Upper Silver Lake

Upper Silver Lake, July 2010 by Daniel J McKeown
Upper Silver Lake, July 2010

Jessica and I were driving around western Michigan and visiting a familiar site: Silver Lake and its impressive sand dunes. But then we went wandering around the town’s back roads and found another small lake just a bit inland–it’s called Upper Silver Lake and while it is a private, upscale vacation area it lacks the bustling and exciting vibe of the area around Silver Lake (with its dramatic sand dunes separating it from Lake Michigan) in the summer time.

New page – my WordPress themes

I’ve set up a new page for my free WordPress themes at pacificpelican.us/themes.
My themes are totally free (licensed under the GNU GPL 2 or later) and open source. You are free to download, modify, and redistribute them (under the same license).
These themes are designed to be configurable and easy to use, but they are intended for a broad audience. If you want me to develop a custom theme for your web site or blog, just send me an email at consulting -at- pacificpelican.us.

Egret free WordPress theme, version 0.0.4

From the Egret theme blog:

A new version of the Egret theme is available-it has only one minor fix which I realized would be useful when creating Egret child themes.  The goal for this version is that the stylesheet should now be able to easily modify all the divs:

-some div tags had a mal-formed id; now have fixed id declaration

-also: removed gmpg.org link tag

Egret 0.0.4 is a free WordPress theme released under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later.

Download Egret theme version 0.0.4 here

(previous [already outdated] version: Egret 0.0.3 is a […])

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 WordPress.org 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.

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

Jeff Chandler at wptavern.com 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 wordpress.org 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 wordpress.org 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?

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.

Keet version 0.1 (free theme for WordPress 3+ w/custom menu and custom header)

The Keet theme (version 0.1) for WordPress is now available for download:

download (ZIP archive)

or download the same file archived as a gzipped tarball

Keet is a sharp, flexible, free new theme framework that requires WordPress 3 or later.
While designed to have a similar layout to the new default theme (Twenty-ten) for WordPress, Keet offers some tweaks on the formula while still supporting the new features in WordPress.

Keet is free software; it is licensed under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later.

Here is a list of some of Keet’s features:
–Implements the new WordPress custom menus feature*, so the list of links below the header graphic can be user-defined.
–Eight free header graphics* to choose from, or (because of new WordPress features) submit a user-generated header graphic that you created yourself [just as in the Twenty-ten theme, except I’ve built the eight header graphics in Keet from myself and my wife’s own photographs and art].
–two-column layout–one large main column for content plus a widegetized right sidebar; in addition a narrow left side widgetized sidebar is available; when widget columns are unused they just disappear.
–Uses one of the new Google Web Fonts called Crimson Text by Sebastian Kosch for typography.
–Avoids excessive in-page navigation links and does not have a link on the author name to go to author archives.
–markup is in XHTML Transitional 1.0.
–Includes supports for Gravatars, pingbacks, and post attachments.
*–requires WordPress version 3 or later.

Myna theme version 0.5

Myna, a free theme for WordPress, now has version 0.5 available for download.

This version offers these changes from 0.4:
-CSS used to style text input field for comments
-extraneous comments removed from code
-CSS used to standardize size and weight of h1 and h2 tags
-readme.txt added (in the included folder) which notes that the theme is released under the GNU GPL (version 2 or later); also notes that the PHP code in the theme was informed by the tutorial at themeshaper.com
-fixed favicon tag in header.php to work better and not repeat
-improved archive.php page that allows full post content to be shown
-added Jquery reference in header.php

Download Myna theme version 0.5 here

Or you can click here for the same code in tarball form

Myna theme version 0.4

Looking for a free, minimal theme for a WordPress blog that uses tags, not categories, offers widgets on left and right, and creates simple, minimal pages that let the content speak for itself?

Myna theme version 0.4 is now available.

This version offers these changes:
–added WordPress footer code (allows compatibility with numerous plugins)
–changed a few br tags to XHTML-appropriate br / tags
–style sheet changes for styling of a [anchor] tags to make links bold/slightly-lighter-blue when unclicked and unbold/darker-blue if already clicked on
–added category pages; based on Myna’s tag pages
–added archive pages
–added links at bottom (+ top) of index and archive and tag and category pages for navigation (older posts/newer posts)

As you probably know, the Myna theme is free software–it is released under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later.

You can download the 0.4 version of the Myna theme here

Update: A new version of Myna (0.5) is available.

Myna theme version 0.2

A new version of my Myna theme for WordPress is now available:

This version, 0.2, adds a few new features and refinements. Here are some of them:
–tag pages (which put the tag info within the h1 tag to distinguish them from other archive pages)
–updated titles for single posts to include blog name after post name
–refined favicon call to make it more likely to work on single post pages
–ultra-simple 404 page which includes link to blog home page

Myna is free software; it is released under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later.

You can download the 0.2 version of the Myna theme here

Update: A new version of Myna (0.5) is available.