Quick Update on Themes

I recently updated my themes, and since that time a change has been made in trunk in how pagination is handled. All 3 three themes have been updated for this change. I will be leaving download links for the previous versions up as well, as I believe those versions should work with 0.4.1. If you experience any problems with either version, please set me know.

Downloads and more info on each theme available on their original post.

Also, I have a demo site up and running to check them out. I still need to tweak the themeswitcher plugin so you can only select certain themes from your theme directories, so note that only my 3 themes have the switcher code.

Apple Drivers in VMware Fusion

I think with the help of a google search and Scott Gruby, I’ve figured out how to use my bluetooth keyboard in VM.

Finally, I found a reference to inserting the Leopard DVD while in Windows. I tried this and when I did, the BootCamp driver installer came up and installed my drivers. Perfect; why couldn’t VMWare say something about this on their website?

Thanks Scott and I agree, why isn’t this documented somewhere.

Edit 8/1/08Seems you also have to disconnect the USB Bluetooth Host Controller to get it to work. Something about only one OS can control the device at a time, so the machine gets confused when the two are both connected. Disconnecting the controller, shutting down the XP install, then restarting VMware Fusion finally got it working.

Updated Themes

I’ve been quite lazy (or busy, you decide) lately, and have been meaning to update the 3 themes I’ve released to work with the latest trunk. Previously, I kept decent todos and a svn repo for mzingi, but this time I simply bore down in some late night frenzy and got everything up-to-date. I’ve got a new svn repo to work with, and will check them in at some point in the next few days, and hopefully will be able to better outline any changes.

Basically the changes to mzingi were minor, just a few code changes for things like atom links, and updating the YUI fonts and style sheet. I also added some styling for draft posts.

As far as swanky and Harvest Field, they have more extensive changes, most evident in the sidebar content. Harvest Field now only uses built in code for the footer content – the about, recent comments and more posts links. The sidebar in Harvest Field is entirely plugin reliant now, sans the search and subscribe link. It supports by default the Twitter, linkoid (for aside like posts – which is also excluded from the more posts offset) and the very nifty blogroll plugin. All three have their own templates in the theme. I also added support for the credits due plugin, with a built in page template, and conditional code in the footer. Also, I borrowed the watermark for draft posts from michaeltwofish’s connections theme, and a little more emphasis on comments in moderation styling.

Swanky was also updated to use the current Twitter plugin/template, as well as added support for the blogroll plugin. If these plugins are not active, nothing will show, nothing will break. Recommended plugins are listed on the themes page. As with Harvest Field, the draft watermark and comments in moderation were addressed.

As usual, if you find a bug, or would like to see something added/need help, please leave a comment either on this post or the original post for the theme in question.

So without further ado :

Also, I’m putting the finishing touches on a demo site, which I’ll be adding links to the aforementioned theme posts. Just need to decide how I want to add the theme switcher code (I’m trying to decide between adding a new fixed element at the top of each theme, or simply adding the dropdown to each sidebar).

As always, much thanks go to the community for the help and assistance in putting these together.

Edit Twitter, linkoid, blogroll, and credit due plugins can be downloaded from Habari extras

Second Edit To clarify the “Credits” feature is accomplished by 1)activating the creditsdue plugin from extras 2)create a page with the slug “credits”, you can add additional content to the page if you want 3) there is no three (I’ve always wanted to say that!).

Migrating Servers

What an experience this has been. I hope to write a comprehensive post at some point about the experience, but suffice to say, it’s been quite the crash course on Apache, Debian, and DNS.

It all started with some curiosity, in which I purchased a Slice, and began poking around with the many tutorials they offer.  Ultimately, Owen provided me with his LAMPME script that did the basic setup for a debain, apache2, PHP 5, MySQL 5 set up, using mod_vhost (please don’t quote me on any of this 😀 ), which sorta got me going.  I got a bit sidetracked, and confused with setting up phpMyAdmin (I’m not that comfortable with CLI yet), and let the whole thing just sit, unused for a month or so.  However, due to the persistent problems with MediaTemple grid-servers, I vowed to stop shelling out money to them for the hassles.  If my sites go down, I want to be the one to blame, and no one else.  Besides, it’s high time that I learn more about this aspect of web development.

So, armed with help from Skippy, and some new found confidence, I got everything set up so as to have a basic understanding of how/where things go, and started moving domains.  I’m just about done, with this being one of the last.  If anyone notices anything wonky, assuming I have visitors, please let me know.

Also which is quite cool so far, is that I’m going to deploy the multi-site functionality of Habari to minimize the number of actual installs I have on the server, as I run everything off of head, this means less outdated installs.  Right now I’m looking at having just 2 actual installations, with everything else running off of those.  So far it’s worked out fine, though it took a little playing to get paths for things like images and files sorted out.  More on that later.  Certainly something that needs more attention, especially as silos mature.

Thanks to everyone who’ve helped in the process.

Verizon Fios Experiences

I just got off the phone with Verizon customer migraine service, and am left completely mystified. My story starts with the fact that Verizon didn’t notify us that their was a shortage of HD DVR boxes when we placed our order. It continued to the installation process, where the affable technician, albeit sporting the classic plumber’s crack while installing, failed to explain to us that while he was connecting the DVR to the HD TV, that in fact, we wouldn’t be able to watch any HD programming. I had to wait until the next business day to speak to anyone about the problem (installation was on a Saturday, and though they advertise 24/7 support, that doesn’t apply to most FIOS issues). I was then explained to that there was a back order on the Motorola HD DVR boxes, and that it would probably be the end of the month (February) before they were in. Sounded fair. They would discount our account the price of the DVR until then, we’d get the new DVR via UPS, swap them out, mail back the standard box at no cost. OK, slightly inconveniencing, but fair.

First of March, I hadn’t heard anything, so I called customer service again. I was given the same basic information, but this time, I was told middle of March. Frustration is growing.

Mid March, I call again, I’d really like to be watching some of the movies and programming I enjoy in HD. This time, I was told it would be the end of the month, and that some boxes had already been swapped out, but there was still a back order. Frustration is reaching the point of wanting to yell and reach through the phone and choke the people on the other end of the line, but I managed to remain calm.

Which brings me to today. I call to ask about this issue, as well as to inquire about picture-in-picture. I get a tech support person who I’m sure isn’t based in the U.S., perhaps Mexico City? Regardless, I inquire about the PIP. This gentleman insists that if my TV supports PIP, then I should have PIP. I explain to him that sure, with an antenna, I can watch PIP, but that PIP with the cable would require the box to split the signal, and when would this be introduced. He doesn’t have a clue to what I’m talking about. I ask to speak to someone else.

The next gentleman I speak with is most likely Indian, again, the primary problem is communication, not nationality for me. This person informs me that if I want PIP, I would need a second box, or use a splitter from the coax entering the house and would get PIP for the first 50 channels. Again, I try to explain that for instance, BrightHouse supports PIP within their DVR boxes, but he doesn’t believe me. After another tech question about using the “last” (previous) button. The Verizon Fios boxes support 9999 channels, so if you want to watch, say channel 8, you can just enter 8, but there’s a delay, so I got into the habit of hitting 0008. Well, to me it’s a bug, to them, I’m stupid, but if you type 0008, then 0084, the previous/last button won’t work. If I do 8/84 it works. What ever. I then asked to be transferred to customer service, as tech support doesn’t know anything about FIOS DVR boxes. Oh, and he comes back and says, “they are working on the PIP as we speak, and might be available in 6 months”, obviously someone was listening in and corrected him to a degree.

I get a very nice lady, most likely U.S. based. She tells me she’s not been given any timeframes for the the swap out, and that she’s been collecting names to call back when she has information. At this point, I’m completely frustrated, and want to just cancel the package, without penalty (technically, we signed a 2 year contract, with a $199 cancellation fee) because they are not providing all the services outlined in the contract. I was transferred to a “retention specialist”, again, most likely American, who said she didn’t know anything about PIP, nor did she have any time frames for when the boxes would be swapped. I said I’d like to confirm I could cancel without penalty, and she said, no, you are still be provided with the bundled service. I then outlined that I had been lied to about the time frame of replacement during the first month when I could have cancelled the service. She simply ignored me. Had I been told in mid February that it might 4 months before HD boxes would be available, I might not have signed on with Verizon at the time. I could have gotten BrightHouse, without a contract, and simply switched when HD was available. But no, Verizon felt is was better to lie and hide information and con us into keeping the contract for a short term gain, and the loss of long term satisfaction.

I will say I have no qualms with the other two services provided, internet connection is as fast as advertised, and the phone service is fine. I don’t like the fact that to use the provided voice mail, I have to call a separate number to check my voice mail, I can’t simply call my own number to do so, but what ever, that’s what the memory is for on the phone I suppose.

I’d love to know just for personal satisfaction if indeed Verizon could be sued for their unscrupulous actions regarding the hiding/lying about HD service. I highly doubt I would have much of a case, as I don’t have any real documentation as to who/when I spoke with about the time frames, which I generally tend to do, and will start doing again when speaking with customer service reps.

Ahh, now I feel better.

Testing Diigo and Habari

Habari Themes :: h0bbel.p0ggel.org

I recently discovered Diigo, and am testing their post to blog feature built into their toolbar with Habari. Figured h0bbel was a good link to use 😀

Did you know that currently there are thirteen publicly available themes ready for download and usage for your Habari install? Some of the themes that are available are ported from other blogging platforms, others are “pure” Habari themes that doesn’t originate anywhere else.

Did you know that currently there are thirteen publicly available themes ready for download and usage for your Habari install? Some of the themes that are available are ported from other blogging platforms, others are “pure” Habari themes that doesn’t originate anywhere else.

Swanky Theme

Updated! See the latest post on details

screenshotThis week an open source design came across my feed reader, and something about it caught my eye. Immediately however, I didn’t think the header matched the design name, so I set about creating something a bit more “swanky”. From there, I began porting it to Habari. The goal was a ready to go theme, with support for several of the popular available plugins. To that end, Swanky supports half a dozen plugins, a couple of which are recommended.

For recommended plugins, Raman Ng’s Related Posts plugin and his Tag Cloud plugin will provide full intent and functionality of the theme.

The theme also supports the Credit Due plugin that is available from the Habari Extras repository. Activation of the plugin and the addition of a Credits page will automatically move the credits from the footer, and create a link to a page on your site at example.com /credits, which will contain the original design credits which are asked to be kept in place, as well as credits for all plugins and the Habari theme itself. (It will also exclude the page /credits from the top navigation) You do not need to add any content to the page, simply creating the page will suffice. If you have any other “shout outs” you’d like to add in addition to the plugins output, that will appear above the default output. Without the plugin and page, the link for the original design and theme design will be shown in the footer.

Suggested plugins include the aforementioned Credit Due, as well as the pingback plugin bundled with Habari, Gravatars (also in Habari Extras), and the Recent Comments plugin in Extras. If the Recent Comments plugin is not installed, it will default to included code in the theme. Using the Recent Comments plugin allows for user definition of some output, including adding a date, and how many recent comments to show. The default code simply displays 5 most recent, comment author and post. The theme is coded to use the unordered list if you use the plugin, changing that would require editing the sidebar.php template.

The theme also supports the Twitter plugin (also in the Extras Repo), and will show on pages that recent posts show. (see below regarding dynamic display).

One small feature of the theme is that the middle sidebar is dynamic based on certain templates being viewed. Single post views will not show the recent posts, rather the posts meta, as well as related posts (if that plugin is active). If the Twitter plugin is active and configured, pages that show recent posts will also show above them your most recent tweet, twitter icon, and a link to your twitter page.

This is considered a .1alpha release, future versions, aside from bug fixing, will support more dynamic options for plugins to output content in the 2nd sidebar, among any other suggestions.

Please direct any comments, bugs, suggestions to the comments on this post.

Download Swanky 0.2.

Users of trunk >r1574

Download Swanky 0.3.1

Current Demo

Edit I failed to mention, if you use the gravatar plugin, there is a default gravatar in the theme’s images directory that you can point to that matches the header (in the plugin options you can point to the image).

FF3 beta alongside FF2

Came across this handy little “app” today. MultiFirefox allows for multiple profiles to use different versions of the FireFox. So you can keep your working copy of FireFox 2 and all your beloved extensions, and test/keep an eye on FireFox 3 beta. So far, the “old-school” del.icio.us extension is the one I’m really anxious to see work in 3.

There’s already a beta of Firebug that works in FF3, which satisfies a few of my itches. I’d also like to see the web developer extension, but it seems the dev of that one won’t release a version until FF goes gold. Scribefire seems to work, though I still haven’t gotten in the habit of using it. Tiny URL extension is another one that I’ve come to rely on, which isn’t FF 3 compatible at this point.

Habari .4 released

It’s official, Habari 0.4 DR has been released. It’s hopefully , the last developer release, and with .5 will enter beta status.

I’ve previously discussed what it is about the community that gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, and that continues to be the case as the project grows. It’s especially enriching to see new community members contributing.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this release possible.

For a little more info about the new release, I’ll let one of the newer community members, Michael Harris, outline some of the big changes.

I’m very excited about where this project is going, and can only imagine where it will be a year from now.

TUAW Loses Credibility

I’m a Mac user. I’m a Mac fan. I’m not, as far as I’m concerned, a Mac fanboy. I do however, read some Mac centric and Mac fanatic blogs. TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog is one. I often scan the feed, as it tends to be subject matter I’m not interested in. I’ve ranted before about some of the fanaticism and over the top coverage before.

So this evening, I was scanning some feeds, and the see the headline Putting the Apple Store Geniuses to the Test and was immediately intrigued. Several years ago, I worked in a retail Apple store. It was quite enlightening in many, many ways, but for me, not really a good experience. However, I did meet some very nice people, some very smart people, and learned a lot.

That said, to call all employees of an Apple Store Geniuses, is ignorant, as the Geniuses, as pointed out in the comments of the post, are trained techs who do not do sales. Of course, they can do sales for customers who come into the Genius Bar for issues, and wind up needing something, but it’s not their primary job description. And as pointed out, Mac Specialists (the sales team) are generally knowledgeable in niché areas. I worked with some extremely knowledgeable people who specialized in graphics, music, networking, you name it. Everyone generally knew each persons strengths, and when they ran into a question they didn’t know, they knew who to ask, or as also pointed out, were savvy enough to Google search to help the customer. I’m sure it’s possible during the holidays that temporary seasonal employees might not be as versed or familiar with everyone, and a customer might not get the technical answers from such an employee. But my experience was that those types of employees also were quick to explain their unfamiliarity with technical issues, and still sought out more experienced Specialists to assist the customer.

All of that said, it’s very disappointing that the author of this post on TUAW didn’t know what he was talking about, and as the post title states, certainly gives me pause to the credibility of the site, and makes me wonder if there’s a certain quota of posts they need to write, and was at a loss to find a relevant topic that he could bust out. Which again, gives me pause to the site’s credibility of a reliable source of pertinent Apple related news.

Also, one thing that I hadn’t seen mentioned in the comments, as everyone was coming to the defense of the Specialists, and pointing out that there was no commission based sales, is that isn’t entirely true. This might have changed, but when I worked for an Apple Store, there were quarterly bonuses for full-time employees based on store sales goals. Generally speaking however, the commenters are right, there isn’t any emphasis on over selling equipment. Meaning, don’t push a Mac Book Pro on a family looking for a laptop for their kid heading to college who’ll only be doing email, word processing, and web surfing, along with the obvious music stuff. However, one of the biggest turn-offs that I dealt with, was the huge emphasis on pushing .Mac on all customers, even if you knew they didn’t need it, or understand it. Certainly since then, .Mac has grown in it’s uses, and I can see how maybe it’s slightly more attractive for users, but then it was crap, and I felt dirty pushing it on everyone.

Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a post slagging Apple retail, rather as a response to the post and comments in the aforementioned post. Also note, this post was started late last night, and finished today without re-visiting the post to see if the author has amended or commented about his perspective, though my feed reader does pick up edited posts, and it hasn’t come through. Ultimately though, there should be some level of responsibility and editing in a “pro” blog such as that one, part of a bigger network of blogs whom make a pretty penny I’m sure in advertising. Shame on you Blogsmith and TUAW for shoddy writing and editing.

Redarry Theme

If you are looking for an XHTML 1.1 valid mod of Habari’s k2, be sure to check out Harry’s Redarry Theme, complete with “Red-dy” goodness. I really like the subtle gradient for the tabs in the header.

Welcome to the Habari community Harry, we look forward to seeing you around!

FireFox 3 beta

Testing out b2 of FF 3 (Mac OS X Leopard), and it seems snappier, though none of my normal extensions are available for the beta, so that might be part of it. Certainly can’t use it for everyday browsing because of that reason. It seems kinda odd using the native OS X theme, with Safari like buttons instead of the standard FF HTML buttons.

I kinda like the Smart bookmarks feature, though the recent bookmarks isn’t really useful to me. I’ll be curious how that might be tied into del.icio.us bookmarks (however, seeing as Yahoo! is in turmoil, I will be exploring other bookmarking services, including checking on the status of scuttle, a GPL script for hosting your own bookmark library ala del.icio.us). Any suggestions for similar services welcomed.

Another feature I’m not keen on just yet is when I click on the favicon, normally that would highlight the entire URL in the address bar, now it gives me some odd identity information. Definitely a PITA. I really use that feature for copy and pasting URLs, though there might be an easier method for that.

I’ll continue to run FF 3 on the laptop, and keep 2 on my main desktop, I understand a beta3 will be out Monday, and hopefully sooner than later a RC will be around, with most of the extensions being updated around that time. I understand extension developers not trying to keep up with alpha and beta builds for official downloads, but at some point, they should be offering some kind of indication to users whether or not the extension will be available for the new version. Nothing worse than upgrading only to find out your favorite extension isn’t being developed for the latest release.

Mzingi 0.3

I’ve made some small changes to the mzingi theme, most notably a few code changes to work with the most current revision. (1267 at time of writing).

This includes fixing the atom feed link, addressing plugin hooks in the header and footer, and removing some extraneous code in the commentform that has been moved to the theme class.

Also, some minor styling for the date has been added, as well as a screenshot and license.

Also added is the conditional code in the header to show the title on the home page as the blog title, or the post title followed by the blog title in single post pages.

A few things I’m looking to do in the next revision is to remove the Asides code, and add a template for the linkoid plugin, so if a user doesn’t want to use Asides, they don’t have to edit the theme, as well as leverage the ability of the plugin to allow the user to chose their own tags to be used in the feature and excluded from the primary content.

Also planned is author comment highlighting.

Suggestions are always warmly welcomed.

You can download the file from the original post.

Textile for Habari

I’m quite happy to see a new Habari user, Dylan, over at Trifold Design, has created a Textile plugin for Habari. I too use many of the same tools Dylan does, and find myself using that markup more and more, even in email and on IRC (though, embarrassingly I didn’t realize it was actually Textile).

I haven’t actually tested the plugin yet, though it did install fine, and it’s a .5 release, so I assume the author has vetted it himself.

Also, welcome to the community Dylan, it’s always great to see new people join in.

For those that are looking for other markup plugins, you might look at Matt Read’s Markdown plugin as well.

It’s All Text and Leopard

I recently had upgraded to Leopard, and one FireFox extension I’ve come to count on was It’s All Text!. Which allows you to chose a text editor of your choice to edit text fields. Sometimes I need to do some code changes for sites in a text box, or work with a large amount of text, and it was quite handy to simply edit with TextMate. It seemed to have broken in Leopard. I checked the settings, and changing the path to

/usr/bin/mate

from

/usr/local/bin/mate

seemed to do the trick. Might have just been me, but it’s working now, and I’m happy.

Media Temple Follow Up

Update: I was just contacted by the customer support person from yesterday, and indeed there’s an Alex and I’ve been credited in my account. Thanks Alex.

So I immediately received a comment from an “Alex” who said he was with Media Temple on my previous post. (He actually left two comments, as they went to moderation, and sent a contact message.) The comment speaks for itself. I did that, emailed him, giving the primary domain, and email address for my account. Two days later, I get the automated emails about my credit card being declined. Oh, right, I was mugged two weeks before Thanksgiving, and had my wallet stolen, so I had to get a new card. But wait, weren’t they going to credit me? I wait. Another email. I wait. This time, an email with a name attached. I respond, saying, Alex said he was going to be crediting my account. Is there an Alex? Was I duped? No response at this point. Meanwhile, I couldn’t FTP into my accounts most of yesterday because of some Authentication server problems.

Not that I’m having the greatest success setting up the VPS server I’m testing from SliceHost. Mostly MySQL problems. I’m not ready to give up PHPMyAdmin just yet, nor FTP. But that’s another post.

Give the gift of down time

Another six months, another disappointment in web hosting. This time, the popular Media Temple grid-server. For the past 2+ months, its been one problem after another, with the most recent being an 12 plus hour down time because of a failed maintenance. They talk of credits for users, however I’m not seeing one in my account. A company I work with received the email, however, not my personal account. So on the heals of this debacle, they are offering gift cards for a years worth of hosting. As if someone would want to give you a migraine for Christmas.

Nice timing Media Temple….

Redesign

I’m working on a new theme, another open source design port. Being the impatient person I am, I’ve got a few tweaks still, so pardon any glitches while I finish up the tweaking. Certainly interested in any comments, I’ll post another more formal outline of the port when I’m done. This will be available for download when it’s done.

mzingi .2

A bit later than I thought it would be, but I’ve updated Mzingi to reflect quite a few changes in Habari’s code. Among the changes and additions for .2 are:

  • added header and footer hooks for plugins
  • added post status class, to allow for styling drafts differently than published posts
  • added a 404 template, including a search box on that page
  • updated the pagination code and styling on home.php and other multiple entry pages
  • added the pingback filtering on comments. Though a plugin, I’m assuming most people will use this feature
  • added recent posts to sidebar. This code will reflect which page you are on, and show the next five. Meaning, if you are on page/2, it will show you the posts of page/3.
  • added comment moderation code. Visitors who’s comments go into moderation will see their comment marked in moderation

Now to make these changes on this design (though I plan on a complete overhaul before the end of the year, so it might wait). That said, I’m looking forward to feedback, and possibly seeing this go into the default download as another optional theme as has been suggested to me. I’ll leave that to others to decide, but I’m certainly not against the idea one bit.

Please visit the Mzingi home page for the download link.