New Blog Template

You may have noticed that our blog template has been changed! And I think it’s for the better!

I got sick and tired of templates going out of date and having bugs which I needed to fix every time the template got updated. That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to go with Twenty Eleven. For the past 2 years, WordPress has released a new template each year to showcase the new abilities of the WordPress platform. I figured that the default WordPress template would most likely be up to date and have the cool new trinkets that older templates don’t have.

I’ve also been thinking of redesigning our homepage and I really like the header and navigation bar of this template.

Let us know what you think!

New Theme

I finally upgraded WordPress to 2.6.5 and at the same time I’ve decided to try out a new theme. As you may have noticed, when my post includes a flash video player, it goes beyond the allotted space for the post. So I was already looking for a theme with a wider post area.

Also, I wanted to make future upgrades easier, where I can just drop newer versions of WordPress and themes and not worry about overwriting my changes. Of course there are still going to be little changes here and there to customize the layout, but I had a lot of hacks and changes in the previous theme to enable stuff to work the way I wanted.

Then there was the fact the theme I was currently using was pre-widgets, so I really wanted a theme that supported widgets so I can easily add stuff like Recent Comments or Most Viewed to the sidebar.

I took a look at the Most Popular themes over at WordPress Themes and landed on Green Light. I thought it’d be a nice match for my content.

I customized the header, modified the page bar at the top, and added a few things that were from the old site (i.e. Link to Catalog and Informational Links). So far, I’m really digging the new theme.

I also fixed a few issues I found where it had several W3C compliance issues and the comments link pointed to an anchor that didn’t exist. Otherwise, it’s been great so far. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Gravatar Speaking of comments, it appears this theme pulls your avatar from Gravatar, which is rather neat. So if you don’t want to have a dull gray guy with no face next to your comment, register your email with Gravatar and it’ll automatically pull down your avatar.

Two New Members to the Team

I’d like to welcome 2 new members to our team: Manjunath and Alex

Awhile back, you may have remembered that I started on a side project that would provide mirroring to the HD trailers I posted. However, that took up too much of my time, and was ultimately abandoned. After that news was posted, Manjunath contacted us expressing interest in continuing to provide mirror links. At first I asked him to post the links in the comment section, but that didn’t really work out that well as Akismet was constantly blocking them, even when I had registered him as a subscriber.

Around the same time, Alex contacted us expressing interest in providing MP4 encodings of the HD trailers that people can use to watch on their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

I needed a way to allow users to modify posts directly without giving them too much power. That’s when I found: Role Manager plugin for WordPress. It had exactly what I needed, specific knobs to enable/disable for particular users.

I have then created a new role: InfoAdder which has the ability to edit others’ published posts and save them. Soon, you’ll be seeing 2 new sets of links:

  • RapidShare Mirror:
  • MP4 Encoded:


Upgraded to WordPress 2.5.1

So after many months of WordPress complaining that I should upgrade from 2.3.1, I’ve finally decided to upgrade. What prompted this action was the fact I was trying to do a review on 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and the stupid blog would convert all my unicode characters to ???????? (question marks).

I have no idea what’s wrong since runs on the same WordPress version and does unicode fine. I decided to try upgrading to WordPress 2.5.1, but the unicode problem still exist.

Searching online, I found WordPress, Unicode, and ‘?’s and it turns out’s wp-config.php was so old, it didn’t have the following defined:

define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
define(’DB_COLLATE’, ”);

When I commented that out from’s wp-config.php file, I was able to do unicode, but all my existing blog entries that had non-standard characters now became funky (white question mark inside a black diamond). There didn’t seem to be a simple search and replace where I could fix the problem. The underlying problem appears that when WordPress first created the database, the text data type it set as default was latin1 instead of utf8.

Searching a bit more, I found: Converting Database Character Sets on’s site. So a brief read revealed this is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to convert my existing latin1 text to utf8 text. So I jumped to the solution and start altering tables, which wasn’t as simple as it looks. Those …for all other tables/columns… really gets to you.

Half way through the process, I found that I screwed up. Apparently I was suppose to convert LONGTEXT to LONGBLOB, and not just BLOB. Guess I should’ve read all the instructions first. Thankfully, I had backed up my database as it instructed. And I guess I should’ve scrolled further as under solution was Conversion Scripts and Plugins. Grrrrr.

I installed the UTF-8 Database Converter plugin, read the readme.txt FULLY, activated the plugin and started the conversion. BAM! Everything works now. Even though there were big red warning signs saying this plugin was meant for 2.1-2.2, it worked on 2.3.1 and 2.5.1 w/o any problems.

Back to WordPress 2.5.1. The admin UI has completely changed. It’s definitely prettier, but I dislike the fact that they’ve moved a bunch of stuff I’ve been accustomed to the side (such as categories) to below the post. And since I run on a 1920×1080 resolution monitor, this is leaving about half my screen white, basically wasted space.

However I really appreciate the fact that Save no longer refreshes the page. Same with a bunch of other post editing functions.

Another awesome thing is that plugins now support updating from within the admin panel! No longer do I need to deactivate the plugin, download the plugin, overwrite the existing plugin, and reactivate it. In one click, it now goes fetches the plugin and automatically upgrades it on its own!

I wonder if they’ve supported upgrading WordPress like this yet…

Anyway, if I find anything more interesting, I’ll let you know!

Also, if you see any funky characters, please let me know too. Thanks!