IE9 Beta

Microsoft IE9 “Platform Preview” is now available for download. It doesn’t have the all the features revealed at the moment, but we hope it will support web standards CSS3 and HTML5. From the looks of it, IE9 will not run on Windows XP. It requires at least a Vista SP2 OS. Microsoft engineers think the browser is going to be “crazy” fast. I don’t know what that means, but we will just have to wait and see.

Give Your Blog A Facelift

Why not give your blog a facelift? Have you noticed my new handy-dandy fancy headers? This is courtesy of a WordPress plugin called Facelift Image Replacement. Just download the plugin and install. If you like to add your own personal fonts, just place them in the fonts folder of the plugin.

There are thousands of free fonts available online. 1001 Free Fonts is just one of many. I am using a font called Will and Grace, after the font used in the popular sitcom of the same name. Here is one example showing h2 headers.

My Blog Needs A Facelift. Botox, Plastic Surgery?

It’s a pretty cool WordPress plugin. It’s SEO friendly as well. Give it a try. Give your blog a facelift.

CSS Font Order

When designing web pages, using the appropriate font for your design does wonder to the overall look, feel and layout of your page. Unfortunately, web designers are quite limited to the fonts they can use. Most web designers stick to the tried and true “web safe” fonts.

If you take all considerations including operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix, and browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc, then you are really stuck with just 3 of the safest fonts on the web. They are: Arial/Helvetica, Times New Roman/Times, and Courier New/Courier.

Other fonts that work across platforms are: Palatino, Garamond, Bookman, and Avant Garde.

Fonts that work in Windows and Mac OS, but not in Unix+X are: Verdana, Georgia, Comic Sans MS, Trebuchet MS, Arial Black, and Impact.

If you like to consider all OS platforms in your design, then the order of your fonts in CSS is important. I recommend this sequence.

Establish a Baseline

At the very least, you need to establish your baseline font. Choose whether you want “Serif or Sans-Serif” font. The CSS would look something similar to this:

html { font-family: Serif}
html { font-family: Sans-Serif }

Choose a Web Safe Font

Next, choose a “web safe” font. Your choice comes down to either taking Arial/Helvetica, Times New Roman/Times, and Courier New/Courier. Most people don’t use the monotype Courier font except when displaying code. So, you are essentially down to four fonts, Arial/Helvetica or Times New Roman/Times. Helvetica is very popular. Arial is not far behind. New Times Roman is better than Times. In our example, will now look like this:

html { font-family: Times New Roman, Serif }
html { font-family: Arial, Sans-Serif }

Choose a Cross-Platform Font

If you must, you can choose a “cross platform font.” Again, our choices are: Palatino Linotype, Garamond, Bookman, and Avant Garde. The first 3 are Serif fonts. Avant Garde is the only Sans-Serif font.

html { font-family: Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, Serif }
html { font-family: Avant Garde, Arial, Sans-Serif }

Add Other Fonts

If you must, you can choose other fonts, although they do not work in Unix+ systems. They are: Verdana, Georgia, Comic Sans MS, Trebuchet MS, Arial Black and Impact.

html { font-family: Georgia, Palatino, Times New Roman, Serif }
html { font-family: Verdana, Avant Garde, Arial, Sans-Serif }

There you have it. A safe way to implement CSS Fonts across all OS platforms.

3-Column Black-Letterhead Theme

Introducing the 3-Column Black-Letterhead Theme with two right-handed sidebars. The theme is based on the original Black-Letterhead theme. To preview or download the theme, just click on the links below. Enjoy. If you have any questions, please send your questions to the Support Forum.

[download id=”9″]

One Reason I Love Verdana

One reason I really love Verdana is looks great on all browsers. And it’s a big enough reason. I think as a whole, most Sans-Serif fonts like Verdana, Helvetica and Arial, do look good because they tend to render them properly on most browsers, on most operating systems.

Georgia, Times New Roman, and most Serif fonts tend to look bad on some operating systems that do not have anti-aliasing. If they do, then it’s probably not a good idea to use them in small fonts. Georgia is used mostly as a headline because it looks great in large fonts.

Arial is probably the most used because it is easier to read. Times New Roman is standard in Windows. Comic Sans MS is informal, but some people comically like it.

Overall, I still think Verdana is best – for me anyways. I don’t know for you.

New Theme Called Theme

I haven’t changed themes in more than two years, which is very hard to believe. Several years ago, I change themes at least once a month. It’s just shows you how happy I was with the old theme to stick with it for more than two years.

I think it’s time for something new. This is just a simple theme that I quickly designed to spice things up a bit. I’m not sure what to call the theme at the moment, although it’s temporarily called “Theme” for lack of a better name.

It’s a one-column theme, with a dark blue background. I’m using a bunch of links to simulate a header. It’s kind of neat the way it turned out. I’m not sure yet how long I will stick with this one, but I love the simplicity and the speed.

Maybe, I will release it as an open-source theme.

Running Out of IPv4 Addresses

Apparently, IPv4 is running out of IP addresses according to NRO (Number Resource Administration). The number of available IP addresses is less than 10 percent and will run out by 2012. What this means is we will see IPv6 being implemented sometime next year. It’s up to ISP’s and router manufacturers to include IPv6 functionality to make the change. Local network administrators can switch their local networks now, independent of whether their ISP make a switch sooner or later. Most operating systems including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS and Linux already support IPv6.

Start Your Own URL Shortener

Are you thinking about running your own URL shortener? If you own a blog or a website, you should consider. There are many valid reasons why you should own your own url shortener.

#1 Branding

Having your own url shortener promotes your website and your blog. Your visitors will see your unique link. When you tweet or share a link with someone, the link you share is yours. It’s unique. It carries your own brand. The short url from bit.ly, tinyurl.com, is.gd, tr.im, cli.gs or from any other 3rd party service works great, but it’s not yours. My personal url shortener is uly.me. Every article on my blog has a short url. Check out the short url at the end of this article. You will see a Tweet This button below.

#2 Independence

There are over 100 url shortener services on the internet. Most of these 3rd party url shortener services are free. There is, however, no guarantee that they will keep their services up and running for eternity. You, however, have control of your own website and your own links. You can control how url shortener behaves. You’ll have the option to determine which hashing methods to use, from base36 to base64, from sequential to random. You call your own shots.

#3 Statistics

Another reason for having your own url shortener is you want to keep track of your statistics. Not every url shortener service has statistics. Every time you’ve send an email with a link, you want to know if your recipient has clicked on your link. If you sent a tweet, you would like to know how many people have clicked on your links. Statistics informs you of the effectiveness of your tweets.

#4 Security

Some people don’t trust short urls since they are essentially cloaked links. There is no telling where a cloaked link will take you. Cloaked links can lead someone to an untrusted or a phishing site. You could easily acquire a virus, malware, adware or spam when you land on an untrusted site. If you run your own website or blog and you use your own short urls, you establish trust with your own readers. On top of that, you are promoting your own brand.

How do I make one?

Ok. convinced. How do I get started? How do I make one? The good news is you can get it here. My url shortener script is available for only $49.99. See features below:

Try the Demohttp://uly.me

Features

  • Requires PHP, MySQL, .htaccess
  • Works with any domain
  • 1 configuration file.
  • 1 second install
  • Base36 encoding
  • Can be modified to use Base64
  • Sequential links from 10000 to zzzzz
  • Hashing can be set to random.
  • Supports up to 2 billion links
  • Statistics: display number of clicks
  • Statistics: display last 10 links
  • Search for partial keywords
  • API: simple integration with 3rd party software
  • API format: create.php?url=http://longurl…..
  • URL format of http://short.url/1z35sf
  • Seamless integration with WordPress and Twitter
  • WordPress: works great with Tweet This plugin
  • Creates short url link when publishing a WordPress article
  • Price includes installation, support and updates

Try the Demohttp://uly.me

Purchase for only $49.99

WordPress Plugin: Drop Caps

Here’s another WordPress Plugin called Drop Caps. A Dropcap is when the first letter of a paragraph is enlarged to “drop” down two or more lines. It’s a very common typeset used in magazines and now a few blogs. I’m releasing this plugin similar in look to the Dropcaps article I wrote two years ago. Check out the first letter of this very paragraph. Download the plugin and place it the plugins folder of your WordPress install. Activate and that’s it. Enjoy.

[download id=”5″]

WordPress Plugin: Page Load Time

I am releasing a new WordPress plugin called Page Load Time. It’s a simple plugin that displays the amount of time it takes to generate a WordPress page. The output is displayed in seconds and placed in the footer section of a theme. The plugin uses a WordPress function called timer_stop(). Placing this function manually in the footer.php will do the same trick. The advantage of having this function as a plugin is, you’ll have the ability to turn on or turn off this feature at any time you want with a single click. There will be no editing or uploading required. This plugin is great for troubleshooting slow sites or for just showing off the speed of your web server. Please note, you need to have this code in the footer: <?php wp_footer(); ?> for this function to display.

[download id=”6″]