You can now fork Cumulus 2.0 on Github

When I decided to no longer maintain my WP-Cumulus plugin a while ago, one of the reasons was that the project was in disarray. I wanted to improve so many things at once, that I ended up finishing none. One of the plugin’s parts however, the actual Flash movie, was 99% done. That’s why I’ve decided to put it on Github.

Note that this is “Cumulus”, without the “WP-“. It’s a new version of the movie, that uses a different, more generic XML format, and supports new things like unicode and device fonts. It’s not a WordPress plugin. If you’re looking to revive WP-Cumulus or incorporate the effect into other projects, it’s the ideal start. It’s the best incarnation of the effect, and I invite you to write stuff around it.

https://github.com/roytanck/cumulus

Five excellent Android apps that I recently discovered

One of the things I really like about Android is the enormous momentum the platform has. New phones come out almost daily, and it’s become completely undoable to keep track of new app releases. I find that my devices are usually full of apps that were the absolute best at the time when I bought the device. Apps that aren’t necessarily the “current champions”. I guess that’s why it important to share app tips. Here are couple of apps that I recently discovered, that are real gems.
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I think I stumbled upon something very suspicious today

Earlier today, I logged into my web host’s control panel. I noticed that this month’s bandwidth usage was much higher than usual. Traffic to the sites hosted there has been steady, so I started to investigate. I soon found that there were a lot of requests coming in from three unknown domains. I looked at those websites, and found something very peculiar. Something that I think reeks of fraud. Here’s what I found.

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Roy | November 28, 2012 | English,Internet | Comments (10)
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Two weeks with Samsung’s Note 2

It’s been almost two weeks since Samsung sent me a Note 2 to try. I’ve used it as my primary phone since it arrived, and I thought I’d do a quick post about my experiences. In short, owning a 5.5 inch phone is a little like owning a really big car. It’s very comfortable and luxurious when you’re using it, but it’s somewhat impracticle when you’re looking for a place to park.
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Roy | November 11, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (12)
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I’ll no longer be developing WP-Cumulus

It’s been well over a year since I last blogged about WP-Cumulus. In the mean time, there have been all sorts of developments. I’ve been in serious talks with a potential buyer. That didn’t work out. I’ve tried, a number of times, to do a rewrite. That didn’t work out either. But most importantly, I gradually lost interest. Which is why I’ve decided I’ll no longer dedicate any time to Cumulus.
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Samsung’s Flip Cover: Noteworthy protection

I’ll keep this very short. If you have a Samsung Note II, and you – like me – feel its huge display needs some sort of protection from scratches, then look no further. The Flip Cover is the case that Samsung should probably have provided with the device. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s also clever.
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Roy | November 2, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (7)
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#becreativenl: Please Take Note

Last week, pretty much out of the blue, I was contacted by a PR company representing Samsung. They asked me whether I’d be interested in testing the new Galaxy Note 2 smartphone. Their reasoning is that the Note, Samsung’s largest, almost tablet-like phone, is a device you need to experience. It’s easy to dismiss as simply being “too large”, but the Note’s big screen has obvious advantages too. Whether or not those outweigh the pocketability issue is a personal decision.
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Roy | October 31, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (3)
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Taming wp_list_pages

Ever since pages got added to WordPress in version 1.5, wp_list_pages has been the way to get a list of pages. In the pre-widgets era, it used to be coded into pretty much every theme’s sidebar or header to generate the site’s menu.

Nowadays wp_list_pages is at the heart of the Pages widget, and it’s perfect for blog-type sites with a modest number of pages. But if you’re using WordPress as a CMS, and most of your content is written as pages, using wp_list_pages can cause serious performance issues.
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The WordPress-Apple Paradox

As a long time member of the WordPress community, I go to a lot of WP meetups, WordCamps and other WordPress-related gatherings. Often, people will pull out their laptops and start hacking away together. It’s a great community. What strikes me as somewhat odd however, is that the majority of those laptops are usually MacBooks. Now of course, everybody is completely welcome to use whatever type of computer they prefer, but to me there’s something strange about this situation. A WordPress developer with a Mac is a little like a church-going atheist.
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New adventures in hosting a single file

When I launched my Flickr Widget a couple of years ago, I decided I would host the tiny little Flash file that is the heart of the widget. I didn’t want to bother end users with downloads and installs and such. I put the file on Amazon’s S3 service, and offered an embed code generator form on this site. This worked well for a while, but more and more people started using the widget. Soon, Amazon started sending me hefty monthly bills.

I experimented for a while with hosting the file on the same server that runs this blog, but my host did not like that idea. Their terms of service don’t allow me to host non website-related files. So I moved the file to a friends VPS (Virtual Private Server). By then, the 5 KB Flash file was being served millions of times a month, causing around 30 GB of monthly traffic. I needed a more permanent solution.
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