Web Geekery Mode Engaged

For a long time I have been putting off upgrading the Independent Fabrication Owners’ Club website, ifrider.com. It’s been running on a legacy version of WordPress (version 2.3.3) for a lot longer than most people would be happy with. Indeed it was even compromised as a result, but I managed to fix that and patch it. Still with WordPress 2.7.0 now on the scene, it was time to catch up, especially when a large group of friends including Samuri, who all share the same host have just had their sites affected by a recent compromised server, caused in part by people running insecure software installations. It pays to keep up with the versions!

One of the key things holding back the move was the fact that the Disclose Secret plugin that had previously been used to keep the private members only content secure didn’t support versions 2.4 onwards fully. Part of the waiting game has been waiting for a suitable replacement to come along to let the upgrade take place and keep the content secure. The solution to that issue has come in the form of the Role Scoper plugin that offers even greater granularity to admins to control access.

Of course there are always other issues that you don’t expect to happen. One is that the TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor in 2.7 turned out to be a WYSI not WYG editor, corrupting hyperlink tags when you flicked between the visual and code views of the page. Turning off the visual editor in the profile fixes the issue, but loses some of the useful functionality of the application. I’ve tried replacing the wp-includes and wp-admin folders on the server in case there was a corrupted element that occurred during upload, but this made no difference. Haven’t had this issue for a while and a search of teh web hasn’t found any one else having the same issue…yet.

The other issue is that the RS Discuss forum plugin that I’d been using doesn’t work either and even after trying a patch that had been developed for WordPress MU, I still couldn’t get it to display posts. The solution to that has been to create an installation of BBPress on the server. I looked at PHPBB which is arguably the most popular solution for bulletin boards, but couldn’t find a neat way of integrating it into the WordPress user table. BBPress comes from the same team of developers as WordPress and has the option to integrate straight out of the box during the installation phase. That option didn’t work for me, but you can complete the install without it and create the link once the setup is complete.

The other useful thing was the offline for maintenance solution, which was simply to add in the following three lines to the .htaccess file in the Public HTML folder on the webserver. The first line shows the IP address of the computer you’re working from and creates an exception so that you can see the site. The only other requirement is to create a simple html page (maintenance.html) that tells the world why they can’t access the site. Neat solution.

RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^111\.11\.111\.111
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.html$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [R,L]

Integrating BBPress and WordPress 2.7 (Update)

Issues to date:

1. If the function that allows users to register with BBPress is left active then, when these users log-in to WordPress it breaks the WordPress site. If users are created in WordPress then they can access the BBPress forum without any issues.

2. Users are not automatically logged into BBPress if they are logged into WordPress.

Other Upgrade Issues (update)

Seems like WordPress 2.7 doesn’t like to play with Lightbox2. As a result the navigation within agallery of photos isn’t working anymore. Some discussion here.


So I’m at a technology conference in Boston right now. It’ one of those places where you get bombarded with content – lots of people sharing what they are using to do certain things. One of the more interesting things I’ve discovered is Frappr. It’s the product of three UC Berkeley students and it’s rather neat. Here’s a map I’ve created:

The biggest issue with it in terms of integration is that it comes with some very complex imbed code. So the plan with the map above was to be able to add it to one of the Singletrackworld forums. Any way I’ve put a post up here to try and see if this gets any uptake.

Clustrmaps was also discussed in one session. Here’s a map for rothar.com (see below) it’s really something that needs to be added to the sidebar or footer and it’s an aggregation tool so it will collate content over time. What would be really need was if it was possible to integrate it into Google Analytics to use visitor data to create a retrospective summary at install stage.

Locations of visitors to this page

function cantload() {
img = document.getElementById(“clustrMapsImg”);
img.onerror = null;
img.src = “http://www2.clustrmaps.com/images/clustrmaps-back-soon.jpg”;
document.getElementById(“clustrMapsLink”).href = “http://www2.clustrmaps.com”;
img = document.getElementById(“clustrMapsImg”);
img.onerror = cantload;

Manchester Mountain Bikers

Manchester Mountain Bikers. Perhaps that should read Manchester Stockport Mountain Bikers. Anyway, one of the guys in Harry Halls gave me a card for these guys last time I was in. It’s a bloody good idea actually – the number of times we used to get people in asking for information about local clubs and had little to give out meant this was a definite opportunity that has been taken. Anyway these are some of the people behind the efforts in Reddish Vale and there’s a cyclocross race this Wednesday night…

I upgraded to Firefox 3 at work on release day (although not at home) and one thing that has iritated me today is that the Spell Checker in the browser no longer seems to work with WordPress. It’s been discussed here.

Mag Archive vs STW

On my list of things to do for a long time has been integrating the Mag Archive more neatly into the Singletrackworld website. As the guys have been discussing a redesign for about the last 4 years it’s never been a very high priority, so for a long time it’s had a different look and feel which has always been a bit of a compromise.

The new Singletrack website looks great, so last night I spend a few hours putting together a new template for the site that integrates into the navigation and look and feel. It took another hour or so it iron out a few niggles, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. Take a look.

Singletrack Mag Archive


For a little while I’ve been getting mildly irritated by a number of false user registrations coming through each day. In the past these accounts if left active have then resulted in unwanted SPAM comments. reCAPTCHA has been the logical choice for a long time to counter this, but it’s only been this weekend that a solution has come along that solves the issue. the solution I’m using at the moment is largely the work of this chap, you can read more about the plugin on his site, but there are one or two little bugs that have been highlighted so far.

Upgraded and Free

Made the move to WordPress 2.5 last night. Well actually it was 2.5.1, so I’m glad I wasn’t an early adopter or I’d have had to upgrade twice in the time I’ve been contemplating it. I’ve also ditched the Flickr integration tool. The latest version had a tag cloud that I didn’t like and despite taking action to remove that code, it seemed to defy all logic and persist. In the end I gave up and just deleted the whole thing and linked the photos section directly to Flickr. Of course now I’ve looked under the hood I notice that a different plugin is causing the various pages not to validate anymore. A bit annoying to say the least, so it’s time for some more site maintenance.

In other news since Tuesday I am officially car free. After 3 years ownership the excellent S3 has found a new home on the south coast. I’ll miss it and we had some good road trips together, but she was going to cost £1,200 in maintenance, MOT and insurance costs to keep running past the end of May. I’m not sure how long I will remain car free, but if I can ride every day for thirty days, I’m fairly sure I can live without a car for a lot longer than that. With rising fuel costs, money tied up in other commitments and the fact I can ride to work, I really don’t need a car right now. That’s what I keep telling myself. I think I might actually have to calculate what it cost to run in the last 12 months to see (theoretically) how much better off I am.


It’s lunch time and I’m inhaling tomato and basil soup whilst sinking up to my eyeballs in <?php> code. There’s more windows open on my Mac than I can count and even using spaces it’s a bit of and exercise to get enough dual display desktop space to juggle all the things that are going on. Of course things aren’t necessarily going to plan either. Why is x happening if I do y, when it shouldn’t be. Why isn’t z working at all?

I’m solving issues but just finding more. Is it time to start a clean sheet? Or do I push on to the end. It’s a bit like a mountain biking mechanical when you’re in a situation that’s as far from home, help or civilisation as you could be and either tracking back or pushing forward are going to be as tough as each other. This afternoon is booked up with meetings and my productive roll is shortly going to come to an end. Why does it always happen like this? I take a quick look at iTunes. It’s paused mid way through a track, Troubles by Alicia Keys. How appropriate.


No riding this weekend for me. Formal Dinner and Ball on Saturday night meant I needed to be at home all day Saturday in case anything came up and most of Sunday was spent either sleeping or recovering from a night of excess including too many pints of Tim Taylor’s Landlord and some silly Alaskan Shots. I used most of my free time to apply a facelift to the Independent Fabrication Owners’ Club site over at ifrider.com. The number of publicly accessible bikes is now climbing towards 1,000, but there are already more than this available in the Members Only section known as the Clublounge.

The idea of the new look was to try and implement some form of magazine style. I looked at several different options and was most impressed by The Morning After theme by the Masterplan. That said none of the themes out there really worked well with the basis of the club design used for the major rebuild of the site that went live in September ’07. The core of this revision was borrowed from the MIT Creative Synthesis experimental theme, Recycled Canvas. The proprietary code used in Recycled Canvas caused a massive hit on the hosting server, so the controversial experimental functionality had to be turned off.

Still it presented a unique box-based layout option which was a nice way of displaying posts. So the latest spread keeps this element, uses a three column layout (with fixed widths) and rolls in some new layout elements too. I’m looking at a few other tweaks including customising how many posts are shown in different page types for which some neat plugins already exist and of course all this overlaps nicely with what’s being developed at work. An upgrade to WP2.5 is on the cards too, but there are a few other sites that will get this treatment first before it’s rolled completely.

Long Way Home

Whether you are a Mac person or a PC person, even the briefest exposure to the Apple logo may make you behave more creatively, according to recent research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of Waterloo, Canada. Anyway tonight was a long ride home on the Singlespeed via the River Run. It was nice to do a midweek ride without lights. Might have to repeat tomorrow…

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com


There’s been an icon on the desktop of my MacBook Pro for about as long as I have had it for Parallels. To be honest I started the installation process, reached so far and discovered I had to register even for the demo and never followed through, which hasn’t really been a problem because I have access to a Windows Terminal Server when I need it and OSX can do most of what I want. Which is all fine until you need to do some testing on Internet Explorer that isn’t a restricted access version and need to be able to see pretty much what most end users will see. So this morning I’ve upgraded to a full version of Parallels and after following the steps in the simple setup guide, I have something that is working. It’s actually a lot better than I thought it would be and I can now play around with Vista too.