Adds a caption, that includes the same text as the original photo on Flickr
Centers the image, using WordPress’s tags
Makes the photo credit part of the text. I like to include the photo credit using slightly different language. At some point I’ll get around to modifying the plugin so that I can save my format as a setting.
Admittedly, these implementations are just a little bit buggy – I just hacked those bits in without really doing any serious testing on them. Once I have kicked the tires on this code a little, I’ll post it to the plugin’s page. If you want to take a look at it before then, just drop me a line.
Sometimes the right post just needs the right picture – I’ve actually had a lack of a good photo hold up a post before. I’m happy
and I’m still not satisfied with it. ((Photo Credit: Emi Yañez via Compfight)) Ze Frank may just be my brand new hero. You see, all the things he says in this video are the exact kinds of things I could really stand to hear right now. I’ve listened to this particular video probably three times now. I don’t want to listen to it too often as I will probably accidentally memorize it. I don’t want his words to be like the world “oatmeal” when repeated over and over so that it becomes mush in my mind, devoid of meaning. I want it to feel like he’s calling me up and leaving an awesome voice mail on my phone.
The title of this post is an interesting thing/problem. I had several amusing and slightly clever titles. I rejected several of them after writing just a few words, rejected before they were even fully articulated. Finally, as with the pencils Ze mentions, I found that the pencils at my disposal were sharp enough. It was more important to start, than to get it right at first.
No, I’m not just referring to the title of this post. I’m in the process of launching something on this other website. I’ve been working on this project off and on for three years. It’s been super close to launch for the last few months – just waiting for me to do some finishing work. I’m almost there…
I’ve got this website I’m working on and I’m trying to launch a new product. 1 The last time I launched something there I built a quick hacky WordPress plugin using PayPal to serve up the product once a person had made an electronic payment. Not only was it hacky, but looking back almost 2.5 years at that code I want to cringe.
Here’s part of the problem. I hate PayPal so much. They have ugly payment buttons, all the buttons are branded PayPal – which is a mixed blessing2 , unless you have a merchant account your users have to go through PayPal’s payment screens on their site – which causes users no end of angst, the user has to sign up for a PayPal account – which is a whole new layer of tech support nightmares when dealing with the technologically challenged, and I could go on.
I figured I’d give Stripe a shot, it’s supposed to be developer friendly. After wrestling with it for two hours I’m giving up. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s that I’m tired and I’m just not getting it and it’s easier to think like myself-as-a-crappier-coder-two-and-a-half-years-ago and fix up what I’d written than it would be to learn Stripe and shoehorn new code into my old code.
Some days I just want to tear down that website and start from scratch. I just don’t have the time.
On a completely unrelated note, I’m loving this new CompFight WordPress plugin. I’m extra happy about it since I contributed a quick one-line fix that helped improve the plugin. This one little plugin is going to basically make it about 100 times more likely I’m going to be able to drop a fun image into my posts. CompFight is a website that streamlines searching for Flickr CC licensed images. I was actually toying with the idea of making such a plugin when I found out they just developed their own. Awesome.
I ran across this article on how to do “split testing” also known as “A/B testing” in WordPress. Basically, this process uses a Google Website Optimizer Plugin and Google’s Analytics tools to handle all the heavy lifting. Once you create the control, test, and goal pages you would configure your Google Analytics account to look for trends in which of the two pages, the control or the test, performs better.
I’m not crazy about this method which relies on Google Analytics for two main reasons:
Most importantly, it does not appear to swap control/test content for users. Rather, it appears to simply observe which of the two concurrent pages works better. This literally requires twice the marketing effort, since you would have to publicize both links to see which works better. I prefer the ShrimpTest method which swaps out specific content in a single page. This way all of your efforts can be concentrated onto one single page.
This Google Analytics method is too complex and requires too much coordination between the website and Google. Now, I love me my analytics. I like seeing the ebb and flow of visitors, downloads, etc – and few people do it better than Google. But, with A/B testing I just want to know as quickly as possible whether A or B is better. Nothing else matters. I want that knowledge as soon as possible so that I can move on to A/B testing something else. With ShrimpTest I just need to configure the plugin, make the control and test content, and wait for a result.
I’m getting ready to launch a new product on this other website that I run. I’ve already got ShrimpTest configured and ready to roll. I cannot wait to see what happens.
ShrimpTest is a WordPress plugin with a LOT of promise. Basically, it is an A/B testing tool for WordPress. The plugin author, Mitcho, does a great job of explaining A/B testing and why it is important. If you are already familiar with A/B testing, you can skip ahead to 16:03 in the video to see a demo of Mitcho presenting the plugin
Unfortunately, and this is truly a shame, the plugin also suffers from an almost complete lack of development and updating. There must have been some change in WordPress v3.2 that stopped the plugin from working. The effect was that the “A/B” icon in the rich text editor was missing. Fortunately, someone figured out a work around. The super quickest way to apply this change to the plugin is to do the following:
Make sure you’re logged into your WordPress website of choice
Navigate to `http://[DOMAIN].com/wp-admin/plugin-editor.php?file=shrimptest/plugins/variant-shortcode/tinymce.js&plugin=shrimptest%2Fshrimptest.php`
My FireFox tabs were getting out of control. I had about 50 tabs all stacked up and I couldn’t really quite keep them all straight.
Why so many? I had about a dozen tabs for things like Gmail, Twitter, a few random sites/blog posts I’d been meaning to read/scan, two YouTube videos I wanted to watch, and a few things I wanted to blog here. Another dozen tabs were devoted to things related to a business/blog/website – images I wanted to use in posts, post drafts, etc. And, about two dozen consisted of awesome stuff in Thingiverse and around the web I wanted to blog over at MakerBot.
For someone who gets easily1 distracted like myself, having so many tabs across so many different topics makes it very easy for me to get sidetracked. It occurred to me that I could just open up a few FireFox windows and drag and drop my mess of tabs into three broad categories. I opened up two additional windows, which makes one for MakerBot blog post drafts, business/blog post drafts, and a third for miscellaneous stuff. 2
So far I’ve been able to clear out a bunch of tabs – which feels great. One interesting and satisfying side effect is that when you close the last tab in a FireFox window, the window closes!
Dan Royer just posted his slides and notes from a recent talk at his local hackerspace. What I particularly like about these slides is that they simply and clearly lay out the math required to operate a DrawBot as well as some potentially practical implications and applications for a well designed DrawBot system.