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Updates & Plugins

Posted 2009.11.14 10.24 in Computers/Internet/Technology

A while back I ranted a bit about how updates seem to come one after another, and it got very annoying to update something only to have a new version come out the next day.

Lately it’s been pleasantly quiet. This morning though there was a plugin update. The plugin that drives my ‘Random Words’ on the sidebar. So I did the update – it didn’t seem to be a security update nor any additional functionality, but I don’t like that update reminder there infront of me all the time so I went ahead and did it.

Dang blast it, I followed the directions and it erased all the preferences. Grumble grumble damn and curses. I hate when that happens! Of course I don’t remember what the preferences were – little details like point size, colours, and all that. Plus, when I followed the update instructions the thing didn’t even work – fatal error. I don’t really mind the 5 minutes I spent fixing the bugs in the plugin, but the 10 – 15 minutes of screwing around trying to get the preferences just right, really ticks me off. Because I can’t get it just right. I don’t remember what the exact colours were before, and I can’t get it the way I like it.

Why the bleepity bleep do they have to delete the preferences for a minor maintenance type update? Crap and flying monkeys, but it pisses me off. :mad:

Now every time I look at it, it’s going to annoy me until I get it just right.

Dropdown Menus & Site Maps

Posted 2009.11.10 14.07 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I just finished hacking up a plugin for my website here. With over 60 pages nested in levels and sub-levels, I’ve been worried that visitors won’t always know where they are on the site or what else is available.

A while back I added a sort of location indicator to pages, that helps identify where on the site you are. For instance, if you’re on the Snail Cam! page, then at the top of the page you’d see something like this: “Home » About Me » Snails! » Snail Cam!

So, that sort of indicates where you are relative to the top but still doesn’t show whate else is around. I’ve had a drop-down menu thing going on almost since the start, and it does show all the different pages, but it’s organized in hierarchical levels and you would really have to be hunting in order to find things. If you don’t mouse-over everything, you’ll miss stuff.

What I really needed was a site-map, and to put a link to it on the top menu bar so it couldn’t be missed.

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Closing the Polls

Posted 2009.08.12 14.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Not long ago I asked for some feedback regarding the Share This plugin. Share This adds a little icon and text to every page and every post, which allows people to link the pages/posts with a number of other services. I personally never used it, but my two biggest complaints about it were that it is a bit of a ‘black box’ that depends on a bunch of resources that are stored at the Share This servers rather than on my own servers, and that it required visitors to my site to download a bunch of other stuff behind-the-scenes which led to a delay in viewing my site.

I did some measurements and found that on my site’s front page, even with well over a dozen graphics and photos and several thumbnails present, the Share This plugin was adding so much overhead that it doubled the bandwidth and doubled the rendering time of my site. The Share This script alone was the single slowest component of the entire site, and there was nothing I could do to improve that because the script is served from their servers, not mine.

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Simple Counter Plugin

Posted 2009.07.15 10.12 in Computers/Internet/Technology

A while or two ago, I mentioned I was working on a counter plugin for WordPress. I still haven’t written the documentation, but seeing as that’s not going to happen any time soon I figured I ought to publish what I have so far, and worry about documenting it later.

The specs are all in the previous post (linked above). You can download the file here: SimpleCounter for WordPress.

Here are two examples of how it can look, as the style is entirely controlled via css:

Screen 1 Sample Screenshot

And here is a screenshot of the settings screen (click to enlarge):

Settings Screen

The plugin provides a widget, and it also lets you place a counter on subsequent pages… this is where the documentation is really necessary, I’m afraid. It’s coming though, someday, soon, I promise…

To install, just unzip the file and put the php file into your plugins directory. Activate the plugins, then you can access the settings screen through Settings -> Simple Counter. To place the widget in  your sidebar, just go to Appearance -> Widgets and drag the widget where you want it to appear.

The plugin is tested and compatible with WordPress versions 2.7 through 2.8.1

Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade

Posted 2009.03.30 15.13 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Why is it that every time I update a wordpress plugin, there’s a new version available? I have this one that as soon as I installed it, like the day after there was an upgrade available. So I put it off and put it off, then finally yesterday I did the upgrade.  Make the stupid upgrade notice go away. So you know what? Yeah. Today there’s another upgrade.

I mean, I know that it’s most likely a bugfix, what is irking me is that this upgrade happened less than 24  hours after I caved in and installed the last upgrade.

Now I’m thinking of just deleting the plugin. It’s not anything critical anyways, not like it’s driving my dropdown menus or anything like that. It would be nice though if they’d at least say what had changed – I couldn’t find that last time, like what’s different between 3.0.1 and 3.0.3 that would make me want to go through the process?

I understand that WordPress itself is going to release a big upgrade next month. They’ve rejiggered how widgets work and done some stuff to how themes work. I hope it doesn’t mean having to redo all the work I’ve just finished on my theme. Grrr. Not that I want things to be static and unchanging, but… it’s just annoying to have to do things over and over.

I guess one doesn’t have to upgrade. But then you get stuck on some older thing, ignoring progress and clinging to outdated software isn’t good either.

I dunno.