blog, david, gilson, meego, nokia, ovi, podcast, symbian, writing
Me at Nokia World
It’s about time I updated the blog again, I’ve been busy writing elsewhere and haven’t had time to update here. However, I’ve been featured in a few places that I wanted to make a record of, and get you to take a look at, if you haven’t already.
First of all, if you know me, you know I regularly write and podcast with All About Symbian. There is a sister site called All About MeeGo; not only am I writing for All About Meego, but I am hosting the podcast; along with founder, Rafe Blandford. If you haven’t heard of MeeGo, this is a high-end mobile operating system that was founded by Nokia and Intel, and more recently AMD has joined in on the party. MeeGo is going to be used in high-end handsets, netbooks, tablets, and “In-Vehicle Infotainment” systems.
Continue reading …
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blog, css, customization, hosting, icons, images, php, posts, related, site, skin, theme, thumbnails, wordpress, yarrp
Retain your visitors by using related post thumbnails!
A while ago I was doing some research into how I could better design the layout of my blog to encourage new visitors to read more posts, rather than just bouncing away (i.e. leaving after reading one post).
I already used a plug-in called YARRP (Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in), to show a list of posts that were similar to the one the reader was looking at. Although I found this blog post describing how you could customise your related posts layout to include thumbnail images for each post.
Depending on your PHP & CSS skills, the customisation could either take you 20 minutes to implement, or a whole evening. It also depends on what formatting problems your theme has would would need working around. In my case, I think it took me five hours, on and off. My CSS skills were a little rusy, and my theme had an issue which made different posts have different issues. So it took a lot of systematic experimentation to mess around with CSS margins to make sure everything stayed where it was supposed to be!
Note that you need to be self-hosting to be able to do this one.
You’ll be able to see the results of my implementation of this at the bottom of the page, and it I have noticed an objective benefit in having done this. According to Google Analytics, comparing the month before and the month after making this change, my bounce rate fell by 4.4%, my page views per visit ratio increased by 3.4%, and my average time per visit went up by 25%.
Doing this hasn’t gained me more visitors, but that’s not the point. From where ever they come, this layout change is designed to make your visitors stick around and see more of your work. Going by the above results, it really does seem to work.
So, all that’s left to say is thanks to Zach at buildinternet.com for posting about this, as it’s been a good help to me.
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articles, blog, journalism, Publications, websites, writing
Now that I have a grand total of, erm, two articles posted on other sites, I’ve decided to create a new page here on my blog, because I don’t intend to stop at two. In fact, I’m hoping getting articles posted on other sites is going to be a semi-regular thing.
Imagine trumpets playing …
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address, bash, blog, change, changing, directory, dynamic, file, folder, hosted, htaccess, ip, linux, mac, osx, page, password, php, protect, restrict, script, secure, security, unix, weblog, wordpress, wp-admin
If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, I hope that you are thinking about security. The best thing you can do is to use the automatic updates so you always have the current version of WordPress.
One of the most pernicious hacks someone can do to your blog is to access to your wp-admin folder. This folder contains the back-end PHP pages of your site where you control everything and write your posts.
Via your web-host’s control panel you might be able to password protect this directory, although that could still be brute forced. An alternative method, which is well documented (see reference links below), is to create a “
.htaccess” file in your wp-admin directory, with which you can limit access to a specific set of IP addresses. E.g. your home IP address and your work IP address. See the references below for links on how to write this.
This method is perfect for locking down and restricting who can access your admin pages without having to go through any sort of manual authentication. I held off doing this for a long time because my ISP assigns dynamic IP addresses, and my Netgear router needs frequent reboots. So my IP address changes a lot, so I’d keep getting locked out of my own blog!
To get around this, I thought of a script I could write to keep my wp-admin’s .htaccess file automatically updated! You could even use this if you took your laptop away from home and connected on another network, as your laptop will have your ssh keys installed. Try to stickto using a secure VPN though, just on principal
Sorry, it’s a bash script, so if you use Windows you’ll be stuck unless you install the cygwin environment and PuTTY. If you use a Mac, I’m sure you can switch on the bash shell.
Without further ado, here’s the script:
Note: make sure you have cURL installed first.
# Auto-update .htaccess in http://your-blog/wp-admin/
# Run this from cron on a short interval.
# This will grab your IP address, and then rewrite the
# .htaccess file and use scp to upload to your server.
# David.R.Gilson 3rd October 2009
# I distrobute this under the Creative Commons Attribution
Share Alike license.
# Grab your external IP address.
ip="$(curl -s checkip.dyndns.org|sed -e 's/.*Current IP Address: //' -e 's/<.*$//')"
# Write the file.
echo "AuthUserFile /dev/null" > htacc.txt
echo "AuthGroupFile /dev/null" >> htacc.txt
echo -e "AuthName \042Limit wp-admin access\042" >> htacc.txt
echo "AuthType Basic" >> htacc.txt
echo "<LIMIT GET>" >> htacc.txt
echo "order deny,allow" >> htacc.txt
echo "deny from all" >> htacc.txt
echo "# Whitelist home router" >> htacc.txt
echo "allow from "$ip >> htacc.txt
echo "</LIMIT>" >> htacc.txt
# Copy to server
scp htacc.txt [YOUR SSH LOGIN HERE]:"~/www/wp-admin/.htaccess"
# Clean up
Once you’ve pasted all that into a file (I named mine
htaccessupdate.sh), remember to make it executable by typing
chmod +x htaccessupdate.sh.
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anniversary, blog, blogging, website, wordpress
Happy 1st Birthday Blog!
A year ago today, my website as it is now, went live. People always say this, but it is hard to believe that a year has gone by – that I’ve actually been writing for that long. Ah, you got me, I have had a couple of breaks. Although, in that time I’ve managed to clock up over 190 posts, and with around 460 comments there’s been a lot of chat (mostly thanks to Spotify!).
Still though, this has been a fantastic experience. It is helping me to stay active and hone my writing skills. It has also helped me rediscover how much I actually enjoy writing.
There’s a few people I should thank. Nate Lanxon for suggesting that I switch to using WordPress, Ryan Hitch for hosting this site, and my mother Carol for listening to me go on about my ideas. I’d also like to thank everyone who regularly reads me (you’re an exclusive group!) and who has linked to me over the past year.
What’s for the next 12 months? I am going to continue to cover the same general topics as I do already. I’m planning that Tip of the week will close at the end of the 2009, but I’m hoping to write more hardware and software reviews. Tips may come back in a less frequent but more in-depth form. I am hoping that I can develop writing relationships with other sites too, so you may find that I have less actual posts on here, but instead posting links to what I’ve written elsewhere. All this is subject to change
Once again, thanks for reading and supporting me.
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