Archive for August 13, 2009

Beware the Pretenders!

I opted to use iNove as a theme here back when I chose to re-vamp the old blog as I thought it was a very clean and functional theme and not very many people were using it (at the time).

These days however, I’ve found more and more blogs using the distinctive header, implying that more and more blogs are starting to use iNove. In fact, just checking the numbers, it seems that it’s been downloaded close to 300,000 times since it’s been offered at WordPress.org (which is incredible! Congratulations mg12!).

Today, WordPress.com has started to offer iNove as a free choice to their users, which is probably going to increase its usage on the World Wide Web as it was a popular request by their users and going by the comments on the announcement, an instant hit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against people using a really great theme, it’s just that I don’t want this blog to look like everyone else’s. I just recently put in a lot of time to make it look and work the way I wanted it to, and if I start to implement my plan to take over the world (heehee) and start to really drive traffic over here, I don’t want the user to be greeted with something they’ve seen before.

Which leads me to a conundrum: Do I find (or design) a new theme, or do I stick with this one?

It’s a conundrum because I REALLY love this theme. It’s clean, it’s functional, it looks GREAT for a technical blog.

But now, it’s going to start looking like a lot of the other blogs out there as WordPress (both .com and .org varieties) has taken off as one of the most popular blogging platforms around.

I guess I’ll be sticking with iNove for a while (as I’ve got no fallback plan on this one), but now that I’ve played with the back end of WordPress and gotten a bit more knowledgeable on how it works, I probably will be considering other options. iNove has some shortcomings and perhaps if I go the custom route, I can avoid them or create a theme that can look like I want it to and do the things that I want it to (plus, I’m really partial to themes that involve the color red).

Then again, I’m pretty lazy so don’t be surprised if iNove sticks around for months and years to come. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? :)

Ah well, it’s hard being a trend setter :P

Reggie vs. Copyright: Some Rights Reserved

One of my long term plans for this blog is to post some really cool things here or elsewhere (which would either be originally posted here or highlighted here in addition to where it would also be posted) to share with all of you (rest assured that it would indeed be stuff that was written by yours truly).

The problem is, I’m always worried about someone stealing stuff and then either not giving attribution or publishing them in their own thing, charging people for it, and then making money off of it while I don’t see a dime.

Realistic? Who knows. After all, when you think about it, what are the chances I’d ever have anything of value on this particular site? :P

Paranoid? Probably. After all, on the World Wide Web, information is shared and linked to freely and for the most part, people are pretty good with quoting original sources (except when they’re not). And most of the time, the Internet doesn’t forget, which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes bad (good in the fact that you can use tools like the Wayback Machine to find out the truth, bad in the fact that sometimes embarrassing things can be archived for posterity for the entire world to know).

That being said, I also want to give people the ability to share what they find here elsewhere, as information sharing is a fundamental part of the Internet today.

Still though, I’m all about due diligence and best practices, so I’m trying to learn about copyright, fair use, fair dealing, and be explicit in spelling out the terms of what people can and cannot use the information here for, mainly to cover my own butt.

I know that the Creative Commons people have excellent licenses that people can use when sharing their work and you can see them being used all over the web. As of the 3.0 version, they have six different licenses to choose from, each with varying restrictions, and I’m leaning towards choosing one to use over here.

The most basic license allows for sharing for whatever purpose, with the only restriction being attribution (i.e. quote the original source if you’re going to re-distribute) and the most anal allowing for sharing with no derivatives (i.e. can’t modify it in any way), and can only be used for non-commercial purposes.

My current issue is trying to figure out which one to use. Read more

HTPC Revisited and issues with Hibernation

So this weekend, I took to re-formating and re-installing Windows XP on my HTPC.

I used to Hibernate it a lot, but since December or so, something got corrupted such that it wouldn’t come up after a second hibernate.

Anyways, I installed an SP3 slipstreamed copy of Windows XP and everything went well.

Except for Hibernate. Read more

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-02

  • Just finished adding mobile device support to my WordPress blog! Pretty snazzy stuff! More details here: http://tr.im/udVX Come visit! #

Plug in to Win!

Better, stronger, faster.

Better, stronger, faster.

Still playing around with WordPress plugins and am quite impressed with the variety of functions that can be added to a local WordPress installation. I am concerned though that continually adding to the core functionality of WordPress through third party tools increases the software complexity of the whole thing, which may introduce issues later on with upgrades due to the different combinations of software versions interacting with each other without the same level of rigorous testing that the core stuff goes through prior to each release.

Oh well. If it really starts to become an issue down the road, maybe I’ll just switch to a dedicated CMS with all that stuff (hopefully) built-in already.

Anyways, here are some of the more interesting plugins I’ve added or tweaked:

  • WordPress Mobile Pack:  This isn’t a new plugin, but I’ve finally finished configuring it fully.  You can now access the mobile version of this site by navigating to http://m.reginaldtiangha.com on your mobile device or desktop.  The plugin will also try to guess what theme to serve you based on your browser type, but the domain thing is new.  There’s also a QR code that you can scan into your mobile device to be read with barcode reader software displayed on the sidebar.  More details about the mobile aspects of this site and how to access them can be found here.
  • WP-Print:   This plugin allows you to display a printer-friendly version of the site.  To use it, I had to manually add it into my theme, and the plugin offers you different choices on where to put it.  I chose to add it to single posts and pages.  So if you drill down to a specific blog post or page link, at the top will be a link to a Printable Version.  Clicking on that will display a printer-friendly version of the entry which you can then print to your printer.  This should come in handy for some technical HOW-TOs that I plan to write and post here in the future so that if people want to follow along, it’ll be easier for them to print an offline copy.
  • Scissors:  This plugin allows for quick editing of images for inclusion in a blog post.  Before uploading an image to the blog, I usually use GIMP to do the majority of my editing, or ImageMagick‘s mogrify command in Linux to do quick resizing and resampling of an image if I’m happy with it, but if I’m on a shared computer or operating in the field with time constraints, this should allow for some quick and dirty editing if needed with no need to install anything on a computer that isn’t mine.
  • Deko Boko:  This is one of many contact form plugins available for WordPress.  I chose this one over more popular (and powerful) plugins like Contact Form 7 for the simple fact that it uses and includes reCAPTCHA support.  I’m a big fan of reCAPTCHA specifically because it is so effective compared to other CAPTCHA options.  I say that if it’s good enough for a high volume and profile site like TicketMaster, it’s good enough for me.  If Contact Form 7 ever includes reCAPTCHA support (and many people have requested it), I might switch in the future, but if this plugin continues to be maintained, who knows.  This thing works and works well and is good enough for my simplistic needs.  I’ve used it to create a simple contact form that people can use to reach me.  I wanted to offer visitors the ability to contact me, but I did not want to give out an email address for fear of spam.  A contact form lets me get around that, and the reCAPTCHA support will ensure that it’s probably a human who’s trying to reach me.
  • WordPress Video Plugin:  This plugin simplifies the embedding of video from various sites into a blog post.  It’s sometimes a pain to copy/paste the relevant embed code, so hopefully this plugin will make that stuff easier.
  • WordPress.com Popular Posts:  I see many blogs these days highlighting their popular posts, so I figured I’d do the same, mainly because I was curious to see which of my posts garner the most reads.  No other reason than simple curiosity.  This plugin gives you a widget that you can include on a sidebar.

I’m not sure if I’ll add any other plugins as I’m concerned about bloat.  I would like to add an image/photo gallery plugin to help manage and display photos, but there are so many options out there right now and I don’t have the time to evaluate each and every one.

However, I find it facinating that the functionality provided by Scissors, WordPress Video Plugin, and whatever will statisfy my photo gallery needs are functions that were recently voted for inclusion into WordPress 2.9.  It could be that soon there will be official versions of software worked on by WordPress developers included in a default install of WordPress, which would make me very happy.  I’m ecstatic that WordPress has come so far in such a short time.  With one-click upgrades and theme/plug-in installations, it is much more user-friendly than it used to be when you had to FTP files over and use shell access to extract and install them.  I’m excited to see what comes next.