Monthly Archives: June 2008

New Version of AZIndex Plugin in the Offing

AZIndex LogoI will be updating the AZIndex plugin to version 0.4 within a couple of days after I have done a bit more testing.  It contains just about all the new features I plan to add (except for caching) before I declare the beta phase over.  The new features include:

  • An option to use CSS style striping to decorate your index entries (e.g. add a gray background to alternate entries).
  • An option to use your own customized sort to sort an index.
  • An option to customize which alphabetical links appear with your index.
  • An option to place index entries that do not begin with a character or number at the end of the index instead of the beginning.
  • An option to ignore punctuation like quotes or double-quotes while sorting the index (useful if some of your post titles are in quotation marks, for example.
  • Safe upgrades to new versions without having to uninstall and recreate your indexes.

I think that’s more than enough functionality for the first major release of this plugin.  Thanks to everyone who has given me feedback, reported bugs, or suggested enhancements.  This plugin is already much the better for your help, even though it’s not quite finished yet.

I hope to have the caching done before I go on my summer vacation, but it could be tricky to do, so I can’t promise anything.  However, from playing with the plugin myself, and from feedback I have received from a couple of users, if you are holding off installing AZIndex because of my dire warnings about performance, it seems that I might have been a little too cautious.  If your index contains fewer than, say, a couple of hundred entries, and is not going to be accessed by thousands of users an hour, then I think you’ll find that it’s ok to install without the caching.

So keep your eyes peeled for an update to AZIndex.  It should be coming your way before the weekend is over.

Car Insurance — Are You Paying Too Much?

Have you noticed how quickly your car insurance rates seem to go up?  Doesn’t it seem that, even as you maintain your spotless driving record, the amount you’re paying every six months is going up by leaps and bounds?

Well, it was certainly happening to me.  When I signed up with Progressive Insurance a few years ago, I managed to cut my rate in half, from over $500 to about $250 for six months.  But since then, despite having no accidents and no traffic tickets, the rate kept climbing and climbing until the last renewal slip of $600 dropped into my mail box (and that’s with an excellent credit rating!).

That was enough for me to finally get my act together and I started shopping around.  It took me all of five minutes before I found a much better deal online at Geico Insurance — only $330 for six months.  Problem solved.

So why the big difference?  Simply because most service-oriented companies bank on customer inertia to rake in the big bucks.  It happens all the time with phone companies, cable companies, ISPs and so on.  New customers always get the best deal because companies know that once they’ve signed up, most people don’t pay much attention to what they’re paying in the months and years ahead.  Insurance seems to be even more insidious since many people expect their rates to go up as a matter of course, and they do, big time.

So, do yourself a favor.  Next time your car insurance is due (or even before that, since you can usually get a refund if you cancel early), take half-an-hour and visit just two web sites (at the minimum): and/or and get a couple of online quotes (remembering to specify the equivalent coverage).  You may be surprised to find how low the offered rates are.   And remember to check every time a renewal notice arrives.  Over a couple of decades you could find yourself saving several thousand dollars in insurance premiums if you do.

Oh, and feel free to let me know if you manage to find a better rate.

(Note, I have absolutely no loyalty or ties to either Geico or Progressive. They are both well known companies with a decent track record, but I am sure with a bit of extra surfing you will be able to find other sites you can use for further rate comparison shopping.)

AZIndex Demos offline for a while

Apologies to anyone coming here to look at the AZIndex demos.  I seemed to have done something aggravating to those pages so I have taken them offline for a while.

As they say…  “Normal service will be resumed shortly.”

UPDATE: And, as promised, the demos are back.  User error was to blame (as usual) and not my wonderful plugin  😆

WordPress Quick Tips #1:Embedding HTML in Post Titles


Did you know that you can embed HTML tags in the titles of your posts? I didn’t until I wanted to create a two-line title the other day. But now, after my “D’oh” moment, I suspect I might be making frequent use of this little feature.

For example, the title of this post has two lines and italic text. The HTML I used is as follows:

WordPress Quick Tips #1:<br/><em>Embedding HTML in Post Titles</em>

Just remember that your permalink (the URL of your post) may look a bit screwy if you don’t edit out the HTML. This is what WordPress did to the permalink of this post:


The HTML brackets are removed but the tags themselves remain, mangling the text. So don’t forget to tidy up your permalinks before publishing your HTML-enhanced titles.

WordPress Users: You Have Been Classified

If my enthusiasm for blogging has legs (and it’s still early days yet), then I will be posting a good number of articles on WordPress over the next few weeks and months. Hopefully they will cover a wide range of subjects from ways to make WordPress blogging easier all the way to hardcore plugin development discussions.

Obviously, not all posts will be of interest to all types of WordPress user, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a cool way to let people know if a particular post is for them. And so, in the wee hours of last night I came up with four classifications for WordPress users:

  • bloggerBloggers — no big secret here, users who are active bloggers. That’s probably most of you, but there’s got to be at least a couple of WordPress plugin developers who haven’t got their own blogs… right?
  • tweakerTweakers — bloggers who feel the urge to tweak their blog’s appearance and functionality until it’s “just right”… except that it never is. Come on, admit it. You know exactly what I mean!
  • themerThemers — theme developers. The people who deserve your undying gratitude and respect for making your blog look so wonderful.
  • pluggerPluggers — plugin developers. Those who have delved into the inner workings of WordPress, PHP, and MySQL in their quest for bringing you all the latest and greatest blogging features.

Now, there is obviously a great deal of overlap between the four classifications — I am a blogger, a tweaker, and a plugger, for example. So just because you might consider yourself a hardcore plugin developer, that doesn’t mean you won’t find something of value (I hope) in a post aimed at tweakers.

Oh, and feel free to shamelessly steal the classifications and the icons for yourself (if you don’t think they’re just ridiculous, of course). An acknowledgment and perhaps a link back to this post is all that’s necessary.