WikiPlaces has been updated with support for new devices and iOS versions

November 24, 2016

After a long period without updates, I'm glad to announce a new release of WikiPlaces app which brings proper support for the latest devices and iOS versions. WikiPlaces provides access to — a collaborative mapping project with the aim to describe every location in the world.

In practice it means that wherever you are, most likely you will be able to learn a lot of interesting details about places around you. I personally often use it when I see an interesting/strange/mysterious building, monument, factory, area or anything else, and want to know what that is. content is available in many languages, and the application is free.


JPEG thumbnails for PNG images in WordPress and other image-related issues

November 21, 2016

So far the biggest issue for me with WordPress is poor support for media files:

  • No built-in support for any categorisation of media files.

  • No built-in support for Retina.

  • Limited support for intermediate image sizes. For example I need 320px-wide images for screenshots in portrait orientation only, but if I add such custom image size, it will be created for all of my uploads, including photos and other images that will never need this size.

  • The standard "Add Media" function in the post editor inserts image with hard-coded image dimensions and absolute URLs including host name and scheme (!)

  • Need to manually update existing posts content after changing an intermediate image size. Currently I have blog post width set to 750px and have defined a custom image size with that width. If I decided to change the blog width, I'd need to update existing posts because paths to image files in them include the exact dimensions.

Continue reading...

Playgrounds in Auckland and nearby

November 16, 2016

Over the past few year, with my daughter we have visited a large number of kids playgrounds in Auckland and nearby locations in New Zealand as we're trying to go to a new places whenever possible. So now I have photos of all these playgrounds, and finally I had time to create a section on the website for this collection.

Auckland Playgrounds

Only a small part of it is uploaded so far, the rest will come in the next few days, and new places will be published as we visit them. I'm using some other lists like this when deciding where to go next, so I hope my collection will be useful too.


Moving to WordPress

November 10, 2016
I'm now migrating the website and blog to WordPress. This will allow me to add some new content, as well as post updates more frequently. I've been using static site generators until now, but unfortunately I could not find the one that would satisfy my needs. First I was using Jekyll/Octopress, but it's very limited, with no support even for pagination of tag pages, for example. Then I switched to Hexo which has a lot of nice features and plugins, but is very slow, and I had difficulties implementing additional functionality I needed. I tried a lot of other generators but none of them satisfied the following requirements:
  • Be written in a language I know. There are some promising options like Middleman (Ruby) and Hugo (Go), but that would mean I won't be able to make almost any changes or additions.
  • Never rewrite unchanged output files. I'm hosting on Amazon S3 and synchronisation tools compare file modification times to determine whether they need to be uploaded. Now I'm thinking maybe it's possible to use ETag header with content hash, but I haven't investigated.
  • Ability to add tags/helpers that would create files. I use this to dynamically resize uploaded images to the exact size I need on a page and create retina versions.
  • Delete any files from the output folder that do not exist in the source folder, including the aforementioned dynamically generated images if they're not used anymore or the requested size changes.
Last week I was writing my own generator (loosly based on Metalsmith) and at the same time was toying with a WordPress installation. I'm not a big fan of PHP+MySQL combo nowadays but there are not many options - all Node.js-based engines are immature and hardly usable. The biggest problem with WordPress though is that I've never seen such huge amount of terrible design, ads, popups, dozens of similar plugins doing the same things but being differently ugly and bugged, and most of them being paid. Poor people who have to use all this shit. However I must say it's indeed flexible and easily extendable. Still I'll need to implement a lot of functionality myself (which is sometimes easier than to choose between five existing plugins each with its own problems), but at least I'm getting admin UI and all that for free. The migration process will take some time, and there will be no upades until then, except for one more post about the way I've configured my server for WordPress.

An issue with automatic Dwarf Fortress Remote server update on Linux

October 5, 2016
I have identified a problem that causes the Remote plugin not to be reloaded during automatic update on Linux. Remote server consists of Lua scripts and a plugin, which is updated very rarely so this usually doesn't cause problems. However the version 1.7.0 that introduced creature graphics contains changes that cause the iOS app to crash if the plugin is not reloaded. I'm working on a fix, in the meanwhile if you experience app crashes when connecting to a game, simply restart DF, or, if that doesn't help, download and install the latest package from

DIY Blocky Stickers

September 26, 2016

An iMessage app for iOS 10 allowing everyone to create their own blocky style stickers. Don't be limited by pre-made sticker packs, create your own!

September 22, 2016

Dwarves will finally listen to your commands.