Creating my own WordPress theme, but not from scratch

I’ve just finished initial work on turning an open source web design into a WordPress theme. I had set out last week to attempt creating my own WordPress theme and offer it for download to anyone who might be interested in using it.

I browsed through the designs submitted to the Open Source Web Design site for inspiration and when I found Plain 1.0, done by James Koster, I decided to just use it and port it to WordPress. Plain 1.0 is a great-looking minimalist design that makes use of a lot of white space. It was XHTML compliant before I started working on it.

I’m no geek but that’s what’s great about open source, you can build on what others are doing. I found turning a ready-made design into a WordPress theme surprisingly easy, with the help of the extensive documentation in the WordPress codex. I also went through some of the open source WordPress themes I loved and used pieces of code from it for the design.
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Cebu artists strip for Budoy

Cebus reggae king Budoy is a candidate for eviction from the Pinoy Big Brother show. To express their support and generate votes for Budoy, artists in Cebu, including UP Professor Raymund Fernandez, stripped in Kahayag Cafe. To view the photos (warning: may be not safe for work if you have as boss someone like Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, who thinks he was appointed by God to be Cebus morality guardian), click here. Help spread the word: text BB BUDOY to 231 for Smart and BB BUDOY to 2331 for Globe.

Wiki on a K750i? A txt file will do

I’m a huge fan of TiddlyWiki, a standalone web page that you can edit through a browser for just about anything: to-do lists, notes or any other text data. I’m an extensive user of one of its derivatives: the Zope server-based ZiddlyWiki but before that, I used GTDTiddlyWiki, a version that incorporates a getting things done menu and is formatted for easy printing on index cards.

ZiddlyWiki fits my need for a server-side notes taking and archiving solution that is accessible anywhere. I host my ZiddlyWiki on a free Zope hosting account with Objectis. I needed a server-side solution because I wiped out a lot of notes trying to synchronize the GTDTiddlyWiki in my home PC and in my office PC last year.

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Box.net online storage upgraded

Guys, thanks for signing up to Box.net through the affiliate button in this blog. My Box.net (affiliate link) free account has been upgraded to the premium package. If you havent heard of Box.net, its a service that offers users an online storage space for photos, documents and other files.

Box.net is a great online storage service with a simple and well-designed interface (photo after the jump), which isnt as cluttered as other similar services.

Its great to have an online storage space to host backups of important files that you really need to access in case your USB drive conks out or the CD is scratched. My online storage space has saved me in at least two instances: once when I left behind the CD containing my presentation and another when a laptop being used for a presentation couldnt read the disc I burned.
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Sigbins unite

Original sigbin and Cebus reggae imp Budoy has been nominated for eviction in Pinoy Big Brother. To save Budoy, text BB BUDOY to 231 for Smart and 2331 for Globe. Whats a sigbin? Heres how Budoy describes the mythical creature in his song Original Sigbin:

kon molakaw magtuwad
abtik molayat, kusog molupad
moabante pina-backward
moatras pina-forward

Here’s a link to an MP3 sample of the song.

Upgraded K750i firmware to latest version

(Update: the latest Sony Ericsson firmware is now: R1CA021) I upgraded my Sony Ericsson K750i to the latest firmware version last night. The new firmware, R1BC002, fixes a lot of bugs and offers several enhancements to the phone. My phone’s previous firmware, R1N035, was three releases behind and still contained bugs.

To check the firmware version of your Sony Ericsson phone, do the following (for < push the joystick to the left, for > push the joystick to the right):
>*< <*<*

I have long wanted to try updating the K750i’s firmware using the Sony Ericsson Update Service but I kept putting this off because I read forum posting after forum posting of people botching their upgrades.

Prior to the latest firmware, the K750i had an irritating bug involving the transfer of files via USB to the Memory Stick duo. Every time I transfer files to the phone’s Memory Stick, I always encounter problems. Not all the files I sent would be transferred. The easiest solution to this was to detach the Memory Stick and use a card reader.

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eyeOS: Get your own web-based operating system

Ive long wanted to try out eyeOS, an open source web-based desktop system, but have never found the time to install it in one of my free PHP/MySQL accounts. Installing it in my current web host is out of the question: Ive long learned, rather painfully, never to try scripts in my web server.

eyeOS recently opened a site that allows you to use the program without having to install it. You can open an eyeOS account with eyeOS.info. With eyeOS, you can have a calendar or agenda organizer, contacts database and word processor that is accessible anywhere. All these come in a very beautiful virtual desktop interface.

The script may not offer the same functionalities as Goowy yet but its an open source project and will likely improve and expand features with each coming releases. It also loads faster than Goowy.

Here are a few screenshots of eyeOS:


This is the main screen. eyeOS offers several themes to control the appearance of the interface. It also allows you to customize the wallpaper.
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I want my Crazy Egg

Updated: I just got an invitation to the service through this blog post (check the comments).
When Crazy Egg starts accepting signups for its free service there will be a stampede. Pete Cashmore of Mashable is gushing: “Wow! Just wow. Crazy Egg will absolutely blow you away.”

Crazy Egg is a website tracking script that will tell you where your users click on your site. It will then generate a heatmap overlay on your site to show you where your users are clicking.

Cashmore says in the comments of his post that you just use “a tiny bit of script” for the service. Updated: you just put in a two-line javascript to start tracking.
I’ve signed up for the waiting list and there’s this nagging thought to keep on signing up and pester the service into giving me an account. Here’s a screenshot I took from the Crazy Egg site:

Upgraded to WordPress 2.0.2

I was in the middle of editing the new theme I’m using when I read the announcement of a security release for WordPress. Version 2.0.2 contains bugfixes and security fixes.

Matt Mullenweg said in the version announcement: “The problems addressed are unannounced XSS issues privately discovered and reported to the WordPress team.”

The announcement doesn’t say, though, whether the security issue is just with the recent WordPress 2.0.1 release or this is something that exists even with previous versions. I upgraded this blog to the latest release last night, and the upgrade went without a hitch: back up all files, change theme to default one (which I left unedited) so that calls for plugins that will be deactivated wont spew out errors, disable all plugins, upload new files to overwrite existing ones in the server (I used to delete the files but WordPress upgrade guide says you can just overwrite the old ones), run upgrade.php and Im now using WordPress 2.0.2.

I checked my site and everything seems to be okay. I edited a post and again encountered a bunch of errors.

WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax. Check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ” at line 3]
SELECT post_id FROM wp_post2cat WHERE category_id =

A quick search using the error phrase (which I should have done weeks back) showed that the errors that I wrote about earlier were caused by the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin I was using. I promptly upgraded the new plugin version and the errors are now gone. Back to blogging.

How not to blog

Keep changing themes. I was in the middle of a blog post an hour or two back when I spotted a link to the excellent Alexified WordPress theme by Alex Ling. The theme made me stop writing and I promptly downloaded it, edited stuff and used it for this blog.

I still have to put my photos page back up (updated: it’s now up). I’ll probably spend the next day or two customizing this theme. And I thought I got over this theme-change cycle a few months back.