This site replaces my original Typepad blog which was at I will probably disable the Typepad blog entirely in the long run (possibly even the short run) but for now I figured out a way to have the Typepad pages redirect to the relevant articles on this new site.

Simply add an HTML widget to your Typepad sidebar, containing a little bit of JavaScript to modify the URL:

<script type="text/javascript">
document.location.href = document.location.href
    .replace('', '')
    .replace('/atc/', '/')
    .replace('.html', '/');

This not only modifies the domain, but also loses the /atc prefix and the .html from the end, as they’re not needed on this new site. Magic!


I recently had the privilege of interviewing TV presenter Chris Packham for my other site: He was a very straightforward and knowledgeable chap who's clearly passionate about what he does. It was interesting to get an insight into his own garden full of birds, his photography kit and activities, and the deeper topics of the cut and thrust of modern conservation.

It's in three instalments: one, two, three. Personally I think the third is the best!

I'm afraid that the nature posts are going to dry up here, but never fear for they're all now going to be on – a new blog specifically for the flora and fauna of the UK and all related things, setup by myself and Mrs C.

Go and have a look, bookmark it, and do please contribute. The cheeky chap below will be over there from now on.


I've been putting together a WordPress powered blog or two recently and diligently documenting the steps required, as ever. The documentation available from the WordPress site is pretty good, but sometimes it's over verbose, whilst frustratingly also stopping short of giving you exactly the details you need. So here's what works for me to upgrade an existing WordPress installation to a newer version. This is using the manual approach BTW rather than the built in auto-upgrade functionality, which asks for FTP details (of what I'm not sure, and it doesn't bother to elaborate) and therefore makes a mockery of the term 'auto'.

The official instructions that got me going initially are at FWIW, but I do precisely this on Mac OS X:
  • Download the zipped upgrade package and unzip it somewhere - e.g. to wordpress_upgrade directory for the sake of this example.
  • Backup existing installation in full – both the wordpress directory itself and the associated MySQL DB, just in case.
  • Merge the newly downloaded package over your existing install (assumed to be a directory named wordpress here) with the following incantation at the command line, which takes advantage of the fact that cp merges, whereas Finder copying just oafishly replaces:
  • > cp -r  wordpress_upgrade/ wordpress_original
  • Compare the new wp-config-sample.php with your existing wp-config.php (e.g. using FileMerge) to see if any new config items have been added. If so, manually add those into your wp-config.php file, or if easier rename the sample to wp-config.php and put back the DB connection and other relevant bits.
  • Load up the /admin page in your web browser and follow the instructions to complete the upgrade, which involves it upgrading any DB bits, etc.

It seems to be the done thing these days to learn how to use Google App Engine (and thus Python) within a couple of hours and then hack out a simple web application to prove how easy it is.

So with the missus out of town tonight, I'm staying out of trouble by doing just that. I've run through the getting started tutorial, which is a delight I have to say, especially because it's so darned simple to get going on Mac OS X. Python is already installed and there's a neat app to download from Google which installs the app engine SDK bits and puts a nice GUI front end on it for you to fire up the local test environment and various other handy things, as well as installing the command line tools if you prefer them. Start up TextMate or any other editor of your choice and you're away!

You'll have to take my word for it though, because I'm tired and won't get onto writing my own app tonight.

Footnote: Python seems OK, but so far I prefer Ruby, though they seem to share a lot in common.