July 15, 2015

A Refresher in Prog

A friend asked on Facebook for suggestions of prog bands/albums they should check out and I ended up suggesting a whole lot of things and providing a little explanation for each one.

It was relatively quickly thrown together, and the intention was to provide a variety of listens so that they could work out the kind of thing they are into.  For my own benefit, I'm copying it across to here.  Who knows, someone else might find it useful.

I'll also add to this as I remember/hear stuff.

Continue reading A Refresher in Prog.

December 5, 2012

Posting to MovableType from ifttt

I use ifttt.com quite a lot to aggregate all the various things I like on the web onto the /elsewhere/ blog but ifttt doesn't natively support MovableType even though it does support Wordpress.  I have contacted them in the past as adding MT compatibility should be trivial, but have so far had no response.  To manage the aggregation, I have been using the PostOffice plugin, but it's messy and has very little control over what gets posted, as either ifttt or gmail are stripping most of the HTML from the email.

So today I made a bridge that will allow anything that insists on WP implementation of xmlrpc to talk to MovableType.  It's a fairly simple solution, merely inserting the blogid and passing everything else on as is.  It works for posting to MovableType, I have yet to test reading posts, but it should be easy enough to tweak if needed.  Code after the jump....

Continue reading Posting to MovableType from ifttt.

September 21, 2012

Review: War of the Worlds - The New Generation

I've always been a massive fan of Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds, thanks to my older brother owning it it was probably one of the pieces I listened to most in my formative years and likely explains my modern day love of prog.  It is one of those albums where, should any of the songs from it come up when skipping randomly through my music collection, I will then be compelled to listen to the whole thing from the start and all the way through.  With that in mind, I will obviously, and necessarily, be comparing this to the original.  I know it too well to be able to evaluate this as an entirely new piece of music.

Continue reading Review: War of the Worlds - The New Generation.

June 8, 2012

Number 1, 2 and 3 on Google!

Just going to leave this here, makes me very happy :)


May 24, 2012

DayZ Launcher and Updater

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE 23rd July 2012: Use DayZ Commander instead, it's fast, has all the features I wanted to put in the "plus" version and looks impressively slick.  I will leave my launcher below for posterity, but it won't be updated and doesn't include features like automatic beta patching.


UPDATE June 14th, 2012: The DayZ team have thrown their weight behind six-updater, which you can get from the official DayZ site here.  I will keep my launcher up to date and patch any problems and I still firmly believe it's a better/simpler launcher if you just want to play DayZ, but as the top result for "dayz launcher", I felt a responsibility to state the official position.

Really enjoying DayZ at the moment and the promise of what is to come for this alpha mod, however installing can be a pain for the less tech-savvy and none of the automatic installers include the option to check for updates, download and then launch, so I've made my own.


  1. If you haven't ever launched Arma2 on it's own, do that first (it needs to create some files)
  2. (optional) Install the latest ArmA2 beta patch
  3. Download and install the launcher, this will then grab the mod and install it for you, then launch the game
  4. Whenever you want to play DayZ, just launch from the icon on your desktop

Adding shortcut to Steam:

Steam is "helpful" in that when you add a shortcut to it, it tries to resolve the final destination of the shortcut and doesn't actually add the shortcut itself.  Whilst this isn't an issue normally, with the way this launcher installs, it won't then automatically check for updates to itself.  Additionally, when a self-update is installed (by clicking the desktop shortcut), Steam will not go to the newest version, so you will need to delete the shortcut from Steam and re-add.  There's no easy way to get around this, it's just a combination of Steam doing odd things and Microsoft's online install system.

The launcher does the following:
  • Automatically find your Arma2 install (if it can)
  • Check for mod files to be downloaded (from the official CDN -  http://cdn.armafiles.info/)
    • Gets the list from the CDN, so if more files are added an update won't be required
    • Saves the last modified date for the files so can very quickly check if any file needs updating
    • If a new or updated file is found, it will download it, extract it and delete the original
  • Once all up to date will launch Arma with the correct switches.
The idea is that you can use the shortcut this adds to your desktop to launch DayZ every time and it will automatically get the latest version, if needed, and then launch the game.  From my quick testing, the other launchers required input, which was what I was trying to avoid.  The only time you'll have to do anything is if it can't find your Arma install, and this will only happen if Arma wasn't installed correctly.

The app is currently set to check for updates of itself on every launch, I will take this down to, at most, weekly when it's been proven in the field for a while.  As an initial release, it makes sense that it can grab any fixes ASAP.  This is not related to the updating of DayZ itself, that will always happen on every launch.

Update: Now supports the Arma Beta. If you have it installed it will default to using that, to run without beta, either delete or rename the beta folder.

April 19, 2012

Steam screenshots as RSS

Update: Scripts updated to work with the new Steam community pages, now requires ganon if you want to host your own copy.

Simply replace #username# with your steam community id

This is a script that reads your screenshots from your Steam profile and puts them into an RSS feed. You can then use this with all sorts of applications to feed that data elsewhere. E.g. you can use ifttt.com to easily auto-post to your tumblr blog, Flickr photo stream or Facebook photos.

Source code is after the jump if you want to put on your own hosting, which is probably a good idea if you want to rely on this working all the time.

It's a bit "hacky" so if any better PHP developers have better ways of doing the same thing, would appreciate any tips.

Continue reading Steam screenshots as RSS.

October 31, 2011

Hotmail enabling spammers

I've had a spate of people complain to me recently that they are receiving spam from my address.  My first reaction was to change my email passwords, which are different from any other passwords I use, and even set up 2 factor authentication on my Google accounts.  But the emails continued, so further research was required.

Continue reading Hotmail enabling spammers.

October 12, 2011

Another crackpot scheme

Whilst development of YAMS continues apace (and there's actually people using it!) another Minecraft idea has wormed its way into my head and just won't get out; What if I generated every possible Minecraft world and put them all up on the web for people to pick their favourite?

Continue reading Another crackpot scheme.

June 10, 2011

When did Apple stop innovating?

I've only recently got around to checking out the new iOS 5 features, and as I'm due an upgrade, whatever is in there is going to make a big difference to my next phone purchase. On paper, the list of features looks spectacular, but having spent a week with an Android and been researching smartphones heavily for a month or so, all of it looks familiar.  Let's have a quick look down the list:

Continue reading When did Apple stop innovating?.

May 3, 2011

The music service I really want

Now that Spotify have completely ruined their free offering I have been wondering how to fill the void.  I could always upgrade to premium, right?  Well, no;  I don't want to spend £10 a month on a service where albums dissappear and metadata is wildly incorrect with no way to report or correct it.  I'd rather spend £10 a month on real CDs, but to do that with any discipline would require quite some effort and financial tracking, so I want someone else to do it for me. This is something I wish Amazon, Play (who don't even seem to have wishlists) or any of the large music sellers would do and surely can't be too much of a stretch from how they already operate. Combine the principals of subscription services, wishlists and actual real CDs in the post.  It works something like this:
  • Subscriber pays whatever they want a month (say £5)
  • They make a list of all the CDs they want, in priority order, a bit like wishlists and LoveFilm combined.
  • When the balance on their account reaches enough to purchase the top CD on their list, it's shipped out and removed from the list.
With something as simple as that we can all be buying tonnes of CDs a year, increasing our music collections, keeping CD production alive and pumping vast reserves of cash into the poor hard done by record companies.