Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free
Writing (page 2)
Categories: Life | Add a Comment

A number of years ago I signed up for a Paypal account. I’m not sure why I did this, since in most cases Paypal can be used as a card merchant without specifically having a web account with them. Anyway, I recently started receiving monthly marketing messages from Paypal, somewhat disguised as identity fraud emails: […]

Categories: Life | 8 Comments

Sadly I’m in a position to write quite a lot of posts like these. Having seen spam to unique email addresses for Amazon and, on 5th March I received one from a email used to register with, which I created in August 2011. Others have spotted this too: says one, “getting several e-mails […]

Categories: Life | 2 Comments

The attached leaflet was received to a Birmingham address, and I thought it valuable to post it for the benefit of the search engines. Without doubt, it is the wordiest and most convoluted charitable proposition I’ve ever seen, and I am pretty sure it’s a fraud. It mentions that it is a company as well […]

Categories: Technical, XML | Add a Comment

Way back in March, I found that Inkscape contains some security vulnerabilities related to its processing of XML entities at the start of an SVG document. I’ve persisted privately since discovery to get a fix from Inkscape core developers, alongside the Ubuntu Security Team, to no avail. Following the generally accepted tenets of responsible reporting, […]

Categories: Technical | 15 Comments

For readers who are unfamiliar with it, StackExchange is a group of discussion boards whose novel approach of peer voting and meritocratic moderation has revitalised the forum as a source of interactive help on the internet. Having learnt how the community works (at StackOverflow, for programming questions) I’ve a few thoughts on how I think […]

Categories: Life | Add a Comment

As per my previous experience with Play and Amazon, where an email address definitively used exclusively for those services has fallen into the hands of spammers, now it is the turn of, the music aggregator/radio service. I’m posting these so anyone searching for the websites within can be warned not to use them. Here […]

Categories: Life | Add a Comment

With regard to the modern customer service function in the developed world, I have a theory. I witness a peculiarity that, whilst the capability of a company to deliver excellent service is directly proportional to its size, its willingness to deliver the same is largely inversely proportional. That is to say that, the larger an […]

Categories: E-bikes | 1 Comment

Customer service has been something I’ve been repeatedly coming back to on this blog, partly because it tallies greatly with my interest in the social experience of technology, and partly because an interaction with manufacturers and service suppliers is an unavoidable feature of (first world) product complexity and role specialisation. I suppose it is interesting […]

Categories: E-bikes | 2 Comments

My notching up 3,000 miles on a Juicy Sport coincided with an unhappy sequence of mechanical and support issues, which have troubled my bike on-and-off for the last six months. It all started with the corker in the picture, way back in September last year: the hardened steel spindle sheared for no apparent reason, perhaps […]

Categories: PHP, Symfony | 1 Comment

I’m still using symfony 1.3 for pet projects, even though I should find the time (maybe first quarter of 2014!) to look at Symfony 2. However as can happen with any framework, today I came across a head-scratcher that took more coffee than expected to fix. Today’s hiccup was with the Propel 1.6 plugin – […]

Categories: E-bikes | 3 Comments

Based on an estimated 40 miles per/week – probably a conservative estimate – my 18 months of electric bike ownership has seen me clock up over 3,000 (mainly commuting) miles. As per my earlier review, I ride a Juicy Sport – the design for which has changed twice since my 2010 model. I’m at the […]

Categories: Tech misc | Add a Comment

I’ve been working with the Fotolia Business API recently to integrate stock image purchasing into a web application, and by-and-large it does what it says on the tin. However I’ve found the documentation to be somewhat lacking, and it’s not made any easier given that new messages to the (rather quiet) discussion group must wait […]