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Frequently Asked Questions - Site

FAQs - Site
Concerning the Biker@Home site
User content

I am delighted to accept user content to the site. Unfortunately, for reasons I will explain in a moment, I will only accept uploads/postings/images from registered users NOT from guests.

There is no charge for registering on the site, and I absolutely will NOT pass your details to any third party.  Nor will I use any such details in any manner, for any reason other than to reply to any email or message you send.  I feel very strongly about abuse of personal data and you can be assured that, short of a court order, your details will never see daylight.  The only reason I require registration is to reduce the amount of hassle I get from automated code (spambots, email harvesters, site indexers etc) and the occasional malicious coward who likes to write abusive nonsense anonymously.  The first is a serious problem, the second a minor inconvenience.

Once registered you can post articles (which I will make public you wish - providing I think it appropriate)*, upload images and supply web-links. If you want to do more - working on an existing area of the site, or even developing new areas/resources, contact me and we'll talk.

* My decision here is final. It is my site & I pay the bills so I will decide what is and is not made public.

Go to the registration page

Contact me about getting more involved

As a teacher I am aware of the need to consider the requirements of an audience and, where possible, make appropriate help and/or other facilities available. I have, therefore, tried to include some features which should help people who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to use the site.

Speech synthesis
For users who may have more severe problems with text - for whatever reason - I have included a speech synthesiser plugin which should work on most pages. To activate it you simply need to click and drag* over the text you want to hear. When you release the mouse button, you should be presented with a screen similar to this example.

speech example
* By this I mean you move to the start of the text, press the left mouse button, then, keeping the button down, move the mouse over the text until you reach the end.

Language translation

For users who do not have English as their first language I have included an automatic translation module. This is located at the bottom of the screen. The pull-down list will allow you to select from a wide range of languages available.


If you have a problem using the site, despite the above, then please let me know. I can't promise to solve the issue, but I can promise to give it some thought....

Contact me about accessibility issue(s)
Site Affiliations

I will try to be as clear as I can here, but I am not a lawyer and if my choice of words/phrases seems to leave some ambiguity or 'wriggle-room' then I assure you it is a lack of prose talent rather than some hidden purpose.

I have NO links, interests, relationships or ties to ANY entity of ANY sort with regard to this site.*

For this reason you will find no adverts, no click-throughs, no email harvesting - NOTHING of that sort at all. Such things drive me mad on other sites, so I'll be damned if I'm going to use such stuff on my own site.

What do I get out of it?  A warm glow.  :-) 

(And I get storage for backups; a platform to develop materials which I might use in teaching, and the opportunity to practise and/or develop skills in software, web design, web and site management, and other related areas).

*The site runs on a Virtual Private Linux server, for which I pay a monthly rental out of my own pocket. This is a perfectly routine and 'usual' arrangement with a hosting company with no other relationship.
Should I register?

That is your choice. Much of the material on the site is available without registering (an un-registered user will be referred to as a guest user from this point). I have no interest in gathering the details of people - this site is entirely unsponsored with no click-throughs or advertising of any other sort and no selling of user data.  In fact I have no relationship of any sort with any commercial entity. I run the site for a couple of reasons only - to keep my hand-in and to provide a resource for anyone who wants/needs it.  It follows that I have no financial reason to want you to register on the sight.

BUT (there is always a 'but' isn't there?) there is some material which I am not comfortable putting out to the general public because I don't consider it appropriate for young eyes and ears (NO I don't mean adult material of THAT sort).  I also cannot comfortably allow guest users to upload to the site, or make changes to content. This is because guest access of that sort would inevitably lead to the site being attacked by automated routines known as spambots, malicious users and advertising junk of all sorts. 

So, if you just want to browse around, play with some apps, listen to some audio,  watch some video then no, you don't need to register. If you want to contribute postings or other material, help create site materials, or access materials unsuitable for children, then you do need to register.

Please read the FAQ titled Site Affiliations before you decide either way.

If you DO want to register then it is pretty straightforward.
If you go to the HOME account
 page, you should see a login box. You can either click to create a new account, or select 'Facebook' to use your existing Facebook account to generate an account 

If this doesn't work, or you are not on the homepage, you can also get to the registration page from the menu.
How can I fix the menu?

The accordion menu on the left is usually pretty reliable but every now and again it can freeze-up.  It can be a time consuming matter to track the problem back to source, and I don't always manage to find the bug, so this is likely to be an ongoing irritation.

menu fixThe simplest work-around is to click the HOME button at the top of the menu. This will work even if the accordion feature doesn't. The menu will then be reinitialised as it reloads the home page and it should work normally once again.
Site Applications

The site houses a number of applications, some forming the 'back-end' or infrastructure necessary for the site to function, and some which are available for the user to run on the site.

Back-End Applications
The site itself is created using the Joomla Content Management System. 
The server runs the UBUNTU (Linux) Operating System.
PHP and MYSQL-server are installed for use by other back-end software.

Front-End (User) Applications

The Learning Zone is created and managed using the MOODLE Learning Management System.
The Library uses the Calibre e-book software.
What do I need to access the site ?

Broadband connection

The site contains video, audio and multimedia materials. It will, as a result, require a reasonably fast broadband connection. Obviously slower connections will mean more waiting, but if your connection is very slow then you might experience timeouts.
Let's see how fast your link is....
If your download speed is 4 Mbps or greater then you should have no problems. If less then you may have some significant delays when using multimedia.


The site is designed for modern browsers. I have built the site using Chrome as my 'test' browser, but I have also tried to ensure that it works in Firefox.  It should also function in the Internet Explorer browser but, to be frank, I have a personal bias against IE so I am not inclined to spend time debugging for that particular browser.

In addition to the native browser, you will need some third-party add-ons to enjoy some of the multi-media content. Specifically:

    • Flash - I am aware that many people have issues with flash, but I have no issue with the technology and the use of flash on this site presents no security issues to users. Where possible multimedia content will also function using HTML if Flash is not installed, but a small number of items may not function, or function incorrectly, if you don't have flash installed for your browser.

      Alternative content

      Get Adobe Flash player

    • JAVA - a couple of the applications (specifically the equation editor) use JAVA on your local machine. If you don't have it installed you should get a message giving you the option to download it. If not then do a quick google on 'Download JAVA'.  I am aware that most browsers are phasing JAVA support out - I think it is a mistake, but I'll have to go with the flow.

  • JavaScript - this is used widely on the site.
Problems with Audio

There are audiobooks in the science and superstition sections. These are basically a print version of the book with a soundtrack integrated and accessible using play/pause/stop icons - this combination of traditional book and audiobook is, I think, the best way to consume electronic print, since it allows you to have the text read, but also gives you the option to look at diagrams and pictures.

I have reduced the size of the audio tracks to allow them to load in a reasonable time (and also to discourage piracy - I have no wish to discourage people from buying the commercial products which are of much higher quality).  Unfortunately even with this reduction in size it can still take a while to download the audio track - depending on the speed of your connection and the load on my server.   If you click on the play icon and nothing happens then please:
  1. Click the browser reload button to reload the audio book
  2. Wait for at least a couple of mins from when the browser seems to have finished loading the page
  3. Now try again
If it still does not work then please repeat the above steps but this time wait several minutes after the page stops loading before clicking on the audio.
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