New WordPress Twitter Badge Plugin!

After coming across this nifty little Twitter Badge at Techie-Buzz while reading a Google Chrome OS article, I realized how cool their little Twitter link was and I instantly new it was going to be on kyleabaker.com as well. 😀

wp-twitterbadge-01

After a quick look at the source code of the page, I had decided to build a quick plugin for WordPress to insert the same code. So the plugin process began.

I didn’t want to hard code it into the footer of my K2 theme, because I frequently update to the latest K2 theme nightly builds. This way would save me a lot of trouble and even make this neat little Twitter Badge available to thousands. And so…WP-TwitterBadge was born.

wp-twitterbadge-02

I traced the code back to an embeded script from go2web20.net and realized how n00b friendly this script would have been to install anyway even without an easier plugin to install it for you, but the fact that it would save me time in the future was well worth it.

Basically, if you’re not using the WordPress plugin, you just link the script and set a few variables. This made it very easy to make it customizable as well!

Just mimicking their own setup page, I was able to make a quick Options page featuring a live preview (as all of my plugins have so far 😉 ). I even coded the preview with way less script than they used on their own page since extreme error checking is really not needed (everything is live so you can see the problems there).

wp-twitterbadge-03

At a rate of 20-30+ new downloads per hour I would say that this plugin is by far my most favored project…considering that it hasn’t been reviewed yet (no trackbacks thus far) by anyone whereas others already have.

If you’d like to checkout this little Twitter Badge on your own site, just head over to the plugin page or search for “WP-TwitterBadge” from your “Add New Plugins” page in WordPress and install it from there. If you like it, pass it on!

Install Boxee in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty x86_64

After coming across details regarding Boxee and the extended number of sources that it can pull videos from, I just had to give it a test drive.

First of all, Boxee is a media player that is being developed for multiple platform use. It’s not restricted to videos and is able to stream music from Pandora as well as Last.fm.

One of the first things that I noticed upon registering for Boxee (which is free) was that it is currently only available for Mac and Ubuntu. A Windows version is in development, however, it’s not currently possible to get an install of the alpha/beta Windows builds.

To further disappoint me just a bit, I found that the installers for Ubuntu were for 32-bit machines only. fortunately there is that geeky thing you can do called “force-architecture” or “force-all”. 😛

boxee

After using my online best friend (Google) I was able to come across several guides for installing Boxee on Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit. Some of them were correct and some of them weren’t. Some of them were scattered and unorganized and…well…none of them were pathetically easy to follow.

That’s why you’re here. 😉

If you want to install Boxee on Ubuntu 32-bit, just follow the installation instructions provided after registering. If you’re installing in Ubuntu 64-bit (Jaunty Jackalope I might add) then please continue.

Installation

  1. Install “getlibs-all” by downloading it from here and double clicking to install or by copy/pasting the following terminal commands. (More details about getlibs here).
    wget http://frozenfox.freehostia.com/cappy/getlibs-all.deb
    sudo dpkg -i getlibs-all.deb
  2. wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/jaunty/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
  3. zcat Packages.gz | grep Filename
  4. Make sure that the bold part in the following command matches the file name from the above command (ignoring the jaunty and intrepid folder differences).
    wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/intrepid/test/binary-i386/boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  5. sudo dpkg -i –force-all boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
    sudo dpkg -i –force-architecture boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  6. The following command may take some time to complete, however, be patient and wait for getlibs to prompt you whether or not to install additional libraries to make Boxee work on your machine. Be sure to answer yes or y. 😉
    getlibs /opt/boxee/Boxee
  7. sudo apt-get install lib32nss-mdns

After being patient and completing these (honestly) few steps, you should be able to launch Boxee from the application menu and start enjoying some Internet videos!

For further reading or more detailed/technical instructions please see the source thread of this process.

Also, for the record, Netflix Watch Instantly does not work in Boxee for Ubuntu as far as I can tell (due to the lack of DRM support).

I hope I’ve been able to help in some way. Best of luck with Boxee!

WordPress Plugin WP-UserAgent 0.8

I’ve just updated WP-UserAgent to version 0.8, covering a lot of ground over the past few days. As I’m working to reach a stable and solid 1.0 release, I’m also working towards a feature complete plugin.

Version 0.8 offers support for detecting ~90 different web browsers and ~35 different operating systems (counting each version of windows).

wp-useragent-0-8-img1

Easy access to WP-UserAgent settings is worked right into the Plugins page. No more need to search for options to edit!

Once you find the options page, you’ll find a cleaned up look and feel, along with a real-time preview of how your changes will appear.

wp-useragent-0-8-img2

If you’re in need of a cool geeky WordPress plugin, why not give WP-UserAgent a shot? It’s an interesting way to find out a few details about your subscribers and other visitors!

Find out more details, changelogs and downloads on the official WP-UserAgent plugin page.

xbtit is the newest site addition

I’ve been curious for a while about the option of offering projects and other various downloads here at kyleabaker.com via BitTorrent.

If you want to take a look at the torrent section, just continue on over to kyleabaker.com/torrents and browse through!

I’m still in the process of posting my content to it, but its there if you need it!

Installing xbtit was straight forward and simple. It took a little searching to find the settings that I needed to make it open to the public. Otherwise everyone would have needed a user name and password to access it…annoying.

I think the layout is poorly mapped out and cluttered in the Administrative Panel, but xbtit doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention as WordPress either.

While configuring the default style so that the torrent section integrates with the rest of my k2 theme, I realized how poorly parts of the BitTorrent user interface were coded and html was hard coded into the some none theme files.

If you plan to make sure that your site passes W3C validation, then be prepared for a lot of time wasted on debugging.

WordPress 2.7.1 Released

A revision update to WordPress 2.7 has been released today with 68 fixed tickets!

As usual I immediately upgraded my version of WordPress. The upgrade is now as simple as Clicking an upgrade button and ta-da!

If you want to upgrade your version of WordPress 2.7 to 2.7.1, then just open your WordPress admin section. Under the “Tools” menu you will find an “Upgrade” option. Click “Upgrade” and on the next page just click to automatically upgrade!

It is still suggested that you backup your database, however, I ran into no problems during my upgrade process and the entire upgrade took approximately 5 seconds.

For those of you using a version of WordPress prior to 2.7, you will not have the luxury of a built-in automatic update, but you can still use a plugin to automatically upgrade for you. Just make sure to deactivate the plugin later if you intend to use the built-in upgrade tool in the future, otherwise you will see a message similar to the following when attempting to upgrade:

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class pclzip in /../wp-admin/includes/class-pclzip.php on line 171

Enjoy the easy upgrade tool and WordPress 2.7.1!

NC State ACM/AITP Website Update

I just finished (or reached the publishing or pushing live step) the update to the NC State ACM/AITP website.

The improvements over the previous design are pretty drastic when it comes to user interface and ease of use.

I ended up going with a K2 theme for Drupal since I’m such a big fan, but it just didn’t seem right for the site at first. I ended up going through and modifying a great deal of a barely and poorly done version that I came across online so I had to finish up most of it myself, but that just allowed for making it suit my (read ‘our’…for the club) needs.

acm-aitp-site-upgrade-2009

After working with the html and tweaking it hardcore until I got it clean so it passes HTML Validation inspection it was time to tweak the CSS.

This became a breeze with Opera’s Dragonfly developer tools. I was able to select an element and tweak the style sheet live so I could see real-time results. After making an adjustment it’s as simple as updating the actual stylesheet.

After tweaking the style almost obsessively for hours the first day I decided it was time for a break. It wasn’t long before I got back into the groove the next day and finished it up (for the time being).

I really have to say that I am in love with Dragonfly now. I’ve used Firebug in the past and to be honest I’ve never been a Firefox fanboy…it’s a good browser, but it’s not pushing standards support at the rate that I want and Opera is just better at a lot of the things that I use and need from a browser… anyways, I got used to Firebug a while back and Dragonfly vs. Firebug isn’t a fair competition because the both are still very different, but I find Dragonfly being easier to use ever second compared to Firebug.

After getting the code working it was time to push the update. As a result, the NC State ACM/AITP club now has a much friendlier outlet on the web!

Now I have the pleasure of tackling any smaller issues such as stylesheet problems. 😀 Updating the content will now be much less of a pain now that it can be updated directly from the browser for most everything.

Major Server Side Organization

I got to do a little reorganizing today since my downloads folder was getting extremely disorganized and crazy.

I cleaned up the hierarchy levels a great deal and simplified several levels, so overall it was a successful clean up.

Most links that were updated were various download links to Opera skins, widgets and other Opera related downloads.

However, please let me know if you come across a broken link. I did my best to update all links to files that were changed, however, as I am human I am prone to error. 😛

YouTube Ads

As you may have noticed already, YouTube has started rolling a few ads in some of the videos.

My first experience with these new ads came with a music video by Akon:

They aren’t really that obtrusive, but they are a little annoying after a little while. I mean, you’re there to watch the video right? Not to have it partially cut off by an advertisement that you couldn’t care less about. 😛

Unfortunately it seems as though the Internet is turning to ads more and more for videos and radio. Recently Pandora began streaming advertisements on their radio channels which were once pure music.

Obviously they must find a profitable strategy, but it’s sad to see that the Internet’s advertising is now worse than television advertising.

Personally, I’ve made an effort to keep all of my websites advertising free. I believe in clean and clear designs and that leaves no room for advertisements. They not only seem to hurt visitor counts and hits, but also destroy the overall appearance of your site.

Hopefully a cleaner alternative will find it’s way into our Internet in the near future. If not then we can always rely on our browser ad blockers. 😛

A Brand New Google Favicon

I’m not sure how long this has been online, but tonight I noticed an updated Google favicon. –> google-icon

google-favicon

If you’re unsure of what I’m talking about, the favicon is the little icon that you see in your browser’s address bar or in the tab.

I’m assuming that the change is an effort to reinforce the branding of the Google Chrome browser which has a very similar looking application icon.

From a design perspective I have to say, well done Google!

My One Year Anniversary With Netflix

As you can tell from the goofy title, I’ve been with Netflix for one year now!

I must say that I’ve loved the service! I use the Watch Instantly feature daily and get two in the postal mail every 3-4 days!

I recommend it to all of my friends if you don’t have it already. If you’re even the slightest bit tech savvy then you’ll also find that it’s easy to stream movies from Watch Instantly to your television!

My laptop has an S-Video out and my television at home has an S-Video in. If you’re not sure what S-Video is then here’s an image.

s-video-port s-video-cable

The image on the left is the port that you should look for on your television and computer, while the image on the right is the cable that connects the two. You can click on the images to view a larger version.

The only problem that some of you may run into after getting the two connected is figuring out how to switch the computer view to an output source. I won’t go into too much detail on that since there will be far too many computers and layouts for me to cover, but simply put there is typically a button on your keyboard up on the top row that will toggle output sources. You may need to use a key combination such as the function key and the output source key which for me is Fn+F4.

I hope that helps and for those of you who suddenly realized the potential of Netflix (and other video sources such as Hulu), I hope your on your way to streaming more. 😉