Gravatars

I turned on Gravatar support for comments last night. I had actually been messing around with writing a plugin for Gravatars about a year ago, but never really finished it. And, it seems that there are a bunch of plugins already written, so there’s really no need for me to finish it now. Some of the plugins will actually locally cache the images so that page load is faster. This seems like a nice feature, but now that Gravatar is part of Automattic, and seemingly running on their servers, retrieval is pretty zippy.

So, for now, I’m just using the WP 2.5 function get_avatar. Read about it’s usage here. There’s also lots of other great info on that page, including pre-2.5 implementations.

The get_avatar function returns an image tag with a class named avatar. So, it’s easy to style as needed. I’m using:

.avatar {
	float: right;
	padding: 2px;
	border-left: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
	border-bottom: 1px solid #c0c0c0;
}

All you need to do is create an account with the email address you leave on blog comments and upload an image to have your very own globally recognized avatar. It’s really a pretty nice service.

Upgrade Weekend

First, I upgraded to the latest version of Ubuntu, 8.04 – Hardy Heron, from 7.04 – Feisty Fawn 7.10 – Gutsy Gibbon. Everything went smoothly and it actually fixed a bunch of broken shit on my machine. Gotta love when that happens. The only real complaint so far is that it ships with Firefox 3.0b5, which isn’t really a problem, but a lot of themes and extensions are not yet compatible with the latest version. I could probably figure out a solution to this, but that sounds like extra work.

Second, I upgraded to WordPress 2.5.1. I like the new admin screens, although it’ll probably take a little while to remember where everything is. Again, smooth upgrade with no problems. For the most part, I like the layout of the new Write Post page, but the Categories section falls below the fold on my crap monitor. It was better when that was in a small box to the right of the post area. I think older versions of WP admin allowed you to set the height of the post box, that might help. Also, Fluency Admin looks nice — more greys, less blues. Maybe I’ll check that out at some point.

Finally, I upgraded the yard with less weeds and junk. Thanks, Troy-Bilt.

Back

Another webserver failure. The good news is that the hard drive was fine, so my awesome blog archives remain intact.

This time, I decided to throw in the towel and end my self-hosting days. Initially I contacted Scott to see about some hosting, and he passed me onto Brian over at IndieHosts. After a few questions on my side, they were quick to set me up and get things rolling. Added bonus: I’m noticing a nice speed increase in page loads. Nice.

So, I think things are back the way they should be. There may be some broken links and such along the way. I’ll fix them as I find them.

My thanks to Scott and to Brian @ IndieHosts.

WP 2.1.1

I upgraded to the latest WordPress version tonight without too much of a struggle.

The only real issue I’ve seen so far is that there is a difference in the database tables when going from 2.0.x to 2.1.x. Gone is the wp_linkcategories table in favor of link categories being stored in the wp_categories table along with post categories. This broke my sidebar a little, which was an easy fix, and I imagine it might mess up my backup script some. Also, you shouldn’t update a 2.1.x db with a backup from the 2.0.x family. My local test blog can attest to the destructiveness of this action. If I had done some reading (and thinking) before I upgraded, I might have learned all this.

The one plugin I wrote that I actually use seems to work fine, so that’s good. Also, for the one other person that uses a plugin of mine: I’ll test it at some point. Promise.

Done.

4

Today is the four year anniversary of this Internet sinkhole that I call a blog. But, to be fair, with all the time I’ve taken off, I’ll just call it my three year anniversary. So, happy three years to my blog.

Enjoy the craptaculousness of the first post.

Plain

I’m tired of looking at what was the current layout, so I came up with the plainest theme ever. I’ve been in a plain mood lately though, so it works well.

This in no way suggests that I’ll actually be updating on a more regular basis, because I won’t.

Tabbed For Your Pleasure

I wanted to mess around with a tabbed layout for another site that I might work on some day, but didn’t want to create a new page to tinker with, so I just added tabs to the current layout on my test site. When I was done I decided that I kind of liked it, so here is Imperial Cloud City – Green w/Tabs. Along the way I also fixed a pretty dumb IE error on the Archive page.

I’d like to say that I did this all myself without any help at all from the Internet, but that would be a lie. In fact, the way that I had it working was WAY more complicated than it needed to be. This thread in the WP support forum was most helpful along with this page in the codex.

Also, I wrote a tiny plugin that displays some stats about the site, which can be found in the About tab. Right now it lists the count for posts, comments, categories, and unique commenters. The top 10 most commented posts and top 10 most active commenters can also be found. I know there already are plugins written that do this sort of thing, but I wanted to do one myself. I’m bored.

Thanks to Edgemoor for beta testing a screen shot of the new layout/plugin a week or so ago. Maybe he’ll start blogging again.

As always, let me know if you find anything wrong or if you hate everything about it. Also, if you have any ideas about additional stats to add to the About page, I would be interested in hearing about those too.