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Personal Blog

For the last few days, until today, my website has been suffering from some troubles due to server problems. I would like to say that the server is running fine now and my website displays correctly. 

I have not been adding a lot of content to my site because of the fact that I have resumed university, but I would like to point out that the Python tutorials are coming along now.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

Within the next year or so I intend to extend my tutorials further by adding 10 new tutorials in the following:

  • Apache webservers
  • BlackRabbit Script
  • C#
  • CodeIgniter
  • CSS
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Java Server Pages
  • Latex
  • Python (I'm learning more about this day by day)
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

This will likely be the last post about improvements on my website because I intend to stop fixing my site from now on.

The changelog has been getting less and less attention because of the fact the site is very neat and how it's meant to be.

So this post will cover the latest things to be completed on the site.

Firstly, it's performance has been improved considerably, pages have shrunk in size considerably as mentioned in a previous post. This means it is faster to download and view the site.

Secondly, a new design was tried on my website, but it moved back to the previous design - I am honestly happiest with the design as it is.

Thirdly, it's had some new features added and older less used ones removed.

Fourthly, most inline styles have been removed.

Finally, the blog is looking really looking good.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

My website has taken yet another step in the right direction being optimised further, which further reduces the size of the site.

Currently, the largest page on the site is 1.6MB, which is a large page for a mobile phone user to view, but apparently spot on the average page size according to this website. Having said that, my largest page is actually my photo gallery, which is not exactly something I imagine mobile users to be using everyday.

My front homepage comes in at just 795KB and my About me page comes in at 728KB.

Most of this saving comes from gZip being applied to everything on the site, minified CSS and JS, compressed images, much less HTTP requests and less third party linked tools.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

I have recently not been posting much to my blog and I must apologise to my readers for this.

However, since I have new stuff to review, I will be focusing on reviews this week, particularly the MacBook Pro Retina which I just received today.

My blogging system is still underwork and I hope to have a good system in place by the end of September.

I have been working on a variety of different tutorials, particularly the VB.NET tutorial and the HTML tutorial so please take a look if you are interested in either of these.

Until the next post, goodbye.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

Welcome to my even newer blog!

This is my third blog on my site, and this time powered by some clever magic provided by a system called JBlogs. Notice the "JB".

The point is, this is my CMS (content management system) that although is missing a back end, has a really nice front end at the moment. I wanted to 'integrate' my blog better with my website, so I built a PHP blog myself that will retrieve all of the posts etc. and place them on the page. The styling for the page is down to my actual website. This means that anyone can just use JBlogs on their site so that their blog fits into their site. Now why didn't WordPress do that?

I was slightly sick of the separate design WordPress offered on my blog so I decided to make it more part of my website.

JBlogs is still under work, but I feel it is now ready to be used.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

As you will likely know, I've changed hosts for the first time since the debut of this site in April 2010. My new host is a bit more expensive than the standard package I got with my last host, but I get a premium of extra features with the new hosting package.

The new site host has so many things that the previous did not have that it would take forever to post about them all. The key features however have been outlined below:

  • PHP (yes, my previous host had this too)
  • MySQL (same story here) but I can have as many databases as I wanted
  • Ruby On Rails (something I want to learn) and Ruby Gems
  • Perl (again something I want to learn)
  • JSP (I'm not really that interested in anything related to that coffee bean)
  • SFTP (basically a much more secure FTP using SSH)
  • Control over Apache server handlers (excellent feature!)
  • SSL support
  • Multiple database accounts (higher security)
  • Direct FTP from PC or Mac without the need for an FTP client (my previous host offered this, but it was one way only, you could download a copy of files and have to upload them, this way it works like a drive on my computer, so I can update straight to the server and the operating system does the rest.)
  • HotLink Protection! (haha, you can't just HotLink my CSS anymore! And it works beautifully, just try to navigate to my CSS files such as my template).
  • A built in image manager to scale down images etc.
  • Quick Joomla, WordPress, phpBB creation (I may bring back phpBB in the future, by the way)
  • Better control over the subdomains on the site
  • Plus unlimited bandwidth
  • And unlimited storage vs 30GB at the same price with my previous host
  • 6 domains rather than one.
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

Ok, so I've been tweaking my website more and more again recently.

This week's updates brings monetisation to my website in the form of adverts. Google approved my request for adverts on my site, so it now brings in money for me (according to Google's predictions ~£123 a month[!], which covers my site costs and more).

I'm also marketing my site better, and will in the next few months be using tools to improve the outlook of my site.

I've also brought back my calendar. My previous calendar was created by, and while it was useful, it was a nuisance trying to update it because I had to go onto my email account to update it. So I decided to build my own. It comes with it's own update system as part of my own content management system (CMS) called BlackCat.

Just a little bit more about the adverts. Currently they reside only on my desktop site. I intend to keep it that way. I aim to keep the tablet and mobile websites free from ads because of the space limitations of both devices.

I will in the future be improving BlackCat and adding a blogging mechanism to it. The only reason I have not done this yet is because of the fact that I still love WordPress. For now BlackCat remains a part of my website, but in the next few months to years I will release it for free on to the web where it will feature four major features:

  • Calendar
  • Themes
  • Blog
  • Page creation
Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

Now my blog is up and running on my new host and new database.

Here is where the initial problems occurred:

Firstly, I wanted to remove the prefix of my blog tables as they were going to be placed in their own database rather than just having prefixes. The way I did it was to move each table into the new database and rename each of them without the prefix. Then I downloaded that whole database (using phpMyAdmin, not WordPress). Next I changed wp-config.php such that it had no prefix and pointed to my new database. I dropped (deleted) the database and created a fresh new one with the same name. I then took the whole database SQL commands to Notepad (thank you Notepad!!!) and removed all instances of the old prefix. To finish off, I then used the Import feature to import all of the SQL commands into my new database. And that's all there is to it!

All my tables are now divided up into databases for each, therefore there is less of a security risk (I have a set of users, each user manages a certain database and has no access to others).

The other thing about this multiple database idea is the neatness and organisation. I'm really happy to have changed hosts and later I will post about what's really nice with this new hosting package.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news

Whilst I am a .NET programmer, I am also a big fan of *nix based operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux.

My heart was set on improving my .NET skills by learning ASP.NET. I hoped that I could move my website to a Windows Server based host and have no trouble, but oh no!

Not only have I been having real troubles sleeping at night, but I've been really having worries about how smooth the transition will be.

So, I though that this post would interest those of you who like Linux (especially you Ben). I have decided not to change to a Windows Server, I feel it is too risky and may be considered to be a step backwards.

To finish this post, I am staying with my current host until May, but changing to a better Linux host and nothing more.

Posted by J B Balfour in Website news
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