Themes that Play Nice

I’ve spent the day updating the software that drives the blog. It is now up to date, and running the latest version of WordPress, version 2.0.2. Thankfully the upgrade went really smoothly, it taking more time to actually back up the existing configuration than do the update.

At the same time, I thought I’d try and change the theme which we were using, this proved to be a lot more tedious and frustrating, mainly because the various themes I tried, and the Flickr photo albums didn’t play nicely together. I’ve tried various themes, and also both FAlbum and Flickr Photo Album, and neither of the album plugins seem to get on with certain themes, in particular wp-andreas09 which looks really good with the rest of the blog, but places the FAlbum content level with the bottom of whichever sidebar is longest. It misbehaves in a similar way with Flickr Photo Album, except the first part of the photo page is correctly placed, with the rest of the content on the page in a similar location to FAlbum.

Currently I’m running with the Tiga theme, which doesn’t do as many pretty things with fonts and colours as some of the other themes, but does come with integration with FAlbum out of the box.

I guess what I’ll have to do at some point is to sit down with one of the non-working themes, and compare it with the integration in Tiga, to try and fathom out what is going wrong.

Cats Love Macs

Catching up with the Unofficial Apple Weblog tonight, they had a great little article that highlighted the ‘Cats Love Macs‘ group on Flickr – just the kind of group for Mac owners who are cat lovers too…

The contents of the group are essentially what it says on the tin – loads of pictures of cats with Macs, and there are some great shots there.

However, my favourite has to be this one by khirano.

Too Much TV Bad For You?

Last night on Doctor Who we got the contribution from Mark Gatiss. After last year where the monsters came through the gas supply, this year his story was set in 1953, with the monster coming through the TV, in The Idiot’s Lantern.

Much as with his story last year, the Doctor hasn’t quite hit his target destination. Instead of his target of New York for a performance by Elvis, he instead ends up in early fifties London, who are preparing for the coronation. Along the street, a local electrical store is selling TV sets at knock down prices, apparently out of duty. However, strange things are happening – residents of the houses are being found, with their faces mysteriously gone, and no sooner does this happen do the Police turn up, and take the faceless people away.

As with his previous script, Gatiss has produced a great episode. The story is based around a lot of the warnings that parents used to give their children about what would happen if they watched too much TV, and there are some amusing jokes based around the whole TV monster idea, indeed the ultimate conclusion where the Doctor defeats the monster effectively by recording it onto a video tape continues the joke. As with some of the earlier stories, it’s all a bit of preposterous hokum, but enjoyable none the less. We again had the mixing of an alien threat, with a bit of domestic drama, and the character of the Doctor seemingly a lot more balanced than he has been – perhaps due to the friendship between David Tennant and Mark Gatiss himself. We also had Maureen Lipman doing her best BBC announcer – but becoming the monster…

Next week we have another of this seasons visits to a planet other than Earth. Although New Earth was set off world, it was on a planet that was supposed to be similar to Earth following the destruction of the original planet. The Impossible Planet is going all out for a really alien planet apparently, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out, as one of the often mentioned reasons for focusing on Earth based stories has been that the production team have been concerned that they couldn’t do an alien planet justice. The writer of the episode, Matt Jones although new to the series, is another who has been involved in writing Doctor Who before, in particular two stories in the New Adventures range.

Trains and Teas for Christian Aid

Millie

Yesterday we went up to my parents to help out with their contribution to their churches Christian Aid collection. Like many churches, they have struggled with the traditional Christian Aid week collections, where in the past envelopes have been delivered to every house in the parish, and then these have to be collected. As most people who have been involved in a collection like this will tell you, it is actually a lot of work for a comparatively small return. Many people fundamentally don’t like being door-stepped anyway, and therefore don’t really like doing it to somebody else.

Anyway, after a few years of shaking tins in the local shopping centre instead, which also didn’t produce that much, their Church decided to try something different. Each of the families in the Church were asked to come up with an idea to raise about £20. One family decided to give up something for the duration of Christian Aid week, and put the money into the collection. Other people have held coffee mornings, whilst Mum and Dad decided to hold a Trains and Teas afternoon, where Dad and a friend Peter who in charge of the local 16mm group would run trains for the afternoon, and Mum would provide teas. Myself and Beth went along to provide extra pairs of hands with the trains and teas respectively, and Beth also provided extra cakes.

Drought?

Sadly, the weather was not exactly very good. Peter brought along a gazebo, which kept the water off the visitors, however you can see quite the volume of water that collected. (Incidentally, for those not in the UK, this is what the worst drought in a century looks like…) Just to really rub things in, come 5pm when people were heading home, that was when the sun came out! Having said that, everybody seemed to have a good time, and enjoyed watching the trains – and in some cases having a go at driving them too – and also sitting and chatting afterwards. More to the point, the afternoon managed to raise £161 for Christian Aid. This has gone towards the total collected by the whole Church of over £1200 – massively more than the street collections have produced in the past, and also significantly more than the street collections we’ve carried out in Finchampstead have produced.

I took various pictures during the afternoon – unfortunately I forgot to check the charge on my spare camera batteries, so there are only a few with the digital camera, the rest being taken on the phone. The pictures can be seen in our photo gallery, and I have also posted a few movie sequences taken on the digital camera to YouTube, one of which is below.

Wokingham Times Still Talking Pornography

After last weeks big front page story on Winnersh being top for searches for ‘pornography’ on Google, on this weeks Wokingham Times the story again makes the front page, abeit in a small part of one column, with what is as close to an admission that they got it wrong as I think the paper is going to get.

Alongside my posting on the subject last week, I also e-mailed a similar explanation of how Google Trends works to the editorial e-mail address of the newspaper. I was careful to not explicitly criticise the paper, however I expect that even the most hardened newspaper editor would probably be a little embarassed having spent a lot of time getting interviews with locals on something that was effectively misleading data from Google.

The latest article does mention the Google ‘best guess’ location algorithm – the source of the high marks, without actually expanding on how it works, nor mentioning the ‘normalisation’ of the figures that occurs to take account of location size. It does mention that the cluster of high-tech companies – including a couple of big data-centres – as a possible cause the high figure. However for residents of Winnersh it is still written from the point of view of there being an above average number of people searching for pornography, primarily because it is written as a report on online discussion on the subject triggered by their article, and the associated details of the discussion, rather than being a correction of a previously incorrect story.

Having said that, the paper this week isn’t all bad. St James has a nice little article talking about the new guide to the Churchyard we’ve just produced, including pictures of some of the significant graves, the author of the guide with Rev Richard, and a nice shot of the Church too.

Thoughts from, and the lives of a Canadian and a Brit living in Southern England.