Malleable Musings

December 6, 2009

Anti-social blogging

Filed under: Volleyball, Wordpress — Brendan @ 10:43 pm

Last weekend I did a WordPress installation. (I also finally got around to having a five minute play on Google Wave.)

Whilst doing this I was reminded that I’ve written before that tools are used differently by different people.  I was reminded of this because I didn’t start waving publicly and I had no intention of using WordPress conventionally as a blog.

Instead I’m thinking of using WordPress as a simple web back-end for a five web-page site for my volleyball club because:

  1. It can be updated easily from an iPhone which is important for updating scores from the game.  From this tweet it seems that I’m not the only person thinking in this way.
  2. I wanted to produce a better browsing experience for iPhone/smartphone users.  I could have done this by looking at writing some new CSS but it probably would have meant additional JQuery work whereas WordPress has a great WP-touch plugin that can just be turned on.  So I figured that it might just be simpler and better to move the site over to WordPress (as it also adds a great deal of flexibility e.g. the site could be easily updated by others within the club if need be).

The installation was extremely straightforward – as they claim it really is a five minute installation.  Although it was far from a five minute job to get the site up and running.  In fact although I’ve got something working well in a subfolder I’ve not replaced the current site yet.

I’ve spent a couple of hours on this little project over the course of a week (and have made a note of what I’ve done so far below for my own reference):

1) I dropped some content in to blog pages.

2) Find some way of displaying Google Maps on the blog. I tested a few different variants but settled on the Google Maps Plugin for WordPress primarily because it’s incredibly simple and allows relative scaling of the map.

3) I also needed the Exec-PHP plug-in as I use this to run a simple include lifting the league table from the Associations webpages and inserting it on the Results and Fixtures page.

4) Find a theme that I could easily modify.  I settled on Starscape.  To modify it I did the following (N.B. again I’ve listed these in full to remind myself of what I did):

  • Knock off some of the features that I didn’t want – e.g. date icons on posts, the links to home and RSS in the header, one of the sidebars and the footer.
  • Added a new favicon.
  • Moved the search below the sidebar
  • Centralised and reduced the size of the text in the header.
  • Created three PNG images for the header and footer – center and top and footer images (although I think I might need to re-look at these as I don’t think that they work in the way I’d like yet).
  • Modded a couple of the php files (Page Template – page.php) – e.g. changing words from things like “Published” to “Last updated” etc.

5) Installed and configured the WP-Touch plug-in.  This was actually far easier than modifying the theme.  All it really took was choosing what not to show, shortening the name of the site and uploading a couple of icons.  I did have a bit of difficulty with the home page redirection setting.  It claimed that there were too many redirects.  However simply changing this to the default WordPress setting made all of the difference.

This was the first time I’d played about with WordPress or looked properly at what it can do.  Having seen various  plug-ins and options I know I’ve not even scratched its surface yet.

My only difficulty so far has been finding option settings.  For example when installing the Google Maps Plugin the documentation said “install it in the plugin’s admin page under Options”.  This left me a little lost.  I couldn’t immediately see the admin page and spent some time searching around the php files before eventually realising the admin page can be found under Settings on WordPress rather than within the plugins section.

I still need to do a bit more testing before I send my little site live.  However having got this far I can see myself catching a bug and writing my own custom themes.


November 24, 2009


Filed under: Volleyball — Brendan @ 12:13 am

This season my volleyball club have been paying for a referee (Chris Mason) as having proper referees really makes a difference to the quality of the games we play. It also usually means that we have players on the bench rather than refereeing.

However at this evening’s volleyball match against Nuneaton, as we had a couple of subs I second refereed. It was probably the first time I’d refereed properly in about five years. When I was younger, before kids and marriage I refereed quite a bit in the London Leagues, National Leagues, National Cup competitions and I even line-judged an international. However about five or six years ago when my youngest was born I couldn’t/wouldn’t find the time when I got the phone call and I gradually lost interest.

I was amazed at how much I remembered about the movement involved. The second referee is on the ground and is constantly moving from one side of the net to the other to watch the ball come over from the attacking side. I was fine following the rotation and even blew up a couple of rotation faults. I was also pretty good with the whistle although there was one incident when I hesitated in blowing up a back court hit. However I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for the new net touch rules. I’d seen the video below a few times (the action starts about 40secs in) and had been playing volleyball with the new rules but it just hadn’t prepared me for refereeing a game.

It got me thinking about the importance of practising a skill. And as I really enjoyed the evening for a moment I was tempted to renew my registration with the EVA. The idea of registration was quickly put on hold by my wife reminding me that I’d be out three nights this week as it is.

However I did spot something on the EVA page that caught my interest.

The essence of a good official lies in the concept of fairness and consistency.

I found this interesting and thought about my day job. Especially when the page went on to say things like “This demands a huge element of trust”, You need to be “accurate in your judgement”, “an efficient organiser” and “an educator” and a good referee remains in the background.

September 17, 2009


Filed under: Volleyball — Brendan @ 10:48 pm

OK so I’m finally updated my volleyball club’s website with details of the fixtures that we have this season. This post will hopefully just allow me a quick way of updating the website using WordPress on my iPhone so I can add scores quickly on the night.

Basically what happens is a PHP script just rips the table below and places it within a webpage.


Date Warm-up Opposition Where Score
Fri 09 Oct’09 8:00pm PVC Nuffield Sports Centre
Wyggeston Drive
Gate 1 Off University Road
Leicester LE1 7RJ
We won
(25-18, 25-15, 25-10)
Mon 09 Nov’09 7:30pm Loughborough University Bablake School We won
(25-10, 25-8, 25-19)
Mon 23 Nov’09 7:30pm Nuneaton Bablake School We won
(25-11, 25-10, 25-5)
Tues 01 Dec’09 8:00pm Tamworth Wilnecote High School
Tinkers Green Road,
B77 5LF
We won
(25-15, 25-16, 25-14)
Mon 07 Dec’09 7:30pm QEWGS Nuffield Sports Centre
Wyggeston Drive
Gate 1 Off University Road
Leicester LE1 7RJ
We won
(25-6, 25-17, 25-19)
Mon 18 Jan’10 7:30pm PVC Bablake School We won 3-0
(25-15, 25-17, 25-13)
Sat 23 Jan’10 12.30pm Loughborough Lions Limehurst High School
Bridge St
Leicestershire, LE11 1NH
We won
(25-17, 25-21, 25-14)
Mon 15 Feb’10 8:15pm Loughborough University Loughborough University
New Sports Hall
Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
We won 2-1
(25-16, 25-12, 23-25)
Mon 01 Mar’10 7:30pm QEWGS Bablake School We won
(25-10, 25-13, 25-10)
Mon 08 Mar’10 7:30pm Tamworth Bablake School We won
(25-12, 27-25, 23-25)
Sun 21 Mar’10 6:00pm Nuneaton George Eliot School
Raveloe Drive
CV11 4QP
We won
(25-15, 25-10, 25-16)
Mon 26 Apr’10 7:30pm Loughborough Lions Bablake School We won
(25-22, 25-21, 25-22)

January 26, 2009

Take that Lufbra

Filed under: Volleyball — Brendan @ 11:19 pm

I play for a Coventry based volleyball team in the Leicestershire Leagues. We’re not very good so it’s extremely satisfying when we win. Tonight we beat a team from Loughborough University (supposedly the UK’s premier university for sports). After the match I worked out the average age of our team to be 42 – I’m the second youngest. I guess it goes to show the benefits of organising games in exam periods when their best players aren’t available. The rest of the post is just to remind me of the remaining fixtures for the season and the results we’ve had so far.


Next season’s fixtures will appear here when they are published


Sunday, 16-Nov – Melton Away – we lost 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-23)

Monday, 01-Dec – Nuneaton Home – we won 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-21)

Monday, 26-Jan – Loughborough Uni Home – we won 2-1 (25-17, 16-25, 25-14)

Monday, 23-Feb WQEI Home – we won 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-16)

Monday, 02-Feb WQEI Away – we won 2-1 (22-25, 25-9, 25-19)

Sunday, 08-Mar – Nuneaton Away – we won 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-13)

Thursday, 19-Mar – Semi-Final – Tamworth Away – we lost 2-1 (sorry too devastated to remember the score)

December 1, 2008


Filed under: Conferences, International Student Recruitment, Volleyball — Tags: , , — Brendan @ 5:05 pm

Today was the BUILA AGM. BUILA is which is the association for international office staff from UK universities. I’m not an international officer but I obviously need to keep on top of and international trends so I like to stay in touch with this organisation.

The AGM was held at the University of East London (UEL) which has an amazingly modern campus right on the river close to City Airport.  It’s so different from the institution I work at. I think that the only things that might be common are the three shared words in their titles and the fact that they are located in the same city. I’m simply not used to having rooms called the hot hatch and the fab pad with sleek computers and bright orange furniture.

I came home from London tonight to play volleyball. We won 3-0 by the way – hurrah! However it’s back to the East End of London tomorrow for the EdUKP conference. I imagine that most of the talk this year will be related to PBS (the points based system being introduced by the UK Border Agency) which doesn’t interest me in the slightest as our students don’t need visas. The other hot topic will be crisis management, especially after the events of the past week in Bangkok and Mumbai. I have a few Facebook friends whose statuses have given an interesting take on the situation in Bangkok while a colleague of mine is currently out in Mumbai.