Original Semiologic Theme Updated!!

Many, many years Denis created the Original Semiologic theme (2005 to be exact).  It existed well before all the "premium" themes and theme shops and clubs.   It's primary competitor was Chris Pearsons' Thesis theme.   In 2009 the Semiologic theme was retired and a greatly improved and more full functional theme, Semiologic Reloaded was released.   In 2010 any maintenance on the original theme had ceased.   Until now…

Denis' original theme was used by quite a few sites and some of these are still running outdated versions, which means they are running old versions of WordPress too.   At the request of a few people I've gone ahead and updated the theme to be compatible with WordPress 3.9 as well as back port some of the bug fixes that went into Semiologic Reloaded.  A few select enhancements were added too.  With that the Legacy Semiologic Theme version 6.1 has been released.

Version 6.1 Change Log:

  • Added post thumbnails support
  • Fix: Sidebar widget lists with long post/page titles don't overflow widget boundaries
  • Roll in bug fixes from sem-reloaded theme
  • Added missing required WP css class rules
  • Use size_format in place of deprecated wp_convert_bytes_to_hr
  • Fixed incorrect url being generated for hierarchies with children of children in Pages, Nav-Menus and Silo widgets. url was being generated as parent/grandparent/child
  • Alter css encoding for header image shadow for W3C compliance
  • Fix unknown index warnings
  • WP 3.9 compat

6.1 download

…back to Semiologic Reloaded 2.0 development….



A bug in how an external css file was being incorrectly processed led me to dig into the asset caching functionality of the Semiologic Cache plugin.  The purpose of asset caching is to improve website performance by reducing the number of requests for "assets" (javascript files and css files) will also reducing the size of the asset that needs to be downloaded.

Semiologic Cache has always had asset caching support but this latest bug served as a catalyst for me to dig into it and improve how it works. Well it has paid off well.  On a few sites where I installed it I was rocking all As and high 90s in the webpagetest performance scores.  The asset caching improved assets from the Semiologic theme and plugins, as well as 3rd party plugins and WordPress itself .

Semiologic Cache Version 3.8 includes:

  • Revamp of css and javascript file concatenating. Now working correctly especially footer scripts
  • Fix bug in handling of external css files only starting with url of /example.com/file/….. (no http: or https:)
  • Initial support for css compression. Seeing 10-25% file size improvements.
  • Caches flushed on WP upgrade

The plugin is part for of the Semiologic Pro package.  Those of you with current subscriptions should see the update notification in your dashboard along side the other plugins updated as part of WordPress 3.9 release compatibility.


Forum Software Updated

I've gone ahead and updated the Semiologic Forums to Vanilla 2.    Besides the new look and functionality of the forum itself, the overall performance seems to be much better than what we have been experiencing over the past months.   Let me know if you encounter any issues while using it.

With the forum upgrades and the recent consolidation of the VPSes along with the OS, Apache and PHP upgrades, we should finally be done with the server maintenance tasks we wanted to perform.   I know several of these have led to outages, so let's hope that is all behind us now.

Thank you for all your patience.




As previously posted I've been working on updating the Semiologic theme and plugins to work with WordPress 3.5.   I am happy to announce that I have published the first 14 plugins.   These plugins are hosted both here on the Semiologic site in the Software area, as well as, the WordPress Plugin Directory. All the plugins were gone through to remove any PHP warnings and replace any WordPress deprecated functions.

The released 14 plugins, with notable changes, are:

  • Admin Menu – This broke with WP 3.3.   This is fixed now.  Caveat is that this only provides the menu on the website.  The WordPress Admin Toolbar cannot be removed as of WP 3.3+.
  • Author Image – Plugin broke with WP 3.5 due to deprecated WP functions no longer working.  This is fixed now.
  • Auto Thickbox – Supports AJAX content.  Back port a few other bugs fixed in the Auto Thickbox Plus plugin (props)
  • Autolink URI- Add support for urls containing colons and port numbers.   Autolinking is no longer performed within text enclosed by quotes.   This fixed issues with url specified in shortcodes.
  • Bookmark Me – Refreshed all services to make current with today's most used social sites including Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
  • Do Follow
  • External Links
  • Fancy Excerpt
  • Frame Buster
  • Opt-In Front Page
  • Subscribe Me – Removed Newsgator service and What's This? help link
  • Unfancy Quote
  • Uploads Folder
  • XML Sitemaps – Added pinging of Bing and dropped Yahoo!
These 14 plugins should be appearing on your site under Update notifications and the Version Checker Mass Update functionality.

The remaining Semiologic plugins and theme will be released over the next days/week.   Please follow this blog for future announcements.



People turn to search when they’re looking for answers and information, and sometimes what they want to know is on other people’s minds as well. You can learn a lot about what’s happening around the country or catch wind of a breaking news story by looking at what others are searching for.

With Hot Searches in Google Trends, you can see a list of the fastest rising search terms in the U.S. for a snapshot of what’s on the public’s collective mind. To create the Hot Searches list which is updated on an hourly basis, an algorithm analyzes millions of searches in the U.S. and determines which queries are being searched much more than usual.

Now, Hot Searches has gotten a refresh that makes the list of searches more visual, groups related rising search terms together and lets you see more information about those searches.

With rich images and links to related news articles, you can glance at the list and instantly get an idea of why these topics are particularly hot at the moment and click to find out more about them. Unlike the previous version of Hot Searches, which always provided 20 daily results, the new page introduces a filtering system that helps us make sure that the list includes only the truly hottest news stories of the day. Also, when a few of the fastest rising search terms refer to the same news story, such as [tony awards 2012] and [audra mcdonald], they’re now aggregated into one entry, which lists all the “Related searches” that go along with the main story. Lastly, the new list also provides an indication of how many searches have been conducted for each topic in the 24 hour period when it was trending.

To find out what the hottest searches are today, whether it’s a celebrity engagement, a sports-related shakeup or news about your favorite TV series, check out the updated Hot Searches list in Google Trends.

(Cross-posted on the Inside Search Blog)

The Official Google Blog

As I was sitting on the ferry commuting to Google’s Sydney office this morning, two thoughts occurred to me. First, Australia is beautiful. If you’ve never been here, you really should visit. And second, it’s amazing how productive I can be with just my Android phone and an Internet connection. I was responding to email, reading news articles and editing documents—just like I do at the office. Only the view was better!

We want to give everyone the chance to be productive no matter where they are, so today we’re releasing a new update to the Google Docs app for Android. We’ve brought the collaborative experience from Google Docs on the desktop to your Android device. You’ll see updates in real time as others type on their computers, tablets and phones, and you can just tap the document to join in.

We also updated the interface to make it easier to work with your documents on the go. For example, you can pinch to zoom and focus on a specific paragraph or see the whole document at a glance. We also added rich text formatting so you can do things like create a quick bullet list, add color to your documents, or just bold something important. Watch the new Google Docs app in action:

If you want to hear about the latest Docs news or send us feedback on the new app, visit Google Docs on Google+.

Gotta run—I’ve got another ferry to catch!

The Official Google Blog

Our Transparency Report discloses the information that governments have asked for over the past six months. For our latest batch of data, covering July through December 2010, we wanted to improve the way we give you the information, so we’ve updated the look of the report and added more details.

We’ve highlighted some significant changes in the data and provided context about why those changes may have occurred during this reporting period. We’ve also made it easier for you to spot trends in the data yourself. For example, we’ve changed the format so you can now see data on a country-by-country basis. We’re also clearly disclosing the reasons why we’ve been asked to remove content—such as an allegation of defamation or hate speech.

For the first time, we’re also revealing the percentage of user data requests we’ve complied with in whole or in part. This gives you a better idea of how we’ve dealt with the requests we receive from government agencies—like local and federal police—for data about users of our services and products.

Our goal is to provide our users access to information and to protect the privacy of our users. Whenever we receive a request, we first check to make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. When possible, we notify affected users about requests for user data that may affect them. And, if we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.

We hope that our website improvements help you to see more clearly how the web is shaped by government influence and how Google responds to requests for information and removals.

The Official Google Blog

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