Make your WordPress blog smartphone-compatible with WPTouch

BraveNewCodeWhilst smartphones are great for accessing the web when out and about, their small screen size can be a problem at times. Having recently tried to look something up on my own blog with an iPhone, I realised it was a nightmare to navigate. So I figured it was time for a new theme that could support the iPhone. It turns out that the great people at Brave New Code have created a truly marvellous plugin that makes life even easier. Continue reading “Make your WordPress blog smartphone-compatible with WPTouch”

WordPress crashing Firefox on adding an image: bodge solution

Google GearsIn the last couple of days, I’ve found that WordPress has suddenly started crashing Firefox when trying to add an image to a blog post. A search on Google quickly revealed that I was not alone and that it is Google Gears that is causing the problem. Disabling Gears and restarting Firefox “solved” the problem. Of course Gears is then disabled and WordPress is then slower as a result, so it’s not an ideal fix. It’ll do until such time as Google or Mozilla fix the problem though.

Warning: deactivate “lighter menus” plugin before upgrading to WordPress 2.7

I have just upgraded to WordPress 2.7 and had a bit of a shock when I visited the admin area of my blog. The old drop-down menus supplied by the Lighter Menus plugin had gone, but the new funky menu down the left hand side didn’t appear. So I had no way of navigating around the admin area.

Luckily the solution was straight forward. I simply visited the URL wp-admin/plugins.php and disabled the lighter menus plugin and the 2.7 menus sprung into life.

I’m really glad therefore that WordPress uses nice simple URLs to navigate around the admin area, rather than fancy cookie-based navigation that some systems use. Anyway, if you use WordPress and are considering upgrading to 2.7, make sure you turn off the lighter menus plugin (assuming you have it installed) before upgrading and you’ll save yourself a bit of hassle.

Replacing my fixed home page with a private CMS and blog using IIS and WordPress on Vista

With the new job at Enigma Data Solutions, that I started a few months back, came a laptop. In the past – when I worked at Sussex Downs College – I had a laptop as I did a fair bit of working at home. Despite moving it between networks, I had the college’s intranet page as my home page on the various browsers that I used then (IE and Opera). It worked fine as Sussex Downs intranet can be accessed from off campus (it is password protected as a result). However, Enigma’s intranet isn’t accessible unless one is physically connected to the internal network. This is a minor irritation with IE, as it just gives a page not found error when starting up away from the company network. Firefox (which has replaced Opera as my main browser of choice) has an altogether more annoying habit though. It decides that since it can’t resolve the name “intranet”, I must have suffered temporary amnesia and really I meant “www.intranet.com”. This is a redirect domain for www.aciworldwide.com. I know of no reason to be anti ACI, but I don’t want their page as my home page.

As Enigma’s intranet has a number of handy links that I need access to when away from the office, my first thought was to simply create a static page local to the laptop and have that as my home page. I could then copy those links to this page. Then it occurred to me that, in this day and age, there are much better options: Wikis and content management systems (CMS). As I’m familiar with WordPress, and as it has good CMS features, it seemed the obvious choice.

As I’m running Vista, and as I have a number of years experience with using IIS and little experience of Apache, I figured I’d try to get WordPress running on Vista/ IIS 7. And so began a long and frustrating journey. By the end of it, I’d figured out that it is a relatively simple process – if you know what you are doing in advance. So I’ve written up details of how to install WordPress on IIS 7 and Vista here so that others can avoid the pain I went through. Continue reading “Replacing my fixed home page with a private CMS and blog using IIS and WordPress on Vista”

Read the release notes, stupid!

Recently I upgraded to WordPress 2.6 as WordPress nags you to upgrade, rather than because of any new feature that it offered. After upgrading, I noticed an odd new feature: it was now telling me (or so I thought) how many plugins I had via a little orange bubble as shown below:

Plugins update notification

After a few days, I decided that it was actually an annoying feature, so I clicked on Plugins to see if it could be turned off. I then noticed that I had a lot of out of date plugins. So I updated a few of them. At that point I noticed the number in the orange box had gone down. Finally the penny dropped: the orange bubble was showing me the number of out of date plugins I had. Now that really is a useful feature.

It brought home to me though the importance of reading release notes. If I’d done so, I’d have known what it was for. However I do not accept all the blame hereand feel the WordPress site designers share it with me. The reason is that if you visit the release page, you’ll see a big orange download release button, but there are no release notes. The latter is actually buried inside a post relating to the latest release inside the release RSS feed. They are actually really good release notes that include a short video detailing the new features. It’s a shame they are so buried, but now I’ve found them, I’ll be reading any future ones before installing the update.

WordPress 2.5

Wordpress logoI upgraded to WordPress 2.5 this morning. It ought to have no noticeable affect on the blog, as the changes are more geared toward making the admin feature set of WordPress richer and more powerful. If you notice any oddities over the next couple of days though, it’ll likely be due to the new version.