Thought Patterns

Cameron’s thoughts on everything and nothing.

29 December 2013
by Cameron

Blog no longer updated

This blog as you can probably tell has not been updated in a very long time. I’ve kept it online because a few old posts still get a lot of traffic and still seem helpful to people.

I won’t be updating this blog again and will likely take it down shortly and replace it with something else that requires little maintenance.

Thank you for reading.

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21 December 2011
by Cameron
1 Comment

Most web designers are just artists

“Designers who don’t understand that websites are business assets which must achieve specific business objectives, which in turn are tied to revenue goals…are not actually designers at all. They are artists.”

“Similarly, if a designer talks about creating “clean” or “usable” websites, leave immediately and look elsewhere. Imagine if a caterer advertised like that. “We provide clean, edible food.” Outstanding—that’s just what I’m looking for!”

“Sadly, most designers don’t realize they’re amateurs. A lot of them have been in business for years, surviving off witless business owners who believe, as they do, that aesthetics are the key to profits. But there is a saying I once heard from Drayton Bird: some people have 20 years of experience…and some people have one year of experience, repeated 20 times.”

Excerpts from:

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17 September 2010
by Cameron

Developing for Drupal and need a site to get answers to your questions?

I’ve been working with Drupal for the past 4 months and it’s been a rocky road. It’s a complex beast with very little up to date documentation especially regarding contributed modules. I’m constantly searching on Google and on Drupal forums to find answers to my questions, especially views and panels related questions. Generally when I’ve got a programming related problem that I can’t solve I do the following:

  1. Search Google for a possible solution.
  2. Search the Q&A site
  3. Post question to Q&A site

Stackoverflow generally is my last resort and if I’m completely stuck I’ll post my query on there.If you’ve never heard of then it’s basiclly a free Q&A site for programming related questions where people can ask and answer questions from other programmers and developers. Here is the description taken from stackoverflow’s website:

Stack Overflow is a programming Q & A site that’s free. Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read, free to index, built with plain old HTML, no fake rot13 text on the home page, no scammy google-cloaking tactics, no salespeople, no JavaScript windows dropping down in front of the answer asking for $12.95 to go away. You can register if you want to collect karma and win valuable flair that will appear next to your name, but otherwise, it’s just free. And fast. Very, very fast.

Now first things first, is an amazing resource, generally I post a question on there and get a reply within a few minutes. The problem with stackoverflow is that it covers a vast arrary of programming lanuguages and topics and it can be hard to find what you’re looking for in a sea of questions. I’ve been looking for a site that mimcs stackoverflow but is only specific to Drupal. Well it turns out the the folks that built have created comminuity of sites under the title Stack Exchange. You can login and submit your own idea for a stackoverflow style site for a topic of your choice.

Someone has already submitted a proposal for a Drupal Q&A site powed by the software that runs They need so many people to commit to the project before the site will get created. I can see this as being the no 1 resource for getting answers to Drupal questions but it’s not got enough people committed yet to make this a reality.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this?

Well it needs you, visit: and create an account and then commit to this site, you just need to push a button to commit to the site. Once enough people have committed we will have a Drupal Q&A site!

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13 September 2010
by Cameron

Get more free space on DropBox

You’ve got a DropBox account and you’ve hit the 2GB limit for free accounts?

You can get up to 8GB of free space with DropBox via their referrals programme. Every friend that you refer who signs up for an account on DropBox will get an extra 250MB, and you will also get an extra 250MB. So the more people you refer the more space you will get up to a maximum of 8GB.

If you want an instant 250MB of extra space you can click my link below to sign up for a DropBox account and receive an instant 250MB extra space for free!

Click here to get an extra 250MB of free space on DropBox.

You don’t know what DropBox is?

Dropbox is software that syncs your files online and across your computers.

Put your files into your Dropbox on one computer, and they’ll be instantly available on any of your other computers that you’ve installed Dropbox on (Windows, Mac, and Linux too!) Because a copy of your files are stored on Dropbox’s secure servers, you can also access them from any computer or mobile device using the Dropbox website.

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9 April 2010
by Cameron
1 Comment

Has Apple gone too far making the iPhone simple?

Just installed iPhone OS 4.0 beta that was released to developers yesterday. It seems to be a great release and delivers on a lot of feature requests. One of the biggest new features was multi-tasking support. Multi-tasking is the ability to switch from one application to another without closing the current application. Basically when you switch apps they are kept running in the background or frozen until you return to them where you can pick up where you left off.

To activate this new multitasking feature in iPhone OS 4, one has to double click the physical Home button (the round button with a icon of a square) to bring up the new app switcher. Now up until now double clicking the home button brought up the iPod controls when music was playing. In this new release the popup iPod controls are nowhere to be found. Here are some other Home button combos:

  • Click Home once (from lock screen) – Wake iPod
  • Double click Home (from lock screen) – Bring up iPod controls
  • Click Home once (from dashboard) – Go to first icon page / search
  • Double click Home (from dashboard) – Display the new multi-tasking app switcher
  • Hold Home – Voice Control
  • Hold Home and press Lock – Take screenshot
  • Hold Home and Hold Lock – Restart phone

Goodness knows where the accessibility options have gone which used to be triple click Home.

Now is it me or is by having just two hardware soft buttons (i.e. function determined by software) a bit to much on the sparse side? The fact that there are this many key combinations is slightly worrying. Can anyone remember all of these? It also does not help that Apple changes this combinations in each iPhone OS release.

Maybe it’s time that the next iPhone device has a few extra buttons?

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17 March 2010
by Cameron
1 Comment

mount: unknown filesystem type ‘iso9660′

If you are running Ubuntu jeOS and selected the minimal VMWare installation option you may find that you receive the following error when you attempt to mount a CDROM using the sudo mount /cdrom command from the command line:

mount: unknown filesystem type 'iso9660'

This is because the kernel does not have iso9660 (cdrom filesystem) support built-in. To fix the problem you just need to upgrade your kernel by running the following commands as root from the command line:

aptitude update
aptitude upgrade

then restart your machine by running the following command:

shutdown -r now

Once you’ve restarted you should now find that you can mount CDROM’s by using mount /cdrom command.

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25 February 2010
by Cameron

Great guide to using Apache’s mod_rewrite

Stumbled on these great guides for using Apache’s mod_rewrite:

One particular area of interest was the following rules:

RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule  (.*) index.php?page=$1 [QSA,L]

The above rules will pass all URI requests through index.php for handling unless the requested file or directory exists.

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15 January 2010
by Cameron
1 Comment

How to mirror your websites using rsync on Linux.

I’ve been given the task at work to mirror all of our websites on-to our local development server. I knew instantly that I needed to use something like rsync but was unsure how to use it. Also rsync runs over SSH and requires human intervention to enter the login password for the remote server over SSH. As I want the mirror to update daily I would need to setup a cron job but that could not work as the rsync command rqquires someone to type in a password.

After Googling I found this fantastic article at How to Forge: Mirror Your Web Site With rsync. It gives an extensive step-by-step guide on how to setup mirroring using rsync, configuring the servers so that rsync does not require a password when connecting to remote server, and how to setup the cron jobs.

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