Big Advice Survey: I need your help

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Can your organisation, firm or group display a poster for this national public survey looking at advice needs and the future design of voluntary sector organisations, such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres?

Please sign up

This is the biggest public survey of its kind in many years, with over 350 advice providers, foodbanks, housing associations, firms of solicitors, community groups etc taking part so far

The survey goes live to the public on 1st December 2014

If you can help – even if it’s just displaying a poster – then take a couple of seconds and please sign up here. All organisations who signed up will be listed in the final national report and you will be part of the biggest advice related cross-sector collaboration I can think of. You don’t have to do any more, but any help plugging it on social media or other publicity would always be very much appreciated too

Are you a blogger? Then please ‘like’ the home page of the dedicated site here

If you’ve been involved in any of my other projects, such as setting up the largest social justice forum in the UK (ilegal.org.uk), or, publishing a book on legal aid cuts that became the number 1 download on both the Apple and Amazon bookstores (Saving Justice), then you probably won’t be surprised when I say that there’s much more to come from this than just a survey (as big as the survey is). What I’m starting here is something I believe anyone interested in the future of advice services in the UK would definitely be happy to say they were part of. You’ve just got to trust me for now

Sign up and help me if you can

And/or like the blog before it goes live on 1st December (like button at bottom of page)

Thanks

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Twitter hack: multiple retweets of the same tweet

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Not a lot of people seem to know this one but it’s really useful and something I use often when I’m really trying to push something. I used it a lot during the #LASPO campaigns and most recently when I published Saving Justice and I wanted to make as much fuss about it as possible and keep it in the timelines of as many people as possible for as long as possible

Here’s the situation:

Someone tweets something that you want to retweet eg about you, your organisation or just something you want as many people as possible to read. You retweet it. It then gets seen by (a) any of your followers who happen to be on Twitter looking at their timeline, and (b) anyone who is browsing (stalking) your tweets at a later time or, someone who might come across it through searching hashtags or keywords. The point is, once it’s been retweeted it’s been retweeted and that’s it, right?

Wrong

There are more things you can do to get more out of that tweet from someone else. First one, when using a smart-phone, is to ‘quote’ the tweet so you’ve got the straight retweet in your timeline from earlier but now a later a new version of it but this time coming from you. Depending on your OS and version of Twitter, you might put a ‘RT’ (retweet) at the beginning or, without the ‘RT’ and just the whole tweet in speech marks. This gives you two more bites of the cherry and maximises the number of people who might see it. Depending on what apps you are using you might also have other variations on this. But that’s it, right?

Wrong

No two tweets can be identical. So, thinking about quoting/retweeting the tweet above, you can quote it again but change it slightly – remove some of the text or abbreviate part of it, anything so long as it’s different to your earlier quoted tweet. Make sure here that you add “MT” (modified tweet) at the beginning though, just to make it clear that you’ve changed something that the original tweep said. OK, fine, but that’s got to be it, surely?

Wrong

Here is the one that is far less known and used – multiple retweets of the same tweet. This requires a jump of logic and an understanding of how retweets work and how they relate to the Twitter timeline. What you have to remember is that once something has been dropped into the timeline eg when you’ve retweeted it, the accepted wisdom is it’s like dropping a stone into a pond – it sinks out of immediate view under the weight of all the subsequent tweets and that’s it, you’ve had your shot

However, what if I said you could pull the stone out of the pond and drop it in again? That you could retweet that exact same tweet again and again and again and again, perhaps an hour or so later, that evening, the next morning and so on, when other/different people will be on Twitter and looking at their timeline? Well, it’s possible

First thing to do is retweet the tweet as normal but then sometime later, ‘undo retweet’ (tap on the button that you used to retweet and it will give you this option). This has the effect of removing your retweet of someone’s tweet from your own timeline. However, this does not matter at all – that tweet had its impact an hour or two ago when you first retweeted it – people saw it then and took note. If it disappears from your earlier timeline that is entirely irrelevant

Second thing to to is retweet it again – as you’ve undone your previous retweet you now have the option to RT again. That simple. Now your most recent retweet of that tweet appears in your timeline again, but right now, not an hour ago when you first retweeted it. So, different people see it and hopefully interact with it. You retweeting, undoing your retweet and retweeting it again has no effect whatsoever on what others might do with that particular tweet at any point

As an example: I retweet a tweet at 11am and 50 other people see it and retweet it as well. At 2pm I undo my retweet and retweet it again: 70 people who were not on Twitter earlier see it and they also retweet it. By now, two lots of people have seen my retweet and in total, 120 people have retweeted it. And so on

One little tip on this – favourite the tweet you’re going to want to keep retweeting so that when you ‘undo retweet’ if it’s awkward to find again you can just pick it up from your favourites

Lastly, there’s always the chance that Twitter might prohibit this kind of behaviour at some point. Whether they do is anyone’s guess. For now, it works. Enjoy

Hush little baby, don’t you cry

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I have been wondering whether there is a confluence between the Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition government’s insistence on local authorities/councils providing free school meals for the youngest children and, a societal abrogating of cash-poor parent’s responsibilities. Under the guise of ‘we all should care for those less well off’, those children who the government says: ‘whose education suffers if they are not getting proper meals’

What strikes me as odd with this particular Tory LibDem initiative is it doesn’t seem to sit very well with other aspects of its welfare (noticeably) and social (a little more subtly) reform of the state. Especially when poorer people – notably, benefits claimants – are being attacked so heinously through welfare reform and it’s associated multi-media propaganda

It makes me think: why look after the kids when the parents are, apparently, fair game? Is it because this government has a heart and actually cares about children?

Is it because children are innocent?

Is it because caring for our children transcends politics and, therefore, it is nothing to do with winning votes but just plain goddam caring for the little uns?

Or, are we getting to the stage where there is a pervasive agenda that social and educational expectations need to be reconfigured due to shifts in economic need rising out of the austerity agenda? Are we creating norms, to such a degree that institutions will feed (literally) the poor for, say, certain outputs? Are we there yet?

Is education for enlightenment and personal development, as opposed to performance, only for the rich?

Are we creating the environment where we won’t balk at kids ‘being put through their paces’ and the poorer children ‘being given every opportunity available in a tough economic environment’? Isn’t that what the current ‘Workfare’ initiative is all about? Like the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are we seeing a modern prequel to a story we already know?

Are we there yet?

Are we creating workhouses?

Hush little baby

Saving Justice

Well, what is there to say! It’s published :) Scroll down for some reviews!

As for book charts, it’s currently the #1 ‘bestseller’ on Apple UK in the ‘Law’ category (Top Free Books) and #1 bestseller on Amazon UK in both ‘Civil Rights and Liberties’ and ‘Perspectives on Law’ categories (screen grabs below). Not bad hey!

If you’re curious how 57 other bloggers and myself got Saving Justice off the ground, you can find out here

Oh, if you download it from anywhere PLEASE rate it! This helps it show in searches and so on and helps us get it out there

Saving Justice from the Apple iBookstore

Either click here or on the Apple image in the sidebar to the right – you can get it for free! Please rate it on iTunes too!

Saving Justice from the Amazon UK book store

Is available here or by clicking the Amazon image on the right. As of 27 April it’s FREE on Amazon UK

Saving Justice – the original files

You can download the original files below for free too if you want to put it on an Android device or whatever other gadget you’re using

Download Saving Justice (epub) file

Download Saving Justice (mobi) file

For info, this really good post shows you how to put either the epub or mobi version (download links above) onto devices such as Android, e-ink Kindle, Kindle IOS app, Kobo e-ink reader, Kobo tablet or a Nook. For anyone who wonders what all this means, it’s not complicated. An epub is a type of electronic file (just like a Word document or a PDF is) and is the format Apple uses for its ebooks. A mobi file is much the same thing, but the format Amazon’s Kindle and some other types of devices use

Read Saving Justice in your browser

You can also read the mobi or epub versions of Saving Justice in your browser easily, using plugins such as Readium for Chrome, EPUBReader for Firefox or OverDrive Read, which seems to allow you to read them on anything, whether a device or browser! These are just a few that I found – you may find much better ones! Feel free to post any tips in the comments

If you can help share the book then please do so and big thanks in advance!

BLOGS AND REVIEWS ON SAVING JUSTICE! MOST RECENT FIRST

Saving Justice on Legal Voice

Saving Justice on Alex’s Archives

Saving Justice on crimsolicitor

Saving Justice – The Book  on Steve Cornforth Blog

A couple of pics from Apple and Amazon – as at 22 April

Apple Store UK:

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Amazon UK Store:

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Episode IV: A New Hope

[Password protection now removed and comments closed]

You might know that over the last year I’ve been compiling a list of all the blogs related to the Transforming Legal Aid consultation and the justice cuts. If you’ve been given the password to read this page then at least one of your blog posts are included too and I’d be grateful if you’d keep what I have to say here to yourself for the time being – professional trust and all that

What’s this about

I’m asking for your permission to reproduce your blog post(s) concerning the Transforming Legal Aid consultation/justice cuts (those you published prior to the 27th Feb this year)

Who has agreed so far and invites status (edit: now final list)

For the last two months I’ve been compiling all the blogs written during the consultation period, formatting, optimising and turning them into a book – or more precisely, an ebook (though it wouldn’t be difficult for me to produce a print ready manuscript now too). Its working title is ‘Saving Justice’

It’s cross-platform and can be viewed on whatever smartphone or gadget you have: Kindle (all types, including Paperwhite, Fire and DX), iPhones and iPad (through the Kindle app (.mobi version) or iBooks (.epub version), other tablets and Android smart-phones and so on. It can also be read on computers and Macs through ebook reader apps

With your permission I intend to finish sorting it out and publish it within the next two months – I think it will take me that long getting everyone’s permission – but I want it ready in advance of the anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta on 15th June (my birthday too). I want to make it available as a free download [NB: see update #5 below in comments – issues with Amazon not allowing ‘free forever’ – will be using Apple iBooks as they do. A cheap paid version on Amazon is also possible]

We’ll need to agree the wording of the copyright statement at some point – something like ‘remains with the authors’ perhaps. We can revisit this later or feel free to give your views in the comments below

Why bother

It raises awareness and I think opens up a potential new avenue of interest in the Save UK Justice story, the Justice Alliance and what’s going on with legal aid and in our justice system right now. Personally, I think through all your perspectives it gives incredible insight and is likely to attract many new people to look at the issues. It’s also just incredible to read – it’s fascinating, really moving and makes you want to find out more. I can’t emphasise enough just how powerful it comes across when you start going through all the individual blogs coordinated into book format

It’s also worth mentioning that using whatever gadget you happen to be reading the book on you can use the inbuilt features to do things like search the book for keywords, particular authors, mentions, people, topics etc. You can count frequencies, create statistics pulled from the accumulation of all your work from all over the web but in one place. It’s a historian/researcher’s dream

A bit of detail on content and layout

Each of your posts in the book links back to the original on your blog so it will be useful for your own traffic and raising awareness of what you write about. Any links you included have been reformatted and work so readers can access whatever other content you originally included or referred to in their browser whilst reading the book. The book also includes all your pictures, image links to the videos you created, podcasts and so on. In other words, it is what you wrote as is but presented in rich ebook format (currently .mobi and .epub). Each article throughout is sequential, date order, broken down by month, running from April 2013 when the consultation was first announced through to February 2014 when the government gave its decision

It’s just the blogs. Other than a short introduction explaining what the book is there’s no narrative from me or anyone else

It’s the biggest piece of techie/legal hybrid work I’ve ever undertaken and has, to be honest, been a major ball-breaker

What next

For now I’m just floating this to a few of you whose work is included who I know on Twitter or elsewhere. I’d like some feedback really – what do you reckon? Most importantly, would you be happy letting me include your blog posts? Basically, are you in? I guess the next stage, if people are up for it, will be to let people check their posts in the draft, just in case they don’t want certain ones included or would like me to fine tune them. Anyway, that’s not for now

Example section

Here’s a little example as a PDF. It’s only a very basic PDF but you should get the rough idea – beginning bits, a chunk of the articles and the end bit. I’ve not bothered formatting it for PDF so it’s not perfect eg articles don’t start on their own pages as in the ebook for one. I’ve taken the full .mobi manuscript I linked to last night down as it could get messy with lots of versions kicking around and this page was also getting a bit technical with my stuff on Kindle Previewer etc. If the two people I gave the link to this page to last night have the copy please don’t circulate it

However, happy to send the whole thing to anyone if they do want to see it, just let me know

Can you reply below with what you think so others can see where we’re going with this?

Or let me know via Twitter @ilegal or email theteam@ilegal.org.uk

Thanks for reading

UPDATE #2 (Sunday 7.52am)

I’ve started keeping tabs on who has been asked and who has replied. You can view the spreadsheet online (edit: now final list). If anyone knows any of those who haven’t been contacted yet by all means invite them as I invited you (don’t forget the password). Just let me know so I can update the spreadsheet (email or DM me: theteam@ilegal.org.uk or @ilegal). Otherwise, I’ll start trying to contact them directly through their blogs/emails during the week

I was communicating with a couple of you last night and I confirm that I will make a complete draft available prior to publication so you have a final opportunity to be reassured (that this isn’t a cunning Grayling-esque scheme) and pull out if you’re not happy with the final book. I’m confident you won’t so happy to be fully transparent throughout

Thanks again everyone, especially those who’ve commented below. It makes it all the more worthwhile that you can see where I’m going with this!

I’ll leave all future updates as ‘comments’ below. You can subscribe to the comments to this post to keep up with what’s going on

UPDATE #6: THE COVER (scroll down through the comments for previous updates)

Feel free to comment – it’s only a screen grab, the actual one used will be high res. It’s not your traditional legalish type cover – I don’t like them, they’re only attractive to legalish type people. I think this has broad appeal and given it’s about getting people to look who might not usually bother, I reckon it’s the way to go. That said, I have a terrible habit of changing my mind so don’t be surprised if you see an entirely different cover in a week or so!

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Save UK Justice: The Blogs [an update]

I’ve taken the original piece offline whilst I overhaul it. It’s been a massive bit of work over the course of the last year trying to keep on top of all the fine and very moving writing of the respective blog authors. Given the MoJ statement on the final outcome of the consultation today, and its consequences for the future of our justice system, it seemed fitting that Save UK Justice: The Blogs turn up its collar against the cold, hat against the rain and retire from the public eye for a time. I hope to have it back online in the very near future

Vaping, not smoking

A blog about a different type of technology this time. One that’s had a very profound impact on me: the electronic cigarette

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I stopped smoking and began vaping on Saturday 6th April 2013, when a good quality electronic cigarette (‘ecig’ or ‘ecigarette’) I had ordered arrived in the post. I haven’t looked back. I am much fitter, healthier and feel considerably better all round compared to when I was smoking. It was relatively easy to do I’d say. Yes, it required a desire and conviction, but nothing like the level I thought it might. It has also saved me a significant amount of money and I am no longer a creature of ritualised habit – a cigarette at the bus stop, outside the shop, immediately after a meal (and before) or when in any kind of stressful situation or when needing to concentrate

After smoking fairly heavily for over 20 years, I am now something I thought I would never be: a non-smoker. Statistically speaking at least, my likely lifespan increased significantly on the 6th April this year

There are approximately 1.3 million vapers in the UK (compared to 9 million tobacco smokers) and this number has been growing exponentially. The vaping sphere is a bit of an unknown to outsiders and comments such as “It’s still smoking though isn’t it, you’re still blowing smoke out” are understandably common (and wrong). Here’s my take:

  • there is no tar in ecigarettes, which clogs up your lungs and kills you
  • e-cigarettes do not contain the thousands of toxic chemicals present when inhaling tobacco smoke, which will kill you
  • nicotine (usually present in ecigarettes) is a stimulant, much the same as coffee or tea and has comparable effects
  • you can vary the nicotine strength of your ecigarette to suit or you can leave it out entirely
  • you can reduce the strength over time to wean yourself off nicotine altogether (which is what I am doing)
  • you are not blowing out smoke – it’s vaporised liquid, a steam/vapour
  • it doesn’t smell unpleasant, in fact quite the opposite
  • there is no known secondary inhalation risk from vaping as there is in passive tobacco smoking
  • my worst case scenario is that I will be vaping for the rest of my life as opposed to dying from smoking tobacco

What is vaping?

Vaping is a physical alternative to smoking that provides you with comparable effects to smoking tobacco but with vastly reduced risks to your own health and the health of those around you. The vapour you inhale is the product of combusting liquid commonly referred to as ‘juice’ or ‘e-liquid’ within an ecigarette device. The inhaled vapour contains the following, in varying degrees:

  • nicotine solution in varying strengths
  • flavouring
  • diluents: this makes up the bulk of the juice – propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG). The higher the concentration of PG the stronger the throat hit, the more VG the more vapour produced
  • distilled water may occasionally be present too

You would usually buy e-liquid already made up but you can easily make your own by buying the constituent parts and mixing it up yourself if you want to save money and/or enjoy experimenting. It’s worth stressing however, that nicotine is poisonous and should be treated with care, especially in its highly concentrated – before diluting it – form

Why is it so effective at stopping people smoking?

My view is that common nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches do not address the behavioural aspects of addiction to smoking. Note I said addiction “to smoking” there and not “to nicotine”. The act of vaping is physically similar to smoking, even to producing smoke-like vapour. Vapers are still free to follow the same routines as smokers as and when they choose eg going outside for a vape along with smoker friends who are going for a cigarette. In this sense it provides an effective substitute for both the behavioural and social act of smoking whilst also addressing the underlying physiological nicotine addiction

My personal experience was that when I first began vaping I continued to follow the same routines eg vaping on a morning with a cup of tea before I did anything, vaping after meals and so on. As the days and weeks went by what I found was that I just got out of the habit of following these routines. They became irrelevant, even to the extent that now if I forget to take my e-cigarette with me when I go out it’s just no big deal

I also very much enjoy vaping in a way I never experienced when smoking tobacco! It’s totally different to smoking and very pleasant, especially when you have a nice set up and are vaping a particularly nice juice

Are there health risks?

There isn’t much research available on the health risks of vaping given it is a relatively new phenomena. However, contrary to what various regulators and the big pharma and tobacco industry lobbyists would have you believe there is some, and what there is is both robust and particularly striking. If you are interested, watch the whole of the video at the end of this post, especially from this point here (YouTube video opens in a separate browser window). The video is an abridged announcement of the results (published June 25th this year) of the ECLAT Electronic Cigarette Study (“Efficiency and Safety of an Electronic Cigarette as a Tobacco Subsitute”) headed by Dr. Riccardo Pelosa from the University of Catania in Italy. Dr. Michael Siegel from the Boston University School of Public Health also discusses the implications of the study from the perspective of public health

I’m a smoker and want to give it a go, where should I start?

Good on you. The first thing I would say is don’t spend tons of money at the outset; there are countless options and things to choose from – work out what you like and what suits  you gradually – experiment. Start with a kit, something that gives you everything you need from the get go. Spending anywhere between £20 to £40 will get you a very good ecigarette kit, including USB charger, a bottle of juice and other peripherals. For reference, the first 10ml included in the kit I bought lasted me just over 10 days. Assuming a cost of £4 per 10ml, that equates to a cost to vaping of 40 pence a day, or £2.80 a full week. Compare that with what  you spend on cigarettes if you are a smoker

Where should I buy from?

It’s up to you, you could either do some research and join one of the forums out there such as Scott Bonner’s ECR and ask questions and listen to the considered advice or, you could just take a quick recommendation and get a starter kit from somewhere like Myepack, who do startlingly good deals and are well recommended in the vaping community. If i were starting out again, I’d go for something like an iTaste vv and a Protank 3 atomiser

There are loads of other shops out there but all I’d say is just be a little careful. There are lots of sharks – have a hunt around and compare/contrast. If you have some time on your hands I would also highly recommend exploring the various vaping forums – there’s some really interesting stuff going on and they’re well worth joining and getting yourself involved in the vaping community – you’ll also learn which shops to trust and how to identify which are just out there to fleece you

Good luck! I may do some follow up blogs at some point and talk in more detail about the various paraphernalia in a bit more detail, especially the mods and repairable atomisers, the vape shops (good and bad) and so on. OK, I appreciate the vast majority of my readers work in the legal profession but, it might be an interesting diversion from what we normally talk about!

Finally…

I would like to dedicate this post to my beautiful five-year-old daughter, Ruby. On the 17th March this year as we were walking home together Ruby said to me that she didn’t really like me smoking and thought I should stop as it might make me “poorly” one day. I ordered my first ecigarette online the next day. Love you angel x

Press Conference: Announcement of ECLAT Study Results, June 25th 2013

 

BAILII RSS Search is now a site feature

Those who follow this blog will know that I have been ‘stalking’ BAILII for about a year now, ever since creating the @BAILII Twitter account and then taking over and automating the Support BAILII Facebook Page. More recently, you will also know about me doing a little unofficial collaboration with them in respect of getting RSS feeds from searches conducted on the BAILII site. The purpose being to offer a way of not only being able to access BAILII content through existing RSS feeds differentiated by court type, but also by term eg a feed of cases involving “defamation” or “environmental information regulations”, for example. In fact, an RSS feed of cases specific to absolutely any search term you care to search for

I am now pleased to announce that after an ongoing testing phase that was exclusive to readers of this blog and a few other Twitter compadres, and since I wrote the last blog post, the feature has now been formalised and incorporated into the main BAILII website on its home page. From now on any search you undertake on BAILII will offer you the opportunity to generate an RSS feed directly from that search. Feeds can then be included in your feed reader of choice, or used in whatever other way you see fit eg to update your blog or website

Personally, I think this is an excellent addition by the great BAILII – and great work by Roger Bell_West, their Systems Administrator/Developer – who I liaised with. It can only be of benefit to those who use BAILII already and is another small step towards making the law accessible and useable in a modern practical sense (think RSS feeds on smart-phones, for example – there’s an app for that)

BAILII has asked me to pass on its thanks to those of you who gave feedback so, I think that deserves a special shout out – with my own personal thanks added – to Lucy Series, Judith Townend, Jonathan Baines, Nick Holmes, Paul Skowron and Colin Yeo for their valuable input. Apologies if I missed anyone who also contacted me with feedback

And for the record, despite setting up and running the unofficial BAILII branded social media accounts I don’t work for BAILII and nor have I ever been paid by BAILII. It’s simply that BAILII’s work and my own interests coincide from time to time and something especially useful came of this particular link up

Thanks again to those that helped out and I hope you find the new BAILII feature useful. Well done BAILII

Save UK Justice… The Soundtrack

 

I wrote about embedding objects into WP.com posts the other day whilst embedding an interactive jigsaw as an example. The same principle can be used for games and other interactive objects. This time round I’ve incorporated a Grooveshark playlist. I don’t presume to set the soundtrack to the Save UK Justice campaign but, even though this is a thrown together playlist for the purposes of this blog, there might be the odd track that might make your list!

If you think there’s a glaring omission let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in!

And, for the ‘non-legal’ people reading this please do me a big favour and sign this petition. It’s important! If you want to know why then have a read through some of the excellent (and amusing in some cases) blogs about what the government is up to

Instructions:

1. Open a Grooveshark account and create a playlist. Alternatively, you can just embed a single song by making a little tweak – see below

2. When you’ve finished with your playlist (ordering it and what-have-you), click on the Share button and select the Embed option

3. This gives you the embed code you need – copy and paste it into a text editor

4. You need this bit of the code, the bit between these two parameters: “flashvars” value=“YOU NEED THIS BIT” /><span>. Delete all the rest of the code, both before and after it

5. Copy and paste the code below into a text editor and then paste in what you were left with in step 4, where indicated:

6. Then paste the whole thing into your post and you should be good to go

You can adjust the size of the player by playing around with the size height/width variables in the code. Also, if all you want in your blog post is a song, not a playlist, then follow the instructions above to get your embed code from Grooveshark, dig out the piece of code you need in just the same as if it were a playlist but then, when at Step 5 above, in the final code where it says widget.swf change this to songWidget.swf. This should also work for embedding a music player into a widget in your blog sidebar – I might give it a go later tonight

Thanks to Panos, who worked all this out!

Don’t forget to sign the petition!

Save UK Justice… the jigsaw!

Well, there’s the save UK justice ‘blogs’ so, we may as well have… the jigsaw!

Have a go, it’s interactive, just use your mouse

Online jigsaw puzzles from JigsawSite.com

I’ve not totally lost it, by the way – I’m working out how to embed certain interactive objects into a WordPress.com site. Main reason being I wanted to see if it was possible because when you look through the WP help forums they say you can’t do it – the standard reply to questions about embedding interactive or more exotic objects is that you can’t add them due to WP.com (as opposed to self-hosted WP.org) being a shared (with other users) platform and things like flash and javascript in posts would present security risks. Pah

Anyway, they’re wrong, it can be done. You just need to transform the embed code that you would pick up from elsewhere – by re-forming the ‘embed this into your website’ code – into an appropriate shortcode. I did a bit of digging and found this excellent workthrough. Basically, it’s just about pulling the bits you don’t need out of the embed code and reforming the bit of code you’re left with into a shortcode that works in WP

I’ll use the jigsaw I did above as an example

An example

First off, find what you want to embed. I used http://jigsawsite.com/ (credit to Panos who wrote the blog I’ve linked to above) and selected the option to make a jigsaw from a URL – providing it with the URL to the image I used in the earlier Save UK Justice post I did

Once you’re happy with how many pieces you want in your jigsaw, select the code from the “Embed puzzle directly on your blog or website” and stick it in a text editor. I just used TextEdit on my Mac, but anything you can edit text in will do

This is what you get (using my example – the jigsaw at the top of this post):

01

However, all we want from this is this bit beginning with “FlashVars” and including the ‘.swf’ link – highlighted:

03

So, just get rid of absolutely everything else so all you have left is that bit of code. Then, paste it where indicated in this little downloadable PDF – you’ll have to pull it out of the PDF and paste it into your text editor to play with it. I had to do this as I can’t paste source code directly into a post on WP! That’ll have to be another post I guess…

Once done, paste what you’re left with onto a line of its own in your blog draft, but make sure you are viewing/writing your draft in “Text”, not “Visual” when you paste it – look to the top right of your drafting area and you’ll see the two little tabs (or top right if you’re writing in Distraction Free mode). You can switch between them mid-draft so don’t worry, just click the “Text” tab, paste the code, and click back to “Visual” if you like

And that’s it. Voila!

You can use this same method in your sidebars too, not just in posts. When I get a minute I’ll insert a flash chess game into my sidebar so when you get bored reading my blogs you can have a quick game of chess against the computer instead :)

One final thing!

Please sign the petition to save UK justice. As I write this blog, it stands at over 83,000 signatures but needs 100,000 to be considered for a debate in Parliament. We need to see what they do when they’re put in this position and have to make a decision on whether to hold a debate. My personal feeling is that the government will try to avoid it at all costs. However, let’s put it on the line regardless and see just how interested in ‘transparency’ and ‘justice’ this government really is. Let’s see if they’ll allow the wider public to be able to put all the pieces together for themselves