Author Archive: Callam McMillan

WordPress: Looking at the Activity Log

When I last wrote about the site at the end of January, I mentioned that I’d installed an activity monitor. Logging is not a standard feature of WordPress, so you’ll need a plugin. The one I chose is the Aryo Activity Log. It’s now been running for two months, and I have drawn a number of conclusions. The information below uses data gathered since January 31st 2016. The conclusions are: Updates are frequent, so don’t ignore them In two months there have been two core updates, and 16 plugin updates. If we extrapolate that out to cover a three year period,…
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The cheapest PC revisited – March 2016

Early in January, I wrote about the cheapest PC I could build. It came to just under £200. Since then, time moves on, new products come onto the market, and older ones are discontinued and retired. Surely though, not much can have changed in 10 weeks? Using scan.co.uk, who are my goto place for computer supplies, I decided to find out. Last time I specified two machines – the first being the very cheapest thing you could build, the next being something that you could possibly live with. What we’ll do this time is attempt to duplicate these setups, making substitutions where…
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Callam cooks: A juicy peppered steak

If you’re a vegetarian, this is definitely not a recipe for you. If on the other hand you like your meat red and juicy, then read on. Today I’ll show you how to make a perfect peppered steak that goes great with chips, vegetables or a side of your choice. You’ll need to prepare the meat around 30 minutes before you want it, and the cooking time will take around 5 minutes. Ingredients The following is per steak: Sirloin steak, (without fat skirt if possible) cut about 15mm thick 2 tbsp Olive Oil Fresh ground black pepper Recipe Remove your steak…
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Callam cooks: Crusty White Bread

They say the simple things in life are the best, never is the more true than with my recipe for a crusty white loaf of bread. Big chunks of it go great with a nice bowl of soup, or slice it thick and sandwich bacon and sausage between it. The best bit is the recipe is simple, and while it needs a couple of hours to be ready, you don’t need to be in the kitchen the whole time. Ingredients The following is enough to produce an 800g loaf: 500g Strong White Bread Flour 25g Unsalted Butter 1 teaspoon caster…
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Why you can’t rely on redundant

Some months back I spoke about setting my friend and partner in crime up on a pfSense router. Part of the reason for doing this was that he had dual WAN links and we could put them into a redundant configuration. I stress now, this wasn’t the primary reason, more of an added bonus. It was therefore with some surprise that I got the following text message on Tuesday: And my internet is down My first thoughts were that there had either been a power cut or some muppet had put a digger through the BT wiring. So, away from…
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Three months of WordPress: A review

In October I’d had enough of this website. I had topics I wanted to talk about, but getting them onto the screen was so difficult thanks to a half finished editor and a lack of motivation on my part to finish getting the site working. For the first eight years of owning this website, I’d steadfastly refused to use WordPress or any other CMS system. Then I decided to give it another go. It’s amazing what a few years of development on a product can do. The experience went from being impossibly annoying, to being relatively straightforward. Three months on,…
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Sennheiser CX5.00G: Review and Reboxing

For this review, let’s cut to the chase. Don’t buy the Sennheiser CX5.00G headset. Audio wise they’re not bad, but having gone through two pairs of them in the last year, I simply cannot recommend them. In recognition of this fact, rather than showing an unboxing, here’s some photos of the reboxing, just prior to them getting sent back to Amazon. It should be noted that Amazon have been absolutely amazing when it comes to their customer service. They replaced the first pair, and this time gave me a full refund. Sennheiser CX5.00G The initial impression I got when I…
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How low can you go? The cheapest PC

I was having a chat with a friend about about cheap PCs the other day. We began to wonder, given the massive drop in the cost of components, what’s the cheapest PC you can build? Using scan.co.uk who are my goto place for computer supplies, I decided to find out. First, we need to work out what this machine will be used for. If we’re going for cheap, then gaming is out, meaning it’s going to be used for a bit of web browsing and perhaps a bit of word processing / spreadsheeting. In reality, if that was all the…
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Happy 2016 Everybody

So here we are, mid way through the first week of the new year. The hangover of the holiday has been replaced by work, chores, and of course, eating the customary mountain of Christmas chocolate. Overall though, 2016 is looking to be a good year. For me, my personal highlights in 2016 will be becoming a father. Marking 10 years since I left secondary school, and five since I graduated from university. Also, continuing to grow in my role as an Information Security Professional. I’ve resolved to lose some weight, which means cutting down on the aforementioned chocolate, and getting…
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Time for a new approach to password security?

The password. It’s been used for thousands of years and today represents the key security token in modern computer systems. Despite its ubiquity, the password is not well loved. Attitudes towards passwords vary from apathy to downright contempt. Very few people would ever stand up and argue that the password is a good method of securing a system. IBM predicted back in 2011 that the password would be dead within five years. However, while the giants of the technology industry are rushing to consign passwords to the dustbin of history, nobody seems to be asking whether the problem is with passwords…
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