Recommended WordPress Plugins

February 20th, 2014

Here’s my list of recommended WordPress plugins which I find myself using again and again:

Contact form 7
Very good for doing contact forms. Sends the result to an email address. If you want to save the entries to a DB couple of with “Contact Form DB”.

W3 Total Cache
For site optimisation / speed up. Does a lot of the work for you. Generally enable this when the site is finished.

Infinite-Scroll
Fantastic plugin that converts post index page to load posts in an infinite scroll fashion, either automatically or twitter style. Paul Irish heavily involved with this. Uses progressive enhancement so crawlers can still access the posts via traditional pagination links.

Google XML Sitemaps
Automatically generates XML sitemaps for you, submits them to Google.

Google Authenticator
Adds more security to backend login by adding two-step auth.

Multiple Post Thumbnails
Sometimes you want a post or more often a custom post type to have support for more than one featured image. This plugin allows you to do that.

Add Custom Post Types Archive to Nav Menus
Wordpress doesn’t support this by default but this plugin will allow you to add a custom post type archive page (which usually lists the items) into your menu via the wordpress backend.

WP-PageNavi
Great for traditional style page navigation rather than the simple ‘next post’ / ‘previous post’ links that wordpress provides

Media Tags
Allows you to add ‘tags’ to the media section. Useful if you want as section on your site that lists photos in a particular group.

Breadcrumb NavXT
Very flexible plugin to cover all of your breadcrumb needs.

Social share plugin
Easy way of adding share buttons from several networks under each post.

When using multisite:

WordPress MU Domain Mapping
Allows each site to have it’s own domain which WordPress doesn’t support out of the box.

ThreeWP Broadcast
Allows you to copy / share one post/page to other sites in the network. Works with custom post types too.

Java Runtime Environment 6U29 exploit in the wild

April 3rd, 2012

So my home computer contracted a virus over the weekend. Luckily my antivirus was able to pick it up and remove the infected files, which were variants of the virus Ramnit-AC and the Trojan downloader Java:agent, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it got on there.

That was, until today when both Thunderbird and Firefox warned me that the JRE SE6U29 add-on is “known to cause stability or security problems”:

After looking into this further it turns out that Oracle released a security advisory and critical update back in February already. I really don’t know how I didn’t get this update as I have Java set to update automatically – quite disappointing.

I’ve updated to the latest versions which should remove the exploit. I highly recommend you check if your system is vulnerable via the Mozilla plugin checker.

Web developer tools in Firefox 10

February 18th, 2012

This video from the Mozilla blog gives an overview of some of the web developer tools available in Firefox 10.

The inspector replicates some of the features available in Firebug, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to uninstall it yet! Also available are listing of network requests (something that’s been available in Chrome since day 1). This might mean I no longer need the HttpFox plugin. The scratchpad feature is possible the most intriguing of the features demoed – it allows you to easily run arbitrary javascript code on the current page.

Sencha Touch now includes native packaging for iOS and Android apps.

February 2nd, 2012

Sencha Touch 2 Beta was released yesterday and according to the ‘what’s new‘ page it now includes tools to package native apps for iOS and Android. I’ve not tried it myself yet (or checked into what native functionality is available) but if this could possibly remove the need to also integrate with PhoneGap, and make the whole build/publishing process a lot simpler – fantastic!

How to add admins to a Google+ page

January 26th, 2012

I’ve used the term admins as that is what Facebook calls them, but Google+ refers to extra users that are able to manage a business page as Managers.

  1. Go to your Google+ business page and make sure you are using Google+ as the page, not your personal account. The page name should be displayed at the top right.
  2. Click on the options icon (the cog) at the top right-hand side of the screen, then select ‘Google+ settings’
  3. On the following page you should see an option called ‘Managers’ on the left-hand side. If you don’t see it, double check that you’re signed in as the page and not your personal account.
  4. Select the Managers option and on the following page you are able to add another manager to the page via entering their email address. Make sure you enter the email address that is associated with the user’s G+ account.
  5. The user is then sent an invite which they must accept before they can manage the page. Until that time the invite is marked as ‘pending’.
  6. Once the user has accepted the invite you have the option to remove them from the same page. There’s also the option to transfer ownership if you’re no longer involved with the project or business the page is promoting.
Adding Google+ page Managers

Adding Google+ page Managers

 

Protocol Relative URLs

January 17th, 2012

Thanks to the excellent Paul Irish and HTML5 Boilerplate, I discovered an excellent nugget of information recently, that’s incredibly useful when building sites / web apps that need to work both on secure (https://) and non-secure (http://) URLs. This includes all Facebook apps since October 2011.

When linking to an external JS, css or image file that is available over both https:// and https://, you can use a URL of the form:

//domain.com/path/to/asset

for example (loading the jQuery library from Google’s CDN):

<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.2/jquery.js"></script>

Your browser will request the asset using whichever protocol you’re viewing the current page in.

This has implications if your viewing a page locally via file://, which is why you’re always better off using a local web server rather than opening a file directly. There’s also an issue that causes IE7 and IE8 to download the file twice when this method is used in <link> tags or @imports statement within CSS, so I would say it’s best of avoided there. More details here.

This technique allows you to quickly and easily avoid the dreaded ‘this page contains both secure and nonsecure items’ warning in Internet Explorer.

 

How to change browser language in Firefox 4

May 31st, 2011

One method is to uninstall Firefox then download and install another version in a different language. This can be incredibly time consuming though. An alternative is to download a language pack and then change the internal locale string of the browser:

1) Download language pack from here. This mozilla.org page has language packs for most languages. After installing a language pack you will need to restart your browser

2) Change locale string. Navigate to about:config in your address bar. After accepting the ‘here be dragons’ warning set the filter to ‘general.useragent.locale‘, right mouse click on the value and choose modify. Change the language string to the preferred value, for example ‘en-GB’ for British English or ‘fr-FR’ for French.

After a browser restart your Firefox should be in the preferred language.

Windows 7 doesn’t remember network share credentials

May 15th, 2011

When connecting to a network share Windows 7 presents a dialog box as follows

You’d expect that ticking the box that says ‘remember credentials’ would cause windows to, um, remember the credentials? Unfortunately this is not the case, at least it hasn’t been for me when I want to copy media files onto my HTPC.

To fix this, navigate to Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage your credentials, where under ‘Windows Credentials’ you will see a list of machines you’ve connected to in the past. Expand the entry of the machine your interested in and you will see an entry for ‘Persistence level’. If this is set to ‘Login Session’, as shown in the screenshot below, this is the reason why Windows is not remembering your credentials as you’d expect.

Remove the entry and manually add a new one with the same details. When an entry is added manually the Persistence level should be automatically be set to Enterprise. After a reboot you should be able to connect to the share without having to enter credentials every time.

Nexus One updated to Gingerbread

March 1st, 2011

Well it was before Christmas when Google stated via it’s Twitter feed that the Android 2.3 update aka Gingerbread would be coming ‘in the coming weeks’, and now (only 10 weeks later) said update has arrived on my phone.

Here’s a list of the top changes, taken from MobileMentalism.com:

User interface improvements

  1. User interface refinements across the whole system
  2. New keyboard with easier to hit keys and a much improved layout
  3. “Key chording”, which enables more than one key to be hit at the same time (e.g. hold down Shift and press a key simultaneously) dramatically speeds up typing
  4. Improved one-touch copy and paste functionality, making it genuinely easy to use
  5. Revamped notification bar
  6. Supports five simultaneous points for advanced multitouch control (via the amusingly titled “multitouch.jazzhand” constant in the Android SDK)
  7. New downloads manager, which can be used by any application

Faster and more responsive

  1. Touch and keyboard events now handled much more quickly and efficiently
  2. Application responsiveness improved for all apps and especially games
  3. Floating point performance 2.5 times faster
  4. HTTP response sizes up to 60% smaller

Better battery life

  1. Much better battery life
  2. System actively shuts down apps that consume too much power
  3. Much easier to see which apps are consuming power
  4. Background apps managed much more aggressively to stop them slowing down the system

Much improved graphics performance

  1. Smoother animation thanks to a concurrent garbage collector that minimizes application pauses
  2. Improved video drivers for much better looking games
  3. Implements OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics library
  4. Supports new VP8 and WebM video and image formats

New Connectivity features

  1. Built-in SIP protocol stack enables VoIP Internet telephony
  2. Internet calling built-in to the user interface
  3. NFC API lets developers create apps that can interact with NFC smart tags embedded in posters, t-shirts and other products

New sensors supported

  1. New sensors supported (as long as the phone has the sensors installed) including gyroscope, linear acceleration, gravity, and barometer. Get ready for the first Android weather predicting phone!
  2. New sensor support enables games that recognize tilt, spin, thrust, and slice.
  3. Tag photos by date, location and altitude

New Multimedia features

  1. Support for multiple cameras on the same device
  2. New audio effects, such as bass boost, equalization, and reverb
  3. Audio effects are mixable, allowing you to mix your own effects either globally or just for an individual track
  4. Tablets now supported thanks to extra large screen sizes being fully suported
  5. Function to search for music and immediately play the tune upon finding it

I’m very pleased to see the improved battery life in there, and any speed increases are always appreciated.  I’ve had to wait a while since announcement to get the OTA update, but I’m pleased that Google is still looking after user’s who bought the NexusOne – I’m sure it will be a while before the likes of the HTC Desire get Gingerbread.

Xbox Kinect “is a great way to connect an elbow to a face”

November 15th, 2010

Source: BitterWallet