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Friday, May 30, 2008

Stop telling me what to do!

Just once I would like to wake up and be told that it is perfectly safe to do something.
But no, that's not going to happen. I'm fed up of politicians telling me what I should do.
If I eat I'm going to get fat and have a heart attack.
If I smoke I'll die horribly of cancer.
If I go out in the sun I'll get skin cancer and die.
If I drink alcohol my liver will explode and I'll die.
If I drive fast I'll crash and die. If I take drugs I'll go mad,die, or end up in prison. If I eat red meat I'll get colon cancer and die. Download music or films a big corporation might want to make an example of me and I'll be penniless. Park in the wrong place and I'll get a ticket or my car towed. Fail to pay my road tax and my car will get crushed. Accidentally miss a payment and my credit score is ruined. Put the wrong rubbish in the trash and they won't take it away.
I'm sick of it. It's getting to the stage where everything the individual does is assessed, monitored and judged. The thing is its the good citizen that seems to be the one that bears the brunt of this scrutiny while the criminals, politicians and celebrities seem to be able to get away with it. Rant over.

Incy wincy spider.

Brown recluse spiderI'm always surprised how many people I meet in the UK who are scared of spiders when there is not a single venomous species of spider in the British Isles.

Spare a thought then for the people of the world who at this time of year need to check the toilet seat, under the bed, in their slippers and should definitely wear gloves when clearing out the shed. The pictured brown recluse spider is not the most venomoAdder eating mouse.us spider found in the US however it's bite can leave very unpleasant and painful wounds. It has an unfortunate habit of hanging out in basements and sheds.

The worst we have to contend with in Scotland is the adder our one venomous snake. The poor wee persecuted adder is a small snake who only ever bites the overly curious. And its dinner, in this case a mouse.

George Bush Auditions for Dunkin' Donuts Ad

George W Bush wearing an Arab robe with King Abdullah who is wearing the Kaffiyeh.
"Hey King, can I borrow your keffiyeh to go with this robe I'm wear'n. I'm shoot'n an Ad for Dunkin Donuts"

Well I suppose he is going to need a new job soon and it seems that Dunkin' Donuts have a vacancy.

Now, did a stylist pick that robe out for him, or is it a symbol of his support for a monarchy state which thinks it is ok to flog and imprison women because they had the misfortune to be raped?

Oh look there is King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on George Bush's right. Did a stylist pick that keffiyeh out for him, is he expressing support for a Palestinian state or is that the traditional Arab headdress?

What about all the people in the British and US armies who wear the keffiyeh are they supporting terrorism?

My head hurts.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My hard working worm friends.

Thin white juvenile worms eating a roseSix years ago the ancestors of my worm chums arrived through the post in a little plastic carton. I had ordered them online from www.wormsdirectuk.co.uk. Having geared myself up for their arrival I had already made up their bedding, shredded newspaper soaked overnight in water, so straight into their new home they went.
Mature compost worms with juvenile worms in background
They must have liked it because six years on their ancestors are still busy munching their way through our kitchen waste. Amazingly in all this time I have never once had to empty the bin despite the mountain of left over vegetables, tWorm bin home sweet homeea bags, egg shells, kitchen roll, coffee grinds etc. that have gone in there over the years. The worms are not huge fans of onions but will tolerate a limited amount. Fruit is a bit of a no, no as well because you end up with vast quantities of flies that billow out of the bin and into your face when you open the lid.

The worms produce a lot of fluid that I refer to as worm juice. Its good stuff (for plants). My worm bin traps this nutritious soup in its base where there is a tap to siphon off the "juice" which you can dilute and use as liquid fertiliser. When the worms really get going in the summer they produce a lot of juice so if I am going away I leave the tap open to make sure they don't get flooded out. Apart from that, and siting the bin out of the frost and direct sunlight, the worms don't really need looking after at all.

The little wrigglers seem to be most active at night and if you listen closely you can hear the sound of a mass of slithering worms. Its not a sound that's easy to describe in words, suffice to say, its lovely.

Custom built computer tutorials for free.

I've turned into a bit of a yahoo answers addict recently. You can see some of my yahoo answers here on my test bed blog. It occurs to me that if I like solving peoples computer problems so much why not do it through my blog instead. I'm building a bank of screen recording tutorials at the moment, if you need to know how to do something, blogger or windows XP related on your PC, leave a comment and I will build you a tutorial that you can download. This is an example of the sort of thing I am on about. (flash)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to make a top 10 commentators widget using yahoo pipes and widgetbox. Free custom widget build.

If you get really stuck with this, contact me, and I will build the widget for you in exchange for you linking to my blog.

You can see my effort at this, there it is, at the top left hand sidebar. It displays the top ten polyborers (commentators) in descending order and links them to their last comment.

To do this you are going to need a yahoo ID so that you can log into
yahoo pipes and you will need to register with widgetbox.

My polyborers widget is displaying a stripped down rss feed. Thats where
yahoo pipes comes in, it strips out just the names of those who have posted a comment, adds up the number of entries and displays them in descending order. You are going to need to set up your own pipe but don't worry this is very straight forward because you can use my polybore pipe template.

I've done a video tutorial of how to copy (clone) the pipe and set it up for your blog which you can see here. (java) or better quality flash version.

It shows how you can block comments from yourself, anonymous or anyone else. Also you can change the truncate value if you wanted say just a top 5 or a whopping top 100. The end of the video shows how to get the rss feed from your pipe.

If it is going too quickly hit the pause button. The url you need to enter (for blogger) is "http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default"

Once you have the rss feed address of your yahoo pipe copy it to note pad you will need it for widgetbox. At widget box click make a widget. Choose blog/feed and it will prompt for URL, copy and paste in your yahoo pipe feed. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=a4a615ae04f94ebf98cf79d14ce83e5d&_render=rss) is roughly what your yahoo feed URL should look like.

After that it is just a question of configuring what the widget will look like and the widgetbox interface makes this very easy to do.

Thanks to assessmyblog whose pipe I cloned then modified with a truncate function and whose instructions got me started assess my blog. Need more help or want me to build the widget for you? Leave a comment or contact and I'll get back to you asap.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

The single most useful tool for the blogger ever?


Well it is for this blogger anyway.

Ok this applies to boring old internet explorer. I know there are other browsers out there, and I have had a look at most of them, but I always go back to comfy old IE7. Polybore is stuck in a rut and it seems well and truly in Bills his clutches. Well, browser wise anyway.

Another polybore weakness is atrocious spelling, well maybe thats a bit extreme, I can probably spell around 95% of the words of my vocabulary. The correct spelling of the mysterious missing 5%, and its always the same blasted words, just never stuck and continue to fail to stick in what remains of the polybore brain.

ieSpell to the rescue, it will check the spelling of any online form you happen to be filling in. A lot of forms these days do have spell checker functionality built in, but for those that don't ieSpell saves polybore's blushes. ieSpell simply plugs itself into internet explorer tools and context menus. Why not give it a go. Like much of my favourite software it is, of course, free.