Google Doodle: Indonesia National Batik Day 2019

Today, Google search page for users in Indonesia has a doodle to celebrate National Batik Day 2019. Quoted from Google Doodle’s page:

Today’s Doodle celebrates and was made using Batik, a technique for decorating fabric using wax and pigment to create complex, colorful patterns. Batik artisans cover fabric with a wax design, add dye, and finally remove the wax to reveal the pattern underneath. Repeating the process with different colored dyes can create intricate, multi-layered designs to adorn textiles and clothing.

Indonesia has been known for its Batik since the 4th or 5th century, and it has been said that Indonesian batik dye techniques and designs are as numerous as its islands. The designs and colors vary in accordance with the villages and ethnic groups that have spread out in different islands.

Happy National Batik Day! Let’s wear batik today!

Terrapattern

Terrapattern — a visual search tool for satellite imagery. The project provides journalists, citizen scientists, and other researchers with the ability to quickly scan large geographical regions for specific visual features.

F Pattern Layout

F Pattern Layout — “Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, the F-Layout gives in to the natural behaviors of most web surfers and it uses scientific studies to back it up.”

body_class() for WordPress Theme Designer

I just upgraded my WordPress engine to the latest version. This new version offers some improved and new features. One of them is about body_class() function. Nathan Rice has a definition about this:

The body_class() function operates in nearly the exact same manner as the post_class() function that was introduced in WordPress 2.7. The only differences are the classes it generates. The body_class() function will generate the classes mostly based on where your viewer is on your site.

I used post_class() when it was introduced in WordPress 2.7. This body_class() new function is a great addition for WordPress theme designers. Well, actually it’s not only for WordPress Theme designers, but it’s more for those who want to have/do more on the template. We can have some automatically generated HTML tags like these:

  • <body class="single postid-12">, or
  • <body class="page page-id-9 parent-page-id-0 page-template-default">, or
  • <body class="page-template page-template-tutorial-php logged-in">

See the patterns? Jump to Nathan Rice’s blog posts to read more details. In short, if you want to use this function, just modify your <body> tag. Change it into <body <?php body_class(); ?>>. That’s it!

vBulletin Database Backup

I’m maintaining a pretty big forum. It has a great amount of traffic, AND huge database size. Right now, it has a remote backup server. The optimization is always challenging. Anyway, vBulletin upgrade process was easy. The forum I maintain used vBulletin 3.6.x when it was firstly installed. Right now, it’s using the latest stable release.

The first thing I did before upgrading is to backup its database. Using web-based database management tool like phpMyAdmin is easy. We can export and store it in minutes. BUT, in some cases, it takes more time if we have a large database. So, I use the other method: using the backup script.

When we download vBulletin, there is a backup script included in the distribution. It’s under do_not_upload directory. The file is vb_backup.sh. The first thing we need to do is to edit this script, to locate the configuration file. After that, we only need to execute this command: ./vb_backup.sh backup

It will generate a backup file using this pattern: databasename-dd-mm-yy.sql.gz. Just keep the file into the safe place (outside public directory always recommended), and start upgrading. All done.

New design for this blog

I have been very busy in the last few weeks, many things to do. I needed to recharge my energy. And this is the result: a new design for my blog. I created this theme for fun, at least to keep my mood in balance, to bring my mood back to the other design work.
After upgrading to WordPress 2.7 few days ago, I wanted to have some changes here, especially by taking advantages from new features introduced in the latest WordPress, e.g. built-in threaded comment. Here are some notes on my new blog design.

Template tags

Still related to template tags, I try to take advantage from the way WordPress produces CSS selectors. Here is an example. Open index.php in default theme folder, you should see this for the entry loop:

<div <?php post_class() ?> id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>">

The code above will produce something like this:
<div class="post hentry category-services category-sites category-www category-webdev tag-htaccess tag-facebook tag-linkedin tag-service tag-twitter tag-url" id="post-1026">
Do you see the pattern? It will produce some post classes on the entry data (categories and tags). This function is called post_class(). By this, we can customize how each entry (inside the loop) should be displayed, just work with the stylesheet.
If you want to make you theme compatible well with WordPress 2.7, just head to Migrating Plugins and Themes to 2.7 article at WordPress Codex. There are some other useful information for theme designers — and also for you as bloggers.

Short URLs to Social Services Using Own Domain and .htaccess Redirection

These days, there are many social services we use. I use some of them. Bloggers or websites also provide some links on their blogs/websites to those social service. If links to our profile is easy to remember, that should be great. For example, it’s easy to remember my Flickr photostream using http://flickr.com/orangescale, or Twitter account (http://twitter.com/thomasarie).
But, what about Facebook, Technorati, or LinkedIn? My Facebook profile page is located here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Arie-Setiawan/695771665. There is a Facebook application to create more memorable Facebook profile, page or group. They will be something like profile.to/thomasarie or groups.to/AnyGroupName.
Few days ago, @mahadewa and @huda mentioned about this. Anyway, there is .htaccess for redirection. So, why not using it to produce more memorable URLs for our profile? It’s easy. Now, I can have https://thomasarie.com/facebook (Facebook profile), https://thomasarie.com/linkedin (LinkedIn profile), and more.
Since [added later: I have my own domain name,] my web hosting uses Apache and supports .htaccess, it’s very easy to do it. I just put these lines in my .htaccess (in the root folder).

Redirect 301 /facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Arie-Setiawan/695771665
Redirect 301 /flickr http://flickr.com/orangescale
Redirect 301 /linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasarie
Redirect 301 /openid http://openid.orangescale.com/thomasarie
Redirect 301 /technorati http://technorati.com/people/technorati/thomasarie

“Redirect 301” means permanent redirection. You can add as many redirection rules there. Just see the patterns there, pretty easy to understand, right? And, I think it’s easier to remember. It also nice if we use it for our business card :)

WordPress MU 1.3

Few days ago, WordPress MU 1.3 was released for public. This latest release is a sync of WordPress 2.3.1. So, many new features offered by WordPress 2.3.1 will be also available in WordPress MU environment. Great!
Here are some features offered by this release:

  • Better admin controls for the signup page. It can be disabled in various ways.
  • Upload space functions have been fixed.
  • The signup form is now hidden from search engines which will help avoid certain types of spamming.
  • Profile page now allows you to select your primary blog.
  • Database tables are now UTF-8 from the start.
  • If you’re using virtual hosts, the main blog doesn’t live at /blog/ any more.
  • The WordPress importer now assigns posts to other users on a blog.
  • A taxonomy sync script is included in mu-plugins but commented out. It hasn’t been tested much but if your site has many hundreds of blogs it might be worth spending some time on a test server. Replicate normal traffic patterns and see if the server can cope with the upgrade process. If not, then look at the sync script, uncomment it and iterate over all your blogs with a script.

Those features gives me reason to upgrade WordPress MU-powered sites I maintain. If you follow my blog, you probably had heard that all Asia Blogging Network channel domains (14 domains!) uses WordPress MU. For the first step, I think I will dig the features first, checking the template tags (I hope all current template tags are compatible with WPMU latest version), checking plugin compability, and finally… upgrading. I hope I can finish all the work within this week.

Listed in seach engines because we blog

Google Logo
If we run a weblog, one information that we usually display is our name. I am not talking about those who hide their personal identities — especially real name. It is optional to display about the blog author information. Few days ago, Harry Sufehmi mentioned about his finding on google.co.id search using his name as the keyword. And he — when I write this entry — is on the top position.
It is interesting. Weblog can put nobody into somebody (on the internet). And I am sure that many bloggers had tried their luck to find their position on search engines. Here are some blog entries mentioning about their findings: