It looks like time has finally run out for Scrabulous on Facebook, as of this evening (30th July) it’s disappeared from Facebook. Realistically it was always bound to happen – the only way out would have been for Hasbro to have bought the thing from the two Indian guys who wrote it. But that’s not the way owners of famous Intellectual Property seem to work.
If only the official Scrabble games on Facebook weren’t both a) Rubbish, and b) Separated into US and the rest of the world, so you can’t play against people from the other side of the pond.

There’s been a bunch of new Muppets clips on Youtube recently, – apparently there’s the possibility of a new series or a film, and these clips are some kind of viral marketing ploy. Still, they’re pretty good.

I’ve finally found the time to setup my web-based music player on the new (virtual) Ubuntu server. At the same time, I took the opportunity to make it all unicode compliant. Actually, I had to do that, since the music is actually on the Vista box, and accessed via a CIFS mountpoint setup in /etc/fstab.

I had a few issues that got in the way:

  1. Getting the correct options in /etc/fstab to mount the share and make sense of the accented characters. This was solved by following this article on the Ubuntu forums. It would have been even quicker to sort, had I not forgotten that my SSH session wasn’t set to display unicode – so I still couldn’t actually see the right characters even when the fstab was correctly configured!
  2. The current version of LAME in the Ubuntu repositories (3.97) is not the latest stable one (3.98). This probably isn’t crucial, but my transcoding makes use of some of the new features (such as embedding album-art). This was easily fixed by downloading and compiling the latest release.
  3. The GD graphics library that is installed with the php5-gd package under Ubuntu is missing a lot of the features that the bundled PHP version includes (such as rotation). The proper fix for this is to compile PHP with the library. I took the cheat’s route, and simply extracted the bundled library from the Fedora distribution’s RPM file (note that that link is to the 64-bit version).

After a few tweaks to the PHP code to make sure unicode text was treated as such (and changing the collation type of the database tables to match) it’s all working properly. Or rather, it’s working as well as can be expected considering that it’s not actually finished yet!

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Parts I and II of Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog are already available online, and part III will be there tomorrow (the 19th). But be quick, ‘cos come the end of the 20th they’ll all be taken away. Actually, you’ll still be able to get them, but will need to part with some form of currency to do so. I’m holding out for the DVD edition which – according to Joss Whedon – will have “the finest and bravest extras in all the land”.

It’s by Joss Whedon (of Buffy and Firefly fame), it’s a musical, with super-villains (kind of), super-(smarmy)-heroes, and it’s free. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is online – the first part already viewable, with the second and third acts arriving on the 17th and 19th of July. After that, you’ll have to pay to see them through iTunes, or wait for the DVD. Comments Off on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

The developers of WordPress have just announced the (one month earlier than scheduled!) release of WordPress 2.6. There’s a fair few new features, with the major one being change-tracking – enabling you to view previous versions of pages and posts, and also compare the differences.

There’s been various other improvements too, including a real-time word-count, image captions and more.

As I’ve come to expect these days, the upgrade from 2.5 went very smoothly.

We’re having a fun time at work at present, planning all the summer projects that are due to be done while the schools are on the summer break. I’d like to know why this school holiday is only five weeks in place of the usual six? One of the biggest is the network for the newly created Christ the King College (web-site not yet available – we’re working on sorting that too).

Still, creating a whole routed network from scratch (including reinstalling all servers and workstations, both Windows and Apple) gives us the opportunity to try a few new ideas (including Paul Beesley‘s very handy Acceptable Usage Policy tool), and refine our existing scripts and policies.

Xara have released a bug-fix update for both the standard and Pro versions of Xtreme 4. 4.01 has a large number of bugs squashed and is recommended for all users. You’ll need to be running the CD version of the software though. Comments Off on Xara Xtreme 4.01 Update

Not in the bad way either – the IWSO concert was completely sold-out on Saturday, and went really well. Especially important from my perspective was the complete absence of any collapsing percussion instruments! Even the tubular bells, the stand for which had lain at the back of a cupboard for many years, stood up to the hammering (please excuse the bad pun).

It was a long concert, the finish made later for the percussion section due to the sheer amount of kit we had to dismantle and stow in various cupboards, cars and vans; but I think we all enjoyed it.

Edugeek‘s been back online for a day or so now, – thanks to the unstinting work of the site staff. Needless to say, they’re looking to change hosting providers in the near future, so this shouldn’t happen again. Comments Off on Edugeek Back Online