Archives for: January, 2012

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-29

  • They say good painting is 80% preparation. Getting this room ready to paint is enough work that it feels more like 280% preparation. #fb #
  • The Japanese reaction to the SC Republican primary results: Newt-o? Newt-o? dono yoo na namae daroo? #
  • Just finished catching up on Shashin support questions, and made a bunch of updates to the Shashin documentation #
  • "Kodak acted like a stereotypical change-resistant Japanese firm, while Fujifilm acted like a flexible American one" #
  • I'm doing some Facebook integration for a site and just discovered the URL "localhost" has 2K "likes" on Facebook. I just added one more! #
  • With @williamsba and @zamoose, setting up for tonight's WordPress meetup, and getting an early start on the pizza #
  • US drops way down to 47th for press freedoms, mainly for the many arrests and beatings of reporters at OWS protests #fb #
  • Nice work! RT @somiswebteam: Our Site is Now Responsive #

Plugin Support Post

My last Shashin post has about 75 comments, so it’s time for a fresh plugin support post. I’m also creating a new plugin support category for these posts, which should make them easier to find.

Please use the comments section for any questions about my plugins. I’m gratified that my plugins are becoming more popular, but it also makes it harder for me to provide personalized support. My plugins have extensive documentation, especially Shashin, so please review the documentation to see if you can find an answer to your question there before posting here. Thanks!

See Tony Toyoda at the Lanai Lounge!

Ad for a show by Maria's father, Tony Toyoda - The Miami News, Dec 20, 1965Ad for a show by Maria's father, Tony Toyoda - The Miami News, Dec 20, 1965
Ad for a show by Maria's father, Tony Toyoda - The Miami News, Dec 20, 1965

I just found an old ad from the Miami News in 1965 for a show by Maria’s dad, Tony Toyoda (click the picture to see it full size). Google News search is a wonderful thing. The trick is to exclude Akio “Tony” Toyoda from the search, the President of the Toyota car company (and a distant relative of Maria’s family).

I also found someone is selling one of his old publicity photos on eBay and here’s a great article I found a couple years ago, which is a profile of him and the members of his show “Tokyo Scene”, from 1971.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-22

  • If you've added a comment to my site or sent me an email for Shashin support, I haven't forgotten you. I'll catch up over the next few days #
  • Fixed my first Extensible HTML Editor Buttons bug. When's SOPA blackout ends, you can download it #
  • The limits of Google search: how do I give users an embed dialog in the Google map on my site? I already know how to embed the map itself. #
  • …Turns out another reason why it's hard to find in search is because that feature isn't available in the Google Maps API! #

My new WordPress plugin: Extensible HTML Editor Buttons

A feature of WordPress 3.3 is the new QuickTags API, which makes it possible for developers to add buttons to WordPress’ HTML Editor button bar. My Extensible HTML Editor Buttons plugin uses this API to allow non-developers to easily add buttons. It includes a WYSIWYG settings form for creating new buttons. You can use it to specify the label for your button, the tag you want it to insert, and whether it is a self-closing tag (such as an <img> tag). If you’re comfortable with HTML (and you should be, since you’re using the HTML Editor!), you can also create a custom dialog for your button to launch. This is handy if your tag has multiple attributes (such as class, title, etc). And for plugin developers, it has an API that uses a simple method call where you can register your own button. This is useful if, for example, your plugin uses a shortcode and you’d like to create a button for it, without having to delve into the QuickTags API yourself.

Something I quickly learned working with the QuickTags API is that it’s fairly limited. It’s really designed just for adding simple buttons. Supporting custom dialogs through it required me to do some jQuery gymnastics – see my buttonController.js file if you want the gory details.

If you’re interested in the QuickTags API itself, the qt.addButton function in wp-includes/js/ has detailed explanatory comments, and there’s a good, simple working example in this gist file.

Aficiondos of (if there are any such people) may notice this plugin sounds a lot like my old Koumpounophobia plugin. That plugin did a lot of jQuery-based scraping of the HTML Editor to make it possible to add custom buttons, since there didn’t used to be an API, and it ceased to work with the rewrite of QuickTags in WordPress 3.3. Also, the name I gave it was a poor choice (it means “fear of buttons” – totally obscure and a little too clever…). So I took the opportunity to re-write it and give it a much more descriptive name.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-15

  • Great article on my brother's organic farm in RI (half-brother, if you're wondering why his last name is different) #fb #
  • Maria was surprised to see my shower and shave this morning, like working at home would instantly turn me into a feral creature #fb #
  • …I am wearing the same clothes as yesterday though #fb #
  • @hakjoon ask me again in a week in reply to hakjoon #
  • I am deeply honored that the great philosopher and poet of our time, @Mikey_Hanson, is following me #
  • Working at home means IM overload: I'm now on AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, IRC, and Skype. I almost need a separate monitor just for IM! #fb #
  • My "about" page was 5 years out of date, so I finally updated it #fb #
  • No one beats the Japanese when it comes to putting English words on signs without having any idea what they mean #fb #
  • Damn, I will miss this by one week RT @AtTheDriveIn_ We are playing Coachella Sun April 15 & April 22…See you there!! #
  • My new WordPress plugin, Extensible HTML Editor buttons, lets you add custom buttons to the WP HTML editor #
  • Making my Extensible HTML Editor Buttons plugin flexible enough to support any possible custom modal dialog was a real adventure in jQuery #

My last day at Penn, my first day at WebdevStudios

This past summer I started attending the Philly WordPress meetups, which led to an opportunity for me to speak at Philly WordCamp, which led to an amazing opportunity to work at WebDevStudios, with an amazing team. Today – Monday – was my first day on the job. I’m doing custom development work and soon I’ll get involved with project management. I’m starting with some enhancements to Friday was my last day at Penn, so my head is spinning a bit from the transition.

I’ve been part of the web team in Penn’s School of Medicine since 2004, and I’ve been Director for the past 2 years. My team had a lot of demands placed on them, with the need for projects outpacing what we could provide. One of the first things I did as Director was learn Agile practices so I could teach them to my team (and I brought in a scrum coach to help). These two graphics illustrate the two primary challenges we faced – not enough staff, and too much chaos:

Blue represents available SOMIS staff, red indicates how many people would be needed to complete the desired workBlue represents available SOMIS staff, red indicates how many people would be needed to complete the desired work
Blue represents available SOMIS staff, red indicates how many people would be needed to complete the desired work
Illustration by Esther Derby showing a not very well functioning development processIllustration by Esther Derby showing a not very well functioning development process
Illustration by Esther Derby showing a not very well functioning development process

For many months my work spilled over into nights and weekends as I tried to move things forward. I can’t say we entirely solved these problems, but we made a lot of progress, and got the wheels turning in higher levels of administration to address the situation (“turning the aircraft carrier,” as one of our project managers put it – change is not easy to implement in a huge institution). Deciding to leave was hard, but an opportunity to turn my WordPress plugin development hobby into a job, to work with Brad (@williamsba) and the WebDevStudios team, and having the flexibility of working at home… it was too good to pass up. I’m especially looking forward to having more time to code again. If the past 2 years have taught me anything, it’s that I have a passion for software development, and always striving to do it better.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-08

  • Maria and Kai at the Skatium yesterday (after living here 9 years, we finally went the 5 blocks to get there) #fb #
  • And 7 years after I put in new drywall, I'm finally putting in the trim and baseboards (I'm re-using the old ones) #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-01

  • This David Sedaris bit is fun, especially his singing "Away in a Manger" the way he thinks Billie Holiday would sing it #
  • Newport docks in the winter – quietly empty #
  • The 19th century railroads -funded by corrupt gov't subsidies- was hardly the golden age of capitalism some wish it was #
  • Newport's People's Credit Union closed & is now the People's Cafe, with a big bank vault right in the middle of it #
  • It's great how none of the highway signs in Rhode Island acknowledge the existence of Newport #fb #