myPlymouth: Halloween Theme

As I alluded to on my last post, on Halloween, Zach, Dan, and I unveiled a new feature in Plymouth State University‘s portal. Plymouth State will begin customizing the myPlymouth logo and/or the entire header withing the portal.

Using some snazzy CSS easter-egg functionality combined with some PHP, we can dynamically alter the look of the portal and target customizations to the entire campus, groups of people, or individuals. On Halloween, we customized and targeted the entirety of our user population with the following header theme. We changed this:

Default myPlymouth Header

To this:

myPlymouth Halloween Header

The Halloween theme was a surprise to the campus and received a number of good reviews and comments! The theme didn’t reduce the portal’s functionality, it simply gave it a nice candy coating to add a little flair. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the layout (which is actually made up of 7 images). Due to the excitement around the Halloween theme, the campus can be sure that more are coming!

As I mentioned before, targeting the entire campus is doable along with targeting groups of people and individuals. Needless to say the targeting capabilities of this can be exploited by…well…by me. And I’ve had some fun exploiting it, too! Here’s a couple of fun ones that I targeted at specific users:

This header was targeted at my manager, Ken:

myPlymouth: Ken

This one is targeted at Dee:

myPlymouth: Dee

Here’s one that I targeted at Dan and Zach:

myPlymouth: Lame

Fun times. So far, Dan, Zach, and I have some pretty sexy ideas for what can be done…ranging from minor tweaks to the logo (similar to the goofy ones I did above), to fully customized headers (like the Halloween one), all the way to full blown themes that customize a larger portion of myPlymouth. I look forward to getting creative with what I can draw and implement.

Monchichis Theme Song

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of digging up retro songs and shows from when I was a kid. One cartoon intro that has eluded me for years can now be found on YouTube. The cartoon? Monchichis, a show that lasted only a season but one I would watch whenever I could. Due to its obscurity and short-lived life, my mentions about the cartoon amongst friends have often met me with a blank stare. Well…here’s the show’s intro for your viewing enjoyment:

Here’s the lyrics:

Way up in the trees live the Monchichis.
Monchichi Monchichi
They love to laugh and play and have a happy happy day.
Chi chi chi chi Monchichi Monchichi
Monchichi mean happiness!
Oh oh!
But the Grumplins very mean to the Monchichis.
Everyday they tease, try to catch and squeeze.
So back up in the trees go the Monchichis.
Chi chi chi chi Monchichi means happiness!

What is pretty cool to note is that Peter Cullen – the voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers (the show and movie) and numerous other Saturday morning cartoon characters – was the voice of 3 of the Grumplins; Shreeker, Snitchitt, Gonker.

Google Personalized Home Just Got Sweeter

googleigI came in to work this morning, headed over to my Google Personalized “Portal” and what was there? A sweet new feature! Google/ig is now themable! (with a few pre-built themes).

The style of art used in the themes are to my taste and make for a pretty fun layout. You can select from:


Classic
google_classic

Beach
google_beach

Bus Stop
google_bus

City Scape
google_city

Sweet Dreams
google_dreams

Tea House
google_tea

Seasonal Scape
google_seasonal

Now, those are pretty neat in and of themselves, but the sweet feature is the fact that when you select a theme, you can specify your city or postal code and the theme will change depending on the time of day! It’s the little things that make something so sweet. Nice job Google!

My favorite theme is Tea House :)