New Site Published – St Bede’s College

The new web site for my daughter’s school, St Bede’s College has finally gone live today. This is great news! It is a much better looking replacement for their old site and will give a much needed boost to their on-line presence.

Of course, it is built completely on WordPress, with a ton of plugins, a couple of custom widgets, an original design by an ex pupil, and a fairly sophisticated theme by me. I’ll give more details shortly. It should look OK in most browsers. I’d appreciate a comment if anyone spots any major breakage.

The hardest part (or at least the part that took me the most time) was converting their old pages which were written as old-school 90’s stylee static pages — chock full of presentational HTML — into Plain Old Semantic HTML (POSH) ones. As far as I can tell every page nowvalidates as XHTML 1.0 strict.

The small team of staff members who have helped me design the architecture of the site, up date the content, and add new stuff, have done a marvellous job. Especially whilst coping with all that goes on at the beginning of a new school year.

Screen shot of St Bede's College website

Go check it out.

Wordcamp UK – Change of Venue

After some last minute changes (and upsetting a few people) there is now a new venue for the WordCamp UK 2008 event.

The new venue is The Studio, it is still in Birmingham, and in fact quite close to the previously planned venue. The Studio has a directions map and their main web site lists all the features. The event will be hosted in ‘Atrium Bar’ and the adjoining ‘Open’ room.

Someone kindly set up a Google Maps directions page.

For full details go to the WordCamp UK wiki.

One million spam comments caught

I noticed a few days ago that Akismet had caught more than 1 million spam comments on this blog. That’s an incredible amount. I didn’t think more about it until I spotted that Darren Rowse blogged about “The Blog Tool that Has Saved Me Months of Work” referring to Akismet having caught 2 million spam comments for him. He calculates that it has saved him over 46 days of moderation time.

Wow! That means it must have saved me 23 days effort, using his calculations. If I include the 200,000 or so it has caught on the other blogs I manage, it’s an awesome amount of time saved.

I have to agree that Akismet is a fantastic tool, and second his comment to encourage you to pay for Akismet if you are getting a great service out of it.

One Million Visitors

Wow, I pay so little attention to this blog at the moment, that I didn’t notice my visitor count rolling over 1 million. It must have done so at least a couple of weeks ago. Update I checked and it was May 30th at approximately 15:47 GMT and it looks like it was a visitor from the Netherlands.

My page view counter is nearly at 10 million too.

Journalized Dugg!

Wow! I hit the front page of Digg.com about 20 hours ago, for an old posting. The piece is one I wrote back in September about new features in Gmail only being available in the US English version.
With the new Chat feature now released I guess some people were searching to find out why they didn’t have it. They found me, and Digg user Gurgle dugg me.

Ironically, I didn’t find out about it until mid afternoon because GMail is being really slow at putting mail in my inbox. My statistics package mails me every 100 unique visitors. Around 1:30 this afternoon, I received over 50 of these emails all showing in GMail as having been sent “8 hours ago”. I looked and saw that most of them were around 5 minutes apart! I checked my stats package and saw the spike!
visits by hour (click for larger view). You can see from the hourly chart that for the hour of 5am GMT I got over 1100 visitors!
The visitors bar chart for the month has yesterday sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb!
monthly stats (click for larger image).
In all I had just over 10,000 unique visits yesterday: over 7 times the current average! I’m pleased to say the server held up well. Partly thanks, I’m sure, to Ricardo Galli’s WP-Cache plugin. My Webalizer stats are showing 17,000 visits for the domain as a whole yesterday (264,000 file hits), almost 3GB of bandwidth. My last hosting arrangement would have ground to a halt in less than 15 minutes!