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Experimenting with WordPress child themes and overriding template-tags.php December 14, 2017

Posted by Steven in Software, The-Web.
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I recently realized a small project with WordPress. If I do get my hands dirty, the projects are really tiny so I usually resort to very simple platforms such as Squarespace, wix.com or indexhibit. Just anecdotally I believed WordPress has become to complex and the time vs. quality ratio of pulling together a good WordPress platform (with different plugins, template configurations and so on) is just not worth it. But as so many sites on the web are powered by WordPress I wanted to give it another shot.

I must say in current version 4.9.1 WordPress feels swift and powerful and also -in my view- the documentation improved and is now really easy to understand. So it was quite fun to set up the project.

Some things did not change: So either you fork $ for really complex and customizable themes or you start with a free theme and will eventually have to adapt it. Really any kind of intimate visual tweaks do require some jumps to the php / css code editor. I learned that my old copy paste approach is not the way to adapt themes. So I created a proper child theme. The procedure works fine but I must say.. again.. comparing it to Squarespace or the like: It is quite an intricate operation for something as simple as adapting an existing theme.

So I got basic custom styles and formats in and .. fast forward .. I needed to adapt some entry-meta-information. This resulted in the need to change php functions in:

template-tags.php

I used the good old child approach and simply tried to override the file in

<theme folder>/inc

But it turns out this approach does not override the functions loaded in the parents function tree. :-(

I googled and this forum post explains it very well:

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/customizing-inctemplate-functions-php-in-child-theme/

So the solution is to take great care in how the classes and functions are loading. And when you really step into this order of functions loading (pls. see the link above) than you can make it work and get your custom tags and stylings in.

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HEIF HEIC Converter for Windows December 13, 2017

Posted by Steven in Apple, Software.
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Apple seems to be aware that local storage on iPhones is mostly scarce. Recent iOS releases brought a number of improvements and more transparency regarding the storage management on iOS and iCloud.

I was quite surprised that Apple did not only pull of a couple of tricks regarding the display and management of storage but it even thought about the file formats that take up most of the space on an iPhone. For many people the storage fills up quickly by taking a lot of pictures. Apple looked at the way photos are stored (usually in .JPG format) and jumped in to change that format on iPhones.

The new modern file format  HEIF was specially designed by Apple to efficiently store a lot of photos and save this precious storage space.

Now the downside of this great change is – that the format and the usage of this efficient image storage system is right now an isolated Apple thing. iPhones do a good job in letting you post to Instagram and Facebook – handling the conversions in the background. But when you use old fashioned cables to access or copy files off your phone than you might get stuck with a file that your Computer can’t open.

To solve this some free tools are available: For Windows have a look at:

https://www.copytrans.de/copytransheic/

And for Macs there are also free tools available: https://imazing.com/heic

My view: give it a try and fear not: the move to efficient image formats is surely a great move for users. More space on your device.. more features like these neat live photos and just a bit of getting used to in your daily workflows.

 

Windows 10 Activation Technology January 8, 2017

Posted by Steven in Software.
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Microsoft attempted to make a lot of things very easy and straight forward with Windows 10. This operating system of the cloud-age is supposed to be a no brainer for everyone. Easy to upgrade, initially offered as a free upgrade and not to forget fast and safe for everyday use.

When I recently contemplated the upgrade to Windows 10 for an older living-room PC myself I found some aspects that are quite complicated. Thus today I’d like to talk about Activation.

I believe Microsoft’s intention was to make the upgrade process very smooth end easy for everyone. However this lead to more activation options and to an more complex situation overall if things go wrong.

More Activation Options

  • Microsoft provides a nice overview here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation
  • Today there are two activation routes (Windows setup will chose which one fits your situation).
  • First possible route: Digital Entitlement / Digital License
    • Rule of thumb: everyone who used an activated previous version of windows and took Microsoft’s offer for a free upgrade will get a digital license.
    • There are other cases where the setup will chose digital license (explained in detail by Microsoft)
    • So what is a digital license? Basically it is a digital marker, a license which microsoft creates when you use one of the free upgrade offers or when you are a windows insider. In order to fix issues with that methodology Microsoft has built a functionality to link your digital license with your Microsoft account (and this should help with re-activating Windows after hardware change).
    • Additionally it is important to understand: The digital license is build in such a way so that it is tied to your current hardware configuration
  • Second is the classic Product Key Method
    • What is it and when will it be used?
    • It seems quite obvious: the other more expensive ways to get Windows will in most cases use a Product Key and the classic transfer of some PC data and product key to Microsoft for activation. These more expensive ways include: buying a Windows 10 copy, buying a digital download for Windows 10 or getting Windows 10 with a new Laptop.
    • With the Product key that you acquired there should be no issue re-activating Windows.

As you can see the different routes may make for more options and maybe more issues when changing hardware. The following links can also provide some guidance if you run into issues:

License FAQ
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ultimate-windows-10-activation-license-faq/

Versus. Background Info
http://pureinfotech.com/how-activation-works-windows-10-digital-entitlement-vs-product-key/

Preparing for hardware change
http://www.windowscentral.com/how-re-activate-windows-10-after-hardware-change

Windows 10 Setup Considerations when using a free upgrade
http://www.howtogeek.com/266072/you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/

Tame Gatekeeper in OS X 10.9 – macOS Mavericks December 27, 2016

Posted by Steven in Software.
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Apple set up Gatekeeper as one of the prime methods to protect users from malicious software. It’s basically a security system integrated into macOS which checks executable software against a list of malicious stuff.

I recently noticed that in Apple’s latest desktop OS “Mavericks” (10.9) there is no Gatekeeper setting for allowing any kind of software to run on your Mac. You can find Gatekeeper settings in the “Preference” App under option “Security” in the “General”-Tab. There you are now limited to allow App-Downloads (just) from the Apple App Store; or from the Apple App Store and from verified Developers.

Previously there was a setting for ‘allow from – “Anywhere” ‘. This was useful to me in certain situations – basically during troubleshooting certain Apps.

Here is how you get this “Anywhere” Option back under Mavericks:

Open Terminal and enter this command (confirm with Admin Password):

sudo spctl --master-disable

And that’s it. The formerly available Option returns to your “Preferences” App.

ResophNotes simple SimpleNote client for Windows February 1, 2016

Posted by Steven in gadgets, Software.
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ResophNotes Screenshot

I have tried many things to get organized. Tried out many many different to-do-list apps (Things, AnyDo), feature-rich notes-taking apps (Evernote, OneNote). None of these really worked for me. I gather a lot of little things and to-dos during my usual days. Always on the go, I need really fast and simple synchronization between all my devices.

Most of the fancy to-do-list apps offer great features and -at least on iOS- really nice user interfaces. Overall I had some issues with inconsistent user experiences across the various devices. For example I have set up reminders or specific dates or places in an iOS app but on an Android phone the data would look different. Also I regularly use work PCs (etc.) thus a simple web frontend is essential for me. Some of the apps use Dropbox for synchronization but don’t have a specific web frontend for viewing or editing the data.

The big solutions like evernote and OneNote are simply too feature rich for me. There is so much to do and to try out that I easily get distracted. Also among tags and folders and collections and so on it is much harder to set up a simple stack of things to keep me organized.

So once again I realized the solution which works absolutely best for me is: Simplenote. It’s a plain and simple notes solution (by the way from the makers of wordpress). It is fast and intuitive. It gives you a list of text-only notes, a simple search function and a compact system to tag the notes. There some useful advanced features but the true beauty of Simplenote is really its simplicity. It is plain text, it is very quick and synchronization with pretty much all platforms and apps is fast and seamless.

ResophNotes

For ‘old school’ classic Desktop style windows, there is no native Simplenote app. Thus I had a quick look for a nice piece of software which could handle the job. I found a piece of software which is perfect for the job and an absolute joy to use:

ResphNotes

It is a sleek and classy Windows application it synchronizes quickly and seamlessly with Simplenote’s servers and it makes it easy to manage hundreds of notes. I have been using it for almost two years now and it supported my daily chaos really well. It was reliable and fast and never disappointed.

If you are looking for a nice and fast windows application to manage text notes you must give it a try!

Gallery App from the CyanogenMod Team now available for Testing “GalleryNext” January 16, 2014

Posted by Steven in gadgets, Software.
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Gallery-Plus-Cyano-Icon01

Google is on an interesting path with its latest release of the Android operating system 4.4 “KitKat”. For example on the Nexus 5 Google went so far as to make the search app the default launcher. So Google’s closed source search is the part that defines how your icons look on a Nexus 5. Also Google+ is being pushed more and more. Not too long ago Google added a special little App to Android which offers dedicated access to the Google+ Gallery. It also seems that step by step this new app shall replace the default Android Gallery.

So to sum things up: rather generic features on an Android device (Launcher, Gallery) are slowly being replaced with “enhanced” Google services (Google Search, Google+ Photos). So if we follow Google’s arguments we get exciting new features and interesting cloud stuff at the expense of being 100% tied into the Google ecosystem. I am sure there is more to come and other features will be tied into Google’s services as well.

So for people who like the flexibility and openness of Android it may be time to look around for viable alternatives to the “Google way”. For example if you do not want to keep your pictures on Google+ and you are a big fan of yahoo’s flickr then other gallery apps may be better.

Recently I checked out CyanogenMod’s GalleryNext. A sleek little gallery app coming from the people bringing beautiful Android versions to older devices. I must say I like it. It’s lightweight, it integrates Facebook-, Flickr- and Dropbox-pictures (as well as the usual Picasa albums) and it basically has a similar look and feel as the former default Android gallery app.

If you would like to give the app a try – it is currently in a testing stage, so backup your stuff an follow these steps (outlined here https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/KFiGREqst3P) :

Indexhibit Favourite Examples January 4, 2011

Posted by Steven in Software, The-Web.
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Updated Feb2014

Here is an updated Link list of handsome web pages built with indexhibit. Indexhibit is a lightweight php-based content management system vastly used in the creative community. The system provides basic page editing features and easy to use minimalistic templates.

In 2011 I have checked some example websites (provided below) – I noticed some pages are now – three years later – no longer online. So I updated the list.

Clickable:

Historic:

WPKube

technology and life hacking

CodeinWP Blog

Designer's guide to WordPress

Elegant Themes Blog

technology and life hacking

WPBeginner

technology and life hacking