It’s right that UKIP are given air time

Credit: Impru20 at English Wikipedia

Graph of polling leading up to the United Kingdom general election, 2015 showing average trend line. Credit: Impru20 at English Wikipedia

Like many I despise UKIP for their right wing misogyny, homophobia, racism and xenophobia.

Some have suggested they shouldn’t be on the TV so much*. But when they are consistently matching or beating a governing party in polls, they deserve a place at the debating table.

Since November 2012 UKIP have consistently matched closely or beaten the Liberal Democrats in the polls.. In fact, UKIP have been ahead on average since February 2013.

* I would add here that one suggestion is that we should be seeing more of the Green Party, who actually have MPs. I agree, but not in place of UKIP.

It’s my birthday and I want NOTHING

Food-banks-graph-2013

Clarification: my birthday is on Wednesday, not today.

Well actually, I do want something… Read on.

In the run up to Christmas last year there was much consternation generated by the Trussell Trust setting up stalls in branches of Tesco. Many people, myself included, were dismayed at the idea that the world’s 8th richest country should need to appeal to the general population so widely to feed its disadvantaged.

Food bank usage is on the rise. More and more of your neighbours, friends, relatives and acquaintances are becoming reliant on food banks to survive. Many are having choose between food or warmth.

I had an idea, too late for Christmas, that I’m going to do for my birthday.

If you were going to, or usually would, buy me a present please don’t. Instead, take the money and donate it to the Trussell Trust. That includes cards too!

I’m a white, lower middle class male in Britain, and so a member of probably one of the least disadvantaged groups in the country. I don’t need anything and anything I do need I can provide for myself. So while there are people relying on food banks to survive I’d rather money didn’t get spent on gifts for me, but on feeding those impoverished families.

If you do get me something, I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be offended, but I’ll be disappointed that someone in need has missed out.

If you had no plans to buy me anything for my birthday, please DO! Buy me a donation to the Trussell Trust!

Image credit: Left Foot Forward

Irony escapes Tim Farron. Again. And again. And again.

Commenting on the Conservatives’ decision to drop a manifesto and coalition agreement promise, Illiberal Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, said, “It sends a message to the electorate that ‘we don’t trust you. We think you might do things which we don’t like’

Perhaps, Tim, you might sit your  parliamentary party down and beat then round the head with those words repeatedly until they fully understand the meanings of ‘promise’ and ‘trust’.

Worth doing it soon given that you just lost another deposit.

Stop breaking the internet!

image

That’s what I’m getting at the moment whilst trying to read an article from a feed I subscribe too.

I use Feedly, as you may have guessed, which insists on hijacking the URLs from the feeds with it’s own redirects. I get no benefit from this, just the longer wait when, as has happened a few times, Feedly’s redirect service decides to be a dick.

It’s frustrating, and unnecessary. Worse, Feedly isn’t the only one. Twitter has to be the worst. Every bloody link goes through t.co now. Facebook does. Google does it on search results even.

How is this good for the internet? How is this good usability?

It’s not. Please stop it.

The joy of collaboration… and politics

As an open source developer I collaborate with other developers on projects. More so now I’m working with Code For The People (best WordPress agency in the world, obvs).

Thanks to James Smith starting the OpenPolitics Manifesto I’ve thoroughly enjoyed applying that same collaborative spirit to a political endeavour. When you have something you want to add to the manifesto (anyone can) a pull request is created.

Collaborators, and anyone else, can then comment on that pull request – thus starts the debate. And that’s the big enjoyment for me.

We offer our views on a topic, but there’s never a sense of argument. It’s good, intellectual debate with everybody considering the merits of their own and others’ opinions at once. Changes of opinion are not uncommon as a result, such as Paul’s abstination-turned-shock at Royal immunity, and often there is a fantastic effort to reach consensus, such as this one on MPs remuneration.

Another great aspect to the collaboration is the use of evidence. Although plenty was being offered, I added a note to remind folks to ask for evidence in support of any claims made. Admittedly, I’m guilty of breaking that rule a few times myself, and sometimes evidence is scarce. As I type, Tim has posted a fantastic example of using evidence to look at a proposal.

I’m doubtful as to whether this would ever translate to the manifesto of an official political party (if it does, it already has a name) but the effort in itself is a great way to put a mirror up to your own political beliefs and challenge them in a constructive, collaborative way.

Do join in.

4 years and 2 months later… TheyWorkForYou plugin gets an update

twfy

Shocking it’s been so long really, but I’ve finally revived my TheyWorkForYou WordPress plugin.

When I first released it, all the plugin did was supply a TheyWorkForYou widget. Nothing’s changed! That’s for good reason though… At the time, the latest version of WordPress was 2.8.6 and we’re now on 3.8.1 so a lot has changed!

Crucially, the way plugin developers add widgets has changed so that needed to be updated.

Also of huge importance was that the original plugin hard-coded my own TheyWorkForYou API key and was a key reason why the plugin never made it to the WordPress.org plugin repository. There is now a simple settings page for you to enter your own API key, and the widget isn’t even available to you until you do that.

I have a bunch of other enhancements I want to add, all of which are listed on the GitHub issues page for the plugin. If there’s something you’d like to see in the plugin, please add it there too.

Given the amount of functions provided by the TheyWorkForYou API there are probably loads more things the plugin could do – please think of them and ask me to add them. Or, even better, fork and pull on GitHub and to add them yourself.

Finally, to use the plugin you can;

  1. Go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard, search for TheyWorkForYou and install
  2. Download from the WordPress.org plugin repository and install manually

One important note: if you are using the original plugin, you’ll need to remove that first.

Enjoy!

Time to Fight Against a DRM’d Web – by Forking It

It’s disappointing and sad that inventor of the free and open web Tim Berners-Lee, has allowed the vested interests of Hollywood to influence the W3C, which is pushing ahead with implementing DRM in direct conflict with the web’s founding principles. Let’s hope that, as with XHTML, a fork of HTML will win out and destroy this misguided action.

Read Time to Fight Against a DRM’d Web – by Forking It

New WordPress plugin: Change content based on device

When developing responsive WordPress themes I use a plugin called Mobble. It provides simple template tags to determine what device the site is being viewed on and change the layout accordingly.

On some sites, I’ve created shortcodes to allow me to use some of those functions within the content itself but after doing some work with Hampshire County Council which required something similar I decided to break out a new plugin.

You can download Mobble Shortcodes now from WordPress.org. Make sure you install Mobble first, though!

Google Wants To Drive Development Of Its Own Self-Driving Car

Google is able to seriously disrupt the car industry – fantastic! What’s most exciting about this is that a logical step for Google is to build hydrogen powered cars and advance that technology in the process, much more than car makers would like.

Read Google Wants To Drive Development Of Its Own Self-Driving Car