The Next Generation Of Social Networking Sites

FaceSpace and MyBook are out, these badboys are in. I’ve stumbled across a few “social networking” sites over the past few days that are definitely worth a look or two from you, my loyal reader[s]:

  • Open Source Food: exchange recipes, have your own rated by your fellow man and drool over the quick pictures of the mouth-watering dishes your fellow geeks have whipped up.
  • Media Mythbusters: conservatives dedicated to collaboratively putting the lie to the Mainstream Media’s various spins and outright fabrications. Follow along on the MMM blog, too.
  • InviteShare: Down at the moment, but if you’re sick of scrounging for invites to invite-only betas like Skitch, GrandCentral, Pownce, etc., fear no more. Head over to InviteShare and request some beta lovin’ from those on the inside who will, in turn, earn a reputation for their invite generosity. Nifty idea.

Skitch Invites (5 Of ‘Em)

There’s a nifty new app out for the Mac called Skitch — it’s a bit hard to describe, but the demo video on the Skitch site does a decent job of doing so. Basically, it’s a screen capture/markup tool with a distinct Flickr, et al. aspect to it.
I managed to snag a beta invite and 5 extra invites, so if you’re interested in grabbing an advance copy, just leave a comment in the comments section of this post. First come, first served!

A Theme Tip For WordPress Theme Authors

NOTE: This tutorial is old and out of date and predates much of what is now state-of-the-art in the WordPress world. Instead of pursuing this method, check out One Design’s How to Create a WordPress Theme Options Page for an up-to-date take on creating theme options pages. I’ve removed the downloadable .zip file containing my old functions.php in order to remove confusion.

NOTE: The contents of this post may shift about a bit as time goes on. For some reason, the code-highlighting plugin I’m attempting to use isn’t working correctly. There may end up being some more code snippets that find their way into this post if I figure out what’s going wrong. Fixed it by moving to a different code-highlighting plugin. Dunno what the issue was, but it’s gone now.
For theme authors looking to customize their theme offerings with a fancy options/administration screen, functions.php is the place to start. By default, WordPress loads it whenever your theme is active — on the front page or on the back end. A brief discussion on the wp-hackers mailing list today prodded me to post the following code from the functions.php I’m including in Elbee Elgee (whenever I get around to releasing it, that is…). I took the guide offered by The Undersigned as a jumping-off point and added some nice tweaks. In particular, The Undersigned’s version only allowed for text and select form inputs — I wanted/needed more flexibility.
The file itself is fairly simple and almost self-documenting, but in the interests of full disclosure, I’ll comment upon it here:
1. I set the descriptive and short names of my theme at the head of the file.

$themename = "Elbee Elgee";
$shortname = "lblg";

Continue reading “A Theme Tip For WordPress Theme Authors”

Thunderbird 2.0: An Upgrade Well Worth Your Time

The Mozilla Foundation released Thunderbird 2.0 yesterday and, based upon my first 24 hours with it, I’d give it an unconditional thumbs-up.
Overall, it’s a much nicer experience than the previous version (1.5). It is faster, the interface is cleaner, it handles IMAP mailboxes far faster than before and it has a few nice new touches like:

  • Tags for categorizing your messages
  • Viewed message history and corresponding buttons allowing you to move back and forth between your recently-viewed messages just like you move between browser pages.

…and a ton more that I’m sure I’m forgetting at this point.
Needless to say, if you’re not slaving away under the fierce whip of one of the various flavors of Outlook, you need to start using Thunderbird 2.0. Stat.

Toast 8 Titanium: A Review In Brief

Toast 8.
To put it bluntly: Roxio’s Toast 8 Titanium rocks.
My team lead put in for a couple of copies of Toast 8 shortly after it was announced at Mac World and we have been enjoying them ever since. While it is, at base, a program for burning CDs, DVDs and now Blu Ray discs, version 8 adds a lot of functionality that makes Toast Titanium an ideal hub for all of your multimedia tasks.
Toast 8While the TiVoToGo functionality is perhaps the most ballyhooed addition, I think the video transcoding capabilities are far more exciting. You can create traditional data discs, useful for backing up data otherwise stored on hard disk or audio discs suitable for play in any CD player. You can also burn video discs from very nearly any video media type – DVDs, VideoCDs, Super VideoCDs and even DivX Discs. The transcoding engine behind these burning capabilities also allows one to convert any supported video type to one suitable for use on your video iPod, PSP or any other hand-held video player.
I have been taking full advantage of this ability, as I am sadly over a full season behind on my Battlestar Galactica and thus have been converting the unwatched DivX AVIs I have laying about into iPod-ready .m4v’s. I am then able to transfer them to my iPod and catch up on BSG at a rate of roughly two episodes per day. I should be just about caught up within 20 days or so, barring unforeseen interruptions.
Is the package worth the $80 Roxio charges for it? I’m not quite sure about that. There are ways to accomplish each and every one of Toast’s capabilities with free alternatives (Burn and Mencoder come to mind immediately…) and I could see $80 as being a very steep price for a home user. When it comes right down to it, it’s a very attractive package for managing all of your media that’s worth the money as long as someone else is doing the buying. *grin*

Friday Link Dump, July 7th, 2006

I’m thinking I may make this a regular feature, as it helps me get the links on the virtual page and off my tab bar.

  1. The 10 Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette. Sounds like a good start to me.
  2. Top 20 Blog Designs, plus Part Two of the series, making it the Top 40, I guess…
  3. Alt fuels/kicking our dependence on hydrocarbons – no silver bullet, but is one really necessary?
  4. The breakdown of modern webdesign – with handy pie charts!
  5. Nuke tests in the Nevada desert apparently were so intense that they illuminated Los Angeles’ skyline at points. Wild.
  6. The Logos of Web 2.0 – for all you graphic design geeks out there.
  7. Web 2.0 design tutorials – ’nuff said.


  1. Launchy, like Quicksilver, only for Windows.


  1. You Are A Pirate. That’s the stuff of nightmares right there, kiddies.


  1. USB-powered Nerf missile launcher.
  2. Mini radio-controlled helicopter.
  3. Radio-controlled flying boat. You simply have to watch the demonstration video.
  4. The Mug of vi References. I need one of those for those early morning config file edits, I tell you whut.

Klaatu! Verata! Necktie… Nectar… Nickel…

Well, it looks as if I can put a stop to my pursuit of a Grand Army of the Undead, as I finally brought Oracle to heel this morning.
And all it took was 20 hours of research on Google, a maraton session on Metalink, an application of an Oracle patch or three, 45 minute runs of catpatch.sql, catalog.sql and catnools.sql and a sprinkling of goats’ blood.
Okay, I made that last part up. I’m moving everything to Postgres as soon as I can.