An interactive guitar fretboard memorization chart

A guitarist called Julian Rörig recently contacted me to say he’d developed an interactive version of my guitar fretboard visualization chart.

What Julian has done is enhance my PDF so that you can type note names into the fretboard and notation areas, and it then validates your entries to tell you whether they are correct. It’s a really great and powerful learning tool.

He has kindly agreed to make the interactive PDF available on this website—so here it is.

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Using the OS X Photos app to archive photos and videos from iOS devices

As soon as Apple released the new “Photos” app as part of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, I wanted to see whether the app could be used along with iCloud Photo Library to archive photos and videos taken on iOS devices on to the Mac wirelessly, without any data loss or format conversion.

Since the introduction of iCloud I do most phone-related tasks wirelessly, rather than via iTunes. I install software updates wirelessly. I backup my iOS devices to iCloud, not my Mac. I sync my calendar, contacts, bookmarks and other data via iCloud or Dropbox.

The only time I still physically connect my phone to my computer is when I need to copy photos and videos from the phone, to archive or edit them in another application, which is a bit of a pain.

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Testing a Mac OS X web site using a local hostname on a mobile device

If you have a locally-hosted version of a web site for testing or development, you’ll almost certainly want to test it on a mobile device.

Let’s say the local site is hosted on Mac OS X, and you access it with a URL containing a hostname defined locally in the Mac’s “hosts” file, such as

How can you test the site using the same URL on a mobile device (that is, a real mobile device, not an emulator)—without jailbreaking the device, using a DNS server, or paying for additional software? In this post I’ll describe a way to do exactly that.

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The notes on the guitar fretboard: Some basic theory

Recently I looked at the layout of the notes on the guitar fretboard, and described a useful notation for showing the absolute pitch of each note, Helmholtz pitch notation, shown here:

Fretboard with note names

Perhaps one of the more puzzling things for a newcomer to music theory is the apparently uneven distribution of “natural” notes: why are they next to each other in some places like E and F, and not in others like F and G?

To understand this, we need to take a step back and look at some basic music theory.

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Cloning a live WordPress site to a local Mac test environment

As you customize WordPress and extend its functionality with various plugins, and the usual barrage of software updates starts arriving, it becomes increasingly useful to have a local environment to try things out.

A local environment allows you to safely test new plugins and themes, new versions of existing plugins and themes, new versions of WordPress, and all sorts of other changes, without affecting the live site. If anything goes wrong, you can always roll the local site back to a known good state.

The steps necessary to create a local WordPress environment are already well documented. There are also instructions for moving an existing WordPress site from one server to another. By combining these together, you can work out how to make a clone of an existing self-hosted WordPress site in a new local test environment.

However, many of the steps are not obvious—especially if you created your live WordPress site via a one-click install, as I did, using Fantastico or similar—and some of the existing how-tos out there aren’t all that clear. Having gone through this process myself, and cloned a live WordPress site to a local Mac OS X environment, I thought it would be useful to describe the full end-to-end process in simple ABC steps.

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The notes on the guitar fretboard: An introduction

While you can get by playing chords and patterns on the guitar without knowing individual notes by name, at some point you probably want to learn the note names across the fretboard—perhaps in order to help remember what you’ve played, read and write music, and communicate with other musicians.

What follows is a basic introduction to the notes on the guitar fretboard, also known as the fingerboard. Later posts will cover some rudimentary music theory and visualization tools to help you to understand how the notes are arranged.

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