You never have to visit the 14degrees website ever again!
(Unless you want to make comments, that is :-))

Keeping up on the latest news from the 14degrees action has never been easier with a brand new option of subscribing to the blog. If you take a look at the front page, you’ll see on the right the new option to subscribe to the 14degrees blog. Or you can subscribe right now by clicking on this link (a pop-up window will appear with a place to type your email).

For readers accustomed with feeds, you can follow the links at the very bottom of this page to add the 14degrees blog to your online feedreader, or use your feedreader software.

What does all this mean?

If you subscribe, you will receive emails in your mailbox each time I post new updates. No new content, no email. You’ll get all the new content that appears on the website (full photos and text), with no need to access the website at all.

How do I subscribe? 

When a you, dear reader, type your email into the form on the front page or in the convenient popup window here, you will begin the two-step process of subscribing to the 14degrees blog.

  • STEP ONE: Type your email into the box (and enter any security text when prompted). You will be sent a confirmation email to your inbox.
  • STEP TWO: Go to your email inbox and click on the link in the email to activate your subscription.

I won’t get spammed or anything will I?

No. It is safe and fun. I am using Feedburner, one of the major blog subscription management sites on the internet to manage subscriptions to the 14degrees blog. They are already handling over half a million blogs.

I personally am subscribed to two blogs via Feedburner, and have had no issues. It is very convenient.

Now I can’t finish without thanking the person who has made this all possible. Neil is a past workmate, and he is the one who performed the neccessary surgery on my website to get the RSS feed going (it was down for a long time). Big thanks to you Neil.

Does this mean post cards are outdated?

Lots of postcards in Makarska, Croatia

I hope so.


Well people, sorry for the lack of photos. The Great Firewall of China is blocking access to, the site that I use to organize, resize, and store my photos online. Does anyone know of a way of getting around this?

Urumqi is dry dry dry. Already have in my possesion my Kazakhstan visa, and I go to pick my Kyrgyz visa up on Monday avo. After that it’s over the Tianshan mountain range to take some photos of a friend’s dad’s hometown. There is a big fat 4500m pass in the way though, so it may take a week or so to get there.

Pre-Departure (37 days): For video viewing pleasure

I was never too happy with the fact that viewing videos on my site required viewers to click on a link, and be taken to an outside site (Google Video). Therefore, I have changed things around a bit where the videos now open in a popup window, along with a short description of the video. The videos are hosted at YouTube, which in my opinon has better playback quality.

There is also a new video on the videos page that shows how to remove the hydraulic damper cartridge from the HPVelotechnik Meks Carbon AC suspension forks. Some moisture had found its way into the sanchion tubes of the forks, so I needed to take it to bits to dry it out. A simple enough procedure of removing the bottom 6mm bolt, and then removing the damper cap along with the cartridge.

Pre-Departure (57 days): Bandwidth issues

As expected, having my videos uploaded to my server has caused a big spike in bandwidth use. Currently this month’s bandwidth usage is 3.5GB compared with 250MB last month. My bandwidth limit is 5GB. Therefore considering that I only uploaded the videos halfway through this month, next month would definitely be suspect if I left the videos on my server.

I have fixed the issue by linking to the videos as they are on Google Video. This means that a new page opens up with the videos in their embedded state in Google Video, but I guess there is nothing better I can do at this stage, apart from buy more bandwidth, which I’m not too keen on doing.

Embedding the videos on my website is proving to be more of a headache than it’s worth, so I’m giving up at this point. I did have the VideoBlogger plugin working for a bit, but then the blog comments wouldn’t work…

Pre-Departure (67 days): new video – the daily slog

Another zoomy video for you. This one is of my daily commute to work. I live at about 10m above sea level, and work is at 350m. It’s a big hill, but after a few weeks it’s a no brainer. The total distance is 12km. These videos were shot on a small Sony Cybershot P-8 digital camera attached to an aluminium tube that is attached to my rear carrier. Makes for some interesting footage.

The editing was done on the Windows XP stock standard Windows MovieMaker. All you really need for simple wee vids. The videos have been uploaded to Google Videos, which means that all I need to do is copy and paste the embed code in my blog, and I can have the videos play on my website. This is great coz it means that not only do I not need to use up my webserver account space with videos, but it also means that there’s no chance of exceeding the bandwidth limit I have on this account (5GB).


Update: It’s now 11pm, and I still haven’t got this google video embedding things worked out. For the meantime, I’ve just uploaded the video to my server, so it can be downloaded by clicking on this link (right-click and save as):
(3mins07sec - Windows Media – 42MB)

Pre-Departure (71 days): MULTIMEDIATED!

Has been a busy weekend:

  1. New slideshow photo gallery. Big ups to Rich for letting everyone know about it on his blog. Even bigger umpa lumpas to Yuan.CC Web Experiments for making it so easy to make a slideshow for your site using uploaded flickr photos.
  2. Video page. Will be adding to this as time permits. There is one vid there now. I made that one today after strapping a tube of aluminium to the rack on my bike, then attaching a camera to that. If you’ve ever wanted to know what riding a recumbent feels like, then maybe this video will give you an idea.

Pre-Departure (76 days): Display recent comments on posts

Added a new nifty feature to the top page today – Get Recent Comments. This is a plugin for WordPress. Very handy little plugin that gives me masses of display options such as length of comment excerpt, post time, comment date etc etc. You can see it in action at the bottom of the left-hand column of the top page of this website.

You can get your own Get Recent Comments plugin here:

I had some trouble getting the user interface to work. I installed the plugin as instructed on the website, but when I went to Options/Get Recent Comments in the wordpress menu, the page came up with this error:

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare get_recent_comments() …

This is fixed by changing some code at the beginning of the get_recent_comments.php file.

The fix is outlined here:


Pre-Departure (105 days): Website hacked

Everyday you learn something new…some frequent visitors to this site may have noticed that for the best part of a week, was not online. This was due to what I assume was a kind of ‘hacking robot’.

One day I go to access the website, and I got a parse error, which meant that nothing on the site displayed at all. This is actually quite handy, because if my site had been all HTML, I may not have noticed that something was amiss. The reason I got the error is because this site is running on WordPress – a content management software. If any of the files are tampered with in WordPress, the whole thing just stops working.

So to cut a long story short, somehow a hacking program got a hold of my web hosting password and username, and added code into all my webpages. This is the code:

iframe marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ src=”″ mce_src=”″ width=”1″ height=”1″

When a page with this code is opened, crazy stuff happens. The page seems to keep re-loading. It seems as though it is an invisible ad banner than automatically ‘clicks’ repetitively? I dunno. I’m not up with the play with these things.

But anyway, I ended up deleting everything on my web hosting account, and re-installing wordpress (the rouge code was in everything). As you can see things are back to normal again. I’ve still got to clean up some stuff on the Japanese version of the site, but that shouldn’t take long.

The moral of the story is:

  1. Don’t use FTP software. Apparently when they go to access your account, they send the password and username in clear text – not encoded.
  2. If using FTP software (for transfering lots of files in one go) then make sure you change your password immediately after doing the transfer.

The hosting company that I have my website on includes many good features, one of them being a file uploading tool and file editor. I’ll be using this as much as possible in the future, so as to avoid any repeats of last week’s fiasco.

Pre-Departure (129 days): RSS description length

The mish for the last day or so has been to include an RSS feed of my own blog to my own site. The feed is displayed on the home page, so that people can see the most recent blog entries, along with a short excerpt from them.

The thing that I am having trouble with at the moment is how to reduce the amount of words displayed in the excerpt. Does anyone reading this know how to do this? I’ve changed the excerpt length option in the WordPress admin to 20 already, but I’m still getting about 50 words.

‘Tis a mistery…