Announcing nautica-magazine WordPress theme for webzines

To those who were waiting for this theme, I apologize for the delay in the release. I had to wade through various folders to get the latest version of the code because I was working on two sites using this theme at the same time.

I have since been using Subversion via a free project management account with Unfuddle (check my previous post) to make sure that the files are organized. If anyone is interested in helping improve this theme, leave me note so that I’ll host the files in Google Code and we can work on it together.

Nautica-magazine is a WordPress theme based on the nautica05 open source template. It doesn’t work out-of-the-box because you need to edit the index page to make it work with your site’s sections or categories. Read the included readme.txt before activating the theme.

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Nautica05-WordPress theme released

I’ve released the nautica05-wordpress theme, a template based on the open source Nautica05 design posted at the Open Source Templates site by Studio7Designs. I used the Nautica05 template in turning this Cebu blog into a webzine, which I discussed in my previous blog post.

Nautica05-wordpress is a template for blog sites. I will be releasing later a hacked version of the template for use in webzines managed by WordPress. Nautica05-wordpress uses a two column layout by default but you can easily change this to three-columns by following the instructions in the nautica05-wordpress page.

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How to use WordPress to run a magazine, news website

WordPress is a great tool for online writers. It’s simple and yet is such a pleasure to use. Yes, there are things that need to be improved but WordPress being an open source software, you can expect continuous improvements on it by the community.

The ease by which sites can be created and run through blogging software like WordPress allow writers previously without publishers to print their works online. The problem with using a blogging software to manage your website, however, is that the tool defines the character of your site.

Once in a while, I see blogs that seem better off presented as online magazines or news websites rather than as blogs.

WordPress, however, is an extensible website content management system that can be used to run magazine-type websites. Here are steps I took to turn this online magazine on Cebu from a blog into its current presentation. I’m still working on it, though, so you might encounter issues. (Update Jan. 9, 2008: I have redesigned the site. It’s now using an even better theme that I’m still working on. I will be releasing this theme soon.)

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Make your Windows PC look, act like OS X

Refresh your boring Windows desktop by transforming it to resemble the sleek Mac OS X with the FlyakiteOSX transformation pack. The free software package automates the installation of tweaks, third-party programs, desktop themes and menus to make your Windows PC look and act like OS X (see screenshots below).

I tried the software and found the installation easy. I did not encounter errors when I installed it into my Windows XP with Service Pack 2 office computer. You need to restart your computer after the installation.

I was concerned that the transformation would be such a resource hog and would slow my system to the point that it becomes unusable. It did not. I was surprised that I did not notice any noticeable speed difference after I installed FlyakiteOSX.

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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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Segregating trackbacks from comments in WordPress

In most WordPress themes, trackbacks aren’t segregated from regular blog comments. This is fine but if you get a lot of trackbacks in a post, it gets in the way of the arrangement of comments.

For a long time, I just used WordPress’ stock comments template but at the back of my mind, I had listed the segregation of trackbacks and comments as something that I would be implementing in this blog and the theme that I’m finalizing. Last week, however, my post on using Dreamweaver to modify a WordPress theme got a lot of trackbacks and I saw the need to separate these notifications from regular comments on the post.

I didn’t have to search for a solution because I had already bookmarked this post by web designer Rachel Cunliffe. Just copy the code she posted in her blog post and paste it into your WordPress comment loop in comments.php. Replace the code in comments.php starting at <?php if ($comments) : ?> until <?php endforeach; /* end for each comment */ ?>, don’t replace the entire code in your comments.php or else you’d encounter errors.

How to edit WordPress themes using Dreamweaver

It has been more than a year since I used Dreamweaver to design a site. I’ve mostly been running sites using PHP-MySQL content management systems (CMS) and depend on the thousands of ready-made themes and templates to control the site design. For the occasional static page, I use Nvu for visual editing. But after reading this article on SitePoint, I wanted to try using Dreamweaver to edit one of the templates I’m using.

WordPress, like most PHP-MySQL CMS, uses template files to control the appearance of websites. The webpage is assembled from several PHP files controlling specific aspects of the site like the header, sidebar, main content and footer.

To use Dreamweaver to edit or customize WordPress themes, you need to combine these different PHP files into one page so that you can immediately view, while editing the codes, how the page would appear.

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Cooking with Lightbox JS version 2

Yesterday I did two things I’ve never done for a long time: play around with a WordPress plugin and prepare pork kilawin. I’ve long wanted to incorporate Lightbox in the WordPress theme I’m making and in a project I’m setting up. I decided to use the WP Lightbox 2 plug-in instead of the original package as the plugin incorporates a quicktag in the post editing field.

Lightbox allows you to load linked images without having to open a new page. It works really great with Flickr because the photo-sharing service automatically generates different sizes of your photographs.

Update: I had to disable, however, the fancy tooltip package I’m using (Sweet Titles by Dustin Diaz) in order for the captions to appear under the photos. The WP Lightbox 2 plugin author had said this was fixed but the caption still wouldn’t appear if you’re using Sweet Titles. For Lightbox to work, the entire page must finish loading. So if you click on photo and you are sent to another page, that means the plugin isn’t working because the entire blog page hasn’t finished loading.

Check my photo series when I prepared kilawin yesterday. Kilawin, my favorite pulutan (I’ve given up drinking but not eating pulutan), is typically prepared with roasted goat meat but I prefer roasted pork. Just click on the photos below:
Bankal marketSpices for pork kilawinChopped spicesPork kilawin

My roundup of the best Sony Ericsson K750i themes

I change the themes of my Sony Ericsson K750i at least four times a week. I’m always in the lookout for great looking phone themes to download, especially animated ones. My taste in phone themes mirrors my taste in blog design, I love glassy buttons, transparencies and slashes in buttons or background graphic.

I depend on two sites for my K750i themes fix: MyK750 of and Zedge. You can download themes from the two sites either into your PC or directly to your phone via WAP. Zedge limits PC downloads to 20 items a day-themes, ringtones, screensavers and movie clips. Lasyk doesn’t impose a PC download limit. Zedge requires you to register for a free account before you can download. Lasyk doesn’t require a registration.

I always download themes or ringtones into the PC so that I won’t have to pay for WAP access. I then transfer the files to my phone via Bluetooth or USB transfer

Here are my favorite Sony Ericsson K750i themes (screenshots after the jump).

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How to create a WordPress theme: A guide for the design-challenged non-geek

I love minimalist designs with great colors. No, that isn’t accurate, make that: I now love minimalist designs with great colors. I used to love putting everything but the kitchen sink in my blog template, hence my previous fascination with three-column themes-to get more screen space for buttons, listings, banners and what have you.

I’ve gone through a lot of WordPress themes, customizing one after another. I decided to simplify my blog design after buttons and stuff that depended on other services and servers delayed loading of my blog pages. I also thought that the clutter of having all these buttons and stuff was getting in the way of the content, and the AdSense clicks. My current minimalist design proves me right on this one.

When I set out to use a minimalist design, I had planned on choosing one of the hundreds of ready-to-deploy WordPress themes out there but at the back of my mind, I had this plan of eventually creating my own theme. I went through designs submitted to the Open Source Web Design site, hoping to spot a great one and then getting a link to the WordPress port of the template. I did spot a great-looking minimalist design, Plain 1.0 by James Koster, but I couldn’t find a WordPress port. I liked the design so much that I decided to attempt porting it to WordPress myself.

I found turning a CSS-based design into WordPress theme to be easy. I am not a geek and I do not have formal training on CSS, HTML or PHP. What I did was I read up on CSS in sites such as MaxDesign. I also went through the WordPress Codex, reading about template tags and files and while I was porting the theme, I went through the template files of themes like K2 and Phoenixrealm to look at how its coders did things.

Here are the steps I took in turning the Plain 1.0 design template into a WordPress theme.

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