JonBlog
Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free

This page is an ideas incubator, where I present a selection of project ideas, mainly for software or websites, that I like the sound of. Some of them will have code attached, some of them will be useful as they are, and some of them are just pipedreams. If you want to collaborate on something, please drop me a line - I've love to get some reflections and feedback.

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Outline

Ideas in this category are just back-of-napkin ideas, and some may always stay that way. I'm publishing them here in case someone wishes to develop them further, though of course their being public may spur me on to do something with them!

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I recently donated some money to a small web-based charity, which accepts Paypal payments and electronic bank transfers. Whilst I have no fears that the charity misspends any donations, I realised after giving that I had no idea how the money had been spent. This particular organisation is run by over-worked volunteers, and whilst I […]

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Introduction My experience of VirtualBox on Linux is mostly excellent, but there are a few areas in which host data would be good to bring into guests, for the purposes of updating informational widgets. For example, I’d like to see CPU activity and CPU core temperature in a guest VM, so I don’t need to […]

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Some years ago I started work on a JavaScript implementation of a bad writing filter for Stack Overflow. I have some code for that sitting around, and one day I may even publish it! I find myself wanting to play around with the Stack Exchange API, partly as an excuse to learn Laravel, but sadly […]

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One of the features missing from Stack Overflow is to receive a notification when a post that you’ve edited is subsequently edited again. This is useful where a post owner decides they disagree with an edit, and they wish to assert that their chatty tone, misspellings and extended downvote complaints really do belong (the community […]

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As all social media users know, occasional time spent checking your various web accounts can add up during the day, and not all of it is productive. I use Twitter and Stack Overflow, primarily to help new developers, but the nature of these sites is that a new software library or interesting news story appears […]

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I’m presently working on a project that handles the import of HTML from external sources, much of which will be fed through HTMLPurifier to ensure the HTML I render for the user is valid and safe. However, while pondering ways I can make this safe, I wondered how to find out quickly if some malicious […]

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I’m currently working with the Ordnance Survey Code-Point Open data, which contains the 1.7M UK postcodes and their geo-coordinates. To import it into MySQL, I convert the Easting and Northing units into latitude and longitude, TRUNCATE the database table, and INSERT them in. This is rather slow, so I’m trying to speed it up by […]

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I’ve a simple idea for a PHP information tool, very useful for beginners. If someone is asking about their PHP configuration on their system, they can just issue a command like this: > wget https://phpinfosite.com/installer.php | php in the same manner as Composer (and adjusted suitably for Windows). This will then give them a PHP […]

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One of the things I’m cautious about is logging onto my own blog, and other self-hosted sites that require authentication, over public wifi. Unless I use server certificates, my WordPress and other passwords are in danger of being captured via a promiscuously-configured wifi adapter on the same subnet. Whilst I really ought to get a […]

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I’ve been reading up on build processes for PHP recently, and comparing them with the good and bad deployment approaches I’ve been asked to use in the past. To do it properly, there are two approaches designed for a speedy changeover: Build the app in a new location and then change the docroot symlink to […]

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Using HTTPS in the browser is a good security measure against data and session theft, especially on publicly available networks, such as internet cafes. A number of browser plugins now offer the ability to auto-switch to an encrypted connection, such as NoScript and SSL Everywhere. I thought a good counterpart to these would be a […]

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Grassroots pressure groups, such as Amnesty International, ask their members to write letters in order to lobby individuals in positions of authority. Other groups request that messages of petition are sent to corporations or journalists. In each case, new members wanting to join in a letter-writing effort may find the process difficult, especially if their […]

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I’ve mentioned before on this site that I sometimes work day-to-day from coffee shops. To get an idea of what a café is like prior to visiting, I’ll sometimes refer to services like Beanhunter. However, many websites of this kind focus on coffee reviewing — not unimportant, of course — rather than what the space is like […]

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I use wireless broadband via a wireless router, the use of which needs to be monitored carefully to avoid going over-quota. However I also use another wifi connection at home, and wifi connections at the office and many public ones. Thus, I wish to count data bytes on a specific interface for one specific router; […]

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One of the surprising things one can learn from The Electoral Commission’s website is that they don’t have official responsibility for recording local election results. In fact, though there is all sorts of interesting factoids to be mined from that data, it seems there is no public body responsible for making it available. There are […]