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Subject:End of an era: New home page, blog, email address
Time:11:53 pm

Homepage


I have a new homepage, it's http://tola.me.uk

Blog


Thanks LiveJournal for years of faithful service but it's time for me to fly the nest, if Drupal is good enough for Tim Berners-Lee then it's good enough for me.

You can add my new Drupal powered blog to your LiveJournal friends list by going here and clicking "Add this feed to your friends list" (thanks mchicago). For all other RSS readers, there is a feed here. If you don't want to syndicate all of it you can choose one of Personal, Technology, Art & Culture and Travel (they'll work better when there's something in them).

If anyone has successfully imported a LiveJournal blog into Drupal, please get in touch with me and tell me how!

Email Address


My new email address (for personal mail only) is ben at tola.me.uk (substitute the @ sign). Please don't enter it into any spammy social networking sites :)

The future of hippygeek.co.uk


http://hippygeek.co.uk has being going for five years now and it isn't going to disappear. The site will shortly be undergoing a transformation into hosting and a software repository for projects I'm working on.
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Subject:mChicago: Content Negotiation
Time:08:13 pm
As Advogato's trust metric does not appear to trust me enough to allow me to post a reply, this is in reply to mchicago's post about .Net and Browsercaps:

As someone who is currently in academia and will not qualify as an engineer for quite a while, I feel qualified to give you an unhelpful answer which has no practical application to your current real world problem.

Trying to keep up to date lists of every mobile device is like chasing the wind.

This is what Content Negotiation in the HTTP specification is for, in this case Server-driven negotiation would probably be preferable. A user agent should send an Accept header as part of the HTTP request which specifies which formats the user agent can render and the server should respond accordingly.

Unfortunately a lot of browsers send a wildcard instead of a real argument in Accept headers and claim to be able to render all formats, which of course they can't. Apache has partial support for Content Negotiation and if you're using IIS you'd probably have to write it yourself.

So the answer is to get manufacturers of mobile devices to get their web browsers to send proper Accept headers and Microsoft to think about Device Independence for their server products. Good Luck.

In other news...

tola.me.uk is nearly ready to roll, despite accidentally looking uncannily like Elliot's web site. That's what happens when you use stock themes! Once I've moved over, then hopefully interesting things will happen with hippygeek.co.uk

I've ordered a Nokia 770, I have evil plans for it.

Me and Sam spent several hours today trying to fix the BurnFM web stream, the web part is fixed but we can't get the sound engineering part right. I blame poor sound engineering kit. A poor worker always blames his tools. Sam's planning to swap out the server with one running slackware and icecast, I've almost convinced the station manager it's a good idea. 'Cept I vote for Ubuntu Server.

University are making me use Access :(

Now of to Tom's to see how many people we can fit in his house, I reckon about 130.
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Subject:In between homes
Time:12:05 am
I've half moved into my new house in Birmingham with samwwwblack, Debs and Frankie and my parents are in the process of moving to Colsterworth. The day I moved half my stuff into my new house, I opened the front door to let my parents out and Big Man Paul (from school) walked past, weird coincidence. He's the first person I've met in Birmingham from school, though I'm sure there are others.

In other news...

I talked my way out of a £42 library fine today :)
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Subject:BT Future Gazing: extremely smart yogurt, ultra simple computing
Time:11:43 pm
"We did the calculations, and we reckon that it's possible to make a yoghurt with roughly the same processing power as the entire European population." --Ian Pearson, Futurologist: The ITWales Interview

The idea of "Ultra Simple Computing" appealed to me:

"Computers can be redesigned from the ground up with tens of thousands of little chips to distribute the load. It will mean there will be no need for an operating system or even a hard disk, as everything can be saved on the chips".

To me, a computer is just a network of networks of networks - right from a network of semiconductors on a chip up to a distributed supercomputer over a international stupid network like the Internet.

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Subject:Drupal blogroll and blog import from LiveJournal
Time:01:04 pm
I need some help with Drupal...

Blogroll Friends list Block


This is the simpler of the two problems. I use the Drupal aggregator module to create a blogroll of blogs I read at http://tola.me.uk/friends. On the front page of my website I'd like a "friends" block on the right hand side which lists the names of all the feeds in my blogroll with a link to respective websites. So far I can only see how to make a block which displays recent blogroll posts.

Do I need to write my own PHP block to do this (I've found a function in the aggregator API which does something similar and I've nearly figured out how to tweak it) or can I do it more simply with a view which presents itself as a block? Surely this is a pretty standard thing to want to do, list feed sources.

Import Blog from LiveJournal

I've asked this on Drupal forums but had no reply yet, so I thought I'd throw it to a wider audience.
I'd like to import nearly three years worth (219 entries) of my LiveJournal to my new Drupal powered blog. LiveJournal allow you to export entries as either CSV or XML files, a month of entries per file (that's 33 files for me).

There is a page entitled Migrating from LiveJournal on the Drupal web site, but I think it may be slightly out of date. It offers three methods of migration:

1) Use IFRAMEs - not really what I want
2) Using Node Import - by using an RSS feed it says that the actual content will still be hosted at LiveJournal, which isn't what I want. I think it's also now out of date because contrary to what it says, RSS feeds are now available to all LiveJournal users.
3) Use the Livejournal Module to import the raw data into Drupal - This sounds like the best method. Unfortunately, the module is no longer available or maintained.

I'm now thinking that my best option is to use the Node Import module to try and import the CSV or XML files, but I have no idea how to do it and the documentation for that module doesn't mention supporting the blog post content type. Alternatively, the new Import/Export API module might do this?

If I can use the Node Import module, What XML format do the blog posts need to be in to be imported and what date format do they need to use?

I don't think I will be able to preserve all LiveJournal features like "tags" because they don't appear in the exported XML files, but I'd quite like to convert all instances of a custom [lj user="joebloggs"] tag with an [a href="http://joebloggs.livejournal.com"] tag. This makes me wonder if I should somehow utilize the RSS feed of the blog which already has this conversion done, as well as other useful things like a link to the original LiveJournal post and comments.

If I have to write my own module to do this in Drupal 4.7, might this be a good use of XSLT? I've been meaning to play with that for a while.

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Subject:Shaking that Ass, Bourne Grammar Style.
Time:08:39 am
It seems that the IT department are still the most fun people at Bourne Grammar School. Shaking that Ass, Bourne Grammar Style was recorded on non-uniform day by the "ICT Crowd". Look out for the teachers, including the entire IT department

I'm pleased to see that despite attempts of senior management to turn the place into a pompous public school, the BGS spirit still lives on!

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Subject:eMusic UK
Time:05:30 pm
eMusic UK has just lanched and I've been transferred from the US site to the UK one. This is bad because I now have to pay VAT on my subscription but good because I'm paying about £6.50/month for 40 songs and the new UK subscription price is £8.99 and... the new lineup of artists is awesome!

I just downloaded Arctic Monkeys and Bare Naked Ladies albums in high quality DRM-free mp3s, next month I think it'll be White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, Badly Drawn Boy... the list goes on.

Ask me to send you a referral email and subscribe to eMusic - support a music store which supports independent artists and sells DRM-free music for 17 to 22p a song.

They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but eMusic are some of the good guys.
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Subject:A couple of random pictures
Time:04:41 pm
This is half of the students who were on this year's Shell STEP programme. Spot the geek. Yes, that's right, the only guy not wearing a tie but proudly wearing his open source company's logo.

STEP 2006 Group 1 students

This is my new bike, and before you all accuse me of being sad, I didn't even choose it, the name is a pure coincidence.

firefox bike
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Subject:wonchop.net and the future of hippygeek.co.uk
Time:01:52 pm
wonchop.hippygeek.co.uk has a new home! Following his recent dazzling academic success, wonchop has launced a new site, wonchop.net which has a back catalogue of all his old animations, forums and a cafepress shop.  Me and djkoa are lucky to have been the inspiration for the characters "b3n and wez - the IT geeks", two members of the wonchop family, and we've now even been made into t-shirts, mousemats and clocks! Go along to wonchop's cafepress shop and buy some merchandise (like I just have) to support his work :)

Wonchop was the first project to start off life nestled in the bosom of hippygeek.co.uk, back in 2003, and has now well and truly flown the nest. In this spirit, I hope that hippygeek.co.uk will be the home of lots more new ideas. Over the coming weeks I am going to be moving my personal homepage to the new Drupal powered tola.me.uk (still in its very early stages) and hippygeek.co.uk will solely become a home for new ideas, mainly providing trac hosting for software projects. The hosting for hippygeek has been kindly provided by FFDesign, and then Moose Computer Services up until now, but it will probably now move to its own Debian box, leaving tola.me.uk in its place.

Watch this space.
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Time:01:25 am
This mundane, plain English blog post is dedicated to bouncykaz.

I've finished my summer placement and am back home in Bourne, though "home" may soon be moving. My summer placement was spent writing web based business software for things like accounting and project management.

I spent today filling out a boring tax form, paying a cheque into the bank (yay!), and fine tuning my new bike. Then I visited a couple of houses, one in Colsterworth and one in Pointon, and then got my car started to go and see lauperr for a serious chat.

Unfortunately my main PC didn't survive the journey from Coventry and now has a dead hard disk, luckily it wasn't the hard disk with my half backed up important data on.

I'll be at home for about three weeks before heading back to uni. I need to sort out the Internet connection and visit samwwwblack before I go though, so a swift trip to Birmingham may be in order. I'm not looking forward to living in the new house as much as I was, having lived in lauperr's house for two months, it will just be like moving in all over again. Did I mention I'm doing a lot of moving around recently? Can't seem to stay in one place for very long.

Apart from that, I'm just sat here at 2 in the morning drinking Guinness.
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[icon] Musings of the hippygeek
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