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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 know a number of bloggers do bullet fridays or bullet sundays, but I do Stuff You Don’t  Want To MISC

WordPress upgrade

I upgraded my blog to the latest released version of WordPress, 2.8.  The upgrade itself went fine (took about 1.5 minutes), but it appears most of the plugins I happen to use cause problems. 

This may make my blog slightly more unreadable than normal.

Most of them cause my dashboard to not display everything that it should.  Take a look here at a before and after:

Some of the plugins make half the page disappear, like above, and others make the entire page disappear.  Even others cause the plugins page to completely fail with Internal Server error 500.

I’m hoping the plugin developers take note and update their plugins.


Last night brought a severe thunderstorm, tornados, hail and all to our area.  For most people, this is not too big of a deal, but in our case it’s a little harder to deal with.  For these reasons:

  1. My wife is still recovering from knee surgery and therefore only has one good leg to use.
  2. My daughter had an MRI Arthogram on her ankle/foot late yesterday afternoon and was on crutches from that procedure.
  3. We live in a double-wide, so high winds by any name usually bring a deep concern

Fortunately, we have nearby relatives in a “real” house, so that’s our place of refuge when events like this occur.  We even heard the tornado sirens in the neighborhood a couple of times.  Had I thought to move the family over about 10 minutes earlier than I did, I would have missed the sheets of rain and hail pelleting me as I moved them out of the house and into the car. 

I was pretty thankful for the umbrella I used, which deflected most of the hail from hitting us in the heads.  Most.

We came back home around 1am after everything died down and we were certain we could move without angering the skies.

Trillian Astra

Not only did I upgrade WordPress, I also upgraded my Trillian multi-protocol chat client from Trillian Pro 3.0 to Trillian Astra.  Astra is the code name for trillian 4.0, and it’s been in Beta for 2+ years.  I’ve been on some form of IM for more than 10 years, so I’ve collected a number of accounts.  Trillian has had it’s issues in the past (for me, it’s usually be CPU-related) but has been a great sidekick for me while I go about my heroic duties in life.

So far, I’d say Astra has everything good that the old version had, and adds some very neat new features.

The interface is pretty slick, too:


Some of the new features it adds that I’m excited about is facebook updates and twitter.  I like that it integrates with Google Talk a little better than before as well.  It also seems faster than the old version.  I went ahead and upgraded my Trillian Pro status for $10 (gets some more features).  Seems more fitting for my Windows 7 system.

Best of LOLcats

One of these is for Confab attendees.  🙂  Can you guess which?







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.

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.


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!

    tsk tsk

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