StyleSheet Version Refresh Plugin – 1.0 Released

Since I’ve been on a roll lately with new WP stuff, here’s another quick plugin I threw together recently.

The stylesheet version refresh plugin basically just appends your theme’s current version number to the stylesheet reference the same way that WP itself does for javascript file references, and for the same reason: to avoid caching issues.

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Sidebar Widget Collapser Plugin – 0.2 Released

It can be downloaded at its temporary homepage here on this blog.

Hopefully, it will be in the official WP repo shortly.

Have fun!

Please leave any questions or comments related to this release as comments to this post.

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Updated Sidebar Collapser

I finally got around to updating the sidebar collapser plugin I made a while ago. The intial reason behind this script was that there is way too much stuff in the sidebar, and I wanted a way to hide most of it by default.

Eventually, I’d like to deal with that by moving some of that stuff to separate pages, but this will have to do for now. It should show certain items by default, and hide the rest, and it should remember your selections (within that session) via cookies.

I’ll get around to posting the code for this shortly. As usual, I’d be interested to hear if it doesn’t work for you. For this one in particular I did no cross-browser testing at all for (FF3/Linux only), so YMMV.

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Gift Giving

While I’m a big fan of things like the buy nothing Christmas idea, I also realized that I wouldn’t want to offend anyone who does like buying stuff (at Christmas or otherwise).

I also realize that I’m probably a tough person to shop for, since there honestly really isn’t that much that I actually want, at least in terms of things you could buy.

With all that in mind, I figured it would be best to post a link to my Amazon wish list (also in the side menu, under external links). Just in case anyone is overcome by the intense desire to buy me stuff, you at least know that you can’t go wrong there.

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New Theme Is Up

Inspired by the rainy weather that we experienced recently (and I enjoy), I whipped up a new theme here. I’ll write more about it later; I do plan to release it (under the GPL). I’m calling it “Heavy Cloud No Rain”.

Just wanted to throw a quick note out there for the RSS-only readers out there (which should be everyone if you value your time), so that you could check it out if you’re interested.

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1 down, 1 to go

New Dining Room Floor

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This American Economy

Don’t worry – this is not a political post in any way, shape, or form. :-)

This American Life just released another must-listen episode regarding the current financial situation, explaining it in a way that everyone can understand.

A while back they did an excellent episode covering all angles of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, going behind the scenes of how and why it happened the way it did.

Now they’ve released Another Frightening Show About the Economy (their episode title), which gets into a lot of the financial industry-insider stuff behind the larger collapse and bailout that we’re going through now.

Perhaps if you’re an avid student of the various large scale, non-public financial wheelings and dealings that go on behind the scenes in our country, then some of this stuff might not be news for you. As for me, I’d never heard of “credit default swaps” before (and for good reason – they’re not something “normal” people ever deal with), but this show explains them very well, and the key role they played in this recent collapse.

They also cover at a high level some of the differences in the various bailout proposals, explaining the differences between the Paulson plan and some of the alternative approaches involving stock-injection.

If, like me, you find yourself curious about what’s going on with this bailout yet unmotivated to dedicate the time necessary to keep up with all the details, this latest episode offers a pretty good primer. It will only take a little less than one hour of your listening time, so give it a shot.

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Blown Capacitors

So a while ago the video card that I’ve been using in our MythTV box started going really bad; it developed a jittering and distorted display that got progressively worse, eventually becoming unreadable. I imagine this could be related to leaving it on 24×7 for the last few years, which we’re not doing anymore since I noticed how much it costs in the electricity bill.

Usually when a component like this (motherboard, video card, etc.) goes bad, there’s really only one solution – replace it. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the actual problem, and even if you could, it would usually be more expensive to repair than a new one would cost.

Luckily, though, I decided to take a look at the actual card when I went to remove it, and found these two capacitors with pretty obvious signs of malfunctioning. In case you can’t see from the picture, the tops had cracked open. “What the heck”, I figured, “individual capacitors are cheap, so it’s worth a shot.”

I headed over to Fry’s and picked up the two replacements (16V, 1000µF – $1 each), and broke out the trusty soldering iron. As you can see from the final result image, the two new ones don’t look exactly (or remotely) the same, but that doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with internal computer components like this, unless you work for Apple, who probably have artsy designs even inside the cases that they don’t ever want you to open. :-)

Keeping my fingers crossed, I started everything back up… yes! It worked. Just saved myself the cost of a new video card.

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Graffiti = Freedom

Berlin WallWe went to the Reagan library today, and it has a chunk of the Berlin wall on display. *

I’ve always felt that in one sense graffiti can be seen as a good sign, since it’s one indication that a particular government isn’t so overly oppressive that people can’t express themselves in this way for fear of being shot or too harshly punished.

The surprising part was that the tour guide actually pointed this aspect – the fact that the western side had graffiti and the eastern side did not – out to the kids in our middle school group. I joked to Martha that next week they’ll find some expressions of freedom on the school campus. :-)

Considering the nature of the other information presented at the libary (I’ll just call it a bit “slanted” in favor of Reagan, as would be expected in a library dedicated to him, and avoid getting into the political details), it was kind of a nice surprise to get a little hint of endorsing subversive political activism mixed in, whether it was intentional or not.

* Credit to citron_smurf for the image, since I didn’t bring the camera.

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DWL-G730 Pocket Router

DLink-DWL-G730AP*This is not a paid review; strictly just sharing my own experience with this device.* Just in case anyone might be worried about me selling out :-)

I don’t think I’ve posted on this before, although it’s very possible that I did (here or elsewhere) and have forgotten about it. A while back I picked up this interesting device (the D-Link DWL-G730) and I was just realizing again today how useful it is.

As you can see by the photo, it’s very small – perfect for traveling, etc. It gives you everything you’d expect from a modern wireless router / access point (WPA, etc.), so nothing too revolutionary there.

The interesting thing I wanted to post about is that it also supports another mode (called “client”) which allows you to use it basically in reverse – whatever you connect the ethernet cable to (a single PC or the WAN port of another router) is the “client side”, and it can connect that device (PC or router) to a wireless network as a client.

The benefits might not be immediately obvious, but they are pretty cool. It will allow you to use a machine that does not have wireless hardware on a wireless network without requiring any additional hardware or software installation. As I mentioned earlier, this could either be used for a single computer or a group of machines by connecting them to a router and then virtually giving that router a wireless client adapter and allowing it to use a wireless connection for its external (WAN) connection.

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