Musil – a nice widget-ready theme

Written by on August 30, 2010 under News


Click the image for a better view.

Are you using WordPress as a CMS and a blogging app? If you are and you are wondering how to make sure that the readers of your blog would feel that each of your posts and articles would have specific ‘weights’ in terms of special articles, regular ones and asides, you could actually set it up using Musil as your theme. The good thing about it is that it’s a really simple looking theme that would not make you feel too overwhelmed.

Positive points for Musil:

  • Distinguish the different kinds of entries that you have.
    Maybe you have things you consider as ‘special features’—how should these appear on your site? Having them appear differently from the rest would be good so that people would have that clue that they are there as special features.

  • Asides are really seen as asides.
    If you’re someone who wants to put sidenotes, no need to worry about how to fiddle around much. Seems like sidenotes work without a hitch here.

  • Widget support
    Whether you are a newbie in blogging or a pro, you could customize your blog further through the use of widgets. There are some widgets that are automatically included in this theme and you just need to activate them. The widgets are: Related Posts and Scrobbler. Check out the plugins so you could activate them, as needed.

People are getting more and more conscious about how readers would benefit more from the layout of their individual blogs. Musil is definitely one of the themes that think about such factors as well as the usability of it from the user’s perspective. Maybe if you are someone who simply needs to know what would work out of the box and have a nice theme to look at at the same time, this is an option you could choose. If you’re running a news and features blog, you might also want to check this out or even modify it.

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Quote of the Day, This Day in History and Other Such Widgets

Written by on August 23, 2010 under Software

quotes

Dr. Mike’s blog widgets are simple and nifty. You just have to check them out!

Quote of the Day Widget
Are you into quotes? You would definitely love this widget. There are so many quotes that you could pull from the Internet. It so happened that this widget got it from The Freedictionary site. You would see the quote of the day, as well as the accompanying image.

This Day in History Widget
Like the Quote of the Day Widget, this is accompanied by an image. If you are a history buff, you could definitely activate this widget.

Dr. Mike has actually made a set of widgets based on the contents of freedictionary.com. The Word of the Day, In the News would also be included in this set of widgets. After all, they have all come from the site. What is great about this set of widgets is that they also work on WordPress MultiUser installs. So if you have WordPress MU installed on your server, you and the other users could use them without much of a hitch. Another good thing about these widgets is that you don’t have to worry about any configurations. You could set the header texts so that you are not stuck with the default ones. When it comes to this day in history, you could be as creative as “Back to the past” or “Backtracks.” For the Quote of the Day widget, you could use “Who said what” as a text for it.

Dr. Mike made use of RSS in the creation of these widgets. Maybe you want to make your own if you don’t quite like the sources he has used for these widgets. It is time to check in to the code and see how things work. Well, if you feel too intimidated, maybe you could ask help from a friend who is into programming.

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Library Thing Widgets

Written by on August 16, 2010 under Software

Library ThingBookworm? Love sharing your books online using Library Thing? Or maybe you haven’t even thought of doing that until recently? Either way, here are some funky widgets for you and your book-loving friends.

Library Thing has two widgets. One of them is to display your collection. The other allows others to search through your book collection. Obviously you have to be a user of the Library Thing service before you even think of using these widgets on your blog.

Library Thing is your online catalog. Why would you like to have one? Well, for one it helps you organize your book collection. For another you don’t have to be a librarian to do it because you can even make your own set of tags. After all, you have a particular collection anyway.

Moving on to the widgets themselves, they are easy to generate. You only need to go to their respective widget pages and click on the settings you would like. You could choose the colors for the search widget so that it will blend in with your blog layout and colors. And don’t worry about not knowing the hexadecimal values if you don’t know it because you can click the colors your widgets would use. Also, you could create a widget that would show your books at random, or maybe your collection could show up as a tag cloud. No matter how you would like to customize it, you have the options just there on the page. And there’s no need to worry about it being exclusive for WordPress. You could use it on practically any blog that allows you to add Javascript. You don’t even need a full-blown blog tutorial to use this widget. You could simply follow the instructions on Library Thing.

This is perfect for blogs that talk about books. All those book covers will also appear on the widget if you set them that way. Maybe you could even schedule your blog entry postings so that you could use the recent books option and review those recent books on your blog at the same time! What are you waiting for? Go to Library Thing, sign up and get those widgets ;)

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Thoughts on Canvas and widgets

Written by on August 9, 2010 under Software

canvas

The widgets I have seen so far are mainly on the sidebar of the blogs. Although you could play around with the positions of the widgets by dragging and dropping them wherever you like, I first encountered something like that with Canvas.

What is Canvas?
Canvas (from Fresh Pursuits) is something you could use to customize your WordPress blog without knowing anything about PHP and CSS. Blogging newbies are welcome to try this! It was a really interesting experience. You could have your layout in this admin interface and you have blocks and blocks of your layout in front of you. You could also add similar elements by drag and drop too. And you just need to click the particular block to customize it. You even have a color palette so you could easily choose colors that you want for your blog.

Why widgetize themes when you have Canvas?

I didn’t totally love the way Canvas worked. It is nice in the sense that you could easily drag and drop ‘boxes’ into your layout and customize them. I think it was mainly working with the Ink part/color palette that I didn’t like much. In any case, at least having themes that are widgets ready would make it easier to somehow manage. Especially if you are using WordPress MU to manage your blogs. That way you could let each blogger on your server to tweak their blogs to their hearts’ desires as long as you have themes that allow that.

Also, it could sometimes be easier to modify by hand the CSS of your WordPress theme. So if you already have widgets, you’re one happy blogger who will customize as the entries come and go.

Maybe there were already widgets before Canvas came out. I don’t really know for sure. All I know is that they both make customizing blogs so much fun and easier too!

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