Tasting this little beauty this evening.
I will be having standby emergency beer just in case it tastes horrible. But how can the above possibly be related to this:
Great big honking disclaimer: All opinions, views, etc. are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer, Memset Ltd.
When Memset first introduced their Memstore® product a couple of years ago, the very first thing I did was to optimise managing director Kate Craig-Wood’s personal blog – katescomment.com – to use it. One way of doing this was to offload as much of the blog’s static content from the server onto Memstore®.
To do this I used a WordPress plugin called W3 Total Cache. It’s a free plugin that offers a variety of optimisation techniques (caching and content delivery network support) to help improve performance of your WordPress blog.
Memstore® is rather unique in comparison to most other OpenStack Swift providers in that it offers an FTP and SFTP proxy interface to the underlying object storage system. While W3 Total Cache provides support for FTP CDNs, using this with Memstore® requires that you go through more layers than is absolutely necessary. There are many good reasons to use Swift natively wherever possible.
During the early days of PHP Cloudfile support, it was difficult to get things working with anything other than Rackspace. But since then many changes have been made to the PHP Cloudfiles libraries, OpenStack Swift, and even Memstore®, and now W3 Total Cache can be made to upload content directly to Memstore® natively.
It requires a small change to the the following file:
Change the value for UK_AUTHURL to point to https://auth.storage.memset.com.
Once done, login to your WordPress dashboard, head over to Performance an ensure that the CDN type is set to:
Rackspace Cloud Files
then go to the CDN page and fill in the details of your Memstore® credentials and container.
Make sure you set the region to UK – this will ensure that the correct URL is used with Memstore and not Rackspace.
If you need help setting up the CDN side of a Memstore® container, Memset have a help page here.
It’d be nice if W3 Total Cache could be updated so that it allowed the values for the AUTHURL can be changed through the plugin’s WordPress Dashboard interface rather than hacking around the plugin library files.
Believe me, I wanted to go all David Cameron on the headline there. But I won’t.
I am saddened by the news that the lovely Jane Goldman has decided to quit Twitter thanks to a bunch of idiotic arsewipes attacking her husband, Jonathan Ross, just because he was going to host the Hugo Awards.
I will defend the Ross family because although I have never met them in person, they have been extremely generous with their time when it has been asked for (not just be me, but by others). Jane in particular, has been exceptionally kind and patient with me when I’ve thrown her various questions over the years – some via Twitter too. I can’t thank her enough for her help.
To sum up: they’re very nice people.
Why sci-fi fans have attacked Ross, I just don’t know.
He is perfectly suited to hosting the awards because:
1) He’s a big, big fan of sci-fi and fantasy. This is well documented.
2) He has authored various comic books and put the wheels in motion for various films based around comic books.
3) Devised and released through his and Jane’s new games company, Hot Sauce Interactive, Catcha Catcha Aliens. You couldn’t get more sci-fi if you tried.
4)has produced and presented one of the best damn documentaries I’ve seen about the industry – In Search of Steve Ditko – which introduced me to the world of Marvel and even got me buying their stuff.
Jane has worked with Hugo Award winning Neil Gaiman in adapting his work. She has been working in the sci-fi/fantasy genre perhaps even longer than Jonathan. So if Jonathan Ross isn’t qualified to host the Hugos, I really don’t know.
Neil Gaiman asked Jonathan to host the awards, and Jonathan said he would do it. For free. Neil himself is a wonderful, nice guy too. And people who know Neil and his work will also know that Neil and the Ross family are very good chums (to the extent that Neil wrote a story involving Jonathan and Jane who appear in comic book form).
Even if you dislike Jonathan Ross, what excuse does it give for somebody to attack the guy AND his family at the same time (wife Jane and daughter Honey Kinney)? Do these people think they’re anonymous and think they can get away with anything they type? With increasing number of prosecutions against those that threaten others online, it makes me wonder why people still try to do it.
And here’s the thing: despite being the public eye, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these people are comfortable with it. Your every move is scrutinised, your talent right down to your clothing and appearance criticised. I still remember the time when the Daily Mail (never a fan of the Ross family) was reporting on the Empire Movie Awards and spent half a page criticising Jonathan Ross’ shoes before putting up a list of winners. Ridiculous journalism.
And no, I don’t believe it’s all “part of the job”. People of all walks of life are entitled to privacy, courtesy and respect. And what I’ve seen over the years with technology is that it’s making it all too easy to pry, stalk and abuse people that we (as a society) are supposed to “celebrate”.
And technology isn’t here to do your thinking for you. I learnt a lesson long ago to think before you tweet (or use social media in any context surrounding people in the public eye). It’s an absolute privilege to be able to communicate with these people if they choose to read or reply to you – abuse it, and you’ll drive them away.
I’ve long thought that it’d be nice if somebody could start a Creative Commons image service that would enable bloggers such as myself the ability to use photos for little or no cost.
Today, Getty Images has announced the ability to embed any of their 35 million images. This is strictly a non-commercial deal, but all you need to do is to go to the Getty Images web site, search for what you want, and then use the embed icon to get the code in which to embed the image on your site.
As an example, here’s a search for “donkey bicycle”. Make sure that you select “Creative stock images” at the top of the page – you won’t be able to embed editorial images for obvious reasons.
You can change the width and height within the embed code accordingly. I have noticed that the default code tends to put a lot of whitespace around the image, but given that it’s free, I’m not complaining.
Additionally, one can share photos on Twitter and Tumblr.
It’s a nice thing Getty has done, and I for one, appreciate it. And here’s Darth Vader playing a game of baseball. Just because.
Subtitle: Mutiny on the Trains and Buses
I’m paying South West Trains and Arriva a lot of money each month for two paper tickets that grant me access to travel between Woking and Guildford.
I have no problem with that, but what I do find problematic is the physical wear and tear of the tickets that I have to present to South West Train’s barriers when entering and exiting stations.
Having only just renewed my monthly season ticket, it was nearly destroyed by Guildford station’s barriers upon exiting the platform. The mechanism that takes the ticket and passes it through the machine wouldn’t work and the ticket nearly crumpled up as a result. I had to present it to the guard as an ever increasing swarm of people tried to put their tickets through the same machine. When they found their tickets were being rejected, they too had to go through the guard controlled barrier.
In the past I’ve had to replace the ticket mid-month because the magnetic strip had worn out. The edges around the ticket had also worn worn out as I pull it in and out of the ticket holder frequently to present to the barriers. The bus portion, however, is fine because that can remain inside the ticket holder.
Then there is the queuing to pay for tickets.
I take particular exception to the buses.
More often than not we have passengers (and many of them, from what I can see, are regular commuters) fumbling around with change and/or present the driver with large notes. This delays the service for anybody taking the time to buy a ticket on their smartphones or a bus pass from an Arriva agent or info shop. And what you get for your dosh is a piece of paper that can easily be lost, torn or the ink in the ticket machine has near run out.
I try to renew my season ticket outside peak time – for example, coming home from work – and a few days before the ticket is up for renewal (a credit card comes in handy for situations like this – I then pay the credit card on pay day). But what you’ll often see – either at the start of the week or at the start of a month, is a queue so phenomenally long that it blocks the entrance to the station!
And all of us are spending money on paper tickets that more than likely will wear out before the renewal date because neither South West Trains, Arriva or any of the other transport companies outside of TfL have agreed upon a universal system to use that would dramatically reduce wear and tear (and queuing) for tickets.
I have a Oyster card and love it. I use it whenever I go around London rather than buying a South West Trains combined ticket, because I just know that the ticket will somehow get damaged, lost, get jammed in the barrier, or somebody else’s ticket has got caught in the barrier, or whatever the problem may be. There is also the fumbling and moaning whenever somebody is trying to put their ticket into the barrier and then find it’s been rejected, destroyed or so on (see above).
But thankfully TfL are once again trying to be innovative (because goodness knows nobody else is) by allowing contactless payment systems to buy tickets as and when necessary – so that avoids queuing and kerfuffle as your credit or debit card becomes the ticket itself. A brilliant idea (assuming that ticket inspectors can check the card has been used as payment for travel via their equipment).
In short: paper tickets are so last century. They’re easily damaged, lost, fiddly and you usually have to queue to buy them. This is the 21st century – but sometimes I feel we’re still stuck in IKB (Isambard Kingdom Brunel)’s time.