Posts in the category "Updates".

I used to post updates a lot, now I don’t do that much anymore. But I may.

Layout hall of shame

Pull up a chair, or a recliner, this is going to be a long story. In a nutshell: new theme! In case you didn’t notice.

At last, a new theme for the blog! How I’ve missed the CSS and HTML tweaking! I haven’t worked on a layout in ages.

“Ages” also meant that I needed to brush up my knowledge and the code needed to be updated (HTML, CSS, as well as WP functions). And so started the process which I was determined to finish this time — from scratch: 1) created empty text files style.css, index.php, header.php, footer.php, sidebar.php, and functions.php. 2) typed <html><head></head><body> in the header.php and </body></html> in the footer.php.

Then I started digging through the WordPress Codex because I couldn’t remember the template tags — and, naturally, a lot had changed: functions were deprecated and nice new features were available, such as threaded comments and fancier image handling.

I also updated some of the code to HTML5 since the HTML validator noticed deprecated elements. I like using W3Schools as my HTML/CSS reference. For instance, <acronym> tag is now deprecated in favour of abbr and I wanted to clear all those out. Why did I use acronym, which needs more typing than abbr, to begin with, I have no idea…

As you may notice from my earlier post, I ended up using the nice (in my opinion) photo of my shirt collar and smiley pin that I had as a header in one of the unfinished themes. Even though I’m really bad at graphic design (or anything resembling it), I wanted some pictures in the layout.

The theme is by no means finished. I still have some tweaking and prettifying to do, but I wanted to publish this at last. It’s going to look weird for a while as I set up the widgets and things. I’m also going to browse my old posts to check which elements I’ve forgotten to style but hopefully everything looks more or less ok. I noticed I need to do some markup streamlining especially on my pages. (The headers are not logically tagged.)

While I was looking for some inspiration from my unfinished themes, I stumbled across files from my old layouts as well as pictures of some really old ones. I thought I’d put up a little Hall of Shame in honour of this historical day.

I got acquainted with HTML in an optional computer course (some pupils did crafts or PE; I was one of the few girls who chose computers) in junior high where we were taught to indent paragraphs with <li> tags. No, no <ul> or <ol> around it because that would’ve made an ugly bullet. Just the <li> with text. (I’m banging my forehead to the desk now.)

I would be curious to see how my HTML pages looked back then as I have no recollection. (Maybe I have something stored on a 3.5″ somewhere.) I do remember that I realised our teacher was bad, which led me to pick up a Microsoft Frontpage guidebook from a bargain bin. I didn’t buy it because of Frontpage which I did happen to have installed on a computer at some point and I actually used it sometimes, but because it was a basic guide to HTML (must’ve been HTML 3) with clear illustrations. And it knew about <blockquote>.

I don’t remember what I did (HTML- or otherwise) between junior high (~1998) and the first “blog” (~2004) but I do have a vague memory of a very simple homepage that I had in the small website space that came with the Internet connection. I believe the X-Files site was my first proper site. I don’t have it up at the moment because it got stuck in the middle of a re-design that I managed to destroy by uninstalling XAMPP. (Oh, the hours I had spent on making it!) The X-Files has been off the air for 8 years so maybe I won’t put the site up anymore. Not that I don’t love the show as much as I did; the collection part of that hobby of mine could easily be made into a new sub site.

My “blog” started as a launchpad for my different sites (about the X-Files, Stephen King, my alien and font collections etc.). I wasn’t even blogging, as such, only wrote a little about the updates and maybe about music I was listening to and things like that as a side note. Because it wasn’t blogging, I have no log of the status updates and asides; they could’ve been interesting to read (just for myself, that is).

I really liked iframes back then — and I still have them in Little Grey Men which I haven’t updated for a long time because I haven’t found any new alien items anywhere! I also liked image maps which I used in the first two menus seen below. Since I didn’t have much to say on my front page, this first one was probably just a simple table (gasp!) layout. I don’t think I knew any other way to align the content both horizontally and vertically in the browser window than put a table inside a table (contents of table cells could be aligned vertically). I did this in all of the first three layouts (even though you can’t see it in the pictures); the layout part of the site was small to accommodate 600×480 screens :D. I could say divs hadn’t been invented yet back then but I would be lying. I do honestly believe that I hadn’t discovered div’s yet and I didn’t know much about CSS — although just now I noticed that I was using style sheets already with this first layout. I’m quite surprised. (Then again, the very first layout(s) of which I have no record were most likely plain HTML with e.g. font styling in <font> tags, remember those? So, I had had practise.)

October '03 to January '04

Next came a brown theme with colours picked directly from HTML’s named colours (tan, steel blue, and antique white). I called this “Cafe Latte”.

January '04 to March '04

I had fewer elements to style then and therefore creating new layouts was faster (and I had more time and energy!), so this layout stayed up for only 3 months.

For some strange reason I kept using blue in my layouts even though I’ve never liked blue! (The “steel blue” is pretty nice, though.) The next one was based on a photo I’d taken at our summer cottage and now it did have an iframe plus a transparent scrollbar (available on IE only). This one survived for only 3 months, too… Here’s “From Dusk till Dawn”:

March '04 to May '04

At this point, around March ’04 I’d started writing longer entries instead of just update notices and so I started looking into different blogging platforms. My website was hosted in someone else’s (then known as Shirasade) domain for free and I think I couldn’t use MySQL for instance. I figured I wouldn’t be writing so much anyway and kept on “blogging” with plain ol’ Notepad and an FTP client. Or as I called it, “powered by coffee and noodles.”

I really like this next one, called “Scribble”. It featured some fancy underlining (whilst making a new design for my King site I’d discovered a way to do underlines with graphics) and an animated UFO in the header!

May '04 to June '04

Finally something pushed me over the edge and I decided to start using a blogging platform. I began with Greymatter and created a new layout, “Swirly”, for it (I’m shocked by the colour scheme, I didn’t remember this one!):

June '04 to September '04

(The screenshot is from the WordPress version because I didn’t have a picture of this layout. Luckily I had backups of the files so I installed WP1.2 on XAMPP and took a picture.)

Greymatter was soon replaced by WordPress because I started getting tired of the constant rebuilding of static pages.

I modified this to WordPress’s layout system when I started using WP in July 2004 (at a time just before templates and themes); WP was in version 1.2 back then. I kept the layout for a whole 4 months in total. I had used a drop shadow in most images, so they had the green background colour for a cleaner look. It was such fun to modify them to the next layout which had bright purple background instead:

September '04 to August '10

And now. Finally, after nearly 6 years I can present a new layout. To my defense, I haven’t been on a complete coding hiatus all this time because I’ve created several layouts for my “sub sites” (X-Files, Stephen King, alien collection, Ami (the dog), fonts…). And I also have been close to releasing new themes before. Apparently I had been nearly done with a design in 2005, only 7 months after releasing the purple one. I’d actually planned on finishing it in 2007 but never did. It must’ve been the design I’d created for my course work because I can remember fighting with some silly pixels — I just couldn’t get the building blocks looking the same (or at least similar enough) across browsers. It probably was structurally too complicated. Now that I look back at the design, I’m glad I didn’t finish it. The colours are… sheesh. Way too bright.

Without further ado (especially since there’s been plenty already), I present: “Not So Serious” (no reference to Batman intended). Dedicated to my late socks.

(Funnily, the colour scheme matches those boots… At the beginning of my vacation, I took a backup of the site to use as a sandbox on a local installation of WordPress and the boot post was the newest one then.)

Hope you like it! I think I do. At least it’s a change from the purple. goes mobile

Well, only in part. I often find myself scratching my head when shopping: I stand in front of a bookshelf or a DVD shelf and can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve bought a specific book or a specific movie.

B.N. (Before N73) I used to carry a small note where I’d listed all the King books I have and, more recently, all King movies I have. Nowadays it’s easier for me to remember which King books I don’t have (that is, only Cycle of the Werewolf and any recently released — currently Blaze), so the book list is pretty much unnecessary. I haven’t listed other books I have because books are things I remember more easily. A.N. (Anno N73) I’ve surfed to my Stephen King site, to the Bookshelf page and waited, waited, waited for the pretty pictures to load. I don’t have to worry about moving too many bits because I’ve never come close to the 25 Mb per month I pay for, but it’s the wait that bothers me.

My “Achilles heel” in the remembering department are movies. Although my movie collection is small by movie-buff standards, I often buy a DVD and put it on the shelf without watching it right away. I also record quite a bit from TV. And I don’t usually have my sister with me (she remembers my movie purchases better because she usually watches all additions as soon as I bring them home; movie-deprived, that one).

Therefore, I decided to create a mobile-friendly version of my movie and King book collections. Possibly in the future I’ll make the different pages modular so I only have to update one or two files but for now the mobi site is plain and simple HTML. I set the font size to 60% so that I don’t have to zoom out on the phone. (I view pages at 50% zoom.)

Without further ado, I present: Pretty much for my viewing pleasure only. The movie collection isn’t complete because I haven’t listed all my VHSs (bought and taped) or all movies I’ve recorded from TV.

Here’s a snapshot of it on my mobile:
all things me gone mobile

Upgraded to WP 2.1.2

I’ve just upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2 and I haven’t had time to inspect all the pages and how the old plugins work. If you see any errors anywhere in the blog, do let me know.

Shameless plug

Our dog has a blog and even though I rarely write in it, I wanted to give it some time in the limelight. Well, it may be permanent – that box on the main page. There are some pretty photos and cool changing header image on the site. :) It’s a sort of sandbox for WP stuff — the rare occasions I have the energy to play with it (nowadays — or currently).

Hope you like it.

WP 1.5.1

22 minutes into the new WP version and I’ve got it installed. Yay.

Only one thing:
Plugin list
That’s the plugin list and green shows which are activated. I mean, GAG! Look at that green! And blue links! I don’t like blue, but if it’s gotta be blue (I KNOW there are a few admin “themes”) then it can’t have green — at least not that kind of green.

*goes to tweak the admin stylesheet*

Ah, a bit better. I thought about leaving all the rows as plain grey (or white) but figured maybe distinguishing activated plugins comes in handy when I’m in a real hurry or suddenly can’t read……….
Plugin list after tweak

Now, where was the other green ghastly thing I caught a glimpse of…

Note to self: The next time you upgrade, remember to save a copy of admin quicktag hacking… AND remember to check which plugin files are in wp-admin

Christmas came early (or late)

After complaining about not updating my other sites, I finally found something new to add to TGWLSK: 3 new books I bought today; Green Mile, IT, and Firestarter. I’m going back tomorrow with a list of books I have, because I don’t have Desperation yet, for instance, and I saw it there (I’m desperate to get it, har har).

It was quite a lucky find today because Firestarter is a paiiin to find in the libraries (read: it doesn’t exist) and IT’s been quite difficult too. Now I have them! And I only have to wrap them in book plastic and finish the Cook I’m reading and I get to read them too!

I also placed an order on the Bachman Books.

Very cool comment links for no one to click!

I installed the brand new Per Post Comment text plugin. Now I can have any kind of text for the comment link instead of the “boring” Comment?. Very nice.

Oh, dammit. Of course, cause the information is stored in the Custom fields, they will show before the post because I have other kinds of custom fields that need to show…

Thinking if I should make a category for WP… I think I should.

[edit: Nov 11] Had to remove the nice comment links because I wanted to try Alex King’s Since Last Visit plugin (indicates new posts and comments with a tiny image) — couldn’t get this to work. [/edit]
[edit: Nov 18] Installed Get Custom Field Values from Coffee2Code, so now I can choose which custom fields to show and which can be used as actual meta data. So, Per Post Comment text is activated again. [/edit]


I installed ScriptyGoddess’s Next/Previous link for archive pages. Also put a little PHP logo in the bottom right corner of the Php code bits I have. If I ever have anything else (I’ve been meaning to put a CSS thing), I’ll do logos for them too. Also, the red bits are the ones you (definitely) have to change.

Bah, this article got me excited that YES it’s possible to assign two classes to an element. Well, in the comments it said that IE doesn’t handle it well. Have to test that out though.

[edit @ 23:18] Now I’m going to install Service Pack 2 (Durand’s recommendation, I’m holding you responsible if something happens!!! :wink: ). Wish me luck. Good bye cruel world!! *dramatic exit* [/edit]
[edit] I didn’t [/edit]

Ironing and folding and sorting by date

I added the Nicer Archives code snippet from WP Wiki. I tried to use the “upgraded” versions of it (from Weblog Tools Collection) but they borked — big time.

When you enter the page, it shows the posts of the current year. Then you can sort the posts by date, title, or category; ascending or descending; and from all years or one year at a time (there is only one year, for now). The original script had a possibility sort by author but because there’s only me, I commented it out.

Time format is date.month.year.

On to the archives »

The calendar showed as January 2004 so I started to look for a way to remove it. Easier said than done. Well, not really, but I didn’t think of echoing the variable in my if-test to see what it’s out put was. This is what I wrote (first):

<?php $thispage = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’].$PHP_SELF;
    if ($thispage != ““) { ?>
     <!-- CALENDAR -->
     <li id=”calendar”>
        <?php get_calendar(); ?>
<?php } ?>

http_host + php_self return the url of a php page a without the http (as that’d be the protocol)

Then I tried what $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] does and it echoed the path without the host. Nifty. Thus, I changed the code to

<?php $thispage = $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’];
    if ($thispage != “/blog-folder/pagename.php“) { ?>
     <!-- CALENDAR -->
     <li id=”calendar”>
        <?php get_calendar(); ?>
<?php } ?>

[edit: Nov 22/Dec 15, ’04/Jan 5, ’05] I had an oddly titled post which messed up the archive. Well, not exactly *mess* but because it had an less-than sign at the beginning it was archived under L, but first alphabetically. After some testing, I figured out how to prevent this. From the WP Wiki I found a function sanitize_title_with_dashes which I used in the archive code, this is in the function archive_header: This worked when my odd titles included only one starting with A. But when there was one with D, I noticed the code didn’t work. Why? Because it compares the first letter if the current title to the previous one and the query sorts the odd titles at first. Well, I took another approach to this. All odd titles will be categorized under # (I know it means ‘number’ but here it’s just some non-alphabetic character). A new try, a * I had in one of the titles wouldn’t be recognized, probably because the line starting with preg_match matches only letters and numbers, so I changed that to match any one character (at the beginning). Hopefully this will prove working with my strange titles…

elseif ('title' == $orderby) {
preg_match('/.{1}/i', $post->post_title, $match);
$thisletter = ucfirst($match[0]);
if (!ctype_alpha($thisletter)) { $thisletter = '#'; }
if ($thisletter != $previous) {
$output .= "<br/>".$thisletter;
$previous = $thisletter;

The highlighted part checks if the first letter of the title is NOT an alphabetic character, if it’s true that it’s NOT one, the letter will be a ‘#’. Now all the odd titles will be grouped at the beginning of the list of titles (or end if the order’s descending) . [/edit]

Me = doofus

Firstly, Happy Birthday, Mariela!

How many times can I mess up one single thing: bachelor’s thesis. I sent my professor a message way back in June saying “Here’s the final version of my thesis, I’ll come by to bring the paper version too when it finishes printing.” Well, I never did — go by to bring the paper version — because it printed mess (symbols). Well, now I’d gotten an email from my professor asking if there was supposed to be an attachment with the email because he needed the final version for binding (binding!!). Oi oi oi. I had also forgotten to update the files on my homepage!


I’m always forgetting to attach things, especially when it comes to very important university courses…

Oh yeah, and now it won’t make a pdf from the tex file. I don’t know what I did back in… May. Luckily I had converted it already.

Updates At TGWLSK — a few new book titles in Russian, Albanian, Persian, Estonian, Spanish, Croatian, and Turkish (what I could find in the library system of the capital city area)