iPlayer gets deep linking back

Earlier in the year, BBC rolled out a new version of iPlayer and one of the ‘updates’ was removing the deep linking facility – where you could share a link to a specific point in the audio/video. That was really useful.

So I got in touch with them to ask if they’d put it back:

Me:
“We’ve been using the ability to deep link to a specific point in time on iPlayer content for years (e.g. ?t=2m13s) but we’ve just noticed that it doesn’t seem to work any longer. Could you please explain why it is no longer possible? If it is possible another way, please let me know how?”

Them:
“Thank you for contacting us at BBC iPlayer.
We understand you valued the ‘deep linking’ facility that was possible with a previous version of iPlayer.
This feature was removed from the new versions of iPlayer. We appreciate that you would like it to be reinstated. We do encourage people to use the play controls to navigate to the exact point within the programme that they wish to use.
Other detail about the features which have been developed and introduced, together with the issues involved in those kind of decisions, is available on this blog here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/posts/new-iPlayer-preview-feedback-and-live-launch”

Anyway. A couple of months pass, and then I notice the ‘chapters’ functionality on BBC iPlayer Radio – it turns out they’ve rolled out a new version of the deep linking!
They’ve dropped the question mark and gone for hash # instead, like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01q0k5b/wallace-and-gromit-a-close-shave#playt=0h3m50s

It doesn’t autoplay, but that’s fine by me.

How to install WordPress MU using SVN

I had to get my head around this for WP standard work recently, and thought I would combine it with some WP-MU experimentation.

Current release (at time of writing) WP-MU 2.6.5

Page on WP Codex on setting up WP with Subversion (not MU specific, but you can usually add ‘-mu’ on the end of WP 🙂

So if your host, like mine, supports SVN , navigate to your chosen directory and create a subdirectory if you want one:

mkdir blog
cd blog

svn co http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress-mu/tags/2.6.5/ .

EDIT: Don’t install WP-MU in a subdirectory!

The space AND dot is VERY important (I did forget it a few times while trying this out)

Create new database on Dreamhost (or whatever host you use):

Make a note of the details and proceed with a standard install procedure or edit your wp-config.php if you would rather.

Updating WP-MU to run off a later tag

svn sw http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress-mu/tags/2.7/ .

or off ‘trunk’ (not recommended for production environments)

svn sw http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress-mu/trunk/ .

This will replace all files that were associated with the tagged files from the repository (in our example, from 2.6.5) to the newer version, in this case 2.7 (at the time of writing WP 2.7 is out but not WP-MU 2.7).

Easy peasy!

Give me your favourite quotes

I have been using a great little WordPress plug-in called ‘Quotes Collection‘ on this blog – it’s great for grabbing those quotes you see popping up over the web and adding them to your blog. It is my favourite aspect of my own blog actually – I like being inspired, challenged or reminded of important concepts and values by great thinkers.

You can get a sample of them by clicking on ‘Next Quote’ over there on the left- it doesn’t need to reload the page due to some javascript trickery (and you should see a non-javascript degraded version if you you don’t have js turned on).

Anyway – I want your quotes! What is your favourite quote? What makes a good quote?

If you have a favourite quote that covers anything in the category/tag cloud – please post them here and I will add them to my quotes collection… and others can grab them too.

Mind the gap

I am not the only one fretting about over-specialisation it seems. I was pointed to Sharon Astyk’s ‘Casaubon’s Book’ blog by this Eating the Seasons post, which mentioned the book Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front.

The post that I thought might be of interest is this one about the ‘gaps’ in our self-sufficiency skill set. It is an interesting challenge, and one I am already engaged in constantly! Not necessarily because of peak-oil, but perhaps more to do with John Seymour and maybe Felicity Kendal.

For the past couple of years I have been trying to grow stuff (I have an allotment now even, but need to get a bike and somewhere to store tools & shelter me from the rain.. look out shed alert!).

I recently fixed my daughter’s bike which had suffered a horrendous chain tangling accident (involved the use of a chain link removal tool!).

I have wrestled with basic plumbing (I can plumb in a dish washer or washing machine, replace washers in taps, unblock drains etc), I sweep my own chimney, split logs, make kindling and light a fire without a firelighter (i do want a firesteel though and must have a go at friction fire lighting).

We make our own compost, I collected seed from some of the veg and herbs I grew this year, and we have eaten stuff I grew (just not as much as I know we can).

My wife has always been a great cook, but she has been whipping up some delicious veg box meals, and has recently become a bit of a compulsive masterbaker! She can now pretty much cook any recipe, but her cakes and cookies and sweet treats are better than anything you buy in the shops. I am a competent cook too, just not as dedicated, or perhaps committed…

That was quite cathartic, we/I have made progress. But here is my list (to be expanded upon and hopefully crossed off):

  • I many have gaps in my DIY skills – we need to decorate (we know how to do that – we just enjoy sitting down after work ;)) and erect many, many shelves and stuff
  • Lots of room for improvement in the horticultural field. I just need to get out there more. Weeds, slugs, spider mite, blight and cabbage white butterflys are on my hit list – I generally want to grow gluts, cancel the veg box and learn to preserve
  • I want to learn how to use a chainsaw and more tree related stuff (I have been planting tree seeds recently – want to go collect some acorns, but also want to learn how to fell and coppice etc)
  • I want to learn to play an instrument – one that doesn’t need plugging in
  • I always loved chiseling and whittling wood as a kid – I want to rekindle that and turn it into something useful (like a breadboard or a wooden spoon)
  • I want to learn more bushcraft and foraging skills

I have an abundance of diverse technical skills and I blame that for my lack of diversification and competence in more practical skills, but at least it is doing something tangible to help – it is paying the rent and putting food on the table, and giving me a lot of job satisfaction, as I have managed to combine my geeklust with an environmental job. So I am sorted there really – I could go on for ever learning this scripting language or that OS but I am slightly less obsessed now I have a fairly good grounding I can plug most gaps one way or another.

That’ll do me for tonight!

Anyone else feeling gap aversion?

Problem with php includes when upgrading from PHP4 to PHP5

A friend come client of mine had a problem today – he was getting errors with his website, but had done nothing to the site. Errors a bit like this:

Warning: include() [function.include]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration in /home/user/public_html/page.php on line xx

Warning: include(http://www.somedomain.com/file.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/user/public_html/page.php on line xx

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening ‘http://www.somedomain.com/file.php’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in /home/user/public_html/page.php on line xx

I figured it must have been something the hosting company did… it turned out to be right – they had upgraded from PHP4 to PHP5 – which doesn’t allow remote file includes (in order to prevent cross site scripting). On further investigation (involving me having to remember the username/password combination!) I discovered that the site (which I didn’t build) wasn’t actually pulling in remote headers, but was using a full url string like:

< ?php include("http://www.somedomain.com/includes/head.php"); ?>

So after a quick hunt around (my PHP isn’t great), I found this blog post which reminded me of the answer I already knew but lacked the confidence to believe. I changed line to say:

< ?php include("includes/head.php"); ?>

And that worked. All I needed to do was download the rest of the PHP files and ran a multiple file search and replace on all the php files – backup the old site and reupload the amended code.

All working again. I just thought I would share that.