Back in early 2003, a friend and I started a blog called Choking on Popcorn. This was the blog that introduced me to Pivot, Movable Type and later WordPress. My personal blogs (the first on was on Blogger, started in May of 2002) have come and gone, but CoP is still around, and now has almost a thousand movie reviews.
I did a post there yesterday that I could just as easily have posted here. It’s about how new technology is changing the way movies are consumed. About how downloading a movie is often significantly easier than going to see it at the cinema (at least in my case). I’d ove to hear your thoughts on this, so please place your comments over there: Why do you pirate movies?
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the projects that are based on my little WordPress plugin. The most recent two are ports to MediaWiki and ReloadCMS. The latter is documented (in Russian) on opensoft.110mb.com and maintained by Victor Nabatov. My Russian is pretty poor, but I can see Cumulus tumbling about on the sidebar, so I guess it works 🙂
The MediaWiki port is listed as being beta, but the demonstration works beautifully. If I understand correctly it displays the categories on your wiki using ‘my’ Flash movie. Now if only they’d install it on Wikipedia… that would be so cool ;).
It’s been a while since I released the last version of WP-Cumulus. I’ve been very busy with client work, but there were a few important little fixes and features I wanted to release. The most requested of those probably is that the Flash movie now supports the ‘target’ attribute. I’ve also made the XML path (from which the XML file is loaded) configurable. Both these features are of use only to people not using WordPress, but they were requested so frequently that I decided to add them in.
More Finally, a new WP-Cumulus update
I really should ‘egosurf‘ more. It was only because I was testing a seach engine yesterday that I stumbled across this post on ZDNet’s Linux and Open Source blog. In it, Dana Blankenhorn argues that social media make this recession different from previous ones, and that releasing open source software can help advertise your abilities as a media professional. And he does so by taking me as an example.
While it is true that WP-Cumulus has brought me some modest fame in the WordPress community, I wonder why Dana didn’t contact me to confirm some of the details in the story.
More On ZDNet, the recession and optimism
Lots of people have contacted me, asking for a version of my Flickr widget that they could use on their website, without having to use Flickr (or Picasa). Doing such a version was easy enough, but I was hesitant to release it. The DIY version of WP-Cumulus has yielded more support requests than the actual WordPress plugin, and answering all the email has been taking a lot of my time.
One thing I could have done was to simply release the sources for the Flickr widget. But there’s a lot of Flickr/Picasa specific stuff in there that you would need to take out before being able to hook the movie up to another data source. So that would have made things harder for everyone.
More Introducing Photo widget, floating thumbnails for your website
Justin Tadlock just released a brilliant WordPress plugin that lets you call template tags (the stuff theme developers use to display things) inside posts and pages as shortcodes. This allows you to do things like displaying your blogroll on a page instead of the sidebar. Or add a list of authors inside that post you just wrote to thank them. By installing this plugin you get 40 new shortcodes that should keep you occupied for a long time :).
I’d been meaning to do a proper redesign of this blog for some time. The content part was reshuffled a couple of months ago, and I was pretty pleased with how that turned out. But the header was a watered down version of the old Papertrail theme and far too boring. That’s why I asked Blondmonster to help me out.
Suzanne‘s a former colleague, and a fabulous designer. I really like the stuff she does, and ‘boring’ is simply not in her vocabulary. She came up with the underwater theme, did all the drawing and all I had to do was put it all together. Hope you like the result. The theme was tailor-made for this blog, so don’t expect it to become available for download any time soon.
I’ve been working on yet another upgrade to my WP-Cumulus plugin. It looks like it’s become a pretty major update with a couple of exciting new features, but as a result it will probably no longer support versions of WordPress prior to 2.5. One of the things I want to introduce is proper shortcode support, and that API was introduced in 2.5.
Does anyone still use 2.3.x? Or even older versions even? I’ve not been able to find any statistics on this, but I assume most people keep their installs up to date, right?
This distracted me from client work yesterday. I tried modifying WP-Cumulus to load thumbnail images from a Flickr RSS feed instead of passing it WordPress tags. The results surprised me, because I was expecting to see all sorts of depth sorting weirdness. However, because of the limited number of images and the way I distributed them over the sphere, you can hardly spot any quirks.
More WP-Cumulus for Flickr anyone?