Archive for June, 2007

SOLUTION: BlixKrieg 2.2 “Featured Advertiser” sidebar shows when ads turned off

Hi everyone – we’ve released an upgraded version of the Blix Krieg theme to give better support to those of you who don’t wish to use adsense on your blogs.

This version corrects a minor bug with the previous release.

Basically, this bug makes the ‘featured advertiser’ sidebar header show even when advertising is turned off.

We’ve now corrected the bug, and you can eliminate it by downloading the updated version here.

Users that are utilising the adsense enabled version of the theme, or are using WordPress 2.2 with widgets enabled need not upgrade their theme.

Those of you that wish to download the adsense enabled version of the theme, or read more about it, may do so at our support page. You can see the latest version of the theme (with adsense turned on) at our beta test page

Blix Krieg is a WordPress 2.2.1 (and backwards) compatible drop-in replacement version of Sebastien Schmieg’s famous and highly customizable theme, Blix. Blix Krieg ads additional functionality like ‘asides’, widget compatibility and the option to easily integrate google adsense into your blog if desired. You can read more about the latest version by following this link.

Thanks for being a part of our community!


4 comments June 27th, 2007

Safety Report – Blix Krieg is 2.2.1 Compatible

Just a quick aside – for those of you using blix krieg (wordpress 2.2.1 compatible Blix replacement), I’ve tested functionality under the new wordpress 2.2.1 update – thunderbirds are go, it works fine – upgrade to your hearts content.

Add comment June 24th, 2007

WordPress Permalink Change – how long until it’s indexed?

The Shri Yantra - the 'Mother' Yantra - used for Tantric meditation

Shambhavi Sarasvati has recently asked me for some advice. She’s changed the permalink structure on her wordpress site, and then 301 redirected the old permalinks to her new permalinks format.

Shambhavi is a bit concerned that it seems to be taking a while for Google to update to the new permalink structure.

OK – firstly – don’t get concerned – If your 301 redirects are good (and I’ve checked and they are) Google will eventually get around to updating to the new URL – in the meantime, anyone that find you via a google search should still be redirected to the correct page when they click on you anyway – since the redirect is server side, the old url’s will still work in the interim.

Secondly – how to get google to crawl and update a bit quicker – not too hard – just try to get some links to pages you want updated – (or, alternatively, post a HTML sitemap somewhere on your site containing the OLD url’s – and get people to link to it – this will have the effect of getting google to visit the old url’s, which will then (hopefully) lead it to update its index to the new URL’s when it sees the old ones have been 301 redirected). Sometimes getting links to deep pages (ie posts) rather than just the index page seems to be more effective.

It also helps if these links are from relatively high pagerank sites that are crawled regularly – If you have any suggestion’s about how Shambhavi might improve her site further, please leave a comment. By the way, if there are any css gurus reading this, I noticed a problem with Shambhavi’s sidebar in IE – it’s fine in Firefox, but is right at the bottom in IE – I don’t know how to fix it – any suggestions?

17 comments June 22nd, 2007

When Dog becomes its anagram

Maybe I should teach my dog Jazz a couple more commands than ‘do you want some biscuits’, ‘Do you want to go for a {Run, Walk or Drive}, ‘Lie Down’, and “where’s the stick” and put her to more productive use than her usual comatose state dictates. If she can understand “where’s the stick” I’m sure it wouldn’t be a big stretch to get her to understand “Where’s the Paintbrush” 🙂 See this gallery if you haven’t already 🙂

(Addendum: I’m considering developing rubber bones for attachment to otherwise underutilized implements such as beer bottles, brooms, vacuum cleaners and shopping lists)

Add comment June 22nd, 2007

Prices for SEO Consultancy / Contract Work

I’ve had a few emails over time asking whether I’m available for consultancy work. I am.

Rates are as follows:-

Short Term Consultancy Rates (<3 days)

Daily – $USD 650 / day

Normal Consultancy Rates (>3 days)

Daily – $USD 450 /day

Hourly Rate (small jobs)

$USD 150 / hr

Contract Rates / Directorship / Speaking engagements

by negotiation.


B Sc (Agriculture), M. Sc (Computer and Communications Engineering)

Services offered:-

  • General Coding – specializing in WordPress (plugins / template customization), php, perl, sql.
  • SEO advice
  • E-Marketing advice
  • SEO, SEM and Google Adsense / Adwords Expert
  • Enterprise Application Integration.
  • Embedded Systems Engineering.
  • Statistical Analysis / Trial design

Resume and references available – please contact me.



Add comment June 22nd, 2007

I’m getting to like this myBloglog thing..

I kind-of-recently got on the myBlogLog wagon – and I’ve got to say I’m starting to get rather enamoured with it – it’s cool knowing that there are actually people out there that really read my babbling 🙂

I often keep an eye on the little sidebar thingy and take a look at sites belonging to pretty no.. intelligent, umm.. a random selection of users.. you find a few gems along the way. Here’s one I saw today that combines both – a great read.


1 comment June 20th, 2007

My Recent Job Interview with Google at the ‘Plex’

Outside The GooglePlex

Well I kept it a big secret from you all because I didn’t want to jinx myself – but I was invited recently to an interview with Google (it was the ‘exciting little company‘ I spoke about a couple months back in a post about an upcoming interview).

The position was to be based at Mountain View, California, and as part of the great Webmaster support team – along with neat and very bright people like Adam Lasnik, Vanessa Fox, Aaron D’Souza and Matt Cutts.

The position was ‘Webmaster Trends Analyst’, something I felt uniquely attracted to – I’ve a strong background in stats (from my undergraduate degree and time running scientific trials with the Sugar industry), have run several ecommerce sites and have a Master’s Degree in Computer and Comms Engineering – as well as being a regular poster on the Google Webmaster Forums – so I love hearing about what other folks are up to.

It was an exciting opportunity – so accordingly I took some valuable time off my PhD to prepare – before hopping on the plane for the 13 hour flight to San Francisco.

It was a great experience, but unfortunately I didn’t get the position.

I was disappointed.

As I wrote to one of my contacts about it:-

“so, either I’ll start looking for work again or I’ll bite my bum, put the pedal to the metal and get back into the PhD.

G was going to be a great fit because working with people like yourself would have been a ‘learning’ experience rather than just a job – I hate the 9-5 ‘office worker’ style culture of uni, but love the learning side.

My main problem when it comes to being hired is that of previous job experience..

I start to look like a jack of all trades but an expert at none.

Imho I thought that would be what would get me the job with G, as I’ve been told it makes me a pretty powerful educator – and a great interface between nutty engineer / scientist types and the general public.”

But let me take a step back here for a moment – I need to emphasise that I found the whole experience incredibly rejuvenating and irregardless of the fact I wasn’t successful, I still feel honoured.

If Google were to turn around today and say they wanted to employ me, I’d say yes in an heartbeat.

Why? Because any company that actually recruits internationally for a position known as ‘Webmaster Trends Analyst’ is a company that has a conscience. I don’t see such a position advertised at Yahoo. I don’t see such a position advertised at MSN… actually, I don’t see such a position advertised ANYWHERE.

When I was going through the interviews, one of the interviewers (and I hope I’m not out of line here) actually spoke about the fact that Google pulls together information from heaps of different resources (blogs, forums etc) on a regular basis and tries to quantitatively (from qualitative signals) assess ‘webmaster sentiment’ – and use it as an early warning system to alert them if things (like an algorithm change for instance) have had any unforseen impact. That made me sit back and go ‘wow’.

I count myself very lucky to have been interviewed by a great company with a social conscience like Google and dearly hope an opportunity pops up soon and I get another crack at it (You can contact me if you know of one).

But enough of that – the whole experience was a complete blast – let me show you a few photos.

This first photo is the centre of the Googleplex – it’s a neat place. I like the fact that I seem to have captured a black crow in mid-flight right below the Google sign 🙂

The GooglePlex

Took this photo on a toilet break at the ‘plex’ – judging from the pace of the interview I figured that time is a commodity in short supply at the googleplex, but this pic (right above the urinal) really rammed it home “Testing on the Toilet” – an A4 page giving thought provoking code tips to the engineers. 🙂

“Testing on the Toilet” - Google takes their debugging seriously :)

I got the opportunity to do a fair bit of sight seeing while I was there…

Highway 101

The Golden Gate Bridge (with me in front of it).

You’ll notice in all of these photos that I’m wearing one of two shirts – bloody Qantas sent all my luggage to Helsinki on the way over, so I had only a pair of shorts, a pair of moleskins, the shirt I wore on the plane and one I bought for the interview (this one) for the whole trip – don’t get me started about QANTAS.

The Golden Gate

Across the Golden gate bridge from San Fran is a beaut spot called ‘Reyes Point’ – here’s a photo looking back towards San Fran from there (with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background).

A View From Reyes Point Across the Bay to Golden Gate Bridge

A pretty flower at Reyes point – I believe the plant is called Pigface – why, I don’t know 🙂

A Pretty Flower - Why do they call this plant ‘Pig Face’?

A ‘Hummer Limousine’ – Wow!

Hummer - Limousine

Another pretty flower in San Fran (are you a REAL Aussie! That’s so COOL! I want a photo with you!!) – the people were very friendly at “Kell’s Bar” – I love a good Irish Pub, and this one was a beauty – it’s just off Columbus.

Friendly People

The owner (right) and head barman of Kell’s Bar..

The Staff at Kell’s

They shouted me quite a few Guinness’s – here I think that magical brown ale is starting to have its curative effects 🙂 (I am not too sure whether the spooky red eyes were caused by the camera or the Gazillion pints of Guinness)

16 Gazillion Pints of Guiness Later..

The morning after – one of those famous cable trams in San Fran.

One of those Cable Car’s San Fran is famous for

My Hotel was right in the centre of SF (Sutter and Powell) – I got it for a nightly rate of like $69 – it was fantastic

My Hotel

Just a pretty picture of one of the brass fire hydrants they have all over the place in San Fran.

Just a Pretty Picture

Some San Fran street art- this was in Chinatown – San Fran has the best Chinatown I’ve seen in any international city – I felt like I was back in Beijing.

Some San Fran Street Art

On the way out of San Fran – you can see the city itself and the Bay Bridge top RHS.

I loved San Fran – it was such a vibrant colourful city – I hope to go back there someday soon.

San Fran From Above - on my way home

QANTAS strikes again – I had to wait 18 hours for my flight back – by the time I took this photo (the time on my watch is AM by the way) we’d been locked in LA airport with no food or refreshments all night waiting for our plane which was recursively only going to be ‘another twenty minutes’ all night.

Some rather unfortunate baggage handler had managed to run into the wing with the mobile stairs, causing severe damage to the port side aileron.

I felt sorry for the parents with little kids – the time on my watch is AM – roughly 20 hours after the plane was meant to leave.

Bloody Qantas.. 5am in the morning - still waiting

33 comments June 18th, 2007

Alternative Energy: Wave Power

One of my true passions in life is alternative energy. Many people ask me why I did agriculture for my undergraduate degree – the ultimate answer is that from a young age I was fascinated by the potential of agriculture (expecially sugarcane) as an alternative source of energy.

I remember listening to famous naturalist David Suzuki say:-

In the future, people are going to look back and say ‘we had this great resource (oil) – it could make wonderful things like plastics, medicines and other unique substances and WE JUST BURNT IT – what were we thinking’

It struck a chord with me.

I’ve been watching the potential of alternative energy to open up whole new economies and ways of thinking with great excitement – the hugely successful German experiment with solar energy is one such example.

I recently came across this article about wave power – it makes an interesting read.

1 comment June 17th, 2007

Someone bought me a beer!

Well, my little ‘buy me a VB (Aussie beer)’ sidebar widget has finally paid dividends.. A benefactor (who wishes to remain anonymous) has just bought me a beer (actually two) which is a really nice end to a hard weekend coding.

avagoodone and thanks 😉

Add comment June 17th, 2007

Trouble in Paradise – eBay and Google have their first major blue

Anyone that uses Google will know that eBay is a major major client of Google Adsense – you’ll see any number of adsense ads for products sold on eBay almost any time you do a search.

In their first major spat eBay and Google has come to blows over an inevitable conflict of interest – Google has recently launched a payment system (Google Checkout) that competes with the eBay owned ‘Paypal’.

In a case of probably going a bit far, Mountain View based Google decided to rent an entire restauraunt across the road from a major eBay event in Boston to try and ‘educate’ eBay officianados about the benefits of their payment alternative.

After a fair bit of sabre rattling from eBay (and the withdrawal of a large proportion of their advertising contribution), Google has backed down and cancelled the soiree.

Let the games begin!


Add comment June 17th, 2007

SEO_WordPress: Plugin to maximise search engine positioning in WordPress

Wordpress, like many other CMS (content management systems) creates duplicates of your posts all over your website.

Having duplicate content can lead to less than optimum search engine listing, and is one of the factors that cause ‘supplemental results’ in Google.

In the following article I describe a wordpress plugin I’ve developed to help address these issues.

You can download the plugin now by clicking here or read the full article.

Continue Reading 130 comments June 16th, 2007

Customizing the Look and Feel of Blix

We’ve just released a new version of Blix Krieg, our widgetized wordpress 2.2 compatible version of Sebastien Schmieg’s famous Blix theme.

This new version of Blix Krieg adds significant new features including ‘asides’, support for wordpress sidebar ‘widgets’ and a few design changes intended to enhance your search engine performance.

To help you in the process of upgrading to the new version, I’ve put together a few Q and A’s that explain how to upgrade (from Blix or an earlier version of Blix Krieg) without losing any customizations you have made. Click here to read the full article.

Continue Reading 7 comments June 16th, 2007

We have a New Theme!

Hi everyone – this is just a quick little note to say that the new Blix WordPress theme (version 2.2) is now available on our downloads page (here).

I’m actually using was using one of the new features of the theme to write this little blurb – it’s called an aside (if you’d like to see some asides in action, head over to the blix krieg theme test site).

When you download the new theme, just create a category called ‘asides’ and any posts you make using that category will auto-magically appear like this!

This iteration of blix krieg is a major, major overhaul of the theme – it’s taken me about 7 or 8 hours – I’ve tried to tighten up alot of the code to make the theme even more streamlined than the original, and I’ve added WIDGET COMPATIBILITY to the theme – if you haven’t learnt about widgets yet – well, let me know.

I’ve also widgetized all the little standard blix gadgets (like the calendar, links, categories etc) so that you can add new widgets without muffing up the original look of the theme.

As always, this is a drop in replacement – just install it over the top of your old blix theme and she’ll be apples 🙂

I’ll give another update about this theme after I’ve had a few celevratory celebratory (EDIT: might have been getting ahead of myself there 🙂 ) beers – it might look the same, but, crikey, let me tell you it’s very different ‘under the hood’ – those of you who are regular users will notice them.



12 comments June 8th, 2007

Working on a wordpress Blix Krieg Update

Hi Folks – for those of you who are Blix Krieg users (this theme) I’m currently applying the finishing touches to a major upgrade.

The upgrade adds sidebar widget compatibility and the ability to use asides.

You can check out the progress at

I’ve got the asides working just fine, now working on the sidebar a bit to try and make it ‘widget ready’ without making it ugly – because of the way that Sebastien Schmieg made the original blix sidebar, this is a bit problematic – but not out of reach.



2 comments June 8th, 2007

An aside for asides sake..

Here’s another aside just because I like asides and want to show them off 🙂

4 comments June 6th, 2007

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