Archive for the 'Site update' Category

Playing catch-up

The blog's now well out-of-date, so it's time to do a bit of catching up. Luckily for you lot, I'm not a stats-whore, so I'll keep things brief and cram everything into one or two posts so that there's not a pile of individual entries to wade through. Now, where to begin...?

  • After a weekend-long posting-restriction imposed by the SGL forum admin, on Monday July 14th I was banned. And yes, the ban is justified. After some unjustified comments made by some of the admin, I reacted, broke the rules and got what I deserved. My crime was to react by removing the content from some of my posts. Just mine. No posts by other members were edited by me. The official version is different, and sounds much more sinister - according to the ban screen, I am banned for "attempting to corrupt the SGL database", which is a bit like saying that I've attempted to eradicate all life from the planet just because I swatted an annoying fly in our kitchen. Luckily, there's no sign that I'll be extradited to spend the rest of my days confined to the Guantanamo Bay facility. Anyway, I deserved the ban, and I don't much care that it'll never be lifted, but at least I'll no longer be hassled by some admins who think themselves beyond reproach and who think that they never have to apologise for anything, even when they have been proved wrong. It's sad that they get the good admins (who are in the majority) a bad press.
  • Talking of things astronomical, I had a bit of a panic a while back when one of the scope mount's tracking-motors packed in. After an online chat with the retailer, arrangements were made for the defective items to be investigated and replaced. Everything's now fixed and working fine, thanks to the great customer service provided by Adam at Rother Valley Optics (retailer) and by Optical Vision Ltd. (importer).
  • There was a clear night here a week or so ago, so I set up the scope to test out the replacement motors and to let the kids have a good look at Jupiter. They were suitably impressed with the view, seeing clearly-defined cloud-bands on the planet and seeing all four of the largest moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto - the Galilean satellites, after Galileo Galilei who discovered them in 1610). After sending the kids to bed, I returned to the scope and had a reasonable visual observing session, finding M8, NGC 6530, M20, M22, Cr 399, NGC 6822 and a few others. The ISS passed over twice during the session, and there were a few meteors around. I didn't set up for imaging, so there are no pics. Since then, it's been cloudy almost every night.
  • Regarding other outdoors activities, there's precious little to report. I missed out on the Outdoors Bloggers' Dartmoor Meet because it was the weekend of my birthday and I didn't feel that it would have been right to bugger off for the weekend. Suffice to say that I got loads of nice pressies. :mrgreen:
  • I managed to fit in a drinking session with my friend Dave, who's a casualty of the recent round of redundancies at Thwaites Dumpers. He's taking it well, but there are a few folk I know from there who've been hit hard by the job cuts. I hope that they all get sorted out soon.
  • Gear-wise, I've been quite reserved about splashing the cash. I supplemented the money that I received as birthday presents in order to buy a SkyWatcher Auto Focuser from Steve at FLO, so that I don't have to faff about twiddling the knob by hand (go on, you make the puns). Even though it's not really auto (it's a motor with a control-box on a curly lead), it's a great bit of kit. Fed up with buying numerous adapters for allowing all sorts of electrical gadgets to be powered or charged in the car, we got a power-inverter so that we can just use the standard mains chargers/transformers instead. I should have bought one of these years ago - I must have spent a small fortune on car-adapters in the last few years. We had a day shopping at Go Outdoors and I didn't get any outdoors gear for myself - that must be some sort of record! Mind you, we spent a small fortune kitting out the other three for our summer holiday.
  • Blog-wise, there have been a few changes here. A few more plugins have been added, if you're interested they're listed at http://beardedgit.com/?page_id=481. The blogrolls have been updated - quite a few additions, some moves and a few deletions - if you spot any cock-ups, please feel free to let me know. I've a few more changes in the pipe-line, but I'll tell you about them another time.

Well, that's all for now. There's more, but it'll have to wait for later.

Comments: ownership/moderation/policy

Posted by on June 17th 2008 in Blog on Blog, Site update

After reading Jeff Chandler's recent article about comment ownership, where he refers to a discussion over at IntenseDebate, I got to thinking about how I've been treating comments here, and whether I should declare some sort of policy.

Since starting blogging back in Jan 2007 there have been few occasions when I felt I needed to step in and moderate. Most of the time I just let the comments stay "as posted", but there have been a couple of spats between "opposing factions" where I've had to shout "BREAK", step in and state the unwritten rules, then step back and let battle recommence. In another instance, one of my posts was regarded (wrongly) as an attack on the policies of an organisation who I'll not identify here, it attracted so many comments with so much vitriol and insulting profanity that I got fed up of starring-out the obscenities and eventually deleted the whole shebang without due notice or apology. I can and do accept all manner of swearing, but not in an insulting or inflammatory manner. It's a matter of context, there's a big difference between "Oh, f***!" and "F*** off!"

On the lighter side, I've taken the liberty of deleting a few extraneous comments where the author has accidentally double-posted, and I've moved a few comments from pages to posts, as I'm now using a theme that, at present, doesn't allow or show comments on pages (although I hope that this situation will be resolved soon). I don't go around correcting spelling, punctuation and grammar for people (although I don't know how I manage to keep my inner stickler at bay, the compulsion to get out the digital equivalent of the red pen is always there) unless the author asks me to do so. I do edit the email and/or URL on older comments when the author has provided updated information, this ensures that their avatar/Wavatar/Gravatar remains consistent with their identity, and gets around the problem of old URLs leading to dead sites.

So, what about a policy?

Well, that could depend on who owns comments, and opinions on this matter vary as you can tell from the comments on Jeff's blog. For myself, I consider a comment to be similar to a good old-fashioned snail-mail letter - it starts off as yours, then you post it, then I receive it and it becomes mine, then I read it, then I decide whether to bin it, or frame it, or run a highlighter-pen through the juicy bits... I reckon that if you're going to comment on here, the comment belongs to you up to the point when you post it to this blog. At that time, it may well have entered the public domain, but, as it's on my blog, it's under my jurisdiction, even though the content of the comment remains the property of the author. After all, I'm held responsible for this blog, so I reserve the right to control it, on the basis that I can't have Responsibility without Authority. Currently I'm the only person with admin rights to this blog, if I don't have the authority to cut out the crap, who else does? A comment author certainly doesn't, due to my admin restrictions.

Mind you, that's just my opinion, based on common sense, and the law doesn't always see things the same way. Intellectual Property Rights would be a source of conflict.

Anyway, regardless of who owns a comment, or the content therein, here's my draft policy:

I will leave all comments in their intended places and in their unedited forms unless one or more of the following apply:

  • If a comment author asks me to modify, move or delete one of his/her comments, I'll consider making the requested change(s) so long as there's no significant alteration of the context of the comment or any debate associated with it;
  • If a comment author changes his/her email address or URL, I'll make whatever changes I see fit for the smooth running of this blog;
  • If I decide to change the theme or layout of the blog, thus affecting the placement and/or visibility of comments, I'll make whatever changes I see fit for the smooth running of this blog;
  • If any comment contains insulting profanity or other content which I deem to be causing or likely to cause trouble, I'll edit or delete as I see fit, unless Akismet gets to it before me.

I'll try to remember to display the reason(s) for editing comments, so that folk aren't left hanging wondering what happened and why. I'll also reserve the right to amend this draft policy until it's in a form with which I'm happy. You'll find a copy of the latest version below each comment input box.

Oh, and feel free to comment on this if you like!

:mrgreen:

Say what you see

Posted by on June 11th 2008 in Site update

While test-driving this new theme, something peculiar has come to my attention...

The theme's supposed to display like this:

 

 

but sometimes it displays like this:

 

 

I would appreciate people letting me know what they see. If it's not working right, I'll repair or replace it.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Posted by on June 10th 2008 in Plugins, Site update

Welcome to the new-look BG!

No doubt there'll be a few teething-troubles with this new theme, but I'll give it a shot and see how it fares.

I know that a few of the more useful plugins aren't functional yet, and at present there's no facility to view or create comments on pages, but hopefully it'll get sorted soon.

Please bear in mind that this blog's optimised for Firefox and a screen resolution of 1280x800 px, so if you're using a different browser or res, YMMV.

All change: Avatars, Wavatars, Gravatars.

Posted by on February 4th 2008 in Just for fun, Plugins, Site update

Another nice new plugin, Wavatars (by Shamus Young) shows a Gravatar-style face next to your name when you leave a comment. Of course, if you've set up a proper Gravatar, that will be displayed by default.

Wavatars can generate 956,384 different shapes in 57,600 different color combinations for a total of 55,087,718,400 (55 billion) unique Wavatars. Here are a few examples:

See them in action here.

Sorry but you don't get to choose, that's all sorted by the plugin.

:mrgreen:

A cheap Christmas pressie for all you commentators

Posted by on December 21st 2007 in Plugins, Site update

Because you've all been behaving nicely, I've decided to cut you some slack and let you edit your own comments. The recently-installed plugin allows you to make edits during the first five minutes after submitting your comment, you should see a timer telling you how much time you have left to make your edit.

Abuse of this facility will lead to it being confisticated and put on a high shelf, visible but just out of reach, and I'll probably dock your pocket-money as well. :grin:

Back online

Posted by on November 4th 2007 in Site update

Emails up and running again.

Admin access to blog restored.

Critical progs and data transferred.

Gravatars: few takers

Posted by on October 29th 2007 in Rambling on..., Site update, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

Well, by the looks if it, out of all the readers of this blog, only two have grabbed themselves free gravatars.

"Bad form", says I.

Show yourself

Posted by on October 22nd 2007 in Site update

Yup, another site update... will it ever end?

Gravatars. Globally recognized avatars. Little pics, associated with your email address, that show by your name when you make a comment on a blog. I set up mine FOC via the Gravatar website. Of course, they would be no use on this blog if it wasn't gravatar-enabled, so I've installed the WP Gravatar plugin from the same site and it's all sorted.

Just a couple of points here... firstly, you don't need a blog or site to have a gravatar, so you've no excuse for not getting one... secondly, gravatars aren't only for WP blogs, they can be used at many other places, so why not enable your site now?

Blog pics now on Zoto. Zooomr sucks.

Posted by on October 12th 2007 in A bit of a rant, Photo hosting, Site update

Last week I trawled all through this blog and, as far as I can tell, I replaced all of the Zooomr-hosted pics with the Zoto-hosted versions, and then I deleted all of my pics on Zooomr.

Well, it's over a week later and I'm still waiting on somebody/anybody with clout at Zooomr to close my account. I can't do it myself because they don't provide any sort of user-accessible admin facility, which truly sucks in this age of high technology.

FFS, there's not even a batch-edit/delete facility there - I had to...

manually...

delete...

each...

album...

one...

at...

a...

time...

then...

manually...

delete...

each...

pic...

one...

at...

a...

time...

until...

they...

were...

all...

gone.

That really pissed me off. Hours were wasted. With a proper customer-friendly system the operation would have taken less than a minute. What joy.

Anyway, I've no doubt that I've missed a few blog-pic conversions, so if you find anything here that links to what were my pics or sets on Zooomr, I would appreciate it if you would please let me know.

TIA

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