Who is Dolly?

Plugin DirectoryIn keeping with our Plugin-themed posts, we would like to solve a plugin mystery that seems to confuse and sometimes irritate WordPress users who have not heard the history of Hello Dolly. This plugin is the world’s first official WordPress plugin and was created by Matt Mullenweg, a founding developer of WordPress.

Hello Dolly PluginThere were two purposes for creating this plugin. The first is that, when activated, the administrator will see a lyric from Louis Armstrong’s Hello, Dolly in the upper right part of the admin screen. This is only really helpful if you would like to get the song stuck in your head.

Hello, DollyThe second purpose of this plugin was to show users building websites the power of the plugin. Since this was the first plugin, no one knew why they should care about, build, or install plugins. This one showed how you could add on to the core of WordPress to enhance your website’s appearance and functionality.

There are now almost 25,000 plugins that have been downloaded over 435,000,000 times. Hello Dolly set the precedent of what a plugin could do for your WordPress Website.

Interestingly, our favorite host (WPEngine) has banned this plugin from their servers as it has no practical value. I guess they aren’t very nostalgic.

Website Weekend brings us a little closer to our community

After another successful Website Weekend, we have some new swag to add to our Mm collection! Patrick Schmidt is a recent graduate of Website Weekend and runs a few projects, including Open Clay Project and Open Fine Arts Gallery in Berkeley. He made us some keychains with the Mm logo using a very interesting technique.

The process he used is called millefiori, which was originally known as a glass technique, but is now also associated with polymer clay.

CaneThe first thing he did was construct a “cane,” which is a big prototype of the 2 dimensional design, but as a 3 dimensional shape.

ReducingThen he pressed and pulled the clay to elongate the cane. This is called “reducing.” Some shapes, like circles and triangles, reduce better than others. This is the hard part of the process, as it is very easy to distort the creation.

Slicing the caneWhen the cane was reduced to the size he wanted, Patrick then used a razor blade to thinly cut it into slices. For our keychains, he added them to another piece of clay, then baked them in an oven for half an hour. After the metal key rings are put on, they are done!

keychainsPatrick uses this technique for jewelry, but also as a great educational tool. Chromosomes, DNA, and RNA can be easily visualized when created using this process.

This was such a cool process, and if you want to learn more, Patrick teaches a free class every week at his art gallery in Berkeley. He will also be teaching classes with Make SF and Workshop Weekend, where we first met him and where we also run a class!

He will also be having an art show this coming Saturday, February 2nd from 6-9pm. Try to stop by, say Hello, and learn a little bit more about the art in our community.

Patrick at Open Clay Project

Life (and death) on the Web – A Lack of Artifacts

Working on our portfolio, we went back to look at some sites we worked on earlier in our careers – to see if they were still up and working and looking good. To our surprise, several sites we made for one of our early and most prolific clients are gone. Four beautiful sites we worked diligently on with a darling client and dear friend, all just disappeared. Sadly these works are still relevant and of a historical and cultural benefit. Sadder still, the woman we partnered with in their creation passed away earlier this year from a very unexpected cancer, very early in life. In my mind those websites were a part of her legacy. She worked just as diligently on them as we did; probably more so.

We were reading yesterday in A Book Apart’s Responsive Web Design book a reflection on how the web lacks the physical artifacts that are so pervasive and natural in the print industry. We’ve always known this, but today this idea really came home to us when we realized that those works had vanished. It may even be an accident that they were removed, and we hope they will be restored. If not, I suppose we can dust off our backup drives and revisit them, but it is not the same. And we want the world to be able to enjoy them…

There there, Oakland is in!

Our neighborhood was named #5 of the top places to visit, IN THE WORLD by the New York Times. The story mentions the historic Fox Theater, Hawker Fare, Plum and Haven, all of which are a walking distance (if you like to walk, as we do) from our offices! Go Oakland!