Year: 2009

WordPress Themes – sometimes not as easy as they look

StudioBlue themeI have been trying to find a theme for my blog. I want one that displays the writing in a clear and clean manner, and …

Nearly everywhere I have read recommends the Thesis theme, but my understanding is that is is well built at the back end but you need coding skills to design the front end. I may end up going that way, because the alternatives all have problems.

I found Elegant Themes, which look very nice. It’s US$19.95 per year to use all of them, and you keep them if you don’t renew. I’ve been experimenting with one now – StudioBlue – it’s on the right. Ih shows featured posts and lists of posts by category and is very configurable. It allows ads in the top right corner, but I’ve realised that I have to insert code to put them in there, instead of just in a widget editor, so that’s out.

I also tried one called eNews which showed pictures, but it required a thumbnail to be generated for each post, as well as the code-insertion drama mentioned.

It’s not that I am unable to learn to code, I was a programmer for many years. I just don’t want to spend my time doing that. If writing a post is an extra hassle I’ll do it less often. I would be prepared to spend more to get something more user-friendly but I want to try it out before I buy it, and not find out that I have to mess with code when I’ve already paid for it.

Of course, the real reason for all this mucking around is not for this blog but for my business blog and website.

The Home Office Cat

Chloe and the printer

Every home office should have a cat, and here’s why:

  • The occasional need for attention allows you to get away from your desk for 5 minutes so you can let the cat out, or put food out, or whatever
  • When the cat requires more personal attention, the distraction of giving the cat a rub can help your productivity when you return to duty
  • Cats are good to have around, as long as they don’t want to sleep on your lap

My cats prefer to sleep on my lap, but a few minutes of having me type over their heads is enough to drive them off to find a more peaceful spot.

Cats can also be entertaining, which provides further short-term distraction. My cat Chloe has always been fascinated by printers. If she hears it going from another room she will still, after all these years, go off to watch it. She especially enjoys the new one in the picture with the document feeder. She’s only tried once to climb on top of it, which disconnected the document feeder and was too disturbing for her to try again.

When to say Enough is enough

I’ve been part of the 1st ProGen Study Group for nearly 18 months now. Each month we study a chapter or two of the book and do an assignment which is submitted to others in the group for review.

Assignment 16 was the toughest yet – we had to write a proof argument for some part of our family history where the answer required some deductive reasoning. I chose two cases from my own family and started writing each one. The Irish/Australian Eason case seemed too complex for a first attempt, so I chose the other one, on my Fijian Riley side.

Big mistake. You’ve probably already seen it. I didn’t. I’m in Australia, and the records I need are not. I have some, but I need more. So I don’t have enough evidence for the case I was trying to make, and it turned out not to be a ‘proof’ at all.

By the time I realised this I decided it was too late to go back and start again with the other one, so I kept going. My assignment got later and later, and I still didn’t have enough. I’ve almost finished transcribing a ship’s log from 1831-2 and I have two more to go. I’ve searched the Fiji Times from 1869 onwards, which is far too late to be relevant but I had to try!

I handed it in, so to speak, today – non-standard citations, unclear argument and all. I’m over it.

When the frustration has worn off some I’ll post my findings here.