A Random Pattern

Archive for the 'blogging' Category

Performancing and Myspace get together

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Performancing adds a MySpace Blog Editor – Who’da’thunk’it? On one hand, I’m thinking “yay Performancing“, great plugin, want to see them get more traction. On the other hand I’m seriously not too pleased with MySpace, and don’t want to see them get any bigger than they already are. On the third hand, this plugin may be one step needed to break the MySpace dominance…

Let me explain a little:

1. I didn’t understand MySpace at all, but I got a page anyways because two of my favorite bands were on there, Unsed and .heretoday.

2. I discovered there was no way to remove the ‘astrological sign’ junk on my main MySpace page. That’s just plain lousy and lame. On top of that, “TrueLuv” ads with scantily-clad women pulling at their skirts shows up every time I log in. You have no idea how much that ticks me off.
3. I discovered a few other people in my circle of friends, and since I had moved MySpace is the only way I would be able to keep in touch with them.

4. We had the neighbors over for dinner, and their son has a MySpace page. We discussed MySpace, because I still wasn’t getting why it was popular. Then it hit me as we talked – kids don’t care about any of the stuff I complain about. They just want to keep in touch with people, be cool, have friends.

The more I think about it, the more MySpace’s success makes sense. And it’s a little scary, because I don’t think the site is healthy – I think it’s a trap for our kids. Not that good can’t come of it, just that it facilitates evil far too easily.

But MySpace’s lead won’t be easily overcome. There’s no easy way to catch up with a friend network like that…

Drawing your attention to new style, new links

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

You may not notice too much of a change, but this is an brand-new theme. Vkaryl, a WP user and general web-expert-developer-type-person, kindly reworked the Rubric theme for me into a WP 2.04 friendly (and widget friendly) theme. I’m using it now, and am much happier.

There are still several areas I want tweaked, so I will be working on that over the next several weeks. It should be a good learning experience for me, and provide another useful theme for WP’ers out there.

On that note, look over to the right and you will see a “Pages” section. If you are family or a friend, there’s a page for you. It’s not too useful now, but give me a week or two and that will probably be your preferred landing page, as it will have a lot less “geekese”. :)

If anyone wants improvements to the theme, has comments or feedback, or is having difficulty with the them, just let me know in the comments.

Ubuntu-related posts will resume tomorrow.

Other cool new links, technologies

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Just some quick links for bloggers and tech hounds out there:

-Plogger, a photo gallery tool. I may experiment with it here on my blog, though it doesn’t sound like it has the ability to add other users who can upload photos / media.
-Zapr is still in beta, but looks like a nice tool if you need to send large files to other people. I often do, so I will probably review this app sometime soon.

-The review actually gives Windows Live Writer (also in beta) surprisingly good marks. It’s a tool for posting to blogs, and sounds like it’s got a lot of the features missing from everything else.

-Interested in Content Management Systems? Here are some guidelines on how to pick a CMS.

-As I’ve become more interested in Design, I’ve noticed the difficulty in getting my company to acknowledge the need for this type of role. The problem, at least with the people I work closest with, is that this type of role is still not well enough known or valued. Here’s an article on how design is becoming part of some company strategies.

-Ok, this software virtualization thing will be a little hard to describe unless you’re pretty hardcore geek. Here’s the basic idea: if you download and try lots of windows software, only to end up not using 2/3 of it and having problems with finding the other 1/3, this is one tool to help. It DOES NOT GUARANTEE PROTECTION from spyware, but for regular apps it will let you install them, and later remove them, without your Windows PC (registry, et all) getting bloated, slow, and troublesome. Cool, huh?

A-List? Who cares? Mostly the B and C bloggers….

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Interesting quote:

I would put it to you that an ‘ideal A-List’ set (and yes, we’re always going to have a ‘head of the long tail’ somewhere) should consist of bloggers who were influential for their own merits and not because of the number of people who want to see where they will link to next. It would also consist of people who write well about their subject matter – be it informatively, entertaingly, whatever.

Have to say I’m not too worried about A-list bloggers, for exactly the reasons he lays out. Besides, I think it will normalize, and is in the process of doing so. Or maybe that’s just my lazy-fair (bad spelling intended) attitude since I know I won’t ever be on the A-list. :P

Second test. WP plugin and Sidenotes work.

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

As you can see by my last test post, I do have the arc90 lab javascript code working. Now I just need to clean it up (it’s a mess!) There are several things I want it to do differently, but hopefully you’ll just notice the improvements and not all the work (frustration) going on behind the scenes. :D

I’ve just been looking through some buttonsnap and moresmilies php code, and it looks like it might take me a little longer than I hoped to make my first plugin. So for now I’m going to manually insert my sidenotes by hand-coding.

While I’m on the subject, I’ll list the other things I want to accomplish with this plugin. But first, I’d really love your feedback on whether these sidenotes are useful or distracting, and what could be done to improve them.

1. Change the colors. I want to tone them down quite a bit. The free colorpix tool will help tremendously here.
2. Make them behave more like the other hyperlinks on this page. That is, red text until you move the mouse near them, at which point the sidenote shows up.

3. Behind the scenes, I want to make it easier to create sidenotes. Instead of manually typing a bunch (ok, a little) code, I just want to click a button and type in the sidenote. Even better, I hope to have it handle urls (web addresses) and perhaps images gracefully. Cross your fingers.

4. Finally, I’d like to clean it all up into one or two nice little plugins, then yank it out of my code and use it properly as a plugin. This is probably me dreaming, because I doubt I really have the know-how to finish this. Hey, if anyone wants to mentor, answer questions, or even just help out a little….

Last thing on WP plugins. Here are a few of the articles that helped me get started.

Good recommendations on software tools to use

How to write a simple WordPress plugin

Tons of useful WP articles. Tips, tricks, you name it she’s got it.

The codex (official WP documentation) on plugins. It’s all greek to me. :p

Brother Blogger

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Family and friends, my brother Michael has started a blog. Check it out, and leave him a comment. Everyone needs a comment now and again to keep them encouraged that they’re being read. :)

Speaking of blogging, this is a good time to mention that I’ve got several posts scheduled to come out over the next several days, spanning almost all my favorite topics. Next up is a post on the recent conversation about “A-list link getting” that happened in the blogosphere. (The blogosphere is a geeky term for the conversation that happens amongst a bunch of nerds bloggers that all link to each other, sort of like an adult nerd version of myspace.)

So make sure to come back around for some news, tips on Ubuntu, pictures, and other cool stuff.


Blogger Beta Screenshots

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Access ControlHere’s some screenshots of the new Blogger. I’ve also got a test bed beta blog up at schristopher.blogspot.com, if you’d like to see it. Enjoy.


Not fair! New Blogger features

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

I just migrate from Blogspot to my own domain, and what happens? Google finally introduces new features for Blogspot, that’s what! It’s not fair, I tell’ya!

Now, to be honest, the feature bump certainly wouldn’t have been enough to keep me there. I really like all the power and flexibility of having my own domain and (shared) server. Still, it does sting a little. And if you’re not into paying a bunch of money to have your own domain hosted somewhere, well, Blogspot (or better yet, WordPress.com) gives you an awful lot of value for FREE. And competition is always good.

Key features:

-For geeks, comment feeds.
-New templates, (presumably nicer ones).

-More control over where and what is on your page.

-Dynamic content, which means easier and faster publishing.

-An improved dashboard, or control panel, when you log in.

I still have to recommend WordPress.com over Google, though the Picasa integration with Blogspot makes that more tempting if you’re using the free Picasa tool to manage your photos. Picasa I can definitely recommend, though I haven’t yet tried it on Ubuntu. ;)

More to follow on this, after I go experiment on my old blogspot account. Cheers!

Update: One more link, if you’re currently on Blogger and want to migrate it to your Google account login.

Update 2: Two big features I missed, Labels and Private.  You can now “tag” articles with different categories, so when your mom visits she can look at posts that have Pictures or Personal tags, and ignore the Ubuntu articles.  ;)  The Private feature lets you have a blog that only people you invite can see.  Perfect for a tight-knit family or group of friends.

Website coming along nicely….

Monday, August 14th, 2006

You, my dear reader, may not have seen many changes yet.  But I assure you, things are coming along nicely.  DreamHost has twice supported me quickly (quickly enough for me, anyways – within a few hours).  I hope not to bother them too much more, at least not with any ‘newbie’ issues.  :)

One thing that is fixed: if you tried to subscribe before to my blog, and were unsuccessful, please try again.  The feed, as well as many other links, should all direct properly now.
Next up: actually getting different themes to work, a favicon up, and cleaning up the sidebar, since LESS IS MORE.  By the time you read this, I will have also tested post scheduling.
After that, I’ll return to my regularly scheduled posts, including some screencasts from Ubuntu.  Yay!

Thanks for reading!

One more nice WP Theme

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

The Regulus theme by Binary Moon seems nice, so I’ll try that out too.  Now if I could just figure out how to get my main address to redirect to my blog page….