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Links for June 30th, 2008

Uncategorized, planetubuntu, technology — Tags: , , — boredandblogging @ 1:41 pm
  • 1-800-MAGIC: Back to Microsoft - Sergey Solyanik writes about why he left Google to go back to Microsoft. Lots of interesting points, but this is amusing: “First, I love multiple aspects of the software development process. I like engineering, but I love the business aspects no less. I can’t write code for the sake of the technology alone - I need to know that the code is useful for others, and the only way to measure the usefulness is by the amount of money that the people are willing to part with to have access to my work [my emphasis]. Sorry open source fanatics, your world is not for me!”

Fun Thursday Night: OLPC Demo

linux, planetubuntu, technology — Tags: , , — boredandblogging @ 1:58 am

After falling in love and buying an Asus Eee, I decided to go check out a presentation and demo of the OLPC at the ALE meeting.

OLPC Presentation at ALE Meeting

While I wouldn’t buy one for personal use, I hope developers build some awesome applications that take advantage of its platform.

Finally Upgraded to WordPress 2.3.1

planetubuntu, technology — Tags: , , , , — boredandblogging @ 3:54 am

I’ve been avoiding updating this blog from WordPress 2.2 to 2.3.1. Not that I had made so many changes that would make upgrading difficult, but I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle. Picking a theme was tough enough for me, but I needed to upgrade with all the security fixes coming out.

I finally sat down and went through the process.

Boy, was it easy.

It took longer to download and unzip WordPress and the plugins than doing the upgrade. Having used the Ultimate Tag Warrior to tag all my posts, I was afraid the new tagging functionality in WordPress would screw it up. Instead, the WordPress tag import worked flawlessly and I had no changes to make. There were updates available for all the plugins and those upgrades went smoothly.

No wonder Movable Type is eager to go open source.

Creating AdSense Widgets in WordPress

technology — Tags: , — boredandblogging @ 1:00 am

Recently I attempted to create a WordPress widget for an AdSense Firefox referral image ad in a widget-ready theme. I was quite surprised how easy it was. It may not be the best code ever, but it got the job done. Here is a quick run-down of how I did it.

Assuming you already have the Google AdSense unit code, create a file like <root directory>/wp-content/themes/<specific theme>/widgets/ff_ad.php and put your unit code in it. You will probably have to create the widgets directory under your specific theme. So the AdSense code in ff_ad.php should look something like this:


Then in the <root directory>/wp-content/themes/<specific theme>/function.php, add this:


At this point, the widget should show up in the list of available widgets for the theme.

Thats it.

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #64

linux, planetubuntu, technology, ubuntu — Tags: , , , — boredandblogging @ 9:33 pm

Some topics covered:

  • Ubuntu Developer Summit
  • FOSSCamp
  • Mythbuntu 7.10 Released
  • Ubuntu-Illinois Codesprint
  • Ubuntu Forums News
  • In The Press and In the Blogosphere
  • Meetings and Events
  • Updates and security for 6.06, 6.10, 7.04, and 7.10
  • Translation stats
  • Bug Stats

Read it here. And if you like it, digg it.

If you are interested in writing for the UWN, join and introduce yourself to the the marketing list.

If you think you have a story for the UWN, email

Computers as Commodities, UDS, Hardy Heron Vision, and New Visuals

linux, technology, ubuntu — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:49 am

Picking a Blog Theme

planetubuntu, technology — Tags: , , , — boredandblogging @ 11:02 pm

Why is it so hard for me to pick a theme for my WordPress blog? I have probably spent quite a few hours this past week, just staring at the huge variety of themes out there. I had been using the Barecity theme for some time now. Its absolutely clean, lets you concentrate on content, and has no distractions. Adding thumbnails of my Flickr images did provide some needed color. Eventually it just seemed bland.

I started thinking about what I was looking for in a theme:

  • Clean (not cluttered at least)
  • Minimal graphics
  • Some color, preferably bright (but nothing crazy)
  • Easy to modify

Now, that is a whole lot to ask for, but I figured I would hopefully find a couple that would interest me. So I just started looking around.

The WordPress Theme Viewer is one of the best resources around. I downloaded a few and tried them out. Having done some minor CSS and Javascript work a while ago for my day job, I quickly remembered why I could never make it as a web designer. CSS is its own beast and trying to modify someone else’s stylesheets to work in Firefox, IE6/7, and Opera, is time consuming and practically impossible. Granted, there are probably better tools than the “Edit CSS” tool in the Firefox Web Developer add-on, but I wasn’t looking to spend that much time on it.

To make a long story short, I eventually settled on what you see here. If the theme seems familiar, its the theme used at Blogging Pro. I like the blue and orange colors and didn’t have to make a whole lot of changes besides moving around some content on the sidebars.

Then I moved on to getting my tumblelog to match my blog somewhat. If you haven’t heard of tumblelogs, its just a way of aggregating things that you find interesting. So if you have lots of different accounts at sites like, flickr, Google Reader, etc, its an interesting way of letting others know what caught your attention. There are plenty of sites that do this, I’ve been using tumblr.

We’ll see how long I stick with this theme before I get tired of it and start searching again.

Use Open Source and Get Sued

planetubuntu, technology — Tags: , , , — boredandblogging @ 9:47 am

This past Thursday and Friday, I attended an IT architect conference here in Atlanta. Neal Ford, who works for ThoughtWorks, is a pretty well known Java guru and speaker and was running a session on polyglot programming.

ThoughtWorks created a framework called CruiseControl, which is used by a lot of Java and .NET shops to do continuous integration. Basically, CruiseControl checks out all the files from a version control system, builds its, and runs any unit tests. As developers check in new files, CruiseControl retrieves them, rebuilds, and runs unit tests again. Notifications are sent out if there are any problems.

CruiseControl is distributed with a BSD-style license.

Neal had a sad story, where ThoughtWorks was doing some consulting work for a big retailer. ThoughtWorks wanted to use CruiseControl during development, but the retailer refused. Since the retailer couldn’t buy a license, it was afraid it could get sued somewhere down the line for using it. To get around this, ThoughtWorks arranged for third-party company in Colorado to sell the retailer a license for CruiseControl. The retailer bought a license and was happy to use it.


Ubuntu US Teams Meet and Greet

linux, planetubuntu, technology, ubuntu — Tags: , , , — boredandblogging @ 3:53 pm

Lets summarize the work that has been done by the US Teams in the last few days: Jono (the king instigator), blogs about how the US Teams project plans to have an approved LoCo in every state by the end of the year. The post gets slapped on Digg (currently dugg 615 times) and shows on the front page of the Linux section. Mayhem and chaos break out in the #ubuntu-us as folks pile in to find out more about LoCos and what needs to be done. The next day, Steve Stalcup posts an update with which states still need teams, and we were off to the races again.

So, this is the current state of the US Teams project:

Ubuntu US Teams Project

Still, the following states are still in need of a team:

New Hampshire
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
West Virginia

    If you think you want to help spread Ubuntu, join the helpful folks in #ubuntu-us ( to find out more.

    With the flurry of new US LoCos created in recent days, its time for a casual meet and greet session! Lets all get to know each other a bit and see how we can help out our respective LoCos:

    Date: August 4th, 2007
    Time: 8pm EST (UTC Details)
    Location: #ubuntu-us

    WordPress to Movable Type?

    technology — Tags: , , , — boredandblogging @ 7:35 pm

    Nope, I’m not moving my blog to Movable Type, but I have been interested in trying out MT 4.0 beta since it is going open source. FYI, MT 4.0 was supposed to go final yesterday, but the power outages in the San Francisco area has delayed the release, so I tried out MT 4 Beta 7.

    WordPress is known for its ridiculously simple 5-step installation. MT was pretty much the same. After unzipping it and pulling it up on the browser, the only real information I had to put in was for the database.

    Movable Type 4 Beta 7 Database Setup

    The next step creates an user and then you are presented with the dashboard:

    Movable Type 4 Beta 7 Dashboard

    I’m not sure I really like the interface, but it has the relevant options, just scattered around a bit. I wanted to try out MT with some real content, so I used a script from to export this blog into something MT could import. Instructions for using the script can be found in the comments here.

    Movable Type 4 Beta 7 Importing from WordPress

    The import itself wasn’t perfect, but it moved over all the published and drafts ok. Unfortunately, that doesn’t automatically display the posts on the blog yet. Instead, the site needed to be “published.”

    Movable Type 4 Beta 7 Publishing Content

    Changing some of the styles also required the site to be republished, but posting a new entry did not, so I’m a bit unclear on when republishing is required.

    There are a couple things I noticed. First, the MT site definitely seems to load faster than my WP blog (yes, I do have WP-Cache installed and both blogs are in the same DreamHost account). Maybe the publishing creates static pages, but there is a performance difference. Second, OpenID is an option without any needed plugins. Christer Edwards and Aaron Toponce have discussed enabling OpenID on WordPress blogs here and here.

    Finally, the end product is located at All my text formating seems to have disappeared, oh well. Feel free to muck around on it.

    Movable Type 4 Beta 7 Test Blog

    Would I consider moving to it? Not at the moment, but I’m really interested in seeing if the open source MT community will be as vibrant as WordPress’s has been over the years.

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