Monthly archives for March 2008

Published on March 29, 2008

WordPress, the publishing platform for many blogs including this very site, just hit a major milestone featuring a redesigned admin interface, instant plugin upgrades, vastly improved speed, and more.

The new administration system now sports a minimalist and streamlined look without skimping on the options you’ve already come to know and love. The oft-ignored Dashboard screen has been refined to a now usable level, and the Manage section has seen a nice overhaul as well. For newcomers, the controls are far less intimidating, but all the bells and whistles seasoned bloggers need are still easily within reach.

Keeping WordPress itself up to date is sometimes a hassle, but any plugins you employ also need periodic replacement. With WordPress 2.5, plugins can be upgraded right in place, though WordPress itself continues to only notify you of available updates. Still, the feature is a very nice touch for those who use several plugins like the spam-defending marvel that is Akismet, Google Sitemaps, and so on.

From a reader’s perspective, the new version offers improved speed. One of my biggest gripes about WordPress is how it tends to buckle under a heavy load, and it appears that the new version will be able to dispatch content to visitors’ browsers much faster than before, reducing the workload when under stress from a Digg or Slashdot stampede to a particularly popular post.

Overall, WordPress 2.5 is a highly recommended upgrade for anyone currently operating a blog, and a must-have for those of you still on the fence. What are you waiting for? Get WordPress and get writing!

Published on March 19, 2008

Looking through Apple’s technical documentation on the MacBook Air revealed that the 80 GB drive it ships with is a Samsung HS082HB 1.8″ (4200 RPM, 8 MB cache) ZIF model, a departure from the Toshiba-dominated iPods. With the same size of only 5mm thin, I wouldn’t be surprised if these started showing up in iPod Classic 80 GB models — it seems likely, given that the low end Classic is the thinner of the two and exactly 80 GB in capacity. It seems many drive manufacturers are jumping on the 1.8″ form factor bandwagon now, which will inevitably result in cheaper pocket-sized storage that will be enjoyed by all.

Published on March 18, 2008

In the years before Xcode and Mac OS X, there was CodeWarrior, an IDE and compiler of legendary speed. It has since fallen by the wayside, but you can bring back old Macintosh development memories with this humble Metrowerks style folder icon, ready to paste onto any project to give it that classic Geekware feel. Download Now

Published on March 13, 2008

While developing web applications at my day job, I've come to rely quite heavily on the jQuery JavaScript library. In fact, it's the client-side backbone upon which our company software is built. It comes as no surprise, then, that I sometimes find myself poking around in others' web application code with Firebug (or Widerbug) and wishing I had jQuery at my immediate disposal to perform manipulations with its succinct syntax and practical API.

A day ago, I stumbled upon the answer I was looking for on the Learning jQuery blog: a browser-ready jQuery-loading bookmarklet. For the uninitiated, a bookmarklet is a standard bookmark placed in your Bookmarks Bar, except it runs some JavaScript code instead of pointing your browser at a web destination. In this case, the bookmarklet manually fetches and inserts jQuery into the current page. I've modified the following version slightly to flash "jQuery Loaded" on the page when the load is complete, using the just-loaded jQuery, naturally.

To install the tool, just drag the following link to your Bookmarks Bar, and click it to temporarily install jQuery on whatever page you're visiting: jQueryize

Published on March 2, 2008

When you use Adobe Photoshop day in and day out, certain things about its interface and workflow start to grate on you, like the inability to zoom while in the middle of a transform or applying Layer Effects. Much to my delight, Photoshop is also jam packed with hidden commands and modifier keys, which turned up a discovery today, shown here:

If you’re in the middle of a Transform or Layer Effects change and need to get your changes just right, you can adjust your view simply by holding the correct keys and using your mouse. On the Mac, hold Space and drag to pan around the background window. Command-Space-click on the document to zoom in, and Command-Option-Space-click to zoom out. Note that some of these key combos collide with the system-wide Spotlight commands, so you may consider remapping them in System Preferences, depending on your usage of each. Personally, I’ve moved Spotlight to Control-Space just to use these great hidden features of Photoshop.