The archive contains older posts which may no longer reflect my current views.

# After a couple of stressful days, and finally getting our electrical issue sorted, I was looking forward to my meditation before bed last night; a chance to clear the mind before sleep.

But I struggled as image after image came unbidden, like the man dancing on a balcony with an umbrella, or the elephant with two trunks both raised aloft in celebration, to the Indian gentleman sat on a park bench staring at me, unblinking, judging.

As is the way, I acknowledged each mental image as it appeared, told it “not now” and visualised it being pushed away, returning to my breath. But the gentleman on the bench kept coming back. Or, at least, his eyes did. Cold, dark, piercing, unsettling; the kind of eyes that would be the only thing you remember when waking from a nightmare.

I tried to ignore them as best I could. It made for a long ten minutes.

Once the meditation was complete I cast the images aside and didn’t try to analyse them, putting them down to an over-stimulated mind trying to free itself from all the recent worry. It must have worked as I dropped off almost immediately and slept like the proverbial log.

# I had a mad moment of panic thinking that the blog had been hacked or suffered a code injection as I noticed what should have been a link replaced with a seemingly random string of characters.

I jumped into the post in wp-admin to see what was happening and realised that it was due to my new regex pattern for hashtag replacement.

It is more aggressive than the previous pattern to ensure it captures things that one didn't but this means I have had to add more exclusions. One exclusion I forgot was a preceding forward slash meaning any link with a fragment, such as links to comments - url/#fragment, would have the fragment replaced thus breaking the link.


I'll probably find more instances of overly aggressive hash replacement as we go but, for now, it's panic over.

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WordPress, feeds and titles

Manton Reece has published “Setting up WordPress” to the micro.blog help pages to provide an extended introduction on using the CMS for microblogging.

As microblog posts don’t have titles (just like tweets) he advises to leave them blank and “if necessary update the post template to not include the title in HTML or the RSS feed.” As I’ve outlined elsewhere, I personally don’t like having multiple posts listed as “(no title)” as it makes them difficult to manage in wp-admin.

This is why I decided to automatically replace blank titles with the date/time on posting. As well as being an obvious choice (posts are easily identifiable) micro.blog ignores titles in this format meaning they display correctly. This is fine for micro.blog but what if you want the rest of the world to see no title?

This is where you have to update things to not include the title as I did with the RSS feed and have now also done with my JSON Feed (I completely forgot I had it setup) by editing the plugin to check for post formats in the same way as for RSS.

It may seem like a lot of aggravation adding the title only to remove it again elsewhere but that’s just the way I wanted it set up.

Others have used my solution due to issues such as WordPress automatically inserting the post ID as the title even if it has been left blank. But, as Manton points out:

”You may find that some feed readers don’t gracefully handle posts without titles, often inserting “Untitled” for the title because they expect something to be there. If you see this, the best solution is to email the developer and ask for them to address it. Working around the issue with fake titles — dates, numbers, or portions of the text — will only ensure that client developers never improve their apps to handle title-less posts.”

An item title isn’t listed as a requirement in the RSS spec but most feed readers treat it as such leading to ugly displays. Feedly uses the beginning of the post content which looks particularly awful so, at the end of last year, I submitted this suggestion to their uservoice forum to properly support title-less items.

If there are any Feedly users out there I’d appreciate if you could head on over and vote for this suggestion (it does require you to sign in.) The more votes it receives the more likely they are to consider it for future updates.

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# The cull continues...

I almost completely removed my reliance on Gmail last year. I changed my address for various subscriptions and accounts and told people to just use one of my domain addresses.

Needless to say, I didn't get everything and some emails still trickled through so, tonight I have:

  • deleted over 9000 emails,
  • updated my address for some things,
  • unsubscribed from others, and
  • forwarded some emails to myself for keeping.

I'll monitor the account for a little while to deal with anything else that comes through but, after that, it's goodbye!

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