The Golden Road

It’s a beautiful frosty morning so I couldn’t resist the urge to take a couple of shots of this driveway up to Blarney Castle. You may even recognise it from the WordPress theme Twenty Ten.

Aperture ƒ/11
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 88mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/25s

Monotone: WordPress Photoblog Theme

Monotone is a pretty cool photoblog theme for WordPress that’s been around for a few months now. Unfortunately it was only available on, and through the Automattic Subversion repository as reported by Jeff on Weblog Tools Collection.

Noel Jackson, the author of the theme, recently revealed that Monotone is now available as a .zip download on the Monotone demo page above. Now it’s easier for self hosted WordPress blogs to try it!

What’s so great about Monotone? It displays a large image in each post like Pixelpost and other photoblog themes, but it does it in a neat way. WordPress allows the blog author to upload and attach images to their posts. It’s then up to the author to insert the image into the post and tidy up the html. Monotone takes this one step further. There’s no need to insert the image into the post at all. The theme takes the first attachment and displays it at the top of the post, with the post content below.

I’d love to use it, but unfortunately I have several years worth of posts that would need to be modified because I used Flickr to host my images until recently. Then I used my own site, but inserted the right html into each post, so they’d all have to be modified unless I hacked the theme to ignore old posts.

RSS feeds display the image too, although I discovered that the feed for the demo site includes some huge images. Probably just an oversight when Noel was uploading images.

Judging by Noel’s comment here, it probably isn’t completely straight forward to install. You probably need the GD library and a hefty server with enough RAM to load and manipulate your images. Anyone tried it? Use my theme tester plugin if you want to test it on your blog without upsetting your visitors!

Beat my WordPress cache

If I may be so bold as to break from the regular programming of photography stuff here, you may know I’m also a developer and heading up development of WordPress MU. Yes, I wear lots of hats.

Yesterday I released a new WordPress plugin called, WP Super Cache. It’s pretty super as it’s name implies and should protect WordPress sites from large spikes in traffic. I need your help to test that out.

You may be familiar with a site called, if you have an account there, please digg my plugin. It’s only going to take another couple of diggs to get it on to the front page of the site, but it has to get there within the next few hours. If it does, that will quite possibly cause a huge spike in traffic to that post, and with any luck the server my blog is on won’t keel over and die. Don’t worry, is on a different machine. :)

Update – it’s one the front page of! Thanks everyone who voted for it! Apparently this is a light digging though, and my server barely notices the extra requests.

Ooops, someone noticed the Technorati rank

Justin added this site to his Technorati list of Irish blogs and was a little shocked at what he saw. Damien noticed too :)

Actually, I don’t get many hits from blogs despite the inflated numbers on that list. It seems nobody is curious to know who that “Donncha” chap is. In the latest release of WordPress, all those links were replaced by links to the Codex and other WordPress related sites.

Live from WordCamp 2007

Here we are once again, blogging live from WordCamp 2007 in San Francisco. There’s Matt setting up the projector screen, Barry sorting through some notes and Michael Adams in the baseball cap. Check out my WordCamp 2007 set on Flickr for more photos from the weekend.

Shot handheld at ISO 800 in low light.

Most popular photos of June 2007

The most popular photos of June 2007

  1. The Lady’s Red Boots was unsurprisingly the most popular of the photos I posted in June. I guess the combination of red boots and grey and dull background grabbed a lot of attention!
  2. Orange stripes and white clouds. I love leading lines, I love clouds. It was a beautiful day at the Conor Pass in Co. Kerry when I took this!
  3. Children at play was one shot I really enjoyed working on. Bright blue sky, vibrant colours. Yummy!

Most prolific commentators

  1. Josef who was using WordPress, but switched to Pixelpost recently. I won’t hold that against him as he has some nice photos!
  2. Gamma Goblin left a few comments on my blog this month. He bought some external drives just like I did!
  3. White intermezzo left a few comments on my flickr stream. Go take a look at her gorgeous photos of Singapore. Beautiful stuff!

Posts with most Comments this month

  1. Love Messages.
  2. Children at play.
  3. The Thieving Duck tied with Orange stripes and white clouds for 3rd place.

If you’re interested, the following SQL will give you the top commenters on your own WordPress blog:

SELECT comment_author, comment_author_url, count( * ) AS c FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_date > date_sub( NOW( ) , INTERVAL 1 MONTH ) GROUP BY comment_author ORDER BY c DESC

And this chunk of code will give you the posts with the most comments made in the past month:

SELECT comment_post_ID , post_name, count( * ) as c FROM wp_comments, wp_posts WHERE wp_comments.comment_post_ID = wp_posts.ID AND comment_date > date_sub( NOW( ) , INTERVAL 1 MONTH ) GROUP BY comment_post_ID ORDER BY `c` DESC

Credit’s due when it’s due

I have just installed the hotlink builder plugin for WordPress. It provides a basic level of protection for the images on your blog from leechers visitors who come via Google and MSN looking for images. At least some of them are going to right-click on an image to use it in their own blogs, sites or myspace pages. This plugin displays a chunk of code they can copy and paste into their template or post to display the image. That code has a link to your blog which is much better than someone simply stealing your image and not giving credit.

It’s not perfect, but you can see it in action here. Right click on the image of the spire and James Joyce. A red bordered box will appear above it. Unfortunately if you right click on other images the box still appears in the exact same space which could be off-screen. I must try making it a popup div instead.

I also installed the small but useful break out of frames plugin. It simply breaks your blog out of foreign frames. Google Images is probably the worst offender of the referrers to this blog so hopefully it’ll encourage people to stay a bit longer here. Both plugins found via seobook.

Later… Some minor fixes required to make it work properly:

  • Line 116 of hotlink-builder.php should be $src .= ' alt="' . get_bloginfo('blogname') . '"'; otherwise it’ll print your blog title before every post.
  • WP-Cache needs to know about the cookie this plugin sets. Open up wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase1.php and add the following code around line 72, in the function wp_cache_get_cookie_values():

    if( $_COOKE[ 'imagesearcher' ] == 'yes' ) $string .= 'searchengine';