Archive for idiocy

cutthroat

You thought all was forgiven now Chris Pearson finally got bullied into split-licensing Thesis? No, of course you didn’t. So here you go, more grudgewank:

Cutline was sold a few years ago and had a more restrictive license placed on it. The original author of the Cutline theme has gone on to produce other themes with more restrictive licenses. Using Cutline has been seen as a promotion of that work and that’s not something we want to do–so, we made something better: Coraline!

So yeah, by the sounds of it they’ve tarted up Cutline with some code from the new default, changed a couple of letters in the name and are calling it a new theme.

Stay classy, guys.

I’m not really sure why they chose the theme in the first place if it’s such ‘junk’, and I fail to see why existing users have to be screwed around. If you hate it so much, couldn’t you just deprecate it by making it unselectable as a new theme? Come to that, why do we still have three versions of Sandbox cluttering up the place? I can’t see what’s so difficult about hiding a theme option without removing it from existing blogs. All you would have to do is add a BIG WARNING to the theme description saying that the theme is deprecated, it is recommended that you upgrade, and if you do change themes, you will not be able to get the old one back. Simples! And then I would no longer be troubled by the continuing existence of Sweet Blossoms.

[ETA: unsurprisingly, though it was a surprise for them since evidently not all Cutline users lurk in the CSS customisation forum, existing users are not massively pleased about the whole being screwed around thing.

If I were the person whose theme changed halfway through a presentation, or I were having to fend off emails from my boss about why the company blog suddenly looked weird, and then I found out the only reason this happened was because some guy had a vendetta going against some other guy because of a disagreement over SOFTWARE LICENCES… wow. I don’t know how I’d even begin to compute that level of estrangement from reality.]

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commentary

I appear to have become one of those people who does their blogging in other people’s comments threads. Oops.

So, here am I on putting the P into wOrDpReSs: 1, 2 and 3 (bonus link to camelcasers needing to get out more).

And whipping the dead horse of GPL just to make sure it will never rise again (oh, it just did):

All this debate does is make Thesis sound better and more important than every other theme that exists.

I feel sort of disappointed that this has sunk to the level of personal attacks. (On re-reading, I’ve decided I was a little harsh on Jane here. What actually irritates me about this post is the focus on how loud and aggressive and generally ignorant Chris is in comparison to gentlemanly Matt and sweet, altruistic Jane. He might be mean and you might be lovely, but it doesn’t follow that he’s wrong and you’re right. I hate to break it to you guys, but copyright law doesn’t care whether you’re nice.)

I wish somebody could build a time machine and tell Michel Valdrighi what a mess his decision was going to make years down the line.

and for the obligatory wordpress.com slant:

Seems harsh to get rid of wordpress.com themes purely on ideological grounds (no, I don’t know why permalinks to comments on Matt’s blog are broken either. Probably something to do with SEO).

I wish people would quit pretending this is a legal issue rather than an ideological one. Hands up who believes that a judge’s decision that themes did not have to abide by GPL would change Matt’s position, and that he would immediately throw open the doors of wordpress.org to non-GPL themes and quit badmouthing non-GPL developers? Nobody involved in this actually cares about the law, any more than the law cares about whether they are nice or not. Chris wants the power to licence his work as he chooses and Matt wants everyone else to licence their work as he chooses. And the GPL is obscure enough that it is possible to interpret it either way. Can we stop squeaking now? Thanks.

Comments (12)

there’s a dozen born every minute

OK, not getting this. Well, I get that Automattic needs to start converting the millions of .org users into cashflow, and there are precious few ways of doing this. Yeah, they’ve got the affiliate earnings, they’ve got VIP support, they’ve got a little bit coming in from Akismet licences, and they appear to be considering getting into the premium themes market (if you can’t beat ’em , join ’em); but .org users are undeniably hard to monetise, so you have to grasp whatever straws you can.

But. If your blog is that vital that you’re willing to pay insurance premiums on it, why are you not making your own regular backups? Why have you not installed any backup plugins? Why are you not with a decent host that will backup for you? Why are you not on wordpress.com already?

This is a perfect illustration that the ‘recommended hosts’ page on wordpress.org is just a moneyspinner rather than a list of hosts Automattic actually trust, but then I think we all worked that out a long time ago. Still, there’s enough fanboys and idiots around to make this worth a go. Kudos.

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the smiley liberation front

I am now so enraged by the mysterious disappearance of my beloved roll-eyes smiley, and the replacement without notice of ALL existing smilies with anaemic substitutes and the lack of any response to my bug report concerning same, that I need all you logged-in people to go along and rate this FAQ as Very Poor, at least until it stops telling lies. != .

(Yes, I know, there he is. But I need him in comments! And for some bizarro reason even though I can post VIDEOS in OTHER PEOPLE’S comment threads I can’t post an ickle 16×16 gif in my OWN, even though there is a clearly visible BUTTON in the edit window inviting me to insert an image. In what universe does this make any form of sense? I told you I was enraged.)

Would you go into my blog and change the font or header image without my say-so? No, you would not, so quit messing with our content and give us the option to choose the old smilies. We know they are not things of great beauty and they do not match the floofy backend, but at least you can see what they’re supposed to be.

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i <3 blogger

Hands up who’s in love with the fact that the corporate sponsors of wordpress.com’s first LJ-style competition host their own blog on blogspot?

Sadly, since the contest requires the use of expensive proprietary software (needless to say, I am not the only person to have noticed the incongruity here) there has not been a huge response from the freeloaders of .com and Automattic have had to resort to plugging it on ma.tt.

Looking at his new bloated uberheader, I’d say cod Dali is probably the way to win the hearts of the judges. Also, if you were wondering why there’s no linklove for the guy who converted the comps into code, it’s probably because he’s using a theme by somebody else and that’s never good for one’s credibility. And I’m really, really sorry, but I cannot resist pointing out its utter failure to validate. You know I would never normally be sufficiently assholish to mention that but hey, glass houses.

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change lightly

We don’t take change lightly, but the good news is that this redesign provides a solid foundation that we’ll be able to build on for the next 5 years of WordPress, just like the last one was basically the same for 5 years.

Years? Don’t you mean ‘months’? It is eight of those, by my reckoning, since the last ‘new dashboard design’ post. You have to love how 2.5 is being erased from the official history before 2.7 is even out of the door. (Also, of course, wordpress.com hasn’t been around for five years, which would make it difficult for its dashboard to have been the same for all that time, though if last April was five years ago in the WP universe I suppose it is feasible enough.)

I had to switch colour schemes to escape the default icons (something about them screams ‘barebones Linux distro’, which was only to be expected given their genesis) but I’m not about to get too angry with or attached to something which will inevitably be superceded come 3.0.

Meanwhile, I want to know who came up with the name ‘blavatar’ and whether they have been punished yet. I was initially baffled by the decision to make people upload new images rather than just using the 16×16 version of their current avatar, but then I remembered — multiple blogs. This way you can vary your favicon from blog to blog. I have no idea why this wasn’t explained in the post. Maybe it was covered in the video, but I don’t bother with videos because I can read.

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automattic v. designers, part 378194

Now they want professional icon designers to produce an icon set within two weeks. That’s not just designing the icons; that’s designing the icons, checking they look good in two sizes, ‘possibly’ throwing colour versions into the mix, submitting them to Automattic, making the changes Matt demands, re-submitting them to Automattic, making further tweaks, and so on until the deadline’s passed. The finished work will of course be GPL, meaning everyone and his dog can rip and redistribute them as they see fit without mentioning the designer’s name. And all the fanboys will hate them and complain about bloat and extra loading time.

It will be nice to have another set of GPL icons to use in blog design, but I am slightly worried that some idiot will offer to do it for nothing and will get the nod over those who are charging appropriately. Fast, cheap, good. You can only have two.

Comments (18)

the sword of pedantry swings again

We sometimes display discrete AdSense ads on your blog to help pay the bills. This keeps free features free!

We sometimes run discrete text ads on your blog to users who aren’t logged in and aren’t regular visitors

I still think you mean ‘discreet‘. Sorry.

I’m not even going to whine about the facts that a) the ads, when they do appear, are far from discreet (not much point in having them, if they were) and b) they’re not always text ads. If it bothered me that much, I’d be bribing Automattic to make them disappear, wouldn’t I? No point fretting about those inaccuracies. They’re there for a reason.

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slappage

Another day, another theme.

the bottom left bar is associated with your about page. Derek made it clear when designing the theme that he wanted that there.

Oh dear. Did nobody tell him that wordpress.com users don’t take kindly to being told what widget goes where? The kind of fine-grained control that professionals demand is a really, really bad fit with wordpress.com. You may know exactly what you want the sidebar to look like — search box at the top, categories below it, kewl javascripty thing — but your users are not necessarily going to share that view.

I seriously believe that before anyone designs a theme for wordpress.com they need to be sat down and forced to scroll through twenty random blogs, followed by a day or two on the forums. Then they will understand how people plan to mutilate their beautiful design with excessive numbers of pages with unfeasibly long titles, outsized widgets, crazy fonts pasted in from Word, video clips, photos the size of a bus and languages other than English. And, when they have finished sobbing, they will be able to take evasive action to make it slightly more difficult to break.

Meanwhile, yet another discussion on how it is, and will always be, evil in the eyes of the dictator to profiteer from designing for WordPress, wherein I challenge Matt to name his favourite GPL themes before belatedly realising that he is obviously referring to Prologue and Monotone. Like Matt would ever publically express admiration for a theme he wasn’t personally involved with.

Sometimes, still, I am so touchingly naive I am compelled to slap my forehead. Hard.

Comments (3)

discouraged

So, I thought I’d get around to updating all my old Sandbox skins to support gravatars, spamlinks related posts and the like. But nuh-uh.

Once more Automattic’s hatred of all things design-related intervenes and I can’t upload .txt files anymore. Like it wasn’t annoying enough being denied .zip and .css. Wait, it gets better. We can’t even pop the CSS in a textarea for people to copy/paste.

What is especially hilarious is that the default text in the ‘edit CSS’ box still says:

Things we encourage include:
* @media blocks!
* sharing your CSS!
* testing in several browsers!
* helping others in the forum!

Let’s leave aside for now the fact that helping others in the forum is emphatically not encouraged: how, exactly, do they want me to share my CSS? Put it in a Word document? Paste the entire 550-line production into one of their ugly sourcecode shortcodes? Host it elsewhere? They really don’t want us using any of that 3gb they so generously ‘gave’ us, do they?

(Of course, the main reason I’m blogging this is to get a response to my support ticket. That’s how it works these days: you fill in the form, and then you blog about it. It’s really about time they bit the bullet and set up an autoresponder, because the current method of having to report things twice isn’t the most efficient.)

Comments (10)

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