jaydinitto.com

abounding with verbosity

Tag Archives: Wordpress


Links of Possible Relevance, Part 29

Jay DiNitto – LinkedIn Profile
Don’t click that link—it’s broken. I took my deleted my profile since I saw no point in it.

“Old Life In Your Way stuff” YouTube playlist
I uploaded a bunch of old material from my old band, with varying production quality. The videos I play on are the “Skies Broke Open” one and The Heart and Flesh Cry Out EP. My wife and I also do the claps on the last song on their 2006 demo, but that isn’t an official track.

Expert: Don’t wait until AC unit breaks
Thanks to Graham for the link. Even professional philosophers need proper UX design.

SUPERVERSIVE: The Missed Opportunity of “Jessica Jones”
Why Death Note takes the cake in the cat and mouse crime genre face-off vs. Jessica Jones.

Free State explains R40m website
38 websites that cost about 40 million Rands ($2.8 million). I could do it for half that amount in the same time; they are all WordPress-based. Little to no backend coding needed.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank: Robots will have an IQ of 10,000
I get what he’s saying, but I don’t think IQ tests really measure that high. After, I don’t know, a 200 IQ or so, does it really matter how high it is?

Anti-togetherness: The Virtues of Disunity
“On ideological grounds we imagine a world that cannot exist, and try to move into it. When it doesn’t work, we try to force it.”

Wigle Tasting Room
I walk by this place often on the way to work. Lord help us if this is the new bourgeois hipster trend; whiskey is fermented garbage juice. But I also like black bitter coffee that will grow hair on a baby’s backside.

An Islamic “Reformation”? – Pseudo History meets Politics
Current status: satisfied that the snobbery of moderns in thinking we are the “greatest because we’re the latest” is an actual fallacy—The Whig Fallacy. Sometimes I think Victorianism is worse than the Enlightenment as far as intellectual eras.

Hipster Miyazaki Hated Weinstein Before It Was Popular
“Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the post. Attached to the blade was a stark message: ‘No cuts.'”

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Enjoy Another “I Changed the WordPress Theme” Post

I’ve grown close to Bootstrap-based layouts since tinkering with them a lot earlier this year at the company hackathon. Even very basic Bootstrap layouts were appealing, hence my use of the new theme, Bootstrap Canvas WP. There are no direct CSS customizations—just modifications made in WordPress’ factory theme customizer.

I’ve only two issues: the menu collapse and the footer links. The standard menu collapses below 768 pixel viewport width, into the hamburger. I dislike hamburger menu UX in general and the theme doesn’t make it easy to avoid that, but with blogs like this I dislike the hamburger experience the least, so I let it slide. The theme credits in the footer inexplicably link to jaydinitto.com…twice. Eventually I’ll be on a bug hunt for some phantom Javascript playing oogie-boogie somewhere, causing that.

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Personal Technology Notes

1 – The hard drive on the family computer, an ASUS, pooped the bed. It’s almost done with repairs, but naturally I haven’t been able to post as often on here since I can only do it via phone. If you’ve ever tried to write a blog post in that manner, you’ll know how hellish it can be. Weird thing about ASUS: they no longer have recovery media for my model, even though it’s barely 3 years old. Strange they discontinued support so quickly, but they did help find a third party site selling what I needed.

2 – Currently on a quick vacation away in MA, taking advantage of my parents’ computer. You can thank them for being able to read this, since I don’t need to agonize over typing this on a small, non-tactile screen with a limited keyboard (see #1).

3 – There was some funny business with getting email notifications for new comments, so I haven’t been on top of responding to them as quick as I normally do. I believe that’s been fixed now. It’s really the first time WordPress has acted up on me since the blog started, and the solution was fairly painless, so I actually feel guilty mentioning the issue at all.

4 – None of this truly matters in the long run. God’s in control.

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Two WordPress Plugins: UpdraftPlus and WP Dashboard Notes

There are two WordPress plugins of late that I wanted to note:

UpdraftPlus – Automated WordPress backups. You can save it locally or some place online. The paid version obviously has many more options. I backup my entire directory on a once a month schedule, and I set it to sideload* the zip file to my Google Drive. By default, it’s backed up to…your WordPress install. This didn’t make sense to me, if something happened to your install, or your hosting account. I host my blog and other sites at Bluehost, so having a backup not dependent on either my WordPress install or my hosting account was my goal. There’s a bit of configuration you would have to do with Google’s API offerings, if you’re saving to Drive, but the plugin support page walks you through that.

WP Dashboard Notes – Add a free form text area, among other similar things, to your WordPress dashboard (see screenshot). I wanted to have something like this to store quick post ideas or links. The UX of WordPress’ post isn’t really structured for this, since drafts can get lost in the list, or filtered out too easily. There was another plugin like this that I tried, that was only a plain text widget for the dashboard, but it conked out immediately with my version of WordPress (4.4).

*sideload – as opposed to uploading or downloading. It’s crossways, between two applications and servers. It’s usage is a little different, according to Wikipedia.

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Theme Updated and Customized – Fire When Ready

Fire When ReadyI, perhaps for the last time, switched and customized the theme here at the blog, using WordPress twenty twelve as a base. I tried to get rid of as many barriers as I could, experience-wise, especially if you on a mobile device. There are more details on my UX portfolio page, for those of you so inclined. Let me know of any weird things you may come across in the comments.

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I Still Live

Progress on Retardo Montalbán is going well. I should have a editable draft finished very soon.

I don’t like being silent here for too long but I also despise meaningless posts, so here’s some things to mitigate that.

  1. You are currently viewing WordPress’ 2015 default theme with very little modifications on my part. I have no problems with it except that there’s no CSS for the Goodreads logo on the social media icon strip on the left (if you’re on a desktop).
  2. We now have only very basic cable, which is fine by me, but we lose some of the channels that broadcast the ol’ Christmas movie standbys. We haven’t seen Christmas Vacation or A Christmas Story, which seems like barely a minor tragedy in the grand scheme of things but if you see them at every beat in the circadian rhythm you feel their absence.
  3. We did see It’s A Wonderful Life. Random film crit bit: the compare/contrast between George Bailey and Mary Hatch (*swoon*) and their fall into the gymnasium pool, and George’s faux-suicide at the bridge, and the subsequent “dry off” scenes. I don’t have much to say but it’s something worth looking into.
  4. Pools underneath gymnasium floors? I had always thought that scene was cockamamie because I can only imagine a pool’s worth of water underneath a retractable floor would wreak some hydro-havok on the wood, but it’s a real thing.
  5. Predictable Christmas fare: Newsweek’s Tirade against the Bible – Excellent article, but “scholarship” doesn’t matter because the traditions of B.C. Israel and the early church are very well-known. No tilting of the head to misread half of a verse that isn’t going to change anything.
  6. I had very minor and successful surgery over Christmas break. While waiting to check out there was a long discussion—not an argument—between a patient, two of her family members, and one of the nurses. It had much to do with paperwork and insurance. A ridiculous amount of discussion. All I could think about was the solution to the health care crisis I offered some time ago.
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Unnecessary Blog Design Update

I decided to take out the jQuery I mentioned in my last design post and just the plain Okay theme with a few small UI changes in an external CSS file.

I installed a plugin that will automatically add the Creative Commons footer to every blog post. I noticed that plenty of colophons on personal websites that aren’t blogs have outdated copyright years. It’s probably hardcoded when the site gets first designed and it’s just forgotten from that point on.

After clicking around and reading for ten minutes on how copyright law apply to non-corporate/personal websites (I’m more confused now than before the research), this probably isn’t a huge issue.

If you have a WordPress install, check here on how to insert the current year into your footer. If you’re doing normal HTML, this stackoverflow thread is a good, albeit more technical, place to start.

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Bands Need to Buy a Domain Name

Some more advice for bands from Seth:

What happens when Facebook determines your tour announcement is not high-quality content? Or that your line of products that you’ll be selling at this weekends market isn’t high-quality content?

Get your fans, the people who LIKED you, onto an email list. Now.

Tell your fans on Facebook that you’ll be sending out updates via your email list from now on. And your fans on Twitter, and Instagram.

I would add that bands need to buy a domain name. You need to own something online, and they are cheap. If mybandname.com/net/org is taken you can always yukk it up with mybandnamesmellsgood.com or dinnerwithmybandname.com. Or use an album title or lyric bit. You’re in the creative business—no need to be stodgy with the domains.

Any social networking site can delete your stuff, because it’s technically theirs. If you have a domain, people will know where to go when Godzilla fire-farts on Facebook’s server farms. Even if all you have on your domain is a splash page of your new album cover, links to your social sites and online shop, your email, the live video feed of your ferret’s litterbox. Whatever.

And, if you’re extra serious about not being a career loser, buy hosting, install WordPress, and post to it once in a while…even if you do all that sort of thing on Instagram or Twitter already. And backup your content once a month, because hosting providers can delete your account, too. Installing and posting with WordPress, and downloading a backup of all your content is easy to do.

Just remember: if you didn’t pay for it, it’s not yours. And if you do pay for it, it may not be yours, either. Always have a backup plan.

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Another Blog Design Update, Maybe a Little More Interesting

Taking out the trash.

Taking out the trash.

Hot on the heels* of my last update about the design tomfoolery on this blog, I’ve made some further mods.

  1. The jQuery scroll to top/bottom animation was ditched. I couldn’t make it work on mobile the way it does on normal OS browsers. I’d rather have a consistent experience, cross-device, than a fancy-pants experience on only half of them.
  2. The “Scroll to Top” button that appears on the right was also cut out for the same reasons. Now I just have a simple button in the footer to hop up to the browser top.
  3. Mostly little changes/additions to the UI, the most obvious were the large blocky page-level navigation type of things. They look good in the mobile version and are a lot easier to see and tap. It doesn’t hurt the desktop experience either. Gently “guiding” user with obvious UI can be a good idea.
  4. No more side scroll on mobile! Both on landscape and portrait orientations. The Adsense ads were causing it and it bugged me to no end. Now they are mobile-sized. There is side-scrolling if I embed some videos but I don’t have the inclination to regression fix all of that.
  5. I’ve had them for a while, but I don’t think I mentioned the social media icons you see in the footer. They were modified a bit from the original, which were taken from Pink Mustache, a design site whose ill-conceived name will not live past the two awful trends it references. The vector art on there can’t be beat with a stick, though.
  6. For some reason WordPress blanked out my 404 page, so I decided to make error pages a step back, at the server level, using the .htaccess file. Go ahead, try it out. You receive my undying admiration if you understand the reference there.
  7. There was a seventh thing I wanted to mention but I forget what it was. Go have a beer!

* Not really “hot on the heels”. That last post was weeks ago, which is ancient history in Internet chronology.

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An Uninteresting Update About This Blog’s Design

"yo dawg i herd you like blogs..."

“yo dawg i herd you like blogs…”

Ever since entering the smartphone world recently I’ve been more aware of how this site looks on mobile viewports. On the whole it transfers well; I use my own child theme, based on WordPress’ Twenty Eleven theme with only a few CSS adjustments and stuff like custom PHP functions for the ads.

The thing that really bugged me was the search bar, which seemed to be just plonked up in the header arbitrarily. It stuck out more on mobile devices. So I decided to put it in the footer, where I keep all the sidebar type of things, and I added a link to it from my main menu.

The new problem was that it was an anchor tag, which is really disorienting native functionality and in this case creates another click (it seems petty but it will get noticed…design minutia is the heart and soul of UI/UX). So I solved it by using jQuery’s fun scroll function and set the focus on the search field. So now it operates as click-type and not click-click-type. I also used this scroll for the “Contact” first tier link and the “More>>” sub-link.

Additionally I added a nice “Scroll To Top” button that appears when you…scroll down from the top. It zips the user to (surprise!) the top. It works fine in every browser but it’s wonky on my Android (Gingerbread) phone. So there’s something else to think about.

To do list:
01 Make better header – doesn’t look fun on mobile
02 Dewonkified version of scroll to top function for mobile
03 Fix width of Google ads? It causes horizontal scrolling on mobile. Seems to come “as is” from Google so I don’t know if I can really customize.

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