MiniCard Review

I have been looking at the WP Theme, MiniCard. It is really cool. The design follows a Tim van Damme style layout.

Tim van Damme's Famous business card layout

I have been playing around with Minicard for some time. I have used it as my splash page for about a year. (I have been using K2 since 2005 so any change in theme is a big step). There are some things I really like and some things I think could be improved upon. (Granted I am using and looking at the free version.) I really like the minimalist business card design. However, one of the things that I find difficult is separating what is too much info from what is just enough. Right now I have quite a few social networks loaded on my front page so, even though it is Minimalist, it is almost not business card. as I had from 2010-2011

Most of my suggestions have to do with the options page, but a few have to do with layout.


  1. A place to store a Child Theme.
    K2 has a really cool way of selecting where the author wants to store their child theme so that when the theme is upgraded the child theme is not written over. Because the Code is GPL’d, I think this code could be copied from K2 into the GPL’d version of MiniCard. Being that the whole Tim Van Damme (TVD) idea is to be unique with style, it seems that Minicard would benefit from embracing child themes by providing a user the option to not just use a child theme, but also facilitate where to store that child theme.
  2. More Networks.
    It seems that it would be really easy for users of MiniCard to use more or some Social networks which are not on the list provided on the options page. I think it is crazy for any user to expect a developer to have anticipated all the possible social networks out there. I went through TVD’s wall of fame just to get some inspiration and noticed a few networks that minicard does not offer out of the box:


    In one of the past revisions to the Minicard theme there was released, an easy way to add a custom social network. This is much improved over earlier versions of this theme. (I think this is still the case in the current 2011 release.)

    The Plug-in Find Me On has an interesting interface for adding new network. It is sort of Drag and Drop. I use this plugin on

  3. A Contact Info page separate from my social networks page.
    One thing that might be helpful too is separating Messaging and Contact from social networks. “Messaging and Contact info” is usually treated differently from “social networks”. That is social network info like skype, aol, google chat, IRC, etc. are not really conceptualized in the minds of the people on the TVD wall of fame as “social networks”. If this information is provided then it most often falls under the “contact” section rather than “my social networks” section. Out of the box MiniCard does not have a contact section, so I can understand how this info is lumped together with the users social networks.

    Perhaps one solution to this is add an optional (included in the theme by default but not active by default) template page that could be added to MiniCard for contact info and pull data from the hCard data as well.

    This contact info page might also display Online Status of Messaging information. One caveat suggestion pertains to aim v.s. iChat. That is the syntax to open these protocols is a little different if the website admin wants ichat to open… it just aint going to work on a windows machine… I am wondering if a little javascript magic might be able to sniff out a OS X machine visiting the site as apposed to a Windows OS and put in the proper syntax for opening up iChat.
    Interesting enough Themeforest had a theme much like MiniCard.

    MiniCard like Theme displaying Contact info

  • Add direct color and background pattern.
    There are more color options “out of the Box” on the pro version of the theme. However, the color options are not as user selectable as they could be. I have seen color wheels and a palates for suggesting associated colors as option panels for selecting css values. A color selector for the background, and the various parts of the theme would be nice.
  • More hCard options:
    MiniCard does support hCard, but as I was looking over the format of hCard I think that more can be embedded in hCard content than what MiniCard allows for out of the box. That is I think that MiniCard could be improved with more fields in the admin section for the site admin to input their data. There is an hCard creator on the Microformats website. It shows the supported values in the hCard speck.
  • Open Change

    I was recently looking at licenses for databases and discovered the ODbL license. This license was pioneered by the OpenStreetMap Project. I was reading their introduction to why the change was needed. This introduction outlined what the change was, what the change would allow them to do, who agreed, who disagreed, what the cost of the change would be, among other things. I thought it was a very open, engaging and confidence building way to move a group of volunteers through change. It allows for more kinds (also different kinds) of product use. It is well worth the look at not only if you are interested in the open licensing of data in databases and why CC-BY-SA and CC0 licenses do not work for data [also as PDF], but also how they are answering the questions of the community as they are moving the community through change.

    Leadership in an OpenSource Project

    In the past week have been confronted with several issues related to project planning, task & time management and project execution. Just defining the “deliverables” has been a real challenge. Given that the workforce of the company I work for is largely constituted of people who consider themselves to be volunteers, it makes for an interesting work environment. I naturally gravitate towards planning for tactical success and wanting to view things from the “big picture” perspective – knowing how the parts fit together. Project planning and project execution involves a lot of decision making and a lot of communicating about decisions.

    Over the last year I have been watching with some interest the UI development of WordPress. UI design is an area that I really enjoy. So when I saw Jane presenting on this issue of “How decisions get made at WordPress” (on the Open Source part of the project), I thought I would watch it. I thought that I would be watching how a company does UI decision making. But the focus of the talk was broader than that. It was generally good to see a model at work in a company where there is a successful product. As I listened to the discussion I was struck at how their project deals with:

    • Decision Making
    • Community Involvement
    • Consensus Building
    • Project Planning
    • Leadership
    • Sustainability

    In many respects the company I work with deals with these same issues. It was good to see how another company/project deals with these issues, and sees these kinds of issues as important to the success of their product.

    ProfDev Data Tracking

    My wife has been tasked to be the Professional Development Coordinator for the company at which we work. Her task has several interesting things about in the area of data tracking. One question needing to be asked is: “what are the experiences and skills of our current employees?” This suggests that a databases with cross sections of professionally related events, people and skills is needed. These data then need to be able to be viewed by various stakeholders so that the data can be read and analyzed and understood; eventually to be acted upon and incorporated into company strategies for doing business.

    One of the things that is obvious from the start is that a web based collection system is need for the data. A storage solution is also called for. And finally an web based analysis tool for presenting the data in a variety of manners for final use is needed.

    So in an effort to help my wife out I have been looking a OpenSource implementations of Resume databases and CV building Databases. It has been my experience that when it comes to IT solutions that people need unique implementations and have unique criteria to meet but do not have unique problems. I think I even found a service that provides some professional development tracking called Onefile. But for our company it makes sense to approach this problem with an eye to integrate it with other corporate IT infrastructure, rather than silo it as an outsourced the system.

    Summaries of Goals

    This effort to take a strategic look a professional development of employees is part of an effort to look holistically at the corporation’s pool of human talent. The motivation is to be able to strategically deploy our skills in a manner where there is the largest return on investment. It is also important for us to be able to present our talented people and the products of their efforts to the world; both for credibility and for marketing.

    Difficulties in the business world

    There are quite a few legal challenges for companies (working in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere) retaining these kinds of records, let alone sharing them with business partners.

    Social networks are notorious for being able (if they are successful networks) pull information from users easily.

    The data to be tracked

    Facebook CV/Resume Creator apps

    Easy CV Creator EasyCV Curriculum Vitae

    Example YouTube video: httpv://
    CV Creative

    Not popular…

    My CV
    Works with the service.

    Resume Factory

    My Resume

    1.5 of 5

    Resume Central

    Captain ResumeCaptain Resume
    3.5 of 5

    Share it on facebook

    Opensource stuff:



    Could not find a creator which worked

    Conference Management


    Drupal conference registration

    Social Network This is an open source social network which looks interesting but I am not sure how much momentum is behind it.

    4.5 out of 5
    This social network looks really cool and targets the e-portfolio


    People Exist in Space and Time

    The situation though is that everything that goes into a resume or a CV after biographical information is an event in which the person was involved, a skill they have or a resource they have helped to create. So if we could automatically pull information from the events and resources and then organize them according to Who then we would almost be there. (I am not sure how our company is tracking these kinds of information. It is most likely in a MS Word document.)

    Events have several attributes one of those is time.

    This is course management software: with calendars and DHTML in Video.


    So How do we pull data from the container which holds our resources?
    Well the container holding our resources is DSpace.
    But these options work with wordpress….

    Example resumes

    Why do we need a Resume now that I have a Job?

    Open source HR tools / Office forms

    In the company I work for, it is common practice for them to send me .doc files to use as forms for administrative functions. They are often created as templates and then when when the purpose of the form is triggered then a .doc is sent as an attachment in an email. In today’s modern age this process seems relatively inefficient in terms of man hours involved for several reasons:

    1. Some admin person has to create the form.
    2. I have to fill it out and send it back.
    3. In order for the information to be used more than once the information has to be taken out of the form and inserted into a database of some kind.

    It also seems irresponsible use of bandwidth and harddrive space when one considers:

    • The email sent the first time takes up bandwidth, and harddrive space in the sent box and received box.
    • The form is likely to be saved in a folder related to the project it is needed for, and then possibly saved again after it is completed.
    • The Completed form is likely to be sent back to the first person sending the request form and then possibly several other people.

    It seems a lot more efficient to create a web based application on a company LAN/WAN and then have the employee fill out the application there and give the (all) admin personnel needing the info access to the completed info and have the data displayed as a form. – simple. Except in our industry there are two obvious difficulties which need to be overcome:

    • How does the admin person create the web based form?
    • How does the company supply off-line access to employees for filling out the form?

    As for the second point I am not sure that I have an answer. But concerning the first point, .doc files are probably used because that is what is easy to use and .doc / word processing is a tool which is familiar to the admin person.
    The question I am asking is, is there an open source LAMP app which lets one create forms for office processes which lets users (admin personnel) quickly and easily create and deploy forms? It would also be nice for the fields to pull from the same database when practical. i.e. The office needs to create two forms. Both require the employee filling out the form to put their name in the form and the names of the people to whom they are sending the form. Because the employee logged into the LAN/WAN then the form should auto propagate with the name of the logged in user. However, if it didn’t then it should be prompted when the employee starts filling out the form “Autocomplete style” and the suggestions for names should come from the corporation central database of employee names. The end goal is that the admin person should be able to click button and activate a widget in the form and the widget should behave the someway, relating data or relating to data sources across different forms created for the office.

    Some OpenSource Projects I found through a Google Search but have not tried:

    Zoho Office