A Random Pattern

Archive for the 'WordPress' Category

WordPress sandbox on Ubuntu

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I finally got the WordPress software (that I use to publish this website) installed on my local computer.  It’s in a nice sandbox, so I can turn it on whenever I want.  The issues I ran into were mostly permission-based errors, so I’m going to be learning more about setting and managing permissions.

Full write-up will come later.  The good news is, I can now test changes without subjecting you, my imaginary readers ;), to being the guinea-pigs!

It’s worth noting that command-line-use really makes things easy – if you already know what you’re doing!  If you don’t , welll….. :D

sandboxing WordPress on Ubuntu – when everything DOESN’T go just right

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

So I found what looked like some good instructions for setting up a WordPress (WP) sandbox on your local Ubuntu machine.  Unfortunately, the instructions I found are only good if you DON’T SCREW ANYTHING UP AT ALL.

That includes if, before you found the instructions, you had already tried some other instructions and sort of already maybe done some of the stuff (looks innocently away…)

I would provide helpful tips on how to recover here, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet myself.  What seems to be the key, though, is to get MySQL set up properly, then don’t mess with it and DEFINITELY don’t delete it and try to start over without fully cleaning up.

More to come once I figure out how to recover….

Rubric Theme: navigation fixed and files cleaned up

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Hopefully by the time you read this I will have uploaded the newly cleaned-up Rubric theme. Changes are minor:

  • Vkaryl came to my rescue again and fixed the navigation issue on single post pages, which was due to a few missing styles in the stylesheet.
  • extra images (not related to the theme currently) were removed.
  • sidebar has been added to single post pages.

I’m really happy to have a widgetized Rubric theme.  There’s a lot of work to be done to get my blog set up exactly how I want it, but that’s part of the fun too (at least for a geek like me).  :D

What do you think? Do you like it? Is it too complicated? What information do you want easily available on the front page. I’m all ears. :)

Rubric Theme – changes and more changes

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

List of what’s fixed, what needs to be fixed, and other changes to my blog:


  • Sidebar now displays (mostly) as intended, with each section / widget displaying in it’s own floating white box.
  • Sidebar shows up on single (post) pages.
  • Unfortunately, I think that’s it. :( But I *felt* productive!

Need to be fixed or added (please add to this list in the comments!):

  • Make sure Sidebar doesn’t extend past/over footer.
  • Next / previous hyperlinks on individual pages too close to header title.
  • Better integrated “pages” functionality (in header?).
  • rotating header capability.
  • more code cleanup, such as pulling out the sidenote javascript and extra images from the package.
  • Figure out how/if to have a different Sidebar (shorter, simpler?) for single post pages.

Other changes:

  • I created a cool widget, see it at the bottom of my sidebar. It has links to subscribe to my blog, and to explain what “subscribe to my blog” even means. :) It’s also got a way to get my new posts in your email, automagically! Yay for magic internet stuff!  (This was partially motivated by a reminder of a post from Robert Scoble, whose posts I keep running into lately.)
  • In order to make the cool stuff above happen, I cleaned up my feeds and autodirecting for my feeds. If you subscribed to this blog before tonight – No Worries! It will automagically forward you to the feed I want you to use (grin) so I can count how many people are (not) reading my blog. This means you don’t have to do anything! But I’m still excited about it…

I think that’s it, at least that’s all I can remember.  If the blog doesn’t look or work much differently as far as you notice, that should mean I’m doing a good job.  And if something’s broken, please tell me.  I’ll fix it if I can.

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.

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

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….

WordPress configuration, useful links

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

I’ve imported all my old posts from Blogger, as well as my posts on WordPress.com. The importer for Blogger was…wow! Amazing! If you are using WordPress 2.0, ignore the links you’ll find from Google on using scripts, Justinsomnia, etc. Instead, just use the importer built into your WordPress (WP) dashboard.

I also found the theme I liked from WordPress.com, Rubrics. It took a little searching, but Tom Raftery updated it for WP 1.5 and it seems to work fine on my WP 2.0 installation. I don’t know that it will be my final theme, but it’s certainly way better than the default. ;)

I also found HemingwayBright, which looks like it might be really nice, as well as a modified version called Hemmed (included by default with Dreamhost hosting, among other themes). Expect to see these themes tried out, but hopefully I’ll decide and clean one up pretty quickly.

Speaking of WP Themes, I’ve found some really good reading material for newbies on this wordpress site. Seems to be someone who writes a lot about WP, as far as I can tell.

Final thing: for now at least, I’m offering a nice discount on Dreamhost hosting. Use the promo code “randompattern” (without the quote marks) for a 10% discount (capped at $30). Why would I do that? Well, Dreamhost will give me money for referring people, and I’m just sharing it. :) So, good deal for you if you’re going to host anyways, and good deal for me because I’ll make some money – which will certainly help me to produce better content. ;)

I’ll return to my regularly scheduled Ubuntu posts shortly. :P