Website Template Fixed – Now looks good in all browsers!

Firefox Internet Explorer Chrome and Safari
Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari

Remember when I said there was a problem with my template layout that caused it to display funny in every browser except Firefox? Well I finally got around to fixing it and thought I’d share the solution with you all. I figured it might be helpful to someone.

Why The Difference?

The different browsers display things slightly different sometimes because they use different “kits” (or rather — rendering engines)
to parse the HTML/CSS/JavaScript and convert all that code into the page you see (I’m trying to keep this in layman’s terms as much as possible).

Who Uses What?

Firefox uses Gecko
Chrome and Safari use Webkit
Internet Explorer uses Trident
Opera uses Presto

What To Do?

For code you only want used by Webkit (Safari & Chrome):
follow the guide here — http://css-tricks.com/how-to-create-an-ie-only-stylesheet/

For code you only want used by Trident (Internet Explorer):
follow the guide here — http://www.evotech.net/blog/2008/09/css-hack-for-google-chrome-and-safari-31/

Response to Reader Question: How to Archive Facebook Chats

Pidgin and Facebook Chat
Howto: Add Your Facebook Friends to Pidgin (via The Linuxologist)

One of my readers (and friends) asked:

“Is there a way to retrieve your facebook chats somewhere on your computer?”

While I personally do not use the Facebook chat (or any chat, seriously. I just don’t have time), I don’t get questions from my readers very often so I thought I’d look into it.

Here is what I’ve found…

The Basics

Facebook chat — as it is when you are logged in to Facebook.com — is nothing more than an HTML/AJAX “chat”… I’m trying to keep this in as plain of terms as possible for the sake of time and to save you the headache of technical details (I assume if you could understand the technical stuff, you probably already know how it works ).

So basically the chat functions as part of the Facebook website and is maintained between your browser and the Facebook server. This means there is no external “Chat” or “IM” client to manage it.

What You Can’t Do

Facebook does not currently provide an Archiving feature for its website-contained chat. This means if you want to archive your chats you are basically out of luck. All you could really do at this point is manually copy/paste your chats into a text file for archiving — this is the manual way, very nasty!

What You Can Do

Facebook does provide access to the “Facebook Chat” outside of their actual website. However, they do not offer an official “Facebook Chat” Client/IM. The good news is there are free chat/IM clients out there for all operating systems and you can use Facebook Chat (through one of these clients) to chat with your Facebook friends outside of the actual Facebook website (and without a browser at that).

Assuming you choose a chat/IM client that allows archiving, you should be able to chat with your Facebook friends and automatically archive the chats through the client.

So HOW Do You Do It?

First, check out this page and look at the supported chat clients. Pidgin is cross-platform (you can use it on Windows/Mac/Linux) and is the one I would choose, but you do as you like. Pidgin allows archiving and also has plugins that allow you more control over the settings (for advanced users).

Once you have Pidgin (or whatever chat/IM client you chose), you need to setup the client to work with Facebook Chat. Each client is a little different, but here is a quick guide to setting it up with Pidgin.

Next you will need to turn on the archiving/logging features and adjust the settings. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Here’s a quick guide for doing that in Pidgin also.

Conclusion

While you can’t easily archive Facebook Chat from within the browser/website, you can use an external client for that purpose. It is fairly painless and if archiving your chats is important to you, this is your best option for now.

If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to help out as best I can.

Links (same as above, just verbose)

http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=297991732130

http://www.facebook.com/sitetour/chat.php

http://www.pidgin.im/

http://www.bukisa.com/articles/331046_facebook-chat-a-complete-tutorial

http://www.ehow.com/how_5858426_archive-pidgin-instant-messenger.html

Old Template Plus New WordPress Equals Problems

oops! my theme must be broken
oops! I guess my theme is broken! 😉

I spent a lot of time looking into the problem I was having with the SFC plugin and after all the searching and digging I’ve come to the conclusion that my problem is most likely my Template.

The problem (as far as I can tell at this point) is that I made this template way back when I was using WordPress 2.1 and there have been many significant changes to WordPress since then and especially with the latest version (3.0).

So in the next few days I’m going to have to either make a whole new template or do some serious revisions to this one. Please be patient with me during this time, hopefully it will be a fairly painless process. I will post updates as time allows to let you know how it goes.

If I discover anything significant along the way I’ll be sure to post it here. Maybe a tutorial is in order? 🙂

Integrating WordPress with Facebook

Facebook and WordPress
Facebook and WordPress (image from: www.serifgroup.com)

I find that I am on Facebook a fair amount during the day and since I have friends and family who may be interested in reading my blog and perhaps sharing an article or two here and there, I thought it might be worthwhile to integrate my site with Facebook.

I looked into the Facebook Docs to see what kind of options they had. It looked simple enough, but I thought it might be even more simple, so I checked for existing plugins for WordPress that might simplify things even further!

There are a lot of plugins to sort through, but the one that seemed to stand out the most was: Simple Facebook Connect by Otto. (Note: he also has a nice one for Twitter from what I’ve seen).
I installed the plugin (requires WordPress 2.9.1 or newer) and then activated it. When you go to activate the plugin you will see several (more than a few) plugins starting with SFC. Start by activating SFC Base. After activating the base plugin there will be a redbox at the top of the Dashboard telling you some configuration is needed and it provides a link to the settings page. Click it and you will see you need to do some minor work on Facebook to get it working right.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m going to refer you to Otto’s page that explains some of the steps you’ll need to take to get it configured properly. There have been a few minor changes to things since he posted that, but it is close enough to not bother mentioning the differences.

After getting that setup, go back to the plugins page and enable the other SFC plugins you want to use. Right now I’m only using the SFC Like plugin (which you can setup to show a “like” or “recommend” link at the top, bottom, or top and bottom, (or if you’re really brave you can do manual and put it in your template wherever you want) of your post.

I think I still need to activate my “Application” on Facebook, but I’m going to test it out with this first and see how it goes.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments. Most people who read don’t comment, but I know you read anyway. 🙂

**UPDATE**

I forgot to grant permissions to the plugin on the Simple Facebook Connect Settings page. I tried to grant the permissions before I fooled around with the settings on the Application page on Facebook and it didn’t do anything so I assumed it was already granted. I had a friend test out the “Like” button and it didn’t work so I had to find the problem. I think that should take care of it now.

**UPDATE 2**

OK, it’s just plain broken. The only thing that works right now is the Base plugin and the Publish Plugin. I have deactivated the rest and will take a closer look at it tomorrow. If you have a tip for me on getting it to work, please let me know!

Website Alignment Issues

Firebug
Firebug Extension for Firefox

It has come to my attention that my template’s alignment is not quite right when displayed in certain browsers. Anything but Firefox to be specific.

I will take a look at the CSS and HTML and try to find the problem when I can get to a proper computer (I’m on my iPhone right now). In the meantime I thought this might be a good time to mention a handy tool for anyone who is interested in web design/development. Perhaps you have heard of it before, but perhaps not. (it’s also another great reason to use Firefox as your primary browser).

Firefox has an awesome addon called “Firebug” which allows you to do a lot of amazing things when testing, modifying, creating, and etc. I will try to devote a proper post to it at a later time. Unfortunately right now my son is throwing a fit and I must tend to him.

So if you are viewing my site in IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or anything other than Firefox, please be patient, I will fix the display bug as soon as possible. In the mean time check out Firefox and the firebug addon!