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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I did a little maintenance on the ol’ blog this week.  For one, I upgraded to WordPress 2.3.2 because they said it was an “urgent security release.”  Okay, I’ll upgrade.  It took a whole 3 minutes. I even used my Maintenance Mode plugin, which I love.

Some of the plugins I use also got a little lovin’ – Subscribe to Comments went to v2.1.2, Akismet went to v2.1.3, and Twitter Tools finally supported WP 2.3 with v1.1b1.  All of these updates were easy and quick. 

Now that Twitter Tools supports WordPress 2.3, my tweets gets created automatically when I post a new entry on the blog.   Another cool thing I added was a sidebar portion that lists my most recent tweets (this comes with Twitter Tools).

twitter updates on wordpress sidebar

Note: out of the box, the way Twitter Tools displays tweets looks horrible.  So I did my own little custom CSS to make the first line kind of highlighted in a blue-green tint by using a background image per LI tag, and also modified the actual Twitter Tools code to display the time with the hyperlink FIRST instead of at the end of the line.  I was dismayed to see that the authors didn’t allow the end user to define how they wanted the tweet displayed.  To me, it’s much more important to see how recent the tweet is, and THEN see the content. But either way, the plugin should allow personalization and custom CSS without requiring manual code work.

This is the code I changed in twitter-tools.php (original line numbers shown):

if (count($tweets) > 0) {
      foreach ($tweets as $tweet) {
//       $output .= '      
  • '.aktt_make_clickable(wp_specialchars($tweet->tw_text)).' '.aktt_relativeTime($tweet->tw_created_at, 3).'
  • '."\n"; $output .= '
  • '.aktt_relativeTime($tweet->tw_created_at, 3).': '.aktt_make_clickable(wp_specialchars($tweet->tw_text)).'
  • '."\n"; } }

    The original line that comes with it is commented out (line 449), and the line I changed it to is now shown as line 450. This is based on version 1.1b1.

    I also added this to my styles.php for the CSS to make it look more prettified:

    /* twitter tools */
    div.aktt_tweets {
            text-align: left;
            padding-left: 10px;
            padding-right: 10px;
    div.aktt_tweets li {
            color: black;

    And just today I installed WP Syntax so I could finally MAYBE display code snippets in a post correctly.  Sheesh this is hard to do!  I tried the Preserve Code Formatting plugin but it didn’t work very well for me. Even with WP Syntax, tinyMCE still has problems with the greater than signs and stuff, and it converts them to the ampersand equivalents, so I had to turn off visual editing just to complete this post.

    Hmm, since I’m composing this post “early” and scheduling it to actually show up tomorrow morning, I wonder if Twitter Tools is smart enough to not do a tweet? It probably isn’t. Shucks. I’m now exposed as a fraud. I guess that’s better than being exposed as a fraulein.

    Oh, and Happy New Year!

    And lo, the people did comment thus:


    1. Absurdist says:

      Way cool. I have been putting off upgrading too. Glad to know it’s a breeze. Gotta get the twitter tool.

      Or, you can do it for me. *hint hint*

    2. Dave2 says:

      I kind of don’t understand the Twitter deal. I mean, anybody who is following you on Twitter is undoubtedly reading your blog… so why bug everybody with a tweet for something they already are going to know anyway?

    3. whall says:

      Abs, you want me to upgrade you, or install the twittertools?

      GASP! or both?!?!?!


      Dave2, When I first started twitter, I agreed with you (and I assume you mean the blog –> tweet part, not the tweet –> blog sidebar part). But as I used twitter’s “track” feature, I ended up getting to see more blog entries about things I was tracking. For example, I track the keyword “austin” and when I’m bored I can look at my Twitter IM log and see people’s new blog posts with Austin in the title. It’s proven interesting more than a couple of times. And I don’t think it’s assumed that people following me read my blog, and definitely not vice versa.

      At the very least, it definitely helps answer the question Twitter asks, which is “what are you doing?”. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone makes a tweet-enabled comment plugin that tracks the comments you make on other people’s blogs.

    4. Absurdist says:

      Wayne, you always do my site for me. What’s with the complaining? Do you want me to come down there and beat you with a stick? Just do it.

      As for the twitter thing, I guess I get it. I haven’t been using it though. I am now addicted to facebook. It is a lot of fun. If you look at my page, you would think I am three years old.

    5. sue says:

      You’re just too damn smart.
      Happy New Year, Wayne!

    6. Dave2 says:

      But the URL for the entry is TinyURLed, and a post title rarely says much about the content of a blog entry, so it’s ultimately useless. When the only tweets I get from somebody is announcing a new blog post, I drop them.

    7. whall says:

      Abs, ok it’s settled, I’m upgrading your WordPress blog, installing TwitterTools, and removing all sticks from your immediate vicinity.

      sue, prove it! But I do have a bumper sticker that says “will code for food”. It’s next to my other bumper sticker that reads “will answer stupid user questions for food”. I figure I’m set for life in the food department.

      Dave2, correct about URL, and to me the URL doesn’t help at all – kudos to twitter for embracing TinyURL like they do. And I would also drop someone whose only tweet contribution are blog posts – that’s like your email client auto-sending an SMS page to someone to let them know you sent them an email. If I used flikr I would probably integrate with with twitter as well, because it’s another “what are you doing” type of update. Sometimes I wish I had an iPhone or something with a camera that would work that way. But alas, I’m still on the camera-less blackberry 8700c. C’est la tweet!

    8. whall says:

      UPDATE: I found that long URL’s didn’t wrap properly in this little sidebar thingy so as a temporary IE-only fix, I added the following in my css

      word-wrap: break-word;

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