Signing Up To Comment

If there is one thing that really discourages me from making a comment on someone else’s blog, it is when I’m asked to register. I really hate that. For some reason, that really bugs me. I realized joining a website serves two purposes: First, it’s one way of fighting comment spam. Second, it’s a great way to get people to join a website, a method employed by myspace and others.

Shouldn’t comments be spontaneous? Shouldn’t it be easy? I must admit there were times I was pregnant with thought only to be discouraged when asked to register. It just plain kills the mood. Take note ESPN. I just read a nice article by Jen Chang about USA Soccer and was just about to comment only to be stopped dead on the track by an online form.

Am I the only one who feel this way?

Spam Blocked By Akismet

I’m just wondering why my Akismet spam blocked count was reset several weeks ago. I had over 33,000 spam blocked back in January 30th, 2007. Prior to that I had over 22,000 spam blocked back in December 27th, 2006.

Now, my count is at a lowly 12,533. Does anyone have an explanation as to why these numbers shrunk? Where is the count being kept? The wp_options table? I have to take a closer look at this. I’m curious more than anything.

iPods Are A Hot Item

iPods are a hot item. I meant hot as in stolen. There’s a string of robberies happening in and around the Bay Area for the world’s most popular digital music player. Some people were robbed at knifepoint like the two women who were mugged by a 12 year old boy less than ten minutes apart. Robberies tend to be concentrated in public areas like schools and public transportation like buses and BART.

How do you protect yourself? There are some excellent tips from John Cote article in the San Francisco Chronicle. I particularly like the one tip about replacing the widely recognizable white Apple earpiece with a commercially available black earpiece. I did this when I traveled to Central America a couple of years ago. No one even knew I had an iPod. I also like the tip about keeping the volume down and always being aware of your surroundings. Engraving also helps if your iPod is recovered by police.

Be careful out there.

Comcast High Speed Internet

I love the speed of Comcast’s High Speed Internet connection. My latest internet speed test recorded a 15 mbps connection. It is lightning fast. It’s what I love about having a high speed internet cable connection. So, why am I blogging about it. There must be a problem. Yes, there is. The problem is Comcast has had it share of downtime this past month. I counted three so far. It could be more. The downtime usually takes anywhere from 2-6 hours.

It’s becoming to be a very frustrating experience. It’s not like the phone lines could be the issue when you have a DSL connection. This is cable! We haven’t had any interruption with our TV service. So, why can’t Comcast offer the same uptime with their internet connection. I hope they fix it soon. Yes, that’s you in Fremont, CA. I better pay the bill before I complain too much. Or maybe, I’ll wait until they can fix the problem.

Halo 3

The upcoming Xbox 360 version of Halo 3 will cost $129.99. Ouch. Games have always cost in the neighborhood of $50-$60 dollars, but Halo 3 has to be a new record. It comes in three versions, the Standard Edition at $59.99, the Limited Edition at $69.99 and the Legendary Edition at $129.99.

What’s the difference? The Legendary Edition comes with a Spartan helmet and two bonus disks full of supplemental content, behind the scenes work and a few more extras too long to mention. You can read more about it here. The Limited edition comes with a sleek metal case a on disk of supplemental content.

$130 bucks. A few hardcore fans will go for the helmet, but the Standard Edition will be sufficient for most people. Some fans will just want the game.

Choosing Your True Type

For web developers, choosing the right typeface or font for a web page is very important. Having the correct typeface on the web adds meaning to the message being delivered. Fonts can set the tone for the entire page. They invoke feelings. Using the right typeface can literally make or break a website. For my non-geek readers so that you don’t feel left out, choosing a typeface is like dating a girl or choosing a lifetime partner. Here are three quick points to help you in choosing your True Type.

Type Matters

Choosing the right type matters. Typefaces subconsciously affect the way we feel. The feelings when viewed can be formal or casual, modern or traditional, serious or friendly, cool or warm. What’s your type? Is your type traditional or modern? Is it bold or narrow? Tall or short? Edgy or smooth? The truth is there are no set rules when it comes to choosing the right typeface. Just choose the right one for the right occasion. If you want a newspaper feel, you might want to use Times New Roman. If you want a plain and blocky feel, you can choose Arial, which happens to be an IRS favorite. If you want something informal, Comic Sans MS will do the trick. It really comes down to your preference. So, choose wisely.

What You See Is Not Necessarily What You Will Get

Not all typefaces will render exactly the same way due to various OS and varying browsers. Mozilla’s Firefox will render certain typefaces slightly different than Internet Explorer. The Safari, Netscape, Gecko and Opera browsers might render them a little differently. An 10 pixel Arial font, for example, may look slightly bigger, smaller, narrower or wider in various browsers. That’s why it’s important to see how the typefaces behave in various circumstances. Have you ever been with a typeface that turned out to be other than?

Use Web Safe Fonts

So, it’s time for your girlfriend to meet your parents. What’s the safe choice? The same goes when choosing a font. Is Georgia really on your mind? Or is it the French-speaking Trebuchet? Do you prefer an older and mature Times? Or maybe the younger and trendier New Times Roman? How about plain old Arial? Is she not good enough? Or would you rather go with the Greek goddess named Helvetica? The choices are many and difficult. If I had to make a choice, I would choose Georgia and Helvetica. Yes, both. I love both of them. I chose them not because my name is Greek and “Georgia on my Mind” sounds very good when played on the saxophone. I chose them because both typefaces are easy to read and work great in italics. Both typefaces are easily available and are therefore web-safe.

I hope you find these three points helpful. Good luck in finding your True Type.

Thanks to Daniel Will-Harris’ article for the inspiration.

World’s Largest Wireless Network?

It figures to be the largest wireless network in the world covering 1,500 square miles from South San Francisco down to Santa Cruz covering more than 40 cities and covering 2.4 million people. The project is called Joint Venture Wireless Project. The team plans to build one-square-mile test sites in Palo Alto and San Carlos in the next few weeks with about 30 to 40 nodes per square mile.

Not bad. So, who will build and manage the network? It’s a consortium of several Silicon Valley companies from IBM, Cisco Systems, non-profit SeaKay and a smaller wireless provider called Azulstar. The team is called Metro Connect Team.

There’s scanty information about the project, but I found a website called Wireless Silicon Valley. Here’s the update page, but the links are not working. You can learn more about the project by reading the winning Request for Proposal.

Oh, one more thing, the Silicon Valley Metro Connect team will offer a wide range of wireless services for mobile users including a free, advertising supported service and paid services for city employees, mobile workers and visitors. No pricing yet.

Expanding Your WordPress Theme

I recently created a static webpage that looks exactly like my WordPress blog. So far, so good. There’s a slight problem. What if I decide to change my blog title or blog description? My static pages are going to be outdated. The following tutorial will show you how to make your static pages, well sort of dynamic.

The following code extracts your WordPress blog name, blog description and the URL from the WordPress database.

Code

<?php
// Database Configuration Settings
$host = "localhost"; // Default to localhost or servername
$db_username = "username"; // Your DB username
$db_password = "password"; // Your DB password
$database = "wp_options"; // WordPress Options Table
// Connect to WordPress Options Database
$db = mysql_connect($host, $db_username, $db_password);
if (!db) { die ('<p>Could not connect to MySQL database because of: '.mysql_error().'</p>'); }
mysql_select_db($database,$db);
// Get Blogname 
$result = mysql_query("SELECT option_value FROM $database WHERE option_name = 'blogname'",$db);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);
$blogname = $row["option_value"];
// Get Blog Description
$result = mysql_query("SELECT option_value FROM $database WHERE option_name = 'blogdescription'",$db);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);
$blogdescription = $row["option_value"];
// Get Home URL
$result = mysql_query("SELECT option_value FROM $database WHERE option_name = 'home'",$db);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);
$home = $row["option_value"];
mysql_close($db);
?>

Usage

To display the blog name, blog description or URL in your static page, just echo the variables shown below! Place this code in your static page. There you have it. A static page with a little bit of dynamism in it.

<?php
include('thisphpfile.php'); 
echo $blogname;
echo $blogdescription;
echo $home;
?>