Archive for March, 2009

Brazen; A versatile WordPress theme for the veteran-blogger as well as any beginner.

March 30th, 2009 No comments

A sleek, ready to use WordPress theme created with you in mind.


First off, I’d just like to introduce myself. My name is Spencer, and I am the lead developer here at Function. I’m the guy that takes Liam’s awesome designs, and turns them into working sites.

Liam had this design laying around, and I knew I couldn’t let it go to waste. So, I’ve spent the last week or so, coding and perfecting this theme. The theme is great right out of the box, ready to be used by anyone or very easily customized.

Theme Description

A light theme, with a nice contrasting background, this design is sure to help present any amount of content. A unique sideblog area allows you to easily post small updates, or “micro-blogs.”

Theme Details

Custom Admin Panel


In an effort to make this theme more user friendly, a custom backend has been implemented straight into WordPress! This will allow you to change things like the header color, tracking codes, ad space, Sideblog options, and other features!

Multiple Color Themes


In the previously mentioned custom admin panel, you can choose between a green (default), blue, or red header color. All the colors work great with each other, and provide just another thing to make your website even more unique.

Custom Write Panel


This theme features subtitles, as well as post images. Normally, you would need to go through messy custom fields to add these extra features, but with a custom admin panel its super easy! Add the information just like you add the title of the post. You can learn all about it in the very detailed README included.

Categories: Others Tags:

Plugin Review: cSprites for WordPress

March 30th, 2009 No comments
What is cSprites for WordPress?

cSprites for WordPress plugin helps speed up your blog by reducing the number of requests made for images. When activated all images within a post will automatically be stitched up and displayed properly as compressed CSS sprites.


Before activating, all images within a post are being retrieved using separate requests.

After activating, all images are stitched together into one compressed image and retrieved using only one request.
The plugin then uses CSS magic to display these image sprites properly within the post.

  • Quality and style settings let you specify the compression level for the stitched up image sprite.
  • Ability to include/exclude certain types.
  • Cache expiration tuning.
  • SEO Options for SEO nerds.
What I Like About It

cSprites for WordPress was written to do one thing (convert all post images into compressed image sprites to speed up your blog) and it does it very well.

Installation was very easy. Just download it, activate it, and all your post images automatically turn into images sprites.

Just because you use image sprites doesn’t mean that you should lose SEO. I like that this plugin does not ignore SEO and there are SEO options for displaying any ALT or TITLE text you want.

Next, this plugin supports caching image sprites, so it automatically includes external images into image sprites for you. Because of this, you are also saving external domain DNS resolutions to help make each page load even faster.

What I like most about this plugin is that it can be used in conjunction with WP Super Cache. In that scenario WP Super Cache helps you avoid PHP execution/MySQL queries, and cSprites for WordPress helps you reduce strain on your web server and improve front end page load time.

Possible Areas of Improvement

As of version 0.508, here are some drawbacks of this plugin:

  • PHP5 with GD Library is required for this plugin.
  • cSprites will not distinguish between PNG8 and PNG24 and will always sprite PNG images with PNG24.
  • cSprites cannot handle dynamically generated images (e.g. “…thumbnail.php?thumb=”)
  • When upgrading via SVN, “svn up” command gives “svn: Unable to lock ‘cache’”. I have to remove the cache directory, run “svn cleanup”, then “svn up” to upgrade via SVN.
  • You cannot use padding when displaying images or else it will show part of another image. It would be nice to be able to generate the image sprite with configurable padding so you can use padding when displaying images.
Final Words

If you can take advantage of this plugin (i.e. your host offers PHP5 with GD Library), then it is definitely worth a quick install.

Are you currently using cSprites for WordPress? Are you happy with the performance improvements? How much load time has this plugin saved you? What additions would you like to see in this plugin?

Categories: Others, Programming Tags: ,

Themes: Hallmark A Joomla Theme Now On ThemeForest

March 30th, 2009 No comments

Joomla: only better with the new Hallmark theme from function


That’s right, we’ve worked on a Joomla Theme. Although we love WordPress we realize it’s not everybodies’ first choice of CMS. So we felt it was only fair to make something just as pretty as our WordPress themes for the Joomla people.

The result, Hallmark, a premium Joomla theme ideal for running news/magazine sites – or your own personal blog. We’ve even included a custom styled comments system, something which is optional but really is pretty and can help add that extra bit of interactivity to your website.

Theme Description

The focus here was on clean simple slick lines, and soft gradient effects and lighting, while maintaining a very open and light feel to the theme allowing a lot of content to be visible on the front page, without making it look too busy. We’ve done a lot of customizing with Joomla to maximize it’s abilities. And feel there is now plenty more to offer which most Joomla themes don’t include.

Theme Details


The first thing that you notice is a blog like layout at the top, which makes this ideal for the blogger who chooses to use Joomla. As we scroll down we can see there is more of a Magazine style layout with a lot of content that is easily accessible. We’ve also made the pagination look pretty with the next and previous pages with the page count looking very clean.



One of the areas I think most Joomla themes are lacking is with interactivity and comment. We’ve custom styled a popular Joomla comments plugin, which comes with the Theme which you can use to transform the comments area into something a lot prettier and easier to use.

Categories: Others, Programming Tags:

Why I love the Design Community: My Guest Post

March 30th, 2009 No comments

I run down 8 top points that make the design community a great place

Ahh yes, the Design Community. I love it! This is the topic of a recent guest post I wrote over at MyInkBlog. Below is an extract from the article, but you can read the full the article here. Please leave your feedback and comments on the actual post rather than here.

Why I love the Design Community & Industry

Choosing what career path you wish to take is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life. And people take a lot of things into consideration when choosing their job, but did you ever stop and think about what the community around your job choice might be like, and how that could effect your choice.

Without doubt the Design community is one of the most unique industries to be a part of, what other profession would you see professionals going out of their way to make a tutorial of how to do something and make it public for all of their “competitors” to read and learn from. It’s a strange logic, but one that makes sense and ultimately creates a community and industry that is always moving forward and evolving together.

I’ve put together a list of my top 10 reasons why the design community is such an amazing and diverse place, and why I love being a part of it.  *The links & examples I give are only there to support my points, and are not the main focus of the article.

01. Freebies


A word which a lot of people love to hear, it is something which you find a lot of in the design community. Giving something away for free to other designers to help them improve their own work and profession is rare in many other jobs. But in the design community designers love creating things for other designers and giving top quality products away for free.

Here are some of my top Freebie Picks:

Silk Icons

Function Icon Set (128 Free Icons)

Agregado: A Free WordPress Theme

30 Sites to Download Free Stock and Royalty Free Images

Tutorial9: Dirty Spray Brushes

02. Sharing Information & Knowledge


The design community is very geared towards making the industry and community better, this explains why it’s very easy to find yourself getting involved in the design community, and start learning some tricks of the trade in all aspects of the industry. There’s tutorials on all sorts, everything from finding clients & managing your work to creating big elaborate graphic design pieces and tutorials going into great detail on all aspects of web design & development. Being part of a community that is so willing to share tips tricks and information is quite a privilege, and while the information is out there it would be silly not to take advantage of it, there is always something you can pick up from any tutorial (even if the end result isn’t always mind-blowing)

Great examples to show what I mean:





Photoshop Star

All of these not only have a great focus on tutorial and education, but there is also a great community around them, providing feedback and allowing other people to share further tips and techniques. So for me, tutorial sites are quite an important part of the design community.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Function Premium Icon Set: A Set of 148 Great New Icons & GraphicRiver Giveaway

March 30th, 2009 No comments

Our new icon set is now available and we are giving away 10 sets free

We’ve been working hard to create these beautiful icons exclusively for Graphic River. They are a great addition if you already have our free icon set, they are done in a similar style and could be used together. The new icons are a lot more refined and clean, with a lot more new icons that may have been missing from the first set. Check them out and let us know what you think.

We’re also quite excited to announce that the latest marketplace from the wonderful Envato team is now up and running. It’s called Graphic River, and it is where we have put out latest icon set up for sale. Also, if you have a read through this post you will see that they will be giving away 10 free copies of our icon set… scroll down for details.

View The Complete Set



Icon Set Details

There are 148 icons in total, and they are ideal for use in your website, blog or application. We’ve seen or last set used in everything from top 25 iPhone applications, to web blogs and some really neat websites. We hope that this new set will be just as successful and useful to all of you out there.

Download Function Premium Icon Set | .zip Format | 2.5mb | 48×48px Icons

Win 1 of 10 Free Copies of the Icon Set

As part of their launch Graphic River have agreed to allow us to give away 10 free copies of the icon set. They launched their new marketplace today, and I really suggest you check it out. The Graphic River website allows you to buy & sell all sorts of graphic resourecs. Everything from icons and Vector illustrations, to Brushes and Shapes for various softwares.

How to Win a copy?

1. Sign up to Graphic River, if you haven’t already.
2. Leave a Comment Here telling us what you would use the icons for.
3. With your comment include your Graphic River username.
4. Make sure you fill out your email address on the comment form, so we can contact you if you win.

Winners will be chosen & announced on March 2nd. The winners are the people we judge to have some good solutions for how to use their icon set.

Good luck to everyone, we hope you all enjoy the new icon set. Leave us some feedback and let us know what you think, and possibly give us some ideas for a few set. I think the next set will be free so it would be great for us to see what icons everyone would like to see.

Written by liam on February 24, 2009

Categories: Designing, Webmasters Resources Tags:

Icon Set Giveaway Results & Some Graphic River News

March 30th, 2009 No comments



Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the icons, and ideas for future sets. We’re very happy with how things went. Right now we have the Highest Rated, and the Most Downloaded icon set on Graphic River, and the 3rd most popular file overall.

We chose the 10 winners based upon their uses for the icons, and I hope that the icons can make an impact on the designs that all of the winners use them in.

The Winners


We’re really happy that so many people took the time to give us some feedback, and here are the list of the lucky 10 winners:

01. DVQ / cosmokramer
02. Nick C
03. John / johnyboy
04. Cody / cosm44
05. Jordan / Cupcakes
06. BrandRob
07. Dan Cameron / sproutventure
08. boxcarracer
09. iPad
10. Design Studio 51 /  ToddyBoy

Some other Amazing Files to Check Out!

While I’m really happy with how well my icon set is doing on Graphic River, I’ve been really impressed with a lot of the items for sale on the site. So here’s a round up of a few of my favorite items currently available for download on Graphic River.

Commerce Theme Vector Icon Set

Very useful icons with a great style to them too.


Circularity – Circular Icons

A really nice icon set which I think has a really nice finish to it.


Colorful Abstract Circles

Very well made and beautiful looking abstract.


Graffiti Grunge Painting

Lovely work here, this pack could have a lot of uses for your grunge work.


So there we have it. Congratulations once again to the winners, and I hope you all enjoy exploring Graphic River. If there’s any items on the website which you think deserve a mention, do so in the comments section.

Categories: Designing, Webmasters Resources Tags:

Panda3D video cube example

March 27th, 2009 No comments

One of the major drawbacks of the Blender game engine is that it doesn’t support video textures. There is something under development but it is still in its early stages.

Panda3D on the other hand has solid support for video textures. Getting it to work is really easy:

import direct.directbase.DirectStart

#load movie texture from disk
tex = loader.loadTexture("trailer.avi")
#load 3D cube model (.egg file) from disk
cube = loader.loadModel("videotexttest")
#put the cube in the scenegraph
#set the cube's position
#apply the texture
#rotate the cube
#scale the cube

#run the program

The cube was created with Blender and then exporter with Chicken, a blender to .egg exporter.

Categories: Designing Tags: , ,

Still Talk Via IRC? Want To Start? Give Mibbit A Try.

March 27th, 2009 No comments

How do you prefer to socialize and converse with people (and the occasional inhuman entity) on the Web in real or near-real time? Instant messaging? Services like Twitter and powncee? If you’re anything like us here at Mashable , you dabble in each somewhat.

But what if you happen to like doing things old-school? No, no, not email. That stuff’s way too slow and banal. Rather, what if you’re into that popular medium of old called IRC? Yes, IRC. Internet Relay Chat. Our own Stan Schroederr admits to whiling away a few moments here and there on such discussions. Some of you might toast the technology yourselves. If so, here’s something that you may find quite appealing. It’s called Mibbitt .

Highlighted by Josh Lowensohnn over at CNET’s Webware channel today, Mibbit looks to put a fresh(er) face on the aged chat platform of IRC, which hit its stride back in the Web 1.0 era when kilobits were still the measurement of choice for most Internet users. Mibbit provides an entirely Web-based solution for maintaining connections to multiple servers, easily manage favorites, and generally just enjoy IRC again. Or at least enjoy it more than you do already. (You know who you are, diehards.)


The magic behind Mibbit, which seems to have first shown its face in public sometime back in January, is Ajax, which ensures that things move steady and smooth. No need to click your browser’s refresh. Discussions flow automatically down the page. Also, if you want to embed an interesting talk on an external webpage, you may do so without having to really work too hard at it. Embed code can be provided.

There isn’t very much else to explain. After all, this is still IRC we’re talking about. But all in all, Mibbit is an attractive option for veterans users of the technology, and perhaps even those who’ve long wished to join the fold, but always considered it too difficult to get a good start with. Mibbit certainly helps to make things easy. And lets not forget. IRC still has its uses. It’s by no means the most popular social conversation engine of the times. But if we ever have to revert back to simpler methods to get our messages across to one another, IRC just so happens to be a very reliant safety. Particularly in cases where high concentrations of Internet users are found.

Categories: Programming Tags: , ,

A Decade Of Web Design In Pictures – 1997 to 2009

March 26th, 2009 No comments

By reviewing what’s changed and what’s stood the test of time, we can make general assumptions of web design principles that will work going forward. Things have moved on in terms of interface design and graphics, some websites more than others. Looking at the examples below sites such as Amazon, eBay and Craigslist have changed comparatively little (Craigslist has hardly changed at all), a testimony to their forward thinking at the time, whilst others such as the Whitehouse have come a long way.

Whitehouse 1997 – 2009

whiteoldreal whitenew

Microsoft 1999 – 2009

microsoftold microsoftnew

Digg 2004 – 2009

diggold diggnew (note 2004 CSS styling maybe missing)

CNN 2000 – 2009

cnnold cnnnew

BBC 2000 – 2009

bbcold bbcnew

Facebook 2006 – 2009

facebookold facebooknew

SmashingMagazine 2006 – 2009

smashold smashnew

Ebay 1999 – 2009

ebayold ebaynew

Amazon 1999 – 2009

amazonold amazonnew

Craigslist 1999 – 2009

craigold craignew

Apple 1999 – 2009

appleold applenew

WordPress 2003 – 2009

wordpressold wordpressnew (note 2003 CSS styling maybe missing)

Oakley 2000 – 2009

oakleyold oakleynew

Techcrunch 2005 – 2009

techold (note 2005 CSS styling maybe missing)

Google 1999 – 2009


Yahoo 1997 – 2009

yahooold yahoonew

Other patterns can be seen, design centric companies such as Apple and Oakley consistently focus on design, whilst news based websites such as CNN and the BBC have only modernized the traditional news & picture format.

How To Post to the Web Design/HTML Forum

March 26th, 2009 No comments

Whether you just want to put your class homework or participate in the discussions about HTML, you can’t participate if you don’t know how to post.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here’s How:
  1. Click on the "Forums" link in the navigation of any About Web Design/HTML page.
  2. Login using your About member name and password. If you don’t have a member name, you will need to sign up in order to post messages.
  3. At the top of the list of messages on the right is a link that says "New Post". This will take you to the post editing menu.
  4. First select a folder to post your message in. For XHTML 101 class work, post it in the HTML class folder. Otherwise, find a folder that fits what you’re going to post about.
  5. Give your post a descriptive subject. NOTE: if you are posting for the class – it’s better to give a subject that explains your question, rather than simply saying "lesson 1".
  6. Unless you have a specific reason to address your message to someone in particular, leave the "To" message set to the default "All". Do not address class posts only to the Web Design/HTML Guide.
  7. Type in your message in the large box.
  8. Click "Post".
  9. Your message will be posted in about 5 minutes or so.