Daily Links


Culture Me

Site Redesign

I’m itching to do yet another site redesign—I have a pretty good idea of what I want and a working test version of it, allowing for a bit of tweaking—but I think it makes sense to wait until the release of WordPress 2.3 so I don’t have to worry about any compatibility issues. I’m considering losing the theme switcher, as well; since I make no effort to make changes to the site backwards-compatible, it’s probably better that way. And it’ll make it easier to rework things for my ultra-minimalist new look.

Of course the whole thing is increasingly irrelevant, since a growing proportion of my (diminishing number of) readers are now accessing HF through feed readers and may never see the design at all. But I enjoy the process.

I’m also intending to start a photoblog. I’ve always liked the idea of photography but found the results slightly disappointing. As a birder I know well the importance of good optical equipment; the difference between a cheap pair of binoculars and an expensive pair can be profound. I never bought a film SLR camera because I didn’t think I would get the use out of it to justify it; now with digital, knowing I can go out and shoot 50 or 60 and discard them all, it seems like a good moment to make a serious attempt to take some good photographs. So the photoblog will be part of that attempt; recording my learning process. But I can’t decide on a name for it. I could keep up the G.M. Hopkins theme and go for something like ‘Plough Down Sillion’ or ‘Shook Foil’ or ‘Finches’ Wings’, but I think I fancy a change. Hmmm. We’ll see.

WordPress 2.2 upgrade hitches

Apologies for the slight messiness: I’ve just upgraded to WordPress 2.2—don’t know why, really, it’s not like there are any compelling new features—and at least one of my normal plugins is broken. I should have a work-around up soon.

EDIT: OK, I think everything’s just about working now. If anything seems broken, give me a shout.

Further comment: One of the claims for WP2.2 is that “We now protect you from activating a plugin or editing a file that will break your blog.” Who knows, perhaps this is brilliant, sometimes. But it didn’t work for me today.

And another comment: One of the changes is that instead of having a built-in preview in the posting window that has to be reloaded every time you save a change, it pops up a preview in a new window when you ask it to. Which is probably a good decision, since it should make writing faster, but it’s a pity it makes a new window each time instead of reloading the previous preview window with the new version. if I don’t carefully close each popped-up preview after looking at it, I end up with a whole row of tabs, each a preview of the post.


Sexy CSS

And no, I’m not referring to Cansei der Ser Sexy. I’m referring to the ingenious way I hacked a WordPress plugin and then did some CSS wizardry to make it display the way I wanted, so that, for a short time only, you can see my Archives By Date the way I want them.

Only slight drawback: they look crap in IE 5.2 for Macintosh (but really, who uses that?) and they also don’t work in Opera. In fact in some circumstances they make it crash, which I find deeply mysterious. Still, this is what they look like for the moment:

What’s so good about that, you ask? Well, without using a table, I have the dates flush right and the post titles flush left, so there’s an even space between the two.

However… I may not care about IE for Mac, but Opera is a proper, current browser (and I haven’t even tested it on IE for Windows). So tomorrow, probably, I’ll change it back. Ho-hum.


upgrade trauma

I just upgraded my version of WordPress, and it seems to have screwed everything up.

Hopefully I’ll have it sorted out sooner rather than later, but bear with me.

EDIT: well, it’s getting a bit better, but after a sequence of painless upgrades, this one is doing my head in.

Me Other

comment spam

The first comment waiting in my spam filter just now reads “May I borrow some articles from your site? Who should I contact?” And just for a moment I thought it might be a genuine comment which had been mistakenly identified as junk, even though it was apparently posted by someone called ‘daivaufeijau’.

Then I noticed that the next comment (from deawisy, saying “I just want to say THANKS to all people in this community”) linked back to the same webpage. And so did the comments from vujei and ajauxiseag. In total there were 241 comments all linking back to the same address, ranging from “Can you make pages for foreign people? For example Spanish” to “The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.” These fake comments would really be more plausible if there were only one or two of them.

Thank fuck for Akismet, which somewhere in the middle of all that lot caught its 5000th spam comment since I installed it about last November.