all this for one aeroplane for one slipper which will never be worn!! It’s fun, isn’t it?! Or am I just a sucker?!!

Last Sunday Anselm put up the Christmas tree and festooned various decorations round the house. Here’s the tree!


And a selection of candles and rather sad looking decorations on the mantlepiece… and that is probably our lot for Christmas! Next week it’s delivering Scout post, cubs town trail and various other fun things…


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