It was all going so well.

I’ve often sung the praises of WordPress as a blogging platform. Particularly its functionality, flexibility and ease of use.

My blog’s been running for a couple of years without as much as a hitch. Adding themes and plugins, and upgrading to new versions were always a 1-click breeze.

But complacency sets in, and perhaps you don’t back up for a while. And, as everyone knows, that’s generally when disaster strikes.

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Top 20 posts

I could never be accused of being one of the most profligate blog posters in the world but I do keep an eye on my hits on each post, since I put a wee WordPress hack in place to count them.

I’d always thought my ‘Shame of Shamu‘ and ‘Is Disney Eco-Friendly?‘ posts were doing pretty well, beaten only by older posts. But they’ve been overtaken by one particular, more recent, post…

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Posting from iPhone

Just enabled WordPress posting from the iPhone. So this is my first quickie mobile post. You can even include a pic, which is cool.

Here are a couple of Arrow Frogs, at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, which was good for passing a couple of hours on a cold and windy afternoon.

In the wild, each one of these little blighters contain enough poison to kill 200 men. That’s where they got their ‘arrow’ name from,; the natives used to utilise the poison on their arrows for more effective hunting.

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New boots and panties

My new theme: AspireFor those of you old enough to remember Ian Dury, you’ll recognise the title.

But this post has nothing to do with Ian Dury, or indeed music. Its about a new look for the blog.  I decided that after sticking with the iNove theme for a few months, it was time to move up a gear.

So I hooked myself up with a new, free WordPress theme from, it’s called Aspire, hope you like it.

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New code display plugin

kbdI took the opportunity to replace the code formatting plugin I was using. Previously I was using codesnippets, but was never 100% happy with it, for a couple of niggling reasons, but mainly due to the lack of horizontal scrollbars, which meant longer lines of code were truncated and messed up the layout when displayed.

I’d seen a couple of better looking ones in use on some of the tech sites I’ve come across, so, after pinging Pro Blog Design (thanks Michael) I’ve replaced my previous plugin with a new one – wp-syntax.

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Include count in search results

searchAnother little tweak to the blog today (my plan is to conquer WordPress one tweak at a time and maybe learn a bit about php in the process).

This time I’m including a count of search results in the search page. Thanks to Pro Blog Design and their article 3 codes for a far better WordPress search page for this.

I now realise the theme I’m using seems a little bit out of whack, when I looked in my search.php page only to find a single line to include the contents of archive.php, so need to have a proper dig sometmie and understand how it all hangs together.

So, in search.css or in my case, somewhat bizarrely, in archive.css, I replaced:

<h2 class="pagetitle">Search Results</h2>


<h2 class="pagetitle">Search Result for post_count; _e(''); _e('<span class="search-terms">'); echo $key; _e('</span>'); _e(' — '); echo $count . ' '; _e('articles'); wp_reset_query(); ?&gt;</h2>

Nice and easy and the results now come back with a count. Next up, make it a proper search results page, instead of full posts…

Twitter integration redux

Twitter** Note: This hack has subsequently been superceded by a plugin **

Another couple of new tweaks built in to the blog, to make it easy for readers to tweet about a post they are currently reading on the blog, with a handy link included.

Inspired by a very nice article on Wp Recipes (thanks catswhocode) that I found via one of may fave tech online magazines: Smashing Magazine.

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Extra long posts: how to

It's a long postBackground: I made a massive post some time ago, when I compiled my Desert Island C90 tape.  It felt really long as I created it and subsequently edited it quite a few times and added to it.  There are 24 tracks on the post, each with a little bit of blurb and embedded video and, added to that, some introductory blurb and ‘buy it’ Amazon MP3 options.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I should come up with a method of splitting it up into manageable chunks to make it easy for the reader.  So, how to do…?

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Amazon widget

Buy it at Amazon
In my continuing quest to beef-up the blog with useful content, I went through and added links to corresponding content to my previous posts (evidence the videos on the C90 post).

I had to do a reasonable amount of digging to find an Amazon Associate plugin that would do the job. Google comes up with many links, and a few WordPress widgets that looked promising.  But, here’s a bit of info to save anyone following this blog for WordPress tips the hassle of hitting a couple of dead-ends.

The first I tried was “Amazon Widgets Shortcodes”, install and setup was OK, but following the instructions didn’t produce the desired effect.  Not sure if I missed something, but was getting nothing from it, so had another look around for something better.

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Social Bookmarking

social** Note: This plugin has subsequently been replaced by another **

Added the ‘add-to-any‘ button to allow social bookmarking. A great implementation, easy to include and configure. I went for a bit of repositioning of the default location for the button, to slip it in on the same line as the post footer.

I followed the instructions on manual deployment, but found that I had to modify 3 of the php files from the theme, as opposed to the two mentioned in the ‘readme’.

Maybe it’s the theme I’m using, not altogether au fait with all this yet. I had to modify (i) index.php as that displays all posts, (ii) posts.php as that displays single posts and also (iii) archive.php as that displays posts batched under an archive, or otherwise grouped by category.

That said, once I found the necessary locations to mod, it was a simple paste of the code into the file and all was good.