Karma Repair Kit Items 1-4

Today appears to be one of those days where food, sleep and reduced noise is required.


Karma Repair Kit Items 1-4.

  1. Get enough food to eat,
    and eat it.
  2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
    and sleep there.
  3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
    until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
    and listen to it.

— Richard Brautigan

Overide WordPress things

This is nothing very exciting, and can be found all over the net, but thought I’d share a few code tweaks to hide or modify the WordPress Dashboard. Handy if you want to clean up and hide things for your users or clients.

First removes the default Dashboard Widgets. I’ll post how to add your own custom Widgets in a later post.
Just add the following code to your themes functions.php file, it works for both parent and child themes. Obviously you can choose to leave some out if you want to show some widgets.

// remove dashboard widgets
function remove_dashboard_meta() {
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_incoming_links', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_plugins', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_primary', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_secondary', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_incoming_links', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_quick_press', 'dashboard', 'side' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_recent_drafts', 'dashboard', 'side' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_recent_comments', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
remove_meta_box( 'dashboard_right_now', 'dashboard', 'normal' );
add_action( 'admin_init', 'remove_dashboard_meta' );

This will remove all Dashboard Widgets, you can choose to show/remove some or all of them if you wish, just comment out the remove_meta_box line that corresponds to the Widget you want to show.

Second hides the built in Help Menu from all Users except Admins. This is useful if you want to add your own help files, which I’ll explain in a later post.
Again, add the code to your themes functions.php file, and also works with parent and child themes.

// remove default help tab
add_filter( 'contextual_help', 'mycontext_remove_help', 999, 3 );
 function mycontext_remove_help($old_help, $screen_id, $screen){
 return $old_help;

Lastly, how to change the silly “Howdy” message in the Dashboard. A lot of my clients ask about this and thankfully there is a simple way to change it.
Just add to your themes functions.php file, again works with parent and child themes.

// change the stupid Howdy message
function replace_howdy( $wp_admin_bar ) {
 $newtitle = str_replace( 'Howdy,', 'Hello,', $my_account->title );
 $wp_admin_bar->add_node( array(
 'id' => 'my-account',
 'title' => $newtitle,
 ) );
 add_filter( 'admin_bar_menu', 'replace_howdy',25 );

If you want to completely remove “Howdy”, just remove “Hello” like this $newtitle = str_replace( 'Howdy,', '', $my_account->title );.

More code fun can be found in the WordPress Code Reference.

WordCamp Bournemouth 2014

I haven’t updated in ages, so thought it would be appropriate to add a little update about the upcoming WordPress WordCamp in sunny Bournemouth (weather forecast is rain!).

The event spans two days and is all about WordPress — tickets and the latest schedule can be found at WordPress weekend in Bournemouth.

Should be a fun weekend and looking forward to meting a few faces from WordCamp Portsmouth a couple of years ago.

Handy Android Apps

Short list of handy Android Apps I use (almost) everyday. Put together for the nice people at www.dorsetdigital.co.uk @dorsetdigital  a local pubmeet/social group in Dorset for anybody interested in creative, web, digital and technologyl.

airdroid AirDroid is a free and fast app that helps you manage your Android from a desk web browser.
I always have this running in a separate browser window when I’m at my desk. It’s a quick and easy way to respond to text messages and convenient for adding/downloading music and pictures to my phone.

AirDroid on Google Play

andftp FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP client that can open (local/remote), rename, delete, update permissions (chmod), run custom commands and more. SSH RSA/DSA keys support.

Handy FTP App on your phone — what more do you want?

AndFTP on Google Play

andsmb SMB (Samba/CIFS) client for Android devices. Allows connecting to shared folders hosted on Windows or Samba servers over Wifi/3G/4G.
Handy for testing shared folders or checking if things are secure! I use it with Fing (below).

AndSMB on Google Play

appmoster AppMonster is an application manager for Android smartphones and tablets.
Great for backing up all your Apps to the SD Card. Can be setup to auto-backup. Handy if you update an App only to find it now crap or broken — you can just restore the previous version from the backup!

AppMonster on Google Play

authenticator Enable 2-step verification to protect your account from hijacking!

Use this with LaspPass (below) and a host of other online services. Also works great with WordPress sites via the Google Authenticator Plugin.

Authenticator on Google Play

businesscal Business Calendar is a complete calendar application that is synchronising with your Google calendars!
The default calendar is ok, but this is probably the best app that works the way I expect a calendar to work! The free version does everything I need and syncs several calendars with Google.

Business Calendar on Google Play

calltrack CallTrack logs your phone activity to your Google Calendar. Logs (incoming, outgoing, and missed).
This is such a great app, saves all my calls and syncs via Google to my desktop. Allowing me to track/bill call times with clients. Once setup it quietly runs in the background — recommend this for anybody using their phone for business calls.

CallTrack on Google Play

dns-lookup DNS Lookup tool with support for all major DNS record types and WHOIS lookups. Supported types are A, AAAA, AXFR, CNAME, NS, MX, PTR, SOA, SRV, TXT and WHOIS.

Umm, it looks up DNS stuff — quick, simple and does what it says on the tin 🙂

DNS Lookup on Google Play

fing Fing is the ultimate toolkit for network management: network discovery, service scan (TCP port scan), ping, traceroute, DNS lookup, Wake on LAN, TCP connection tester, MAC address and vendor gathering, customizable host names and icons, connectivity detection, geolocation. Integrated launch of third-party Apps for SSH, Telnet, FTP, FTPS, SFTP, SCP, HTTP, HTTPS, SAMBA.

This is great for testing/exploring networks. Use this almost every day while helping clients with their internal (wifi/lan) networks. Really useful App. Also desktop and Raspberry Pi versions!

Fing on Google Play | Fing Website

gtasks GTasks is a simple and efficient task management app with both local and Google account mode.

Use this simple app everyday to manage my Google todo list(s).

GTasks on Google Play

lastpass Mobile version of LastPass password manager. Fast, easy and simple; securely syncs your passwords across all your browsers and devices.
Simple app for access my LastPass account — you need a premium account ($12 a year!) to use this on your phone/tablet.

LastPass on Google Play

overlookwhiz Keep an eye on your webservers (or any other TCP-enabled server) right from your phone home screen.
Great way to keep an eye on your servers/sites — I have a screen full of widgets monitoring my own servers and client sites. Can customise the refresh rate and failover checking server. Made by the same people as Fing (above).

Overlook Whiz on Google Play

smsbackup Automatically backup SMS, MMS and call log entries using a separate label in Gmail / Google Calendar. It is also possible to restore SMS and call log entries back to the phone. Another no-brainer app that backs up my SMS texts to a Google calendar.
It can also backup call logs, but I prefer CallTrack (above). Has a nice restore feature, handy if upgrading your phone. There are lots of other similar apps, but been using it ever since I got my first Android phone — the old faithful G1 🙂

SMS Backup on Google Play

wifianalyzer Turns your android phone into a Wi-Fi analyzer!!
Shows the Wi-Fi channels around you. Helps you to find a less crowded channel for your wireless router.
Another handy app that I use almost every day. Simple to use and great for demonstrating to clients why their WiFi is crap!

WiFi Analyzer on Google Play



I remember making these when I was a kid, wrap the eggs in onion skins (different colour onions make the patterns), tie with thread and boil… This is the closest I’m gonna get to saying happy easter!

PowerBook Duo 280c


I’ve inherited a working PowerBook Duo 280c… Not sure what I’m gonna do with it, suspect it will end up in the loft with everything else… If only I hand more space, I could start a museum!