Adding Theme Support

You’ve perhaps heard of the add_theme_support function before, and also seen it used within your WordPress theme? It was introduced back in version 2.9, along with a couple of other related functions; one which you might have never seen before, or know anything about. Justin Tadlock has a great write-up on how to use them easy-to-follow examples.

Lawn Bowls; it’s my Sport

The other day Glasgow 2014 posted on Facebook looking for people like myself, who liked Lawn Bowls, to get in touch. They wanted to feature someone in the next part of their ”My Sport” series.

I got some questions sent over, and answered them the next again day.

Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to be featured, so instead of leaving them to gather dust, I decided to publish them below for all to see. You can check out Natalie Docherty’s take on Lawn Bowls over on the Glasgow 2014 website.

Why are you a fan of Lawn Bowls and when did you start liking it?

Fun nature of the game and the friendly banter between teams are right up my street.

Back in 2003, or it might have been 2004, East Lothian Council had a Summer Sports Scheme with a range of different activities to keep everyone active over the holidays. I spotted Lawn Bowls in the list, and decided to give it a try. I was probably influenced slightly by my Grandpa, along with Grandma and Grandad, who played it also.

The week was spent at Haddington BC (the oldest club in Scotland), where I still play.

What’s the best thing about watching Lawn Bowls live?

I find watching how others play the game quite interesting. Everyone has their own unique style, and what works for one, might not necessarily work for another. It’s all about how you read the head at the time.

Who’s your Lawn Bowls hero?

That’s a tough question to answer.

You’ve got Bowls Scotland Ambassador Willie Wood MBE, along with Alex Marshall MBE, both of whom are East Lothian men and people I’ve played against. There are a few people at my own club, namely a guy called Angus Blair, who competed in the 1992 Commonwealth Games. He was also part of the squad at the World Championships that year, where he came back with a Gold Medal in the Fours, and a Bronze in the Triples. I couldn’t just pick one; I have many people I look up to in the world of bowls.

What’s your best memory from watching or taking part in Lawn Bowls?

There are a couple that stick out in my mind. One when I was representing East Lothian in the Andy Houston qualifiers, back in 2007 (I think), when it was played at Willowbrae BC in Edinburgh. I was skipping, and a handful of shots down on the last end. Having delivered my bowl, I remember a couple of people turning their back, as they couldn’t watch. I ended up drawing the shot, and the whole green erupted with excitement. There was one particular guy who ran up the green and gave me a good old bear hug. The other significant memory I have, was reaching my first ever Club Championship Final in 2011 after playing a few tough rounds beforehand.

Which Lawn Bowls star should people look out for at Glasgow 2014?

If you’re already representing your country at the Commonwealth Games, then you’re already a star in some shape or fashion. There are some fantastic bowlers from other countries who deserve just as much credit as everyone else. To pick out just one individual isn’t an easy task.

Why should people who don’t know anything about Lawn Bowls buy tickets to watch it at Glasgow 2014?

Being a sport that doesn’t get as much publicity as the likes of football and/or rugby does, I’d like to think it would interest people. For the most part, it’s something different, and the opportunity to be part of it all is great.  If watching Lawn Bowls at the games inspired others to join their local club, then that’s a win in my books!

What are some common misconceptions about Lawn Bowls?

The obvious one has to be how Lawn Bowls is classed as “an old mans sport” which couldn’t be much further from the truth. Having represented East Lothian at Under 25 level, it’s great seeing so many young people playing and enjoying the sport.

I think you’ll be surprised at the number of young people wanting to attend?

Can you sum up what Glasgow 2014 will be like in three words?

Inspiring, Energetic, and Memorable!

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever played Lawn Bowls before? :)

Turning Twenty-Two, and Why Good News Isn’t Always Good

A week-past Monday now (20th May), it was my birthday, where I turned 22 years old.

I spent the majority of the day working on the bar at Haddington Bowling Club before taking to the green at night in the first round of the County Cup, which is a knockout competition run by East Lothian Bowling Association. We ended up making it through to the next round on Wednesday.

To my surprise, one of the Committee Members had organised a chocolate cake for the afternoon; how did they know I would like one of those? ;) You’ll just have to trust me that it tasted good, it didn’t last very long …

That wasn’t the biggest surprise though. Turned out my younger brother was treating me to a trip to London for a couple of days, and two other friends were coming also. I probably knew 1% of the details, but everyone else did a pretty good job keeping the other 99% to themselves. I was really looking forward to what they had planned.

It turned out one of them had audience tickets for Russell Howard’s Good News which was being filmed on Tuesday night, and would be shown on TV on Thursday.

We had a 9:30am train to catch in the morning, so it was up bright and early. Can still remember that lovely bacon roll I had for breakfast at Edinburgh Waverley before jumping on the train to London King’s Cross. The four-and-a-half hour journey passed fairly quickly while we scrolled through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and enjoyed the view(s) outside.

Arrived In London
Navigating your way around London was actually much easier than I first thought it would be, especially using the Underground. We got checked in to our hotel, located within a five-minute walk of Tower Bridge, before making our way to Hammersmith.

We arrived after a couple of stops on the Tube and set about grabbing a bite to eat before heading to Riverside Studios which was in walking distance.

Having finished our rather lovely burger and chips, and walked for 15-20 minutes, we arrived at the studios only to be greeted by an already long queue of people obviously here for the same thing.

A lady from the Avalon TV Productions Team (I’m going to assume) was checking people’s tickets. She informed us that we had been put on a standby list, and given numbers 13-16, then asked to come back around 6:40pm to see if there was room or not? This wasn’t very promising, although she did say there was a good chance we’d make it, so that helped ease the pain I guess.

All we could do was walk around the local area, before that got slightly boring. It was decided to head back and wait it out in the queue.

Some time passed before the same lady from the Avalon TV Productions Team came back around checking everyone’s tickets to make sure nobody else had tried to slip in. The words “OK, that’s fine” when she passed us the second time around. Slowly but sure the queue started to move.

We made it to pretty much the front; it was now within touching distance. You can imagine how disappointed we were when she shouted “there is only enough space for standby people 1-10.” I was about ready to cry. All the way for nothing!

To make matters worse, I had a button fall off my new polo shirt.

She took our tickets and said that they would be in touch with Priority Tickets for another show. I was at the stage I didn’t know what to feel. I’d have happily paid money to guarantee me a place the first time around.

We headed back to our hotel before going for a couple of drinks.

The Next Day
Having made plans for Wednesday, we set about tackling the all-you-can-eat breakfast.

After checking out of the hotel, it was a quick stop at the Left Luggage facility in King’s Cross. This would save carrying our bags about all day when we didn’t need them.

Madame Tussauds was the first thing on today’s agenda. If you’ve never heard of the place before then you’ve already missed out. I’ve heard my mum talking about it in the past so was looking forward to it.

We probably arrived about 11:15am and made our way inside. It’s a massive place with many different areas to walk around. The wax models were just out of this world, I couldn’t quite believe how identical they were.

How often can you stand beside so many Celebrities and have your photo taken? ;)

Must have left a good couple of hours later and headed on to our next destination which was the London Eye. Actually seeing it in the “flesh” instead of on the TV was quite exciting. The queue kept moving at a pretty consistent speed which meant we didn’t end up waiting long.

The views you get from within the pod are quite spectacular to say the least, especially after you’d made it right up to the top. All you could see was miles and miles of the London skyline. Professional photographers would have a field day snapping away.

After about 40 minutes it was sadly time to get off. I could have gone round another couple of times seeing thing I’d probably have missed the time before. If I was down in London again, I’d most definitely go on it again.

I wasn’t exactly too bothered about our third destination, the Science Museum, but the other three were so I went along anyway. To be fair, it was quite fun playing in the Google Web Lab zone, trying out all of the different experiments.

We left and headed back to King’s Cross grabbing a McDonalds in the process, and picking up our bags, before catching the last train back to Edinburgh at 7pm.

I’ll Be Back London
Really enjoyed myself over the couple of days I was away in and about London. Having not been on holiday, etc, for a few years now, it was actually nice to just get away in general. There are loads of areas of London yet to explore, so I will be back down at some point; for a few days longer though?

We did receive our Priority Tickets for another showing of Russell Howard’s Good News. I really would like to go, but unless I get the VIP treatment, I’m unsure how I can warrant the expenses that’ll be involved? Too early to call it a Christmas present?

Thanks for the trip though Graeme, now to plan your birthday …

My Mind-Blowing Discovery of Tok Live: Uncensored Streams and Unfiltered Fun

Hey there, fellow readers! Today, I have an electrifying tale to share with you all. I recently stumbled upon something that left me absolutely mind-blown – Tok Live. If you're a TikTok enthusiast like me, you might be familiar with the bite-sized videos that keep us entertained. But Tok Live takes the TikTok experience to a whole new level, offering uncensored streams and unfiltered fun.

Let's dive into this thrilling journey and explore what Tok Live is all about.

The Quest for New Horizons

As someone who enjoys exploring the vast digital landscape, I'm always on the lookout for new platforms and experiences. TikTok had already captured my attention with its short-form videos, but I yearned for something more immersive, something that felt raw and unscripted.

That's when I stumbled upon Tok Live. I'd heard whispers of this mysterious platform where TikTokers let loose, sharing their uncensored selves with the world. It was the promise of authenticity that drew me in, and I decided to take the plunge.

Uncensored Streams: The Real Deal

Tok Live is, in essence, the live-streaming counterpart of TikTok. It's a place where content creators go live to interact with their audience in real-time. But here's the twist – there are no filters, no scripts, and no second takes. It's a raw, unvarnished look into the lives of TikTokers, and it's incredibly refreshing.

When I first tuned in, I was taken aback by the honesty and authenticity on display. Creators talked about their daily struggles, shared their thoughts on trending topics, and even engaged in debates and discussions that you wouldn't typically find on the polished TikTok feed. It was like peering behind the curtain and seeing the real people behind those carefully crafted 60-second videos.

Unfiltered Fun: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes

One of the most fascinating aspects of Tok Live is the peek behind the scenes. Creators often broadcast from their homes, giving us an intimate look at their living spaces and daily routines. It's like being invited into their world for a brief moment, and it creates a sense of connection that's hard to replicate in other online spaces.

I was also impressed by the sense of community on Tok Live. Viewers can interact with creators in real-time, asking questions, sending gifts, and even participating in challenges or games. It's a dynamic and engaging experience that makes you feel like an active participant rather than a passive observer.

The Future of Authentic Content

As I continue to explore Tok Live, I can't help but wonder if this unfiltered, authentic style of content is the future of social media. In a world where filters and curated images dominate our feeds, there's something undeniably refreshing about seeing people as they truly are.

Tok Live has given me a renewed appreciation for the power of authenticity in the digital age. It's a reminder that behind the carefully crafted personas we often see on social media, there are real people with real stories, and that's something worth celebrating.

So, if you're a fellow TikTok enthusiast looking for a more unfiltered and authentic experience, I urge you to check out Tok Live. It's a wild ride filled with surprises, and I guarantee you'll be mind-blown by the experience, just as I was.

Until next time, keep exploring, stay curious, and embrace the unfiltered fun of Tok Live!

Trying out Timeline

It has been mentioned several times now that I’m building my very first plugin. More importantly though, I’m completely unsure how things are going with it, and whether or not everything’s looking good or bad?

Being that small fish in the big sea isn’t always a good thing, sadly.

The only way I’m going to get it right is by asking …

How can you help?
I’m looking for as many people as possible, from beginners to full-fledged developers, to download the latest tag from GitHub, and take it for a spin; if there’s anyone who could be so kind? :)

You have my full permission to break absolutely everything, just so long as you don’t mind telling me how. That way I can stop it happening for others. Plus I’ll reward you all in chocolate … double-win!

An example of the default design!
An example of the default design!

The above image shows you what the online demo looks like at the time of posting.

Pull Requests and Suggestions
I’d welcome any pull requests and/or suggestions you might have on GitHub. I’m always up for learning how to do new things. One day this small fish wants to go out playing with the sharks! ;)

Thank you in advance.

First WordPress 3.6 Contribution

I said one of my goals for 2013 was to contribute something to WordPress 3.6 after failing to do so in the two previous versions. I got the ball rolling the other day when this really simply patch was committed.

The thing about contributing to WordPress, you don’t need to have any PHP skills, or JavaScript knowledge. It really could be as simple as the image above, or why not join forces and tackle a section of the codex that needs updated/refreshed? :)

Tip: Favouriting Tweets

In this day and age, everyone uses Twitter in some form while they’re out on the go.

Anything from checking  out tweets while on the train and/or bus, to telling everyone what they’ve just had for lunch, or how you need to get yourself back to your day job.

Safe to assume in that case you’ll have see a fair number of interesting topics that, given the time, you’d love to explore further. The question is though, how do you go about saving those particular topics?

Am I the only one who favourites a Tweet (from their phone) for checking out later when at the computer? :) #useful

— Mark McWilliams (@markmcwilliams)

I simply use the Favourite option already available on Twitter; it really couldn’t get any easier if you tried. The above tweet was posted as I wanted to find out if any of my followers did similar.

It was nice to see that Emyr Thomas, Chris Klosowski and Brian Krogsgard all did the exact same as myself. In fact, I’m sure many more of you do it also. If not, well now is your time to start. There’s not any excuses now! ;)

Collaboration with a Newbie

It started with writing a comment in reply to an article Pippin Williamson wrote on Encouraging Community Collaboration and Development, but I figured I had more to say on the subject than I first though, so decided to turn it into a post instead.

I want to re-iterate a point Pippin made about WordPress, that really, it’s just a huge collaboration effort between everyone. If you help out in the support forums, write documentation for the codex, or write patches for core; it all makes WordPress what it is today, tomorrow, and the future.

As most of you will be aware, I’m in the middle of developing Timeline. The first real plugin that I’ve written, and it’ll not be my last, but it’s one crazy ride and a whole new experience. Stepping outside your comfort zone and learning things in the process

The Little Man (or Women)

Right now I’m out of my depth.

I’m just the little man who decided he was going to release a WordPress plugin.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and normally it’s from the bottom, before you start working your way up. That doesn’t happen overnight though, it takes time. Everything on the internet happens in double-quick time. What was best practise one week isn’t necessarily the same the next.

I have massive respect for talented people such as Andrew Nacin, Daryl Koopersmith, Justin Tadlock, Mark Jaquith, Jen Mylo, Mike Little, Siobhan McKeown, Helen Hou-Sandi, Pippin Williamson and Matt Mullenweg; along with businesses such as 8Bit, StudioPress, WooThemes and Automattic. You all do what you do best!

Being the newbie, I look up to all those more knowledgeable around me. I follow them on Twitter, read their website, check out their plugins for examples of how things should be done. It’s like having that big brother or sister around when you’re lost.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. I have openly asked for contributions to Easy Digital Downloads several times, and guess what? New contributors popped up every single time I asked. Every single time.

The above is a quote from Pippin, where he talks about just asking for help.

If only it what that simple.

You’re not asking for someone to code absolutely everything, or do 100% of the work. All you’re after is a nice and friendly prod in the right direction. In theory, you’ll only learn if you can learn from the best.

Normally I’m the last person to ask for help. I almost live by the fact that if I can’t do it then I’ve failed. I could have had 99.9% right, but because it doesn’t work, I think I got it ALL wrong. It doesn’t take much to help. What would have maybe taken five minutes to find and point out, would have resulted in a happy first-time developer.

When I first started on Timeline, there was help and suggestions from Emyr Thomas which included code, Evan Solomon left a comment saying I should look into a certain filter, and Jesse Petersen also had a spare couple of minutes to comment. It was all appreciated.

What’s The Solution, If Any?

Unless the knowledgeable want to look down on the young, and if they’re stuck, offer them a hand. I think it’s just going to be a never-ending problem if they don’t, or a very long way to the finishing line. Slow and steady doesn’t always win this kind of race.

Encouraging collaboration needs to come from the top first!

I’ll leave you with a question. Is it easier or harder for a newbie to get the help and/or assistance they might require? Lets discuss it out in the comments below. :)

The “Alpha” Redesign

If you’ve read my goals for the year, then you’ll know that one of them was to redesign my personal space from scratch. I wanted to go and build something that fitted 99.9% of my requirements, then release it to the WordPress community for others to benefit.

Last week Justin Tadlock announced the release of Chun over on Theme Hybrid, and I fell in love with it straight away, it was like all my ideas rolled into one. You’ll even find a slightly tweaked version running on his personal site. I am a fan of that blue!

I’m calling this the “alpha” redesign for a couple of reasons.

It’s clean, simple, and really easy on the eyes.
Different styling for all the post formats.
I will make changes, nothing’s perfect!
Hoping it’ll make me want to blog more.
In general, I just like it, a lot.
Those are valid enough right? ;)

I’d obviously still like to create a theme from scratch one day this year, and I will when I get the time. For now though Chun is what we’re rolling with, so enjoy the ride.

BBC One’s Hustle Ends

Ever since Hustle was first shown on our TV screens back in 2004, yes that was eight years ago, when I was only a little boy, I was hooked and became a major fan. I have watched every episode going, and own all the DVDs.

When I heard Series Eight was going to be the last, I was completely devastated, I still am in fact. It was one of a handful of things I watched, but now it’s been snatched from right in front of me. It’s like someone taking your favourite toy and not bringing it back!

I would be lying to say the Hustle Team didn’t go out without a bang, having caught a glimpse at some of the spoilers floating around online. Could it all just be part of the master plan, keeping the public in suspense? We filmed alternative endings said Kelly Adams, who plays Emma. It just makes it even more exciting right? :)

To all the cast and crew, both on and off the screen, you’ve done a wonderful job over the past eight years. Without your work, we wouldn’t have been able to watch what we did. I only hope the rumour of “Hustle: The Movie” becomes a reality.

Before I finish up, I leave you with Mark Wilson and his adventure following the film crew round Birmingham for 15 weeks while they shot the last series and ending up as an Extra in the last episode. Well worth a read I tell you, how I’d have loved to have been in his shoes. Great stuff Mark, and well deserved!

So grab yourself a beer (or two), sit back, relax, and enjoy the last of Hustle tonight!

Hello 2022 and Happy New Year

Where on earth did 2021 go, one day it’s January, and the next you know we’re back round at December. Time really does fly when you’re having fun it’d seem! Can we get all of that again in 2022 please, but with the addition of even more achievements?

What Happened In 2021?
Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb, so just a few things from the past year! ;)

January: The new computer I’d been waiting on finally arrived. I still laugh at the story that goes along with the purchase, but I never did get round to blogging about it here.

February: I bought myself a bike, I should really try to use it a little more in 2022!

March: Had my arm twisted into writing for — So far it’s been a rather interesting experience to say the least. While I’ve not written hundreds of articles, I’m not that far away from my 50th, so maybe some party celebrations might be in order?

April: I got a reply back with regards to a recent application for a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, which I was pretty excited about. In terms of progress, I thought things were going alright, even if I’d have liked some better communication at times. I felt there was a point when I was just left hanging, knowing nothing, but more on that further down!

May: It was my birthday, another year older, but still young at heart! :)

August: I reached the Championship Final at Haddington Bowling Club for the first time, and ended up getting beat by a guy a year younger than me; who said this was an old mans sport? While it was a shame to lose, the better man won on the night!

October: It was about time I faced my fears attended some kind of WordPress meetup, so what better than WordUp Edinburgh? As explained in my thoughts after the event, I loved it, and would do it all over again! (Also happened to help sponsor the event too!)

December: Ended up working Hogmanay again, like last year.

Sounds like an interesting year when you look at it that way! :)

If we go back to the Happiness Engineer application, I did get a reply in June saying my email(s) had been caught up in email filters, therefore obviously ended up in the wrong place. In August, I (maybe stupidly) reached out to Toni Schneider, Automattic CEO, to check if the Automattician was alright or not and say we’d lost contact somewhere.

When we eventually spoke again, it turned out I’d potentially be a good fit for a trial, but I would need to shape up on my written English first! :( ME NO HAZ GD ENGLSH SKLS

What’s 2012 Going To Bring?
I predict some exciting things, if only I knew the answer(s) in advance though! ;)

Other than that, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year, and all the best for what 2012 brings. I’m definitely planning to blog a lot more around here, throw in a picture or two, even tempted with Project 365 366, but I’m just not sure?

WordUp Edinburgh 2021: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Can you believe it’s been a whole three five weeks now since WordUp Edinburgh took place, it’s amazing how times flies. Well I’ve finally gotten round to writing up the draft post I’d started, and also found the publish button at that; better late than never! :)

It all started quite early on Saturday morning, too early for my sleep pattern, but I had something like 30 minutes to get ready. Taryn Wallis and her husband Allen had kindly agreed to come and pick me up, they also had Martin Young too. I still can’t thank you enough for that! – Next stop was Surgeons’ Hall to get setup for the day ahead.

We arrived in plenty of time to get things sorted before registration, so I took the chance to get connected to the WiFi, and charge my phone up too. I’d need some kind of power if I was going to Tweet during the day, not that I ended up saying much anyway.

Before long, people started arriving and taking their seat; I recognised a few faces!

Still don’t remember Martin Young taking that picture!

I met some fantastic people throughout the whole day, Mike Little, Kevinjohn Gallagher, Donnacha Mac Gloinn, Michael Kimb Jones and Andy Gilpin, really just to name a few.

Having never attended an event like this, let alone a meet-up, and you can just forget about a WordCamp, you could say I was a little outside my comfort zone to start with!

So what did I think about the WordUp event itself? …

The Good
Without a doubt, the main event of the day was the sessions!

Learning CSS Using WordPress
WordPress In The Enterprise: Can It Work?
WPTRT: How The Theme Review Process Can Benefit Custom Theme Design
Panel Discussion: WordPress In The Voluntary Sector
How Did You Do That?
Managing Large Networks Of WordPress Sites
Responsive Design
How WordPress Themes Changed The World: Updated
I really liked Kevinjohn’s round-up, he summed my thoughts up nicely. For the first two sessions he did miss, I felt like I learnt something new. CSS is a wonderful thing, that I already knew, it’s quite powerful when you know what you’re doing. When you’re using WordPress in the Enterprise on the other hand, you get a whole new kettle of fish.

Did anyone mention the pizza we had for lunch, it went down a treat! While not all the toppings were right up my street, it was still pretty cool for that time of day. This was in part thanks to all the kind sponsors, of which I was one of them! :)

It was about 5PM before WordUp Edinburgh finished, we headed straight to Brewdog (which was only about a 10 minute walk away if that) for some socialising. I see what everyone says now with regards to this kind of event after, the different topics you talk about and food-for-thought conversations/observations; it’s crazy but in a good way!

The Bad (Improvement/Idea For Next Time)
I’d have liked if we’d went to a restaurant for a meal before hitting Brewdog. While yes we got a bite to eat in the end, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Going somewhere with more of a menu might have been a better idea; maybe something for next time?

The Ugly
Well that’s a good question, but did you see me in the photo above? ;)

Overall I had a blast at WordUp Edinburgh and would jump at the next chance to attend a similar event again. For anyone who’s never been to something like that before, you really need to get yourself along. My first time and I really would recommend it!

It’s been a good few months in the making for WordUp Edinburgh, but it all happens tomorrow at Surgeons’ Hall. Having never attended a WordCamp before (I’ll make that happen in 2012), I’m really looking forward to the day, even with the early start! ;)

Status on October 21, 2021

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Mark McWilliams
WordPress, Lawn Bowls, and Pool Shark