Upgrading to latest WordPress version

The WordPress team has released a new version of the popular and open source blogging software. The new version, 2.0.5, breaks the WordPress tradition of naming releases after jazz musicians. The team named the release Ronan, in honor of contributor Ryan Boren’s son, who was born earlier this month.

Matt Mullenweg said in his post in the WordPress development blog that the WordPress team suggests that “everyone upgrade as this includes security fixes” (emphasis mine). Here’s a link to the changes.

I’ve just upgraded this blog and a host of others I help maintain to the latest version. I initially thought of uploading only the changed files but later decided to upload the whole thing for good measure. If you’re interested only on the changed files, new WordPress 2.0 maintainer Mark Jaquith has compiled a list.

How to convert any web template into a WordPress theme

Among blogging applications, WordPress probably has the largest number of great-looking themes to use. Still, there are hundreds of free and even open source web templates not yet converted to work with WordPress. Knowing how to make this themes work with WordPress broadens your choice of design to use for your blog.

Converting a web template is fairly easy if you take the time to learn how to do it. I wrote this guide for someone like me a few months back — eager to use a great looking web design and yet not knowing how to start converting it to work with WordPress. If you want to view a video tutorial on how I turned this open source web design into this WordPress theme, click here for the blog post.

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Turning a web template into a WordPress theme: a video tutorial

Knowing how to turn any web template into a WordPress theme broadens your choice of designs to use for your blog. I created this video tutorial for someone like me a few months back: eager to attempt turning a great looking open source web template into a WordPress theme but not knowing how to start. If you want to read a tutorial based on the screencast, click here.

For the screencast, I turned this open source web template into this WordPress theme. The video tutorial ends with the creation of the different WordPress theme files. The part when I activated the theme, tweaked it, and fixed errors wasn’t captured as I ran out of virtual memory. I just included notes on the tweaking after the screencast below.

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Take 1: WordPress theme screencast for design-challenged non-geeks

(UPDATED) I created a screencast on how to turn any web template into a WordPress theme. I created the screencast for someone like me a few months back: interested to use an open source template for my blog and yet not knowing how to turn it into a theme.

This is the first take because, as you may see, it needs a lot of improvements. The screencast covered how I turned this open source web design into this WordPress theme. I’d appreciate comments on this as I would either be rendering the screencast again from the raw frames capture I saved elsewhere or throwing away the thousands of captured frames and doing the screencast all over again.

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Upgrading WordPress to latest version

I’ve just upgraded this site and several others I oversee and help manage to WordPress 2.0.4, the latest version of the popular blogging software. Upgrading was very easy as you only need to upload the files and overwrite the existing ones in your server.

Unlike previous upgrades, however, you are not prompted with the database upgrade link after you finish uploading the files. You have to use the yourblogaddres/wp-admin/upgrade.php script. I don’t know if you need to run the script but I just did it for good measure. When I finished uploading the files, I noticed that the dashboard already indicated 2.0.4 as my WordPress version even if I did not run the upgrade script.

WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg said in the WordPress developer blog that the upgrade “contains several important security fixes, so it’s highly recommended for all users.” It also contains more than 50 bug fixes, for a listing click here.

Announcing Brighthouse-WP theme for WordPress

I’ve finished Brighthouse-WP, my WordPress port of the Brighthouse theme for Typo. Brighthouse is a simple two-column theme that reminds me of the design of the Signal v. Noise blog. Brighthouse was designed by web interface designer Richard White for the Typo blogging platform.

I spotted the theme when I checked out the features of SlimTimer, an online service that allows you to keep track of the time you spend on tasks. When I saw Richard’s blog, I immediately knew that it was a design that I wanted to implement here. It was a good thing that Richard packaged his theme for download.

I downloaded the theme, converted it to work with WordPress and made a few changes such as increasing font size and placing the search box on the sidebar instead of the header. It took me several days but I was finally able to validate the theme. It wasn’t that hard as the original theme was XHTML valid, I invalidated it when I started chopping it up into different template files.

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Work on blog post ideas with Wridea

I seldom finish a blog post in one session in front of the computer. My typical blogging day starts with reading news feeds to check on updates on topics that interest me. Sometimes I get a blog post idea while reading RSS feed items and I’d write a note in my personal wiki about the topic.

I’d then work on the post in the office, right before the newsroom goes into overdrive chasing page deadlines and after I’ve finished my pages and while waiting for pages assigned to me for line-reading. I’d then publish the post at home, after my early morning meal–that’s dinner for all you morning people.

Most of the time, however, I’m working on several projects that can generate several blog posts. These projects are experiments on content management systems, blogging, wikis and anything that might be of use in a newsroom environment, particularly that of a small community newspaper.

I keep my technical notes on these experiments and my to-do lists in various personal wikis, including a txt file in my K750i. But for blog post ideas, I may have found the best notes repository, for me, in Wridea. (Click on photo to view larger image)

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Newsforge: A lot to like in Serendipity but nothing compelling to switch

Open source news site Newsforge has published a review of the 1.0 version of Serendipity, the blog script that I used for previous versions of the Cybercafe Experiments.

According to the article, installing Serendipity to manage your blog “is a breeze” and shouldn’t be a problem to someone who has experience installing web scripts like WordPress. What sets Serendipity apart from other blog content management system (CMS), according to the article, is that it gives you the option to use databases other than MySQL: PostgreSQL and SQLite.

Serendipity also got high marks from Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, the author of the Newsforge article, for its ability to import data from other blogging scripts. Brockmeier tried it out and he was able to import data from his blog with two years worth of posts “with no problem at all.”

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Personalize your free blog, website URL

If you’re using a free web or blog service like MySpace or Friendster, you’d have a long domain name like username. blogs. friendster.com /your blog name or www. MySpace.com/your username and some number.

This is fine when you’re just interacting in the Web, when all users have to do is click on a link to get to your blog. But when someone asks you for your blog address, can you just say it to him or her or do you have to write it down? Chances are, you’d need to write it down because of the length of the URL.

You can shorten your free blog or website URL by using redirection services. I’ve tried several redirection services in the past, when I was still using free website hosting. The problem with these services was that they’d put pop-up or pop-under ads or even a landing page. Enter URLdoctor.

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Portrait of the Filipino as blogger

The latest episode of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Pinoy Pod features several top Pinoy bloggers: Manolo Quezon, Abe Olandres, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, represented by executive director Sheila Coronel, Rickey Yaneza, and Bryan Boy. The “Portrait of the Filipino as Blogger” segment is too short because Pinoy Pod squeezed in two topics for the episode: Pinoy bloggers and two Fil-Am filmmakers.

Central to the very short discussion is the political blogs v. gossip and showbiz blogs issue. As you can see in Pinoy blog rankings like Abe’s Pinoy Top Blogs, showbiz-oriented weblogs hog web traffic.

Manolo told Pinoy Pod: “I was never upset about it unlike some other people because you just have to realize that it will always be a smaller percentage of people interested in politics day in and day out.”

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