Oct 22, 2017

Dancers are the athletes of God - Albert Einstein

Whitespace WordPress Theme Left Sidebar tidy

As delivered the words in the left sidebar don’t line up with the text in the header and the footer – they are more to the left and it tends to gove a bulging feeling rather then the neatness and order which I think the design is all about.

I fixed this as follows…

In WordPress Admin you need to edit style.css. Go into Presentation/Theme Editor and click on Stylesheet. Scroll down and in the Left Sidebar section find:

#l_sidebar {
float: left;
width: 180px;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px 20px 20px 0px;
line-height: 17px;
display: inline;
}

and replace with

#l_sidebar {
float: left;
width: 172px;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px 20px 20px 8px;
line-height: 17px;
display: inline;
}

I’ve put the modifed lines in bold.

Whitespace WordPress Theme and Title Image Replacement

With a new title font selected I created the graphic I needed in Photoshop as a gif:

Blog Title in Sphinx RR Inline

But how to use in the theme? I like the idea of image replacement – where you have the title specified as text – great for search engines and for people who surf without images on, but I have never used the technique. Here is how I got things sorted here – i don’t claim any of its optimal, but it seems to work well enough I think.

MezzoBlue has a page called Revised Image Replacement and it goes through a number of ways of doing it. Based on that I went for the Gilder/Levin solution….

1. Put the new graphic in your wp-content/themes/whitespace/images directory using ftp

2 In WordPress Admin you need to edit style.css. Go into Presentation/Theme Editor and click on Stylesheet. Scroll down and in the header section find:

#headerleft {
width: 465px;
height: 90px;
float: left;
margin: 0px;
padding: 20px 0px 0px 0px;
}

Change this to

#headerleft {width: 465px;
height: 90px;
float: left;
margin: 0px;
padding: 20px 0px 0px 0px;
position: relative;
}

#headerleft span {
background: url(images/brucemarriottcom_logo.gif) no-repeat;
background-position: -3px 24px;
position: absolute;
top: 0px; left: 0px;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
}

There is one new line in #headerleft – the position: relative; This is really important and without it I was seeing most of the pages wrecked and one big link. For an explanation of why the position relative is needed see this discussion on DigitalPoint.

Also a brand new #headerleft span definition is added in. The background-position: -3px 24px; will probably be different for you – its what I need to make my new title graphic end up in just the right place.

With the changes done click the Update File button

3) In WordPress Admin you need to edit the Header. Go into Presentation/Theme Editor and click on Header.

Search for
<div id=”headerleft”>
<a href=”<?php echo get_settings(‘home’); ?>/”><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></a><br />
<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>
</div>

and change to:
<div id=”headerleft”>
<a href=”<?php echo get_settings(‘home’); ?>/”><span></span><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></a><br />
<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>
</div>

With the changes done click the Update File button

4) Now go look at your weblog and you should see the new title replace the old text. Just tweak background position coordinates until it sits where you want.

Browser Checks
I tried this on Firefox 2, IE7 and Safari 3 on a PC and it works fine. However on IE7 the hot link curser does not show up when you role over the graphic (it does on Firefox and Safari), however clicking on the graphic has the desired effect and all browsers take you back to the Home page. Those 3 browsers are good enough for me. However for an exhaustive look at these techniques across all try this piece at Ryznardesign. I have to say though that its really above me in its exhaustive detail. Read more

Choosing a Blog Title Font

I obviously much the like the theme I’m using (Whitespace) but I didn’t like the original standard heading text – the ‘BruceMarriott.com’ top left. As standard on a PC it looked like this:

Original Whitespace Blog Title on a PC

I wanted a nice font to give some colour and personality to an otherwise cooly clean look. The place I go to look at fonts is MyFonts. The great thing is you can test fonts by typing in a short prase (like BruceMarriott.com) and see what it looks like.

However many fonts look really cool on their own but then don’t fit with what you have – at least my non-designer eye can’t see how it will work.

So what I did was take a copy of the theme as delivered, pasted it into Photoshop and then, using the Myfonts test facility I produced likely good looking titles which I again copied and pasted (using layers) to see just how they would look on my page as is. (btw I grab copies off screen using 123 Screen Capture Pro – I don’t use it so often but when I do it always just works – hooray). Great – I went through 20 fonts I thought looked cool and about 12 of them just didn’t work at all. In the end there were 3 I thought nice and I’ve gone with Sphinx RR Inline.

Sphinx RR Inline

Distinctive, makes a mark, but not too heavy and a bit theatrical I think.

Having chosen the font actually using it as proved fun – but that’s another blog entry.

Philips VOIP841 Skype Phone and silent callers

I’ve had one of these for a few months now – its great because you don’t need a PC switched on to use Skype and it’s cordless etc. It got good reviews – details are here.

I use it in fits and stars but a couple of weeks back it started ringing but I couldn’t hear any words from the person on the other end of the phone. Haven’t been able to look at it until now.

I tried pulling a battery from the handset to reset but to no avail. A visit to the Philips support site and one of the FAQs is “Sometimes when someone calls me on Skype,my Philips VOIP841 Dect Phone rings but they cannot hear me and I cannot hear them. How do I solve this issue?” and their first suggestion is to upgrade the firmware. I was on version 1.0.4.10 and the latest is 1.0.4.80

The instructions are not perfect English but good enough and after about 15 mins I had the new firmware in and all was working.

So I’m happy I suppose. On the other hand its taken me 2 weeks to find the time to sort this and I think it’s a good example of how technology promises much and yet so often it requires active help and learning to keep it going. Not so good in a time poor world of course.

In the good old days when BT were the only people who could do phones you plugged them in and they just worked and if they didn’t then a man came and fixed it (eventually I know!) but it required little of me as a user. Trouble is increasingly I see things which are great but the learning curve is the killer and I suspect that at the same time as technology races forward I’m going to be reigning back and concentrating on a fewer number of key things that help in life and the deluxe stuff, with all its time demands, can go. That’s the theory but of course I’m a sucker for a good gizmo!!

Words of Welcome

Welcome to my blog – I’ve long wanted one but wanted it to look like I wanted and to be extensible and tweakable and sexy etc. Of course all this is a search for perfection and merely stops it happening!

So here it is as it is and I will tweak and add as I go along.

And finally all those little things I kept thinking “Must put this on a blog” can be done. In wrestling with technology and life etc I often search for solutions and it’s as often as not a blog offers some thoughts on the way forward and if I have any hope its that some of the future posts here help others.

I also see it as a repository for odds and sods that I will probably forget myself otherwise. And of course it would be good to have a place for pics and the stuff of life.

Anyway without further ado I declare this blog open.

  • About BruceMarriott.com

    A home on the web for blogging about life and what I do professionally and otherwise. More in the About section.

  • Ballet.co and Dance

    I'm best known for running Ballet.co - one of the biggest sites in the world about watching ballet and dance. The Ballet.co page on this site says more or Just visit www.ballet.co.uk

  • LiftedLeg and Negotiating

    In an earlier life I loved doing deals and now I represent some professionals involved in dance. They concentrate on the art they love and I concentrate on achieving fair terms and conditions for them. More on the LiftedLeg page.