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).

Unlisted

As a business owner when I do a web search for my phone number many of the results are from directory services that post information on my business. For some businesses this may be fine, however, for me there are a few problems with this.

  1. The information is just wrong, I changed the name of my business and moved locations but the listings keep the old information. 
  2. I work from my home and don’t love the fact that a few dozen sites think is okay to post my personal information on line
  3. This is done without my consent, I have NO IDEA where these services are getting my information  My best guess is from the public directory of registered businesses. The public directory clearly states “FOR NO COMMERCIAL USE ONLY” meaning that the information shouldn’t be used for these listings
  4. I would rather have my company come up in search results rather than them.

Removal Instructions:

To remove your site you first need to find all the places you are listed. yext and google are both good tools for this.

I’ve had good luck with calling and requesting removal as well as email customer support. This can be tedious and time consuming but for me it’s worth it.

 

 

 

Uploading Files as Post attachments with Gravity Forms

Okay so like may others I love Gravity Forms. Simple, elegant forms for WordPress. However, I recently ran into a snag when trying to use the awesome Custom Post Type plugin to allow my client to upload a PDF then have that be saved as an attachment to the post. Here is my solution in hopes it helps you. I’m open to suggestions on better ways to do this.

add_filter("gform_after_submission", "nifty_add_post_attachements", 10, 3);
 function nifty_add_post_attachements($entry) {
 //you'll need this later, TRUST ME.
 if(!function_exists('wp_generate_attachment_metadata')){require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-admin/includes/image.php');}

//do we even have a file?
 if (isset($_FILES['input_4'])) {
 $file_url = $entry['4']; //great but what is its url?
 $upload_dir = wp_upload_dir(); //where do you want to put it?
 $file_data = file_get_contents($file_url); //show me what you're made of
 $filename = basename($file_url); //so cute but what's its name?
 if(wp_mkdir_p($upload_dir['path'])) //can we put it there?
 $file = $upload_dir['path'] . '/' . $filename; //yes great
 else //or no, okay fine let's try somewhere else
 $file = $upload_dir['basedir'] . '/' . $filename; //get the whole location
 file_put_contents($file, $file_data); // tada home at last

$wp_filetype = wp_check_filetype($filename, array('pdf' => 'application/pdf','pdf' => 'application/x-pdf') ); //is it the right type of of file?
 $attachment = array( //set up the attachment
 'post_mime_type' => $wp_filetype['type'],
 'post_title' => sanitize_file_name($filename),
 'post_content' => '',
 'post_status' => 'inherit'
 );

$attach_id = wp_insert_attachment( $attachment, $file, $entry['post_id'] ); //insert attachment
 $attach_data = wp_generate_attachment_metadata( $attach_id, $file ); //asign the meta
 wp_update_attachment_metadata( $attach_id, $attach_data ); //update the post

//remove the entry
 //(to keep the entry comment or delete these line)
 // IMPORTANT See:  http://pastebin.com/quvsvGHJ for the function
 if(!function_exists('sedc_gform_remove_entries')){ die('next time maybe you should read the comments');}
 else{ nifty_gform_remove_entries($entry, $form );}
 }
 }

I have included a function that removes the entry and original file upload. That function can be found here. There is also a simpler version that doesn’t give a damn about the file upload that can be found here. Both are original from the GF support forms but have been slightly modified for v 1.6.  I should also point out that some of the upload code came from here.

Hope you find this useful