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December 10, 2013

4 Things to Look for in a Blog Theme

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Blogging is as intrinsic to my life as taking a shower, eating, and drinking coffee. Of course, I have to come clean and admit that it is part of my job, so I can’t really avoid blogging on a daily basis, but I also have to say that there is something differently enjoyable when I have time to play with my personal blog. It does not get updated as often as I would like, but I do make it a point to change things up once a year if possible.

And when it comes to “changing things up”, the blog theme is always a factor that I consider. Any blogger would agree, I think, although the frequency of changing themes (and/or blog design) will definitely vary from one blogger to another.

How do you go about choosing a blog theme if you do not have something particular in mind? read more

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October 3, 2013

The Places to Find Free Premium WordPress Themes

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As bloggers get more experienced with WordPress, many figure out that just because a theme is free, it doesn’t mean that it’s not full of its own problems and issues. Many free WordPress themes offer no support for any plug-in or programming errors, and your website may start sharing hidden links or contents buried deep within the theme without your knowledge.

The Places to Find Free Premium WordPress Themes read more

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May 27, 2011

Copyright, Trademark and Blog Design

Automattic LogoAlmost every blogger knows that blog design is important when trying to build a successful site. How your site looks and feels not only sets the tone for your blog, but it also is a big part of what separates it from similar sites and gives it an identity of its own.

However, just as with the content and the domain name of your site, there are ethical and legal issues that come with the theme of your site. Specifically, both trademark and copyright law protect or may protect the theme you’re using right now. But unlike the content that fills your pages, most bloggers don’t create their own theme, at least not from scratch, putting them in the position of using someone else’s work on their site.

That being said, the ways in which copyright and trademark impact Web design is not nearly as simple and as straightforward as with other types of content due to how the laws overlap and what they don’t protect.

So, if you either want to protect your blog’s design or make sure that you’re on the right side of the law with your blog’s theme, here is what you need to know about copyright, trademark and blog design. read more

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December 21, 2009

Movable Type Monday: jQuery Comments, Asset Listings, Safari Support, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Things seem to be a bit slow in the Movable Type community right now. I think it’s a combination of the holidays and impending release of MT5. Still, we’ve got a few news items to tell you about.

Mike from Code Monkey Ramblings has forked Byrne Reese’s jQuery Comment plugin. This doesn’t seem to be a radical departure from the original. Instead, Mike has concentrated on small tweaks that improve the plugin and extend its compatibility with existing themes. read more

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December 14, 2009

Movable Type Monday: MT5 Delayed, Media Manager, Page Listing Hack, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Disappointing news for those of us waiting for the official Movable Type 5 release: It’s been postponed till January 5. In the announcement, Six Apart only says that there are issues to resolve so they’re waiting till after the holidays to release. I believe this is the third official release date we’ve had, let’s hope it’s the last one.

Byrne Reese has announced a new version of the Media Manager plugin. The previous version was broken by a change to Amazon’s API. Rather than patch the problem, Byrne did a major rewrite of the software to take advantage of an existing Amazon API library. As a result, folks upgrading from a previous version will likely need to update their templates. read more

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December 7, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Updates on MT5

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Happy Monday, folks! This week, Six Apart posted a couple of blog entries updating us on the status of Movable Type 5. First thing to note is that the North American and European release will not be tomorrow. Instead, MT5 will be released on December 16. The reason given is they need more time to work on developer documentation. Since a lack of documentation has been an issue in the past, this is probably a good move.

Also for MT5, 6A’s Beau Smith wrote up a new installation and upgrade guide. This set of instructions covers a lot of different scenarios, with additional reference material so you understand what is going on. This is probably the most extensive installation documentation for MT I’ve ever seen. Good work, Beau. read more

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November 2, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Comment Flag, Breadcrumbs, Catalyst, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! It’s November, which means the release of Movable Type 5 is just around the corner. We should be seeing a release candidate build soon. Until then, let’s take a look at some plugins, themes, and cool tricks for the existing verison.

First, Mike T. from Code Monkey Ramblings has a new MT theme: Dark Marble. Based on a WordPress theme by the same name, Mike says he should have a version that supports the professional website templates soon.

Mike also has two new plugins. Comment Flag lets users report comments to you via email. The plugin uses jQuery so that the interaction is seamless for the user.

Mike’s other new plugin is Executable File Filter. It checks whether uploaded files are executable binaries or PHP scripts and renames them so they can’t be run. read more

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September 28, 2009

Movable Type Monday: New MT5 Beta, Single Sign-On, Easy Install Video, and Theme Tips

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Happy Monday, folks! Movable Type Monday took a break for a couple of weeks, but now we’re back with the latest from the MT community.

First off, there’s a new MT5 beta. Lots of improvements and bug fixes over the previous beta. But, if you haven’t installed it yet, you might just want to wait: I’ve heard that beta 3 is supposed to be released in the next day or two.

Next, Byrne Reese has a new plugin that implements OpenSSO. This allows you to use an OpenSSO server as a single sign-on solution for your MT installation. For more on OpenSSO, see the documentation from Sun.

Need help installing MT?, Sahas Katta has created a video to walk you through the process. His process includes a shell script that does most of the work for you. Thanks, Sahas!

Finally, Tom McGee wrote a post with several tips for customizing MT blogs. Tom’s tips focus on creating custom themes and modifying banner images in default themes. Good information for those less familiar with MT’s current theme system.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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August 17, 2009

5 Ogilvy Tips for Blog Design

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David Ogilvy is a legend in the advertising world, despite having first retired some 30 year ago and not having published a book in nearly 25. His works are required reading for advertising students today and his philosophy of creating ads that generate sales made millions for his clients. He had a characteristic style or writing and design that remains instantly recognizable to those who’ve studied him, even today.

Though Ogivly died in 1999, just as the Web was beginning to take off, many of his lessons and ideas remain just as valid today as they did half a century ago. Last year I wrote an article entitled “7 Blogging Tips from David Ogilvy” that focused on applying some of Ogilvy’s techniques to blog writing. Ttoday however, I’m going to focus on how his design tips can help you choose a good look for your blog.

Ogilvy had a very famous and classic layout that focused on combining visuals with easy-to-read text. It’s a simple layout that draws the reader’s eye and lures them into the content. It’s a design that at least some elements easily apply to blogs, including the ones below. read more

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July 21, 2009

The GPL and Themes/Plugins

HeckertThis is a continuation of the Blog Herald’s Guide to the GPL License series. You can read part one and part two here.

One of the more common misconceptions about the GPL is that it is “viral” in nature and can “infect” any software that touches it.

While it is true that the GPL does have a viral component, it is only to ensure that derivative works based upon GPLed code are also released to the GPL. It is possible, and even common, for GPL applications and proprietary ones to co-exist side by side. For example, there are many proprietary programs, including Skype and MyDropBox, that run on Linux, which is GPLed.

However, when one delves into plugins and and themes, something of a gray area begins to emerge. Though a WordPress theme, for example, might not be based upon a GPL theme, it relies upon a GPL application to function. As such, it has been widely held that they are GPL-licensed, even if they haven’t been explicitly licensed as such. read more

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