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Just an Aside…

Posted 2010.11.19 16.54 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Normally I think of updates to WordPress the same way I think of vitamins. That is, something you use because you’re probably slightly better off with them, than without them.

It’s not been as bad lately – at one point it seemed like every other week there was an update that WordPress was nagging me about.

This time, however, I’m actually looking forward to the next upgrade. There’s this new feature that I’ve read about, where you can have different ‘post types’ – like, normal posts, little quick ‘aside’-type posts, picture posts, video posts, et cetera.

There’s been lots of times I would have liked to post some quick little one- or two-liner, some short thing that seemed appropirate at the moment. But it always seemed not to fit – like, you have the title, category, tags, excerpt, et cetera, and you end up with the meta data being three times the size of the actual post. So I’d just skip it, and the world would suffer a tiny bit more because it was robbed the benefit of my wonderful tidbits of wisdom. πŸ˜‰

But this new post-type thing sounds like just the thing. Of course the ‘aside’ type is what I’m thinking of, but photo-types would be handy too. One’s theme has to be able to take advantage of the post types, but that’s no problem. I’m already thinking about updating my new theme so it’s ready to use the new features as soon as they’re available.

This is supposed to come in WordPress 3.1 which is coming some time in December. I might even grab a beta and get a head start, if I’m not too busy.

The Theme has Landed

Posted 2010.11.17 8.37 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Well after a few more days of tinkering, I’m happy to say that the theme is finished!

First, I re-did the header graphics; they were rather hastily-done first time around and there were some minor quirks that were annoying me. The bigger job however was the page navigation buttons.

The style I had used before with drowdowns for secondary and tertiary pages just didn’t fit into the new look and feel. I toyed with a few different concepts but overall I wanted something that would fit with the ‘feel’ of the site, without sacrificing usability or taking up too much screen-space. That is, I already felt the header was as big as it should be, I didn’t want to make it even taller.

Settling on two rows of ‘buttons’ meant a slight compromise – you can’t get from the top level / home page to a tertiary page in one go. I could have added a third row of buttons but I thought that would look a bit too repetative; even the two rows looks a bit wierd I think.

Anyhow, it took a day or so of thinking, to figure out how to get the code to draw the buttons the way I wanted. An unexpected benefit though was I was able to delete another plugin! The old navigation buttons were driven by a plugin, and the new one is driven by some code in the header file. The fewer plugins, the better, I think.

The mobile version is also good to go – for use on phones, pdas et cetera. It’s not perfect but it’s as good as it was on the old theme.

There might still be the occasional tweak or change, but by and large I’m declaring the new theme done and complete.

Cheers!

Edited to add: I just had a look at the site via Internet Exploder on Windows, and… well all I can say is, if you’re still using that browser, you have my sympathies. Did you know, you can get Firefox for free? I’m tempted to add a blurb on the sidebar that says ‘This site looks best when viewed with a modern, standards-compliant browser. So, you know… not IE.

Da New Theme

Posted 2010.11.14 9.28 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

So I spent most of the day yesterday making a new theme for my site here. I started from scratch, no nabbing someone else’s theme that was ‘close’ and then modding it.

The goal was: Emphasize the ‘transmissions’ aspect, make it feel more like my posts were actual bulletins, radiograms, missives. Bring in an older ‘feel’, sort of retro vintage. I went with mostly monochrome because I like monochrome. There’s splashes of colour here and there of course. And some whimsey, insofar as there are the occasional elements of randomness.

Have I achieved my goal? No. Not yet, at least. The area that’s lacking the most is the header, which is kind of silly since it’s the bit you see first.

Still, I suppose that is the hardest part for me to get ‘perfect’ so I’ve left it till last and then thus-far only made a half-assed effort. It’s functional, but it’s not what I want.

The old theme hasn’t been removed, so I can fall back on that if the new look is overwhelmingly voted as hated-by-all, ugly-as-sin, or crimes-against-my-eyeballs.

In the mean-time, I’ll keep poking at the header till it looks at least halfway decent.

Cheers!

Update: Ok now I’m happy with the header. Sure, the secondary and tertiary dropdown menus aren’t great, but they only appear when you hover. I’m liking the scope and the screen and the buttons.

Numbers

Posted 2010.03.12 11.48 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

A hundred thousand hits. Wow. The 100,000th page hit came in sometime in the last 30 hours or so. There was no fanfare, it just happened. During the night probably.

On the one hand, it’s not too great an accomplishment when you consider I’ve been counting hits since around autumn 2005.Β On the other hand, over 60% of the hits have come in the last year or so!

My memory is not the greatest, but I think it was around this time last year that I migrated my whole site over to WordPress. Then it was some time after that, when I built my Simple Counter plugin. I didn’t bother to make note of when I had the 0.1alpha version up and running on my site, but it was probably in spring of 2009.

Whenever it was, my counter was around 37,000ish, when I moved it over into the Simple Counter plugin. So however you slice it, that’s over 60,000 hits since moving the whole shebang into WordPress. Pretty nifty.

Some other interesting numbers:

  • My Lasers subsection has gone over 400,000 hits. Lots of geeks out there like shiney, dangerous things. I know, I’m one of them.
  • Much to my surprise, my Knife-Making page has proved to be rather popular; indeed it is second only to the Lasers section in popularity.
  • Since I started using Akismet, it has blocked over 10,000 spam comments.
  • I’ve published 678 posts, and 65 pages on this site.
  • There have been 328 comments posted.

Other pointless info: Lately most of the spam has started with the word “Porno!” which is wierd, you’d think spammers would have guessed this word might raise alarm bells. Unless it’s reverse psychology…

So that’s about it for the gosh-numbers I guess.

Thank you all who come and read my crazy babbling. I invite you to leave comments, sign the guestbook, or share your opinions on whatever posts catch your interest.

Just don’t open your comment with the word “Porno!” πŸ˜€

Cheers!

WordPress Calendar Grumbles

Posted 2010.01.07 16.44 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

This damn problem is back again! Grrr!

Wordpress Calendar Borked

I had screwed around with the WordPress files back in November and had it fixed. That was on WordPress version 2.8.6. Then they came out with version 2.9 in December, and that reintroduced the bug, and I screwed around with the files some more and it fixed. Now 2.9.1 is out and it’s back again.

The infuriating thing is it’s not just the simple fix that I thought it was – I don’t know how or why, but just implementing the one-line repair doesn’t fix it. First you have to break it worse, then after that the one-line repair works.

It’s very annoying – I actually use that calendar a lot.

Four Supercoffees and No Food

Posted 2009.12.20 15.18 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Before I was just unfocused, or focusing on the wrong things. But after four Supercoffees and no food, now I am well and truly blurry.

Like some caffein can energize you, give you a little boost, a little extra oomph. But four Supercoffees worth of caffein just leads to a state of tense buzzing.

I did get three more chores done, so my yesterday-list is up to 5 out of 11 tasks completed. I haven’t started on today’s list though.

Oh and I redid the Random Words thingy so it’s really actually random now. It’s still in alphabetical order Β – I didn’t want the same words appearing in a random sequence. That’s silly. I wanted random words, appearing alphabetically. And I got what I wanted.

Except that in doing so, I may have taken the concept of a ‘tag cloud’ and, you know, slightly broken it?

Doesn’t matter. Random is as random does. Stephanie is as caffein buzzzzzzzzzz.

Β 

Unfocused Update

Posted 2009.12.20 12.10 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

So instead of devoting what little energy / functionality I have into something important — like housework, workwork, or that sort of thing — I’ve been using it to muck about with WordPress & my website.

Odds are, you won’t notice anything different. That’s kind of the point actually.

What I’ve been doing was first, upgraded to the latest version, WordPress 2.9 was just released recently. Then I have been rewriting most of the files that drive my custom theme. I also scrapped my mobilized plugin, as I’ve changed my theme to dynamically adjust itself depending on whether the viewer is using a mobile / handheld browser or not.

Not that the mobilized plugin had any problems – just that it required a secondary mobilize theme, and I kept forgetting to update that theme when I did anything with the primary theme. So finally I figured, heck with it, I’ll just adapt the main theme so it can serve both fullsize and mobile user agents.

The only visible change actually is that I got rid of the fancy tag-cloud plugin, and started using the normal built-in one. The only real difference there is the tag-cloud words don’t change colour any more. No real reason for the change, just that I felt like eliminating a plugin. I’m down to only 5 plugins now, and two of those are mine. πŸ™‚

I could probably offload another one of those into my theme functions, but I haven’t decided yet if I want to do that.

Anyhow – still not focused on the right things. And now I’m wasting time writing about working on the wrong stuff instead of working on the right stuff. This is me paying homage to the Gods of Procrastination.