Two very cool and very geeky things have happened to me this week. One: a very benevolent soul has traded me an old acer laptop (this thing is vintage baby! – the wireless network card is externtal!) just choc-ful of open source software. I’m composing this piece on it right now, on OpenOffice of course! As an amusing aside, my laptop is resting on a copy of the Tao Te Chi and an old Make magazine from this summer – that pretty much sums up my brain and my life, eh?
The other humbling and utterly mind blowing encounter was also open source related. A bunch of protospacers got together for a hackathon to write a bunch of code and get the new website up and running (I think I slept through that…). The cool thing is, later somebody got me set up so I could log in and add some content. Well, I logged in and discovered ….a WordPress dashboard. Holy crap! You guys built THIS in WordPress! I mean, it’s slick, custom sliders (I had to figure out what a slider even was), built-in events calendar (not just a google calendar feed – though this puppy will feed into your i-cal or google calendar for you!). Un-frickin-believeable.
Now, I’ve been working on WordPress for a couple of years now and have become a rather competent button pushing monkey – and thought I hit hacking jackpot the day I realized sidebar widget textboxes could hold CODE! I get that it is open source, adaptable software, but aside from child themes, changing CSS, and downloading plugins (and kind of vaguely recognizing I could, in theory, write my own plugins) it mostly seemed like it was what it was, you could just shift some stuff around, add new functions and some shiny.
So imagine how wide my eyes got when I saw what some hardcore geeks did to what I thought was familiar ground to me. They HACKED WordPress! Which of course they would, but I had no idea WordPress was THAT hackable. Pausing here for a Wayne’s World moment….