In Brief Observations Technology

Where have all the custom themes gone?

Who out there still fully customizes (or even totally writes from scratch) their own theme for their CMS or otherwise themable software? More and more this seems to be a dying art, especially on personal blogs, and it’s kind of a shame. I find a lot of joy in rolling my own code. Are theme frameworks just that good now that writing from scratch is foolhardy? Genuinely curious.

Observations Personal

April Fool’s

phpBB 1 Essentials CoverToday I tweeted an announcement of a new phpBB book — phpBB 1 Essentials. As you might expect, it was an April Fool’s joke. It wasn’t a bad one, either — pretty sure a couple people were convinced. Patrick O’Keefe, who runs, and I have collaborated on several April Fool’s jokes over the years over there, and it’s always a pleasure to cut up a bit on an annual basis. :)

My favorite April Fool’s gag of the day, though, is popular Web comic xkcd‘s command-line interface. It’s awesome enough that xkcd ensured good fidelity with popular UNIX commands, but it’s even more awesome that the source code to the joke was released under the GPL. Looking around, it seems it was adapted from an old WordPress command line theme. I sincerely hope xkcd retains “unixkcd” (as it was dubbed) as an interface option going forward. (Update: unixkcd does indeed live on.)


phpBB 3.0 Released

My congratulations to the phpBB team for today’s release of phpBB 3.0 — a long time coming! I’ve been playing with prerelease versions of 3.0 for a couple years now, and have been anticipating its release for quite a while. The long gestation period is worth it, though — there aren’t many other free forums that have been designed with the care and power comparable to phpBB 3.0. Remarkably, phpBB’s Web server has taken the increased load very well. phpBB 3 is currently serving up pages to over 6,000 users and it seems very, very responsive. I’m looking forward to finally being able to start work with the stable release and get it deployed in a few locations. I’m particularly interested in giving its LDAP support a try. Now I’m just waiting for a vBulletin converter.

In Brief

Is phpBB 3 coming?

Is phpBB 3 close to release? This ad banner seems to think so. I can’t find this countdown anywhere else, though. Intriguing… (h/t Patrick)


Observations & Anecdotes

Well, I just woke up from a right-after-work nap that ended up extending until about 10:15 — I may be pulling the late shift yet again. ;) Today turned out not to be that bad of a day, persistent intestinal/stomach bug and all. It was nice out and stuff got done, with one glaring exception…

  • The first song shuffled up on the iPod in 2007 was Backwards by Apartment 26, but strangely, it decided not to play. Most appropriately, the next track was “So May It Secretly Begin” by Pat Metheny Group from their Still Life (Talking) album, and that played successfully. At six minutes, it covers my walk down Calhoun pretty well. That, and it’s a great track, only outshined by the next song from the album, “Last Train Home.”
  • The first thing I hear walking into the office: The School of Education reconnection was delayed. That turned out to be mighty unpleasant for folks who were packed and ready to roll. Looks like we techs will be assaulting that project in February now. Don’t get me wrong though — there was still PLENTY to do today in other areas, though, hence why there was only one from-work blog post today.
  • I hadn’t seen Windows Vista for a while until I got back to work today, where I run it. Guess the launch pageantry is really going to ramp up in the next week or so as CES looms. I dunno, I’m still a bit sour on Vista. For what it’s worth, there’s a new set of Realtek drivers out that work with my motherboard — perhaps it’s time to try again? Why do I torture myself so? Who knows.
  • Another work anecdote: I heard today someone was having problems every time they “pulled up an internet” — haha. I was waiting for a lecture on clogged tubes.
  • Alison and I have a similar problem — every time I want to tell my parents something exciting, I have to remember to tell them before I write about it on The Blog as they are frequent readers of this very site. Otherwise, I go to tell them this and they’re like “Yeah, we read it already on your blog”, and the “Wow!” factor is demolished. If there was ever an argument for leaving stuff out of one’s blog, though, I think Alison has it — it really can be quite the buzzkill in a conversation when someone already knows quite a bit about you from the Internet(s). Shouldn’t we be leaving something to the imagination?
  • I wish phpBB 3 would come out already so I could get the forums going…yes, that’s what I’m waiting on. I just don’t want to put so much in the way of blood, sweat, and tears into phpBB 2 when by the time that’s finished, version 3 would have a stable release candidate out (this is my luck coming into play). Though, then again, the predecessor to this site known as The Realm ran on phpBB 1.4.4 for many months after version 2 was released…but I love phpBB 3 and I must have it for my production sites. So there. Haha.
  • MySpace expanded to 300 photos per user today. Great. Two-hundred eighty four more ways for one to embarrass themselves on the Internet.
  • Either William Clay Ford told Matt Millen that the Lions are his ship to turn around, or he’s holding his fingers over his ears with his eyes closed making random, unintelligible sounds at a high volume while intermittently interjecting with “Nanny nanny boo boo, I can’t hear you!” I’m not even a Lions fan and I am absolutely befuddled he’s coming back.

Welp, that’s today in a nutshell. Catch you all sometime tomorrow — hopefully not at 4:30am. :)

Site News

Forums Update

I’m going to hold off on doing the forums for just a little while longer, as it was announced that, amazingly, the first beta of phpBB 3.0.0 will be arriving soon.

I hope you guys enjoy the little glassy effects I applied to the little tabular dingdongs this evening. :)

Site News

Crazy thought at 3am

Should I run the as-yet-unreleased phpBB Olympus (v3.0) as the software powering my forums? :D It’d be a fantastic learning experience, if nothing else. LOL.

UPDATE: I have since decided Olympus will be the platform of choice for the forums. Risky? Absolutely, but I’m starting from scratch, so this makes sense. I take full responsibility for any pain I may encounter, and I’ll blog all of it. :)