ZenVilla Blog


Now With Style

I spent some time playing with Alex King’s WP Style Switcher plugin this evening. The result is there in the navigation menu, a section called styles. Click an item in that list and this site will get a fresh coat of paint. Very groovy indeed! What a great resource for those new to WP or those who, like me, have little artistic talent but would like to use something other than the default style. Not only does Alex provide the plugin to allow style switching but he also hosts an archive of styles by him and others. Check it out and keep up with the latest additions via the RSS feed.

Filed under: WordPress — Kevin @ 1:39 am


Murphy’s Law and Bugs

I guess it figures. The minute I finish posting the final version of XBit 1.0 online I find a new bug. Update the Read Me file, update the website, rebuild with optimizations on and debugging info off, update the various software tracking sites and then kick back and relax right? You’ve earned it… right?

So it’s time to check email. Ahh, a new issue of TidBITS! Pop back into XBit, tell it to download the latest issue and that’s when I see it. There seems to be a problem parsing the second article. What could be causing this I wonder? Well I guess that relaxing part will have to come later. Version 1.0.1 needs my attention!

Update: Posted 1.0.1 online with the fix to the parser. According to my server logs only 1 or 2 people actually got the initial build and XBit will notify them if they need to update.

Filed under: Development — Kevin @ 8:41 am


Shipping XBit

The final 1.0 release for XBit will be happening this week. It’s taken a heck of a lot longer then I had initially hoped for but I guess that’s how things work out when you have to schedule your programming time around a full-time job, the gym, Aikido classes and Japanese study. The first posted public beta was Dec 6th, 2003. Wow! And I thought the guys at Omni were taking their sweet time with their latest thing.

Next up, the website will need to be updated. No more info on the public beta. I will be extending the discounted price for a short while though. Just long enough for a press release to make the rounds and hopefully get us a little more exposure. I’m really looking forward to wrapping it all up and starting fresh. There are so many things that I’d love for XBit to do that I’ve had to cut from the 1.0 release. It should be fun to sit down and hammer out the features for the next release!

Filed under: Development — Kevin @ 3:35 am


Blogs Cause Spam

Today I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my default install of WordPress does not display email addresses in the comments. Why don’t all blogging tools work this way by default? Maybe there is a logical reason to be displaying email addresses that I am missing here. Try as I might though the only thing I can see resulting from this is more spam.

A quick jaunt through my news reader shows older versions of MovableType to be the main culprit here. Is it possible that this is still the default behavior in the latest releases? There was a time not too long ago that I didn’t have this blog and therefore a URL to leave behind. I have to say that I found it easier to lurk than to join the discussion and possibly have my email exposed to the creepy crawlies of the web. And what about those without blogs? Should they really be left out? Or worse yet, flooded with spam? I know my mother wouldn’t think twice* when filling out that comment form, but then again, she shouldn’t have to. As blogs grow and become more common to the wider, possibly less tech-savvy, web audience, we as maintainers should make sure that we don’t contribute to the volume of spam our visitors receive.

* That thought process would go something like this…

  • nice article, maybe I’ll leave a comment
  • name, OK
  • email address, OK
  • URL? What’s that?
  • click the button
Filed under: Thoughts — Kevin @ 9:35 pm


Chomsky - Power and Terror

If you’re interested in an introduction to the current problems in the middle east I can’t recommend Noam Chomsky enough. My personal introduction to his work was the book “Power and Terror: Post-9/11 Talks and Interviews” and it was a very educational read for me. While I’ve been aware of the conflicts between Israel and Palestine I really had no idea of the history behind it. The fact that many educated people don’t understand the reasons behind the events of 9/11 in New York is a sorry position to find ourselves in. That the US government has been involved in and supportive of many such acts in other places is simply unacceptable.

The book itself is a short read coming in at just under 150 pages. As the title states, most of the content comes from speeches and interviews so the narrative is somewhat choppy. I am looking forward to reading more of his work though. Hopefully the citizens of the world’s most powerful country will educate themselves about their foreign policy and effect a change for the better.

Filed under: Thoughts — Kevin @ 11:05 am

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