Links for 2007-07-11

Overzicht van alle Webrichtlijnen –
one of these days Im going to implement all 125 directives of the NL Website rules…
I will add this blog from to my PlanetCogmios feedreader

Psychology Today: Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature

USB stick RAID
o my god…

500 Years of Women in Western Art
NO! This is NOT the video but a guy who made a list of every single woman inside it!!

Twelve Changes in my WordPress Blog you could apply too

Twelve Changes in my WordPress Blog you could apply too! Including a RSS Feed Reader based on your OPML, inline AJAX Comments, rounded boxes that work, visted links with checkmarks, a ZX spectrum bar, a nicer date, auto generated avatars and styling CSS.. If you run a (WordPress) blog you may (or may not) find any of of them useful for your own weblog.

image1. roundcornered AdSense boxes – I added the round-boxed add-sense ads. I think they are nicer and help against AdSense blindness. You can see the banner above. Unfortunately on a very few occasions 2 of the cornersides of the banner “turn around”, but I think the guys from Google will fix that undoubtly.


image2. roundcornered sidebar boxes –  I added rounded web2.0-green information boxes using this online free generator  for the sidebar. (the generator uses the interesting Tigra Color Picker javascript code, must notate this). I used to have these years ago on my previous blog using dynamic css rounded corners, but this version uses images instead. Somewhat less techy but a better solution in the end.


image3. Inline Ajax Comments – I added the Ajax Inline comments via INAP (Inline Ajax Page), a fantastic Ajax plugin. It has many more uses, including threaded comments, live previews and comments versus trackback links differentiation, so maybe I’m going to replace the comment form with the build-in INAP one and try some other functions.

For the comments I choose the slide-up and slide-down options, so I wouldn’t scare you with all too heavy animations.

imageUnfortunately IE users get an error using the inline comments, that’s why I included the options for “normal” comments also. The problem lies somewhere in my comments.php (I think) so if you have a clue then please help me out.

image4. Visited Links indicator for color-blinded –  I added a little styling for visited links within the contents of posts. A different color isn’t enough for people with color-blindness so I added a little checkmark next to it to indicate it’s visited. I copied the code from Maratz labs, after reading why.


image5. AnswerTips on any word –  I answer-tipped my Blog again, so that if you doubleclick a word (any!) a little balloon will popup which gives you information on the word. I had it disabled for some time but on various occasion it stroke me that it would be helpful if I could just doubleclick “that” word to get more information. It’s something that can be useful sometimes.


6. ZX Spectrum touch – Using my new Xara 3.2 (for Linux it’s Open Source) I couldn’t help but giving it a ZX Spectrum touch because it then it looked somewhat like that old keyboard. I really love this scene. Just download it and use it if you need it.



7. Nicer date – first of all, I ordered my postings by date a while ago since I’m used to that for a long time. It’s not so common to do so but it’s easy if you add the following date checker within the postings loop in your index.php it does precisely that:

$posttime = strtotime($post->post_date);
$postday = date('M',$posttime);
$postmonth = date('j',$posttime);
$postyear = date('Y',$posttime);
if($postday==$oldpostday && $postmonth==$oldpostmonth && $postyear==$oldpostyear) {
} else {
  $oldpostday = $postday;
  $oldpostmonth = $postmonth;
  $oldpostyear = $postyear;
  <div class="date">Week <?php the_time('W'); ?> <?php the_time('Y'); ?>: <?php the_time('l'); ?>, <?php the_time('j'); ?> <?php the_time('F'); ?>  </div>

As you can see I also included the weeknumber and such. The letters are explained in the php date manual so you can roll your own date. Apart from that: a while ago I made every date unique by allowing you to place your own picture for that special date including a link back to your website. That is not lost but I have to think about on how to integrate it back in the design.


8. Flash banner at the top – since Xara 3.2 now offers to create flash things in a very simple manner. I created a (simple) flash banner. I wanted something very quiet and non disturbing so just a logo and a little line, nothing more. It took me about 2 minutes to create the flash movie and maybe you have noticed I included some little flash movies in recent postings also, its really a cool graphics package. I will probably vary the top flash movie during the coming months.


9. Auto generated Monster Avatars – I used to have Gravatar support and was thinking about MyBlogLog avatars to display an avatar based on your e-mail, there are zillions of plugins supporting that, but then I discovered the MonsterID plugin from scott.sherrillmix which is super-funny! It generates a unique monster based on an e-mail address. So every commenter gets his own monster, apart from that it looks stylish too, so I will leave this one in there for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll combine it with Gravatars and MyBlogLog avatars in the future.


10. A Blog Calender – I don’t think anyone will ever click on the calender but I thought it looked stylish and sort-of deja-vu default wordpress template noobie like. So with just 1 line: <?php get_calendar(); ?> I have little neat calender, which noone ever clicks. The neat thing: the days you can not click are probably day I was off :)


image 11. Styling by CSS – I couldn’t think of any more useful tool to re-style your css than the firefox web developer toolbar by Chris Pederick. When I first read about it, I visited the site and quickscanning it, thought to be a simple “validate this site” tool. I was wrong, this toolbar is filled with “there is no other way” goodies, like “edit CSS” which lets you dynamically change the stylesheet of the page e.d. trying out font-sizes of a certain element. I used it when thinking about the styles of this blog. (While typing this and reading again the FAQ of the developer toolbar I refound a link to the icons the toolbar uses: 700 free icons from famfamfam, maybe they are nice for in my new top-menu).

image 12. A RSS/ATOM/RDF feed viewer – I used to have an aspx written version of this on my old blog but decided to write one again in php (also on request of Paksoi). You can find it above it you click on “CogmiosPlanet” (it’s not using the planet software but I couldn’t think of another verb). The php page uses the build in mini MagPie build in WordPress (handy for caching) (which is actually simplePie, check it out) to parse the feeds. I then used an php OPML parser using pretty default php (sorry, I forgot whose code I copied) but with a curl section to retrieve an external OPML file containing all the feeds. To summon some of the functionality: a) simply reads an extended OPML file b) generates automatically a form to choose language and categories by first parsing all existing languages and tags defined for each entry in the OPML file c) displays the entries sorted by time and date.

If you want to try it out on your blog yourself, here are the instructions to do so:

a) Download my test OPML file, which gives you and idea of the content.
b) Download this WordPress template which contains everything else including all PHP Code, then copy it in your template directory and create a new empty page in WordPress based on this template.
c) in the sidebar enter the last line mentioned in the template to include the form.

imageThere are however some things I currently have an issue with, so I hope, if you have any experience with PHP can help me out with. The biggest issue is that only the first entries in the OPML file are read, it somehow reads sometimes 25 and sometimes 30 entries, this is very strange and I would guess it has to do with my curl code, so I would be very happy if someone could lend me a hand with this. Next to this it would be very handy if I could auto-detect using the output of simplePie if a feed is RSS, Atom or RDF or something else, it also would be handy if we could skip the special class for multiply. Anyways, check it out and tell me if it you have any additions to this.

Concluding I hope that some of these things might be helpful some day for your own weblogs, let me know, I’ll come take a look.