Blog

Book review: OpenCart 1.4 Template Design Cookbook by Tahsin Hasan

Published on the 2nd July, 2011

OpenCart isn’t a system I’ve used before but Packt Publishing asked me to review OpenCart 1.4 Template Design Cookbook by Tahsin Hasan for them so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to learn more about an ecommerce shopping cart system. I spend a lot of time working on PHP/MySQL applications, including Drupal and CodeIgniter, but I haven’t used OpenCart before, so I’m coming to this book and application completely new. OpenCart is a complete ecommerce shopping cart solution, with fe...

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'Close Account' options for web applications

Published on the 5th June, 2011

It's very rare that I come across a web app which allows me to close my account. Granted, it's not a feature you want to encourage people to use but if people want to stop using your app then they'll probably just abandon the account anyway. From a user's perspective I like to feel in control so being able to close an account, even if I don't chose to do so, can be quite reassuring. However, I think there are also some advantages for developers and stakeholders to benefit from by implementing a ...

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Blog from the iPhone to your Drupal blog with BlogPress

Published on the 29th April, 2011

There are a couple of apps which can post to Drupal as well as the majority of other popular blogging platforms straight from your iPhone: iBlogger and BlogPress. I'm writing this from BlogPress on my iPhone, but the app also supports the iPad for all you lucky folks out there. With BlogPress you can view previous posts, save drafts, upload images to Flickr or Picasa and upload movies to YouTube, all of which can then be embedded straight into the post. Drafts can be saved to the app and are sto...

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Upcoming book review: OpenCart 1.4 Template Design Cookbook by Tahsin Hasan

Published on the 29th April, 2011

Packt Publishing kindly asked me to write another review for an upcoming book: OpenCart 1.4 Template Design Cookbook. The book covers a range of techniques for customising the header, footer, store navigation, creating dynamic content, custom error pages and sitemaps. The author, Tahsin Hasan, is a fellow CodeIgniter developer and has worked with other PHP frameworks such as Zend, Symfony and CakePHP. I’ll be posting the review in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here is a link to a sampl...

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Create amazing explorable panoramas on the iPhone with Photosynth

Published on the 25th April, 2011

I've just been playing with Photosynth for the iPhone. It allows you to take multiple pictures from different angles then stitch them together to make a 3D, explorable panoramic. So what's so different about Photosynth? Well, you can also create 'Synths' which are 3D spaces made up of images from not only different angles but different locations. This means you can take a picture of a building from different sides and Photosynth will work its magic and make it into a 3D model which you can explo...

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Optimising Drupal performance

Published on the 13th March, 2011

There are a few great out of the box performance tweaks which Drupal offers to speed up page loading times and minimise server load. First of all, these tweaks wouldn't suit every site. You need to first think about how much traffic you currently get and how often our content changes. You don't necessarily have to add or amend a page for content to change; people can post comments and interact with your site in ways which change the content displayed. This will make a difference to how you chose...

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Fighting blog comment spam

Published on the 14th February, 2011

I've noticed a recent influx of blog spam which seem, to some degree, relevant to the content it's posted on. I think spammers are composing comments targeted to specific subject areas and then searching the web for content on that subject so that when they post the comment it appears at first glance to be genuine. Of course the most telling part is the totally unrelated link to men's watches or postal degrees which seem somewhat out of place in a comment on a php web development framework. Neve...

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New 'Mix Radio' on Last.fm

Published on the 3rd January, 2011

Since Spotify I've slightly neglected my Last.fm radio favouring playlisted music over radio style chosen tracks, but I may start using the Last.fm radio again since they've introduced the new 'Mix Radio' station. It's a great way to discover new music without being overwhelmed by too many unfamiliar tracks. What is 'Mix Radio'? Mix Radio combines: New recommendations (similar to the 'Recommendations' station) Tracks by artists in your library that you haven't scrobbled before and Tracks in ...

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Qwiki: Information Experience

Published on the 23rd October, 2010

The recent TechCrunch disrupt award saw startup Qwiki win disruptive product for their information experience website which seeks to change the way we consume information. This is the kind of thing which we've seen in movies for years but Qwiki is making this experience a reality by pulling together information from various sources and presenting it in a much more experiential way. This sort of delivery is probably well suited to that kind of research where you hear a term you haven't heard befo...

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Sorting the garden out

Published on the 5th September, 2010

My dad came over today to help sort our garden out. We wanted to open the end of the garden up to grow some colourful plants and maybe add a few solar lights. The end of the garden was previously segmented into smaller pieces, with a raised patch with a few shrubs and some fenced off stones. Here you can see we started to knock the wall down before but had to put it off for a while as the foundation of the wall went quite deep. Quite satisfying work, knocking a wall down! Once we broke...

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