July 20, 2009
Akismet Formatting

I use Akismet to keep spam off my blog here. It’s very effective. As you can see on the sidebar, it’s blocked more than 230,000 since I installed it. The problem I have is with the formatting of Akismet. It left-justifies a graphic on the sidebar and also it defines the graphical background (the blue box you see) as 120 pixels wide and 40 pixels tall. Here’s the two things:

  • I want the box to be centered. When there’s a sidebar involved the way I’ve got most of my theme’s sidebars set up, left-justifying a graphic just plain looks bad. The graphic is even on the left side with my sidebar background. It just looks out of place.
  • Even though the graphic is defined as 120 pixels wide and 40 pixels tall, the actual graphic is 120 pixels wide and 50 pixels tall. It never looks right on the roll-over. The lower corners are always “squared off”.

So rather than being a complainer and doing nothing but whining about the way it looks, I fixed it. For those of you interested in the fix, here it is. Note that the line numbers given are for Akismet version 2.2.6, the most current version at this time.

The changes need to be made in the CSS included in Akismet. The way Akismet is set up, you can use is as a plugin (for the newer versions of WordPress) or you can add it in to your sidebar manually (for the older versions of WordPress). Either way you will need to edit only two lines and they are identical. Lines 1053 and 1095 both originally read:

#akismetwrap #akismetstats{background:url(< ?php echo get_option('siteurl'); ?>/wp-content/plugins/akismet/akismet.gif) no-repeat top left;border:none;color:#fff;font:11px 'Trebuchet MS','Myriad Pro',sans-serif;height:40px;line-height:100%;overflow:hidden;padding:8px 0 0;text-align:center;width:120px}

Change both lines to read like this (changes in bold italics):

#akismetwrap #akismetstats{background:url(< ?php echo get_option('siteurl'); ?>/wp-content/plugins/akismet/akismet.gif) no-repeat top left;border:none;color:#fff;font:11px 'Trebuchet MS','Myriad Pro',sans-serif;height:50px;line-height:100%;overflow:hidden;margin: 0px auto 0px auto;padding:8px 0 0;text-align:center;width:120px}

And voilá! Now the Akismet graphic is re-assigned it’s original height and is centered on your sidebar! Technically speaking, this will work for any version of Akismet but the line numbers listed here are probably wrong for other versions.

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Run batted in by BillH at 7:22 am |  Comments Off on Akismet Formatting
September 24, 2008
Back To Work

Not that I ever left my job… I’m back to work on my calendar. I’ve tentatively dubbed it “My Family Calendar”. The aim of the calendar is to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries. Initially I’ll only have annually occurring events on it. Some of the major features will be:

  • Month view ONLY! I’ve seen too many calendars that allow multiple views and it just adds to the confusion to what I want.
  • Events will occur ONLY all day. Again, I’ve seen too many calendars that allow intervals of time that are less than a day and it just adds to confusion and event entry headaches. After all, it’s your birthday or your anniversary all day, not just an hour or so.
  • The name of the person or persons will show up on the date of their birthday/anniversary. (I know, not original at all). They will be color coded for birthday and anniversary.
  • When the name is clicked on, a popup window will appear that will mimic a business card that includes the person’s picture.
  • The monthly view will be printable – well at least you’ll be able to create a PDF from the monthly view.
  • Password protected admin panel where the admin will be able to add/edit/delete events. Also, the admin will be able to change the calendar title, the skin base color and password.
  • The ability to navigate months forward and backward one month at a time only. Since the calendar only does annually recurring events, there’s really no need to jump to some date five years in the future.
  • The ability to add holidays by marking a checkbox for each holiday. This will have to be implemented later as I’m not certain how to go about adding the “second Sunday in May” kind of holiday. It will be implemented in the admin panel.
  • All events will be stored in a MySQL database, and the program will be written in PHP.

Right now, I’m still working out how the screens will look by designing a logo, laying them out in HTML using CSS to place and describe items. But soon I’ll need to write the PHP code and include the SQL statements within as well. That’s when the work will really start.

But the big question is… do you think I need to add something else?

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Run batted in by BillH at 11:24 pm |  Comments Off on Back To Work
April 22, 2008

As the Star Trek computer used to say to Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, “Working….” (rattles and clicks and such in the background). I’ve been working on a self-imposed project called “My Family Calendar”. If you’ve read my blog for a long time, you know that I’m not happy with Datenator, the calendar program I’m using. While it’s fairly easy to administer, it only supports regular-interval recurring events (won’t do recurring holidays like Memorial Day – the last Monday in May every year) which is a HUGE thing for me. I’d like to set it and forget it. Plus, it doesn’t include a number of other things I’d like to do. I can’t show you my on-line calendar because it’s password protected so only my family members have access.

I’ve looked at a lot of web-based calendars: WebCalendar, myPHPCalendar, phpWebCalendar, Calendarix, and a slew of others. I’ve even thought about importing my Google Calendar. The ones that do what I want also include features I don’t want like group scheduling, multiple individual calendars, to-do lists, tasks, etc. There are also those that are hard to administer and have a busy screen – too much information at once.

So after going through all of these, I’ve decided to write my own. I’m going to borrow heavily from other calendars. No sense in re-inventing the wheel, right? But what I really want to create is an address book with a calendar interface to help me with family birthdays and anniversaries. Basically here’s how I want it to work:

  • It will only display a month view for the calendar.
  • ONLY birthdays, anniversaries and holidays will be displayed. Because of this, all events are assumed to last all day, so no hour:minute data will be kept.
  • It will allow you to click on an event (birthday, anniversary, holiday) and pop up a window with information on that event.
  • The popup will contain contact information: mailing address, email, web page.
  • The popup will contain a photo of the person(s).
  • The popup will contain the date, but not the year.
  • The popup can be printed.
  • There will be an admin panel with the following functions:
    • Manage (add/modify/delete) events.
    • Set the admin password.
    • A holiday interface with checkboxes so the admin selects what holidays are displayed.
  • Login and Logout of the admin panel.

Once I get these items “perfected” I’ll start adding on my wish list:

  • Ability to create a PDF of the displayed month’s calendar that any user can print.
  • Ability to automatically send a congratulatory email to the person(s) celebrating their birthday/anniversary, provided they have an email address in the system.
  • Ability to send an email that will create a post in WordPress.
  • Ability to control these items through the admin panel
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Run batted in by BillH at 10:14 am |  Just one comment so far