Neglecting my favourite things

I’ve been neglectful recently of a couple of my favourite things: photography and my blog.

I’ve managed to insert a couple of posts on here recently but I still need to get back in the blogging  saddle properly. Hence this post, plus it’s a good excuse to have a go with the new admin interface in WordPress.

I can insert photos straight from Flickr. Like this one:

Another sunset

This was taken back in Holyhead in September. I’ve hardly taken any photos at all since, although I was pleased to take some portraits for a friend yesterday. I need to get my camera out far more often than I do – I love my photography.


Bui Doi

I have these days when I get a tune stuck in my head and can’t get rid of it no matter what I do. Normally these tunes are rubbish, useless pieces of musical trash that happen to find popularity in the charts – however, today’s brain theme is the rather wonderful Bui Doi from the musical Miss Saigon.

We’ve acquired a brass band arrangement of this recently and we’ve played it out a couple of times. It’s a beautiful theme that builds and builds and I’m getting tingles just thinking about it.

Youtube, as usual, has an example:

What an amazing piece of music. I’m probably one of the few people left in the country not to have seen either Miss Saigon or Les Miserables. I think I need to be buying some tickets.

WordPress 2.7

The latest, and possibly greatest, version of WordPress is now released. Named after freeform Jazz pioneer John Coltrane this new major release delivers an entirely new backend, the design of which was driven by the WordPress community. Apparently.

It seems very nice – certainly an improvement over the previous version although it’s taking me a little time to figure out where things have been moved to.

I’m also going to want to fiddle around with the blog design when I get time. I’ve changed the theme – again – and I’d like to personalise it a bit but I also need to bash on with some revision for my OU assignment.

Onwards and upwards, then.

My brain is full

I haven’t blogged very much over the last few months, mostly due to Real Life taking over my internet activities. I really don’t have anything like as much time to be fart-arsing about the web these days.

I’m finding this not a little bit depressing.

However, at least I’m doing something productive with my time. I’ve started an Open University degree in Computing and Systems Practice and began my first module a couple of months ago. So far the subject matter is pretty easy (I managed to achieve 90% in my first assessment!) but the learning process is rather interesting. I haven’t done any “proper” education for 20 years so I’m finding the whole thing a very intriguing challenge.

I have another assessment to submit at the beginning of January and I’m a little bit behind in my studies for this one, but I should be able throttle back my internet activities a little more in order to do it on time.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have done an ISEB Foundation Certificate in Software Testing through work. This is one of those industry-standard qualifications that actually means something to prospective employers. It’s also linked into how I should be doing my job, although much of theory seemed to aimed more at test managers rather than testers like myself.

This course was actually pretty intense with at least a week’s worth of knowledge crammed into 2 and a half days teaching. We took the exam (which was hard) on Friday and I should find out the result of that in a week or so. I think I did OK but I have to get at least 65% to pass and there were a lot of tricky questions in the exam.

All this learning is filling up my memory with useful things. Stuff that I might actually have a use for rather than some of the useless crap that’s been stored in my head for a long time. I might have to attempt to forget some of the more frivolous bits of knowledge that I’ve gained over the years in order to make room for all the new stuff I have to fit in my brain. Either that or see if Firebox have started selling micro SD cards for the cranium.

All this activity has meant that I’ve had to be far more efficient with my time. I see this as a good thing but it’s not that easy to organise me. My new iPhone is helping with that as it’s calendar integrates wonderfully with my iMac but all this planning isn’t part of my genetic coding. It’s just not normal; not for me.

Nasty personages

There are some rotten sods on the internet.

Over the last two weeks I’ve had a few problems with this blog. These issues have been caused partly by the incompetence or laziness (or both) of people sharing my hosts server but also by the desire of malware writers to infect users’ PCs.

I was “hacked”. My site managed to acquire some extra javascript in a few files which caused visitors to be redirected elsewhere. This new site was designed to download malware, or “badware” if you prefer, onto your computer. This is not a good thing and coincided with a weekend, over which I did not have any internet access. I didn’t notice the attack until someone I know on-line sent me a message wondering why Google hated me.

Google has a very welcome feature that identifies sites providing malware downloads and my site was flagged up. People visiting here using Firefox were presented with a bright red page giving a warning about suspected viruses. Google also, for a time, identified my site as being possibly dangerous.

I’ve sorted out these inserted scripts and Google has reassessed my site as clean. However, I should urge regular readers (if there are any!) to run a complete virus if you’ve been here over the last two weeks and noticed any odd behaviour. I’m sorry if anyone has been affected as I should have noticed it sooner.

My site host has sent out a warning that this has been happening on a number of their servers. They suspect that the attack has been carried out by some unscrupulous bastard taking advantage of some out-of-date scripts used by some accounts. I only use wordpress on here and it is always kept bang up to date. Hopefully this will not happen again but I’ve taken some extra precautions against something similar happening.

In other news, I’ve noticed that it’s been over two whole months since I last posted. This cannot be! I’ve been a little busy with moving house (again), OU work and having to commute to Coventry for work but surely I should have posted  more frequently. I promise that I will try and do so from now on – I certainly have lots to say but perhaps not don’t have quite the same amount of internet time that I used to.