In between homes

I’ve half moved into my new house in Birmingham with samwwwblack, Debs and Frankie and my parents are in the process of moving to Colsterworth. The day I moved half my stuff into my new house, I opened the front door to let my parents out and Big Man Paul (from school) walked past, weird coincidence. He’s the first person I’ve met in Birmingham from school, though I’m sure there are others.

In other news…

I talked my way out of a £42 library fine today 🙂

BT Future Gazing: extremely smart yogurt, ultra simple computing

We did the calculations, and we reckon that it’s possible to make a yoghurt with roughly the same processing power as the entire European population.” —Ian Pearson, Futurologist: The ITWales Interview

The idea of “Ultra Simple Computing” appealed to me:

Computers can be redesigned from the ground up with tens of thousands of little chips to distribute the load. It will mean there will be no need for an operating system or even a hard disk, as everything can be saved on the chips“.

To me, a computer is just a network of networks of networks – right from a network of semiconductors on a chip up to a distributed supercomputer over a international stupid network like the Internet.

Drupal blogroll and blog import from LiveJournal

I need some help with Drupal…

Blogroll Friends list Block

This is the simpler of the two problems. I use the Drupal aggregator module to create a blogroll of blogs I read at On the front page of my website I’d like a “friends” block on the right hand side which lists the names of all the feeds in my blogroll with a link to respective websites. So far I can only see how to make a block which displays recent blogroll posts.

Do I need to write my own PHP block to do this (I’ve found a function in the aggregator API which does something similar and I’ve nearly figured out how to tweak it) or can I do it more simply with a view which presents itself as a block? Surely this is a pretty standard thing to want to do, list feed sources.

Import Blog from LiveJournal

I’ve asked this on Drupal forums but had no reply yet, so I thought I’d throw it to a wider audience.
I’d like to import nearly three years worth (219 entries) of my LiveJournal to my new Drupal powered blog. LiveJournal allow you to export entries as either CSV or XML files, a month of entries per file (that’s 33 files for me).

There is a page entitled Migrating from LiveJournal on the Drupal web site, but I think it may be slightly out of date. It offers three methods of migration:

1) Use IFRAMEs – not really what I want
2) Using Node Import – by using an RSS feed it says that the actual content will still be hosted at LiveJournal, which isn’t what I want. I think it’s also now out of date because contrary to what it says, RSS feeds are now available to all LiveJournal users.
3) Use the Livejournal Module to import the raw data into Drupal – This sounds like the best method. Unfortunately, the module is no longer available or maintained.

I’m now thinking that my best option is to use the Node Import module to try and import the CSV or XML files, but I have no idea how to do it and the documentation for that module doesn’t mention supporting the blog post content type. Alternatively, the new Import/Export API module might do this?

If I can use the Node Import module, What XML format do the blog posts need to be in to be imported and what date format do they need to use?

I don’t think I will be able to preserve all LiveJournal features like “tags” because they don’t appear in the exported XML files, but I’d quite like to convert all instances of a custom [lj user=”joebloggs”] tag with an [a href=””] tag. This makes me wonder if I should somehow utilize the RSS feed of the blog which already has this conversion done, as well as other useful things like a link to the original LiveJournal post and comments.

If I have to write my own module to do this in Drupal 4.7, might this be a good use of XSLT? I’ve been meaning to play with that for a while.

Shaking that Ass, Bourne Grammar Style.

It seems that the IT department are still the most fun people at Bourne Grammar School. Shaking that Ass, Bourne Grammar Style was recorded on non-uniform day by the “ICT Crowd”. Look out for the teachers, including the entire IT department

I’m pleased to see that despite attempts of senior management to turn the place into a pompous public school, the BGS spirit still lives on!

eMusic UK

eMusic UK has just lanched and I’ve been transferred from the US site to the UK one. This is bad because I now have to pay VAT on my subscription but good because I’m paying about £6.50/month for 40 songs and the new UK subscription price is £8.99 and… the new lineup of artists is awesome!

I just downloaded Arctic Monkeys and Bare Naked Ladies albums in high quality DRM-free mp3s, next month I think it’ll be White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, Badly Drawn Boy… the list goes on.

Ask me to send you a referral email and subscribe to eMusic – support a music store which supports independent artists and sells DRM-free music for 17 to 22p a song.

They’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but eMusic are some of the good guys. and the future of has a new home! Following his recent dazzling academic success, Wonchop has launced a new site, which has a back catalogue of all his old animations, forums and a cafepress shop.  Me and djkoa are lucky to have been the inspiration for the characters “b3n and wez – the IT geeks”, two members of the wonchop family, and we’ve now even been made into t-shirts, mousemats and clocks! Go along to wonchop’s cafepress shop and buy some merchandise (like I just have) to support his work 🙂

Wonchop was the first project to start off life nestled in the bosom of, back in 2003, and has now well and truly flown the nest. In this spirit, I hope that will be the home of lots more new ideas. Over the coming weeks I am going to be moving my personal homepage to the new Drupal powered (still in its very early stages) and will solely become a home for new ideas, mainly providing trac hosting for software projects. The hosting for hippygeek has been kindly provided by FFDesign, and then Moose Computer Services up until now, but it will probably now move to its own Debian box, leaving in its place.

Watch this space.

This mundane, plain English blog post is dedicated to bouncykaz.

I’ve finished my summer placement and am back home in Bourne, though “home” may soon be moving. My summer placement was spent writing web based business software for things like accounting and project management.

I spent today filling out a boring tax form, paying a cheque into the bank (yay!), and fine tuning my new bike. Then I visited a couple of houses, one in Colsterworth and one in Pointon, and then got my car started to go and see lauperr for a serious chat.

Unfortunately my main PC didn’t survive the journey from Coventry and now has a dead hard disk, luckily it wasn’t the hard disk with my half backed up important data on.

I’ll be at home for about three weeks before heading back to uni. I need to sort out the Internet connection and visit samwwwblack before I go though, so a swift trip to Birmingham may be in order. I’m not looking forward to living in the new house as much as I was, having lived in lauperr‘s house for two months, it will just be like moving in all over again. Did I mention I’m doing a lot of moving around recently? Can’t seem to stay in one place for very long.

Apart from that, I’m just sat here at 2 in the morning drinking Guinness.

Article in the Birmingham Post, Moving House

Newspaper Article

There’s an article about mine and Paul’s summer placements with Senokian in the Birmingham Post, it’s a good write up for Senokian and the dead tree newspaper version had a photo which made my head look really big.

My placement has officially ended but I’m stopping on for one more week next week. The new version of EGS is really starting to take shape and I have my final presentation on Tuesday (argh).


When I’ve finished in Coventry I’ll be home for three weeks until term starts, mainly packing my life into boxes again. Only this time it’s literally everything because not only am I moving into my new term time house in Birmingham but my parents are moving house about the same time. The house in Bourne has been sold (it was only on the market a few days) and if all goes to plan we’ll be renting a cottage in Little Bytham. Bearing in mind that I’ve lived in Bourne all my life and so has my dad, it’s really a big step (albeit only a 7 mile long step). I’m going to miss my custom built garage-conversion bedroom loads, but I really don’t spend much time there these days. I don’t spend much time in any one place these days.