A NASFA Experience

Although I finally came down with what my wife had last week I still managed to put myself together for the Fall NAFSA luncheon that was held today at a nice Indian food restaurant. I really wish I could say more about the food but in all honesty it tasted pretty bland to me because my taste buds have stopped working because of my cold. Overall though it was a great decision to go since I was officially announced as the new Web Admin for the NAFSA Region XII Hi/Pacific District. I think getting my name out there is key in my job search. In all honesty this wasn’t an “if I do this it’ll look great on my resume” decision or one I thought up simply last minute. I had decided to do this way back in April, as I was not getting anywhere with my job search in higher ed, and yet I still wanted to be involved so that I wasn’t “left out.” Also having strong technical skills didn’t hurt either but it’s not a problem either. It was nice having someone say that they were happy  I was on the team so they had someone who wanted the position and had the skills to do it well as opposed to someone who simply accepted it cause it needed filled. I always enjoy self-esteem boosters.

Sadly I wont be able to attend the bi-regional convention next week. As much as I would love to go I can’t get the funds together. And it’s not like I’m presenting either.  I hope to put a presentation together for next April’s local conference though. I’m going to be very active in trying to create a good web presence for our district I think. I may put together a district Facebook page and a twitter hashtag, maybe something like #nafsaHI I don’t know. Plenty of time to decide it all.

I know now that, especially trying to work in private sector, that higher ed is where I want to work. It’s the environment and people that make it feel like a thriving my place. I also see that while student affairs is a kick ass place I still want to focus on international education. 5 years, 10 years, 20 years I see that as where I want to be.

Reevaluation

I sat back and honestly took a look at my life and realized that the one thing that was supposed to be doing the most for me, this website, was in fact doing the exact opposite.  I saw that the website didn’t represent  now, nor even a goal me, but rather a me I thought I could sell in a career path I didn’t want but rather as money was tight, needed.

I’m a fool. I’ll be first to admit it.

I figured that selling myself as a consultant at all would be good for me but I see now that I was wrong. So I’m rehearing the blog to be about me, my research, my hobbies, and random things. Writing all about code and web design may work for some but not me. I may point now and then. But not fully. There’s little point for me to be doing that.

Furthermore, I’ve really fallen off the wagon with this blog. I keep intending to post things but then I get distracted. I’m going to focus better and get this blog fully active with great articles too.

Also with a little change. I’ve switched from the client machine theme to the yoko theme as the parent theme for my site to build off a child theme.  I hope to add a little more customization in the near future but I felt I needed the change to get things started.

Look forward to some interesting topics in the near future!

DC Digital Deluxe

I decided that with the new relaunch of the DC Universe it was a good  time to get back into the world of comic collecting.  Though I will definitely be taking it slow at first, I don’t want to get back into my $50/week habit (that was bad). But getting back in I picked up some of the Flashpoint tie-ins and most importantly, Justice League #1. What surprised me most was it was the digital deluxe edition. Not quite sure what that meant I figured it out to be that it was a print edition with a code to get the digital edition for free. Much like how DVDs and Blu-Rays have a digital copy. In all honesty it’s actually an excellent strategy to not only keep the print market alive but also boost the digital comic market.

I was really impressed with how Justice League turned out. The superheroes are real vigilantes again who are seen as opponents of the regular police forces as opposed to supplanting them. I’m looking forward to the rest of this month comic wise and see where things go.  I am worried though about what will happen to characters I used to follow. Whether they stay relatively the same or get a ret-con.

It feels fresh again and I’m thinking that this will be a fun adventure to ride.

Customizing the WordPress 3.2 Admin Dashboard

Working on websites for companies has really made me think a lot about customization. For many client that extends beyond what their users see but also their own backend.

With the release of WordPress 3.2 came a newly designed backed. To me this is bar far one of the best things about this new release (it was even the reason why I started running this site on the release candidate) . This newly designed dashboard though comes with a simplified code as well making customizing it a lot easier. I’be found two very useful customization options already; changing the admin logo as well as the active menu section arrow.

WP Beginner had put out a great tutorial for changing the admin logo and from that I was able to include the changes to the menu.

The original tutorial still works but in WordPress 3.2 the logo was shifted over and shrunk done to 16×16. So if you followed the original tutorial to the letter your logo has now been badly cropped.

Here is the code that you put in your WordPress theme’s functions.php file

[code]

//hook the administrative header output
add_action(‘admin_head’, ‘my_custom_admin_style’);

function my_custom_admin_style() {
echo ‘
<style type="text/css">
#header-logo { background-image: url(‘.get_bloginfo(‘template_directory’).’/images/custom-logo.gif) !important; }

#adminmenu li.wp-has-current-submenu a.wp-has-current-submenu, #adminmenu li.current a.menu-top, #adminmenu .wp-has-current-submenu .wp-submenu .wp-submenu-head {
border-bottom-color: #851212;
border-top-color: #F42D2D;}
#adminmenu li.wp-has-current-submenu a.wp-has-current-submenu,#adminmenu li.current a.menu-top,.folded #adminmenu li.wp-has-current-submenu,.folded #adminmenu li.current.menu-top,#adminmenu .wp-menu-arrow,#adminmenu .wp-has-current-submenu .wp-submenu .wp-submenu-head{
background-image:-ms-linear-gradient(bottom,#851212,#F42D2D);
background-image:-moz-linear-gradient(bottom,#851212,#F42D2D);
background-image:-o-linear-gradient(bottom,#851212,#F42D2D);
background-image:-webkit-gradient(linear,left bottom,left top,from(#851212),to(#F42D2D));
background-image:-webkit-linear-gradient(bottom,#851212,#F42D2D);
background-image:linear-gradient(bottom,#851212,#F42D2D);}

#adminmenu a {color:#F42D2D; }
</style>
‘;
}

[/code]

So really all you need is a new 16×16 image instead of the 30×31 size image WP Beginner says to use. Really nice way to customize the feel of your admin screen.

Next is the menu color.Admin Menu Color

The image to the right is a good example of how the colors can be changed. Just like the icon changing the color of the selected menu section gives a nice personalized aspect to the dashboard. Along with the above code is  changing the link color to match the new menu color.  It can be customized further.

Also if you prefer you can use an image as the background instead of the gradient.

[code]
#adminmenu li.wp-has-current-submenu a.wp-has-current-submenu,#adminmenu li.current a.menu-top,.folded #adminmenu li.wp-has-current-submenu,.folded #adminmenu li.current.menu-top,#adminmenu .wp-menu-arrow,#adminmenu .wp-has-current-submenu .wp-submenu .wp-submenu-head{
background-image:url(your-image-location);
}
[/code]

I suggest using an absolute url path from http to prevent a fail to load occur.

Other stylings are possible with the right CSS but unless you know what you’re doing you don’t want to go overboard with the styling

Google+

Google+ is the Facebook killer!

Ok, not really but unlike Friendster or MySpace I foresee Google+ being a strong rival. I was lucky and got an invite to the new service before they closed down the invites. I am impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Certainly not where Facebook is now but I think that’s part of what I like.  It’s very clean not cluttered at all.  It gives me a feeling of a mix of Facebook and Twitter with a dash of Tumblr.

In Google+ your connections are grouped into what they call Circles. It comes with Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following but it allows for custom circles to be created. It feels much smoother organizing people than grouping people in Facebook which is handy keeping people organized as well as making sure that posts you want to go to people do and the reverse.

The stream is pretty well organized as well. It’s still pretty slow at the moment because of the low volume so it’s hard to compare it to Facebook or Twitter.

What I think is very wise on Google’s part is that they are integrating the Google+ style throughout all the google sites from their including the main search site , calendar, and gmail.

I hope to come back and give a more throughout review once I’ve checked it more out.  There are a number of posts of Google+ out there but there are some issues such as the community size and the lack of a business solution (though it is coming!) that make anything I say now still not clear enough in my opinion.