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Recommended Wordpress Hosting from WPEngine

  • I use these guys for some of my clients; absolutely rock solid and blazingly fast - check them out!

Here are a couple of ads whose clicks and views help me pay for my server hosting

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VIM quick fix (for arrow keys in insert mode)

When using VIM in insert mode, when I try and move around with the arrow keys, it inserts A, B, C and D instead. Not completely sure why, but typing:

:set nocompatible

seems to fix the problem. You can make this permanent by sticking

set nocompatible

in .vimrc in your home directory. Anyone know why?!

How to create pages outside of the WordPress installation, that use WordPress themes

This is a quick guide on how to get  a file anywhere in your webhost’s file tree to serve its content as if it was part of WordPress – this can be useful if you already have a site that you only want to use WordPress for part of, or if you have WordPress that is installed in a subdirectory separate from the rest of your site, but you want to “export” a bit of it elsewhere.


Let Firefox read local files during development

Use with caution!!

By default, Firefox doesn’t allow resources on the web to access local files. However, when debugging a web application, this is sometimes useful (for example, if you have a remote web system that takes a long time to rebuild/update, and want to make a lot of small trial-and-error changes to javascript/css). This is potentially very dangerous, so only enable whilst you’re debugging, and turn off when you’re done 🙂


Random dev doodling – JavaScript 3D cube

Being a developer, I spend quite a bit of time playing around with programming bits and bobs. A little while ago, I had a relatively old Nokia that supported J2ME (without floating point) so I decided to try and write a simple 3d renderer for it – having no FPU (floating point unit) I had to write an integer math library, and sine/cosine lookup tables against the math library. This was all good stuff, and reminded me some of the maths I learnt at uni, and some good optimization tricks.

A couple of months after that, bored one afternoon, I decided to write something similar in JavaScript – modern browsers have decent JavaScript engines with good floating point support, so it was a lot easier… after proving that it could be done, I lost interest, but here’s where it go to.


Quick howto: init.d script for glassfish 3

Glassfish is a reference implentation of the Java EE 6 application server – it’s fairly easy to download and get running, but I wanted to get it running automatically on system startup on my linux server (which at the moment is running on coLinux – probably post about separately that at some point).

I’m assuming you’ve got the glassfish .zip, and extracted it to /opt/glassfishv3… and you’re running a debian-based OS (like Debian Lenny, or Ubuntu). These commands assume you’re either running as root, or prepend all of them with sudo…



Hello, I’m Seb.

I’m a developer from England, currently focussed on backend stuff for games.

I’ve been working with basically everything to do with web, web services and cloud for the last 20 years on a variety of projects, and I’m currently Technical Director of Live Services for Creative Assembly.

I also do a fair amount of freelance web work, building things like CMS, ERP, eCommerce whatsits and associated paraphernalia.

I live with my wonderful wife and kids in Brighton, and when I’m not technical directing, I’m probably near a piano.

I just posted my first tune to Spotify (and Apple Music, Youtube Music, Deezer…. thanks DistroKid)! See for more details, and contact if you’d like to request a song!

Continuous Android Sync (optionally with DropBox)

I like DropBox. I like Android. I just wish there was a way to continously sync my dropbox folders with my phone so they’re always up to date… here’s a way I use to get round this limitation


Digitoneurolinguistic Hacking

I read the word “Digitoneurolinguistic” in an XKCD comic, about 3 hours after it appeared on Google Reader:

Trochee Fixation

I’ve coined this dNLP because it looks fancy. I might try and drop it into a conversation somehow…

Anyway, it sounded like an intriguing concept; after a quick Google, I found nothing – I’ve done a bit of freelance work for a Hypnotherapy company / practice / clinic (what do you call it?!) in the past, and have read a lot of their site content about neurolinguistic programming (not the digito- kind though) and started wondering what the digital equivalent might be like.


Seb’s guide on how to see

EDIT (2011-07-18): This is a brief summary of my experience of laser eye surgery. It’s now almost a year since I had it done, and I’ve still got perfect vision. Absolutely worth every second of discomfort!

The short version

To do laser magic, they slice a flap in your eye, peel back the flap, laser it a bit, then put it back together.

And you have to be awake and watch the whole thing for some reason…

  • Intralase: expensive. Safer. Better results. For my eyes, expensive==better. They make the slice with another laser instead of a knife.
  • Wavefront: expensive. Dunno really what it does. Didn’t care. As above.

I opted for Intralase + Wavefront

The long version

  • Consider it. Decide on it.
  • Save up for it.
  • Give up saving, take inheritance money.
  • Get quote: £1895/eye
  • Say “no. £3,000 all up ok?”
  • “Yes ok.”

Wait a bit

  • Pay.

Wait a bit more

  • Wake up
  • Put on glasses
  • 10:30am, go to optical express in the shopping centre.
  • Go upstairs, still in the shopping centre.
  • Sit in waiting room
  • 10:35am they take you in and put some drops in (dilate and anaesthetic)
  • Pupils go the size of watermelons. Actually bigger than your head.
  • Eyes feel like they’re not in your head anymore
  • Get put on “laser chair”.

Here goes……

  • First, to hold your eye in position, they put this see-through suction cap on the eyeball.
  • Then press. REALLY, REALLY HARD.
  • (I think my eye might pop?)
  • (ow)
  • (ow)
  • “Oh dear. It fell off. Oh well, let’s try again”

Well that hurt.

  • Surgeon moves the Intralase (the flap making laser) into position, gear it up
  • It then gears down immediately.
  • “Oh.” says eye surgeon
  • “That’s odd. It seems to have stopped.”

Pause. Panic.

  • “Hmm. How strange. You work in computers don’t you? You know how computers can get themselves in a bit of muddle…”


  • “Oh, it’s ok. It’s started again. “
  • “Right. Let’s have another go shall we?”
  • *bzzzzzzzzzz*


  • Feels like they’re jabbing your eyeball with needles.
  • Turns out the anaesthetic isn’t that strong…
  • “Good. Next eye”
  • *bzzzzzzzzzz*
  • Hmm. Didn’t hurt that time.
  • *POP* remove the suction caps

Now it gets a bit messed up. Actually, really fucked up.

  • Surgeon says “Right, just going to move the flap out the way”.
  • He fiddles around with a pair of tweesers on your eyeball trying to grab the flaps – really, really digusting.
  • Moves the flap out the way, everything goes crazy frosted glass looking
  • They swivel you into place for the actual laser bit
  • Happens for about 35 seconds – each click is the laser lasering a bit
  • *sniff*


  • *sniff*
  • *sniiiiiifff*
  • “Um, why can I smell burning hair?”
  • “Oh, that’s your eyeball.”

  • Job done, more fannying around with tweesers to put the flap back
  • Flap in place, bit sore, can’t really see anything – everything’s really, really bright
  • Into darkened room for 10 minutes.
  • Send you home – can’t really open your eyes at all because it’s all too bright.
  • Get home, put on stupid sleeping goggles, sleep for a bit
  • Wake up, listen to radio, keep eyes closed.

Full night’s sleep later…

  • Saturday morning, wake up.
  • Open eyes.
  • I can see.

Well that’s clever.

  • Head back to Optical Express for 10:30am
  • “Ah Mr. Maynard. Please try and read the bottom line of the sight chart”
  • “Yep, perfect. Thanks. You can drive yourself home now.”

The end.

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