Blog Origins

I thought I might mention the origins of this blog and how it became to be published. This is not my reasoning for creating a blog (those are that I was copying Kat and Vivek, my friends who are also first year PhDs at Birmingham), but for what I did to put it on the internet.

Choosing my software

So I decided that I ought to do this first, as it might change my implementation specifics. Where do you start? Google seemed the obvious answer, so I decided to Google for the best blogs around. There doesn’t seem to be a comparison of these, or at least my search for one was inadequate. Therefore I decided that the one that just looked quite good would suffice. I found beeblog, which is now not under development and then I found Serendipity. I like PHP and the ability to add plugins from a large repository sounds good.


I’ve got a virtual server out there in the world somewhere, I don’t care where… it just works. Currently this just forwards email around so I decided to use it for hosting my blog rather than keeping it on my home based server, I don’t want you all to use up my bandwidth. I had Apache, PHP and MySQL installed already so all I needed was Imagemagik and GDLib. My distribution of choice is Ubuntu so an “apt-get install imagemagik php5-gd” quickly solved those dependancies. Then I loaded the index page, this asked me a few simple configuration questions which weren’t too hard, although I did have to SSH in and “CREATE DATABASE serendipity” and “GRANT ALL on serendipity.* to [email protected] IDENTIFIED BY “wouldn’t you like to know””.


How should I publish my blog (I thought)? I considered registering a domain, and nothing really came to mind, then I remembered I had a few domains that weren’t doing anything. There’s, I like this name, but I have some stuff on there already. Next I had, this sounds a bit like sin-topic which would kind of describe the page. In the end I just opted for as it is me and therefore the easiest to tell people, also it’s just a blog about me so it’s best I think.


There are lots of plugins as I mentioned earlier. I installed a few, notably one for mobile viewing (Markup: Mobile Output). I have an iPod Touch and it specifically mentioned it on the description. After installation the site worked fine, but I tried to view the page on my iPod and was confronted with a PHP error message: “Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in serendipity_event_mobile_output.php on line 308”. Being a keen PHP programmer I have attempted to solve this bug myself (while I’m writing this post).

The problem is that I don’t have any categories defined on my site as yet. This was easily solved by adding if (is_array($categories)) before the foreach on line 308. But it still does not seem to work at all, I think this may have something to do with setting the style template, but I’m not sure… I’ll report back if I ever find out any more.

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