Other Stuff

My blog – a collection of articles and posts not directly related to music news, but most likely interesting (and maybe even entertaining) to someone somewhere – hopefully…

March 5, 2017

New Website for my Sister: Custom WordPress Theme

I’m lucky. I’ve got a very creative artist for a sister! I just created a new website theme for her art gallery, LSJ Studios, to help her easily manage her the online presence for her gallery in downtown Lancaster, PA. Using the power of WordPress’ custom post types, I set it up so she can easily add and edit information about exhibitions and events at the gallery. She can also post her studio class schedule and have students register right on her website.

Web Design
March 3, 2017

Swapping the ALT and TITLE tags in PrettyPhoto Lightbox for better SEO

PrettyPhoto by the folks over at No Margin for Errors has been my go-to lightbox tool for a long time. I use it on most of the WordPress themes I develop. One thing that has always bothered me though, was that I found the placement of the text information in the popup counter-intuitive.

By default PrettyPhoto places whatever value is in the image’s ALT tag as a title across the top of the popup window, and it uses the contents of the link’s TITLE tag as the description under the photo. Now, common SEO practice is to use descriptive text and keywords in all your images ALT tags. In my opinion, PrettyPhoto’s default behavior encourages you to sacrifice your SEO best practices to get information to display correctly in the popup window. So I wanted it to behave differently.

I went looking for a solution and couldn’t find anything online about it specifically. Some folks had posted the same question on a few forums, but I didn’t find any answers. After some more digging on my own, it turns out to be pretty simple to swap the information’s positions. When you initiate PrettyPhoto in jQuery, one of the options is to tell photo the markup you want to use for your popup. I found that I just had to switch a pair of class names in that code, specifically the .ppt and .pp_description classes. Once I did that, the PrettyPhoto script that inserts the information would then behave how I wanted. Continue reading

Geeky Tips
July 26, 2016

New John Fedchock Website: Custom WordPress Theme

John-Fedchock-screenshotI just launched a new website for the great jazz trombonist, John Fedchock. I built him a custom WordPress theme with a fresh, responsive layout that he can easily maintain through the WordPress interface. He’s included lots of information about his bands, links to his arranging and producing work, and photos and bios for download.

He’s using my MF Gig Calendar plugin for his calendar – populated with content that I imported from his previous website.

Web Design
March 25, 2015

House Concert in Munich

Big fun on a big Steinway at a house concert in Munich, Germany. What was a free night in my schedule on my tour with Curtis Stigers turned into a wonderful way to bring together friends for an intimate concert of solo-piano music and some great conversation. Thanks for the party!

House Concert in Munich

Posing with Cliff, the House Concert Host House Concert in Munich

Music News, On Tour
March 21, 2014

Improving Accessibility in MF Gig Calendar

Jean-Yves Poupin: BrevesJean-Yves Poupin is a Swiss jazz pianist and is now using my MF Gig Calendar plugin for WordPress. He also happens to be blind. I’ve been in contact with his web developer and now I find myself working with him to make the plugin more accessible for his screen reader. It currently works for him with a few hacks, but could be easier for him.

So – look for improvements in accessibility in upcoming versions of my plugin.

This is a really turning into an interesting and exciting side project for me! Check out Jean-Yves’ music here: http://poupin.ch

MF Gig Calendar
March 2, 2014

Gerber-Seid Fine Art: New Custom WordPress Theme

Gerber-Seid Fine Art WebsiteJust launched is a custom WordPress theme I did for art consultant Leslie Gerber-Seid. The front-end design is intentionally very minimal to showcase the art, but hidden beneath is a bunch of custom post-types – art, artists & collections – all linked and working together to control the content. A few useful plugins made the work easier:

It’s incredibly easy to update and leverages WordPress’ built-in image resizing capabilities. It’s the geeky bits that get me really excited and and in this case I have to say, “I love it when a plan comes together…” Continue reading

Web Design
August 31, 2013

New Brooklyn Legal Services WordPress Website

Brooklyn Legal Services websiteI just launched a new custom WordPress theme website for Brooklyn Legal Services. They are a not-for-profit group of lawyers who have provided high-quality, neighborhood based civil legal services to low-income individuals, families, community groups, and nonprofit organizations in Brooklyn for over forty-four years. In short, they are awesome and I’m really proud to be working with them on their new website!

They are using my MF Gig Calendar plugin for their online events calendar, plus I created a custom featured-content slider for their homepage. Continue reading

Web Design
July 19, 2013

Using MF Gig Calendar with MailChimp

I’m a big fan of MailChimp and here’s yet another reason: their RSS importer for email campaigns is really great. I’ve connected that tool to the MF Gig Calendar RSS feed and have been automatically including upcoming events in emails I send out. I thought I’d put up a quick tutorial on how I did it. Nothing fancy – I’m no monkey-guru – but it works for me.

It’s really easy to get the basic content included – just a few steps… Continue reading

MF Gig Calendar
July 17, 2013

New Shortcode Control Added in Version 0.9.9.2

Version 0.9.9.2 of MF Gig Calendar is now available. The current version fixes a silly mistake I included in the previous version (thanks to Chris Meijer for catching that so quickly!). While I was tinkering I also enhanced the shortcode variables for customizing a list of events. I’ve also reworked the documentation just a bit to (hopefully) make it a little clearer to understand. Continue reading

MF Gig Calendar
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