The New Theme, Version 2

Slight modifications are made for a more pleasing experience

While I enjoyed the new theme overall, one thing was nagging at me as I went to bed last night – the padding around the menu, header, and site identity took up WAAAAAAY too much space. So I made the menu more nested to make it appear on the right as it does in the example site for the theme. I might need to make a few more tweaks to that to make sure certain pages are surfaced rather than hidden.

I’m still not 100% sold on my header. Since this theme allows logos in addition to headers, that might be the way I fix what I don’t like about the header. We’ll see.

Finally, I added my blog to my Tiny Tiny RSS newsreader. It sucks. Some images and galleries don’t appear. It doesn’t follow any of the themes. In general I recommend coming to the site instead of reading in RSS. Not yet sure how well it looks when it’s posted to Facebook.

The New Theme, Version 1

In which our author explains the reason for the change and documents the old theme.

I was looking around recently at the WordPress annual themes and was looking into Twenty Sixteen. While it hadn’t spoken to me when it was released, it did have some features that seemed perfect for me now. The first is that images are given even more room to breathe in this theme. Since I’ve featured photography quite a bit on my blog over the past 11 years, this was something I definitely wanted. I have toyed with the idea of having a separate blog for my photography that has a dedicated photography theme, but since my tastes are always shifting, I think it’s better to just keep it all together on one blog. Another feature is the addition of pull-quotes – something I was trying to figure out how to do via plugins. Finally there is the sub-title you see above – I love those. I plan to have some fun with it in the future.

I’m not in love with my header images (I have five of them randomized – each representing one of the things I like to talk about). It’s currently based on the one I had on Twenty Thirteen. I will toy around with some new ideas over the next few weeks.

It’s been almost exactly a year since I last changed themes!

A reminder that until the cache clears, you may see the old theme for a few days. I’ve also decided to remove the ads from the side to give more space to the content. Also, in the past 10ish years I’ve earned a whole $130 from the ads. It’s not really worth it to me.

Well, here’s the newly abandoned old theme, for posterity:

Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -007 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -006 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -005 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -004 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -003 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -002 Blog-Twenty Fifteen Theme -001And here’s what it looked like on my phone:

As per tradition, here are previous posts about theme changes:

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2015/04/21/lets-do-the-theme-change-again/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2013/04/18/changing-themes-after-4-years/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2009/02/05/changing-themes-again-2/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2008/04/09/changing-themes-again/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2007/09/30/a-reminder-of-my-previous-theme/

Rolling Your Own

Another event has once again cemented my thoughts that the informed technical person needs to run their own services rather than depend upon the benevolence of companies. It started with Google closing Google Reader. Then Facebook and Twitter got extra censorious. During all that, people started abusing DMCA requests on Youtube. Recently Google decided to close Google code. Now there the Ars Technica story that SourceForge is installing malware on software that is considered abandoned on their site.

Little by little, I’ve been trying to make myself less dependent on others. Sure, until we finally get to IPv6 and ISPs allowing users to run their own servers at reasonable cost I’ll still be dependent upon my hosting provider and upon the ICAAN not being pressured by some government to screw over my domain, but there’s nothing I can do about that for now. So I’ve been taking advantage of HTML5 and WordPress’ new built-in video abilities to upload videos here rather than Vimeo or Youtube where they can be removed at a whim. I might still ALSO upload them there for discoverability purposes, but they’re here – safe. Although I’m still posting some images to flickr and Google Plus, I’ve also (over the last year) reduced my dependence on those services. Both are likely in precarious states: flickr is owned by Yahoo and Google Plus seems about to tank. I’d rather not have my carefully constructed blog posts fall apart because the links no longer go back to those sites.

In the wake of this SourceForge thing, lots in the FLOSS community have begun to question what might happen with GitHub. At the moment it appears to be a very different situation because Github actually has a business model – charge for private git projects. So they don’t necessarily need to start adding malware to code in order to make money. But it’s still in someone else’s hands. I looked into GitLab today, but since I’m currently on shared hosting rather than a VPS, it doesn’t seem I can run it at the moment. On the plus side, all my git repositories on Github are just mirrors of what I have on my computer so they can never fully take them away from me. I’m also not running particularly popular projects at the moment so it really doesn’t matter too much. Still, if we ever move to where I’m able to once again self-host without going against my ISP’s terms of service, it may be something I end up doing to ensure that I am as self-reliant as possible.

Outside of what I decide to do for myself, we do seem to be at an interesting crossroads where it is in the interests of many of the companies to get us on their clouds so they can mine our data and sell it. But the social (and/or legal) contract isn’t there to keep them from acting incorrectly – adding malware, removing your data, etc. Will the prices continue to fall such that it becomes negligible for us techno-nerds to roll our own solutions? The biggest reason I don’t run OwnCloud is that it doesn’t provide a solution at a cheap enough price that’s better than dropbox, Google Calendar, etc. But if that day comes, do we just leave the non-technical people behind in their gilded jails? Do we try and help them out? Will they even care?

WP Super Cache and the New Theme

Because I’m using WP Super Cache to reduce the strain on the server, there’ll be a lot of older posts and pages with the old theme. I didn’t notice this until I loaded up my blog at work. The main page was fine as it’s incredibly dynamic, but many of the pages (as opposed to posts) were stuck with the old theme.

I also noticed it’s often stalling before it can finish, so I changed it from every 12 hours to ever 24 hours. If that works well, then at most a few days from now everything will be on the new theme.

Let’s Do the Theme Change Again!

Almost exactly two years ago, I changed to the Twenty Thirteen theme. It was a breath of fresh air after what I’d used before. The font is beautiful and it was much less cluttered than the themes I’d used before. One of the things I like is that the color scheme quickly tells the user what kind of post I’m making. In practice, the post types made a bit less sense for the way I blog than if I were a Tumblr refuge, but it does make for a nice, colorful theme.

Of any theme I’ve ever had, I was most proud of my header image. Took me about a day’s worth of time over a couple weekends to get it right. I based it on another website I’d seen at the time.

I’ve enjoyed it for the past two years, but there have been some small drawbacks. For one thing, if I used the theme as intended, many things go in the footer, but that essentially means I can’t use an infinite scroll. Also, the sidebar, with its background, makes it a little ugly over the beautiful colors. Finally, my theme doesn’t quite work as it should on phones. It’s very, very close, but not quite right. See the image below.

 

Blog on Phone - notice the header causes a huge white empty space
Blog on Phone – notice the header causes a huge white empty space

I’ve decided to once again go with Automattic’s default theme, Twenty Fifteen. It was designed by a professional and it uses a beautiful font. The other things I like about it are the focus on content and post header images and the cleanliness of it. It’ll probably take me a few weeks to get it customized exactly how I want it as I’m not dedicating a lot of time to it now – I’m trying to finish up grad school.

So, as usual, here’s a few screenshots of my current theme (for posterity):

Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 1 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 2 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 3 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 4 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 5 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 6 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 7 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 8 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 9 Blog Twenty Thirteen Theme 10

As is traditional, here are previous posts about theme changes:

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2013/04/18/changing-themes-after-4-years/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2009/02/05/changing-themes-again-2/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2008/04/09/changing-themes-again/

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/2007/09/30/a-reminder-of-my-previous-theme/

First Nine Days in Extra Life

I’ve been hearing about the members of the Giant Bombcast talk about participating in the Extra Life video game marathon for a few years now. For some reason, when the 2014 event happened, I decided to look into it to see if I could participate this year. When I started looking into it around a month ago, I realized I wouldn’t be able to participate in the big 24 hour day because that’s when someone’s getting married. But, then I found out that the organizers are OK with creativity in the marathon was run. There are others, like me, who raise money and play games throughout the year.

So I set up my Extra Life donation page (where you can read about why I’m doing this) and also created a team with Dan and Dave. I started playing games, asking for donations, and streaming the games on Twitch. In order to increase my changes of attracting viewers and donations, I also started posting my videos to my Youtube page and created a playlist of those games. I’ve already been through 2 revisions of my Overlay (the background of my video).

So, how are things going? Well, I’m 10% of the way towards my goal thanks to my uncle Pedro and my friend Ryan Christopher. And with Dan’s donations, we’re 4% of the way towards reaching that goal. I have to say that in just these 9 days I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions. I imagine that’s old hat to those who work on donation campaigns, but I’m pretty new to it.

If you haven’t already donated, any amount is fine – even a dollar. They even let you pay at a monthly rate so if you want to give $50, but can’t afford it all at once, you can give a little less than $5 a month. And whether you want to donate or not, I hope you enjoy the gameplay.

It’s a Binary World 2.0 is ten years old!

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging on here for TEN YEARS! Here’s a link to my first post. Time has really flown by! Ten years ago I didn’t even think blogging would still be a thing in ten years time. So far I’m still on WordPress, although I finally moved away from the server. prefix in the domain name. I still enjoy expressing myself and I still love when I get engagement from my readers.

I think it’s every crazier that I’ve had a website in one form or another for about 19 years. That’s bananas. I’m sad that my old sites were obliterated by Geocities and Tripod before I could think to archive them, but at least now I am the master of my sites (and I do regular backups too!)

Anyway, thanks for reading and here to another ten years!

Darn

Just realized Jetpack hasn’t been working 100% correctly since I changed URLs. Got it working correctly and I think I lost all my old stats. Oh well.