Passing a variable about in a WordPress theme

I’m used to using php variables set in included file being used in another included file if all are included in the same document. This doesn’t work in WordPress theme parts. It’s easy to overcome though… you just need to… Continue Reading →

Multiple WordPress excerpt lengths

Q. Got a theme that needs two different excerpt lengths? A. Found here: set the standard, longer excerpt as normal in the functions.php file and the override locally using this code:

Rollback a GIT commit

GIT is great, Git is good. I mostly use git to track changes (very useful to check on what I’ve  been up to when it’s late in the night!) but occasionally I need to use it to roll back to… Continue Reading →

Using GIT to manage a website…

Nice little write-up on pushing your local GIT repo to a live web site:

Magazine framework in Javascript Incredible, clever, simple looking demo:

MySQL Command Line stopped working in Mac OS 10.6?

Do what this guy says and add /usr/local/mysql/bin back into your paths file

Turn a text list into an HTML Select Option list with PHP

Easy solution to this basic HTML coding need posted over at Stack Overflow by a random clever bloke. Thanks RCB. My only issue was with UTF-8 characters coming through garbled. Bodged a workaround using this encode entities plug-in for Dreamweaver.

Zooming weirdness in Mac Photoshop CS5?

This is one of those stoopid things you trip over every now and then. Ever since I started with the CS5 upgrade Photoshop wouldn’t allow me to use a zoom marquee… instead it does a strange thing called “scrubby zoom“…. Continue Reading →


The last time I tried to render CSS through PHP was many, many moons ago. I didn’t work and I couldn’t figure it out. Yesterday I tried again and found out why… the MIME type must be set as text/css…. Continue Reading →

RIP John Barry

Weird line-height in Chrome?

Specifying line-height on an <a> in a <li> will not work in your webkit based browsers. Line-height needs to be set on the containing <li> to work at all in Chrome or consistently in Firefox. Now you know.

The CSS reset has been reset

The grandaddy of all CSS resets hits version 2.o beta: Eric Meyer’s Reset Revisited. See also the subsequent thoughts on how to handle :focus. Update! Now at Beta 2.

Advertising that you couldn’t get away with these days

Found this link to a whole bunch of mostly crassly sexist adverts from way back but but there’s other NO-NOs in there too: TOP 48 ADS THAT WOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TODAY. Still not seen Mad Men yet but I… Continue Reading →

Image free CSS arrows/pointers/triangles

Great to finally see [forgive my split infinitive] a well documented walkthrough on how to create these little bit of magical CSS that add triangular pointers onto your navigation elements – or Talk Bubbles as Stubbornella OOCSS has them –… Continue Reading →

The IE9 hate starts here…

Made me grin/grimace…. A piece on how retarded Microsoft’s latest incarnation of Internet Explorer may turn out to be, despite the hype: Oh dear.

On CSS image replacement techniques and SEO

Having learnt that properly structuring headings is very important to SEO but wishing to be able to style and design pages beyond the limitations of HTML text I’ve often reverted to this old CSS hack to replace heading text with… Continue Reading →

PHP web forms

Websites are a point of contact – and a contact form that sends an email is the way to normally handle enquiries. (Of course phone numbers/addresses must first be easy to find!) A contact form requires a web server to… Continue Reading →

Got an “Error establishing a database connection” in Mac OS X 10.6?

At some point in the last month (been on holiday mostly) an Apple system update caused MySQL to stop running – all local development sites using MySQL would give the dreaded “Error establishing a database connection” error message. And phpMyAdmin… Continue Reading →

Getting a local version of Cufon running on a Mac

The easiest route to web fonts, Cufon, is suffering a couple of issues at the moment – somebody may be trying to give the service a hard time with a nasty font. If you ever have this trouble getting a… Continue Reading →

How to tile a print using Adobe’s Creative Suite (CS5)

Do you need to print an oversized graphic document onto multiple sheets of paper (that your printer can handle) so you can then assemble/[Sello]tape/mount an accurate large format version? This is a very simple task but strangely difficult to find… Continue Reading →

Safari: how to restore all windows from last session using Time Machine

It’s really very simple – everything you need is in ~/Libaray/Safari/LastSession.plist just quit Safari and restore that file from when it was good and you’re done. What’s this about? Well I tend to use open Safari windows/tabs to help keep… Continue Reading →

DIY Canon macro lens: howto video…

Lovely eight minute video – perhaps shot on a Canon 5D mkII? (love that bokeh) – how to convert a stock kit lens into a macro. This is a stellar bit of cottage industry engineering. Via Gadget Lab If you… Continue Reading →

Avoid WordPress Trackbacks within your own site

So you’re doing the right thing and crafting internal links within your site to give the thing meaning and usefulness (or SEO)… but WordPress then adds superfluous trackbacks in the comments of the pages/posts your linking to… There are plugins… Continue Reading →

Rotating Twitter Tweet feed in WordPress

Again, this is for one my current projects: my mate Phil’s digital DJ tips site… OK – so there’s loads of plugin’s out there that do this kind of thing but I’m not after anything fancy (or bloated), I’m happy… Continue Reading →

WordPress jQuery conflict solved

After several hours of thinking I’m being a idiot (happens occasionally) I discovered that sometimes you’ll need to call before any jQuery scripts (or concatenated scripts in my case). It’s been hours and I couldn’t figure out why none of… Continue Reading →

WordPress loop with x big posts in one column then a grid of y smaller posts in z columns

Here’s how I managed to get this loop to work for the custom WordPress theme I whacked off for my friend and erstwhile colleague Phil Morse AKA Digital DJ Tips The challenge I set myself was to get the loop to… Continue Reading →

Long/short headings (or title tags) using WordPress Custom Fields

[ This post is now largely if not entirely redundant now thanks to WordPress 3 menu options ] Problem: WP titles are too long to fit in your navigation. Solution: Make the title short enough to fit in the navigation… Continue Reading →

Mac’s Apache web server crashing out

Spent a few hours yesterday try to fix my localhost web sharing. After a restart none of my local sites were responding, neither from my user account nor the back-up admin account. This error message kept showing up in my… Continue Reading →

How to show just sticky posts in a WordPress template

Want to just show just your sticky posts in a WordPress template? This guide tells you how (and much more) – but you’re hacking a theme and are stuck when it says “add this code before the loop” – well… Continue Reading →

Villa Mirador Marbella (photography and site build)

Include an HTML file in a PHP variable

I couldn’t get PHP to accept an HTML file include as the definition of a variable without throwing my templated page into disarray.  An answer came from the venerable desilva then checked with the php folk; use output  buffering (see example… Continue Reading →

VR photography for the web

VR requirements: Flash (NOT Java or QTVR); full screen; ease of implementation via CMS; hotspots; For stitching the daddy seems to be RealViz Stitcher. Clearly. There many tools based on the opensource Panorama Tools out there. But under the nasty… Continue Reading →


“MND research is not so different from the Apollo Program and our ‘one small step’ will be taken too.” Dr Martin Turner, Neurologist. By Patrick Joyce, friend.

Beardyman hologram

Sticky running 1000 miles for the MNDA

Please forgive this re-/cross-/multiple-posting/email but I have a cause… Here’s a call for support for Johnny “Sticky” Budden: Parkour Traceur/free runner extraordinaire… He’s speeding 1,000 miles on foot across and around the length of the UK and on to Paris… Continue Reading →

Support Driven Development

Please excuse this wanton copy-paste The article is good in its entirety but this is the best bit of this ThinkVitamin article Kevin Hale of Wufoo talks UX, Funding, Startups and API integration… Because we’re a small team that desires to… Continue Reading →

On Advertising and Flash-in-the-Pan

There’s two massive teacupstorms out there at the moment about Flash and HTML5. Adobe is trying to sabotage HTML5 goes one wind. Flash is dead long live Canvas (or rather Squirrel cheats on Flash with iPad) goes another. [Please excuse the… Continue Reading →

Cloud enabled local web development using Dropbox et al

or I *sync* my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with Dropbox and Gmail Cloud enabled local web development? That’s an oxymoron — right? Explain. I prefer to develop/design using MAMP as it’s quicker and doesn’t rely on a sketchy internet… Continue Reading →

Using stats and Google Analytics on a WordPress instal

Wondering which you should use? Use both. (As recommended by Mr WordPress himself…) The Stats WordPress plugin provides all the basic daily dose of stats you need – and all easily accessible from the WordPress Dashboard.  Google Analytics gives… Continue Reading →

WordPress 403 import error and how to solve it

[or Check Your Privacy Settings] Yesterday I was being an eedgit. For the life of me couldn’t figure out why I was getting a 403 error “Remote file returned error response 403 Forbidden”. I was trying, and failing, to… Continue Reading →

FTP mget without prompt

[Long time no command line FTP.] Today I had to transfer 700Mb from one server to another in the same data center. SSH in to server #1 to grab the files from server #2 – but “a” wasn’t working as… Continue Reading →

How to group items in HTML select menus

Here’s something I learnt last week, just as the title says: how to group items in an (x)HTML select drop down list. This trick, which I’d assumed was done with magic (or rather DHTML or JavaScript trickery), is actually very… Continue Reading →

JavaScript Rounded Corners

Rounded corners with CSS and graphics is OK – but a pain to set up – requiring custom images and plenty of extra markup. JavaScript – particularly when helped by jQuery comes to the rescue and makes it fairly trivial…. Continue Reading →

MAMP stacked (Mac OS X 10.6)

When I moved over to Mac OS X 10.6 last week I found I had to fix my MAMP stack. My old MAMP install didn’t work anymore as unfortunately Marc Liyanage’s excellent PHP package fails in 10.6. The following instructions… Continue Reading →

Chop Cup

What on earth is this? I’ve no idea what this is but it’s been haunting me (in a good way) since yesterday. First impression was mediocre but let is steep a while…

Free from the shackles of CSS conditional comments

CSS hacks are here to stay but lets bundle them up in a single style-sheet… After trying to “hide my shame” [was it Zeldman that turned me on to CondComs with this phrase?] by using conditional comments for IE specific… Continue Reading →

Jenny Lewis, See Fernando

Spotted on Hicksdesign. They liked it, I concur.

Google Analytics: IP filter across multiple accounts

So I’m developing several sites from one end of an ADSL line with a dynamically assigned IP address. All of which use Google Anaytics. Obviously I don’t want traffic from my activities to get registered and skew any GA data… Continue Reading →

rsync and other old school Coda tricks

First a quick one – thanks to the folks that supplied the coda plugin for Markdown. Anonymous folks with big hearts. Markdown plugin for Coda It’s about time I stopped running to WordPress every time I have to format a… Continue Reading →

String to integer (strip all non numerics) with PHP

I’ve been hacking somebody else’s CMS (without access to the main engine) and needed to calculate a mathematical function on some prices. Specifically needed to display a percentage drop when given an original price as well as the current price…. Continue Reading →

Keeping your sites optimised

The sites I’ve been working on had been suffering from flab. A JavaScript library here (jQuery of course), a plug-in there, another, another, another… then a large plug-in that loads it’s own plug-ins (Shadowbox v3 – I’m talking to you)…. Continue Reading →

Wednesday fun #2

Display proper maintenance page with .htaccess

Create a decent “sorry this site is down for maintenace” page with a “have a Nice day” message then when you do need to upgrade things use the following htaccess rewrite rule to forward all traffic to this page. Adapted… Continue Reading →

MAMP stacked (Mac OS X 10.5)

UPDATE: I’ve upgraded to Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) and the following instructions are no longer entirely valid as Marc Liyanage’s PHP package hasn’t been upgraded to work in the Snow. Want to get MAMP on Mac OS X… Continue Reading →

More PNG transparency notes

Via thinkvitamin and  tipster: a couple of notes that may resolve a couple of outstanding issues I’ve had with PNG24 transparency use… Set width and height for the element/s containing the transparent background image […] (also, bear in mind that the… Continue Reading →

Flickr fool

P[hotographic w]ork flow Flickr. Been using it for years – with periodic hiatus[es] – always worried about losing pictures to sneaky internet thievery – and at the same time wondering how to keep a proper archive of my photos. Restricted… Continue Reading →

DOCUMENT_ROOT trailing slash issues?

Do you have a web server and a development server rendering different versions of the $_SERVER[‘DOCUMENT_ROOT’] superglobal? Mmm, me too. I’d have pulled my hair out if I had any. Made me feel rather defeated after thinking I’d fixed things… Continue Reading →

jQuery in anger

[notes to self] Shadowbox Tooltip highlightFade jquery.validate.js Lovely, lightweight carousel: 50+ Amazing Jquery Examples- Part1

Google Analytics

Discover Google Analytics Interpret your Data: Learn how to interpret your data into meaningful insights with our video tutorial. Tag your links [esp for tracking non www links in email campaigns etc] with the URL Builder Go to the Conversion… Continue Reading →

Tiny URL?

Zeldman’s just posted about the current mini-storm about URL shortening services… I love his understated way. While the debate about these services – and, as an adjunct, feed scraping, we should look to our webdev monkey skills to roll our… Continue Reading →

“At Least He Was Honest: Internet Scam Fail”

[thanks to my favourite Geekologie]

Quick and dirty DVD editing in iMovie

Got your own content want to re-edit quick-like using iMovie. Use MPEG Streamclip to export to MPEG-4. Import into iMovie. Edit. If you’ve got a bunch of VOB files on a DVD of non-copy protected stuff (home movie telecine etc)… Continue Reading →

**Kirk Shelton, skate_freak_superstar

I love Looking for a missing font and finding that on the home page. For some things there’s Mastercard. If that’s not enough to whet your wotsit – have a look at these classy artefacts: Go on… Enter

Transmit / CODA FTP glitches

Eureka. D’oh. ho-hum. Delete as appropriate. Updated… My email to Hi, I’m sure it may be because I hadn’t RTFM in a while but I’ve just discovered that Transmit carries out Synchronisations based on its cache. I had always… Continue Reading →

A digital compact to get excited about?

The best [and only!] wide-angle photographer’s compact to come to market in ten years. Or so it seems. There have been many quality compacts produced since digital imaging came of age. You know those arrogant/insecure youths stutting about showing off… Continue Reading →

IE6 link bug over PNG

One day I awoke brightly, but to my surprise… I’ve been so excited to be able to use full alpha transparency PNGs and getting them to play nice in IE6. Today I’ve found another PNG/IE6 issue. It seems that in… Continue Reading →

War Photographer

Jason Forrest, "War Photographer", Shamelessly Exciting, Sonig Records, Dir. Joel Trussell. Mash it up.

MySQL and phpMyAdmin on Mac 10.5 Leopard

Following on from PHP and SSI set-up on a Mac OS X 10.5, now it’s time for MySQL database work. Everything is plain sailing to start with: get and install both MySQL and phpMyAdmin. Then the first snag – phpMyAdmin… Continue Reading →

IE7 CSS border bug

How quickly one forgets IE7 will not add a border to a link if it’s set to display:inline. Make the little beggars display:block and your worries will fall away. Of course I knew this already…

Disappearing fixed div in IE7

Who’d have thought – eh? Here’s a bug I came across while working on the updated Solutions Overseas website. Not used position:fixed; in anger before. The “Enquire Now” button there is fixed. Except in IE7 though. Looked around and it’s… Continue Reading →

A better 404

It was a while ago that I first read ALA’s article on how to craft a more useful 404 error message. Yesterday implementing a more useful 404 hit the top of my to-do list. In the end I found a… Continue Reading →

Subdomains on localhost in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

/ how-to-setup-development-domains-on-os-x/

Apache with PHP and SSI on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard in two minutes

[Update – see here. I wouldn’t recommend the Apple PHP distro anymore as it has shortcomings. Roll your MAMP!] See full description for PHP here, for activating SSI here. Add PHP with debugging Activate: goto /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf and uncomment LoadModule php5_module… Continue Reading →

Avoid HTML validation errors due to your JavaScript

One of the reasons I changed a random content rotation script that was sitting in my <head> tags last month was because this JavaScript failed to validate. I don’t intend to change back – but today I found out the… Continue Reading →


…or xkcd is inspired today I guess a link to explain Burma Shave is necessary. Tom Waits made me wonder with his song.

.htaccess tips and tricks

Rewrite We *heart* canonical URIs [Note – I’ve recently come accross a web hosting company that disallows Options +FollowSymLinks. When used their server throws an internal error page – you may need to replace with the more secure (on shared… Continue Reading →

Random content rotation using PHP

I had been using a JavaScript solution from to randomly show one option from a series on a page. All the options are wrapped in DIVs and placed in a single include file. This first solution used JS to… Continue Reading →

Full alpha transparency for PNG images and CSS backgrounds in IE6.

Update 2009 I’ve now jumped to the other side of the fence. In the name of speed and slowly [oh so slowly] dying share of IE6 I’ve stopped trying to pander to it. There’s a few extra bugs and issues… Continue Reading →

Cache fix for CSS and JavaScript on a live site

Update Well in the end I couldn’t get this to work. Too noob. So I’ve settled on old school versioning. Not really an issue in the end as the extra overhead (working on a duplicated and renamed the CSS file)… Continue Reading →

Multiple virtualised XPs with IE6, 7 and 8 for development testing with a Mac, VMWare and VHDs from Microsoft

As IE can only work reliably in exclusion of other versions. the most (or only) reliable way to test various versions of IE on one machine is using virtualization. Amazing but oh-so-true. VPC images for ie6 ie7 and ie8 for… Continue Reading →

Firefox plugins

Web Developer Web Developer Firebug Yahoo YSlow for Firebug Live HTTP Headers Video grabbing Clipta. There’s plugin out there – but you won’t be able to find it on the Clipta site – Google my friend.

Alternative CMSes to look at…

There’s in interesting article over at vitamin by Paul Boag entitled The 5 hidden costs of running a CMS. Of course these costs must be allowed for in any serious CMS implementation strategy. Not much emphasis is given to the very… Continue Reading →

Font management on Mac OS X by Linotype

Thanks to guns for for making me aware of FontExplorer in the comment on this thread on how to organize fonts using Font Book over at Mac OS X Hints. FontExplorer looks great; the price certainly is. Must give it a good look when I get… Continue Reading →

The best Flickr add-ons/plugins/mashups…

According to Photojojo that is. Look here for their list. It’s a good one. SmartSetr is an instant fave; does smart sets like iTunes et al.

Need to know sunrise, noon and sunset times?

I looked and I looked and I looked. In the wrong places, obviously. In the end I found a site that calculated the local time of sunrise, noon and sunset. There it goes for posterity.

In-cell editing in MS Excel for Mac

Gold old Mac OS X Hints. I’ve looked for this shortcut several times over the last fifteen years across versions – never found it. Not online or in the Help files. Here it is: Control-U. GRRRREAT!

Monday lunch feeding on RSS

Many thanks Mr Mullenweg. Now I know TopGear have moved to WordPress and have some more homework to do re 2008’s design trends. And Mr Stobist — thanks for introducing me to the work of a great modern photographer (modern with a small M)… Continue Reading →

Ken burns effect slideshows in Flash for the web

Finding a Flash slideshow generator to use for a fancy site we’re working on… The Daddy Monoslideshow. Fully featured and customisable Flash slideshow generator. The best bet for us cheap ass developers. A bargain at $19.95. The also-rans Slideroll. Free Flickr/Youtube-like… Continue Reading →

Which CMS?

Right now trying to develop a web magazine. Also bearing in mind  the need to be able to bash out other smaller websites with minimum hassle. Solution should allow Mac OS X and web based editing. Drupal is proving to be… Continue Reading →

Clean, formatting-free XHTML from Word for posting into blogs and CMSs?

Update 2 Thanks to this great list of open-source apps for Mac OS X there another option to look at: AbiWord. I’ve not tried it yet but it looks set to beat my non-starting attempts with OpenOffice (office Mac is PowerPC… Continue Reading →

Clean URLs for Drupal in a subfolder

I couldn’t get Drupal to generate Clean URLs yesterday despite following all the steps. Couldn’t work out why my test install wouldn’t do this simple trick when this blog already has a mod_rewrite (RewriteEngine) activated – and the Drupal test site in… Continue Reading →

“People I shot”

The great work of others pt1 The great work of Jim Schomberg. Found thanks to Steve Smith’s Tumblelog.

Options for “hybrid modal” lightbox display of images

[Update 2009 – OK now I’m not the total newbie anymore and would have to recommend Shadowbox on top of jQuery for it’s versatility and power. Slimbox is still great though.] The Contenders Slimbox The true successor to the king… Continue Reading →

Encoding and embedding Flash video (FLV) for the web on a mac

It’s taken quite a few hours of trial and error and things not working – but in the end it’s not too complicated. In essence getting your video onto a webpage is a two part process – encode into FLV… Continue Reading →

OPTV Magazine #20

P*orkflow part two

P[hotographic w]ork flow So, why the hog of a workflow? Needs are tagging, editing, pixel pushing, publishing and archiving. Some kind of database to keep track of it all. My problem is that I seem to be using a raft… Continue Reading →

Photo book printing

Just received delivery of another photo book from Apple, the fourth book I’ve sent off to them in as many years. The quality is really very good for digital print – so much better than the first one I received… Continue Reading →

InDesign CS2 export script

This very useful JavaScript code was developed by Peter Kahrel as he found my problem interesting. Bless you Peter! The full thread is over on the Adobe’s InDesign Scripting Forum here abouts. Because there’s only a limited life for any… Continue Reading →


The Flashing Blade. Currently here. Childrens’ TV from way back in the seventies. You remember this one? I do. The theme tune is baked into my memory for ever. Flickr viewer Tiltviewer is a very cool way to see your… Continue Reading →

How’s your php.ini?

Mine’s just fine now. When trying to upload a photo via WordPress’ interface I used to get this error: Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted Couldn’t find a quick fix and worked around it using Flickr until… Continue Reading →

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