About Me

I'm a coder, based in Massachusetts. I like WordPress and JavaScript. I also write about books that interest me.

Better WordPress Security by Bit51

For almost two years I’ve been relying on the G5 firewall from Perishable Press, but I’ve come to believe an .htaccess blacklist is simply not enough. Part of the problem is security flaws inherent in the default WordPress installation, such as:

An admin user named ‘Admin’ table prefix is wp_ revealing header information users can choose a non-secure password

Better WordPress Security can change the username Admin to something else.…

Responsive Comment Forms

After you make the front page of your theme responsive (see my previous post), you need to check the other templates. And one area that might break your theme, and resists the simple CSS-media-queries method, is the comments form, typically loaded on the single post template. That’s because forms tend to have fixed widths, and whats more, the width is defined with inline HTML, or at least its defined that way by default in the WordPress comments template.…

John Howe's WYRIWYG

John Howe, Content Writer

I re-designed John Howe’s personal site for him.  He was planning a move to Florida when he contacted me, wanting a re-design of his old static website, and conversion to WordPress. He also wanted a ‘Florida’ look and feel, so this is what we came up with. It uses the border-image property to give smooth shaded and rounded borders, and it loads a handwritten font.

We discussed his domain—wyriwyg.com,…

Minimalist starter themes for WordPress

My two favorite starter themes for Wordpress are Toolbox and Handcrafted WP. I wrote this post to say why you might want a starter theme, even though you don't always need one. These two themes are my favorites because they are the simplest HTML5 themes I've found.

putting a loop in your sidebar

The simplest way to put a loop in your sidebar is with Justin Tadlock’s sweet plugin Query Posts. This lets you use the query_posts function, with all of its options, in a widget.

However sometimes you might need a loop that does something unusual. I had a client who has a category of posts with natural history photos from near his home. He wanted an image to pop up, randomly selected, from the category.…

Does your slider make the text flicker?

I see this on lots of sites. Flexslider causes it. Every time the slider moves, text on some other part of the page flickers—on Safari. As far as I know, this is a Safari-only issue. The solution, fortunately, is a little CSS:


Just put this on whatever is flickering. It also fixes the annoying lines that grow around the ‘navigation spots’ in Safari.…

Responsive web design: a list of methods

Responsive web design was the biggest web design buzz-phrase of 2012, and I’ve spent much of my summer working on the best, and fastest, ways to make a site responsive.  What I found worked best was all based on three ideas:

breakpoints in the stylesheet device-specific conditional PHP high resolution, or resolution independent graphics for retina screens

The breakpoints are the simplest. You can make a pretty good responsive site with just CSS breakpoints.  …

website testing

To build websites you need an assortment of testing platforms.. a smartphone, a tablet, and preferably more than one size computer monitor. I’m a mac person, so most of my testing is on apple gear. I use a PC set up in Parallels, a virtual machine, on my mac for testing on PC browsers.

I have:

a 1680 x 1050 display on my primary working machine Windows 7 running on Parallels, on the primary machine a 1366 x 768 laptop an iPad — version 3 an iPhone 3

On my computers I have a selection of browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari on the mac, and IE, Firefox and Chrome on the PC.  …

Equity Trust's website

Equity Trust: a theme for a non-profit organization

This theme for a non-profit organization website was a long time coming to life.  The org is Equity Trust, based in Amherst, MA. I built the theme, and the owner Jim Oldham wrote the content, and then I added lots of improvements to the information architecture.  Jim is the executive director of an ambitious New England non-profit organization that advocates sustainable land ownership.  He spent almost a year writing the pages and organizing the architecture before it was all pushed live. …

Steve Mumford’s Baghdad Journal

This is my brother Steve’s book, published in 2005. I still think its a stunning achievement. Why my brother felt a need to go to Iraq during wartime and draw pictures I can’t understand, but nevertheless he was called to this project, studied Arabic, grew a mustache, and went off armed with pen and paper and watercolors. That’s commitment.

Of course I’m biased but I think these drawings are very strong.…