Don’t Panic

I’m fiddling with themes today. Things might look different than they usually do, from time to time. No cause for alarm.

48 Comments on “Don’t Panic”

  1. Ack!

    The webpage has changed! Change is BAD! Put it back, put it back!

    /idiotarian mode

    Though I will say that as an aesthetic matter I preferred the previous iteration. Your site, your choice.

  2. I recognize so many WordPress themes these days it frightens me. I spent waaaay too much time theme hunting.

    My current theme I’m not sure if I’m ever letting go of. It’s fairly unique on the web because it came from a company that usually charges $100+ to use their themes, and this was one of the spare free ones (though you could pay $800 so that no one else can ever use it legally. Yeah).

    So I got it, wondered why I hadn’t seen it before except as a screenshot on old archives, and then realized why. The theme was broken in several places.

    Fortunately I can fix HTML and CSS, and added some happy adaptations to the New World of WordPress, and now I have a unique theme. Not the easiest theme in the world to tweak, though, but I have a Photoshop equivalent sitting around and have done it.

    This one is a fairly nice theme. Done by a club of WP designers who release free themes from time to time, but provide a subscription (fairly cheap) to use their premium themes. Small Potato, I think. They do some of the more sensible themes out there.

    Can’t recall if this one is part of their “Seven Sins” series or not. I’ve always kind of wanted Lust.

  3. I was referring to the blue one with tabs on the side that has disappeared. I liked it… but there are a ton of other themes out there. :)

  4. Looks good to me, colorwise, and I like the fact that the Administrivia and sundry are done as a separate tab on the side. Kinda makes you pay attention to it, rather than have it look like it’s a part of the main thread. If you’re asking for critiques, my only complaint would be the comment tab. Took me a second to realize where to go to view comments from the front page. Obviously, I figured it out, and it could be that I’m a bit slow on catching these things. If you’re not asking for critiques. . TEH PAGE LOOKS GR8!!1! U R MAD OF TEH AWESOM!

  5. The “Mac OS X” theme is pretty keen, actually. One of the few really smart themes out there (my theme is only a little bit smart) in that readers can re-order the little widgets in the side, and minimize some of them into little bars. (Unfortunately we can’t move widgets from one column to the other.) Helps me move the “important” stuff up.

    No other theme does that, that I know of.

  6. White theme with the cloth background:

    Too familiar. Way too familiar. I bus the Entrecard sites a lot, and have seen this one across four different blogs.

    It’s not a bad theme. And heck, I may be the only one in your audience who cares. :)

  7. I like the theme at 11:28 EST. I also much prefer the less busy/easier to read widgets–much better than the old boxes that all looked the same to me (and my poor vision).

  8. Whatever the colours, etc., I like the three-column look.

    Right now the image is a farm scape (very nice) and the background is grey hashmarks. Overall, looks really nice, but no comment numbers?

  9. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Chang in Chang in Chang

    It looks the same…

    Only different…

  10. I like the brightness much better than the green/brown.

    But whatever you just did, it took away the numbers on the comments.

  11. I will actually miss the old theme if it doesn’t come back. Especially the font (hint: my website – look).
    Anywhere I can see it?

  12. Patrick:

    Breathe slowly into a paper bag until your heart stops racing. Then empty your browser’s cache and reload the page. Magical fields beyond the ones you know await on the other side.

  13. Categorization. Nice. You gonna go back and categorize the archives? Hehe. Didn’t think so. Could be useful for dealing with the repetitive nature of peoples questions. Reader, where do you get your ideas? Scalzi, search under category ideas.
    Just had a thought. Yesterday you were so busy you had us inventing words. Today you have so much time on your hands you are fiddling with themes.

  14. Yep. No more numbers on the comments. But I do like the farm picture currently going on.

    Remind me of home (which is about 75 miles away, so DUH!)

  15. That would be away from your position, not mine, which is 1000 miles +/-.

  16. For the white farmland theme, the missing numbers are the result of this CSS:

    #main .commentlist li
    {
    list-style:none;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 1em;
    border-bottom:#ddd 1px solid;
    font-size:0.9em;
    }

    In particular “list-style: none;” remove this line (or comment it out like)

    /* list-style: none; */

    And numbers should appear.

  17. I like the farm, nice and white– though a little more contrast on the text might be easier on my eyes.

    Still good theme from where I sit

  18. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Chang in Chang in Chang

    I love how this speaks of “Humble midwestern science fiction writer.”

    Not even a little piece of bacon in it, either.

  19. This theme looks pretty sweet. Combining this one with the picture of Athena at sunset would be a winning combination in my book.

  20. I very much like the farmhouse/white theme. Crisp, clean, evokes a good sense of the Scalzi Family compound.

    Only nitpick: having the comment numbers on their own separate line makes the comments feel too spaced out. If it could be something like…

    35. # Devin L. Ganger on 27 Feb 2008 at 0:00 pm

    …it would be a small change that would help balance the nice use of whitespace.

  21. It could be worse, John could be switching to a theme based on the state of the typical American home inhabited by a small child and cats.

  22. Do you think it’s wrong that I’m hoping for CAT EXTREME EYEBALL CLOSE-UP for the next banner?

    Especially if Zeus is good ‘n stoned in it?

  23. White cloth farmhouse theme, numbers on a separate line.

    Possibly offending CSS:

    #main .commentlist li .cmtinfo
    {
    padding:5px;
    margin-bottom: 5px;
    position:relative;
    }

    It modifies stuff that looks like this:

    —–
    <li id=”comment-19786″ class=”alt”>
    <div class=”cmtinfo”>….
    </div>

    <p> …

    </li>
    —-

    The is, I think, what’s causing the break, in conjunction with the position: relative. Or perhaps only one or the other is causing this.

    I have ideas on how to fix it in the CSS, but I would want to try them out first. Unless you would like to experiment John…

    Try modifying that CSS so it looks like this:

    #main .commentlist li .cmtinfo
    {
    padding:5px;
    margin-bottom: 5px;
    position:relative;
    display: inline; /* new */
    }

    This makes the div not create a newline between itself and everything else above/below.

    If things still look funky, try getting rid of ‘position:relative;’ or commenting it out.

    Otherwise we need to operate on the PHP code the theme is using, and that is not a nice method. :)

  24. YAY! Cloth background is blue!

    And YAY! Fix worked!

    And yah, anything for the Scalzi of Much Wisdom. :)

  25. Wow, this post presented the lovely symmetry when I clicked on it of being entitled “Don’t Panic” and having 42 responses.

    And now I’ve gone and ruined it.

  26. Well, at least the seascape is better than the one with the garish clashing concentric arcs! It is harder to read than yesterday, probably due to smaller and dimmer font.

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