Egret free WordPress theme, version 0.0.2

I have a new free theme for WordPress available. It’s called the Egret theme and it is very primitive right now but is a start in the direction of making HTML5 themes. Following through on what I said, I did not place a link to the site in the footer of the theme. Here is the announcement from the theme’s blog:

An early version of Egret, 0.0.2, is now ready for release. Egret is free software; it is a theme for WordPress, licensed under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later.
Here is a list of features:
1. uses WordPress 3+ background image features: the blogger can set background color, or upload their own background image
2. makes use of Gravatars with comments
3. centered on page
4. HTML5
5. minimalism
It’s actually a very simple theme, I hope to improve it but if you want to try it now here is the link

Update: A new version of Egret is available.

Stony Lake

Stony Lake, Michigan
Stony Lake, Michigan, July 23, 2010

When I was a little kid and would go to up north to western Michigan (from Illinois), I wasn’t a particularly good swimmer, so the turbulent waters of Lake Michigan were a bit intimidating anywhere past the first sandbar. On the other hand, I really liked Stony Lake–a small, placid lake five miles down the road. This photo is actually of the area of the lake I swam in years ago–little has changed. For more on this part of western Michigan, check out the Michago wiki.

A new parakeet joins the gang

download the video:
(.mp4 file)
(.webm file)

Belle (blurry), Sparty (background), and Dodger

Jessica and I decided to add a member to our flock, so Belle and Sparty now have a very little companion named Dodger (aka Little Blue). Dodger has similar markings to Belle but is a different blue color. We think he might be a male based on his cere (nose) color but we’re not sure.
I’ve already posted a little bit of video on the oggcast, but there he was just adjusting to the house from inside a cage. Now in this video we’ve let him out to explore, and as you can see he can be very wild but Belle is a good influence on him.

"Everything is Terrible" live show teaches Cleveland to Boo-yah again

The screening by of their new movie (2Everything 2Terrible Tokyo Drift) at the Capitol Theater, accompanied by a kooky, costumed live show, was great inspiration to us here in Cleveland. Watching incredibly scary and awful clips from the VHS era, edited in a way that brilliantly heaps garbage on top of trash, was a great distraction for us in this city, whose setbacks they reminded us would take all night to name anyway.

4th of July Parade – 2010 – Lakewood, Ohio

Jessica captured this video of the parade this year. Enjoy the patriotic spectacle as marching bands, sports teams, politicians, civic groups and even people dressed like birds walk by as people cheer.
To see last year’s parade, check out this video.

[download the video in WebM format (165 MB)]

[download the video in Ogg Theora format (623 MB)]

WordPress is getting overzealous about their trademark; better to not use it at all

Jeff Chandler at writes:

“In WordPress 3.0, folks can no longer incorrectly misspell WordPress with a lower case p (WordPress). This use is detected by the following patch (14996) that Matt Mullenweg wrote and was then committed by Andrew Nacin. The code simply adds a filter that looks for WordPress used with a lower case p within the content, the post title, and comment text. If detected, the word is replace by the correct spelling. It’s a very simple patch but its simplicity has met strong resistance from those in the developer circle.

One of the arguments against this patch deals with performance which is discussed earlier on in the comments within ticket 13971.

Then there is the principle of the matter. Should WordPress force the use of a word without consent or recourse?”

If the people developing WordPress core are going to act with such contempt for end users, I think the best solution is to stop promoting the WordPress brand on our own sites. I’m planning to simply not put a link to in the next theme I develop.

Maybe this processor-expensive, anti-user auto-correct “feature” simply arises out of the desire to control end users on the part of the core devs–an unfortunate possibility. But it might have to do with people higher up the food chain. After all, Mr. Mullenweg is probably in this for the money and the money is on the side of doing whatever True Ventures, their lawyers and Giga Om tell him to do. And lawyers love aggressive stances on trademarks just as much as they love WordPerfect.

I think that Automattic is becoming another sleazy brand in the tech space like Microsoft (their new friend). Since is still effectively their captive, one solution comes down to end users not promoting that brand–nothing makes you put that WP link in your blog except your desire to support the project–and my desire to support is down to aroud zero. Mr. Mullenweg is certainly all about letting people “vote with your feet” and stop using WordPress. But WordPress code is licensed under GPL2, which means that my feet don’t have to be any one place in order to use the code freely. I’ll think instead about voting with my links.

Also, I’m wondering if we (the oppressed end users) could get the Free Software Foundation involved in this?

Good thing Obama finally fired that psychotic general

(photo: US Military)

Stanley McChrystal is more than just twisted and distorted by the effects of a military career, more arrogant than one merely basking in the privilege afforded generals in this war-mad country. He is a dangerous, murderous psychopath who helped cover up the intentional killing of Pat Tillman by troops under his command, worsened the strategic situation in Afghanistan in the last few months, and systematically worked with the intention of undermining civilian command of the U.S. military forces.
I remember seeing an article last October about McChrystal trying to set policy for Afghanistan by giving a public speech, in London, which sought to undermine Barack Obama’s review of Afghan policy going on at the time by narrowing the options to only escalation. The fact that McChrystal would open his filthy, bloodthirsty mouth on his own was dismaying–and the fact that Obama didn’t fire him right away (and perhaps try him for sedition) was much more dismaying.
So he had to step way too far out again, but McChrystal finally forced the crisis that led finally to his firing when he and his staff gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine, in Paris, and the arrogant and traitorous bile that would spew forth set in motion the chain of command crisis. After that, the normally timid Obama had no choice at all–so he dismissed this dangerous figure.
Now it’s time to leave Afghanistan–it’s the only logical move–but it’s hard to know what spark is needed to light up Obama’s sensibilities on that.

11 key free programs to install on Ubuntu

Lately I’ve heard more about Ubuntu from different people I know; in some cases they run Ubuntu server and know a lot, and in other cases they have heard things that make them interested in using it as an everyday desktop OS.
Ubuntu, by the way, is a GNU/Linux “distribution”–basically it is a kind of operating system that runs on Intel chips just like Windows and Apple OS X. The difference is that Ubuntu (like other Linux distributions) is free and open source–meaning that users can see the source code and are free to modify it.
I’ve been using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) for a few weeks now (it just came out). I think it is excellent, and having used the very good 9.04 and the okay 9.10 versions of Ubuntu, I can say that 10.04 is the best so far that I’ve used.
A key feature of all of these is the package manager called the Ubuntu software center. By opening this application you can add hundreds of free software programs by simply selecting them.
Here are some key programs that you need to install right away once you put Ubuntu on your desktop system (it’s easy to set up a dual-boot system so you can start in Windows if necessary–just download the .iso file, burn it to a disc and start your computer with the disc in the tray and follow the installer).
1. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program): The best pixel-based multi-layer graphics editor on Linux, you can use GIMP to re-touch photos, draw pictures or use filters and brushes to add your creative spin on images.
2. Pidgin: The best IM client you’ll find on GNOME (the window system used by Ubuntu). It’s better than Empathy, which comes bundled with Ubuntu.
3. Filezilla: If you use FTP, you need this excellent client.
4. AbiWord: The best word processor for GNOME. Very intuitive, clean design and has plenty of capabilities for most writers.
5. OpenOffice: Install the whole suite and you get the best free spreadsheet program, plus a presentation maker, word processor, desktop database and more included. Now maintained by Oracle, OpenOffice remains a high quality product.
6. Google Picasa: The best free (though not open source) photo management software. Just avoid Shotwell and F-Spot–they are not (yet) ready for prime time. (Though I like putting my photos on my own web site using free software [Gallery] and I don’t use Picasa Web Albums, which of course Google tries to integrate into Picasa.)
7. VLC Media Player: The best desktop media player application for Linux (and for Windows and Mac). Will play your old mpeg1s all the way down to super-new h.264 files and everything in between.
8. Google Chrome: Getting this browser gives you an alternative to the also excellent Firefox, which comes bundled with Ubuntu.
9. Kdenlive: My opinion is that the Apple platform is still easily the best for video editing. That said, I have been very impressed with the development of this little video editor application–basic features are covered and it can even take your edited videos and export them in freedom-loving Ogg Theora format!
10. GNU Emacs: Who doesn’t want this classic editor on their system?
11. Audacity: This audio recording and editing program is excellent for capturing podcasts and musical recordings, editing them down, and exporting them in Ogg Vorbis or m4a format.