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Jim Dunlop Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III Picks

Category: Guitars

When I was 17, my jazz choir teacher introduced me to the Jim Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick (in black, incidentally). From then on, I was hooked. When I wasn't strumming or swinging my whole arm for Texas bluesy goodness, I had a black or red Jazz III in my hand. It was especially great for jazz as I could hybrid pick for comping...that was before I even know what hybrid picking was.

Fast forward a nearly a decade and a half.

I've been a fan of Eric Johnson for many years and I knew that he played Jazz IIIs as well, although he only likes red. I like red or black, just to mix it up. Anyway, a little while ago, Jim Dunlop introduces the Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III pick to fulfill Eric's preference for the older Jazz IIIs that had a slightly different finish. These new versions are not only less glossy for better grip, but they are also slightly larger than the more modern Jazz IIIs.

I recently bought a pack of the new Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III picks at my local guitar center on a whim to see how different they are. WOW! I was really impressed. The slightly bigger feel is hardly visible, but it feels significant. Also, the embossed lettering on the pick is thinner and more raised. The modified lettering in combination with the duller finish gives the pick a sandpaper-like feeling that is just right for grip without being annoying.

My only complaint with the modern Jazz IIIs were that they would sometimes slip because they are so small, but these new (old...reissue?) Classic Jazz IIIs are just about perfect. Eric Johnson knows his stuff. Go pick up a pack today and see how they improved on the best pick!

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Drupal - Getting Clean URLs To Work With GoDaddy Shared Hosting

Category: Web Development

If you're using GoDaddy for your web hosting and you've installed Drupal on your shared hosting (Economy, Deluxe, or Unlimited hosting plans), then you may have run into the issue where you can't enable Clean URLs for Drupal. Fortunately, there's an easy fix. Unfortunately, the fix is so easy, I'm not sure why GoDaddy hasn't fixed this.

In your FTP client or the file browser in GoDaddy's tools, navigate to the root where your Drupal instance has been installed and look for your .htaccess file. Look for this important line, noted in red:

#
# Apache/PHP/Drupal settings:
#
...

# Various rewrite rules.
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
 ...

 # Modify the RewriteBase if you are using Drupal in a subdirectory or in a
 # VirtualDocumentRoot and the rewrite rules are not working properly.
 # For example if your site is at http://example.com/drupal uncomment and
 # modify the following line:
 # RewriteBase /drupal
 #
 # If your site is running in a VirtualDocumentRoot at http://example.com/,
 # uncomment the following line:
 # RewriteBase /

...
</IfModule>

# $Id: .htaccess,v 1.90.2.5 2010/02/02 07:25:22 dries Exp $

All you have to do here is delete the # in front of that line, which will uncomment that directive and allow Drupal to be able to successfully manage your site with Clean URLs. You will, however, have to enable it in your site configuration.

Don't forget to save your file after editing and best practice is that you should probably backup the .htaccess file before editing it.

See how easy that was? I wonder why GoDaddy hasn't fixed that yet. *shrug*

Sources: http://drupal.org/node/89089, http://drupal.org/node/364511

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WordPress - Making Yoast Breadcrumbs Behave Like A Good Boy

Category: WordPress

I mentioned in a recent post (okay, very recent) that Yoast Breadcrumbs needed some tweaking to get it to behave the way I wanted it to. This post will outline the changes that I made to my theme to get Yoast Breadcrumbs to cooperate.

First, check to see if the plugin is installed and enabled. If it is, let's get the output from the plugin:

<?php
    if(function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb'))
    {
        $breadcrumbs = yoast_breadcrumb("", "", false);
        ...
    } // end if test
?>

The first issue that I ran into is that even though I had Separator between breadcrumbs in the configuration set to &amp;raquo;, it was still throwing out » (rather than the HTML entity). To force that, I added this line:

$breadcrumbs = str_replace("»", "&raquo;", $breadcrumbs);

Since I was using a static page as my homepage and since I had all my breadcrumbs prefaced with a hyperlink to KennyCarlile.com (linked to root), I didn't want it to appear as KennyCarlile.com » About. That would just be silly. But, I wanted that root link to preface all my other pages, so I just wanted to hide the » About part.

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WordPress - Displaying Custom-Formatted Links To Page Children

Category: WordPress

This is just a quick and easy tip, but it was harder to find the answer to than I would have expected. (...or maybe I just didn't appease the Google Gods correctly when searching.)

If you have a page hierarchy within your WordPress site and you want to display (such as in the sidebar) the immediate children of the current page that you're on, here's the code to do it.

<?php
    // will display the subpages of this top level page
    $children = wp_list_pages("title_li=&child_of=" . $post->ID . "&echo=0");
    if ($children)
    {
        // custom formatting goes here, just print
        // $children when you want to render the link
        echo '<div id="pagelist">' . "\n";
        echo "<ul>\n$children\n</ul>\n";
        echo '</div> <!-- end div id="pagelist" -->' . "\n";
    } // end if test
?>

Please note that this method only lets you custom format the display around the actual link. wp_list_pages() will return the text with the anchor link already wrapped around it. I haven't dug into how to further format the link.

I hope that helps!

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Yet Another List Of Recommended WordPress Plugins

Category: WordPress

I know there have been a zillion and a half posts written about the best plugins for WordPress, but I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and offer up my favorites. Some are the common ones that you'll find on many other lists, but some are ones that I've had to dig for to fulfill a unique need that I had. If you're a WordPress veteran, maybe you'll find a gem in this list that you apply to your site. If you're new to WordPress, you'll likely find many of the plugins on this list that you'll want to add to your site.

Akismet - There's a reason why this plugin comes stock with WordPress. If you allow users to comment on your site, you definitely want to use Askimet to help prevent spam. It's not perfect, but it's really, really good. If you have a very high traffic site, you may want to incorporate some additional spam protection, like a CAPTCHA or some other means, but Askimet does a pretty good job for most needs. The only gotcha is that you need to request an API key from Askimet to use it. The good news is that you can use that key across many WP sites.

All In One SEO Pack - If you want to improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your site, this plugin provides a lot of enhancements for you. This plugin offers a lot of customization, but, frankly, I mostly leave it as is. I'll fill in the meta description and meta keywords and then leave the rest as is.

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GoDaddy Shared Hosting Multiple-Domain And Subdomain Management

Category: Web Development

If you use GoDaddy's shared hosting plans that support multiple domains (the Deluxe or Unlimited plans) and you've tried to manage multiple domains and subdomains, then you probably are already familiar with the organizational frustrations that can occur.

In a standard web server environment, each domain and subdomain has it's own directory, usually under a hosting directory, like this:

~/
     myprimarydomain.com/
          www/
               index.html
               ...
          somesubdomain/
               index.html
               ...
     myotherdomain.net/
          www/
               index.html
               ...
          someothersubdomain/
               index.html
               ...

Unfortunately, with the Godaddy shared hosting plans, some domain must be the primary domain and it must live in the root. That is, you'll end up with a directory structure like this.

~/
     footer.php
     header.php
     index.php
     images/
          ...
     javascript/
          ...
     myotherdomain.net/
          index.php
          ...
     picturessubdomainforprimarydomain/
          index.php
          ...
     someotherdomain.org/
          index.php
          ...
     ...

As you can see, this gets pretty muddy when you have the code for a website for your primary domain mixed in with your other domains and subdomains. Unfortunately, there's no way to completely fix this issue with the inexpensive hosting plans. However, you do have a few options to organize your hosting directory.

Option 1 - The "Primary Domain Gets Screwed" Solution

You can setup a domain that you don't care about for the primary hosted domain. Then, just don't put anything in the root and start organizing your domains in folders with subdomains in those folders. With that method, you have to buy an extra domain that you aren't going to use.

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Encoding Time Cues Into YouTube URLs

Category: Web Development

I recently wanted to send someone a clip from The 'Burbs on YouTube, but I wanted them to see a specific line from the movie. I knew that if you added a timecode in MM:SS format to a comment that YouTube would parse that as a link to that timecode in the video, but I figured they had to have a way to do it in the URL as well.

After a little bit of Googling, I ran across this post from the New York Times, that explained exactly how to do it. I hadn't run across this before, so I thought I'd share to perpetuate the knowledge.

If your video link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krsdKDkyQds and you want it to jump to 5:40 in the clip, simply add #t=5m40s to the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krsdKDkyQds#t=5m40s

This doesn't seem to work for embedding, at least not with the WP plugins that I'm using or by hacking it into the embed code from YouTube. If someone knows a work-around for this, please post it in the comments. In the mean time, if you want to enjoy the specific scene that I wanted to reference, you'll have to drag the playhead to 5:40 manually. The clip ends at about 6:50. [Edit 4/9/2013: The video clip referenced no longer exists.]

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CRF250X Tip: Short Circuit Clutch Switch For Aftermarket (ASV) Clutch Lever/Perch

Category: Motorcycles

A few months ago, I replaced my stock clutch perch with an ASV C5 lever/perch/hotstart assembly. I'm really happy with it, but at the time of installation, I was a little nervous. When I pulled the stock clutch perch, I realized that the new perch didn't have the same clutch switch for the starter that the stock one has.

The purpose of that switch is to ensure that you don't accidentally hit the starter button when you have the bike in gear but the clutch lever isn't pulled. That is, when the clutch is pulled, it activates a switch in the perch that completes the starter circuit so that the bike can start. (I would have never thought this was a good idea until the two times now that I've accidentally hit the starter button with my hip while loading my bike...which, thankfully, wasn't in gear.) It was essential to find a work around for this so that my bike would start with the new perch that lacked the clutch switch.

I did some research online and found people saying "just short circuit the switch/wires". I'm not much of an electrician, so that didn't mean a whole lot to me, so I had to do some guessing. I figured that if the switch allows the circuit to be completed, then just hardwiring the two leads together should fulfill that.

I removed the old clutch perch and disconnected the leads from the switch. Those leads come out of the same wire wrap that goes to the kill switch. I didn't want to undo that entire wire wrap back to the previous relay and short circuit it there because 1) that's a lot of extra work and 2) I like to easily be able to undo things that I'm uncertain of. I decided, at least for now, that I would just perform the short cicruit right on the bar near the kill switch.

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Graphics Kit Application Tip

Category: Motorcycles

When I recently slapped some new graphics on my CRF250X, I asked my friends for tips as I'd never applied fancy graphics before, just stickers. I had heard about using Windex before, but I didn't fully understand how it worked. My friends said to spray the plastic with Windex, then slap the sticker on, position it, and let the Windex dry and the sticker will set perfectly.

The first sticker I tried was the front fender sticker. I slathered the fender up with Windex before applying the sticker. I couldn't get it to stick at all! It was just sliding all over and it wouldn't even form to the fender's curve. I pulled it off and sopped up some of the Windex and tried it again. It still wouldn't stick; there was just too much Windex on the fender and sticker. I sopped up as much as I could, reapplied the sticker, and went to get a hair dryer to try to help the drying process. BAM! This did the trick. The heat from the hair dryer warmed the sticker up even more so that it was much more pliable. It also made the glue tackier and the Windex dried faster.

After experimenting on the front and rear fenders, I learned the real trick to using Windex to apply graphics.

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CRF250X Tip: Tail Light Doesn't Work Without Battery

Category: Motorcycles

Someone pointed out that my tail light wasn't working. I did a little digging on Thumper Talk and found this thread.

Since my battery is dead, I took it out. Without a working battery (or without one at all, in my case), the tail light doesn't work on the 250X. Whew! Now I don't have to worry about tracking down an electrical problem.

A commenter suggested this link for fixing this issue: http://www.crfsonly.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=34768&sid=1940189b6e0c5b9a7f41f1bca10c465e

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