Archive for the ‘WordPress.com’ Category

WordPress Duotone Theme

January 4, 2010

I’ve been looking at a new theme (visual design) for this blog. WordPress recently released a theme that’s designed for bloggers like me who like to post a lot of photographs. They call it Duotone. You can read about it here.

WordPress Duotone Theme Test

WordPress Duotone Theme Test

Duotone has some differences from the design I was using:

  1. It changes the background colour of the page based on the colours in the first photo on the page. That’s very clever!
  2. It displays the EXIF information (aperture, focal length, ISO speed, shutter speed and camera model) for the photo in a special panel in the margin. This only works for pictures I’ve uploaded to WordPress, not for pictures I link to, such as from Flickr.
  3. It shows one post per page – thus each page can have a different colour depending on the photo.
  4. It puts the widgets I had in the right sidebar at the bottom of the page.

Isn’t CSS wonderful? WordPress themes are an excellent demonstration of the power of separating presentation from content. I did not change any of the content of the blog to use Duotone.

I changed my test blog http://bkkphotographerstest.wordpress.com/ to use Duotone. I posted some pictures in three new test posts to see the colours Duotone would choose. Please take a look and tell me what you think in a comment. Thanks!

Crowdscience User Surveys

November 23, 2009

I’m frustrated! I found out about a free (the Bangkok Frugal Photographer likes free) service that can survey visitors to this site. I found it through a link in an article I was reading on Google Reader. I thought it would be good to learn more about my visitors. All I know is the gross number from my WordPress statistics and the city / country they are from. The latter comes from my Feedjit widget.

So I went to the Crowdscience web site and set up an account. It was pretty simple – the usual stuff including an email validation. Then I told it about this blog. You can have multiple sites under one Crowdscience account.

Crowdscience Survey

Finally Crowdscience gave me the code to embed in every page that I want to generate a random request to take their survey. BUT …

It was a reference to a JavaScript provided by Crowdscience. I knew at once that WordPress would have nothing to do with it “for security reasons”. Just like my Picasa Web embedded slide shows. And so it didn’t – and I could not find any workarounds on the Crowdscience web site.

Once again Crowdscience needs to work with WordPress to get a special embed code as Picapp and a few others did. I wasted a whole 15 minutes of my valuable time to find that out!

I feel another Mr. Fredrickson moment coming on.

Geotagging My Posts

November 14, 2009

I just signed up for a new WordPress feature that lets me geotag my blog posts and comments.

I’m a fan of geotagging all the pictures I take and even trying to geotag other interesting pictures I find so this is a natural extension.

I have updated my user profile on WordPress to include the approximate location of my apartment in the Din Deang district of Bangkok. The Thai word “ชานเมือง” below is “Chanmuang” – a road close to the apartment. It’s not the mailing address but it is close enough.

My WordPress Location

My WordPress Location

I can disable that location being stored for each post. That’s most use for somebody posting from a mobile device. I am old-fashioned and generally post from my computer at home.

I don’t think there is anything to prevent me from lying about my location.

When you edit your user page WordPress can try to detect your location automatically. It failed in my case even though I responded Yes to a request from Firefox to allow the request.

My little Feedjit widget is good at locating my location-based on my IP Address (at least to the granularity of “Bangkok, Thailand”).

I do not see any concern about revealing the approximate location on my apartment on my photos or my blog posts. I live in a large apartment block guarded by aggressive Thai security professionals.

Apartment SecurityIf anybody takes exception to one of my posts then they won’t be able to get near me. I am usually cautious about privacy. If I lived in a single family home I would be more reticent.

WordPress says that the geocoding is not human-readable yet. I think they are hoping that lots of their bloggers will register their locations. Then they’ll be able to launch some more interesting services as they explain on their help page here.

I guess they’ll only add geocoding to posts made after I enabled it. This will be the first one. I looked at the page source to find out what all this talk about

Geotagged posts getting marked up with the geo microformat, geo.position and ICBM meta tags, and GeoRSS and W3C geodata in feeds. All of this stuff is “machine readable”, not “human readable”; it’s hidden from view.

entailed. I found two new tags at the very end of the header:

<meta name='geo.position' content='13.769588;100.569959' />
<meta name='ICBM' content='13.769588, 100.569959' />

I can’t keep up with all these acronyms. I found out that the ICBM tag isn’t directly related to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles but is a reference to the GeoURL service. However, historically there is a connection: see here.

If I get people from Flickr or Nikon showing up outside the apartment because I’ve said bad things about them I will only have myself to blame.

WordPress Annoyance – Embedded Slide Shows

November 10, 2009

I use Picasa Web to store a lot of my pictures. Many times I want to include them in a post in this blog. It is easy to link to pictures or to an entire album.

For example, here’s a link to some photos I took last year of the band at SuanLum Night Bazaar in Bangkok:

Suan-Lum Night Bazaar, Bangkok

But Picasa Web has another feature: you can embed a live Flash slide show of an album in a your blog. I wanted to do this for some pictures of Bang Sue Railway Station.

Picasa Web makes it as easy as possible with a screen that includes code you copy and paste into the HTML view of the post you’re writing.

It gives you some options for size, auto play and whether to include captions.

 

PicasaWeb SildeShow Embed

PicasaWeb SildeShow Embed

But WordPress.com does not permit that. You can paste the HTML into your page but the WordPress preprocessor strips it out without even a warning.

 

Similarly I tried embedding a search tool for aviation photos from the well-known site Airliners.net. But WordPress would not allow it. I’m surprised they trust me enough to embed simple links in my blog.

I know why WordPress.com does it. They want to be safe for both blog authors and viewers. There are so many cases of people using such embedding tools to distribute malware. I bet it even happens that an innocent blog author has been persuaded to embed something bad in her blog with disastrous consequences.

And of course WordPress.com is free so any bad person can sign up.

But still it is annoying for the huge majority of bloggers who are just trying to share information from one site to another. It’s sad when one big company (WordPress) cannot find a way to trust content and tools provided by another (Picasa Web is of course from Google). Surely they could work together to ensure that what I’ve embedded is a valid slide show?