Some Like it Neat Child Theme

I put together an uber-simple child theme, called “Neat Child”, which you can download here (https://github.com/digisavvy/neat-child).

This theme isn’t for the faint of heart. That is, it’s not yet easily customizable, whether you use it as a parent theme or as a starter theme. Either way, there’s a curve to learning it. The good news is that I don’t think it’s all that hard to get ramped up. Obviously, the big thing here is that you should learn SASS, if you really want to use the theme.

If you have any thoughts on the theme feel free to let me know.

Recent Linkage

The past month has seen me in this frenzied state of trying to complete projects and learn as much as I could about a few different topics before I headed out of town (which I am happy to say: I’m out of town now!). That said, I wanted to drop some links that have kept me coming back of late…

  • Bourbon & Neathttp://bourbon.io and http://neat.bourbon.io. Bourbon is a SASS library of goodies and Neat is a grid framework built on top of Bourbon. Both have led me to learn much more about SASS and go forward on my own theme project. Definitely worth checking out as I think they serve as a valid alternative to things like Compass and Bootstrap/Foundation etc.
  • Dashicons http://melchoyce.github.io/dashicons/— Similar to Genericons, but made for use in your WordPress Backend (of course you can use them where ever you like). I like em and have a couple I’m using in a current project
  • Learn to Run a Viable Business http://curtismchale.ca/products/run-viable-freelance-business/ — Good read about running a freelance business. This has become an especially timely read for me of late.
  • Bidsketch Blog http://www.bidsketch.com/blog/ — This is a service I used to use quite a bit at one point. It seems this year they’ve really upped the quality of their blogging, as they put out more frequent useful content. Really great stuff from, of course, writing great proposals and how to develop more business etc. Worth a read.
  • Brian Gardner’s Blog http://briangardner.com — If you know anything about WordPress, then you’ll know who this cat is. He’s kind of a big deal and his blog is chalk-full of goodies. Well, it used to be. What I mean by that is that he used to post all sorts of great tutorials. Now, he’s taken a more personal turn on his blog, as he writes about things outside of “the business” (something we should all do) that are personal to him; and the guy has been writing excellent stuff. I’m especially taken by his need to become more of a “minimalist.” Something that I am currently striving to do in my own life… Definitely worth a read.

I’ll keep compiling the lists to share for next time. Say something nice to me, dangit!

Quick Update on ‘Some Like it Neat.’

I’m still plugging away, learning and tweaking ‘Some Like it Neat.’ If you recall, it’s a project I started putting together a couple of weeks ago leading up to WordCamp Las Vegas. I’d love some more feedback/contributions, obviously.

Things to be added:

  1. Page Templates — Archive, Left/Right Sidebars, improved 404
  2. Post Format Templates — The theme already comes with post format support baked-in; I’d like to offer more specific page templating for post formats however.
  3. Internationalization aka i18n. I’d like to distribute this theme in the WP repo at some point.
  4. Customizer tweaks. Nothing crazy, but I’d like users to manage a few key areas of the theme.
  5. Microformatting — I know very little about this, so I’ll be reading up and pinging my friends on this.

Things to take away?

Perfection is achieved not when there is more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away — Some Mother Fucker

The jury is still out on that; I’ve included some questionable items such as superfish subs. I do like that it offers legacy support for IE; which isn’t something I need to worry too much about these days. It’s just “nice to have.”

I’ve mulled over the “what to include” question for a while. What does MY starting point look like? Well, for me, drop downs, extra page templates etc. But as I thought about it more I asked myself questions: Do I really give a shit about breadcrumb nav? Not really. Do I care about built-in SEO? I mean, sure. I do. But I like Automattic’s recent change in mindset in having ‘features-as-plugins’ and think that I’ll follow suit. To that end I’m using the TGM Plugin Activation to notify users of recommended plugins (just for breadcrumbs right now). I like that approach. A lot.

What’s your starting point? Drop me a comment and let me know.

How to Get the Most Out of a WordCamp

WordCamp Vegas

The reason I remember very little about Saturday evening at WCLV

WordCamps are a great, great time. As someone who has spoken at a couple of WordCamps, attended several more and even co-organized one; I can tell you, from different perspectives, that they are worth your time and attendance.

They give an opportunity to meet new folks, network and learn something new in the process. Also, you get  a chance to really connect with some of the well=known players in the WordPress space and bounce ideas off of them and soak it all up!

I realize you all may know this already. “But, Alex,” you ask; “how can I get the very most out of a WordCamp?” Young Padawan learner, I can help you and give you the answers you seek.

How this Mother F****r gets the most out of a WordCamp

  1. Do — Take lots of notes, copy down URLs to useful products and services (Real FAT Media, Maintainn and WP Site Care, Purple Pen Productions).
  2. Do — Take the time to ask questions. When people like Jeffrey Zinn, Amanda Blum, Steve Zehngut and Konstantin Obenland get up to talk, they are going to share their knowledge on a variety of topics. Make sure to ask questions! These people are super approachable and great people to ping for their opinions.
  3. Do – Take the time to talk to someone new; someone well-known and have those “hallway conversations.” These types of convos provide an opportunity to further make a connect and also gain insight and ideas about what you’re working on. Even as someone who’s been around the WP space for a while I’m still learning so much from people. If you’re shy, this is the time to overcome that fucker.
  4. Do — Take the time to say “hello” to Chris Lema. Much as been written about how great that effing guy is. He’s good people and he’s giving and blah, blah, blah. If you don’t know by know…
  5. Don’t — Drink too much at the After Party. I mean you can, but you don’t want to be that “asshole” that drank too much
  6. Don’t — Call the nicest and most generous fella you know (Chris Lema) to eff off a bunch of times and further tell him you hate him. That shit’s rude.
  7. Don’t — Crumble up your prescription glasses and throw them away for no reason. You’ll have trouble seeing the rest of the time you’re at WordCamp
  8. Don’t — Take flaming shots of ANYTHING!!!!!! Bad, bad, bad idea. Just. Don’t.
  9. Don’t — Drink that much again… until the next time.
  10. Do — Truly, enjoy yourself. Have fun and, remember attendance is an elective process and it is always a good time.

My Hair

This blog is called “Alex Has Nice Hair.” And, really, it’s not all that nice. I mean, it is; if we’re being honest it’s a lot nicer than yours probably. Okay, that’s my narcissist spitting truth. =)

I don’t obsess over my hair. I promise! But I hated getting my hair as a kid. Why? Because you always want what you don’t have. I had an afro-tastic explosion of fiery red locks. The kind of locks that old liver-spotted people would comment on and touch; the kind that other asshole kids would make fun of a kid for; the kind that would cause your mom to tell the kind barber “No, no. Just a bit over his eyes.” Yeah, that didn’t do me many favors.

My mom dropped me off at the barber’s one day and she couldn’t stay to watch over me while I got my hair cut. I promptly took the money my mother gave me, walked right in and said “I want a buzz cut.” My mom was less than pleased and, honestly, I was shaken by how little hair I had; ultimately, I was glad it was gone. Less to make fun of, or so I thought.

That act set the course of my life. With every haircut received I would look like more of an asshole. Without fail. How so? I’d have been better off placing a bowl on my head and cutting around it. I looked like the strange cherubic love child of Ronald McDonald and Bill Walton… It wasn’t pretty, folks.

To that end I do have a gal that cuts this lovely piece of tumbleweed that rests atop my scalp. And if she moves (like she says she’s intent on) I may just end it all. Life will not be worthwhile and then I’ll have to move this blog to a new domain… “AlexHasShittyHair.com”

Okay, so why do you have a blog called “Alex Has Nice Hair?”

At the end of the day, I dig attention. You might even call me an attention whore. A good buddy of mine, Steve Zehngut was called upon, last-minute to do a presentation on WordPress Multisite at WordCamp OC. During his presentation/demo he created a site and polled the audience for a name for the site. With no one offering suggestions, I chimed in “Alex Has Nice Hair!.” It got a chuckle. But for the next thirty minutes or so, people were asking things like “How do I get access to Alex’s Nice Hair? What kinds of plugins do I need to install into Alex’s Nice Hair?” — Needless to say, I was amused and since then the hair thing has stuck (and surely without any effort on my part).

What? You wanted an entertaining story? Shaddap! That’s all you get!!

So the next time you’re wondering why I’m such a shit head about my hair, now you know…