Category Archives: Blogging

“How is WordPress made?”

– according to WordPress.tv, Seattle, 12 July 2011.

– d.g.w.

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Labnol.org

Among the most useful “tech” blogs out there — and that’s saying a lot, because there are a ton of ’em.

Digital Inspiration: tech à la carte is special because of how relevant and genuinely useful it is. It’s just stuff to make the Web more usable and fun. apps, shortcuts, tricks, bypasses, etc., in a readable style. As opposed to the “go to Sourceforge and compile this executable file” dry and dusty approach, where the writer plays smart-guy (and where it takes half-an-hour to realize that the writer’s talking about a Windows-only app!)

It’s simple and straightforward and OS neutral, for the most part.

No idea how this guy comes up with what he does, but it’s always very current, unbiased as far as I can tell. Digital Inspiration’s posts really well plugged-in to what’s going on w/ the Web at a given time.

– d.g.w.

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TypeKit

WordPress advertises a new affiliated app called “TypeKit”, which claims to be “the easiest way to use real fonts on the web.” It’s a subscription-based service but the basic version is free when you provide your name, email, site URL. 

So I signed up and checked out their fonts. Neat. They give you a HUGE slew of them, replete w/a demonstration sample sentence to show how it will look. And not just the typical top-down list of typefaces you see in Microsoft Word. TypeKit has super-current ones with slick names, as well as cursive and that sort of thing. I suppose it’s a spin-off on the popularity of Google Transliterate, which is indeed a very cool service (You can type a sentence and have it converted into any language typescript of any language and then copy and paste the resulting typescript – even Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.). 

The nerds who started this venture are former Googleites, and, http://TypeKit.com/about says the same four-guy crew were behind Measure Map, which was bought by Google and absorbed into Google Analytics. It says the dudes (Jeffrey Veen, Bryan Mason, Greg Veen, and Ryan Carver) are incorporated under the title Small Batch Inc. and were “the core of the team who led” the recent rehash of Google Analytics, which has proved to be hugely successful (and, admittedly, very useful for high-traffic web sites)

You’re prompted by WordPress for an ID provided to you when you sign up for TypeKit and this is automatically embedded via Javascript into your WordPress “Pages”. Then, the TypeKit icon appears on the WordPress Dashboard under “Appearance”. And you can see that you’re linked up and can import fonts.

So I guess they gain access to your WordPress account, but that’s the price you pay, risk you take. But you need to investigate claims and gimmicks thoroughly before signing on; that’s my M.O. when it comes to this stuff – esp. something as valuable to me as my blogs.

One thing: I was perusing the features and saw that there’s a little check-box (defaulted, unless you uncheck it) for “Google Analytics”. 

Nothing’s free!

Sadly. Not anymore, anyway. We’re in the waning days of Internet democracy, many believe.

I’m guessing Google gets to leverage that extremely powerful application – Google Analytics – to interface with WordPress. So if you don’t take the time to “uncheck” the check-box, Google will be running their crazed A.I.-powered Analytics on your WordPress blog(s)! Hey now! (But how convenient). This might also be how Smart Batch, Inc. gets some of their dough (smart!) – i.e., via Google and that little “in” with the checkbox – an “in” on the zillions of WordPress blogs and WordPress-generated sites on the Web. That’d undoubtedly be valuable to someone…

I like WordPress. It’s great. I’ve used it for years. It’s attractive, easy to use, and reliable (though slow). But I can’t complain. It beats Google Blogger/Blogspot by a long-shot. And the hassle of registering a domain name, doing manual FTP-uploads, or hand-coding hypertext-markup, which is a pain in the arse.

It is cool that so many smart folks are out there doing this stuff to make my blog not look so mundane. I recall posting maybe more than a few complaints in my posts about the lack of versatility w/ WordPress “Themes” and the inability to change any CSS on your blog (without a paid upgrade). Even TRY to mess around with the HTML in one of our posts and you’ll be punished unremittingly. (Try it, you’ll see.)

With TypeKit you can customize font to apply to stuff like body text, headers, sidebars, links, so to make your pages and posts look more unique. This has always been the problem with WordPress. I recall writing a Post to the effect that so many people use so few of the Themes (I use PressRow, which may be the most popular) that you can tell a WordPress-generated blog simply by the font and formatting. And that sucks for the individuality of your blog; that’s what your blog should be, an expression of you and your written thoughts.

So this is a step in the right direction, I’d say. But there’s always the fine print.

            – d.g.w.

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Trying to embed stuff on WordPress; Themes

Ferdinand, aka “boofer”, aka “ferdy”, ca. Spring 2002.

src=”http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/view.php?”
align=”center”
width=”900″
height=”700″
alt=”Ferdinand in mom’s backyard”

I.

(The above from animals page)

Darn. Well for some reason WordPress is eternally rejecting my attempts at embedding a simple photograph. It particularly does not seem to like KeepandShare’s embed syntax. I don’t know what markup language WordPress uses but it’s very idiosyncratic; seems only to work with itself – whatever that means.

So to celebrate the absurdity of things, here’re a couple of screenshots of the process:

photo of our late Himalayan Ferdinand, ca. Spring 2002

Adobe Photoshop AS

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)

 


size=”1″
width=”90%”
noshade

Shoot! See what I mean? Trying to put a simple horizontal rule in here. Gee whiz.

II.

Another thing: maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that when you come across certain web sites – often blogs but other kinds of pages, too – that it’s easy to recognize a WordPress-generated page? You can tell from the font. Now I’ve looked at my “theme” I utilize on this blog and in The Journalist‘s CSS one finds that the font is of the Helvetica sans serif family – Lucida and Lucida Grande. It occurred to me that you could theoretically run the template through a text editor and use find/replace to get rid of that WordPress-signaturesque typeface. It’s just getting increasingly annoying to me that all WordPress pages look the same. You may know to what I refer: a hundred-thousand blogs, easily use the “minimalist” Cutline and “journalist” PressRow themes. Quite frankly it offends the designer’s sensibilities that, as personal as is a blog, each should use the definition of which ought to entail a truly unique handwriting style, or “script”, on each unique blog site. The definition of “weblog” is that it is you’re your own publisher; your own “wordpresser”. But instead our weblogs face the world looking branded; like they’ve come off the assembly line at GoDaddy or Google.

And this isn’t only a WordPress problem, so I don’t mean to single it out – Google Blogger/Blogspot blogs suffer the same malady. Some of this comes down to the fact that both these organizations and every other blog host for that matter, are incorporated entities, and force on their users at least some advertising space on the margins (usually right margin). I’ve always thought Matt Mullenweg and WordPress were cool; cutting edge, etc.

For better or worse, contributors to WordPress of original CSS-designed themes do not get direct credit. For instance, the creator of TheJournalist theme, Lucian E. Marin, (who is not a journalist but a web designer from Eastern Europe) offers it for download on his web site, but states that he releases it under GPL license and requests that you give him a link on your blog if you use it.

WordPress reserves the right to edit stuff out of any submitted theme. Wordpres has the following statement under Appearance > Manage Themes > CSS Stylesheet Editor:

/*
Things we strip out include:
* HTML code
* @import rules
* expressions
* invalid and unsafe code
* URLs not using the http: protocol

Things we encourage include:
* @media blocks!
* sharing your CSS!
* testing in several browsers!
* helping others in the forum!

Please use the contact form if you believe there is something wrong with the way the CSS Editor filters your code.
*/

The ubiquitous themes need to be recycled! They’ll come back in style in ten years, don’t worry!!

– d.w.

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MS Live Writer

Temporarily using a Windows desktop computer since my laptop is out of commission. It’s stuck on some eastern European language with no way to revert back, plus I can’t shut it down except for holding down the on/off button, which also is disconcerting. If I lose my Macbook I don’t know what I’m going to do. No money for another one, and I really can only work with Macs, I barely know how to turn on an Windows laptop. Well I guess I could learn : (

Anyway, Since I’m using a Windows machine I tried out Windows Live Writer. It seems to work with WordPress…haven’t tried it with Blogspot/Google Blogger, but it seems to stick inline CSS styles in with your photos and there is no way to disable that setting.

Otherwise it beats writing in the WordPress text editor: they provide a tiny little white space and make you constantly publish and re-publish in order to update what you’ve edited. Anything that speeds up the process of publishing is an improvement. I’d never thought to use Live Writer since I’d always been using a Mac/UNIX.

Better than using Notepad or MS Word to write a blog entry. I haven’t used Microsoft Word since I was in college!

Note: You can download the latest Live Writer free from Microsoft but a warning – they’ll try to get you to install a slew of other crap like Messenger and Movie Maker unless you uncheck these before installing.

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