Site development

I have mentioned before that I’m feeling restricted by Blogger, so I have started work on a new site powered by Drupal, an open-source content management system. Another reason for the change is that I am hoping to use Drupal or a similar CMS in a few upcoming projects, so I need to play with it anyway.

Updates on the existing site will continue, but may be less frequent than usual. The new site will be unveiled as soon as it’s ready, and I assure you that it will be worth the wait!

Disable automatic restart after Windows Update

One of the changes that came in with Windows XP SP2 is the emphasis on the fact that you should keep Automatic Updates enabled, and the incessant reminders to reboot.

Unfortunately I don’t know of a way to stop the reminders, but this blog post explains how you can prevent XP restarting your machine automatically, which it does if you don’t tell it not to within 5 minutes. This could be inconvenient at best, and could even lead to loss of work.

This particular method only works on the Professional Edition of XP, so if you have Home Edition you’re on your own, I’m afraid.

(via digg)

Put music on your website

XSPF Web Music Player is a streaming MP3 player written in Flash which you can embed on your website. It’s completely free to use, and while not as feature-packed as commercial offerings – it’s only at version 0.2 currently -it does the job well.

It works well with Webjay, a service which allows users to share playlists of streaming music culled from various sources.

On a related note, I feel I’m beginning to outgrow Blogger, and would like to move to something more customisable. I’m using a slightly tweaked standard Blogger template, which means my blog looks like so many others, and would like to build something like this into it (on an opt-in basis – I’m not going to blast you with music as soon as you type my URL). So keep an eye out for changes in the near future!

Issues with IntelliType for Microsoft keyboards

A friend bought a new Microsoft desktop set today and was initially having problems getting Winamp to work correctly with the multimedia keys. They worked apart from the fact that Winamp would come back into focus when minimised when pressing the Play/Pause key.

I decided to install the new IntelliType Pro 5.2 software supplied with the set on my own machine, as I own an older version of the same desktop set. And it turned out to be a problem with the latest software, as I started experiencing similar issues – whenever I pressed Play/Pause, my default media player (which happens to be iTunes) started up.

The easy solution to the problem is to downgrade to the older 5.0 version of the software which, fortunately, is still available to download here on Microsoft’s site. I decided to get rid of IntelliPoint, the associated software for the mouse, as I don’t use any functions, but I guess you could stick with IntelliPoint 5.2 or give 5.0 a try.

I found this blog post which proposed a couple of alternative solutions – either set the key function for Play/Pause to “disabled”, in which case it will only work in Winamp, or get rid of IntelliType altogether and instead use Microsoft’s free TweakUI PowerToy to set the key functions (under Explorer -> Command Keys), although I found that not all the keys on my keyboard were listed so this may be a less than optimal solution.

The conclusion? Microsoft hardware might look nice and is cheap compared to alternatives such as Logitech (my friend’s set was £40 in Dixons and mine was a £30 OEM version), but it can be a pain to set up given its bias towards Microsoft software. My personal bugbear with this line is the fact that Microsoft has deviated from standard keyboard design in a number of minor but irritating ways.

All this just makes me want to go out and by a dual G5 with 30″ Cinema Display (I was in the Apple store in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre today and was in awe!) but I’ll probably just end up with a Mac Mini and the same old trusty MS desktop set a few months down the line, especially given the news of Apple’s controversial switch to Intel processors.