Tag Archives: theme

Small visual update and RSS migration to FeedPress

Just a quick update: I’ve migrated this site’s feeds from Feedburner to FeedPress. You shouldn’t have to re-subscribe or anything, and if you’re already subscribed via your favourite RSS reader (I’m using Digg Reader these days after the great Reader-pocalypse of 2013), then you shouldn’t have to do anything. And if you’re not already subscribed, what are you waiting for? Subscribe today — it’s honestly the best way to keep abreast of the infrequent updates around here.

Secondly, there’s been a slight change to the visuals of posts. I’m slowly working towards the gold standard of how I want my blog to look, but until I find a really great theme I’ll just continue to customise this one. If stuff looks a little off, it’ll most likely be a temporary thing. Probably. Unless I don’t notice.

As you were.

Words

We’ve become obsessed with fancy designs, responsive layouts, and scripts that do magical things.

But the most powerful tool on the web is still words.

I wrote these words, and you’re reading them: that’s magical. I’m in a little city in British Columbia; you’re probably somewhere else. I wrote this early in the morning, June 20th, 2013; you’re probably reading it at a different time. I wrote this on my laptop; you could be reading this on your phone, a tablet or a desktop.

You and I have been able to connect because I wrote this and you’re reading it. That’s the web. Despite our different locations, devices, and time-zones we can connect here, on a simple HTML page.

I wrote this in a text editor. It’s 6KB. I didn’t need a Content Management System, a graphic designer, or a software developer. There’s not much code on this page at all, just simple markup for paragraphs, hierarchy, and emphasis.

via Words.

In my never-ending quest for a new blog theme, I’m constantly on the lookout for something that looks similar to the ideal theme I have in my mind, which is as whimsical as a light summer’s breeze. I’ve used the current theme for around two years, and as much as I like it, it might be time for find something new.

Choosing a new theme is harder than it might sound: you can’t just pick any theme that you think looks good. Most of the time, the live demos of potential themes don’t really give you a feel of how your content will look in different skin. When looking for a new theme, you have to consider things like typography and layout, and even then, you still have to worry about the WordPress-specific stuff; post formats, video embeds, images with captions, and so on. You have to be super picky about the theme that you do eventually choose, because it’ll likely represent the whole look and feel of your blog/website for years to come. It’s no small undertaking, if you take it seriously (which you should).

And honestly, one of the hardest things about making choosing  a new WordPress theme is that it’s kind of hard to find something even vaguely suitable, never mind one that has the layout and features you might be looking for. There’s an absolute tonne of themes out there — which you might think is good, until you actually start looking for something that suits your particular site. Check out any theme catalog and you’ll see a million and one themes which are totally unsuitable for a blog. I know that WordPress is now a fully fledged CMS and whatnot, but remember when it was about writing content that you could publish online? What’s with the portfolio/magazine/everything-but-a-focus-on-actual-words themes all over the place? Look at the first nine or so themes on WooThemes — apparently one of the better WordPress theme shops out there — and tell me how many would be suited to, you know, publishing actual words.

Even those statically-built websites (Jekyll, Octopress, and the like) have great default themes. As much as I like WordPress, I’ve been tempted to switch to blogging with Octopress in the past, but haven’t really looked into it seriously. There’s a lot of WordPress advantages that mean I haven’t left just yet. It has an insane community, for starters, and it’s extremely extensible and customisable. Plus, I’m kind-of, sort-of, familiar with PHP, making WordPress a pretty good fit so far. Unfortunately, it’s also a victim of its own popularity: it’s gotten to the point where trying to find the right thing for what you want to do might be more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe I should have backed the Ghost Kickstarter after all.

Either I’m not looking in the right places, or what I’m looking for — a minimalist theme with great typography that’s responsive and optimised for the kind of writing you see right here — just doesn’t exist. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever find the perfect WordPress theme. The current theme — Minblr, from Themify — is pretty good, but it’s not perfect. There’s honestly not a lot I could do to improve it without making some major changes, and if I’m going that far, it might just be easier to find another theme altogether, you know?

Of course, I could just go ahead and make my own from scratch, but WordPress themes are a lot of work. Besides, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel — if I can get by with customising something someone else has already made, I’ve saved a tonne of hassle, and probably extended my lifetime by a few years to boot. You don’t know pain until you’ve experienced web development pain.

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A change not of seasons, but of themes.

People keep telling me that change is good. Even though my own experience says otherwise, they say that change is almost always for the better, rather than for the worse. (Realistically, bad change is terrible. Horrible, even.) They say that change is good because a lack of change leads to stagnation, which leads to a lack of innovation, which is bad.

I propose a different hypothesis: change is only good of the change itself is at least as good as, if not vastly better than, what existed before.

Which is really why I chose to change my WordPress theme.

I’ve posted about theme changes before, but it’s been quite a while since the last theme change; in the beginning I used to change themes quite frequently, every couple of months wasn’t uncommon. As soon as I settled on Grid Focus, though, it seemed that I wouldn’t change unless I saw something even more minimalistic or clean. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking, I was always on the lookout for a lore minimalistic theme, a cleaner theme. In Google Reader there’s posts that pop up every now and again that showcase what’s new in the world of WordPress themes, and almost everytime I scrolled past them, dismissing them as “too busy”, or “just not what I’m looking for.

Until, that is, I found Minblr by the guys at Themify.me, creators of Awesome WordPress Themes. (Full disclosure: those are affiliate links. Click them. Or Don’t.)

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New theme, huh? Looks like [redacted].

So… Hopefully you’ve noticed the new theme by now.

If you haven’t, I have no idea what you’re doing here at this very second. You do realise that you’re on the internet, yeah? :S

I hated the old theme for a number of reasons –

  1. Horribly commented code.
    One of my pet peeves has to be programmers (web or otherwise) who don’t follow good programming practices. In Satiorii’s case, it wasn’t just lack of comments – just a lack of readability in general. Ugh.
  2. Sidebars at the BOTTOM of the page.
    Uh, hello? Sidebars at the BOTTOM of the page? That’s just not cool – it might have been had you included links to jump down quickly, but in any case, sidebar widgets looked like they had been hacked together, and ugly as hell – misalignment, horrible formatting, etc.. 🙁
  3. No search.
    See 2. Because search was so horrible, it wasn’t even worth using.

The previous theme – you could clearly tell it wasn’t designed to be modified. Plus it didn’t seem to be made by someone who understood how wordpress works – at least, not in the traditional blogging sense.

However, it wasn’t all bad – I chose to look past it’s shortcomings to focus on the good, because that’s the kind of guy I am. 😀

I did like elements of it, otherwise it wouldn’t have stayed as long as it did – particularly the awesome header links that showed off my pages:

They’re quite nice – I love it how it placed those things front and centre, exactly where they should be.

Another thing I quite liked was the awesome typography of the blog name and sub-heading – under OSX, it just looked awesome. However, under Windows it was a different story – it seemed to be borked for most people anyway (or maybe just Chris). Maybe it’s how the two OSs render fonts, or how the anti-aliasing was waaaaay nicer on OSX, or something.

Anyway, I hope you like the new theme. It’s (the somewhat popular) Grid Focus, by Derek of 5thirtyone.com – if you have a chance, head over to that site to check out more themes. I’m even thinking of using The Unstandard theme for the Radi8 website… Oops, probably shouldn’t have leaked that 😉

I won the FlashMint.com premium WordPress theme giveaway!

The final date has passed and the following people have won a FlashMint WordPress Template: Benny Ling, Simon | Teenius and Amanda. Congratulations to the winners!

via Giveaway contest – FlashMint.com Premium WordPress Themes.

So it turns out that I’ve won a free premium WordPress theme. Cool, yeah?

What isn’t so cool is that most of the designs suck. It’s not the designs themselves, it’s just that the design’s aren’t me. For a personal blog, that’s important.

What to do? If I do choose a theme and it’s not customisable to my own requirements, then I probably won’t use it. If I choose a theme and don’t decide to use it, well, there’s not a whole heap I can do about that either.

I’ll probably choose a theme just for the hell of it – and use it on another site I’m developing at the moment. Radi8’ers, this one’s for you. 😉

WordPress Counter Strike Theme

Counter Strike Theme

Free WordPress Counter Strike Web2.0 Theme Template, theme designed for first person shooting games blog. This is a fabulous theme, It has very interesting images, cool color scheme. Two columns and fixed width. This is an XHTML and CSS valid theme, tested properly on Firefox3, IE6 and IE7, works both well with WordPress 2.7 and older versions, and supports threaded comments coming with WordPress 2.7.

via Free WordPress Counter Strike Blog Web2.0 Theme Template » Free Web Templates and Themes.

I might install this for the lulz.

Old Theme Is Old….

Which is exactly why we’re moving on up!

I’m currently playing around with a motherload of themes for Benny Ling’s Bling.

This may take awhile, so go right ahead and play motherload – I guarantee that by the time you finish the game, the re-theming of Benny Ling’s Bling will be complete.