Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible

One of the biggest, and most useful additions to WordPress in recent years has been the introduction of Custom Post Types. Before CPTs, all the content in your site needed to either be in pages or in blog posts. If your site needed a lot of different types of data, you’d typically use categories (or even tags) to tell them apart. I’ve seen (and probably built) examples where “products” and “news” were post categories, and the site’s front-end would continuously filter out one of the two. In hindsight: madness.

Since the introduction of Custom Post Types, it makes sense to declare separate types for different types of data. When doing so, there’s a crucial argument (passed to the register_post_type function) called “supports”. This argument tells WordPress which post features should be available for the new post type. This allows you to mix and match various features. No need for an excerpt? Require a “featured image”? Need custom fields? No problem. But there’s a catch.
More Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible

Idea: A WordPress theme for e-mail newsletters?

There are plenty of way to have “automated” newsletters sent out based on your WordPress blog’s RSS feed. Feedburner and MailChimp, among other do this, and there’s nothing wrong with those services.

However, if you’d want to write content specifically for your weekly e-mail, RSS is not ideal. High quality e-mailings usually don’t simply copy blog posts, they’re carefullt crafted by copywriters to get as much response as possible. That’s why the idea of a newsletter-theme has been floating around in my head. Here’s what I’m thinking might work…
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USB hub with on/off switches: Buffalo does it right

Buffalo USB hub with switchesIt’s been over a year since I first posted the idea of a USB hub that would let you switch each port on or off. To save energy, avoid peripherals from waking up each time you fire up your PC or simply because you won’t be needing the USB missile launcher today. Soon after that, Brando actually released one, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned.

Buffalo seems to have done a far better job, with what look to be decent switches and a power supply in case you need to connect things that need the full 500 mW of power that USB can supply. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to think of this, especially since the Brando came out a month after my blog post. But it’s nice to see the idea catch on.

Idea: Corded DECT phone

Philips DC255 DECT phoneI bought a new home phone this weekend. Two of the extra handsets from my Siemens Gigaset setup had given up after years of daily use, and since new add-on handsets are nearly impossible to find (and very expensive), I decided to go for an all new system. One thing I noticed was that it’s very hard to find anything really nice. When DECT was a new technology, getting a new phone was exciting. There were lots of models to choose from, and some of them were really sexy.

It may be the current recession, but all three stores I visited had the same bland, boring and cheap models. None of them offered anything special, and the only model with a decent color screen was gathering dust in the back of the display and had only a single handset.
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Idea: Folding vertical browser tabs

I have no idea whether anyone has thought of this already, so please don’t sue me. Folding vertical browser tabs. The idea is to be able to fold and unfold tabs, thereby dividing the horizontal space available. This would enable you to not only browse more than one website at once, it would also make copy-pasting stuff easier. Or looking up stuff in a dictionary whilst reading a page that uses fancy words. And it would allow you to fully use the screen real estate on large displays.

The image is a very very crude (it took me only 10 minutes to make) mockup of the idea, based on Firefox. It has four tabs, with two of them ‘active’ (unfolded) and two ‘inactive’ (folded). Click the small version to see a higher resolution one. It should give you an idea of that I mean. Let me know what you think.

Roy | October 22, 2008 | English,ideas | Comments (14)
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USB hub with on/off switches: It’s here!

Brando USB hub with on/off switches

I wrote about this a while back, and it seems someone had the exact same idea. Brando just released a USB hub with switches that let you turn the connected devices on or off as you please.

http://usb.brando.com.hk/prod_detail.php?prod_id=00394

I’m not too fond of the design (which does little to hide the wiring and uses slide switches instead of more convenient push buttons), and a couple of more ports would have been nice, but this is a great device nontheless. Every time someone does not power up that little-used scanner and saves rain forests as a result is important.

Roy | December 8, 2007 | English,ideas | Comments Off
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Idea: USB hub with on/off switches for each device

USB logo

I use lots of USB devices. External hard drives, a flatbed scanner, card reader, webcam, etc… But I don’t use all of them very often. I’ve even disconnected the scanner because it has no on/off switch and it makes all kind of calibrating noises when I start my computer. My external hard drive, which I use just once a week to run a system backup, also makes more noise than my PC does and it too lacks a proper power switch. This why I came up with the idea of an USB hub with switches that let you decide which devices you want to start up and which you don’t need.
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Roy | November 2, 2007 | English,ideas | Comments (4)
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