Posts Tagged ‘wordpress’

Gaming

Twitterlettes removed

TwitterIf you happen to be a regular visitor of my site (you’re not, I know – just humour me, okay?) then you’ll probably have noticed that the swarm of white bars containing 140 chars or less of drivel have disappeared from the main section. Yep, all that is left is the regular posts – I’ve gotten rid of the special posts created from my Skoardy Twitter feed.

They were somewhat of an experiment and I guess it failed. I figured that since I don’t write that many posts, I could bolster the content of the site by adding in my tweets. 140 characters is a lot easier to generate than whole articles rambling aimlessly on about some topic or other, right? Well, yeah, and that was the problem. The site soon filled up with tweets and despite extending the article count for the page, it wasn’t long before there was very little ‘real’ (in my loose definition) content and any there was soon got pushed off the front page by the white bars.

Worst still, as a side-effect, instead of increasing the content on the site, I actually stopped tweeting. I didn’t want to make the situation worse on Skoardy.com so I’d restrict myself. That’s not what Twitter is about. You should be free to spew any random gibberish into the aether, all day long. If you can’t bang on about pointless matters and what you had for lunch, what good is Twitter for?

So I removed the special tweet posts and added my tweets as a sidebar widget (they’re hiding at the bottom, currently). I’m considering revamping the site to make the widget a touch more prominent but that’s probably a little way off. They’re good where they are for now. I also need to train myself to make more posts, even if they’re not ‘events’ full of screenshots, videos and post banners. It’s just a blog – a post can just be something simple… like this one, for instance.

General

Social…ism

I’ve just activated a plug-in on the site that adds those little share/like/+1 buttons to the bottom of the posts. Chances are all the people wandering through my site looking for PVC goat costume porn probably won’t use them all that much but if they help me spread my sickness …ahem, uh, message further, all the better.

If you’re not bothered about that kind of thing, just get your ignore on. I won’t hold it against you… unless you’re wearing a PVC goat costume, of course.

GamingGeneralMMOMovies

Link review

As my sidebar widget of links has pretty much sat unchanged since I first started this WordPress iteration of Skoardy.com, I thought it was about time that I reviewed and updated the list. Time to add some of the other sites I frequent (and tentatively recommend), and bin any that have fallen from favour (perhaps their design aesthetics have become a lumbering mess of interface-related tortures – I’m looking at you, Kotaku).

Without further ado, here we go.


Kotaku – as mentioned above, it’s gone. The reason being is that the web design for this site seems to be going backwards in terms of usability. It’s like the Benjamin Button of the internet. Reports of its visitor drop-off since the change do not surprise me in the least. There’s a thousand and one websites on the internet all clambering to supply people with gaming news. You do not ensure you’re the site they choose by making yours almost painful to use.


MMO Champion – Yes, I want the latest information about World of Warcraft. No, I don’t want pages and pages of filler articles in the shape of editorials and fluff, solely designed to wring out a few more advertising page-views. And that’s where MMO Champion comes in – it’s basically just a stream of pure information, quotes from Blizzard and images of new content. None of those pesky ‘contributors’ waffling on about whatever happens to cross their mind.


Wowpedia – Now, if you visit this site, you may get a little bit of déjà vu – in that it looks a whole lot like WoWWiki.  In fact, you may even marvel at how an awful lot of the content looks much the same, if not identical. Well, that’s because it basically is. Back at the end of last year, some people didn’t particularly like moving to Wikia and so split off to create WoWpedia. I was planning on losing WoWWiki from my list and replacing it with Wowpedia but even though there’s very little difference to the two sites (as they’re basically cataloguing the same information about the same game), from time to time you might find that one site holds a little snippet that the other has overlooked. So, might as well keep both links handy just in case.


GameFAQs – I don’t know why this site didn’t make the cut the first time I rebooted the site as I’ve been using it almost since I took my first steps on the internet. Ploughed thirty to forty quid into a game and you’ve been stumped on the first level for over a month? Maybe it’s time to crack open GameFAQs and find out what you’re missing. Only got 99 collectables out of a 100 despite circling the game map dozens and dozens of times? Chances are GameFAQs has a map with all the items marked on it. It’s a great site, even if it does look extremely dated.


Twitter – As you can see from the bunches of white strips between the ‘proper’ articles, I’m a sporadic twitteree. Big fan of it. Apart from your friends spouting stuff they’d consider too short or fleeting to bung you in an email and all the voyeuristic celeb-life watching, Twitter has shown itself to be a real social movement in world events. Being informed has never been so immediate. Of course, I’m hunkering down as @skoardy on Twitter so if you want my random thoughts seeking you out in a more direct fashion, feel free to follow me (or any of the people I follow – a lot of them are very entertaining indeed).


As to the sites that have survived the shuffle…

  • FirstShowing.net – still my first port of call for general movie news and trailers. I just find its design a lot less offensive to the eyes than a lot of the more flashier sites. If there’s one thing I would change, it’s the head honcho’s need to add his own emphasis almost seemingly indiscriminately to nearly every damn sentence he writes, even quotes. Kinda does my head in.
  • Gametrailers.com – only reviews I particularly pay any attention to these days. Apart from seeing the actual game in action, they don’t focus on how they felt while writing the review or ramble on about some unrelated guff they were doing the previous week, unlike most of the other tits that call themselves games reviewers on the net these days.
  • Joystiq – compared to Kotaku, a nice and clean presentation keeps this gaming news site in the list.
  • Penny Arcade – this webcomic still makes me chuckle. Yes, it’s still occasionally filthy.
  • VG Cats – updates are few and far between (follow his twitter instead, to save you checking the site every so often) but still a very funny strip.
  • Wowhead – come on, it’s the go-to site for WoW in-game information. A huge database of items, spells and more, all haphazardly commented on by people playing the game right now.
  • WoWWiki – as mentioned above, I decided to keep this to have an alternative on hand on the off chance the other site doesn’t quite cut it. You never know.

And that’s your lot. Maybe it’ll be another couple of years before I update the links list again. Get ready!

 

General

Skoardy v4.0

TwitterYou might have noticed that something is slightly different about the site today. That is, if you’ve ever visited it before. If not, you’re probably wondering “What the hell kind of self-indulgent crap is this guy waffling on about and where is that goat-bondage porn Google promised me?!”. Wait. I’m losing my train of thought here… That’s it, change! All change.

I’ve just remade the Skoardy.com WordPress theme and it’s the ricketiest incarnation yet! A little while back, I wanted to integrate my twitterings into my site feed and even had all the tools to do it. Unfortunately, the theme I’d built before just wasn’t really up to the task and it turned into a bit of a mess. This time is different. It’ll still be a mess but now, it’s intentional! Part of the redesign was to place tweets into their own little post design – one that didn’t follow the regular layout and so, didn’t take up as much space.

They’ve also got their own category so if you feel the need to indulge in a bit of inanity overdosing, you can flick through a whole bunch of them in one sitting. The sidebar menu that contains a list of the last few posts has been tweaked to ignore tweets so that only features ‘real posts’ (much the same bullshit content of a tweet, just a lot longer).

As with all my hack/slash jobs, the remains  of the theme I butchered are in a sorry state. If the site collapses on you, you have my humble apologies. If it doesn’t work on your browser, again, sorry.

One problem the switch-over has highlighted is that I tend to tweet quite a bit more than I make website posts. Don’t be surprised to see the front page (and maybe a few pages after that) awash with nothing but tweets. Hopefully it’ll encourage me to post something a little more ‘meaty’ from time to time but then again, I wouldn’t count on it. We’ll see how it goes.

In summation, enjoy the new site design, it’s very, very orange.

General

Dusting off

WordPressIt’s been quite a while since I last posted an update to the site so I thought I’d best raise my head above the parapet. Work has been a slog recently with nary a minute to think about doing much else, much less actually get round to doing it.

Today though, I found myself with some time to spare and of course thought of you guys – my imaginary visitors, going so long without word from your beloved… um, blogger? Anyway, here I am again and one of the first things I did was update the back-end from 2.91 to 3.01 of WordPress. The big selling point for the update (apart from the usual wodgy mountain of bug fixes, general enhancements and tidy-ups) is the new default theme, Twenty Ten.

Hmmm, instead of trying to explain what has changed, I should just take the lazy route and embed…

If you’ve got hosting that can handle a WordPress set-up (and most should, to be honest), you could do a lot worse than running a site with it. So versatile and easy to customise that even a chump like me can handle it. And if the thought of modifying a theme sends shivers down your spine, there are a multitude of free themes already created by an ever expanding community with one guaranteed to suit your mood.

Don’t have hosting? Sign up for a free blog on WordPress.com, and get waffling.

General

PNG me?

Wordpress 2.7I mentioned updating my theme in my last post and while lack of time is a pretty big hurdle for building a new front-end for Skoardy.com, another problem is an iffy design choice I made when I first created the site.

Originally, I wanted the images I used in posts to blend smoothly with the background. GIFs give a simple level of transparency but it’s an on/off deal – hardly what I was looking for. PNGs are the other option but when the format first appeared they were barely supported and even when they became more widespread, a few dopey hold-outs still handled them badly. So I created images with the background colour blended into them. Looked good, nice small file… but an absolute pain in the chuff to re-do any time you moved to a theme with a different background colour.

Hopefully, these days, browsers have come a little further and the chance of encountering some backward, hill-billy software that can’t handle a simple PNG image correctly should be pretty slim. By converting images on the site over time to PNGs, I at least remove that stumbling block for when I do have some time for a proper shuffle.

The images will be bigger, unfortunately, but that’s okay, right? You’re all on beefy bandwidth connections, yeah? No? Oh well, sucks to be you.

General

Twitter buh-bye!

TwitterMmmmm. Okay, so on reflection I’m not particularly happy with just blatting my Twitter updates straight into my site’s feed. Don’t get me wrong – more content on here, no matter how puerile and flimsy is always going to be the goal but the problem was that my current theme isn’t particularly conducive to small scribbles of info as whole posts. The date and category boxes demand just a touch more meat on each bone and frankly, having the first 30 characters of the tweet as the title of the post looked downright naff (and damn hard to orchestrate into something meaningful when trying to already condense your thoughts into 140 characters). So for now it’s tata Twitter.

I did try out a number of different Twitter widgets which, I must say, on a different theme would be great but mine just tends to either break them or look remarkably wonky. If I had more than five minutes here and there free on such a problem, this might have pushed me over then edge and caused a whole new theme revision. But as it stands, I’ve simply not enough time so I’ve stripped out the plug-ins altogether.

One day I’ll revisit the whole situation but for now, if you want my Twitter-shaped bullets of bullshit, you’ll just have to get them from the source.

General

Greetings from the hand

Long time, no post! Yeah, things have been a little ‘distracting’ lately and I’ve found myself with little I wanted to warble on about. Still, better late than never, eh? And I’ve found some to mention (or at least something to try out).

You see, I’ve recently gotten hold of one of those iPod Touch doofers and while tootling around the app store, came across a WordPress app that allows you to edit/create entries. I could probably do it via the built-in web browser (though the interface might be a bind to wade through), but I thought I’d give this a bash instead.

All in all, it’s pretty easy to use. The usual fat-fingers problem with the on-screen keyboard but I’m getting a fair pace out of it. Daft thing – I’m sat right in from of my desktop PC while tapping this out but, like I said, I wanted to give this a try.

So that’s that for my first ‘mobile’ update. Who knows, maybe I’ll do more like this – maybe even while out and about… like on the loo or something!

(Joking!)

General

Bleaurgh… IE

Pretty much just a follow-up to one of my earlier posts (‘Skoardy v3.0‘) where I unveiled/announced my revamp of the Skoardy.com theme. I was pretty happy with the results as I’d almost managed to achieve everything I set out to with the new look and also added some elements I’d overlooked the first time I switched everything over to WordPress.

Of course, I have little-to-no faith in my skills with CSS, hence the comments about not coughing. It’s a rickety set of stairs, the outer shell of Skoardy.com, and give it too much of a hammering and it’s likely to fall apart. But, it looked okay and everything was where it should be… or so I thought.

In comes Microsoft’s Internet Explorer with it’s size 9 clod-hoppers and its own unique take on what things should look like. Normally, I use Firefox as my default browser. It’s small, fast and best of all, with the right add-ons, you’ll never need to see another advert again. It looked fine on that. I even tried the site with Google’s Chrome – the new kid of the block that’s also small/fast. Also, looked fine. And with IE? Yeah…um, well, it was borked on IE.

I don’t usually like booting IE up. These days it seems there’s always some kind of new exploit being reported and death from within for anyone foolish enough to take it for a spin on the intahwebs. Eventually, I worked up the nerve to have a look. Things were misplaced, oddly positioned and some bizarre gaps were appearing. One by one, I managed correct the flaws, writing in more specific code so that even IE couldn’t get creative with my instructions. Everything was fixed, except for some gaps in the sidebar. I know IE users take up the market share of web tourists (seriously guys, switch to a new browser already!) so I wanted to fix it but nothing I tried could get rid.

So every few days I’d get a new idea and try it out with the hope that it’d fix the problem without breaking the site for other browsers. Every time, same result. Nada.

Tonight, however, the new fix worked and everything fell into place. Better still, it’s something that other browsers appear to care little about. Of course, this is just with version 7 of IE. If it’s broken on older versions, screw you. Upgrade… or better still, switch to a new browser already!

General

Skoardy v3.0

Don’t make a sound! Don’t cough. For heaven’s sake don’t sneeze, whatever you do! I’ve just rebuilt the website’s theme and the slightest jostle could bring it crashing down around your ears.

I thought it was about time for a change and doing so has allowed me to fix a couple of oversights I made when I first put the WordPress website together. The first thing that got sorted was being able to show more than one category at the same time. While I could define my posts as have multiple categories, my first theme couldn’t display them (it’d only show the first one). That’s sorted now. I can go category buck-wild… er… not that I plan to. But I could!

Second was a better integration of the tags. I’ve been adding them to the posts and had that chubby tag cloud in the old footer so it seemed daft not to list them in the posts. Well, there they are. The tag cloud itself has gone, replaced with a list of the top 30 tags over in the side bar.

I’ve binned the comments.  They weren’t getting used – though I never really expected them to. No, scratch that. They were getting used but there’s only so many hours in the day you can devote to marking bot-seeded porn site advert comments as spam.

And what have we learnt from doing another theme? Mostly that creating images for pretty much every post and blending them to the theme’s background colour is going to bite you in the ass somewhere down the line. Yeah, recreating all those was a mind-numbing excercise in tedium fun.

Anyway, enjoy. Mind what you touch, though. The paint is still wet in a few places.