islandgrl.net

Plugins I use

Just a list of plugins I use…

Akismet… Need I say more?

All In One SEO Package – I’m not an SEO expert, so I can only tell you what you can already read for yourself. Highly rated plugin, optimizes WP for search engines.

Contact Form 7 – I’ve written/modded more mailto scripts in my career than I care to think about, no less quantify. This little plugin does a brilliant job of handling all kinds of simple user feedback forms which you can place anywhere in your blog using shortcodes or template tags.

Different Posts Per Page – My home page listed 10+ posts at a time, which made it slow loading AND it clearly highlighted how infrequently I update my blog. total fail. So this plugin lets you control the number of posts shown on the home or various category pages. BUT, if you use this you have to deal with the initial registration/ads/selling crap routine. The developer uses the plugin to try to sell you his miracle SEO “make thousands off your blog” package. annoying. But the alternative is customizing the loop code in all of your templates.

Download Counter – I use this plugin to run download counters on any files I distribute (such as my Find Low Resolution Album Art iTunes AppleScript). It works like a champ, easy to configure. Love it.

Dunstan’s Time of Day – this plugin powers the “humanized dates” that you see on my posts, like “evening time on Jan 7th, ’07”

Fuzzy Recent Posts – I picked this plugin so long ago that I can’t even tell you why it was the best, but, it currently powers the “recent posts” listing in my side bar. no complaints!

IM Online – this is a nifty one, uses onlinestatus.org to display your status for AOL IM, YIM, MSN, Jabber, and ICQ (why do I even keep my icq account? I have no idea).

Landing Sites – If you arrived at my blog from google, you likely observed this plugin in action. It adds a little notice to the top of the blog saying “Oh by the way, it looks like you got here by searching for XYZ. All instances of XYZ are highlighted in the content below.” Nifty eh?

NextGEN Gallery – this is the most rocking gallery plugin for WordPress, period. beats the others by miles.

Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu – regardless of your WordPress version, this is a MUST HAVE plugin. converts the existing Admin navigation to simple one-click dropdown menus. Saves gobs of time waiting for page reloads, and takes up Way less space that the 2.7 clunky side menu.

Plugin Info – An essential for plugin developers – this plug displays live stats from your WordPress-hosted plugin directly in your own blog, so you don’t need to update the entry every single time you update your plug. Many other uses as well, but, that’s what I use it for.

Profile Pic – Of course, I use my own plugin… duh.

Sociable – automagically adds links for digg/technorati/etc to the bottom of every post. Handy. And I kinda like the big line of link buttons better than the single share popup. *shrug*

So, that’s it for now. Pretty simple.

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Yeah.

It has been pointed out to me recently that, indeed, I really suck at updating this thing. *shrug*

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fossil hunting apron / bucket

This is a fossil hunting apron that I made as an x-mas gift for my father. It hangs off a standard sized belt, includes one lined pocket (for delicate finds) and a larger unlined pocket for the rougher pieces, plus a pocket for tissues to wrap up individual fossils and a small pouch for plastic baggies, a pocket lens, swiss army knife, etc. When the velcro flaps are undone, it converts to a bucket to allow for storage of larger fossils.

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Back in California…

Wine Barrels

I came home to California to find eight barrels of wine in the garage. My folks give me the stink eye every time I so much as glance at the stash, and I think this may explain why my mother has switched to buying me only the half-size little red cocktail straws. (Little do they know I have aquarium tubing in my closet, muahahahaha!)

But no, really, as good as their wine generally comes out in the end, this stuff isn’t done yet. Just kinda wild to come home to EIGHT BARRELS of high quality grape. The wine from my folks’ co-op always used to be stored elsewhere – never got to witness the whole process before.

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a new neighbor

Meet ‘Stumpy’ — the resident lizard. He lives somewhere around the condo and I routinely see him chillin’ out on my way to/from the car.

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introductions, farewells

I’ve been putting off writing this entry for quite a while now, but, I think the time has come. In early July, Mango was hit and killed by a car in front of Rust Op Twist. It was the second time my mother has been the first to see a family cat along side the road, and the second time she has rushed out as I scrambled for my shoes (to avoid the inevitable). We buried Mango on the beach side of the house, and, appropriately, planted a mango tree to mark her burial spot. The mango tree is doing well, and should bare (bear?) fruit as soon as next year.

Dsc 0099Following Mango’s death, Tigger appeared quite depressed, not his usual bouncy self. So… I decided to treat loss with distraction, and brought home a kitten from the shelter. I named her Mocko, as in Mocko Jumbie. The name means “protector.” She was just a little squirt when I got her, and she really hasn’t grown much. Tigger out-weighs her at least two-to-one, but that doesn’t stop the two from wrassling and racing around the house like a herd of elephants. Crazy beasts. Tigger seems to have taken to Mocko and visa versa. The two are usually not far apart. Mocko is a little snugglepuss, she likes to cuddle up in bed and is slowly training Tiggs to do the same. And she is on her way to becoming a well-seasoned flopper — she falls at my feet, often on my feet, multiple times a day. sudden bouts of weakness, only treatable with belly rubs. she has me well trained.

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Visitors

Patrick (a family friend) and his buddy Kennith came to spend a week on island. Below are a sampling of pics.

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We rented a bobcat to do some stump removals. Patrick knows how to operate heavy equipment, so we thought we would take advantage…

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I had my fun with the bobcat too. I’m filling in the hole post-olive-tree-removal. This is also post-DPNR ‘smack down’ where we got in trouble for moving some beach rocks without a permit. Crap. Potentially big fine. They had police men with guns and everything. pretty exciting…

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For our rain-forest adventure, we took the windows off the jeep, safari style. Here’s Patrick posing as a tourist.

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Then we paid a visit to the turtles up in the rain forest.

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Happy turtles indeed.

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Herds of them, in fact. Here they are stampeding.

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Settling in

Nap Time
Nap Time

Tigger
Mango is underneath there somewhere

its a long way down...
They both like exploring the Gallery.
2007-03-25 12-05-26

2007-03-26 12-25-34
Believe it or not, they’re sleeping.

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wow, I did that?

I just got a request recently to add some features to a PostNuke module I developed for a client about 2 years ago — my first PHP project ever… I was kindof dreading the whole process. But low and behold… I’m finding things like:

// HLG – REMOVING UNNECC FUNCTIONS
// include ‘modules/’.$modinfo[‘directory’].’/pnincludes/swtypes.php’;
// include ‘modules/’.$modinfo[‘directory’].’/pnincludes/manufacturers.php’;
// include ‘modules/’.$modinfo[‘directory’].’/pnincludes/software.php’;

Holy Cow! I commented the daylights out of this project. Yay for me.

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Wp-2.0-Square-ButtonWordPress 2.0 essentially marked the final leap of the WP team in joining the Web 2.0 bandwagon… We have a big friendly typeset, drag-and-drop widgets, AJAXified posting and moderating tools. And with 2.1, we will be getting a JavaScript framework.

This doesn’t mean much to the average WP user, but to developers, its huge. Every time a WordPress blog loads, the viewer is now downloading a 48kb nugget of JS – the Prototype Framework. So as a developer – if I want to make a shiny 2.0’ish plugin, I’ve got to use Prototype as a backend. Or I have to force everyone to use something else, of questionable compatibility, which will add yet more bulk to WP. Alex King has embraced Prototype with his Share This plugin. I’m sure others are soon to follow. But to be honest, I can’t see why the whole community isn’t throwing a colossal fit and threatening to dunk the WP dev team in a nice cold lake.

I admit, I’m biased. I’ve been developing sites with the JQuery framework for 4+ months now. Back in August of 2006 I realized that all this AJAX/2.0/Rails/Blah nonsense wasn’t going to fade away, so I best bite the bullet and learn what all the hype was about.

So I looked at Prototype, Scriptalicious, Ruby, Rails, read about AJAX… posted a forlorn “help me, i’m drowning…” message on the Apple web dev mailing list, and got one very short reply: “JQuery. I’ll see you on their dev list soon :)”

Prototype does some nice things for you, don’t get me wrong. But Prototype on its own still requires a lot of down-and-dirty javascripting PLUS a learning curve of Prototype syntax, functions and classes. Ick. JQuery, however, does many simple and not-so-simple tasks for you with only a line or two of code. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but at least there is a nice juicy carrot at the end. I don’t want to do loads of down-and-dirty scripting. This is why I looked for a framework in the first place.

There are a variety of examples of how JQuery uses cleaner, more logical, shorter code on the JQuery blog itself. These are a little technical though, and I wanted to provide a quick glimpse that might be more relevant to Plugin Developers:

So you want to hide and show a div, and you want it to slowly fade in and fade out when you toggle the hide/show.

JQuery (library weighing in at 20kb):

$(“#ohmy”).show(“slow”);

Prototype (48kb on its own) can’t do this. We need to add Scriptaculous + Prototype, which has a combined bulk of 228 kb!

Effect.toggle(‘ohmy’,’appear’);

Okay… Other than the added size and extra includes, this doesn’t seem all that bad. But what if we don’t want to add an onclick=”javascript: blah” to every scripted element?

JQuery (20kb):

$(“.toggle”).click(function(){
$(#ohmy).hide(“slow”);
return false;
});

Prototype (48kb on its own) can’t do this. Scriptaculous + Prototype (228kb) can’t do this either. We need Scriptaculous + Prototype + Behaviour, weighing in at 236kb

var myrules = {
‘.toggle’ : function(element){
Effect.toggle(‘ohmy’,’appear’);
}
}
};
Behaviour.register(myrules);

NOTE: As Nate pointed out, this is wrong. The $$(‘.toggle’) function will work just fine. However, I’m leaving the Behaviour example up to illustrate what a fairly savy coder, new to ProtoType, was able to come up with in 2+ hours of research.

Doing something a little more advanced… odd/even ‘zebra’ tables without php overhead:

(this one was pulled from the JQuery blog)

JQuery (20kb):

$(“tr:nth-child(odd)”).addClass(“odd”);

Prototype (48kb):

$A(document.getElementsByTagName(“table”)).each(function(table){
$A(table.getElementsByTagName(“tr”)).each(function(row,i){
if ( i % 2 == 1 )
Element.addClassName( row, “odd” );
});
});

Jquery-LogoSo… JQuery: Get stuff done with less code! For 1/11th the size of prototype+scriptaculous+behaviour, JQuery provides tons of USEFUL stuff built in, no need for additional overhead libraries.

That’s my perspective. I don’t *LOVE* to code for the sheer joy of it. I DO love to see my ideas and visions become reality. I like pretty gadgets, including those that are browser-based. I think this is where many of the WordPress plugin/extension developers are coming from – we want more shinys in our blogs! Thus far, WordPress has done a PHENOMENAL job of making plugin development simple, logical, and intuitive. I picked up WP Plugin syntax in about an hour. Why ruin the ease-of-extension movement now?

And if you want to try JQuery with WordPress… Head on over to Dan Atkinson’s site for his JQuery with WP Plugin

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