Archive for October, 2009
Gmail for Mobile has been re-designed with speed, usability and basic offline support for iPhone and Android devices. For example, smart links take long URLs and use names instead of the link text. So instead of something like http://www.example.com/2009/10/01/using-artichokes-as-paper-weights/ you could change the link to say Using Atrtichokes as Paper Weights.
Android allows developers to make their own apps for Android devices, but also allows Google to roll out features and improvements more quickly. The screenshot below is taken from the original Google post (What’s new with Gmail on iPhone and Android). See also video below.
The Gmail blog today posted another security-related article as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Of the 5 security tips in their Gmail account security tips the only one that causes me any pause is tip 3, Enable “Always use HTTPS.” Any of my friends would tell you that I’m a “Google Freak” and this blog will backs that up pretty well.
Here’s my issue with the Enable “Always use HTTPS” feature, just take a trip to Gmail Help’s “Enabling the HTTPS setting” and read the yellow warning box at top. Call me spoiled, but I don’t want any problems with Gmail Notifier (patch available here), Gmail for Mobile application (if you have a new enough version a workaround is posted here, at the cost of speed), or my Google Toolbar (a minor issue you can read about here).
With that one exception I heartily recommend the security tips, and in case you missed the link, you should read Gmail account security tips for all 5 tips!
MORE GMAIL RESOURCES
Even though Darren Hoyt talked about it in his Exploring WordPress Frameworks and Child Themes post, I missed the point that you can override more than the CSS file using Child Themes. According to WordPresss.com’s Theme Development article you can go to your parent theme’s folder (at /wp-content/themes/yourparenttheme/) and copy any of those template files into your Child Theme’s folder and edit it, and that will override the parent theme’s file.
Additionally (as of WordPress 2.7), the child theme may contain template files, which can be selected in the admin panel as normal, and will override the parent’s template files where those possess the same name.
For example, if you want to edit the header and you are using Thematic (folder = /thematic) and your Child Theme is called My Theme (folder = /mytheme) you can copy /wp-content/themes/thematic/header.php to /wp-content/themes/mytheme/header.php and any edits you make will show up on your blog because WordPress (as of v2.7) will check for template files in your Child Theme folder before looking for your Parent Theme’s template files.
With WordPress Child Themes you can…
- build websites more quickly with more flexibility than “traditional” sites
- use WordPress as a CMS
- gives your clients the capability to edit their own sites
- more easily develop websites that are HTML and CSS compliant with less work than custom “traditional” sites
- re-design, skin or add different functionality to themes you like but are missing “something”
- make your own WordPress theme without starting from scratch
Skinning WordPress, or using Child Themes is something I’ve just discovered at work, although its been a hot topic for some time now. I’ve kept a suspicious eye on using blogs to build websites because I didn’t want to have to learn how to make a WordPress theme myself to avoid endlessly re-uploading updates after new WordPress releases. In the past if you made customization to a theme, when you upgrade the theme you would lose your work. Or, you had to make sure to keep local copies and upload them after upgrading the theme so your customization would be in tact. WordPress Child Themes does away with that, and two products I’ve read about help you Skin your WordPress blog… safely.
The first is called Mimbo Pro which carries a price, although Mimbo is a free version. The second is Ian Stewart’s Thematic – a WordPress Theme Framework that makes it easy to implement WordPress Child Themes.
Okay, I probably won’t use this feature but this isn’t just MY blog, its for readers in the blogosphere and I’m sure some of you will jump on this feature.
If someone sends you an email with a Google Doc link you can preview it in Gmail.
Above is the screenshot from the original Gmail Blog post, and as you can see there are 2 Googe Docs links, with pretty cool options for previewing. If you click Show preview it will show the preview in a space right below the link itself, right on your email! If you prefer, just click Open in a new window and you get the same view as if you’d opened the document directly from Google Docs.
Recently I made a critical error editing one of my blog’s files – I forgot to download the file before editing it, then uploaded my changes and it took my entire blog down. Needless to say I was upset with myself because I knew better, but I called GoDaddy hoping they could restore my site or file for me, and hoping it wouldn’t cost much or take too much time.
The tech support operator ran me through their procedure on restoring a file or folder using the GoDaddy File Manager. I was able to select the day before I changed the file, and download it, back it up (this time), apply my edits and my blog was down for less than 20 minutes (about 10 minutes of that time was spent running around like a headless chicken while my wife and girls looked at me as if I had just landed on the planet).
So, if you delete a file or folder by accident, forget to download a file before editing it and permanently lose your work, remember GoDaddy’s File Restore and get your stuff back. Thanks GoDaddy!
How do you get your blog to stop replacing your regular quotes (the HTML entity ") with fancy/curly quotes? Here’s what worked for me, with links below to 2 other posts where I started me out.
First, according to Otto42 in the WordPress community when you are writing posts the fancy/curly quotes are applied through a filter called “the_content”. So go to wp-includes/default-filters.php and make a backup before editing it! If you upload an older version of this file you may end up with a 500 Internal Server Error and have to call GoDaddy to fix it while your wife looks at you like you are from another planet.
Below is the code you want to change and what to replace it with…
Upload your edited wp-includes/default-filters.php and you should not have any more fancy/curly quotes. There are plugins to do this, but I like to minimize using them and I am comfortable making edits like this.
While I was editing I decided it would be pretty useful if people adding code in comments could do the same so here’s another change to make that happen:
Wordpress – What does wptexturize do?
Are you looking for a way to post a page that you DO NOT want the search engines to index? The code is very simple, but also keep in mind its not a guarantee your page will not be picked up by a search engine because some will ignore the tag, but for most of your work this should do the trick, especially for temporary content.
Obviously, this META tag should be used like others in the head (META tag info)
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>