Blog: Tools

Enqueue Fontawesome in WordPress, without a plugin

Fontawesome for icons is … awesome.  The easiest way to use it is their CDN. It’s one less thing to serve from your hosting and, as it’s widely used, your site visitors may already have it cached in their browser (evidence here). In WordPress, to use the fontawesome CDN without using a plugin, and to use the best practice enqueue method, add this to your (child) theme’s functions.php   add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘prefix_enqueue_awesome’ ); /** * Register and load font awesome

How to resize and crop an image in WordPress

WordPress has a very handy in-built image editor. Here’s a quick screencast showing how to resize an image and crop it to exact dimensions. It’s all pretty easy, the only counter-intuitive thing is that the crop icon is selected by default – clicking that icon makes the crop occur so you do that when you’re happy with the size and crop settings. There’s no audio.

Problems with Excel: Proper case function and apostrophes

Something that cropped up today. Excel has some handy functions for quickly changing the case of text, in bulk. One is PROPER – this function capitalises the first letter of each word, and sets the rest to lowercase. To use this function you just type =PROPER(A2) in a new cell, and swap ‘A2’ for the target cell you want to modify. So far, so good. However, there’s a limitation using the Proper case function in Excel – it capitalises all

OpenData – UK Postcodes

The UK government has been publishing UK postcode data for nearly a year now. It is available for free here from the Ordnance Survey and is branded as Code-Point® Open. Essentially the data provides 1.7 million UK postcodes, with their British National Grid Reference, local authority and ward listed for each. The most interesting data is the grid reference, supplied as a full Northing and Easting value. These can be used to calculate distances between postcodes, as well as being

Screengrab tools

Was on the hunt for some software that would let me take multiple screengrabs. Eventually settled on Grab them all, a Firefox extension. Here’s the story! Step 1 was to create a list of URLs that needed screengrabs. I wrote an small PHP that printed a list of URLs (one per line) which I then saved to a text file: The first tool I came across was WebShot. The GUI interface is simple, but there’s far more flexibility

nLite – Windows Installation Customizer

I came across this neat Windows application today. It is basically a tool for creating customised Windows installation disks. I’ve seen similar tools for slip-streaming service packs into disks, but this one goes a step further and makes it dead easy to include drivers and various other Windows tweaks. It is all very straight-forward to use: Point it at the original Windows disk. Tell it what you want to change (point it at service packs, drivers, etc.) Tell it to

Transferring files from a failed laptop – puppy power

I was recently tasked with transferring files from a failed laptop. The laptop kind of worked, but some bad sectors had started to appear in a number of vital system files, so it was very unstable. This was an old WIndows 98 system, and I could not simply plug in a USB drive, because there were no Windows 98 drivers around for the external USB drives that I had. In the end the disk had to be removed, and connected

In Search of a Newsletter System

This search has gone on for years. I am looking for a newsletter system that is easy to install (to most likely LAMP-based), allows sign-up to multiple newsletters, and is reliable and flexible. The most important thing is that once configired, I need to be able to hand over the keys to a client so that they can manage it from that point on. That is the hardest part, because no matter what I try, there are always highly technical

PDF tools for web servers

This article lists some of the PDF tools we have used on our server projects. They all have one thing in common: they can be driven from the command line, and therefore can be run on servers lacking any kind of GUI. Please note that I won’t be publishing every comment that starts “I work for XYZ and we have a PDF product…” (especially if I see the same posts listed on a hundred other sites with ‘PDF’ somewhere in