Massive Privacy Breach

By now, chances are pretty good that you’ve received at least one e-mail message from some company informing you that your personal data (specifically your e-mail address) has been compromised in some way, as a result of a data breach at Epsilon.

So far, I have only received notification from Target, but I’ve heard reports that data from Amazon, Best Buy, Chase, Citi and many more major corporate entities was compromised.

Apparently, Epsilon is responsible for distributing most of the e-mail communications sent out by many, many different major corporations, so, if you’re signed up on anyone’s e-mail list, chances are pretty good that your e-mail address was harvested from Epsilon. Following is the communique I received from Target today.

Read More
WordPress: Optional Widget Areas

When developing a new WordPress theme, sometimes you might need to create optional widget areas within the template; that is, areas that can include widgets if the user wants, but don’t appear at all if the user has not added any widgets to that particular area.

For instance, some users of your theme might want to include a tag cloud above the footer; or maybe they want to include Google AdSense ads above the content. Other users of your theme might not want anything to appear in those areas, though.

So how do you create an optional widget area in a WordPress theme? The simple answer is, you use the is_active_sidebar() function.

Read More
WordPress: Checkbox, Radio and Select Helper Functions

As you may or may not know, WordPress has two simple helper functions built into it that make it easy to determine whether a checkbox/radio button should be checked or a select option should be selected.

Read More
Twitoaster Has Been Unplugged

Last week on the official Twitoaster blog, it was announced that the service would be shutting down almost immediately (as of March 20). Sadly, I have used the Twitoaster plugin on multiple WordPress installations because of its ease of use. It was  great tool allowing WordPress posts to be pushed to Twitter automatically, and came with the added benefit of tracking when a blog post was tweeted (it even went as far as to allow you to automatically publish those tweets as comments on your posts).

Read More
WordPress: Adding a Proper Visual Editor to Your Plugin

When developing a new plugin for WordPress, sometimes you want to add a visual/WYSIWYG editor to one of your plugin’s settings fields. Unfortunately, most of the tutorials you’ll find online only explain part of what needs to be done in order to get that working. The main problem I have encountered when looking at these tutorials and example plugins is the fact that they only invoke the visual editor; they don’t offer any way for the user to use the editor in HTML mode.

Read More
Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9 logoI’ve had a little bit of an opportunity to play around with Internet Explorer 9, and I’m still not sure if I like it or hate it. I am excited about the possibility of natively using some CSS3 and HTML5 in Internet Explorer, but I’m also disappointed by the lack of specific CSS3 elements.

On the plus side, IE9 does support almost all of the new CSS3 pseudo-classes (nth-child(), nth-of-type(), etc.), 2D transforms, almost the entire background module (multiple background images, background-clip, background-size, etc.), border-radius (rounded corners), box-shadow and RGBA colors.

Read More
The Evolution of the Sneaker Net

Since I got my new netbook, I’ve been thinking a lot about the somewhat cyclical nature of computing. Today, I was thinking about the fact that, when computers first started out, the majority of peripherals were external devices. Then, towers got larger, components got smaller and everyone started packing all kinds of internal peripheral devices into their computers. At one point in time, it looked almost as though external peripherals (optical drives, hard drives, disk drives, modems, equalizers and all kinds of other crazy stuff) would disappear forever.

Read More
Dell Mini 1012 – My New Toy

It is with great sadness that I share the fact that there are now more Dell computers in our house than HP computers; but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity I had over the weekend. I was able to pick up a brand new Dell Mini 1012 for a good price. I’ve been wanting a netbook to carry around for quite a while; but just hadn’t found the right one for the right price.

Read More
WordPress: Storing Temporary Information

When developing plugins for WordPress, most of the time I deal with semi-permanent settings with my plugins. A user goes to the “Settings” page for the plugin, they set things up the way they want them, and they expect those settings to remain that way until they decide to change them again.

However, there are times when you need to store temporary information that needs to either expire or be updated on a regular basis. There are functions within WordPress to help you with that, too. They are part of the “transient API” in WordPress. Basically, transient options are options that have an expiration date.

Read More
IE6 Usage Below 5% in the U.S.

According to a new website Microsoft launched last week; currently only 2.9% of Internet users in the United States are using Internet Explorer 6. Worldwide, IE6 usage is still at 12.0%. However, only 10 of the 43 countries displayed on the chart have higher than 5% IE6 usage. Of those 10 countries, 8 are Asian nations.

Read More