About the author.

Welcome to The blog of whall

Come on in and stay a while… laugh a little. Maybe even think. Read more...

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’ve mentioned a few times on twitter that I set up a playground site that anyone can register and use to see WordPress 2.7 (the release candidate version).  You get an author account by default, so you can compose blog entries, login, do comments, see the back-end, etc.

Offer’s still open.   Just visit, click “Register” on the right and voila! you have an account and can post.  Please be nice.  Don’t write about Catcher in the Rye from my blog please.

According to WordPress.org, the new and improved 2.7 should hit the public internet waves sometime this month.  I’ve actually heard it will be tomorrow, which is the same day gays don’t go to work (they supposedly are teaming up together to “call in gay“)  I did an utter on that topic this morning.  Go ahead and listen to it; I’ll wait.

Back?  Good.

One of the coolest out-of-the-box features of 2.7 is threaded / nested comments:

Of course, you have to have a theme that supports it, which is why I was trying out Aeros 1.0.5 since it’s one of the few that does.  It’s kind of a neat theme and I might switch to it.

The new wordpress also has a much faster, much cooler comment management system whereby you can use keyboard shortcuts like j/k and asd (like a unix text editor or some text/java games) to move up, down, approve, spam or delete.  You can also reply individually to comments right there in the admin console!  I haven’t seen email notification TO the commenter, but I’m sure some enterprising author will make one if it’s not built-in.

Actually, that “quick edit” feature right there is very interesting as well, because you edit it from right there inside the page and don’t have to launch another window to edit the comment.  Pretty handy for all you losers who keep forgetting I’m a PG-13 blog! (j/k) (and that means “just kidding”, not “down/up”)

Not only that, you get a neat “at a glance” dashboard showing the content you’ve authored and where the comments are, pending/spam wise

There’s also a new thing called “QuickPress” where you can just type in a quick title, content, tags and media and publish right from the dashboard.  To me, however, this seems a step backwards unless you can auto-categorize your “quickies” differently.  It’s kind of like twitter, but on your blog.  But at a minimum, it’s easy to jot down notes to yourself since it has a “save draft” button – wanna start the idea of a new post but don’t want to actually START a post?  write it in here and save it as a draft.

Oooh, and on my dashboad, it listed a plugin that I wanted to try, and I could install it right from the dashboard!  OMG!  I just clicked “install” then “install now” then “activate”.  How much easier can it get than that!??

Those are my first impressions, and I can envision me an early adopter, if for no other reason than for the nested comments.  

I even set up a new survey (the plugin I just installed) – have a go!  You can say how you like me. 🙂

If you’ve found out other cool features of the new WordPress, leave’em here.  And don’t forget you can get your own wordpress trial account on my test blog.

September
11
2008
2:41 pm
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ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

This is another one of those semi-technical posts about my blog. Proceed at your own peril.

Question: Would you complain?

I mean, let’s say you have a blog. It’s not a business, you don’t rake in donations for the homeless, and people on breathing machines don’t depend on your site for their next life-giving gasp of air. Its. Just. A. Blog.

Despite the monotonous blogtitude of it all (it’s a blog every day, day in, day out, it’s never anything but a blog) of your blog’s existence, it still has a yearning to, well, exist. It (the blog) really doesn’t like it when it, um isn’t. Isn’ting isn’t a very cool thing to be. IS is where it’s at.

The Blog Is. I Am. We Are (the world). That’s what she said.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Is.

For a long long time, my blog was. It was up. It was around. It was on. Then, a couple of times recently, it was broken. So what do you do? Do you call your ISP and complain to them “hey, like, hey man, like my blog. Something’s wrong with it” and then they say “it looks fine to me!” and then I’m all like “whoa, man, like, you’re RIGHT. It is cool. That’s a trip.”

And so on it goes.

However, I have a little thing in my back pocket called MONITORING. I work for a nationwide ISP who prides itself on uptime, customer service, and actually proving if things are up or not. One of the products we used to have is called NetCool ISM, and we still have it around, although it’s a very old version and probably not supported any more.

The rest of my troubleshooting, replete with pretty eye candy, graphs, technical jargon, and unix stuff, is in the extended entry below

(more…)

I decided to try the WordPress 2.6 Upgrade. I started the nailbiting consideration a couple of months ago.  Last week I finally actually did something about it.  If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen threats, promises and innuendo about me upgrading for the past couple of months.

Before: http://whall.org/blog, WordPress 2.3.3.  The blog has been upgraded through many iterations, including pre-2.0.  I’ve been blogging for more than three years now.

During: http://whall.org/test26, Installed WordPress 2.3.3, imported posts from previous blog, put in all the same plugins and as much as the same config as I could.  Upgraded the test install to 2.6.  Got bored.  Procrastinated.  Went crazy once.

After: http://whall.org/blog, WordPress 2.6.1.  Imagine the hotness!

The complete log of my attempt is in the extended entry.  It’s long and boring, like some contracts you might sign, or 90% of an RNC acceptance speech.  So I hired a comedian speech writer to put in a bunch of one-line zingers here and there.  I’m fully expecting the left-wing blogosphere to launch an all-out attack on my family any day now.

(more…)

Sometimes I feel the need to make an easy blog entry.

This usually means I’m torn – torn between A) the silent periods that occur on my blog because I haven’t taken the time to write something worthwhile, and B)posting “fluff” on my blog just to make an entry, hoping to avoid appearing dead.

My personal stance is – I’d rather a blog author not post something than strive to maintain a posting frequency that might make some of the blog postings “blah” or “ho-hum”. To me, micro-blogging aka social networking sites (twitter, utterz, etc) is where the “blah” belongs (blahlongs?) because at least there’s activity. “I. Am. Not. Dead.” is what micro-blogging screams. Having the sidebar show my latest activity, as inconsequential as it may be, helps the blog stay fresh.

I don’t want to have a blahg.

This stance of mine has evolved over time. If you look at the blog archives in my first and second years, I did a lot of fluff. I started with “pic-a-day” where I just put a photo or funny photo. I also did a “caption contest” series for a while. Back then, micro-blogging wasn’t all the rage, so many blog authors struggled with questions such as “is this tidbit worth a post?” and “gee, it’s been 4 days since my last post, what should I say? No, that’s not ‘big’ enough“.

I don’t remember when it clicked for me, but at some point I decided to try and settle on one post per day. This is what Blogography does. Since Dave2 has one of my all-time favorite blogs, I figured I could learn something. And learn something I did. Having a pre-set posting frequency helped me plan. I gave up the stress of posting something, sometime and traded it for the less stressful idea of posting something daily. The concept of a deadline actually helped the situation.

There were other benefits to this approach as well: for one, I felt that the expectation of a daily post would help readers decide to follow my blog. I knew that in my own head, I asked myself “What’s Dave going to write about today?” and it made me want to go look. I wanted that same question repeated throughout the world, but with my name in the question.

What about you?

Does your interest in a blog increase with the author’s consistency in posting? Are you drawn in by a schedule? Do you bypass fluff when you see it?  Do you drop blogs that have fluff posts?

So what do I post today?

I’m posting fluff.

In the extended entry, you will find some funny newspaper clippings sent to me via email recently.  What’s funny is I started with just the newspaper clippings and then realized that I was posting fluff, so I ended up making entire post about posting fluff, which in itself made the post not fluff.  To me, that’s as clever as Seinfeld making a show that’s about nothing.  

(PS: Microsoft, if you’re listening… I’d totally do an ad campaign for a lot less than $10 million)

(more…)

July
16
2008
8:51 am
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So, it seems 2.6 is out, the “latest stable release of WordPress”

wordpress 2.6 is out

So, anyone dare me to upgrade first?  Don’t be shy.

I’m at 2.3.3 cuz I chickened out of upgrading to 2.5 or 2.5.1 after a few issues I had with some of the blogs I help support.

June
28
2008
6:38 pm
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I’ve been thinking recently about my blog’s name.  The “blog of whall.”  I’ve been the blog of whall for over three years now.  I took whall.org because the dot-com and dot-net variants were already taken.  I’d rather not have a dot-org for a couple of reasons – one of which you can’t have private domain registration and the other being you’re supposed to be non-profit – but I never took the time to brand myself on an available dot-com.

whall.org blog of whall brand logo

If there’s something I like about my domain, whall.org, is that it’s short.  It’s [mostly] easy to say (doubleyou-hall dot org).  I’m very used to typing it.  And, it’s an established brand, if you could call it that.

My brain, however, keeps diverting itself from thinking about important things such as work, family, breakfast tacos and Kirstie Alley and won’t let go of the idea of possibly changing my domain and blog name.  I weigh the disadvantages against the advantages; I wonder if I should go all-out on a real theme, logo, etc.

Some of the names I toy with include

  1. whall.us (I own)
    Possibly more appropriate for commercial use, and short.
  2. offthewhall.com (do not own)
    This is probably the one I think about the most – easy to remember, easy to say, and it’s a .com.  It’s also related to what I would consider my blog – off the wall.  Plus I love Michael Jackson.
  3. whall.name and waynehall.name (I own)
    Very specific to my name.  However, I’m not sure about making my blog about my name.  There’s something to be said about using a theme and moniker instead of my actual name.
  4. whallify.com (I own)
    I’ve used the name ‘whallify’ for a long long time.  It’s a verb meaning “to whall”. 
  5. 4mon.com (I own)
    Short domain name, but totally unrelated to what my blog would be about.  It will probably be a domain I keep for intending to resell.
  6. bitemy.net (I own)
    Snarky.  Maybe I should give it to Hilly.
  7. firewhall.com (do not own)
    Short, easy to say, but not necessarily appropriate to the blog.

I want to open up the discussion – let me know what you think!

First question is – keep existing or change?  Second question is – if change, which one?

March
28
2008
2:58 pm
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In many cases, a good design is as important as the content.  You can take the lamest thing and wrap a snappy logo design around it, and it immediately gains appeal and possesses some sort of credibility, albeit superfluous.   Take the Spice Girls for instance.

Similarly, a fantastic idea shrouded in bad form or not marketed correctly might not ever get taken seriously.  Take Betamax for instance.

This concept of uplifting style above substance is one of humanty’s Big Flaws.  We do it all the time – commercials, religions, personal image, writing, products we buy, and portions of everything we can touch and see.  In today’s busy world, we naturally gravitate to the stylish because it’s simply too much work to sift through all the dirt and noise and actually discern the quality content from the crap that surrounds us.

When a thing can *mean* something significant (substance) and look fabulous doing it (style), you then have something worth your time.

But is substance and style enough?  I think not.  I think there is something to be said for functionality as well.  Although there is a saying that goes “anything worthwhile doing requires effort” it doesn’t mean we can’t make things easier on ourselves.

It is with these concepts in mind that I bring you…. The begbar.

announcing the begbar at the blog of whall

It’s conveniently placed above this and every post, right there at the top of the page.  The blog of whall now offers 24×7 begging.

It’s got the substance (pleas for help or assistance), it’s got the style (oooh, so suave and sexy!) and it’s got the functionality (it’s right there at the top and you just click on the item(s) you care about).

Most blogs have certain staples that hold them together – a header and footer, for example.  Most also sport various ‘bars’ like the sidebar, a navbar, a toolbar, a linkbar, and in some exceptional cases, an open bar (where is that link again?). I thought about calling this the “plea-bar” but I thought someone might make fun of it (plea bar again, anyone?)

I hereby populate my inaugural begbar with my latest lolacola submission beg for votes and my pepsistuff codes beg button.

“Help me… help you… help me.”

Visit the begbar and use it often. For the whall you save might be, well, me!

So, what do you beg for?

March
7
2008
9:57 am
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I let all the other bloggers do their “favorite posts from the previous year” posts in January.  Then I let February go by because it was short (and we need to be nice to the ones who are shorter than us).  So now it’s March and it seems like the PERFECT time for me to wax eloquent pimp myself out do a celebratory review of last year’s best posts (in the eyes of yours truly).

Normally, I’d say “without further ado,” but I actually have some more ado laying around, so I thought I’d ask a question of all of you.  Consider this my ado.

What issue is most polarizing for you in this year’s Presidential campaign?  IE, “I can’t vote for a candidate who (one issue)”. 

Ok, now back to my Year In Review.

In 2007, I started a “Stuff you don’t want to MISC” series, and here’s my first entry from June 17th, 2007.

Favorite Photo/Video from 2007

  • Post Secret – probably my favorite 2007 post – where I profess my love (and make a video) for Michael Jackson.
  • I need to be as cool as this guy – Greatest. GuitarHeroVideo. Ever.
  • Chuck Says… – where I combine my favorite Chuck Norris quotes with the “Chuck Says” graphic-creating website.
  • Zina – we got a new dog in June of 2007, but still miss Nitro.
  • Wayne-O-Shop series #1 – Man, I look REALLY good when my face is photoshopped onto a sexy man’s body…

Favorite One-Liners / Definitions

  • Pants – Top Star Wars lines improved by replacing a word with “pants” as in “I find your lack of pants disturbing”
  • Waynal – where I submitted and was denied by urban dictionary the ability to define my new term
  • Addiction – I outline Jaden’s addiction to the Binky and how we fought it.
  • Evolution vs Competition – yes, it’s a serious question.  How do we balance compassion and competition?

Favorite Revenge

  • Kitten War – about a guy’s revenge on a neighbor using his Internet connection.

Favorite Political Entries

Favorite Technical Entries

Favorite Nostalgic Entries

Favorite Polls

Favorite everything else

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 {
            background-image:url('images/gradiated-3.jpg');
            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!

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