Jamie Balfour BSc

Welcome to my personal website!

Technology enthusiast

I am very interested in technology, particularly relating to computer science. I am most interested in web design and development.

My main hobby is programming. One of my most well known products from this is ZPE. I also am the sole creator of BalfBlog, BalfBar and BalfSlider.

A little bit about me

In 1997, when I was six years of age, I got my very first computer. I was always very interested in the ins and outs of it and dismantled it to see how it worked.

Years later, in 2016 I received my BSc (with honours) in Computer Science, obtaining a First class degree.

I'd like to welcome you to my website and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have enjoyed building it!

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Jamie Balfour BSc
Full stack developer

Personal Blog

Well, despite the new changes coming in on Monday last week, I have had several messages saying they liked the grey design on my website and did not like the dark sidebar I was testing. 

I am happy that I received this feedback as I also agree with those people since going back. Thankfully, I left the CSS in the file but gave the sidebar a new class that changed it to the dark mode. 

I came up with a slightly new design for the sidebar just this afternoon that I feel makes a much flatter, better design. I hope you like this as this should be the final modification to the website for a long time.

Most of my focus is on improving my blog at the moment.

Anyway, I'm off to enjoy the remaining three days of my holidays now!

Okay, so I'm one of those people who was prepared to wait until Windows 10 was ready for my computer rather than trying to install it myself (well actually I did, but the thing turned into a nightmare, failing three times due to IMAGE_WRITE_FAIL, UNPACKAGE_FAIL and IMAGE_CORRUPT on each occasion, even using a different image each time).

I decided on July 29th to wait for it on my other computer and then on August 5th I decided not try and install it again on to my other PC until it was officially ready.

Nonetheless, two weeks later I still have not been informed that it is ready to install on either of my computers - my custom built i7 machine with a Radeon R7950 with nothing out of the ordinary and my Asus convertible tablet, released only in October 2014. 

To tell the truth, Windows 10 looked/looks like it will be worth the upgrade (afterall, I hated Windows 8 as much as anyone).

So where are my upgrades? (if this was Apple, I'd already have my update downloading but it would still have four days left to finish downloading!).

I sometimes just sit down and look through my own website for criticism rather than anything else.

My website has become the HUB of everything I do now. You can find out about me, read tutorials by me, find my CV, find photos of my places I've been, my life, family and pets and more, access my university stuff, download and read about my software, here what I have to say and more.

I don't often sit down and review my website but as I've got a chance, I'd like to tell you the truth about some recent events.

As one person knows, the person I know who cares about my website and one of my best friends in life, I considered completely getting rid of all the work on my website and changing my website entirely to Bootstrap, convinced that it was time for a major change. 

To me now, the very fact that I was thinking this was even silly. I say this because I now know this website is me. I've built it.

I've had some comments from lecturers, friends and family and lots of others who have said my website is nice. But to me, there is always a need to change it more and more as you will have seen if you come here to view my blog or whatever on a regular basis or something.

The only problem is, whenever I write an article, tutorial or blog post or something, I always get distracted and end up changing something on the site. 

I'm trying not to modify my website any more at all - trying to keep it consistent I think is what I'm trying to say.

I'd like to point out that alpha.jamiebalfour.com, a subsite of this website, is nothing more than a concept - even it's front page explains that I never thought about doing that!

The alpha site never came to be the future of my website. It was overloaded with things I didn't need and it didn't represent me the way my own styled website does.

I am experimenting a slightly new design with the sidebar on my website at the moment.

Instead of the standard white sidebar, I have taken inspiration from one of the websites I built a couple of days ago for a company. 

Feedback on that company website has been really powerful - most of which stated they liked dark sidebar and the bright content section. They also said they preferred the left hand sidebar to the right hand sidebar.

All of this got me thinking about my own website design too. So I decided to implement it here too. 

For a long time, I have been looking into new ways to improve my website, particularly the desktop website as I really like the mobile and tablet versions of the site (this comes from the fact that they had more skill put into them as I had learned more by then).

My mobile and tablet website stay exactly how they were before - perfect.

If you like or dislike, let me know. 

Oh and I will be bringing a new feedback form to my desktop website.

I had been planning a single login system for all for quite some time but now it is finally here!

My single login for all is cross-domain between all of my subsites and both the .com and .co.uk sites. It also works on the blog, so if you are a member of my blog it's easy to login to it now, using the same way you are used to with the standard login page.

For some time I have been noticing that several error logs across my site have been filled with errors relating to attempted header updates in PHP that are failing.

I found out today what the problem is.

The error for most of them occurs on line 1, and it's because of Aptana Studio saving in UTF with BOM. BOM or Byte-Order-Mark is a single array of characters that is put at the start of a UTF file. The BOM can be seen with a hexeditor such as Notepad++ on Windows or hexdump on *nix machines.

It looks like this:


Because PHP recognises this as output, it simply leaves it in and therefore PHP flushes the headers and the headers cannot be sent. Don't get fooled by this issue that has had me fooled for months.

Hex Fiend

There is more information here:



Only a few days ago I wrote a tribute to Christopher Lee. Now I'm writing yet another tribute to a celebrity actor who I liked.

Like Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee was 93 years of age, and he died of natural causes.

To many Sir Patrick Macnee was the actor in The Avengers (starring along side Bond Girl Diana Rigg) but to me he was one of my favourite Bond allies.

Macnee was a great Bond ally, playing Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View To A Kill along side Roger Moore. He also starred in one of my favourite Gregory Peck films - The Sea Wolves. 

He also starred in the Oasis music video Don't Look Back in Anger -  one of my favourite music videos. 

A great actor and I'm sure a very nice person. He will be missed.


Yes, it's true. I am beginning to like Microsoft again.

Let me tell you a little secret. Since Ballmer left Microsoft, I have slowly began to like them more and more. I'm not talking about everything - I mean certainly not the Nokia side of Microsoft and Windows Phone. But there are parts of Microsoft that I believe are good and doing well, and one of those is the way they are going with Windows 10.

I was not, latterly, a fan of Windows 8, but I do believe it works well with devices designed specifically for it - touch devices. 

Truthfully, I never disliked Microsoft, and I certainly don't dislike everything they do. I just became to obsessed with Apple. 

I am personally really excited by the feature I loved most on Android - NFC payments - finally coming to iPhone.

Now I will be able to pay for those purchases with NFC from my phone rather than my debit or credit card.

I personally like this idea, but I understand that many do not. 

I'm maybe going to have to make a category dedicated to tributes to people on my blog as this is now the second tribute in the last month.


By Avda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, Christopher Lee passed away on the 7th June 2015 at the age of 93. Whilst I'm obviously upset about this, Christopher Lee being my favourite actor of all time (as many of you will know), I'm not as upset as would be with someone younger. Christopher Lee was a happy man, who lived a long life and starred in some of the most icon films of the last century. He made his mark and had a good long life.

He starred in some amazing films including, James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Dracula, Sleepy Hollow (albeit brief) and so much more.

A rather interesting fact about Christopher Lee's family is that his mother married James Bond writer Ian Fleming's uncle making them 'step-cousins'. This is a nice little link between Lee and James Bond in which he starred in.

Interestingly, one of my mother's friends accommodated him whilst he was golfing at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland.

I have known this day would come sooner or later as Lee had not been in good health several times over the past few years and it lead me to expect it at some point.

I would like to pay my respects to Christopher Lee as being one of the world's best actors (and one of my favourite of all time, if not my favourite, and will likely remain that way indefinitely).

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