interrobang ()

Random Bursts of Ambient Noise

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About This Site

interrobang () is the ‘blogsite for Dirk Manuel.  What’s it for?  Just for the fun of it, really, and to let friends and family know what I’m up to.  My parents live in Cyprus, my in-laws in England, and I’ve got friends in America, Australia, and most points inbetween.  I’m notoriously bad at keeping in touch, so this is my feeble attempt at answering the “We never know where you are or what you’re up to” complaints.  Plus, it’s fun to put together.  I hope you like it (whether or not you know me personally).

Don’t forget to check out my other Wesbsite,, which remains my main (work-related) website.  And the TechWriter Wiki, which is my other main (writing) project.

Change log:

September 2010
Upgraded  to WordPress 3.0.1. Mainly because I thought I should and I have been putting it off for ages. Actually, I wanted a way of providing asides (‘And another thing…’), and all the plugins I found to do this were widgetized and my version of WordPress was pre-widget. The upgrade necessitated a new theme which I’m re-customizing as and when I find time/enthusiasm.

02 August 2008
Replaced the Shoutbox with a Twitter feed (nominally labeled ‘Microblog’). The Shoutbox was being misused/spammed, and Twitter seems like an easy way of providing quick updates/posts via SMS.

14 January 2008
Added the ability to e-mail an article (full article, not just a link) to a friend.  Just for the sake of adding somehting new, and playing around with some code.

09 December 2007
Reworked the archives to use an expandable list, in preparation for year-end, when the ‘Previous’ (monthly) list would have become unmanageable (spanning three years…).

10 November 2007
Added the tag cloud.  Everyone else has one, so I wanted one, too.  It provides a good overview of what I’ve been writing about at a lower level of granularity than the Categories.

18 May 2007
Added the “Previously on interrobang…” section at the bottom of the index page, to give a teaser for other postings.  Mainly because the sidebar is getting so long that the post only goes to halfway down the page, so I wanted to fill up some of the space.  Plugin stolen from someone else and then corrected/configured to get it to do what I wanted it to do (dynamically build excerpts if an optional excerpt not defined).

11 May 2007
Added a ‘Shoutbox’.  I was looking for (1) a quick way to post ‘asides’, and (2) a simple guestbook, and this seemed a good solution to both, plus a few extra capabilities.  If it gets too full of spam I’ll remove it again.

23 November 2006
I’ve added a chart of the ten most-recently-played songs (from iTunes, via LastFM) to the sidebar.  Because I can.

06 October 2006
I’ve re-worked the Category Archive pages to show 10 excerpts per page (instead of one post in full per page).

04 June 2006
I’ve added a ‘moblog’.  This is a gallery of photos taken on my mobile phone.  I just think the technology is astounding – I can take a photo wherever I happen to be, e-mail it in, and it’s automatically incorporated into this site by the time I get home (even if this is only from the bottom of the garden).  The downside is that now people will see that I never go anywhere or do anything interesting…

03 June 2006
I’ve added a ‘random lyric’ to the sidebar.  These are lyrics (from songs I have in my collection) that I think are funny, or clever, or thought-provoking.  Again, it’s just for my own entertainment.  If you also find them entertaining, then fine.  If you don’t, then that’s fine too.

01 May 2006
I’ve moved everything to WordPress.  Previously, all of my ’blogs (interrobang (), Cold Lampin’ At The Crossroads, and Talkin’ Travellin’ Tech Author Blues) were maintained separately on Talking Forest.  I decided to move things to the WordPress platform at the same time as I registered this domain (  The main reason for this was to store the blogs on my own server, which gives me more control over it.  The secondary reason was that WordPress works on PHP, so I thought the move would give me the chance to hone my PHP skills.

Although interrobang now combines several ‘blogs, I have done my best to separate these (without installing multiple instances of WordPress) by using multiple categories.  The main (initial) page shows only the original interrobang () ‘blog (categorized now as ‘Life’).  Other blogs are accessible via the categories list, and a separate RSS feed is provided for each category.

This site is deliberately based on the WordPress ‘default’ template, and then customized to meet my own requirements (or design whims).  This is an ongoing process, more for my own education than anything else, so don’t be surprised if things shift about a bit.

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