I know I’ve posted this video previously, but Twitter is exploding into mainstream. Several good friends of mine (and a former professor) have recently joined Twitter (within the past week). It is on all of the news shows, on Oprah, and all over the web. Everyday people are hearing about Twitter and they don’t know what it is. Even my parents asked me to explain Twitter. As such, I’m reposting this video from Common Craft, explaining Twitter in Plain English.
The Orlando Sentinel pretty well describes how the Southeastern Conference could take over the Bowl Championship Series and the NCAA.
In honor of my all-nighter tonight, I am posting a link to a great howto: How to pull an all-nighter. This is good stuff, I follow most of these tips.
Chrismlindsey.com is now using WordPress 2.5, the latest stable release of the venerable open source blogging software. The release notification is here, screencast of the new admin panel here, and the download and install information is here.
I really like the new admin panel in WordPress 2.5. Most used items are placed prominently, while little used links are placed out of the way. WordPress 2.5 also runs considerable faster for me, which is always a plus.
Smack in the middle of finals week, I thought it would be useful to tell the world what I listen to while studying (and writing).
My all-time favorite station to listen to while studying or writing is Beethoven.com. I played cello for a long time, and this soothing sounds of classical music keep my attention focused on the task at hand. Beethoven.com provides several sources for their streaming radio station, and here is the one I listen to. It is amazing how often I hear a piece that I played in the orchestra back in high school (Thanks, Mr. Rieke!).
Anyways, if you need to concentrate while doing something on the computer (and I know we all have trouble with that), these are the sounds I like to hear.
I do all of my school papers in OpenOffice.org (for more on OpenOffice, look in Wikipedia) these days, specifically in OpenOffice Writer (the open source equivalent of Microsoft Word). I come upon the same problem fairly frequently, so I am posting my solution here for everyone.
Many paper formatting guidelines call for no header on the first page, with a header that includes the page number (and possibly other information, including name and professor) on subsequent pages. While it may seem difficult to do this in OpenOffice Writer, it is rather easy.
Create a header as your normally would; usually this is by clicking Insert -> Header -> Default and then Insert -> Fields -> Page Number. You should see your header on all pages of your document, including the first page.
Now, place the cursor within the first page of your document (ie- click within the first page of the document and then make sure you see a blinking cursor on the first page), and then select from the menu Format -> Styles and Formatting. Select the fourth icon at the top of the dialog box (if you hover over it, it says “Page Styles”). Now, double-click on “First Page”.
Once you double-click on “First Page”, the header on the first page will magically disappear, while keeping the header on each subsequent page intact.
For even more customizability, you can create an entirely different header for the first page instead of leaving it completely off.
To do this, again make sure your cursor is inside the first page of the document. Then click Insert -> Header -> First Page. Now, a header will appear on the first page of your document and you can place any text or fields (page number, etc.) within this first page-only header.
If you have any problems with this quick fix for headers in OpenOffice Writer, please leave a question in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer your query.
Also, look forward to more of these How To’s (for Open Office and other applications) in the near future.
Lastly, if you would like to try out OpenOffice, you can download it for free from the OpenOffice website or your can download a portable version here which you can unzip locally and delete after trying out this amazing piece of community-produced software.
I recently received a review copy of WordPress Complete by Hasin Hayder and published by Packt Publishing. The back cover of the book explains that the book is a beginner’s guide, while also saying “any IT-confident user will be able to use the book to produce an impressive blog.”
WordPress Complete is divided into ten chapters. The first entails the basics of blogging and the book progresses all the way to usage of WordPress MU (multiuser).
Chapter 1 provides a beginner’s guide to blogging. It explains blogging and the different types of blogs (audio, video, etc), and also provides a list of common terminology. I found the list of common terms a little lacking; it did not include “theme” or “plug-in”, while it provided an incomplete explanation of permalinks. The first chapter also provides a good overview of the major blogging engines (providers and software), but in a copyediting gaffe, the screenshots of each engine are on the page immediately following the description of the engine. The end of this chapter describes using the WordPress forums, finding themes, finding plug-ins, and getting news about WordPress.
Chapter 2 provides the basics of installing WordPress and the first actions when setting up a new blog. Chapter 3 deals with themes, and details the popular places to find themes, how to install them, and how to make basic changes to the design.
Chapter 4 explains posting, and all the options related to posting new items in WordPress. Chapter 4 also explains comments and the administrative settings regarding comments. While the book touches on the topic of comment spam in this chapter, it provides no useful resources in stopping spam. Especially surprising is that the book does not discuss Akismet, the spam fighting tool created by the makers of WordPress. The book also explains gravatars, but makes no effort to explain implementing gravatars into a WordPress installation.
Chapter 5 describes using using WordPress as a content management system, or CMS, to run a website (as opposed to a blog). This mainly entails editing a theme to make WordPress look less like a blog and more like a website for a business. This section is really important and provides some insight into a rarely used ability of WordPress.
Chapter 6 describes feeds (syndication) and podcasting. This chapter goes way too in-depth when explaining feeds, because WordPress provides feeds automatically. A WordPress beginner does not need to know the complete history of the RSS 2.0 format or the HTML behind a feed. The podcasting section, though, provides a useful in-depth look at audio blogging that would be especially helpful for those wishing to utilize WordPress to podcast.
Chapter 7 goes through the motions of making a theme for WordPress. While providing a good look at how themes work, this Chapter is not needed for the beginning blogger. There are thousands of WordPress themes out there for beginners to use, while those who wish to create their own most likely already know where to find this information and would not be buying this book.
Chapter 8 discusses using WordPress MU (multiuser) to multi-blog, and Chapter 9 tells of how to create plug-ins and widgets.
Chapter 10 might provide the best information for the beginning WordPress user. This chapter describes how to backup a WordPress blog (something few users do and many regret not doing) and how to upgrade to a newer version of WordPress.
Overall I found the book very informative and useful for the beginning WordPress user. I did, however, take issue to the large number of spelling, grammar, and English language usage mistakes. The preface of the book contained the most glaring error, misspelling “blog” as “blod”, which is extremely ironic when one remembers the subject of the book. If you can overlook the many errors in the book (I cringed many times while reading elementary mistakes), WordPress Complete is a nearly complete beginner’s guide to WordPress.
I hesitate to put a rating on this book because its usefulness decreases for people who have experience with WordPress. If you are a beginner who lacks technical skills, I would recommend this book. If you have any experience with WordPress or have technical experience, I would not recommend this book. All of the information in the book is easy to find in the WordPress < a href="http://codex.wordpress.org">Codex and other places.
I am an experienced WordPress user; I’ve been using WordPress for my own blog for over 18 months. I also develop non-blog websites using WordPress.