I’m an Automattician

I have been holding off on posting this because it just seems too good to be true. This October I joined the amazing staff at Automattic full time. This is the bunch of people who are behind WordPress and WordPress.com.  I’ve joined as a Happiness Engineer on the Store team. I hope this means that I’ll have a little more time to work on my plugins and attend WordCamps.

MobileESP for WordPress 1.5.3 released

I recently released MobileEPS for WordPress 1.5.1 which came with MAJOR changes. The slogan for this revision was “minor version number, major changes.” I later learned that one of these changes broke the plugin for people who weren’t using PHP 5.3  or above. So I released 1.5.3 to fix that issue.

I strongly recommend everyone who is using the plugin upgrade to this version.

Some major changes are the plugin now uses the  template_redirect hook instead of no hook. What this means is you can now access your admin page with the plugin installed and that it’s being more “smart” about when to check for the redirect. For security it also now sanitizes the user input when setting the cookie and looking at wp_options.

I also added a new banner image to the repo page. Thanks much to my friend Felix who let me use is drawing as the main image.

Check it out and let me know if you have any questions or problems.

 

 

Smile – BandonRandon.net get a cleaner logo

My photoblog BandonRandon.net has been around for about a year. It’s a place for me to share photos of cool things I encounter. From the very start I wanted to do a revision of the BandonRandon Logo but give it a photography spin. My first attempt was, let’s just say poorly done. It’s been bugging me for over a year.

Well now I can say I’ve given it another go and this time I believe I’ve come up with a cleaner icon. The camera is a modified version of the camera from the wonderful Genericon set and the text typeface is Proxima Nova.

br_net_logo_cleanupLet me know your thoughts in the comments.

MP6 Light

It’s one of the (not so) well kept secrets in WordPress that a team is busy redesigning the admin interface.  In fact, if you use WordPress.com you have likely noticed a change in the admin layout some time ago. For those of you using a self-hosted WordPress site the change most likely won’t happen till at least 3.7.

However, for the early adopters and developers you can preview the new layout by using the MP6 Plugin.  I personally (and from the forums, many others) felt that the new sidebar was too dark. It also currently looks like MP6 plugin won’t give users the option to switch between layouts. For this reason I’ve created MP6-light which basically works by adding a stylesheet that makes the admin a bit lighter. Check out the project page or get the plugin from the WordPress repository.

NOTE: This plugin requires the MP6 plugin to be installed.

P.S: I’m also looking for people to get involved with the project on github.

screenshot-2 screenshot-1

Changing the World S3 image generator

Today on my personal blog I wrote a blog post about how I’m going to change the world.  At the bottom of the post it contains this image:

Which when clicked links to http://changetheworld.bandonrandon.com.

Today I wanted to talk a bit about how that sub-domain image generator works. Because frankly I think it’s pretty cool.

All the images are being stored on Amazon S3 storage meaning that image display should be faster and better than my local host. I’m also using a resize script to generate image sizes based on the users need.

So basically it works like this:

  • The user types in the image size they would like and hits submit
  • We check to see if the size is within a given range (between 100 and 1000 and divisible by 10) and if so we proceed
  • Next, we check if the image is already on the server, If so we grab it, if not we create it.
  • If the image is created it is done using an image resize script then uploaded to amazon S3
  • We display a link to the new image and a link to it in the read-only text box.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

If anyone has any comments or  would like the code please contact me or leave a comment below

Spammer say the darnest things

I recently posted a post about my thoughts on so called “logo software” and found this gem in my comment spam.

“Big fan of these logos. If i’m really honest using photoshop for logo design will give it a more refined and professional look. What did you use for these?” [sic]

I should point out that 1) I posed no logos and  2) using Photoshop for logos is a horrible idea

Software does NOT make you a designer

LDS-Pro-lgAs someone with an associates in Graphic Design and who enjoys good design I am always cautious when something claims to take the work out of design.  So when I saw Logo Design Studio* the it made me laugh and scream. The product’s tag-line is “Easy Logo Design and Illustration.”  Let’s be honest there is nothing “easy” about branding. Good design is hard, takes work, and requires a lot of thought.

It is products like these that worry me, not because I’m scare of losing my job, but because I’m tired of seeing crappy design. There seems to be this misconception out there that if you own Photoshop you’re a designer or if you have a nice camera you’re a photographer. This simply is not the case. I’m not trying to claim to be an expert and to be honest on occasion I’ve seen  great design come from people with no formal design background. What I am saying is that it’s not a matter of software that makes a good designer.

This brings me to a last and somewhat unrelated note, good design cost money. Yet another of my frustration in the design world is that people think that just because they can buy software for say $40 that they should then be able to get a logo for that amount. I’m sorry (okay no I’m not) but this is not the case. Good design will, and should, cost a fair amount of money. Again, it’s not about the money per say, it is however about getting what you pay for. If you think about it a good logo is something you will be using for the life of your business. What that looks like is totally up to you. And trust me it’s easier to do it right from the beginning than to have to go back and start over.

I’ll leave you with this:  yes branding cost money. Yes that can suck. Yes there is software that says it can do it for you. No, it probably can’t. Yes, you get what you pay for. Yes these are my opinions.

*I have to admit, I’ve never used this product, maybe it’s great (but probably not).