Archive for the ‘Website’ Category

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Theme updates

Made some adjustments to my blog theme.

Old

New

  • search box graphic and placeholder text
  • added jetpack subscriptions module and some css to handle it
  • gave page a max width so it doesn’t look ridiculous on wide screen monitors.
  • sidebar: removed dotted borders added white space, toned down colours – reduced noise
  • Removed grey post-meta-content (categories, tags) boxes. Put all post meta data in TOP, with comments repeated at bottom. (Similar to when I started this theme!)
  • Added hover highlight to gallery images (now consistent with image links not in a gallery). Cleaned up some of the code (to not generate HTML comments) and random fixes here and there.
  • Removed lots of black. Too harsh.

You might have to click refresh. And you might not even notice any changes. 😛

Feel free to leave a comment or use Markup to make suggestions. Markup’s a pretty cool tool.

It’s interesting to compare the progression of my themes. Well, interesting for me, at least. 🙂

I think the next time I decide to work on a theme, I will start from scratch. Clean slate. Make it more consistent with my root page.

On a related note, the latest version of WordPress, 3.3.2, is really nice.

My Life in Japan

I know, it’s ironic that my first post for 2009 is about 2003-2004, but….

I was looking at some old website designs and was reminded that I had created a static HTML website for blogging while I was in Japan. This was called Steve’s Japan Journal and it is not available anywhere online, right now. I have now manually copied these 32 entries into this blog and tagged them with JapanJournal. I stopped using this method of blogging because it took too long to update and it was actually served by my family’s computer in North Vancouver – which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence while I was in Japan.

So what did I use next? Well, everyone else in the Gifu flock were using LiveJournal, so I joined them (reluctantly). I’ve imported the 37 LiveJournal blog entries, as well, and tagged them with LJImport. Most of these entries were also made in Japan. All entries made in Japan, from both sets, are tagged with Japan. After LJ, I moved to a self-hosted WordPress, which is what I’m currently using. I’ve left the Hello World! post in there so it’s obvious when this happened. 🙂

It took much longer than I thought to import all the entries, especially the Japan Journal ones, as I had to edit the timestamp for each and add a bit of formatting. And I found myself reading them again. Interesting how I’ve both changed and stayed the same. =) I found it great listening to music that I listened to at the time, while reading them.

I want to read!

Many of the links and images are broken, because they don’t exist any more, and the formatting may seem a little strange (especially from LJ). I’m not too keen on reformatting everything. That being said, if you’re feeling like a walk down memory lane, you can start (re)-reading about my 11 month Japan experience, from June 2003 to May 2004, right here:

On a Boeing 747 somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

A word of caution, however, it’s quite a bit of reading!! ^_^

Enjoy!

2008 In Review

Life

This year has been pretty big. Naturally following up with lots of events from last year, these are some quick memories. My nephew, Rayden, was born on Feb 12th, six weeks early! This caused the father (my brother) to be indisposed for my dad’s (2nd) marriage on Feb 14th. I got bumped up to best man (but didn’t have to do much) and had a rather empty hotel room to myself in Vegas. I attended the Open Web Vancouver conference. I went to Whistler mountain for the first time in years and plan on going again soon. I went on a fantastic road trip down the west coast of the United States, something I will never forget. I slacked off most of the summer but managed to do quite a bit of rollerblading and outdoor activity hanging out with Kurt (visiting from Brazil). My brother, now a father, married the mother of his child on August 3rd. I was best man at this wedding, as well – with more responsibilities, but they were well received and totally worth it. Our beloved cat, Sky, met an early and terribly unfortunate end. We had our first encounter with bed bugs who are now the sworn enemy of our household. Vancouver, a city that sometimes doesn’t get snow all year, had its whitest Christmas ever with 60cm (2 ft) of snow! Perhaps we should have seen snow in April as a sign….?

That reminds me: Happy Holidays for 2008! Guess I was a little late on that… Here are some pictures of our insane weather in Vancouver.

Geekery

With my free time, I think I was able to really exercise my geekiness in 2008. I released a couple updates to the Rhythmbox Jump-to-Playing plugin, which led me to submit my first patch to an upstream project! Said patch was accepted and will be in the next version of Rhythmbox! Yay. 🙂 It was just for some XML UI description, but it feels nice to have helped improve (even a tiny bit) a project that will be installed on thousands of computers in the next cycle. I also released a usable proof-of-concept GNOME Panel File List Applet which has stayed on my panel and I find quite useful. And I’ve done a couple little scripts and how-to’s that fall under the “nerd” category quite nicely. Oh yeah, and significant website updates. Next website todo item is to customize the attachment page for my theme, I think…. Also, I joined Twitter. And Identi.ca. And LinkedIn….

Art

Not many artsy things done this year. But with the significant improvements of tablet handling in Linux, I did some random doodles and a birthday card. I may not do it very often, but I still enjoy drawing, thank goodness.

Blog Stats for 2008

My Blog is by no means high traffic, but stats are fun! (These stats were obtained using the wordpress.com Stats plugin, and exclude the Feed stats, because I use Feedburner for that… although, I’m thinking I should revert that, now that I mostly use wordpress.com Stats.)

Top 3 Referrers:

  1. http://live.gnome.org/RhythmboxPlugins/ThirdParty (402)
  2. live.gnome.org/Boston2008/GUIHackfest (209)
  3. siuyee.com (126)

Top 3 Posts and Pages:

  1. Pidgin 2.1 UI Ideas (1,053)
  2. 2D Game Art and the Virtual Console (580)
  3. Rhythmbox Plugin: Jump to Playing 0.2 (455)

Top 3 Search Engine Terms:

  1. rhythmbox (327)
  2. bug (174)
  3. pidgin (165)

Top 3 Clicks:

  1. Pidgin UI screenshot attached to a bug (57)
  2. Pidgin UI mockup (50) by Hylke Bons
  3. SF2 HD Ken (42)
  4. The fourth was launchpad.net/desktopdrawers with 38 clicks, so it’s kinda cool I helped advertise a small project a little. (A project I’ve submitted patches to, no less. 🙂 )

Thanks

Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful 2008. It’s been interesting, and despite a failing economy, I’m looking positively toward 2009.

Happy New Year! (????????????????) 🙂

WordPress 2.7

I just upgraded from 2.6.3 (using my “wp-upgrade” script), and It’s fantastic! Go watch a video about the biggest features. It even includes an “automatic upgrade!!” This pretty much deprecates my script, unless you want to maintain snapshots of each version. (I’m not sure if anyone other than me was using it to begin with… but anyhow….) 🙂

Screenshot: wp-upgrade Snapshots

WiiWare and WordPress Update

It was a nice fall day a couple days ago. I really enjoyed this sight, in my backyard. 🙂 Quite overcast and dull, the last couple of days, though.

Games

I updated my About page with my Tetris Party friend code. (Add me!!) It’s pretty fun, but I say that as someone who has never owned a Tetris game before, so I’m not a Tetris vet… (unlike Shirley and Alex, who think the DS game is far superior, apparently). My only real complaint with the game so far is the music – they could have done AWESOME things with it. I want a hoppin 8bit remix of these classic tunes… the included midi, even the classic stuff, is pretty dry and slow. Need something with a faster pace. The computer moves at seemingly impossible speeds at levels above 12, but I suspect that some people out there can play like that, as well. Scary. (Especially the top ranked in the Americas, Java AI … hmmm…) Anyway, I can’t beat level 13 yet. And I think I still like Dr Mario for VS more… so fun. … but Tetris Party offers tonnes of modes, including 4-player vs! That’s pretty cool. Maybe I’ll become a Tetris snob, yet.

While on the topic of Wii(Ware), I also got World of Goo. It’s a really great physics based puzzle title. I really love the dark and comical graphic design (reminds me of Tim Burton’s stuff). The music in Goo is epic, as well. I can’t believe everything was made by two guys (+1 for Wii optimizations); two guys in debt! They’re my heroes. Seriously. Both Tetris Party and World of Goo are the most expensive games on WiiWare ($12 US, $15 US, respectively), but I haven’t been disappointed. And with Goo especially, I don’t have any problem supporting the little guys making great stuff. That’s where I’d like to be. 🙂

WordPress

I updated my wp-upgrade script to display a big warning to deactivate all your plugins before continuing (wouldn’t want to damage your database!). Then I used it to update to WordPress 2.6.3. I think that makes me largely up-to-date.

Blog Updates

After heavily updating some things on my blog, someone on my shared host server caused the server to die repeatedly. My blog was pretty much gone all of yesterday and part of the day before. Hopefully it’s all been resolved. Anyway, I’ve recently added a Contact page, updated the About page, added OpenID login option to commenting, added option to have comment followups emailed, added syntax highlighting for code chunks, and made some theme updates to accommodate all these changes. And I added avatars to the comments. So I’ve made a lot of updates, but I haven’t really tested everything. Let me know if there are any problems.

WordPress Upgrade Script

Even though the WordPress upgrade is easy, it’s troublesome. So I wrote a script to do it for me. Yep. There’s lots of these out there. And a lot of hosts (including mine) have a one-click install/update thing. But for some reason, I decided to write my own script. In python. Got to use a bunch of modules I’ve never used before, so it was a good experience.

How to Use

Run this script from the directory that contains your wordpress directory, on your server. I think it requires Python version 2.3. I ran it with 2.3.5. Use python -V to check the version. There’s two methods to run it.

With Prompts

1: Be prompted to push the Enter key to continue at each major step. Nice for the first time.

python wp-upgrade.py

Example output:

python ../src/wp-upgrade/wp-upgrade.py 
Current WordPress Version: '2.5'
Newest WordPress Version:  2.6.1
Downloading wordpress-2.6.1.tar.gz ...
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Create working wordpress directory... 
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]
 
Update Wordpress root contents...  
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]
 
'/tmp/tmprpJTKu/wordpress' -> 'wordpress.working'
wp-trackback.php,  wp-config-sample.php,  wp-settings.php,  wp-rss2.php,  readme.html,  index.php,  wp-links-opml.php,  wp-pass.php,  wp-feed.php,  wp-register.php,  wp-rdf.php,  wp-rss.php,  wp-commentsrss2.php,  license.txt,  wp-comments-post.php,  wp-blog-header.php,  wp-load.php,  wp-mail.php,  wp-atom.php,  wp-cron.php,  wp-app.php,  xmlrpc.php,  wp-login.php,  
Replace wp-admin and wp-includes... 
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]
 
 
Update default themes and plugins...  
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]
 
'/tmp/tmprpJTKu/wordpress/wp-content' -> 'wordpress.working/wp-content'
index.php,  
'/tmp/tmprpJTKu/wordpress/wp-content/plugins' -> 'wordpress.working/wp-content/plugins'
akismet,  hello.php,  
'/tmp/tmprpJTKu/wordpress/wp-content/themes' -> 'wordpress.working/wp-content/themes'
default,  classic,  
 
Backup original, Rename working....
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]
 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
### VISIT 'http://stevenbrown.ca/blog/wordpress/wp-admin/upgrade.php' in your browser. ###
After that, you're All Done!
Go re-enable all your plugins and make sure everything works.
If you need to, you can always roll back by renaming the backup to 'wordpress'.
 
 
			[[Press Enter to Continue]]

Without Prompts

2. Do everything without a prompt. Do this by passing the -q option. The -q is for quiet and prints the same messages, but doesn’t wait for the user to press Enter. Blasts through the whole upgrade in one step.

python wp-upgrade.py -q

Example output would be the same as the above, minus the “[[Push Enter to Continue]]” bits.

What’s it do?

If you look at the above output, which is from my own site, you can see what it does. It will compare your installed wordpress version and to the latest available from http://www.wordpress.org. If your version is older, it will download the new one, extract it, perform the appropriate steps to update the old one. Note that the default themes and plugins will be overwritten, which is fine as long as you didn’t customize them. After it’s done, your wordpress directory should be up-to-date (you just have to visit the upgrade page), and you should have a wordpress 2.5 backup containing the directory as it was before running the script (and 2.5 would be the appropriate version). Also, there’s two variables you will (probably) want to customize: wpsite and wpdir. That’s it, basically.

Download

Browse the source and download the script here.

Tweet

I signed up for Twitter. If you ever wanted to know what I had for breakfast, now you can! Yay. I also updated my blog’s sidebar with custom widgets; something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I broke up the standard “Meta” widget into a Subscribe and an Admin/Login widget, and shoved the admin/login right below the Pages. I also made a replacement tag cloud widget that can specify the maximum number of tags to include… I’m not sure why the standard widget (which defaults to 45, and gets quite big) wasn’t created with that option. Also, taking Twitter’s motto to heart, I added my new Twitter feed as “Sutff I’m Doing” using a standard RSS widget. I might have to modify that widget to strip off my username from every post, though… it bothers me. And I should do something with the search….. I just haven’t figured out what. Anyway, I think it looks much nicer now.

I’m sure widgets probably already exist to do what I want, but I wanted to play around with WordPress and PHP a little. ^.^ Being neither a WordPress nor a PHP person, How to Create WordPress Widgets and WordPress Widgets with Control Panels were very helpful.

Blog is Back (-ish)

Due to hosting issues, my blog was down for nearly a week. But thanks to the miracle of backups, Shirley and a new (dream?) host, I’m gradually bringing it back – just like I did with tie-dye in the eighties and nineties. (Don’t worry, this will be more successful.)

So if something isn’t quite working like it once was, that’s why. Patience while I stand around in my yellow hat, please.

New Theme Update

I’ve removed a lot of the noise from the theme. This includes all of the gradients and many of those nasty, sharp lines. Put Categories and Time at the top of each post, with Tags and Comments at the bottom. Made both smaller. Put everything on search results page. Added links to Technorati and del.icio.us from Tags and Categories pages. Changed the gradient images for header and footer (reminds me of rust).

Screenshots of some of the changes:

Original and loud:
Original and loud

Removed gradients:
Removed gradients

Added solids:
Added solids

Changed colours:
Changed colours

Some more touch-ups:
some more touchups

What you should be seeing now:
what you should be seeing now

Comments / suggestions?