Gravatars 2.0 and Skippy’s Gravatars Plugin

I had heard that Gravatar 2.0 had been released, but hadn’t really paid much attention. Today, while doing a little housekeeping around the site, I noticed that none of my gravatars were showing up. After doing a little investigating, I realized it had to do with caching, among other things. First thing I did was dump the cache on my gravatars folder in wp-content. Second, I logged into the gravatar site, and re-associated my gravatar with my email that I use for that account. Still no gravatars, mine, or anyone else’s.

So I looked at the settings on Skippy’s gravatar plugin (which I like as I can set a local gravatar, vs using a default one from the original site), it was set to use caching. I turned that setting off, and voilá, gravatars are showing back up. Hopefully that could help someone else (though, from reading a few blogs, and the comments on the main site, there’s no guarantees the main site will be with fail).

WordPress Blank Theme V2beta

While I’m in a blogging flurry, I figured I’d go ahead and share my newest “blank theme”. I do quite a bit of WP work, either converting open source designs, modifying existing site’s design to a WP theme, or custom work, and often have the use for a framework to start. For the past couple of years, I’ve been using my popular Blank Theme, but more and more, I’ve found the markup not to my liking, and as it’s based on Kubrick, a bit outdated code wise. So I’ve cooked up a blank theme from scratch, using much more (hopefully) semantic markup, and a much more streamlined framework. This version currently only has an index, header, footer, sidebar (as an unordered list, which should be widget ready, though I would need to add a function.php file. It also includes a bit of code handy for recent posts), single post, and page template. I also am using Christian Montoya’s comment template instead of Kubricks. I hopefully covered all the elements in the templates in the style sheet, as well as have a few basic global elements set.

Remember, this is a blank theme. It is completely unstyled, and is meant as a framework in which to customize a theme. Also, this is meant for WP >= 2.1.x, as it uses several new template tags.

Update: Download link fixed. (damn typos)

You can download the Blank Theme v2 beta.

I would appreciate any and all feed back, both for missing elements, and suggestions for additions.

Not as Painful as I Thought

So if anyone has an “old school” flickr account, they too received an email a while back saying that as of March 15th, they needed to merge with a yahoo id. I had a yahoo id, which I never really use. And like most people, they are probably a bit attached to their online identities. Obviously, I use miklb where ever I can. I was a bit upset at the prospect of losing my flickr account of /miklb. Granted, the yahoo account I have is miklb.online, but somehow that just isn’t what I wanted. So I procrastinated in making the switch. Finally, today, I went about looking into it, as I didn’t want to get locked out of my moblog images. (Currently, I do not have a cell service with a camera phone, but not all of those images are still on my old phone, anyway…) I went to the flickr account, and saw the “merge” accounts option. I went to merge miklb with yahoo id miklb.online. No go. miklb.online was already associated with flickr. Ugh. When did I do that?

So looking at that account, I hadn’t actually uploaded any images, so I saw I could delete the flickr account for that ID. I didn’t know if I could then re-associate it, but what the heck, I figured I’d give it a shot. I deleted the yahoo id from flickr, and tried again to merge, still thinking I’d become miklb.online. In the meantime, I found a flickr export app for the Mac, Flickrbackup, grabbed my images just in case, and then made the association between the old school account and the yahoo id. All went smooth, and to my surprise, I get to keep the miklb account, I simply now log in with the yahoo id. Excellent. Perhaps this will move me to use flickr a bit more, I know I’d love to get a friend of mine to use it, but he’s a myspacer, and I don’t even know what he’s using to host his images. (Goody Goody, I’ll even set you up with a blog if you make the switch from myspace).
So, long story short, it was far less painful to make the switch, and if you haven’t done so, fret not, if you have to be pumpkinpatch6969 instead of your favorite handle, you’ll not loose your flickr name.

Running with Habari

Nothing like a new blog engine to get the blood pumping. Not that I’m jumping ship, just looking to broaden horizons, and see what new and exciting might be around the corner. I’m a big fan of a couple of people involved, not such a fan of a few others. But that’s part of community. But really I’m just testing out the trackback feature on the most recent build. So really, just ignore this post…

CSS Mastery From Santa Giveaway

Dear Santa,

Remember way back when I was first starting out cooking, and I asked you for a copy of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking. I was just a hack kid in the kitchen, desperate to learn more about the science behind the art that had all but consumed me. You quickly obliged, and I took that knowledge on a journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Now, that I’ve grown, my interests and profession are taking another turn, and again I turn to you to bring me a book that will do for me what Harold’s did for me back then. Andy Budd wrote CSS Mastery, yet another brilliant insight into the “science” behind the “art” that has taken me onto my most current journey. I’ve muddled my way through so far, but I trust that with the guidance this book offers, I can excel in this medium in a similar manner that I did with my last discipline.

Michael

P.S. If you happen to find room in your bag to add a new Mac Book Pro and a 20” cinema display, I promise to be a really, really, good boy.

Quick WordPress tip: Press it bookmarklet

I’ve used the “Press It” bookmarklet about as long as I’ve used WordPress. When the feature was originally used in 1.5.x, a new window would open up, and you could reference the original site for what you wanted to use for content. In 2.0.x, it takes you from the site to your write post panel, which means I either have to go back and re-open the site, or remember what it was I wanted to use from the site. That is until today. I accidently had some text highlighted on a page when I used the bookmarklet, and when taken to the write post page, the highlighted text was pasted into post panel. Cool! Now I can highlight a blurb for a blockquote, then “Press It”, and simply add the blockquote html tags and finish the post.

FireFox 2 A Web Developers Friend

firefox-logo-64x64.pngI’ve blogged about my browser issues before, but I just have to share how cool I think FireFox 2 is. Now with built in spell checker (just right click a word, and suggestions are at the top of the menu, perfect for blogging and email), it’s quick, totally extensible , and just makes working on line so much more productive. A few extensions are a must for me, so I had to wait a few weeks for them to be released before I could start testing it, but the wait was well worth it.
First was the GrApple theme. I loathe the candy-ish default theme, and was quite pleased when theme makers started adding Mac Os-esque brushed metal themes. I haven’t taken to the newer Apple look, ie, iTunes 7, so the more subtle brushed metal look of GrApple suites me fine, especially the small buttons in the nav bar.
Then are the extensions.
Some plugins were FF 2.0 ready, such as the indispensable Web Developer. I’m a big fan of using tabs, and one extension was borking my tabs. Uninstalling the Tabbed Browser Preferences solved the issues. A better tab manager, Tab Mix Plus, fixes issues with windows opening up instead of tabs (note, I downloaded a RC from the developer site, the new release should up on mozilla in the next day or so).
Another great developer tool is MeasureIt, which allows you drag across the screen a box that measures in pixels. When working out kinks in spacing, this is invaluable. Also helpful is ViewSourceWith, which lets you choose an application (like a text editor) to open a page source with. Makes finding which line number an error is a snap. Finally, Colorzilla allows you to grab hex colors from a site, nice to have if you are trying to recreate an existing site, or simply like a color scheme of a site.
A few other extensions that I recently discovered are CSSViewer, which once turned on, allows you scroll around a page, and it shows the CSS for that element, and OPML Support, which allows you to import/export your FF bookmarks in an OPML format, which for WordPress users, is nice, as you can import those files into your Blogroll/Links Manager, not to mention RSS reader.
In addition to those, Google’s Browser sync and toolbar, CoComment’s extension and AdBlock Plus, make general browsing a snap.
There are literally thousands of extensions out there, with new ones being added all the time. If you’ve discovered any other can’t-live-without extensions, I’d love to hear about them.

Category Archives Plugin

(disclaimer)I’m not a coder, and this is my first attempt, I apologize if this isn’t properly documented or presented.

My very first WordPress Plugin! I’ve dabbled with a lot of areas of WP, but until this post in the support forums, I never really had an idea or need to write one. But after doing some reading, I found that there wasn’t a simple way to accomplish this task. All of WP’s archive features are based on date.

So with the help of alphaoide via #wordpress on IRC, I put together this simple plugin to accomplish the task. It worked fine on my test site, but may need some TLC before being good to go. Basically it outputs categories by name in an h2 tag, then lists post titles with a permalink to the post.

I tested this by creating a Page Template, then inserting the plugin code within the content div of the theme.
The code to insert is
< ?php mb_cat_archive(); ?>
(remove the space between the < and ?, I’m not sure why that is getting reformatted in the post)
I suppose this could be used in a sidebar, however it may create a very long list…
So to summarize, download the file, unzip, and upload to your wp-content/plugins directory.
Activate the plugin in the dashboard. Create the page template, inserting the above code, save, and upload to your themes directory.
Go to Write->Page, and choose the template you uploaded.
The new page should now list your categories with their appropriate posts.
I haven’t looked into how it handles posts with multiple categories, that will be on my todo list, I’m sure, if the plugin proves useful or popular. I’d also like to add some AJAX to hide the posts until you click on the category (that would make it much more sidebar friendly), and the ability to change the h2 tag to whatever one likes.

You can download the file via:
http://www.miklb.com/blog/cat_archive.zip

Image Links and Hover Background Colors

I did a google search for the solution to a problem I had with some CSS and image links, and didn’t find a good solution, so I’m throwing this out there for anyone who might stumble upon it.
The problem I was having was that I was creating a site with a black ground. There was a global setting for all a:hover links to have a background color and different font color, a common effect. However, any image links that I had were also getting a small box of the same color at the bottom when I moused over it, not at all good looking. I tried setting the selector a:hover img to a black backgroud, but the color still showed up. After closer inspection of my style sheet, I had set a global marign and padding on all images. When I set those to zero, the color didn’t show up. However, I didn’t want to sacrifice all images to not have to margin or padding, or force the end user to add a special class to images, so I tried setting the a:hover img margins and padding to zero. The problem there was that the image would “jerk” when moused over, as the margin and padding shifted. So I simply set a img to zero margins and padding, and my problem was solved. The only down fall is if someone wants to post an image in a blog post that’s a link, the text will butt right up against it. However, if that problem arises, I can then set a class for that image, and should be able to give the image room.
Anyway, like I said, I didn’t find a solution in the first few pages of google, not that this will make those pages neccessarily, but it’s worth throwing out there.

Blogging the NBA Finals

Blog Maverick
Mark Cuban, blogger and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is blogging the NBA finals. I have to say, his blogging has made it infectious to be a Mav’s fan for the finals. I’m not really a basketball fan, but have a few friends who’ve been watching the playoffs, so I’ve followed along. I also came across Mark Cuban’s blog while checking out some feeds while investigating over at Share Your OPML as the playoffs started. So I’ve been following his blogs while keeping an eye to the playoffs. It’s fun to see things transpire as they have.

9rules Network Adds More Blogs

9rules Network has announced 111 new sites for the network. 111!? Before I go any further, let me say, that I’m not some bitter blogger that was part of the 589 bloggers that were rejected. I would never consider this blog something for a network. I don’t have a niche, I don’t post enough, I simply rant out loud, and a few people actually read it. Period.
But as someone who reads a lot of sites, I once took a site’s acceptance into 9rules as some sort of validation, that perhaps before reading a post, there was a strong chance that the author was going to know what they were talking about, or that the information would indeed be valid. But to water down the network, IMO, with that many blogs in one fell swoop, I can’t help but believe it was a publicity stunt for a group that had recently fallen off the radar, so to speak.
I mean, what better way to get the blogosphere to chatter about you than to “accept” 111 sites into the network. How much traffic directly from those sites is generated alone? Plus those, (I guess I’m buying into the hype by posting this) who comment on the recent events. I must say, I really have a hard time buying any of this, and will now take the 9rules logo on a site with a grain of salt, and that is an injustice to those who have been longer termed members of the network.
I’d like to say I haven’t looked at all 111 sites, and I’m sure they are all fine bloggers in their own right. I simply have a hard time understanding how that many are brought in at once.
I think I might create a snazzy little logo and start my own network. I’m sure at least 100 of those 589 that were not admitted are as good in their own right as the 111 picked. It could be called the Odd Man Out Network. Wonder how much ad revenue that would generate? Anyone interested in joining?

Firefox Updated – Didn’t Ask

So I downloaded the bleeding edge version of Firefox, code name bon echo, to poke around a bit. Seemed a little snappier, but could have been because 98% of the plugins were disabled. Turn it off, open my regular firefox, and without asking me, it upgraded to 1.5.0.3. Bullshit, I say. I don’t want the latest version, if simply for the fact that the reason I use FireFox is the extensions. And this version, the extensions I rely on, are now disabled. So I might as well use Safari. I like to wait until the extensions catch up with the release. And I’m not at all happy with the new RSS icon in the address bar. This really was a bad move, and I’m not sure how it happened. A really bad taste, that’s for sure.

Update So I’m guessing they realized that 1.5.0.3 was borked, because 1.5.0.4 is now out, and my extensions work now. In the meantime, I checked out Camino, a Mac mozilla based browser, and may just well use that for everyday browsing. I don’t like the idea of using more than one, but now that I have Scuttle set up on my site, (I used delicious, but don’t like the idea of Yahoo controlling my bookmarks), bookmarking isn’t as big an issue with the 2 browser set up. Camino is faster, FF offers extensions that make working on web sites invaluable. So I may just become a 2 broswer guy.

Gregarius Update – RSS

I’ve updated my RSS reader, Gregarius, to the latest SVN. Which means the latest code. Not always a great idea, but this version has been in development for some time, and about to be released as .5.4. I’d like to thank Adam Kalsey for his help via IRC, and for his theme. I really want to look closer at the the theme system, I really think it’s similar to WordPress’s system. Adam’s theme is definitely an improvement in a lot of ways over the default theme, but I’d like to maybe soften it up a bit. For some reason, my eyes just don’t work with the grays. Especially the header image.
While I’m on the subject, I was checking out Dave Winer’s Share your OPML. I haven’t added my OPML yet, but I did discover Mark Cuban’s Blog Maverick. I’m not a big basketball fan, but of all the interviews I’ve seen/read, I’ve found him interesting. Reading his posts left me with a similar feeling. I’ve always secretly wished he would buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the Glazers. Who knows. Anyway, I’m off to the OPML site to find more feeds for my reading pleasure.

Typeface and the Web

An interestingpost and comments regarding type face and web design. While I struggle to learn the basics, and don’t really notice the difference in types, I continue to read on the subject, and found a useful on-line tool to compare fonts, and the many other options that CSS allows in setting typography. I really am trying to approach my learning of web design from a usability aspect, vs a pure aesthetic one, which typsetting can have a huge effect on. Still a long road, to say the least.

Trying Out CoComments

CoComments

is open to anyone, though they have a caveat that if server load gets too high, they’ll shut down registration again. I hadn’t really paid attention to it, though I’ve seen it mentioned, but the concept is sound. How often do you leave comments on a blog, and then forget where, and wonder if there was a follow up? Happens to me all the time. I keep tabs on several RSS feeds that a general in nature, and will drop a comment on a strangers blog often, only to fade from my memory. Not anymore, if CoComments works as advertised. You are given a simple bookmarklet to use before you formally submit a comment. You then can keep track of the comments via their site, or better yet, your RSS feed. In addition, you’ll see a box in my sidebar, so visitors can see where I’m visiting and commenting. Another way of building community, in my oh, so humble opinion. Though, I’ve yet to see it in action, I’ve seen it on another’s blog. And I doubt it will take long before I put it in action. So go register if interested, ‘cause it could be like Google Analytics, and close with no notice.

Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 Preview

Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 PreviewI never thought I’d herald the release of an IE product, and after testing it I may not be so interested, but if you’ve ever sat up until 5am trying to hack IE bugs in a completely valid site while your client in California keeps saying, “In IE…”, then the prospects of some of those bugs being gone is well, worth the annoucement.
Annouced last July on the developer’s blog, these bugs are supposed to be addressed in beta 2.

  • Peekaboo bug
  • Guillotine bug
  • Duplicate Character bug
  • Border Chaos
  • No Scroll bug
  • 3 Pixel Text Jog
  • Magic Creeping Text bug
  • Bottom Margin bug on Hover
  • Losing the ability to highlight text under the top border
  • IE/Win Line-height bug
  • Double Float Margin Bug
  • Quirky Percentages in IE
  • Duplicate indent
  • Moving viewport scrollbar outside HTML borders
  • 1 px border style
  • Disappearing List-background
  • Fix width:auto

And I’ll say a bug I spent several hours hacking last night is fixed in beta2. Good sign (it was a lesser known a:hover background sticking bug, for those who care).

Like I said, maybe a little less cursing now.

del.icio.us: y.ah.oo!

del.icio.us: y.ah.oo!
So the ‘net is abuzz that the hot tagging service del.icio.us was bought by yahoo. Read through the comments, some are skeptical, some simply full of congrats, some outright damning the merger. Me, eh, I’ll wait to see what happens, but will start trying to get scuttle working again, just in case. I’ve been using Blinklist as well, and there’s no shortage of options out there, if yahoo does get too hands on. I really don’t see it as this commenter

What happened to the decentralization the internet was supposed to be so good for?

because, as I’ve said, there are other options out there, and will continue to grow, especially after this buy-out.

WordPress and Linkblox

So while doing a design for someone, I came across this site – Linkblox. Among some other flash type widgets, this one presents your links in a compact widget, especially if you have them categorized. What’s nifty about this free widget, is that is uses OPML. While not that familiar with it, a quick poke around the forums, I discovered that the links manager built into WordPress already outputs your links in an OPML file. It’s found in your root WP folder at wp-links-opml.php. The linkblox site simply asks for you to point to a OPML file, your URL, and then outputs a script for you to place in your header and sidebar. One for the header, one for the place you want your widget. So what’s nice, is you can continue to use your “link this” bookmarklet, and keep your blogroll/links in your DB, so if the “linkblox” site disappears, or you decide to stop using it, you still have all your blogroll safely at your site. The advanced customization for the widget gives you quite a bit of color customization, and the site promises this is a work in progress, which is why they are hosting the script, so that can make upgrades seamlessly behind the scenes.