Archive for ‘Computers/Mac’
I’ve spent many many hours (lumped as best as I could into one very solid week) rewriting my entire website into WordPress. I’ve been creating almost all of my client sites these days in WordPress. They love the relative ease of it and, as I’ve grown more and more familiar with it, I appreciate it’s functionality. I also appreciate all the work many many people have given to the continued evolution of it’s core source code and all the many many plugins that make my life so much easier. In any case, after seeing all the nifty things I could do and spending many moments looking into space (yeah, I’m not just spacing out…) visualizing just how I could manipulate it to do what I wanted it to do, I decided I was ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in. There were a few requirements:
- Easy gallery management, with varying templates for types of galleries that would seamlessly replace my current gallery layout
- Fully integrated ecommerce solution
- Easier ‘sharing’ capabilities.
- All the usual perks that come with database driven websites.
- I also had the intention of paring down and focusing the site, removing what I felt was ultimately auxiliary information that detracted from the focus of the artwork.
To accomplish this I kept the general design the same, although many aspects received subtle improvements for readability and ease of use, and I focused on tweaking some main plugins and adapting my site design to the theme-based template system of WordPress. After my theme was created, with appropriate sidebars, specific page templates, some nifty jquery stuff, etc, I utilized the following plugins. Some of these have fairly poor documentation, tho I don’t fault their creators. It just takes a bit of searching and experimenting to get it to do what you want.
NextGen-Gallery by Alex Rabe for the gallery system. While I use WordPress’ media library for general blog or page images, this plugin is essential for creating an easily managed gallery system. I tweaked it in many aspects to work and display as I wanted it to, doing my best to trim extra code off along the way. I also integrated the NextGen Custom Fields plugin for extra info with some of the images. However, this, along with the templates, allows for all of the image galleries – fine art, murals, design – to function cleanly and independently of each other.
WP e-Commerce from GetShopped.com is a great plugin for ecommerce with a semi-intuitive backend. It took a bit to figure it all out but such is the nature of code. I then did my best to integrate it into the site. One nice feature it the sidebar widget shopping cart. Someone adds an item from the store, then goes and looks elesewhere on the site, and the widget gets displayed with the item in the cart. The user has the option of emptying the cart, at which point the widget disappears. So, I don’t know, buy something and let me know that it works ok.
cFormsII is just a great – and possibly the best – form management plugin. I’ve used it with many clients – even making huge fifteen page multi-part forms – and it never fails to impress me with it’s ease (although that fifteen pager got tedious). I highly recommend it. It, like most plugins, is also fairly easy to customize and tweak. Pretty soon spam comments will start flooding in because I didn’t set up the whole isHuman part, something that is essential for any blog. I used it on my old blog though and it worked perfectly.
From there, I also use the following plugins:
- All-in-One SEO pack which just works great for SEO stuff.
- WP-Minify nicely packs JS and CSS files to reduce load time
- WP-Cache also helps increase load time. This and Minify should be turned off tho if you are editing the site.
In the admin area:
- Fluency Admin – this is just a really nice admin skin. Easy to look at. Well organized.
- My Page Order – drag and drop page ordering that ought to be standard in the next version of WP
- TinyMCE Advanced - TinyMCE editor with better options, tho I still prefer just writing things in raw HTML.
- Exclude Pages – small plugin that allows you to keep pages out of the main navigation. Very useful.
I’ve yet to add a “Links” page. If i do, I’ll use My Link Order – another drag and drop ordering system. I’ve yet to go in and write descriptions for my Blog Categories. But now the site is underway.
O yeah: I also added some new paintings. Or new Old paintings. In any case – there is new work here and there on the site.
I got a new computer at last. I’ve been working on an iBook G4 1.3GHz for quite a long while. The little 14″ screen- two of them can fit on this. So big. SO WIDE.
Point is, I got a macbook pro 17″ and it is so beautiful. I found it on Craig’s List (after a first attempt in which the person selling it turned out to be a scammer. so many con artiss out there…) The rest of the day today was spent personalizing- making it all work like I want it to. I like it to be a certain way. Software that is unnecessary is tossed. Stuff like Garage Band, etc… I have reinstalled a few laptops now so the process goes like this: Take cleanly installed laptop then download:
Monolingual will get rid of all the unnecessary languages that OSX is written in (Klingon even) and while having your operating system in Klingon might be a novelty, it would get old fast and I have better things to do with my time… So that all eats up a couple GB of space. Run it! It’s perfectly safe to do it. Next, I open Disk Inventory X which gives me this beautiful visual layout of my hard drive, all color coded and looking like cubist clown puke but totaly logical- everything is sized appropriately and you would be surprised as to what is taking up all that space… like those Garage Band sound effects. If I’m not a musician and, as Violet reminded me earlier, I am not, then what do i need them for? So out they go, along with a bunch of other stuff, effectively freeing up lots of space. After that, there are other useful programs I go for that work great for me:
VLC Media Player – plays almost any sort of video file.
iView Media Pro which kicks iPhotos ass and allows you to save, sort, display your images however you want… alas, now owned by Microsoft…
The Unarchiver – opens any format of compressed file- .zip, .sit and countless others.
Libra- Allows you to use more than one iTunes Library Adium- While iChat allows video conferencing, Adium is better in it’s handing of multiple chat clients Admittedly, there’s lots of other programs that i use but I’ll let you find them yourself…
A little over a month ago, my hard drive died. I had some things backed up (like the o so important music collection) but some things were lost forever (like my mail, my address book, my quickbooks…) Many of the things that are lost I’ve been able to live without. With somethings, they needed a good cleaning out (the Mail folder), and I also needed to reorganize some things like the address book which never really got a good organizational system to begin with. Great, I say to myself… a fresh start. It was a New Year! So I could reboot, reinstall, clean out the useless crap (OS X in Azerbaijanian? Not that useful…)
But in that losing of things, there were some things which were of great value to me. A years worth of photos. Forgot to back them up! Oops! I liked those pictures…
And writings. I have been keeping a journal of my creative process. It started with Ojai and Violet asking me to write down what the paintings were being inspired by because when she would come to see me (we were kind of just starting to see each other at that time) I would give these very lucid commentaries about what I was working on- the off the cuff reasons. However, as the painting gets explained numerous times, the explanation tends to get watered down, contained, edited, etc. until it is a tagline that may as well be placed under the title.
The fact of the matter is that there is all sorts of esoteric, random stuff that comes up while painting and that makes it’s way into the symbols, the curves of the lines and the relationships of color. Sometimes it is spiritual relations, other times it is old childhood memories, or oppositions of color or visual cues that, further in the future, as the moment fades into a memory, become lost in the dusty crevices of my mental hard drive.
The reason she asked me to write these things down was less for myself and more for others, for the future, for whatever kind of intrinsic value they might have or maybe as aid for future self-discoverers. In some cases, it really might be like looking at some grand Mayan pyramid and saying: damn, what if the over zealous Christians hadn’t burned all those books these guys wrote about this behemoth they created? What might we have known about this work other than it’s beauty and harmony? What is it trying to say?
I admit that, while they are eye-catching, enticing and inviting, many of my paintings are not all that easy to decipher. They draw you in with their sensuality, their lines and harmonies the way music draws you in, but what the b flat major means to the musician. The paintings are a dialect of the eternal language, native to myself but, it seems, understood by many. I give them titles in English, using relevant words. I hope for those titles to lead the viewer to a greater understanding of the image and, as well, of themselves. This is good but, admittedly, it is often not enough. They all go beyond their titles… their imagery…
Well, I hope you forgive me for that loss. I’ll have a book out soon. Maybe you can hold onto a copy of it should I delete it or my computer crash…
This is a major issue for those of us who love our apples…. the ipod… the ibook… so many i’s and so much waste! Apple actually rates a 2.7 on Greenpeace’s polluter scale. That is way low. Companies like Dell and HP are taking steps to reduce their toxicity levels (computers are super toxic… sigh…) but NOT Apple! Why not? They market themselves to young people and the young people are the ones who are the most concerned about the environmental issues facing us today. I won’t get into why that is (but for one: so many people like to live by the adage “can’t teach an old dog…” but that is just a way of copping out…) but– here is a site put together by Greenpeace to raise awareness and support on this issue. Use the form on the Greenpeace site to send Apple an email.