NamesCo, WordPress & the iPad

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There is an application for the iPad that allows you to manage your WordPress blogs directly, its actually a bit basic but hopefully that will improve over time. However I simply could not get it to talk to this blog – it would just keep throwing a ‘Blog returned invalid data’ error.

Turns out in their infinite wisdom NamesCo (our web hosts) have decided xml-rpc is bad

The standard xmlrpc.php script is quite commonly installed with many free blogging. Unfortunately, it is quite easy to exploit and often abused by amateur ‘hackers’ and spamming groups for malicious purposes.

However, most users that have the script on their sites don’t actually use it, therefore we have decided to block access to that filename to protect those users.

If you wish to use an XMLRPC service, simply rename the file to something like ‘xmlrpc_post.php’ and reference that script instead in your posting service.

Which seems a bit like saying SkyDiving is dangerous so you cant do it – but its ok to put on a parachute and jump out of plane as long as you call it PlaneJumping instead.

So in order to get it the iPad application to work we first have to rename the xmlrpc.php script to e.g. planejumping.php – you can call it anything you like NamesCo have just blocked access to files called xmlrpc.php.

But that’s not enough because clearly wordpress expects this file to be called xmlrpc.php and the file name is unfortunately not configurable.

Instead you have to hack the wordpress php scripts by hand at the current release (3.1) that means updating these files

planejumping.php (previously known as xmlrpc.php)
wp-includes/class-wp-xmlrpc-server.php
wp-includes/general-template.php

Simply replace all references to xmlrpc.php in these files to planejumping.php instead and you should be good to go.

A New Look

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The old blog has been a bit neglected these last six months or so.

A couple of trips to New Zealand was the start of it all, dodged the earthquakes and managed to fit in a trip down to see Pete & Sinead in Dunedin. Also been spending more time on twitter since last summer, first following the events of the ‘epic swindle’ that saw the Dumb & Dumber finally kicked out of Anfield. Then the unmitigated disaster that was Roy Hodgson followed by the second coming of King Kenny – safe to say the club is now in the right hands both off and on the field and future looks a lot brighter.

So to freshen it up we’ve got a new theme (Coraline) and after much faffing I’ve finally managed to get the WordPress iPad application to talk to the blog. Turns out our hosting company decided to deliberately break the functionality, so a small amount of hacking was required to get it to work – but more of that another time.

New Zealand

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Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, but finally got confirmation of flights and where I’ll be staying in New Zealand.

I’m off this Thursday (2nd Sep) and will be spending a couple of weeks in Wellington, getting back to Glasgow around teatime on Sunday 18th. The serviced apartments look better on the website than they do on street view, but I guess we’ll see when we get there.

Expect updates by twitter, facebook and maybe the odd blog post whilst I’m away.

Google Redesigned

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I’ve never been a big fan of Google Calendar, mostly because the user interface is a bit ordinary – I really don’t like the Arial font that a lot of the Google applications seem to force on you.

Recently stumbled across the Google Redesigned plugin for Firefox though, which does a very good job of prettying up Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Reader.

I’m sure its subjective but I find it preferable to the default Google look and feel – well worth a look in my book.

Back to School

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It must be time for another update, Megan’s back at school next week (Primary 4) and we’ve not posted anything since we were in Canada – sorry about that. The holiday was finished off in fine style up in Sun Speaks, in the snow and the hot tub, and there was more than a tear or two shed when we had to head off to the airport for the trip home. I think Megan would move out to Vancouver in a heartbeat, she had a great time!

We’ve had some more fun over the summer too, in spite of the rainy weather since the schools finished at the end of June. We had a visit from Zoe, Mike and Darcey last month – was great to see them again, had been far too long. Megan and Darcey got on like a house fire – they’re really quite similar despite the age difference. That visit was followed by one from Dave & Teresa which was just as much fun – and some dodgy old photos were posted on Facebook as a result.

(Dave – what’s it worth to keep the other ones under wraps ?!)

There’s not movement on the house front so we may well just end staying put, but we’ve not given up just yet – time will tell. Megan and I spent this weekend destroying and disposing of some old and rotten garden furniture – which was surprisingly therapeutic – whilst Angela met up with some pals from school in Glasgow on Saturday night (and then spent most of Sunday recovering).

Into the Final Week

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The weather’s taken a bit of a turn, but its still sunny this afternoon – if not quite as warm as earlier in the week. Its been another action packed week too, and we’ve something planned for every day we have left so we’ve started counting down the days to the flight home :(

Last Thursday we had a slow day to recover from the activity of the previous week, but still managed to fit in another baseball game (Ashley this time). Friday was Cory’s birthday so there was a shopping trip for supplies and birthday cake in the morning, followed by some fun and games in the back yard and a monster barbecue with half the street in the evening.

Saturday we went to Granville Island with Dennis & Ryan, enjoyed a stroll round the market and the entertainment and the Children’s Festival before heading back to the McLeans for another barbecue – some extra tasty Maui Ribs this time.

Sunday/Monday we headed up to Whistler with the McTaggarts, we took a gondola and an open chair lift ride (Megan loved it) up Blackcomb mountain to see the views – unfortunately the peak to peak gondola was closed so we couldn’t get across to Whistler mountain. We did see a couple of bears on the mountain though (from a distance) and then on the way back to the cabin another four at the roadside (we have plenty of pictures). On the way back Monday afternoon we stopped off at Brandywine Falls for some more photo opportunities.

Tuesday was the first day forecast to rain since we’ve been here (and it did) so we (Angela!) took the chance to go shopping. The Sky Train took us right into Metrotown – biggest Mall in Vancouver – where we managed to spend the whole day. It was only Megan that came back with some goodies, although we did find time to catch How To Train Your Dragon in 3D which we all enjoyed.

Wednesday we took the SkyTrain again, back into Vancouver this time to visit Stanley Park. A guided tour on the Horse Drawn carriage followed by visit to the Aquarium when the rain returned (lots of it). We got a bit soggy getting to the bus that would take us back to the Sky Train but it didn’t spoil another good day!

Today we headed out to Steveston, a small fishing village on the coast but the heavens opened again so we only managed lunch before we came back. Its brightened up again although the temperature has dropped to the midteens rather than the low twenties we’ve got used to – wont stop another barbecue planned for this evening.

Tomorrow Megan’s going to go into School with Kiera and Caden, then we’re off to Sun Peaks for the weekend with the McLeans and the McTaggarts – won’t be back until Monday evening, then Tuesday we’ll need to pack because we’re at the airport early on Wednesday morning for our flight home.

Our First Week in Canada

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We’ve been here a week, but have managed to pack in a couple of weeks worth of fun already.

We were delayed again in Manchester whilst the remaining coaches carrying passengers from Glasgow arrived, so it was around 4pm before we finally took off. That was around 6 hours late, and an hour further from Canada than we should have been but at least we were on our way. Unfortunately as we took off we were informed that the entertainment system wasn’t working so we had a nine hour flight with no games or movies to keep Megan entertained.

She was an absolute star though, and we eventually arrived in Vancouver around 6pm local time (7 hours late) to be met by Craig at the airport. Its around a half hour drive back to their place in Surrey, and the McLeans arrived there around the same time as we did for an emotional reunion all round. It was game three of the Stanley Cup playoffs that evening, with Vancouver playing Chicago (all square going into this game) so we settled down to watch that for an hour or two to try and delay going to bed a bit, whilst Megan played with her new pals Keira, Caden & Ryan.

Unfortunately Vancouver lost and when we finally hit the sack around 9pm local time we’d be up for over 24 hours – Megan had a minor meltdown that night because she was so tired, and said she wanted to go home. By the time we all woke up in the morning she was feeling much better and decided she’d rather stay!

So for our first day in Canada Craig took us for a ride into downtown Vancouver, where we saw the Olympic flame from the Winter Olympics as well as Chinatown, Gastown and Stanley Park. The weather was fabulous and we headed back for dinner in the backyard with Cory, Kiera & Caden – followed by an early night.

Kiera & Caden had a Pro-D day on Friday (no school!) so they showed us round the local shops and parks in the morning, and then an Ice Cream at Dairy Queen. In the afternoon Helen and Ryan picked us up and we went down to the beach at White Rock (more great weather) and then back to the McLeans for dinner (great steak cooked by Ryan) and game four of the Stanley Cup playoffs (Vancouver lost again).

Saturday was Kiera’s birthday but also a baseball tournament for Ashley, so in the morning we went shopping with Dennis & Ryan (had some fun with a great machine for monitoring your golf swing whilst Dennis bought a new hybrid 3 wood) then went to Crescent Beach for a while before the party. It was a bowling party and all the kids (including Megan) had a great time, before we went onto catch some of the last game of Ashley’s tournament at Softball City. We went back with the McLean’s for dinner, and left Ryan and Megan watching a movie whilst the grown ups ate at the Ocean Park Village Pub.

Sunday we went with Dennis & Ryan to Grouse Mountain north of Vancouver, taking the cable car up to the top where there was still enough snow for a snowball fight (weather still fabulous though) and the bears were out of hibernation (but fortunately still behind an electric fence). Unfortunately someone pulled the emergency cable on the cable car during the afternoon so we were a bit later getting down the mountain than planned – although we still got back in time for a barbecue and game five of the playoffs (Vancouver won this time).

Monday the three of us took the SkyTrain to Science World (which was great) and then a walk round the harbour at Vancouver through Yaletown and then up the Harbour Tower to admire the views. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant in Gastown and then headed back on the SkyTrain just in time to catch the end of Kiera’s baseball game.

Tuesday was an early start to catch the ferry across to Vancouver Island, the three of us had booked into the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa for an overnight stay in Victoria. The ferry crossing was an hour and half, but the views across the Straight of Georgia and the Gulf Islands were spectacular – then a forty minute coach ride into Victoria itself. We took the bus tour around Victoria to take in the sights and then headed back to the hotel for dinner (and a swim in the pool). Sadly Vancouver lost game six of the playoffs that night and were knocked out – at the same point and by the same team as last year.

Wednesday we checked out and then took advantage of the two day bus tour tickets to have Tea at the Empress Hotel Tea Rooms (ridiculously expensive) take a walk through Beacon Hill Park (admiring the views across to the Olympic Mountains in Washington) and a wander round Miniature World. Then it was back on the bus to catch the 7pm ferry back to the mainlaind.

We’ve Arrived – in Manchester

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After a relatively uneventful bus journey we’ve arrived in Manchester and made it through security.

We had a 10 minute pitstop at Killington Lake – just enough time to grab a sandwich for breakfast – and arrived at Manchester at 12:00 on the button.

The plane is due to depart around 2pm so we’re having a quick lunch before we board.

No sign of the ash cloud so with a bit of luck the next time you hear from us we’ll be in Canada!