I’ve been looking at potentially switching themes again on my website,  but I’m still not sure I want to make the jump. If I do, I’m going to simplify things down a bit.

In the process, I’ve been looking at tweaking some of the CSS in the Post Kinds Plugin, particularly since I’m using it so heavily for a lot of my content. One of the small things I’ve wanted to do was to make what I can only call the pseudo-titles of the bookmarks, reads, etc. slightly larger to bring more attention to the titles and authors of those parts.

To do it, I’ve added the following couple of lines to my child theme’s style.css file:

/* Changes the font size on the titles of Kinds */
section.response > header {
  font-size: 20px;
}

For quite a while I’ve had an upcoming events widget in the sidebar of my website. It was a simple HTML widget that was maintained by hand, but I’d been getting tired of updating it. To keep things a bit more DRY (aka don’t repeat yourself), I’m using the JetPack Upcoming Events widget now that pulls in iCal feed data from a special shared Google Calendar where I put my public events. This way I can put things in my calendar and my website will automatically update within an hour or two. Hooray for the little wins.

Sparklines of recent activity on my website

Inspired a bit by the work of Jeremy Keith and others, I’ve recently been playing around with some sparklines on my website. While tinkering around with things, mostly on the back end of my site, I’ve tried out several WordPress-specific plugins, both to see how they’re built and the user interfaces they provide. 

There are several simple plugins for adding sparklines to WordPress websites including:

  • Activity Sparks plugin by Greg Jackson which adds some configurable functionality for adding sparklines to WordPress sites including for posts and comments as well as for tracking categories/tags.
  • Sparkplug by Beau Lebens has similarity to the Activity Sparks plugin (above), but with a slightly older looking and somewhat less refined output.

At present, I’m using the Activity Sparks plugin in my sidebar to display the recent activity on my site in terms of my posting frequency and the comment frequency. One chart provides the daily activity on my site over the past 3 months while the other provides the monthly activity over the past 5 years.

When on particular category pages, you can see the posting velocity for those particular categories in these respective time periods. While on the homepage and other miscellaneous pages, you can see the aggregate numbers for the website.

Generally I don’t care very much about the statistics, but in aggregate they can sometimes be fun to look at. As quick examples, I can tell roughly by looking at the 5 year time span when I added certain posting features to my website or that time my site got taken down by HackerNews.


hat tip to Khürt Williams who reminded me I needed to circle back around and finish of a small piece of this project and document it.

Modifying some of the taxonomies on my digital commonplace book

Spent a few minutes today cleaning up the various categories and tags within my digital commonplace book (aka website). Some of the automated methods I use as well as my general carelessness and fat fingers on mobile introduce spelling errors in some of these taxonomies. I also find that sometimes when choosing them from the pre-populated lists my website’s back end makes it more difficult to choose the canonical one when there are several there by error.

These issues tend to flatten these taxonomies out and make them much more difficult to search (or for others to be able to subscribe to reliably).

As an example, having tags “Domain of One’s Own” and “Domain of Ones Own” (with and without the apostrophe) as well as the acronym “DoOO” can be difficult or frustrating to use. Things get even more complicated when I hold the mental model that these concepts are just a sub-set of the broader idea of the “IndieWeb” or what I sometimes tag things as “IndieWeb for Education”. This is all much easier for me, but may be more difficult for newcomers to the site who know what one shorthand means, but are unaware of the others and thus miss details, references, or content that may have a lot of value for them.

I’ve cleaned up and concatenated many of these troublesome tags (roughly A-D alphabetically and other sections at random), but there’s still a lot of distance to go. There are 66 categories–some are hidden or used for programmatic purposes–and nearly 7,000 tags! The top 100 tags are used 30 or more times on the site and the second century of tags are used between 20 and 30 times each. At the long end of the tail there are about 4,000 tags with either 1 or no uses.

I’m promoting the economics tag to that of a category since it’s a topic in which I have a lot of interest and content. I also have a number of other tags related to sub-areas of economics. (If you were subscribed to this individual tag, you may want to fix your feed.) Other potential considerations for promotion included the topics of history, physics, and web development. I also noticed that there’s a tag for mathematics with 70 instances despite the fact that there’s already a category for it with 315 posts already–I’ll have to figure out how that happened and clean it up another day. And look, there’s somehow a tag for “math” too. Ugh!

I also put both the Quotes and Events categories under the parent category of Social Stream, though I plan on leaving them showing in the hierarchy–unlike some post kinds–as there are many legacy posts and likely future posts that aren’t just events I’m hosting, but events that are of interest to me in general. Naturally the more important events (to me) will appear in my RSVP posts. With any good luck courtesy of WordPress, links to the old versions should still work or redirect to the new hierarchy.

The manual or even automated effort of fixing or tweaking some of these things feels problematic, and I’m just looking at just my own website. I’m curious to delve into some research on taxonomies and folksonomies to see how something like this may be better systematized and/or automated. Of course categorizing things is somethings humans really love doing, but I’m not sure how deep down the rabbit hole it’s worth going for my own work. Besides, someone far smarter than I will likely crack the discovery nut from an IndieWeb perspective. Fortunately I can use the site search queries for several search engines to more quickly find the things I’m looking for without needing these taxonomies. So perhaps I’ll put some of the exercise off to another day by filing this in my tag.

It dawns on me that I haven’t used JetPack’s Publicize or social sharing functionalities in ages (particularly with the coming death of Google+), so I’ve gone in and finally turned them off. I’m still surprised they don’t return the URLs of where the content got shared for showing on the page with plugins like Syndication Links.

A Followers Page on My Personal Website using Webmention

I’ve had a following page (aka blogroll on acid) where I list all the websites I’m following in my feed reader (along with OPML files for those who’d like to quickly follow them as well), but last night I quickly mocked up a followers page as well. It lists people who have either added me to their blogrolls or who have sent my site notifications (trackbacks, pingbacks, or webmentions) that they’re following me.

This is another in a long line of social media functionalities that I’m now able to relatively easily support on my own website.

To my knowledge, I may be the first person to be displaying “following” webmentions anywhere. The nice part is that this following webmention functionality is built into the Post Kinds plugin by default, so that if people begin creating follow posts on a more regular basis, then several hundred WordPress sites that have Post Kinds will automatically be able to display them.

Testing out Posting to WordPress via email

A test looking back at some old school methods of posting to the web

I haven’t posted to my WordPress site via email in a long time, so I thought I’d give it another try to see what has changed. I’m also curious about how this might work best in an IndieWeb setting and how these pieces dovetail with things like Post Kinds, potential syndication methods, and other tidbits I’ve got set up on my website.

Let’s see how it goes?

Dividing and Conquering the IndieWeb Related Content on My Website

Both for my own benefit as well as for that of others who may be following along, I realize that I’ve been tagging a lot of material on my site with the broad category of “IndieWeb”. Some of it is definitely more significant and content rich than others, but in aggregate it may often seem like a firehose. If you’re following the community relatively closely already, you’ll probably be seeing a lot of redundant material.

As a result, and since it’s easy to do, I’m only going to categorize a much smaller segment of the richer material that I write or which is I deem to be extremely broadly appealing with the IndieWeb category. The remainder of smaller pieces by others, bookmarks, short replies, or other tangential related things (UX, UI, silos, silo quits, etc.) I’m going to use the alternate and separate IndieWeb tag.

Thus if you’re active in the IndieWeb community and only want my IndieWeb related materials then follow the category  and not the tag. If you’re not closely following the community and want everything then I recommend following the content from both the category and the tag. 

With the subtle change this may also help IndieWeb related planets like Aaron Parecki’s https://stream.indieweb.org/ or Malcolm Blaney’s https://unicyclic.com/indieweb/ pick up relevant data without needing to do heavy de-duplication for fear of spamming various channels.

In the coming days/weeks I’ll try to go back into my backlog of posts and re-categorize and re-tag things based on this general scheme.

My direct content:
Category Only | feed: https://boffosocko.com/category/indieweb/feed/

Miscellaneous bookmarks, replies, other content I collect for my commonplace book, etc: 
Tag Only | feed: https://boffosocko.com/tag/indieweb/feed/

The firehose of everything IndieWeb related from my site:
Category AND/OR Tag | feed: https://boffosocko.com/?s=indieweb&feed=rss2

And of course I still try to  aggregate and orient most of the important pieces in my IndieWeb Collection.

Spent a few minutes late this afternoon to update the CSS on my website to hide the automatic titles given to annotation and highlight posts. Also modified these slightly to give the highlighted/quoted portion of other sites a highlighter-yellow color.

An example of the yellow highlight color of highlighted/annotated posts on my website. Previously the quoted portions had been a muted grey like other posts.

Sketches of my Home and About page designs

Replied to a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION)

For today’s I want you to put the computer away, grab some paper and pencil and map out what you think your homepage and about me page should contain.

You don’t need to be an artist, boxes and stuick figures will do.

You don’t have to be writer. Copy can come later. Think layout.

If you already have an about me and a home page sketch it out for others to see what your “prototype” looks like.

I’ve actually been doing some small revamping of both my Home and my About pages on the site recently, so this is actually a nice little exercise that’s reminding me about some of the small changes I’d like to effect. It also reminds me of some of the changes I want to make with regard to some of my menu structures too.

Lately I’ve added a bunch of different ways to slice and dice the content on my site so that readers can hopefully more easily find or discover the content they may be most interested in reading.  I’ve also been trying to pare down on the amount of information and detail which I present.

So without additional ado, here they are:

Home and About Page layouts

Looks like I’ve finally got IndieAuth and my headers working with OwnYourSwarm properly and have checkin data being PESOSed from Swarm/FourSquare to my website now. Hooray!

I still have a few minor tweaks to get things working properly with Post Kinds to display everything correctly, but I feel like I’m almost there. Next we’ll have to delve back to May sometime when my system between IndieAuth and OwnYourCheckin fell apart.

Still have my fingers half-crossed that I don’t botch anything up…