Hello? Can Anyone Hear Me?

Hey there. Long time no see! If you’re reading this post on the actual site, you’ll see I’ve gone through a bit of a redesign. Also check out the new domain name! Spiffy eh? I plan on getting back to my roots and publishing what I want to publish instead of obeying an audience. I’ve had alot of things on my chest but have had no where to publish them. Jeffro2pt0.com built an audience expecting WordPress stuff, icons, news, with a mix of personal stuff. Now, Jeffc.me will be all about me. No barriers, no constraints, just saying what I want, when I want.

So what I’m wondering is, can anyone hear me? Are you still around?

New Design Is Finally Complete

If you haven’t noticed by now, particularly those who are reading this from your FeedReader, come check out the site in your favorite browser as I have finally put the finishing touches on the Jeffro2pt0 redesign. The problem with blogging for other people is that it leaves little time to do things to my own personal site. So, I spent two very long nights/days going through my theme and doing a complete redesign so that I could get the weight off my chest. The weight stems from looking around at other blogs and noticing they have a pretty good looking theme and when I look at mine, it just sucks. Also, I was sick and tired of worrying about doing the redesign when all I really want to do is publish content. Thats why I really put some elbow grease into the design and got it done as soon as possible so I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

I have to thank David Peralty for launching his new blog design (BrandingDavid.com) which started my thinking process of redoing mine. His site has a minimal look to it, doesn’t fill the page with widgets or chichlets so that all he has to worry about is writing and publishing content. I wanted to travel the same road by eliminating things from my theme that I didn’t need and get back to basics. I’ve eliminated the featured post block as well as the container that held all of the categories I write about. This used to be displayed underneath the header.

With regards to the header image and the trees. The fact of the matter is, I love forests. I love forest photography and I love hiking through them so I figured I’d take something I love and put it on the blog so I can see it everyday. The great thing about this header image is that I have about 6 different scenic images that I can substitute the trees with. Once the first day of Winter arrives, I’ll be changing the header image to a picture of snowy mountains.

As for the color scheme, I’ve always enjoyed darker themes but I can never seem to get the link colors and content presentation down pat. This time however, I browsed through template monster and through the galleries presented at VandelayDesign.com as sources for inspiration in terms of text colors to use on a dark theme. The current design is definetly colorful but it falls right in line with my header logo. Also, the colors don’t make the site boring and in fact, the color scheme changes slightly from the home page to a single post page view.

I was going to use the comment threading feature found within WordPress 2.7 but I’ve found out that it’s current implementation sucks. I can’t style it and modify it’s look as easily as I could do with the old comments system. So, I’ve decided not to use the built in threaded comment feature or threaded comments in general. However, thanks to some code that was given to me via Kaspars (Konstruktors.com) commenter’s can now click on a reply link which works exactly like the link in the WP Comment Remix plugin except now I don’t have all of the extra baggage that the plugin provided. The code is not publicly available but with some coaxing, we might be able to convince him to release it.

Speaking of Kaspars, I really want to say thanks to him for all the help he provided to me. Thanks to him, I was able to finally get a styled, working version of his Tabbed Widgets plugin. Also thanks to his help, I’m able to configure specifically where widgets are displayed within the theme using his unreleased Context Widgets plugin. I’ll write about this in a future post but in a nutshell, it is an easier to configure version of Slayers Custom Widgets.

As for comments, I completely redesigned that area as well, thanks again to Kaspars. Ajax edit comment works and so does the comment luv plugin although you can not save the options for comment luv. There is some sort of incompatibility that the plugin author is aware of. I also installed the Quick Tags plugin to make it easier for you to style your comments if you choose to do so. Much better plugin than the Tiny MCE for comments.

There is plenty of other stuff to talk about including a post describing why threaded comments in WordPress 2.7 sucks. Stay tuned for that and more, including an updated list of plugins I’m using.

WordPress 2.7 Is Cause For A Reformat

This is just a heads up that when WordPress 2.7 is released, I will be reformatting my WordPress installation to get rid of the fluff that may be stored in the database and start off from scratch. I’ll once again audit my use of plugins and only install the ones that I think are necessary. Also, if you haven’t noticed already, I’ve changed the design of the blog a little bit because for starters, adding one more step to the post publishing process in the form of filling out custom fields is a drag. Secondly, I think the reformat as well as the simplified theme will finally help this site load quickly than it has before. Not sure what is causing the slow page loads but I am determined to figure it out.

I’ll also be modifying the theme to take advantage of threaded/paginated comments. I’m pretty stoked about 2.7 as I think many WordPress users out their will be blown away by it.

Categories Deleted – Content Moved Around

In my effort to re work this site from the ground up, I have moved all of the content that was within the Jokes and Personal categories to my personal blog, Jeffc.Me/blog. I have also gone through all of my content categories and have rearranged them, consolidated them and then deleted the ones which had 0 posts. This will help me regain focus instead of having a thousand different categories with less than 10 posts each.

I’m not sure how many links I have broken due to these moves so if you come across one, please let me know. I am now ready to begin working on the redesign of this site that I hope I’ll be able to publish before the end of this week.

A Web2.0 Perspective Of The World

Every now and then, something very cool passes through the noise and this is one of those things. It’s called the Web 2.0 World Mosaic created by Appappeal. The mosaic features 1001 web 2.0 company logos when hovered upon, pop out at you for a bigger version. These guys have done a good job with the mosaic and it’s pretty cool to just move the mouse cursor around to check out which logos made the cut.

web2.0

The creator of the site told me the purpose behind the mosaic is to guide visitors through the world of web 2.0 web applications. On Appappeal.com, you’ll find independent reviews of the web applications found within the mosaic along with application comparisons.

Did you see your favorite apps on the mosaic?

My Biggest Traffic Boost

Kevin over at BloggingTips.com has asked the audience the following question, what gave you your biggest traffic burst? To start things off, I’d like to say that this blog has had a number of pages submitted to StumbleUpon as well as Digg.com. I know of one instance where a link to this blog was featured on Techememe as I had posted a conflicting post to something that was published on Techcrunch. While each one of these circumstances provided a big boost in traffic, nothing compares to the traffic I received inadvertently via reformatting my blog.

February Stats

The graphic up above is from February of 2008. The numbers within the first column are the days of the month. After importing the content of my blog back into a fresh install of WordPress, this gave each post a new ID number. It also gave RSS feed readers a fit as the new post ID numbers made it seem like I had just published 400 new posts. I don’t know if the resurgence in traffic was due to everyone visiting the site from their feed reader or not. I do know that I witnessed a large amount of traffic from stumbleupon for articles that had already been stumbled some time ago. It was as if someone had resubmitted them. Out of everything that has happened to the blog within almost a year of it’s existence, this reimporting of content is what has generated the most traffic for the blog.

I really don’t recommend this method of getting traffic. I really didn’t think this was going to happen and I ended up posting an apology to all of those who had subscribed to my feed. In fact, if you were to reformat and then re import your content, generating new post id numbers to get traffic numerous times a year, you are definitely gaming the system and in my opinion, doing a dis service to yourself and your RSS subscribers.

Chat With Me Tonight

I wanted to extend an invitation to join me later tonight as I sit on my blog and do nothing. Ok, not exactly. I’ll be hanging around the blog from 8PM EST until 9 or 10PM. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to ask me a question or get to know me better. You’ll be able to ask questions and talk to whomever else decides to show up by using the ShoutBox located on the right most side bar of the blog. The shoutbox refreshes in real-time so it’s like a blog wide IM.

Hope to catch a few of you lurkers in their as well as the regulars.

MyBlogLog And Gravatar Support

MyAvatars LogoIn a previous post I mentioned that I would highlight a plugin that enables avatars from both MyBlogLog and Gravatar to be displayed at the same time. That plugin is called MyAvatars MyAvatars displays avatar images from MyBlogLog and Gravatar yet, Gravatar support is not enabled by default. Among the obvious, MyAvatar sports the following features:

  • Added nofollow for avatars (from 0.2b)
  • “No image bug” solved (from 0.2b)
  • Title attribute for avatars in english ;) (from 0.2b)
  • “Big images” bug fixed (from 0.2a)
  • Improved XHTML validation (but we still use onload=””) (from 0.2)
  • Gravatar support (not active by default) (from 0.2)
  • Trackbacks/Pingback support (Works good, but it’s not perfect) (from 0.2)
  • Support for blogs with more than 1 author, works very well (from 0.2)
  • Separated CSS Style (from 0.2)
  • Email address is now safe!!! (from 0.2)
  • Customizable title for the avatars (from 0.2)
  • Gets MyBlogLog avatars of your commenters
  • Links directly to their MyBlogLog profiles
  • Easy installation & template integration
  • Added email support for retrieving profiles (from 0.1a)
  • If not MyBlogLog member will prompt the registration page (from 0.1a)

I believe everyone’s comments.php file is different but here is a screenshot depicting where I have placed the MyAvatar function.

Placement Of My Avatar Plugin

I’m not sure what impact the recent acquisition of Gravatar will hold for this plugin but so far, everything still appears to be working normally. One of the cool aspects of this plugin is that, if WordPress integrates Gravatar support within the WP core, you can turn Gravatar support off so it only displays MyBlogLog avatars. This will allow you to keep the functionality of displaying avatars from both services.

WordPress 2.3 And Fantastico

WordPress Fantastico Script

I’ve noticed that this site is receiving quite a bit of search engine traffic from people looking for information in regards to WordPress 2.3 and Fantastico. Fantastico is an auto installer for popular scripts such as content management systems, forums and the like. WordPress is one of the scripts supported by Fantastico that will auto install if you choose to go that route however, your then left at the mercy of Netenberg. Until Netenberg updates the Fantastico auto installer to include the upgrade to 2.3, your stuck at 2.2.

The image displayed up above is from Fantastico through my own webhosting account. It’s been three weeks since the release of 2.3 but I imagine its taking them some time as WordPress 2.3 was a major upgrade and Fantastico is wildly popular. Most webhosting providers use CPANEL as their user control panel verse any other control panel.

According to their official forum, WordPress 2.3 support will be part of their next release. So hang in there!

Work In Progress

After struggling to move my hosted WordPress installation onto my local pc, I have completed the theme edits that I have been wanting to make for some time now. I have moved the Chatter box from the footer of the site and to the top to see if more people will use it. Having it at the top of the site should make it easier for everyone to see if their are any new messages. This is still an experiment and if I discover it’s of little to no use to this site, I”ll remove it. However, I would really like to have some real-time conversations with you, the readers.

I’ve removed the ARTICLE SUBMISSION link from the top navigation area. Last but not least, I have added the FeedBurner Subscriber chiclet to the footer. Since I now have a somewhat respectable number of subscribers, thanks to you of course, I can now display those numbers prominently on the blog. The reason I waited so long before adding the chiclet revolves around human perception. If I were to display this chiclet while it showed a low number, say below 50, this site would automatically be perceived as a piece of trash. But now that the chiclet shows around 100 subscribers or so, people who notice the chiclet may realize that this site is somewhat interesting or worthy of their time considering 100 of their peers already think so.

Feedback on the changes is always appreciated. I’m open to all suggestions and ideas to improve the readability and functionality of this site.

By the way, would anyone be interested in a tutorial on how to install your web hosted WordPress installation to your local PC in order to change themes or text plugins?