I’ve been seriously banging my head against WordPress and the Connection theme the last few days, but I think I’m finally starting to get things into a solid form that I can comfortably move over to axodys.com. I’m definitely getting a better feel for the way WordPress templates work and I’ve been picking up some more PHP along the way too. I’ve had to delve into a couple different plugins to tweak a few things and make them work the way I wanted, but that wasn’t too painful. While the WordPress themes and their multiple template files can get a little hairy to deal with at times, I definitely like the plugin system because it’s really quite elegant.
The Technorati Tags plugin broke when I changed themes and it took me a while to figure out what I needed to do to repair it. Getting that plugin to work (and then work the way I preferred) ended up leading me into an investigation on automatic excerpts and replacement plugins. I ended up going with one called the_excerpt_reloaded because it had quite a few features I liked, but it did have one bug that I had to fix. I also switched the automatic more link from a
div tag to a
span tag because I wanted the link to be inline and that seemed to be the easiest way to go about it.
Update: I’ve now moved everything over to Axodys and it seems to be working fine. There are still a lot of little fixes to be done in the navbar and sidebar, but I think they can wait until tomorrow. Now that I think about it I will also need to place messages the old feeds alerting any subscribers to the changes. In the meantime everything is working well enough to go live. Let me know if you come across any major errors or problems. I’m planning on using comments a lot more than I have in the past.
Update: 2 Looks like something about the way I have comments configured is breaking my single post layout. I just turned comments off for this post to see if I can confirm my suspicions. If they are the problem I’ll wait until tomorrow to debug the issue.
Update: 3 It wasn’t the comments code. It was the way I was trying to refer to div and span tags above. I haven’t quite figured out a way to get WordPress to display html code with greater than and less than symbols showing without choking.
I made a little bit of progress on my theme modification project today, but I’ve still got some color tweaking to take care of before I’m anywhere near done. The original theme had a lot of green in it and I’m moving towards black and blues (as you can see from my header graphic) so that means a lot of tweaking. I wish I knew how to use The Gimp graphic a little better, but I guess that’s what practice like this is for. I did manage to its layers capabilities to my advantage already so that’s certainly something.
In other news I also installed a plugin that converts the WordPress interface into something more along the lines of MacOS X 10.4 Tiger. It works pretty well and I definitely prefer it to the default interface.
I was shocked to learn this morning that former Gonzaga player Ronny Turiaf was diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition. For a guy like Ronny that just exudes so much energy and exuberance on the court it seems incredible that he’s been doing it with a heart that could have given out at any time. While it makes me sad to think that he may not be able to play basketball any more, I’m relieved that they caught this early enough to make sure that another Hank Gathers type of tragedy could be avoided. Sure, Ronny is an exceptional player, but as the Gonzaga and Spokane communities discovered during his four years here, he’s an even more exceptional person. Even if he’s never able to lace up his shoes and take the hardwood again Ronny has an ample supply of all the things he needs to lead a successful life. Hopefully with proper medical care he can make sure it’s a long one as well.
I’ve pretty much decided on an Axodys migration/update approach where I will setup everything at wp.axodys.com, get everything to my liking, and then move all of the WordPress infrastructure over to axodys.com when it’s ready to go. At this point I have all of my old posts imported and I finished cleaning up and refactoring all my categories this morning. I’ve tried out a few different plugins and have technorati style tags working, but I’ve reached the point where I need to start figuring out the ins and outs of WordPress Theme creation/modification so I can really start customizing the look and feel of things.
One new thing that I want to do while I’m setting up the design that will ultimately become the new axodys.com is to figure out how to incorporate Google AdSense ads in an unobtrusive way. I actually got turned down the first time I applied for the service back when it debuted, but reapplied this week and was finally accepted. I’d heard that they had relaxed their acceptance policy a little bit since my first attempt and with guys making $10k a monthearning-a-six-figure-income-from-blogging/ off their blogs I decided it was time for me to see if I could get a piece of the action. I don’t have any illusions about making that kind of cash. At this point Axodys doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of traffic that is needed to generate significant monthly income and it isn’t doesn’t have a specific topic area, but AdSense seems worth experimenting with and if I can cover a portion of my hosting costs it will worth it.
My initial plan for putting AdSense into Axodys is going to be strictly at the archive page level. The front page and all feeds will continue to be ad free and will continue to feature posts in their entirety. I got this idea from Darren (who has a ton of good ideas on AdSense) over at problogger.net and it seems like a logical approach. Most of the traffic that could generate click-throughs on the ads come from google searches on specific topics that I’ve written related entries on and I don’t want to annoy the few loyal readers that I’ve been carrying with me these last 6+ years. Eventually as I get more familiar with WordPress, I may also look into having AdSense ads only begin appearing after the posts are a few days old.
Before I can get going with AdSense though it’s imperative that I get my new design figured out so I can begin implementing it. The default theme is nice, but it’s not quite what I’m looking for. Time to get cracking.
I guess this was on gawker.com a week ago, but I just read about it today. Apparently NBA League MVP Steve Nash was heading over to the outdoor court at Hudson River Park to shoot around a week or two ago, but then decided to join the pickup game that was already using the court. The funniest thing about the several pictures that someone captured with their camera phone is that Steve was clearly the tallest guy on the court. Anyway, good stuff on a guy that is currently one of my favorite NBA players.