Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

When Yahoo Mail locks you out

I was listening to a friend's support call to Yahoo when she'd been locked out of her webmail. Seems that although she'd never put in a security question, she was being prompted for it, and no amount of guesses would get her in. The people at Support were useless, and her attempts to log-in caused her account to be locked for 24 hours.

At which point it occurred to me that there was one sure way to get into her e-mail: through an e-mail client. And indeed, by creating an account in Thunderbird and supplying her username and password, she could access her e-mail.

Friday, December 07, 2012

When relaunching a website, don't forget to review your Google Analytics settings!

There's enough to do when re-launching a website. Making sure all your pages have GA code is a top priority (and adding custom code to your 404 page is another), but have you gone into Google Analytics to check everything else matches what might be a new URL structure? In looking at the analytics for a site I realised my Goals had not been changed, and reflected no-longer existing pages!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Analysing your 404 errors

If your website gets any amount of 404 errors, knowing why is important. This blog gives the technical background to the topic, and how to modify the GA tracking code to track 404 errors with Events.

When you've set it up properly, any 404s will show as Events, including the pages that referred traffic to the non-existent page.
In the above page, you can see 404 tracking having been applied in the last couple of days, and clicking on the 404 Event will show actionable details of the broken links.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Taking The Google Analytics IQ Test

I've just passed my Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) certification, something I've been wanting to do for a good while. While I've been using Analytics for almost a decade, I had been somewhat daunted by the example test questions at Not only were they often ambiguous, but they delved into parts of Analytics not often seen in your run-of-the-mill usage.

But fear not - the actual exam is easier than the example questions. Here are a few tips.

1) You've got 5 days to complete the test from the moment you start, but you are limited to 90 minues in total for the 67 questions.  But don't worry, you can pause the test at any point, and take your time to answer. Put another way, over the five days you could do around 20 questions a day and still have a day or so to review your answers. Just don't exceed the 90 minutes.

For example, I did the exam in two dedicated mornings, and still had about an hour left on the clock.

2) There are options to Mark or Review a particular question. I didn't use these, nor the option to strike-through an answer that you knew to be wrong.

What I did was copy the questions into a Word document, then use this to check  my responses.

3) It's been said before, but there's no substitute for having a live Analytics account open when you take the certification. If the question asks 'Where would you find such-and-such a report', go find it. And use the Analytics Help.

4) You need to know something about Adwords. Analytics and Adwords are as thick as theives, and there's a good number of questions on Adwords.

5) There are also good number of questions on the basics: for example, the difference between Dimensions and Metrics, and how Profiles fit into things. Make sure you'd got a handle on these topics.

In short, it's not a hard exam. You'll need 80% to pass, so you can get a dozen questions wrong and still pass, but given all the resources you need are at your fingertips, you've no excuse!

My only complaint was that you don't get to see how you fared on a question-by-question basis. As the end you'll be told the areas in which you were weak, but I would have loved to have known the questions I got wrong!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Adding Adwords conversion code to a Wordpress page

I wanted to add conversion tracking code to a 'thanks' page to track enquiries. It ought to be simpler than it is. You can't just add the javascript code in the HTML view of the specific page (it gets stripped out); an embed-script plugin is over two years since a last update; and the option of adding the code to the theme was a no-go, since it's the specific Thanks page I want to track, and only that page.

But the solution is simple: create a new template, and add the conversion code within it. Specifically:

1. In your theme folder, make a copy of one of your pages.
2. Edit and add the conversion code anywhere within the body.
3. Add a line in the comments at the top to identify this template, e.g. ' * Template Name: Adwords Conversion Code'
4. Save it as say 'conversioncode.php.

The new template with show in the list of available templates in the Page Options section.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

WordPress: permalinks on IIS

Trying to provide pretty permalinks on a IIS install of WordPress is something of a problem. The solution is a bit of a hack, but works.

1) Create a custom 404 page as per these instructions:

2) Specify the 404-error.php created in step 1 as your custom 404 page (you'll need access to an IIS admin console).

3) In WordPress, define your permalinks as: /index.php/%postname%/

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scheduling automatic startup (and shutdown) in Ubuntu

I liked the idea of having my Ubuntu machine startup in time for my arrival at the office. Here's how it's done:

1) Enable your RTC in the BIOS, setting your desired wake-up time
2) Use the rtcwake command to tell the machine when to wake up. Two variants of this:

sudo rtcwake -s 54000 -m disk

will wake the PC in 15 hours, after immediately doing a hibernate, or

sudo rtcwake -s 54000 -m no

will do a wake in 15 hours but nothing more. I like this latter way since I can then also schedule a shutdown using a package such as qshutdown

I did toy with nvram-wakeup, which is useful for setting the RTC while you're running Ubuntu.

More here

And if you get the Grub menu after resuming, the fix is here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

5.45 am...

And I hear a faint rendition of 'Head and shoulders, knees and toes'. When Liam says 'Dada, let's get up. Pleeease.', how can I refuse?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Hardware Week

It's been a busy hardware-oriented week. This is what I've learned.

1. When your Windows PC gets the blue-screen of death (BSOD) that says 'memory_management', your  memory really is fried. I was lucky to get the memory I need from the nearest store, and before you know it I'd not only resolved the problem, but got an extra 1Gb of RAM that makes my laptop noticeably faster.

2. If you've got a old PC with an Intel Socket 775 CPU, do consider swapping out the old 1.3Ghz single core processor for a dual-core 2.6Ghz CPU. For a few quid, I've got a blindingly fast PC I was previously thinking of dumping. Then to make things sweeter I overclocked it to almost 4Ghz! And it took just 10 minutes to install.

3. If your Ubuntu PC won't come back from hibernation, it'll probably be due to a conflict with your NVidia card. Here's the solution.

4. If you can't log into your Ubuntu Samba-shared folder, make sure you're logging-in  with the hostname specified, e.g. user@hostname !

Liam's Pearl of Wisdom for the week: "The spacebar does nothing!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

I smell Sonic!

Liam: I smell Sonic!
Me: What does he smell like?
Liam: Sonic!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Inga Ringa Roses"

Liam tries for the Tin Man look
Barely a day goes by without Liam coming home from school singing a new nursery rhyme. I did introduce him to that classic of the 1870's, Ring a Ring o' Roses, and a tune allegedly about the Bubonic Plague went down well - beats this wishy-washy 'I love you, you love me' stuff they feed the kids these days.

But by far his favourite is 'Three Blind Mice', and he sings the line 'who CUT off their tails with a carving knife' with an impressive gusto!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012