WordPress plugin idea : relevant tag cloud

Once in a while, especially when trying to explain a widely used technology to a non-technical person, I get this feeling that things could be done better.  And that’s exactly what happened recently while I was explaining tag clouds.

I know that there are plenty of variations on displaying and generating tag clouds – most used, most popular, recent, etc, etc, etc.  But what I realized is that a relevant tag cloud plugin is missing in WordPress.  Or, at least, is hard to find.

Many WordPress blogs these days are serving a particular niche, covering a specific topic. So, for them relevant tag clouds are not a  problem.  All tags are relevant, since they all share the same topic.  However, there are plenty of blogs which cover a wide variety of topics.

Take my blog for example.  I write about technology (tools, concepts, trends, etc.), movies, Cyprus, personal life, and lots of random bits about this and that.  I tag all my posts.  But the tag cloud is totally useless, because it shows all tags from all my posts.  And what good are the technology tags for the reader who scrolls through movie posts?

So, I think there is a need for a relevant tag cloud plugin.  I don’t know exactly how it should work and if it will work at all, but my ideas are the following:

  • When on the front page of the blog (is_home()), tag cloud can show anything at all – most used, most recent, most popular, etc.
  • When in the post or page (is_page() or is_post()), tag cloud should display tags which are used in all posts, that share tags with the current one.
  • When in the category (is_category()), tag cloud should display all tags which are used in all posts that belong to this category.
  • When in the archives (is_archive()), tag cloud should display all tags which are used in all posts within the archive time period.
  • When in search results (is_search()), search term should be checked against existing tags, and if found ,then show all tags used in all posts tagged by the search term.  Alternatively, maybe, show a tag cloud for all tags used in the posts matching the search criteria.

I think such a tag cloud would be way more useful, especially for blogs that cover multiple topics.  Especially, if the extra database load caused by generating such a tag cloud could be kept under control.

What do you think?  Is it going to work?  Is there something that I missed here?  Is there are a plugin that can do this?  Would you jump in and implement it or should I do everything myself?

Masters of Dirt coming to Cyprus

OnThisIsland.com lets us know that Masters of Dirt are coming to Cyprus.  According to the Masters of Dirt Cyprus web site, there will be four shows – two in Paralimni (Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21) and two in Limassol (Friday, June 26 and Sunday, June 28).

(Photo from Masters of Dirt Cyprus site)
(Photo from Masters of Dirt Cyprus site)

Tickets are 60 EUR for VIP, 30 EUR for regular adults, and 25 EUR for 15-year old and younger.  There will be the bike show, fireworks, more show, and I guess the loud music, because the word DJ is all over it too.

We have a few people from work who want to go, so I think I’ll go too (Friday, June 26th preferred).  I am still thinking if I should take Maxim (4.5 years old) with me or not.  And there is always this question of tickets availability.

What about you?  Are you coming?

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

There are a few brands in the movie industry, which you just can’t miss.  Whenever a sequel comes out, whether you liked the previous or not, whether you are a fan or not – it all doesn’t matter, you just have to go and see it.  “Terminator” is one of these brands.  The first two films were so good, that even now, decades later, I still have vivid memories of some parts of those movies.  I still sometimes wake up in cold sweat when I see a huge tank turning around on a hill of human skulls.  I still ask myself a question “How do you kill a smart machine, which is made of liquid metal and can blend into any form or shape?”, and I am so glad I know the answer.

And even though I didn’t like the third film of the series, and didn’t expect much of the fourth, knowing that Arnold Schwarzenegger prefers to be a politician these days rather than his usually self, I still had to go and see “Terminator Salvation” in the cinema.

How good was it? A bit.  Nothing special.  It had the humans and machines, it had the time travel, it had some war, it had plenty of special effects.  But it lacked two most important things which Terminator is all about, at least for me – Arnold Schwarzenegger and the huge scale.  Call it ambition if you will.

The movie makers at least agreed with me on the Arny.  I guess they tried to get him in, and they couldn’t, and they couldn’t make a Terminator movie without one, so they ended up rendering an artificial Anry on a computer.  He didn’t come bad or anything, but it’s just not the same.

Regarding the scale, the ambition ,the “WOW! Effect”, they totally blew it.  There was no scale to this movie.  Nothing that we haven’t seen before, nothing surprising, nothing mind or eye blowing.  Same old, same old.

While, McG knows how to make good action movies, and both parts of the “Charlie’s Angels” are here to prove that, I think it’s him to lacks the scale.  Scale is something only a few directors have a feeling for.  Steven Spielberg is one (and he knows war too). Peter Jackson is another (although I don’t know how good he is with machines).  Michael Bay is yet another one (although he is already doing a good job with another robot-related series).  McG? I’m not so sure.

And I’m pretty sure it was the director’s lack of magnitude.  Because the only other possible reason for not having scale in the movie is budget.  And I don’t think budget deficit applies to the Terminator movies.  As I said, this is one of those well recognized brands, so there shouldn’t be any problem finding the money or bringing the profits home.  I might be wrong, of course, but that is my opinion.

So. The summary.  If you haven’t seen it, go and see.  It’s worth it.  If you are deciding between seeing it in the movies and getting the DVD, go see it on the big screen.  It’s just better.  But don’t expect much of it either way.  And maybe then, when you don’t expect much of it, you’ll enjoy it more.  My rating – 3 stars.  Not bad, but average.

State of Play

State of Play

Went to see “State of Play” in the cinema.  I am a fan of conspiracy movies, and the trailer was good too.  And I wasn’t disappointed at all.  In fact, the film was even better than I expected.

While there was some action and some special effects, the core of the film is the dramatic story.  And the story is about people, friendship, ethics, and passion.

When I was watching the trailer, I though that it would be nice to see Ben Affleck and Russel Crowe in the same movie.  However, that wasn’t so nice.  Because there’s way too much contrast.  Ben Affleck, even though a popular actor, has very few things to offer except to his charm.  Russle Crowe on the other hand is an actor.  Who has the charm also.  Putting them next to each other highlights in a very brutal way the huge difference in their acting potential.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed the movie and even now, a few days later, I keep playing back some scenes of it in my mind.  4 stars.

Custom uploads directory for WordPress uploads

Tip 0 in this list of tips for a fresh WordPress installation mentions how to configure a custom uploads directory.  By default, uploads go into wp-content/uploads/ folder, but you can easily change that in your administration.  The tip gives to benefits for moving your uploads somewhere else:

These are good, but I think there are more:

  • It’s easier to share the same uploads between several sites.  For example, if your site is multilingual and you use a separate WordPress installation for each language, then you can have a single uploads folder for all your translated sites. (However, there is still something that needs to be done with the database, so it has attachment data properly).
  • In case you move your uploads into a sub-domain, you can save bandwidth.  Caching can be improved, and you don’t need to send cookies any more.   Static content, such as images, CSS and JavaScript files, often don’t need any cookies passed in the request, but if your site is using cookies for some pages, often cookies will be sent for static data as well.  This advantage of course applies more to sites with a lot of traffic and static content.