Posts by Year

2020

Be bold

1 minute read

Are you bold enough?

Back to Top ↑

2019

Rule of three

1 minute read

Sometimes called “1, 2, refactor”, the “rule of three” is code refactoring rule of thumb to decide when a replicated piece of code should be replaced by a ne...

Exceptions are meant to be exceptional

3 minute read

Now and again I come across patterns that I see in codebases and pull requests, especially when the project or team is maturing. This covers one of them.

Is no QA the way to go?

7 minute read

There’s no getting away from it, quality is a whole team responsibility. If you’re aiming for Continuous Delivery, then you’ll recognise one of the core prin...

Avoid using switch-case statements

1 minute read

Recently I’ve been asked why switch-case statements should be avoided, it turns out to be a pretty common question, and although I’m pretty happy with the re...

Back to Top ↑

2018

Microservices - Managing the flow of data

5 minute read

There’s a number of companies that have been pioneering the microservices architectural style, including Amazon, Netflix, The Guardian, the UK Government Dig...

Agile, what’s it all about?

3 minute read

Why does the agile software development exist? What’s it all about? Why do people use it? Who uses it? How do you use it?

Keep it Simple, Stupid!

2 minute read

“RTBQ! RTBQ!”. This is the phrase that my high school friends shouted at me when I asked them to remind me of the phrase they remember from school. Mr Fletch...

Story Points Baseline

2 minute read

Given a new team or a team restructure, should you baseline? Do all teams point differently? Do the team need to baseline?

Getting started with Behat

5 minute read

Behat is a test framework for behavior-driven development (BDD) written in the PHP programming language.

Back to Top ↑

2017

Testing as code

8 minute read

In a time where DevOps culture demands “everything as code”, from infrastructure to monitoring, its about time we took “testing as code” seriously.

Delivering Value

3 minute read

By now you’ve probably seen this image, with waterfall on the left, and continuous operations on the right, it’s an evolution.

Devops Best Practices

4 minute read

DevOps started out as “Agile Systems Administration”. In 2008, Andrew Shafer did a talk called “Agile Infrastucture” addressing issues around involving more ...

Have a compromise strategy

5 minute read

Back in February 2016, I went to PHP UK Conference. One of the points resonated with me, so I wrote down the following:

What’s involved in a code review?

7 minute read

We now live in a time of version control, git and github. If you work in software development you should be familiar with “pull requests”.

Wavemaker - An open letter

10 minute read

After the last Wavemaker board meeting I started writing a letter to the board members. This is the contents of that letter.

That Testing Pyramid

6 minute read

Today I want to talk about that “Testing Pyramid”, you know the one, that one, Martin Fowler calls it a “Test Pyramid”.

Back to Top ↑

2016

UX Tips: Carousels

1 minute read

So what’s the deal with carousels? Why does everyone keep asking for them on their website?

Back to Top ↑

2015

Why error suppression in PHP is bad

1 minute read

I appreciate that to most people, this is not a new topic and it almost goes without saying, however I can understand that not everybody knows this, espec...

Back to Top ↑

2014

Should I upgrade to an SSD hard disk?

3 minute read

It’s always been my opinion that the hard disk is really the crux of your computer because it’s the only mechanical part that affects the speed.

to.je – The Failed TinyURL.com Clone

2 minute read

Ever since my IRC (Internet Relay Chat) days I'd always wanted to write a TinyURL.com clone, especially since it gained traction on twitter and Facebook. ...

Back to Top ↑

2013

The paradigm shift

2 minute read

The next “computer” you buy will be a paradigm shift, a change in the way of thinking.

DVD Playback on Windows

1 minute read

One of the biggest annoyances I’ve heard about Windows 8 so far is that there’s no DVD support included.

Office

1 minute read

Gone of the days of getting a copy of Microsoft Office from dodgy Dave down the pub.

Calling all hackers

less than 1 minute read

Are you a technology enthusiast? An engineer? Perhaps you’re a creative mind or just like making things?

Back to Top ↑

2012

Update: Randles Website Homepage

1 minute read

I’ve been quiet for a little while settling into the new job role and tackling some quick fixes as well as dealing with some larger infrastructure challen...

Choosing a broadband provider

1 minute read

The advise for any services these days is to change provider every 12 months to get the best deal. Your broadband subscription is no different.

How to edit a PDF file

3 minute read

PDF files are by nature not really designed to be edited by the end user, instead you’re expected to go back to the original source and change that before “p...

Announcement

2 minute read

As of April 2012, I have agreed to enter into full time employment.

Anti Email Spam in the UK

1 minute read

Many years back I began investigating anti email spam in the UK as a way to defend against the amount amount of email spam we were receiving to certain em...

Back to Top ↑

2011

Paperless office

6 minute read

The “paperless office“: a concept that dates back to the 1970s (before I was even born) with promises of the “office of the future” where record-handling wou...

Change or remove programs is blank

1 minute read

Windows 2000 is a pain, especially these days when something goes wrong because none of the information or tools that we used to use are around any more.

Microsoft Office 2007 Downloads

1 minute read

One of my customers has specialist database software built on the FileMaker Pro database engine. The unfortunate downside to this is that certain legacy plug...

Enhanced: Randles Website Layout

less than 1 minute read

A couple of days ago we launched the new look Randles website. To the untrained eye the site may not look that different. The main purpose for introducing...

(Not so) Sharp printer stuck offline

1 minute read

A client called explaining to me that they were unable to print to their Sharp MX-1800N network printer. Upon inspection it said that the printer was “Offlin...

Google’s Official Profanity API

2 minute read

Recently a list of “bad words” were made available through Google's new website which asks: “What do you love?” (wdyl.com).

The rise and fall of WhoisX

3 minute read

WhoisX is a domain name lookup service, similar to the whois service provided by “domain tools”, but ours was primarily for UK domain names.

What is my IP?

1 minute read

An IP address is a unique number which identifies a machine on a network.

Domain Slamming

5 minute read

Ever received one of those domain renewal notices from companies such as “Domain Registry of America” or “Domain Renewal Group” cl...

The eggtcl project

less than 1 minute read

The eggtcl project is a repository of approved TCL scripts for eggdrop that allow you to easily update them as new versions are released.

Is my password secure?

1 minute read

In light of the recent security breaches of huge websites such as Gawker, Sony and Nintendo I am concerned about an issue that affects us all: Is my password...

Ways to speed up your PC

1 minute read

I get lots of people asking me how to speed up their computer, more often than not, they don’t need to buy a new computer, there are things they can do to sp...

Converting your logo to ASCII art

1 minute read

If you're a geek like me or you've just  seen Iron Man 2 you'll probably like the idea of having a custom motd display something cool when you login to yo...

Replacing Outlook Express

1 minute read

Recently Microsoft have been running a campaign to get rid of their 10-year-old web browser, Internet Explorer 6. This got me thinking…

Enhanced: Randles Navigation

less than 1 minute read

After discussing website improvements with the Randles Motor Group marketing manager we decided that the website needed a new navigation menu with simple ...

Welcome

less than 1 minute read

So, It's begun!

XSS: Get linked from Dmoz instantly

1 minute read

Recently, like many of you, I've had some trouble getting websites listed on the AOL owned “Open Directory Project” known as Dmoz.

Find the right software

1 minute read

Software is expensive, sometimes you don’t need to buy it or download it illegally as there’s sometimes an alternative you can get for free!

Replace strings MySQL

1 minute read

If you ever need to make big changes to your site, such as moving directory or changing the domain name you'll know that you'll have to make changes to th...

Useful Linux Commands

5 minute read

Here’s a set of Useful Linux Commands I’ve historically found useful, hopefully you will too…

get_favicon() php function

less than 1 minute read

I was after a php function that would get the favicon for a supplied domain, I did attempt to write my own but it proved more complex than I had first ant...

Computer support phone call scam

1 minute read

Just recently I’ve read about “computer fault scams” and phone calls from someone claiming to be from Microsoft.

rglob.php

less than 1 minute read

Today I was having a look on PHP.net and noticed a PHP contest so I decided to submit one of my functions.

Back to Top ↑

2010

Trac TCL for eggdrop

1 minute read

I've recently had some fun installing Trac project management software on CentOS5.

error: no dbpath has been set

less than 1 minute read

I've recently been having trouble with a OpenVZ VPS upgraded from CentOS4 to CentOS5, here's what I'm seeing when trying to rum a yum install of mod_pytho...

exim on another port for smtp

1 minute read

When a business I know had trouble with their broadband I was fortunately able to get them back online by using the redundant mobile broadband on the rout...

UK Business License

1 minute read

We recently had an issue with a US based company who asked us for the following:

British fuel cost per mile

less than 1 minute read

I was trying to work out how to estimate how much fuel was costing me per mile at the moment based upon my car's average mpg.

Open docx, xlsx, and pptx files

less than 1 minute read

If you’ve been sent a file with the extension .docx, .xlsx or .pptx and you don’t have the latest version of Office then you’ll share the frustration that ma...

Report a virus

1 minute read

I’m always coming across new viruses that haven’t even been added to the latest anti-virus software.

upgrade.co.uk sucks

2 minute read

I've been trying to get a quote for a part for a Dell laptop, when I contacted Dell UK, they told me to contact “Upgrade Options”. They offere...

Don`t forward virus warnings, delete them

1 minute read

If you’ve ever received a virus warning from your friends, family or co-workers, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These virus warnings are hoaxes and are ...

Alternative name servers

2 minute read

If you’ve ever had a problem with your ISPs DNS name servers then you’ll probably find this very useful.

Back to Top ↑

2009

PHP OpenSRS Client

less than 1 minute read

This is only a quick message to say that I am now developing the PHP OpenSRS Client project.

worldtime.tcl

1 minute read

Sometimes you need to know the time somewhere else in the world. I find it useful to get my eggdrop to return the time of another timezone…

Gmail needs an API

2 minute read

Yesterday I spent some time investigating Google Wave. A very interesting new product from Google. Not only that but an interesting protocol.

PlusFM Track Feed

1 minute read

Recently an online radio station I listen to called PlusFM stopped displaying track titles on their stream. This was a pain for quickly displaying the cur...

RemoveWGA

1 minute read

Back in 2007 I briefly wrote about Windows Genuine Advantage Removal.

weather.tcl

1 minute read

Update: This script is now part of the eggtcl project.

Scan to Excel

5 minute read

This week I've mostly been trying to figure out a way to digitalise some of my bank statements to make accountancy and archiving easier.

Ident Spoofing

1 minute read

Today I wrote about Oidentd on Wikipedia. Ident as per RFC 1413 is used for a few different services, in particular IRC. A feature of oidentd that my user...

W32Dasm

1 minute read

W32Dasm (or Win32DASM) doesn't seem to exist on the map any more, but it's still a very useful programmers tool, especially if you like reverse engineerin...

Remove OGA Notifier

1 minute read

I had a call today about Microsoft OGA (Office Genuine Advantage) Notifier becoming an annoyance for a client.

Pingotron

3 minute read

I've been meaning to publish a post about Pingotron for some time now, but now I fear it's already too late.

EFnet UK

1 minute read

On Sunday July 19 2009 Hardy announced on the EFnet website that Demon Internet will be delinking efnet.demon.co.uk and hub.uk from the EFnet IRC network ...

cssbase

1 minute read

Yesterday marks the day that I took over the “cssbase” project.

jQuery sucks at browser detection

3 minute read

This week i've been tweaking a little site I've started called “ismybrowseruptodate.com“, which is designed to assist people who don't know wh...

Customising the Netgear DG834G

2 minute read

I started writing this article a long time ago, however after researching the DG834G I soon found many more articles and sites dedicated to hacking or cus...

Why I should probably buy a Mac

2 minute read

For a long time now, I have most of my allies have remained very much in the Windows and Linux camps, almost to the point of me being anti-Mac. I’m certainly...

Lame Botnet

1 minute read

Yes, my botnet is pretty lame, but it's also kinda cool. I'm not talking about anything bad though.

How not to use PHPMailer

2 minute read

I came across PHPMailer usage the other day on a Chinese gadget wholesale site “SourcingMap.com”.

Cex.co.uk site errors

1 minute read

After browsing the cex.co.uk website for some time I came across a few errors on the site…

Blocked links in Microsoft Outlook

less than 1 minute read

When you click a link on an email in Microsoft Outlook, you are blocked from visiting the URL and you see the following error message:

Tricked by fake .uk sites?

less than 1 minute read

Trading standards say that consumers are being tricked into buying fake goods online by companies based in China pretending to be based in the UK by using...

Icon Software

1 minute read

Over the past few weeks I've been assisting the creation</a> of articles regarding icon software on Wikipedia.

Troubleshooting routing issues

2 minute read

Recently I’ve received reports from clients on a particular ISP are having trouble reaching services on a particular server in a data centre.

Tech support blog

less than 1 minute read

I've recently launched a tech support job, which combines aspects of my day job with aspects of this blog to form “fixr”.

When broadband fails

3 minute read

The best part of last week I spent trying to resolve an issue for a business who was experiencing downtime with their broadband.

C:\Windows\Installer overload!

1 minute read

If like me you’ve recently come across a computer where the “C:\Windows\Installer” directory is overloaded then you’ve probably used something like TreeSize ...

No More Adobe Acrobat Reader

3 minute read

If like me you have ever received a PDF files as an attachment in an email, you will no doubt have heard of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Choosing a PHP Framework

4 minute read

Recently I've been writing a lot more PHP based websites and web applications. I've found myself building and rebuilding my own framework, but to no real ...

Cannot redeclare pclziputilpathreduction()

less than 1 minute read

I had this issue today, I found that you need to deactivate the “WordPress Automatic Upgrade” plugin as it's included in the core of WordPress...

OpenCart v0.7.9 released

less than 1 minute read

OpenCart is an open source PHP-based e-commerce online shop website solution. Ideal for new or existing stores to start selling online.

Free icon sets for your website

less than 1 minute read

If you don't have the time to make your own icons for your latest product or website, then you need to find some for free.

Missing Mediaid.bin file

1 minute read

Recently I got asked to backup a Vista machine. I'm not a big Vista fan, so this was the first time.

Back to Top ↑

2008

What’s wrong with low version numbers?

1 minute read

In a presentation entitled “Why I hate Django”, Cal Henderson (head of engineering for Flickr) said, that low version numbers makes him suspic...

Tracking an IP address

2 minute read

In my job I have to manage lots of machines all over the place. Many of them are on windows.

For VS While in PHP

1 minute read

Today I was coding a new PHP script, when I asked myself “should I use for or while?”…

longip perl script

1 minute read

I wanted to create a script that would convert a normal IP address to a long IP, just like mIRC Script's $longip alias.

What is a hacker?

4 minute read

Not so long ago I was asked to answer some questions for a friend of a friend who was writing a dissertation about the “hacking and warez scene̶...

What is a valid email address?

17 minute read

With the on-going abuse to email based systems, we are in need of ways to validate the email addresses we're handling.

Firefox “Always On Top” on Windows XP

1 minute read

When watching long streaming online videos I often watch them while I do other things, perhaps even browse other websites. I need something to keep firefo...

Seen script for mIRC updated

1 minute read

Looking for someone? huh? Well, look no further, this script is designed to keep log of people quiting, parting, being kicked out of and changing their ni...

50+ PHP optimisation tips revisited

6 minute read

After reading an article some time ago entitled “40 Tips for optimizing your php Code” (and some others that are suspiciously similar), I deci...

Geek in the Park 2008

less than 1 minute read

It's about this time that geeks start to think about things to do over the summer.

10 wordpress performance optimisation tips

less than 1 minute read

I wanted to prepare my wordpress powered blog for an influx of traffic from social media sites such as reddit.com or digg.com, in case one of my articles ...

Samsung ML-4500 XP driver install

1 minute read

I decided I was finally fed up with my Epson Stylus C46 bubble jet printer, and decided that I don't really need it anyway.

How to bulk convert WMA to MP3

2 minute read

So you just downloaded an entire album, and it's in .wma (windows media audio) format, and you, of course, like any normal person want it in the .mp3 form...

BT Web Clicks

7 minute read

Today I received a phone call from one of my clients who said that they had a BT engineer with them. OK. I thought, what's going on here…

Twitter for mIRC

less than 1 minute read

I signed up for Twitter quite some months ago, but have yet really found myself using it.

Text editors revisited

3 minute read

As a web developer my main tool is my text editor, which I use for pretty much EVERYTHING from coding HTML, to PHP to perl. A text editor is an essential ...

Software

less than 1 minute read

We no longer develops software, so here's some alternatives:

10 reasons why phpBB3 sucks!

4 minute read

I've been using phpBBv2 for a long while now, on quite a few sites for one reason and another. I like phpBB because it's simple to use, for both users and...

Create a unique company name

2 minute read

When trying to create a unique company name for your business, I found that there was a three step approach to creating a unique name.

Marketing Concepts

1 minute read

Some people find it difficult to get to grips with marketing concepts, so here's some real life examples to get you started.

Word separators in URLs

4 minute read

In the world of web development and search engine optimisation you find this topic is frequently discussed, yet often without any reasoning or conclusion....

Back to Top ↑

2007

Next time i’m buying a mac

7 minute read

Recently I decided to get away for a break, so I left the country with all intention of not doing anything work related for a week.

HP Software Update

3 minute read

Today, I am trying to install a “HP Scanjet 7650n”, everything seems okay, until I come to install the software.

Why AOL sucks

3 minute read

I have a client that is currently on AOL, and has been getting messages every 2nd or 3rd time they logon to AOL that basically claims the following:

Win32 Virtob/Virut removal

1 minute read

Today I got handed a machine riddled with a virus that avast! detects as “Win32 Virtob“, also known as “Win32 Virut“.

UK Trademark Law

5 minute read

I awake one morning to find a notification from my business partner showing a website where a group of gamers have created a clan and a website using our ...

Why I registered mIRC

3 minute read

For those that don't know… mIRC is communication software, otherwise known as an IRC client. IRC (or Internet Relay Chat) to me is a place where peo...

SEO FAQ

5 minute read

Frequently Asked Questions about Search Engine Optimisation

Morals of Downloading

2 minute read

When downloading using protocols such as BitTorrent and other file sharing networks you should adopted some rules to ensure that what you're doing is just...

Xen on CentOS Host running FreeBSD Guest

3 minute read

Recently i've been investigating Xen. In short, Xen is open source virtualisation software that provides you with the ability to split a physical hardware...

My AVI files crash explorer.exe

1 minute read

Often when I am browsing files using explorer I will come across a file that is an avi, when I move my cursor over the file or click on it, explorer will ...

email address on your website

1 minute read

This is something that people don't seem to realise, and although I tell them over and over it seems to go ignored.

Ways to waste time online

6 minute read

I compiled a short list of sites that you can simply spend hours on wasting your time online…

Compression Utilities

4 minute read

For years now, for whatever reason I have used WinZip. I don't really know why I continued to use it for so long as from WinZip 8 onwards, I was under the...

How to ask a question

2 minute read

I have helped out with a few different subjects on a few different IRC channels and even some forums. This was created because it seems that people find a...

Changing your Windows XP Product Key

less than 1 minute read

Its not very often I have to do this, but sometimes I do because I end up purchasing a bunch of matching machines, loading the software onto one, and ghos...

Free Stuff

1 minute read

I love free stuff, it's probably why I like open source so much…

PSP firmware and homebrew

6 minute read

I decided to go all out, and purchase possibly the best media device out there. The Sony Playstation Portable.

Fixing a faulty laptop DC jack connector

4 minute read

I was recently informed that my old laptop, a HP Pavilion ze4111s, (now being used by my girlfriend) that “it doesn't charge”, which then chan...

IHTOOM pmp

6 minute read

Despite my problems with purchasing mp4 players in the past I decided to purchase a new one.

How to Print to a Text File

less than 1 minute read

Device Manager does not have a Save command available for you to save a report to a text file. To save a Device Manager report to a text file, you must in...

Siemens CX65 Review

3 minute read

I bought this on the 20/08/04 for £179.99, which actually seems quite a lot for such a phone, but it was not bad at the time for a brand new unlocked phon...

Mounting an ISO image

3 minute read

An ISO image usually refers to an archived copy of an optical disc such as a CD or DVD.

How to correctly make a PHP contact form

1 minute read

I use contact forms on many websites, and over the years I have discovered many problems with using them, including hijacking, mail injection, server hack...

Windows Genuine Advantage Removal

1 minute read

First of all for those that don't know, Windows Genuine Advantage or WGA is a peice of software released by Microsoft to validate your copy of windows whe...

Fax to email

2 minute read

Fax to email is perhaps one of the most interesting, oldest and most overlooked technology.

A new month

less than 1 minute read

First of all I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has visited my website since I began at the start of last month.

MSN via IRC

2 minute read

Quite some time ago I decided that I wanted to offer support via MSN for a business. This is all very well until you want multiple staff to cover the R...

DVD decoders and other codecs

3 minute read

Possibly one of the most annoying and confusing issues on windows is dealing with and understanding which codecs you need to do what.

Safely Remove Hardware Icon

1 minute read

Here's a quick guide on what to do if your “Safely remove hardware” icon has disappeared from your system tray.

My computer has problems, what can I do?

4 minute read

You'd be surprised the amount of times I get people asking me this question, therefore this is a guide on what to do to try and work out what the problem ...

No more Nero

2 minute read

After many years of using Nero, I'm finally fed up with it.

Cannot delete Folder

less than 1 minute read

No doubt at some point you will have experienced this error at one point or another:

www. is NOT deprecated

4 minute read

Update: This was an opinion piece written back in 2005 to provoke discussion from the other side of the argument. Read the comments for the most up-to-dat...

Remove Spyware

less than 1 minute read

Sorry, this article had become outdated and was removed.

Txt Spk iz Gr8

1 minute read

From a very early age I have been taught to write the English language correctly, I try and carry this trend over when I'm on the internet.

SEO Tips

4 minute read

Quick List of SEO Tips

Migrating from Windows to Linux

5 minute read

These days I find myself playing less and less games on my computer. This is mainly because I use my computer as a workstation, and playing games would in...

Finding a Portal Script

4 minute read

I spent a long time today searching for a PHP based portal script either for a small community website or an ISP.

eTicket

1 minute read

For the past few weeks I have been mostly working on eTicket.

A good text editor

2 minute read

I have been looking for a good open source or free cross platform (windows/linux) editor that has php and html syntax highlighting.

Does using CSS affect SEO?

3 minute read

I get asked this question time and time again. People seem to believe that the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) will help with their Search Engine Opti...

FTP server for windows

1 minute read

I have been on the lookout for a decent FTP Deamon/Server that runs on windows. Its not very often that I do require one, but every so often having one do...

Telemarketing

2 minute read

The thing that has been bothering me recently most of all, even more than online spam and junk mail, are telemarketing calls. I recently had an increase o...

An FTP client

1 minute read

I have been looking for a decent FTP client for years, and now I think I have finally found it!

4GB Mp4 Player ebay Scam

6 minute read

Just before Christmas, I decided I was going to get an MP3 player for my girlfriend as she wanted a new mp3-player, as her 40gb one was too much and now o...

New Site

1 minute read

For some time I have been meaning to update my website, I had decided long ago that if I did create a new site it would use the wordpress engine, as I did...

Back to Top ↑