Rant: Too Many Plugins

One of WordPress’s greatest strengths is its ability of add functionality through the use of plugins. The problem is so many plugins are being used that the information (which is why we are actually visiting your site) is being obscured and the site is becoming slow to the point of uselessness. I find that I need very few plugins. For this site I use WordPress SEO by Joost, Gravity Forms, Wootumblog, Akismet, Obox Mobile, and Backup Buddy. I’ve helped some users who have convinced themselves that they need 20+ plugins. I guarantee that if you look at the plugins you are currently using you will find that they are unnecessary. </rant>

Creative Commons

I have always wondered something. People using WordPress are using a GPL licensed CMS and and GPL licensed theme but they are not using a similar license for their site’s content, like Creative Commons. I’m not sure whether this is a conscious decision or if people just not think about it. Anyway I have just changed my license over to Creative Commons. There is probably not much of value here on the site right now but I hope there will be something you may want in the future.

Express App = Awesome

I was a bit skeptical about blogging from an iPhone app but I have to say the combo of Obox Themes + Wootumblog + Express App + Obox Mobile is pretty much perfect. BTW this is my first post from the Express App. Hopefully you will see Wootumblog support in Obox Themes in the future. If you can’t wait I can walk you through the process, it is quite easy.

Back to WordPress

Well I decided over the weekend that I need to stop dabbling in other CMSs and focus on my true love, WordPress. In light of this decision I ported my blog over from tumblr to WordPress.  With a few modifications I got Motion Picture from Obox to work with the Woothemes tumblog plugin as well as the Obox Mobile Plugin. My decision was also influenced in part by my recent iPhone purchase as I really wanted to start using the Express App by Woothemes. The site is still a bit rough as I need to work on some design elements but I am really happy with my choice to get back to WP 100%.

I don’t buy media I rent

I just realized something today, it has been years since I’ve bought a DVD or CD.  With the advent of Netflix, especially the streaming option, and Hulu I haven’t bought any DVDs for years and I don’t have cable television.  Also since I’ve signed up for Rdio I haven’t bought any music.  I just love advances in technology.

First Day at Obox

Today I started my first project at Obox.  I think Obox customers are really going to like Done Deal. Not only does it have a great design done by the very talented Izuddin Helmi it is also packed with all the greatest features from the past few Obox releases. Keep an eye out for Done Deal within the next few weeks.

Great Start to 2011

I can’t believe how great everything has been going for me. I am loving 2011 so far.  First of all my grades come back better than expected. Second, I landed my dream job working part time for the guys at Obox. This is huge for me as I have always wanted to be part of a team and Dave and Marc are super talented and I can learn more from them then I could ever learn on my own. Expect more posts from me as now I will actually have something exciting to blog about.

My Resolutions

2010 was a pretty great year for me and I am pretty hopeful that 2011 could be my best year yet.  To make sure 2011 is great there are a few things I need to do.

  1. Become Healthier: A few years ago I lost around 60 lbs but since beginning law school I have been slowly gaining it all back.  This year I am going to try to change my eating habits and become healthier (This will be difficult as I live 20 feet from Burger King, hehe).
  2. Take More Chances: I usually avoid situations where there is the possibility that I could look stupid or fail. This year I am going to try and be more adventurous and try things I normally would be too afraid to try.
  3. Less Twitter: This year I want to spend less time reading about other people projects and spend more time working on projects myself.

Domain Squatters

Do you know what really makes me upset?  Okay, fair enough a lot of things make me upset but what I am upset about at the moment is domain squatters.  Anyone who has been on the internet for any length of time knows exactly what I am talking about.

Once domain names became ridiculous cheap people decided that it would be a good business move to buy a bunch of domain names, sit on them and mark them up to 1000% of the renewal fee. Coming from a family of small business owners I see the business side of this argument but as I web designer this practice makes me sick. There are now millions of domain names out there that cannot be utilized because some guy decided that the domain he paid $5 for is really worth $8,000.

I’ve had a few verbal sparring matches with these domain squatters and one of the things that really gets me angry is how the fall back position of any domain squatter is that domain squatting is a business not unlike investing in real estate.  I’m sorry but I think that argument in kinda weak.

Imagine this scenario.  You live in a town where affordable housing is around $100,000.  What if a real estate developer bought all the sub $100,000 houses in your town, made absolutely no improvements to them and stuck a price tag of 1 million dollars on every house.  Not only that but the developer put large billboards in the front-yard advertising for pharmaceuticals and get rich schemes.

If this happened people would be outraged, there would be riots in the streets.  I know my example may seem a bit outlandish but I feel that the Internet is my town and it makes me sick to think of all the great “property” that remains undeveloped because of these domain squatters.

Now I am not suggesting that people should not be able to sell a domain name that they have registered in good faith and decided they want to sell, as long as the are reasonable about the price.  However, that is not the majority of the domain squatters. The majority of them use software to catch and release thousands of domain names daily and charge upwards of 1000 times the registration fee.

Okay, now that I have my rant out of the way, I’ve decided to focus my studies on domain name ligation.  I’m currently a second year law student at the University of South Dakota and I am going to study up on the law and hopefully in the next year and a half help you guys fight against these domain squatters.  Check back regularly if you want to hear about my progress.

Hardboiled Web Design

I have been very inactive on the web lately and I place the blame squarely on one person, Andy Clarke.  Not only did he write a book that is chalked full of wonderful information that I never knew about, he went and made it so wonderfully addictive that I cannot put it down.  I am shaking like a crack addict until classes are over so I can go home and read some more.  The day it came out I pressed the refresh button for three straight class periods until I was able to buy it.  So before you read any further just make sure you know what you are getting into.  You have been warned.

Why do I like this Book?

1. The graphics: I have never seen a book that was so visually appealing.  The art is better than I’ve seen in some graphic novels.  The art makes it very enjoyable to read and is a real nice added touch.  You will be surprised how much attention was paid to little details in this book.  I guarantee you will never find someone who put so much effort into a programming book, heck any book.

2. The examples are beautiful: I admit I buy everything based on how it looks.  I went to buy a pack of DVD-Rs the other day and I bought the ones with the nicest package design even though there were others that were cheaper.  I always hated when I go to Barnes and Noble to look at the web design books only to discover that while the books have some good information in them, the finished examples were so ugly that I felt bad even looking at them.  In Hardboiled, every example is wonderful looking and makes me excited to try the techniques out on my own.  Many people would be hard pressed to have a nicer site than the one worked through in the Hardboiled examples.  I also love how he brings in real life examples, showing people who have done things no one ever would have thought possible only a few years ago.

3. I’m excited again: One of the best things about this book is it has made me excited again. For the last year and a half I have been doing mostly theme modifications.  While it helped keep me in frozen pizza and Red Bull, I lost a little bit of my soul on every job.  Everyone just wants to copy everyone else.  Now I am committed to making something that other people would want to copy.

4. Freshness: Most books you find in the bookstore are outdated once the hit the shelves.  It is due to this that I usually only buy magazines anymore.  Not only is Hardboiled not outdated, I would argue Hardboiled is a book before its time.  The book contains cutting edge examples that pushes the boundaries of what we believe is possible.  Now, I am going to try and break out of my little box and become an innovator instead of an imitator.

With all that said go out and buy the book, unless you don’t want your mind blown.  Wait what I am doing, why I am writing this blog post, I should be reading the rest of the book (I am only 3/4 the way through).