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Dropbox Commit Graphs

For my dissertation, I've shown bar charts for commits in every week. I think these are x100 better for showing ACTUAL progress and it was clear where I had made less progress than some weeks (though this was entirely justified).

Unfortunately, as good as Dropbox is, it really lacks a graphing tool (I did try to find one) or any kind of statistical analysis. It's been a bit of a pain to get what I wanted, but I managed in the end. See attachment to this post for an example :)

PHP session cookie problems with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer

In this post, I describe two potential pitfalls with handling session cookies in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer while developing websites, and how to avoid them. The problem in Google Chrome relates to its handling of local/internal hostnames, and the problem in Internet Explorer relates to its privacy settings and compact privacy policies.

The state of HTML5 video

Like a lot of people, I'm pretty excited about HTML5, particularly for including audio and video in web pages. However, while it has great potential, there's still a lot of work to be done before it's easily usable by everyone. I'm not talking so much about bugs in the way browsers handle specific elements or the ongoing codec war, which have been covered in detail in many places, but more about the surrounding ecosystem.

What is my IP address?

It's often useful to be able to find out what your external IP address is. I often check when I'm at client sites, to discover if I'm behind a NAT, remind myself whether I'm browsing through an SSH tunnel, and so on. There are a number of sites available that provide this service, e.g. and, but I recently decided to set one up on Kitserve. It's accessible at

An open letter to Nominet regarding seizure of "criminal" domains

I discovered today that the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has issued a proposal that Nominet's terms and conditions be changed so that they are contractually obliged to “suspend domains where Nominet has reasonable grounds to believe they are being used to commit a crime”. On the face of it this seems like a good idea, as there are an ever increasing number of sites out on the internet serving up viruses, attempting to steal confidential information, and so on. As with many things though, I suspect the devil is in the details.

How to USB tether an Android phone with a Mac OS X computer

The process of tethering allows you to connect your computer to the internet via your phone's 3G mobile connection. This is a life saver if you are working in a location where you don't have access to other internet connections. Broadly speaking, there are two methods of tethering: plugging the phone directly into your computer via USB, or setting up the phone as a mini Wi-Fi hotspot. I prefer to plug in directly because Wi-Fi uses up battery power on the phone (and the laptop if unplugged) very quickly. Unfortunately, I have an Android phone and a Mac computer. The official Android website says that you can use a USB cable for tethering with computers running Windows or Linux but not with Mac OS X. Nevertheless I have found a way to do it with OS X, read on for more information.

Computer security basics

Some time ago I was asked to provide some simple advice for non-technical users on protecting their data and office computer systems. Most people are aware that computer security has become a huge problem in recent years, but the sheer amount of (often conflicting) advice on the subject often drives people to ignore it - after all, if you're just trying to do your job, you don't want to have to spend a lot of time learning obscure technical information. With that in mind, this article outlines five basic things to keep in mind to stay safe online.

Wireless with Ubuntu and Debian on the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Pro V2000D

I've been setting up Ubuntu on my mother's laptop because the Windows XP system that it came with 5 years ago is grinding to a halt. With a 1.5GHz Celeron M processor it's not exactly a supercomputer but with a fresh new Linux system it can still be a decent, useful computer for several more years.

I went for Lubuntu because it's lightweight and easy to use.