If you’re interested in creating websites or taking your WordPress site to the next the level of awesome, I definitely recommend picking up a copy of HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett. HTML & CSS has one of the most aesthetically pleasing layouts I’ve ever seen in a tech-oriented book (which is extremely helpful when your eyes and your brain are trying to digest concepts that might otherwise seem dull and dry.) And unlike a lot of user manual-ish tech books, you can actually read this one from cover to cover without feeling like you’re studying for an exam.
The UWM Post website will be getting a complete overhaul over the winter break.
Some editors from The Post and I have been meeting to work out the logistics of creating the new site. Even though the current site does have a unique front-end, there’s no room for advertisements. And the beat logos (News, Fringe, Sports, Opinion) can probably live as regular buttons in a more traditional menu bar.
In addition to making changes to the front-end of the site, I’ll be tweaking some aspects of the back-end (like corralling everything in The Post’s current Multisite network into a single WordPress installation.) To do this, I’ll be using the WordPress Importer plugin to copy all of the site’s content into a development area (in other words, a subdomain on The Post’s server space that won’t be accessible to anyone except me and the editors.)
After all of the content is safely transferred to the development area, I’ll be doing a few more minor tweaks on the back-end (like moving the content of the development subdomain to the server’s main public_html folder, changing some MySQL stuff in phpMyAdmin and a few other things I’m probably forgetting right now.) If everything goes smoothly during this part of the process, the development area basically becomes The Post’s new live site.
That’s the plan—with plenty of pad factored into the timeline to account for the unexpected (which has a way of showing up during most major tech projects.)
The iOgrapher seems to be the most popular piece of equipment in our new JAMS iPad video kits.
With two big handles to steady your shots and mounting points for mics and lights, who wouldn’t be impressed with this thing?
You can also use the iOgrapher to connect a telephoto or wide angle lens to an iPad. Then, with your iPad decked out and ready to rock, you can mount the whole rig to a tripod.
We hope to have more iOrgraphers (and accessories) available for checkout in the future.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own iOgrapher (and accessories), definitely take a look at the iOgrapher Mobile News Gatherers page or see what’s available on Amazon. Just be sure to get the right iOgrapher for your iPad or iPhone.
Sometimes when I want a break from the suggested link vacuum of the Internet, I go to Half Price Books to look for new perspectives in the shelves of pre-owned publications. Scattered throughout the Art and Graphic Design sections, I always find interesting titles that would never turn up in my everyday Google searches.
During my most recent visit to Half Price Books, I bought four books for less than 30 dollars. Here’s what I got:
Business Cards: The Art of Saying Hello: A cool little book full of design-heavy business cards.
Atlas of Graphic Designers: Posters and flyers from other parts of the world are always cool. This book is chock-full of them.
Drawing from the Artist Within: The Inspirational and Practical Guide to Increasing Your Creative Powers: Betty Edwards’ awesome sequel to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I highly recommend both books.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book: If you’re like me and you didn’t go to design school, this is a must-have book. Read it once and then read it again. Memorize everything in it. It’s awesome.
Last weekend, 362 other WordPress fanatics and I attended WordCamp Milwaukee 2014.
WordCamp speakers, volunteers and sponsors gave us three amazing days of presentations, networking and discussions of all things WordPress at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education in Grand Avenue Mall (and an awesome Saturday night after-party at the Hilton.)
My WordCamp weekend started early Friday morning in the Theme Design and Development Workshop.
I don’t have a background in design, but I do try to gobble up as many books and online tutorials on the subject as I possibly can.
To me, WordCamp is an opportunity to learn about design from people who design for a living.
During talks by Heather Acton, Michelle Schulp and Stacy Kvernmo, I noticed a recurring theme in their approaches to designing and creating custom themes (pun intended and kind of unavoidable): The _s starter theme. (That’s not a typo—it’s pronounced “underscores.”)
Instead of starting with an existing theme and working your way backwards through the design process—hunting and pecking through someone else’s CSS to make changes to elements you might not even need, the _s starter theme gives you a bare bones framework with very little style applied to the look of your site.
With _s, you build the look of the site from the ground up by adding your own CSS to the theme’s style.css page.
That might sound like an odd process, but thinking back on some of my experiences with premium themes, I can totally understand the appeal of _s. Too many times I’ve looked at a premium theme and thought, “Well, it’ll be cool if I just change this, that and the other thing.” Then, 40 dollars and 40 hours later, I start reaching for the ibuprofen.
My next project is definitely going to start with a visit to underscores.me.