Stuff I Learned On The Internet[s], Recent History Edition

People approach me and say “Doug, we haven’t seen you post recently. What have you been learning on the Internet these last two weeks that you haven’t been posting?”*
I learned that Matt Mullenweg started WordPress partially of a desire to help out his church.
I learned that one does not mess with Finns named Simo Häyhä, particularly if one is Russian.
I learned that Guy Ritchie is making a “Michael Bay version” of “Sherlock Holmes” (“I command ‘Sherlock Holmes’ to be awesome“):

I learned that Ted Vigilante is the single best superior court judge name ever and that he will likely have to be played by Chuck Norris, should a made-for-TV movie ever be produced based solely upon his name.
I learned that Sen. Jim “R0xx0r Your S0xx0rs” DeMint is not afraid to drop the XML Bomb on his crotchety Senate colleagues. (I also learned he desperately needs a new headshot that doesn’t make him look like a goober.)
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A Bountiful Link-Filled Catch-Up

I am fully cognizant of my delinquent blogging — apologies all around. I’ve been in full recovery mode since taking the redeye from SFO to PHL on Friday night. Short observations on that flight? Sucked like a brand-new Dyson 07 with the full pet hair kit. Stupid US Airways.
In exchange for my previous silence, please accept this surplus of links.
This is my kind of math: 1 rainy/icy racetrack + multiple expensive race cars + a massive pileup = millions of USD/GBP in damage, 0 fatalities. Nice.
WordPress converts aplenty: Michelle Malkin moved from an On’B MT-powered site to a brand-spankin’ WordPress one. Jeff Goldstein dumped Emotion Engine for WordPress, while Fred Thompson’s official blog was built from the ground-up using WP.
iPhone-tailored apps (read: websites for the iPhone’s tiny Safari browser) have already started hitting the streets, thus an aggregation site was nigh-inevitable, of course.
The Payback Project — stickin’ it to sucka GOP Senatorz that be all “We’ll vote to let the illegals ignore our laws ’cause then they’ll totally vote for us. Or maybe their kids will.” “Teach the GOP to respect their base again — the hard way” — fo’ sheezy.
Speaking of “fo’ sheezy”: Geek bling keyboard rings. To paraphrase a certain incarcerated celebrity heiress: “That’s Ctrl-Alt-Del hot.”
Life as a videogame character? It has its plusses and minuses.
LOLCODE: taking both the lolcats meme and programming where both probably ne’er should have ventured. LOLBOTS, on the other hand, is the utlimate incarnation of the joke.
John Hodgman as Steve Jobs in the intro to WWDC last week:

Speaking of WWDC, I posted my crappy cameraphone pics from the conference over at my Zooomr page.
Can’t forget the transforming Transformers cosplayers:

Airport Blogging

WWDC, baby.
I’m sitting in PHL waiting for my flight to arrive and ferry me off to Apple’s WWDC ’07 and must admit to a good deal of excitement. Not only am I going to get to attend my first Stevenote (one that should include iPhone and Leopard info aplenty) but, as Matt Mullenweg mentioned, I’ll be attending the bbPress meetup Monday night as well. I’m psyched to get to meet Matt and a few of the people behind the bbPress project.
Heck, I may even attempt a liveblog of the keynote. Might as well — when next will I get a chance to do this again?
SIDENOTE: This Verizon Rev A EVDO card continues to r0xx0r my s0xx0rs. Too cool.

Super Link Fighter II: Ultra Hyper Mega Championship Tab Dump Edition

My browsers on each and every machine I have access to have been collecting open tabs like some hideously geeky HTTP-fueled version of Garbage Pail Kids/M.U.S.C.L.E. figurines/Pogs/[insert some other non-Pokemon hackneyed pop cultural reference here] and so, in order to unburden myself fully, I offer the following compendium of links. Consider it some sort of bizarre Internet confessional, wherein you, my loyal readers, bear witness to my hideously packrat-ish collection of links aggregated over too long a time.
Click through, if you dare – there are some real gems, I assure you.
The format goes: [Machine] – [Browser], FYI.
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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";

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Descartes, De Horses And Jumping The Gun

Jump… to conclusions!It looks as though I may have spoken too soon yesterday. Owen has posted his thoughts on the [dis]continuation of the Philly WordPress Meetup — I probably should have solicited his honest opinions before posting as I did.
I can definitely sympathize with Owen’s concerns — it stinks to be coming in from out at the end of the Main Line for a relatively dismal turnout of people that are looking to talk about something you have little interest in at this point. I like his notion of a BarCamp-esque mega Meetup — it definitely has some potential. However, I see value in pursuing the monthly WP meetups and I certainly would like to see them continue.
I do think that Owen has been one of the most outspoken critics of the WordPress development process thus far and so his “API shifting every 90 days” comment is certainly coming from a position of knowledge. I would temper that comment, though, with some hope. In a recent discussion on the wp-hackers mailing list, a large chunk of code committed by Matt Mullenweg was deemed to be a bad direction for WP to head. He was voted down on the list by the vast majority of users and the other SVN committers, leading to the delay of WP version 2.2 and a stripping of said code from the 2.2 branch of WordPress. An alternative was suggested by Ryan Boren, one that had a great deal of flexibility and future-proofing built in. It was actually pretty amazing to watch in action. Matt has previously gotten a bit of a rap as a unilateralist when it comes to WordPress development. Whether this reputation is deserved is left up to the reader, but the WP community is slowly but surely getting to a good development model. Many of the concerns that Owen and the others associated with Habari have had about WP development are slowly but surely being worked out. Here’s to hoping that the trend continues.
I guess it comes down to this: I’m once again excited about the directions that WordPress is heading and really want to continue meeting with others that will be similarly excited.

A Call To Philadelphia WordPressers

Philly Skyline
Those of you that have attended Philadelphia WordPress Meetups in the past were probably notified by the folks over at Meetup that Owen Winkler has stepped down as the Philly WP organizer. This makes a good deal of sense, seeing as he has moved the bulk of his efforts over to Habari these days and thus isn’t exactly in the best position to be heading the WP Meetup.
I want to continue the Philly WP Meetup tradition and, although I haven’t been to one in a bit, it would be a shame to see it peter out. However, I am loathe to pay Meetup $19/month for the “privilege” of organizing these events and so I want to throw this discussion out to the entire Philly WP community. Should we stick with and pay their fees (looks like the Philadelphia Bloggers Meetup will continue using Meetup) or should we strike out for other alternatives? (I’ve taken the liberty of reserving a group over at Upcoming which appears to have the distinct advantage of being free) Or should we simply merge with the Philly Bloggers Meetup group and forget the whole thing? Is there an advantage to maintaining a separate group or has the time passed for that?
I’d really hate to lose the group, but we obviously need buy-in from a substantial number of bloggers for any effort to work. I welcome any thoughts, opinions or suggestions that anyone may have.

‘Scuse The Mess

I took the plunge and upgraded Literal Barrage to WordPress 2.1 on Thursday/Friday. I’ve been slowly picking away at the transition, re-enabling plugins, moving old artwork, etc. over. I know there are a bunch of things that still don’t work correctly: contact form, archives and a lot of my old images among them. If you notice any issues, please drop a comment on this story.
Thus far, 2.1 seems to be all-around faster and better put-together than previous versions of WordPress. For those of you following along with my theme development, I’ve moved Elbee to “beta 2” status. Things are progressing nicely (you can follow along with development without even leaving this page – the RSS feed down at the bottom shows the last few Subversion commits that I’ve made on the project).
Note to my hosted sites (Brad, AndyOne and Andy II, I’m looking in your direction particularly): Now’s the time to speak up as to whether you’d like to move from your existing 2.0.x installs to 2.1. (There’s another alternative as well – best email me so we can talk it out…).