URL Shortening in WordPress

I’m now doing my own URL Shortening using the Pretty Link plugin for WordPress. For example, the following link is a bit long: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/christmas-in-the-heart/id331549170 So using Pretty Link, I tell it to add a link and then it gets shortened down to (or aliased to more like it): http://krypted.com/bob


Fixed the similar articles feature not working, then fixed the fact that this broke the front page. Also added some minor wiki integration (more on that tomorrow) and fixed the 1st level vs. 2nd level navigation in the DHTML menu bar. More on the navigation stuff later as this will lead to some content I’ve been working on going live tomorrow morning (I think).

Websites & Hairdressers

When driving by the Aveda Institute one day, my wife pointed out to me that you can always tell how far into the program that the students are. The new hairdressers have long locks of hair, but those further along in the program have their hair get shorter and shorter and shorter. This is seemingly because they keep tweaking their hair through the program until there’s practically nothing left. Websites can turn out to be almost the exact opposite. The more you tweak it the bigger it gets, the longer it takes to load and the less time you have to focus on content. I’ve added a bunch of new stuff to krypted.com over the past week. I’ve now gone and taken much of it back out so that the site will load quickly. I redesigned each of the graphics. But now I’ve also gone through and trimmed those same graphics. Like a hairdresser, I’m feeling practically bald, having tweaked the site to no end and in the process pulled out most of my hair. Ergo, the new design is done. I may nuke and pave it, starting from scratch, but for now, the new theme is done. Finally, if anyone is interested in the theme then I’ll post it here if/when I do nuke and pave the site.

iPhone and Address Bar Icons

When you visit certain websites you may notice a new icon appear in the address bar of the site. I never really wanted one. But by default, when you add a site to the homepage of your iPhone (click on the plus sign in Safari and then click on Add to Home Screen), it will use that icon. Why do I care? I mean it’s not like anyone is likely to actually add this site to their home screen. But juuuuuust in case, I wanted it to have my spiffy new icon. You know, the one I spent at least 15 minutes building. Otherwise, when you add a page to your homescreen it will pull another image; possibly one you don’t want it to use… I’m not sure why this was such a challenge for me. Maybe I’m just challenged (ok, so not maybe – definitely)… Basically, if you look up in your address bar, you should see my new icon that was generated for the redesign of the site. I wanted to call that file krypted.ico because, well, that’s kinda’ how I roll. But, it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, when I regression tested against different browsers on different platforms it would break. Until that is, I changed the icon name to favicon.ico. Even if you reference it by another name in the code, it seems to still really, really want to be called favicon.ico instead of krypted.ico. I guess a favicon by any other name is, well, dysfunctional. Now that I’ve related my icon dramedy to you let’s look at how to actually do this. It’s going to take far less time than the rant I just completed. To add an icon to your site, you would add a very small snippet of code into the header. The code will set a “Shortcut Icon” and associate it with a .ico file. In the following example, that file is on the root of the site, although you can nest or bury it as deep as you like. The code:
<link rel=”Shortcut Icon” href=”<?php echo get_settings(’home’);?>/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />
For example, I pasted the above code, absolutely unaltered into my header.php, in the very last line before the end of the header, which looks as follows:
The result was something similar to the following
<head> <all the other stuff after the head but before the end of the header> <link rel=”Shortcut Icon” href=”<?php echo get_settings(’home’);?>/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />
Keep in mind that when you are doing these kind of things, you may have to wait a second for the icon to show up on the home screen of your iPod Touch or iPhone, you may need to remove and recreate the icon if it was previously there. If you are using an actual computer (who uses those any more) then you may need to reset Safari or trash your cache and reopen your browser to test. As for the icon itself, there are a lot of ways to create .ico files. There are fat clients for Mac OS X that will create the icon files: There are sites that will generate the files such as the following: Overall, if you are concerned about the appearance of your site on those mobile devices and you want a little extra flair (deliberate jab at myself btw) for the address bar then this is a simple, fast and easy way to go about it.

Site Maintenance

Due to load, the site is being moved to a new server. As such, for the time being, there are some features that are not acting properly. The first is with Permalinks in WordPress 2.8. Basically, if you’ve come to the site through a search engine you may need to search within the site for the page that you are looking for. Pages are all still there, just might not be in the same path you came to. Simply use the search dialog at the top of the page for the search terms and the site will get you there. Second, the site might be down for a little while tomorrow as we’re working out some issues with the new server. Thanks for your patience and apologies for any inconveniences!

On the Road: WordPress and Vacation

While this article is updating I’m on a beach somewhere in Mexico. One of the things I love about WordPress is that I can indicate a date to publish an article or just publish it “immediately.” If I indicate the date the article goes live then I don’t necessarily have to hop to the computer to post it. I can just indicate when it will appear and then viola – it’s up, without any intervention from me. So if you’re wondering whether I really am on vacation or not, know this – I am not shoveling snow this week… 😉

reCaptcha and Comments

After talking with the folks at Xsanity I have decided to try and open up comments to the site. You can still auth and post comments if you have an OpenID account, but you can now do so through the standard WordPress method provided you fill in the Captcha info. We’ll see how this works. Last time I tried comments there was simply too much spam. I’m willing to give it a second shot though, especially with the fancy-schmancy OCR whatnot enabled… To get Captcha to work I used the WP-reCAPTCHA plug-in available here. In order to activate it you need an API key from recaptcha but once you paste that into the fields you simply enable the plug-in and then re-enable comments on the WordPress Settings page. All in all, took less time than writing this post.