Adding Forums

It’s not ready for primetime yet, but I’m making progress towards my goals for the site. I’ve installed and hacked Vanilla (the hack is a minor one — there is a tutorial on the Vanilla website on integrating Vanilla with WordPress, so it has a shared user database. This means you register ONCE, and you get the ability to post in the forums AND leave comments in the blog. I consider this a Good Thing™, given how much of a pain it can be to get folks to register in the first place.

Speaking of registering, yes, I’m sorry, you’ll need to re-register. I’d managed to accrue a ton of spambot members, so I ended up doing a purge of member accounts when I shifted everything else around, rather than try and sift through who is a bot, and who is simply someone who made an account but never comments.

The forum can be found here. As you can see, I’m not done tweaking the theme for it. I thought about waiting to install the forum until the theme was complete, but meh, I wanted to continue to make forward motion. The move to ZenPhoto is the next big technical mucking I need to do, and that I AM putting off, until I finish chatting with Mickey regarding her gallery, which I still host, though she’s mostly moved on to her Flickr account. One of ZenPhoto’s few drawbacks currently is its support for multiple users, so while I don’t want to kick her out or anything, if she decides she’d rather just host everything on Flickr, it’s one less hoop I need to worry about (for the record, if she does move, I’ll be setting up an automatic redirect, so links to her gallery will point you to her Flickr account instead).

Welcome to the new Critical Games

Apologies for the lack of posting the past month or so. As you can see, I’ve merged Wandering Ways and Critical Games into one blog, and will be moving forward from there. There’s still a great deal to do before all the kinks are worked out, but I felt that with WordPress 2.5 now out, it was time to finally put the new design up and through its paces.

Things that are still on my TODO:

  • remove the Gallery2 installation, swap it out with a ZenPhoto install
  • install Vanilla
  • finish theme tweaks, update links and blogrolls
  • finish cleaning up the site backend
  • start posting some more (for realz)

Anyway, more later!

This is a Test

This is a body of text meant to act as a body of text for testing out a web template. It is going to contain a number of notable elements, not the least of which is blockquotes, ordered lists, unordered lists, links, code snippets, abbreviations, and citations. This is so I can see how they all look in an actual page.

This is a body of text meant to act as a body of text for testing out a web template. It is going to contain a number of notable elements, not the least of which is blockquotes, ordered lists, unordered lists, links, code snippets, abbreviations, and citations. This is so I can see how they all look in an actual page. Block of text, Nabil Maynard



  1. Get Milk
  2. Get Bread
  3. Get million dollars
    Second Test

  • Ninjas
  • Pirates
  • Robots

Hello, World!
More code.
Who ever heard of a 3 line program?

Okay, and now back to real text. This was only a test. If it were a real post, it might actually be useful, and we can’t have THAT, now can we?

Little Tweaks

So, I’ve started posting song reviews as planned (just a few days later than expected), and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’d like to hear people’s thoughts about the format, and just in general if you like it as an addition to the site. In the process of doing those, I thought a bit about the site itself, and ended up tweaking it a little bit. I changed the font to Helvetica (if you don’t have Helvetica, it’ll show up as Verdana as before), increased the font size slightly, and added some letter spacing… the spacing is a bit wider than I’d like, but it’s still readable, and will have to do until I can really look at how different browsers handle fractional pixel widths (the spacing is currently 1px, so to get it closer than that, I’d need to get into decimals, and mucking with Safari, I honestly didn’t notice a real difference between 0 and .5px… nor did I see a difference when using percentages). I’m going to sit with it for a while and see how I like the new spacing, and if I get any votes seriously in favor or against, I’ll probably let that make the final decision. If you’re reading this via RSS, you probably don’t care, and that’s fine. I just want to make it more readable for those who are coming to the actual site.

Oh, I also increased the line-height from 1.2em to 1.3em, and I think it gives a nice boost to readability. It’s amazing how that small a change can make such a difference. No other maintenance stuff for now… one of these days, I need to get around to the 2.2 update. They finally integrated widgets directly into the code, and that could potentially be nice.

So, yeah, please let me know how you feel about the changes/additional content!

A Quick Update

First off: Happy Birthday, Erica.

Second: I just updated Critical Gallery to Gallery 2.2. It went off mostly without a hitch. The new WebDAV module they added mixed with URL Rewrite caused a really weird bug that made anything starting with a w not load. Took me a while to figure out that’s what it was. Until they patch it, I just changed the webdav rewrite prefix to an actual word instead of ‘w’. I’m sampling a new theme for my part of the gallery (Mickey’s welcome to set up hers however she wants, what’s there now seems to work fine and I know better than to meddle), which in a lot of ways I like a lot more, though I do definitely have it set up for wider screens than not at this point. It’ll still fit on a 1280 width with room to spare, though, so I don’t really care.

If you want to leave comments, please feel free, but be aware that you need to create an account first. You also get to view larger resolution versions of the images in the process, so I do definitely recommend it.

New Site Design!

I won’t say that it’s done (because it’s not… there are still several things I need to turn on or otherwise set up), but the majority of work is completed. I did all of the work offline using MAMP on my laptop in coffee shops and hotel rooms, including redoing the header graphic (same original image, same concept, just tweaked differently). If you notice anything wonky, let me know, please: I’ve tested the new design in Safari, Camino, Firefox, and Opera, and it seems to function properly (you will, however, need JavaScript turned on in order to make use of the date archives on the sidebar), but I haven’t checked it in IE6 or 7 (mostly through a reluctance to boot into my Windows partition). In the process, I also upgraded WordPress to 2.1, which was a smooth process as usual.

The new design uses several plugins, though small: Smart Archives, Fancy Archives, Autometa, and Google Analytics. I’ll probably re-add Word Stats and some pagination and excerpt handling plugins in the near future as well.

So, yeah… hope you like the new design. If you want to use it for your site, let me know and I’ll zip it up along with some notes on which things you’ll need to specifically change for your own blog. Feedback would be appreciated!

The Fresh Pot

I’m down in Portland, Oregon at the moment, down on Hawthorne at a coffee shop called The Fresh Pot. One of the things I love about Portland is that they really “get” chai. It’s nice to go into a coffeehouse and be able to choose from multiple varieties of chai, in case you’re looking for a sweeter chai, or a spicier chai, et cetera. I’ve had the Dragonfly chai before and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I opted for the Pixie chai this time (these are brands of chai, by the by), which is a sweeter chai. I’m pretty happy with it, it’s good both on first sip and also as it rolls on the tongue… you can definitely taste TEA within it, rather than being overpowered by the spices. Another thing I like is that everyone is really friendly and mellow. Walking down the street, people are genuinely smiling and polite to each other, and everyone seems to be relaxed and enjoying the day. It’s a good thing. If you contrast this with, say, Hanover, where everyone is walking like they’re on a mission, avoiding eye contact with others at all costs, with a cell phone glued to one ear, the difference is palpable.

I’m due to upgrade my WordPress installation to 2.1, but I’ve paused briefly before doing so to consider exactly what I want to be doing with the site, and possibly redesign it so that there is a coherent theme for all aspects of the site (blogs, main site, gallery), and how exactly I’m going to do that. I still want to keep my personal blogging distinct from what I put up on Critical Games, but I would like a more unified “this is all one site” sense from it. It feels like I’m asking a lot, but I already have a few ideas on how to do this. Part of it comes down to reassessing the layout of the page. Every day, fewer and fewer computers run a square or square-ish ratio, with a trend towards a 16:9 (or similar) wide screen ratio. The most obvious at-a-glance example is Apple, where every single product they offer now is a wide screen (MacBook, MacBookPro, iMac, the Cinema displays), but they are by no means alone in this. So, if our viewing space is stretching in width rather than in length, why not design a layout that suits a wider screen? This isn’t a radical new idea, either, as is indicated by the promulgation of wider, 3-column sites. I’ll aim not to bore you with site mucking details, just giving a heads up that if you come here and the site looks different, don’t be surprised. I’ll be doing my mucking about on a test site local to my computer, so in theory nothing will break in the process. (Hah, how novel!)