Categories: "computer/tech"

b2media

b2media Plugin in actionPurpose
This plugin gives you an easy way to add images and links for Amazon.com products to your posts. If you get an Amazon Associates ID and enter it in the plugin settings, then you earn a referral fee if someone clicks your link, then buys the product. Mostly, this is just a nice way to add an image to a post or to maintain a blog in your sidebar that shows what movies you're watching.

Installation
Requires b2evolution 1.7 or later

  1. Download this file: _b2media.plugin.txt.
  2. Replace the .txt from the filename with .php and upload it to your b2evolution plugins folder.
  3. In the backoffice, go to Settings > Plugins and find b2media in the list. Click "install".

Usage
The plugin adds a sub-tab to the Tools tab in the b2evolution backoffice. You can search for Amazon products there, but that won't give you the option to add images into a blog post. To get that you need to go to the Write tab, then click on the button below the writing area that says "Amazon". This will pop up a window that looks very similar to the Tools sub-tab, but now when you search, each result has a button labeled "img". Click on that button to add the code to your post.

Amazon Associates Program
You can use the backoffice plugin settings to change the Associate ID that is added into the links. If you want to make a little money with this, then sign up for the Amazon Associates program (it's free), then log into your blog backoffice, go to Settings > Plugins > b2media and replace my ID with yours. If you're not interested in any of that, just leave my ID in there. You may end up adding a few cents toward my daughter's college education.

Sideblog
I like to use this plugin to create a section in my sidebar showing what movies, music and video games I'm consuming. I call it my mediablog. It's actually a separate blog in b2evolution that can be viewed on its own or included in the sidebar of my main blog. If you want to do something like this, then copy the code from this file and add it into your skin. Remember to replace the fives with the number that matches your mediablog.

Misc info
This plugin is based on Jaap's Free Amazon Script. I first released it as a hack for b2evolution 0.9.0.12. Installing it involved putting four files in two different directories. And it still didn't look or work that good. The plugin version is one file and it matches the look and feel of the b2evolution backoffice. I also fixed some bugs.

Most Commented Posts plugin

Most Comments plugin in actionThis plugin has been replaced by Mini Stats.

Purpose
This plugin creates a section in your blog sidebar that lists the most commented posts on your blog. It's an easy way to keep track of your most popular/controversial posts. It may even lead to those posts getting more comments.

Installation
Requires b2evolution 1.7 or later

  1. Download this file: _mostcomments.plugin.1.7.txt.
  2. Remove the .1.7.txt from the filename and upload it to your b2evolution plugins folder.
  3. In the backoffice, go to Settings > Plugins and find MostComments in the list. Click "install".
  4. Add this bit of code in your skin where you want the list to appear:

    <?php
    // MostComments plugin:
    $Plugins->call_by_code( 'mostCmts', array(
    'limit'=>5,
    'list_start'=>'<ol>',
    'list_end'=>'</ol>'
    ) );
    // Add parameters in the array.
    ?>


    You can edit the limit value to make it show more or less in the list. If you want an unordered list instead of an ordered one, then you can change those tags, too.

Misc info
If you're interested, you can check out the forum thread where the idea for the plugin came from. Thanks to MarcDK for suggesting it. And here is the most commented post on my blog. Actually, my wife wrote the post. A lot of people have strong feelings on this issue.

Bookmarklet 2 Plugin

Purpose
Quickly blog about another webpage. This plugin automatically adds a link to the page into the body of your blog post.

Installation
Requires b2evolution 1.7 or later

  1. Download this file: _bookmarklet2.plugin.php.txt.
  2. Remove the .beta.txt from the filename and upload it to your b2evolution plugins folder.
  3. In the backoffice, go to Settings > Plugins and find Bookmarklet 2 in the list. Click "install".

Usage
This is just a slight modification to the Bookmarklet plugin that comes pre-installed with b2evolution. I'll explain how that one works, then tell how mine is different. A bookmarklet is a link that you find in the Tools tab of the backoffice. You right click and choose to bookmark the link (or 'Add to Favorites' for Internet Explorer users). Then, when you're browsing a web site that you want to blog about, just click on your bookmark (I keep mine on a toolbar where it's easy to get to) and as soon as you do, a window pops up with a trimmed down version of the b2evolution backoffice. It automatically adds to your new blog post a link to the page you were on when you clicked the bookmarklet. And if select some text before clicking, it will get added, too. My version of the plugin is just like the stock version, except that it adds the link to the post body, rather than to the "Link to URL" field (which I never user).

Misc info
This was originally a hack I made right after switching from Movable Type to b2evolution. Some of the people I share a site with wanted the bookmarklet to work the way it did in Movable Type.

New features in Windows Vista

These new features in Windows Vista look pretty sweet. I wish I had a computer that did those things. There's also a follow-up video.
(via Digg)

Be gentle

Busted miceSomeone brought me their computer this weekend because their mouse wasn't working. They had replaced it, but the new one wasn't working either. I was hooking up the computer in my workshop to see if I could find out what was wrong. As I hooked up one of their mice I notice that the pins in the plug had been smashed down flat. The new one and the old one were both like that. I photographed them with a good mouse on the right side so you could see the difference. So, I found the source of the problem (and had a good laugh) without ever turning the computer on. Rembember, be gentle. I tried bending the pins back with tweezers, but they're beyond repair. Click on the image on the left to see a bigger version.

Update: On Josh's suggestion, I made a poster with this image.

Random Palette Generator

I was browsing the color palettes at ColourLovers.com for a web design I'm working on and the thought occurred to me: There are so many colors here that I might as well be looking at some randomly generated palettes. So, I made a script that creates just that: Five randomly generated hex colors, complete with codes so I can copy and paste if I see something I like. So, I give you:

Danny's Random Palette Generator version 0.00000001

You keep up the low expectations, and I'll keep up the shoddy work.

Motivator generator

Fanaticism poster Abramoff Cronyism Exit Strategy

Check out the Motivator Generator. I made the images above with it.

(via the Generator Blog)

Most comments plugin

I made this plugin because of a request in the b2evolution forums, but I've been wanting something like this for myself for a while, too. It adds a box in your sidebar listing the posts with the most comments. The number of posts to list can be set to anything, but the default is 5. You can get the plugin here, but I also ported this back to the current stable version of b2evolution: 0.9.1, so you can see it in action in my sidebar (scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar). If any other Brendoman.com authors want this added to their skin, just let me know.

YouTube plugin

I just finished my first fully-functional b2evolution plugin. It makes it easy to post YouTube videos on your blog. It works for b2evolution 1.6-alpha, so if you're using it (i.e., you're brave or curious) then go get it.

Blender

This afternoon I played around with Blender a bit. It's a free and open source, cross-platform 3d modeling and animation program. I was able to follow this tutorial and make a simple model of a person. If you want to jump right into animation, check this one out. If you're willing to spend a couple of hours getting familiar with the user interface and moving around in 3 dimensions, you could make some pretty cool stuff with this. There's a whole animation festival with entries that all come from Blender.

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