Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ezCount 0.1 now available

Download for this [tag]plugin[/tag] is available here in this page. See earlier post for description or visit original author's project site here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

ezLogin version 0.2

This version of the [tag]plugin[/tag] adds a last argument for display of the text you desire when registration to your site is disabled in the admin. E.g. you could say 'no more reg.' or 'registration disabled'...etc.

When users are logged in additional display of when (days ago) they were registered is also added. Head over there for a copy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ezCount Plugin

This [tag]plugin[/tag] is an all in one plugin putting together various smaller plugins by Anders Holte Nielsen, his plugin project page is here. Again I have used these for quite a while and found it tedious of copying and pasting 6 plugins from folder to folder and activating them one by one. Now all six (he has total of 7 in fact, I dropped the one for number of characters in posts) smaller plugins become one. I have only one to activate and using it at sidebar or footer is a lot easier.

In the past I have to do this in the sidebar

  • users registered

  • posts here

  • words in all posts

  • categories

  • users have made comments

  • comments so far

With ezCount plugin I can do this for a typical sidebar display
<?php if (function_exists('ezCount')) {
ezCount('','wordcount',' words here');
','usercount',' users registered');
','usercommentcount',' users commented');
','msgcount',' posts');
','commentcount',' comments posted');
','categorycount',' categories'); } ?>

To use it at footer, I can

Just see them at my sidebar and footer as illustration.

I have done a plugin for WordPress

The truth is that I have only packaged someone's codes into a [tag]plugin[/tag] and did only little modification to it.

The original codes are very useful especially you don't want to scare registered users away by taking them away from your site to the default WordPress login screen then to the dashboard. A lot of people will be lost. With Michael Hampton's codes logging in and out is right there on the sidebar.

I have used this at a few sites that I maintain and felt that a plugin would make life a lot easier for me.

There are still a lot for me to learn before I could attempt writing my own plugin. My junior php skill is just enough to package someone's codes into a plugin. As I said here I have only just started learning php. I have not regretted dropping [tag]ASP.net[/tag] because I feel comfortable in WordPress which is built on [tag]php[/tag].

See my post here describing this plugin and download is available here.

links for 2006-10-25

ezLogin first release now available

To download this [tag]plugin[/tag] click here or go to this page.

I have actually got a revised version ready which will be further tested before I upload it here. This plugin is only tested on WP2.0.4 it may not work on older versions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Performancing Partners beta

This is something new, see their post here. I like to try new things and learn from them. I don't really care about earnings as I could afford costs of hosting and related expenditures on getting online. I also find getting paid could be troublesome as I don't really like paypal.

Techcrunch also featured performancing partners recently here. As what I write about is not popular topics I don't think my place here is that attractive. I can see Google offers me mostly AdSense links about paperless office, who cares about saving trees and use less paper at work?

My posts about management topics are also terribly boring. Also I don't believe anyone will click Amazon to buy a book by Jim Collins after reading about him here.

Firefox 2

[tag]Firefox[/tag] 2 is out. Read the release notes here or go straight to download here. It's a 5.6M download.

links for 2006-10-24

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My first plugin

I didn't write the original script for the function, I put below in the plugin description

Allow you to login/logout without leaving the site original script by Michael Hampton, his sidebar login form hack is here

I just packaged it into a plugin making it easy to use. I did add couple of new things such as:
  1. Link to recover lost password
  2. Show your display name and user level after logged in

To use in your sidebar, do this

Arguments are for:
arg1=input box size
arg2=text on the right of the username input box
arg3=text on the right of the password input box
arg4=text for the login button
arg5=greeting text when logged in
arg6=text for the logout link

Try logging in using 'guest' and pwd='guest'. Download the latest version from here.

Pageflakes 2.0

My last trial on [tag]Pageflakes[/tag] was sometime ago, see my post here. By early October they have launched a new interface, I have to say it looks a lot better and user friendly. It's on par with Netvibes that I prefer.

The feeds import using OPML file was smooth, your feeds will be stored as bookmark such that you could transfer them, one by one, to tabbed pages you create. The OPML file was exported from [tag]Netvibes[/tag] of course. By the way [tag]IE7[/tag], the release version, failed to import that OPML file.

Pageflakes runs OK on firefox as expected but hanged my IE7 a few times. It also suffered resolution issue on fonts after the feed is dragged within a page.

In the master setting of Pageflakes you could choose from open links in 'pageflakes browser', 'new browser window' or 'this browser window'. However for individual feed setting you have another choice of opening link in 'RSS reader' which I guess is the most preferred option. Wondered why I couldn't make one setting for all feeds.

This is now called Wetland

The latest version can not be called 'barebones' anymore 'cos its header has images and a menu so it's far from bare minimum. It's now called [tag]Wetland[/tag] because of the images I used.

Furthermore I have replaced the top border line of the 'postmeta' class by the image which was the 'postbreaker'. I used another image as 'postbreaker' now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

IE7 v FF2

[tag]IE7[/tag] (read their MSDN blog post) is out of beta as at 18 October, tomorrow on 24th [tag]Firefox [/tag] 2 will be released. Read review comparing the 2 in PCWorld.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

links for 2006-10-20


This is the latest version with one more picture I took at the Wetland Park.

The menu is made of pure CSS I learn from CSSPlay. Very easy to incorporate here with only minor changes of height/width/color etc.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bring Theory into Life, Use Life Experience to Enhance your Theory - Part I

There is a Delifrance restaurant near where I work. It was a takeaway/fast food type shop rather than a restaurant until their recent conversion. Now you can seat comfortably, place your order and enjoy a meal without people waiting next to you.

The operation was sort of OK during first week of the new operation now it is almost intolerable. Why we still go there couple of times a week? It is a great opportunity watching their operation, while eating/waiting/chasing, and fantasize away how such an operation can be improved. The Manager there ran around like a rat, orders were wrongly delivered and people complaining checking out took longer than the meal itself.... All in all we can see the morale of the team there is touching the floor.

I feel there isn't much difference in the core of managing a restaurant than any other operation/business. You can feel what are being done wrong looking from the outside. Life experience like this will enhance the theory you have as a tool at work. The trouble is that once you are inside will you act differently and objectively? Who dare to say "...I made a mistake...blame me if you will, let me fix it...."

links for 2006-10-19

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Code-Markup plugin

I think semicolon's Code Markup [tag]plugin[/tag] is better so I have this one put to use now. It allows more freedom for rendering of your
text betwen the tags

Simple Recent Comments Plugin

I modified Raoul's [tag]Simple Recent Comments[/tag] plugin a little as mentioned in this post.

I changed the display further such that number of hours elapsed is displayed instead of minutes. I have also fixed a flaw that negative time was shown. The time of the comment is taken from 'comment_date_gmt' and the value from php's time() is actually the server's time not UTC time. Therefore I have to add the difference between [tag]UTC[/tag]'s time and the local time of where the servers are.

Google Adsense

I seldom log into my Adsense account. It was a kind of thing that is cool, everybody was doing and something that I should learn/know about and experience.

Today I logged in and found I have

  • 13,281 page impressions for [tag]AdSense[/tag] for content

  • earning = $15.85

  • 33 queries for AdSense for search

For record sake I joined them 1 June 2005.

Feedburner feed and Email subscription

Feedburner feed and their email subscription box are added to the sidebar for version 0.35-bb-left-lotus.

However the email subscription box doesn't validate and it's a known issue acknowledged by [tag]Feedburner[/tag].

I have also the Google search bar removed. Got down to 5 errors all of them [tag]feedburner[/tag]'s.

links for 2006-10-18

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Displaying codes in post

I have activated coffee2code's Preserve Code Formatting plugin instead. I have added formatting class selector named 'codebox' of below CSS codes as you can see in this and that post.

.codebox {
border: none;
font: 14px "lucida console";
color: #ffffff;
background: #005700;

Reorganizing my sites

Have not posted here for a few days. I have been busy reorganizing my other sites, now this is what I have done.

  • sfong.net, my prime account location, you'll be redirected to me.sfong.net where I first started blogging since signing up [tag]Site5[/tag].
  • A new WordPress site template.sfong.net has been set up for my learning use. Visitors will be directed there if they hit me.sfong.net.
  • My template building record is here at a new folder. Visitors will be redirected if they clicked the old url.


By the way this latest version is of fixed width specially made for the image above. That is a picture I took a while ago at a Wetland Park.

New things for this version is blockquote which is made possible without use of image

To learn the CSS trick to do blockquote without use of image, go to 24ways HERE

To display code in your post you have to enter html entities (great resources from HTMLhelp). There are plugins available for WordPress such as this one from Priyadi's Place. I have to try this later.

links for 2006-10-17

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

W3C Validation - part 2

I got down to 6 errors, all Google's.

HTML elements 'strike' and 'center' are deprecated. The trouble is that if you want to be strict you have to do more typing, e.g. use

for striked out texts

instead of just clicking just one button in PFF plugin.

Getting rid of the deprecated 'center' used at the footer is easy, just added

#footer {

to the CSS for #footer

W3C validation

I have just done a XHTML validation, got 11 errors. A lot of them turned out to be not my problem as I just copied scripts from Google and Technorati for their search bars.

One of them I still need to correct is the selector for the 'post breaker' it's better to use 'class' than 'id' as I have more than one on each page.

This version 0.35-bb-left-lotus is near usable therefore I should get it validated.

links for 2006-10-16

Monday, October 16, 2006

Content moved to here

I have created a new subdomain to record my learning process. I exported 20 latest posts via RSS feed from me.sfong.net and saved them in xml file for importing into this new site.

I was silly enough to have the default first comment by "Mr WordPress" deleted hence the Simple Recent Comments plugin returned an error. I thought it was something to do with the modification I did to this plugin, it turned out wasn't my fault. Note there is still a little flaw as the "??? minutes ago stanley" is negative which is wrong now fixed see this post.

Adsense is also removed from the latest version 0.35-bb-left-lotus.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Latest version 0.35

You'll see the latest version available on the sidebar. It's 0.35 with a bit more color and WP-PostViews‘ and Simple recent comments plugin activated.

In fact there are new images added but don't understand why they don't show. The images which are 'gif' all appear OK when running on localhost?!

PS: image issue now resolved. On Windows file names are not case sensitive but on Apache file extension has to be the same.

links for 2006-10-13

Friday, October 13, 2006

Office 2007 beta 2 Technical Refresh

The beta2TR is completely killed, nothing left.

It's surprising that [tag]Microsoft[/tag] didn't make it compatible with older version of exchange server. I would have thought it's easier for standalone PC/notebook to have [tag]Office 2007[/tag] installed as OEM software when it's launched then for enterprise to upgrade their exchange servers.

Of course I note the warning that beta shouldn't be used on production machines but without having the software used under stress during work hours how would I know if it's any good? How would Microsoft collect user experience if the beta is only used for a few minutes at night after work?

links for 2006-10-12

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's annoying using Office 2007 beta 2

The configuration process is very annoying if you are not using the entire suite of [tag]Office 2007 beta 2[/tag] [tag]Technical Refresh[/tag]. I have to use Outlook 2003 due to compatibility issue with exchange server at work, no choice!

Office 2007 will prompt you with the setup "configuration process" screen, whenever you start something else such as Excel or Word as if it was after a fresh install, and that will take forever. Naturally I searched for an answer and found a post describing similar behaviour.

I now have to use a workaround. Every time I see the big configuration screen I will kill setup.exe in the Task Manager. It won't give up and will start Windows Installer which has a process name of msiexec.exe kill that also. After a few trials I noticed that you may have to kill these two processes a few times.

I'm sure there must be a way to tweak this in the registry.


I’m the one who is flattered by Shelly’s linking to my little attempt to record how I built my very first template in her post here.

To reciprocate I have inserted links on my sidebar now.

Monday, October 9, 2006

My old PC is ready for Vista, almost

Have done the scanning by the [tag]Vista[/tag] upgrade advisor. I got ticks for everything except the warning that

Your current video card will not support the Windows Aero™ user experience. Contact your computer manufacturer to see if an upgrade is available. Click here for a list of video cards that support Windows Aero.

My old PC re-born again

The old PC I mentioned here failed to boot recently. My hardware guy in the office said that could be a power supply or motherboard problem. To avoid curing one illness at a time I decided to have a new case together with a new motherboard and power supply. To my surprise this sort of thing is still available in the market for such an old system.

This is the final shape of my 'old' PC.
  1. Motherboard 2themax with mini case and power supply (US$110)
  2. Seagate 160G HDD (US$60)
  3. PC266 512Mb RAM x 2 pieces by Kingston (US$97)
  4. Lite-On DVD writer (US$50)

One may argue that it would be better off buying a brand new PC for all that money I have spent so far. What's left from my old system are only a 40Gb HDD and the CPU (P4 at 1.6GHz)

PS: it's a routine now I have to repeat below tasks
  1. All necessary windows updates such as SP1 and SP2
  2. Install Office, I'm trying 2007 beta 2
  3. Install IE7 RC1
  4. Install FileZilla, best FTP tool
  5. Install MozBackup such that I could copy setting across from another notebook that I'm using.
  6. Install xampp such that I could continue developing theme and learn php in this PC.
  7. Install iTune

  8. Install PSpad, the best text editor I know

  9. Acrobat Reader latest version

Friday, October 6, 2006

Office 2007 beta 2

Installing the beta is very tiring. If you wanna attempt you got to make sure you have other meaningful things to do while your PC is crunching Microsoft's latest beta.

The download is 440Mb. If you still wanna get the very latest one there is a B2TR version, which stands for [tag]beta[/tag] 2 Technical Refresh, again another 494Mb.

By the way the most important note is that if you are using [tag]Office 2007[/tag] at work and will be getting resources from your exchange server the [tag]Outlook[/tag] may not work at all. I had to go back to Outlook 2003 due to compatibility issues with older version of exchange server.

Version 0.3 for leftbar

This version has new things below:

  • a template file for ‘pages with comment’

  • a template file for ‘links, categories and archives’ (the sidebar can now be shorter if you like) in a 2 columns display

  • a bit more color

  • adsense codes are inserted to ‘postbreaker’ between poss

There is still no image files added just to be light in weight.

links for 2006-10-05

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Vista Upgrade Advisor RC

It's here to download the [tag]Vista[/tag] upgrade advisor, my Toshiba R100 is OK to upgrade but there are too many issues to be dealt with so I won't risk that at the moment.

RSS reader

I see that Netvibes is still the best [tag]RSS reader[/tag]. I have been using it and watching it evolves. I have used others but still find them the best. It triggers a memory leak problem when used in Firefox, not their fault really I think, so I used it in IE.

IE6 and IE7RC1 couldn't display Netvibes correctly if you have too many 'tabs'. Now I see that it does it correctly and tabs are wrapped to a second row.

Google Reader also has a new interface but [tag]Netvibes[/tag] is far ahead in terms of user interface and ease of use. In fact I was checking out Google Reader then realized that I haven't loaded Netvibes for a while and was delighted to see their 'new face'. Netvibes' redesign was also featured in TechCrunch's post here.

links for 2006-10-04

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Fluid design - problem with IE

My 0.2-bb-right is completely [tag]fluid[/tag]. If you sequeeze the width too much while there is an image in your post you’ll get below in IE7RC1. The image will be pushed down to below the right sidebar.


In my 0.2-bb-left design where the sidebar on the left is of fixed width the situation is still the same in IE7, see below.


In Firefox it’s good without me doing anything special. You’ll see from below that the image will take care of itself, i.e. stepping into the right sidebar without disappearing downwards. That tells you that you are sequeezing too much and should stop right there.


If the sidebar is on the left and of fixed width, you’ll see below. The text still wraps and the image cuts off by the edge of the browser.


There must be a way to handle IE7 in this case for a [tag]fluid design[/tag]. I just have to keep looking.

A Right Sidebar version

I have done a right sidebar version now, I called it 0.2-bb-right. It is a version 0.2 as it has 6 files instead of bare minimium 4 files in version 0.1. ‘bb’ stands for ‘’ and ‘right’ is a right sidebar.

This version is completely fluid, i.e. the ‘post’, ‘rightbar’ and even margins on left and right of the ‘container’ is fluid.

The building process is here. I have yet to do a 3 columns template and revisit my first leftbar template.

Version roll back links are available on sidebar such that I could easily go back to see which one looks better.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Interview RTHK

I was honored to be invited by Professor Chan as guest host to [tag]interview[/tag] the General Manager of IBM Hong Kong on air RTHK recently.

To be honest the timing of this RTHK programme isn't good for me as I would normally be running around with my boy during that time on a Sunday. To my surprise a few persons told me that they heard me on the radio, one of them is my Director. I have not intentionally told too many people that I would be on air prior to the interview.

I haven't heard that programme myself. I believe it's available on the internet for previous "New Thinking in Management" (管理新思維) programmes. I know it would be terrible hearing my own voice.

links for 2006-10-02