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New WordPress.com Themes November 29, 2005

Posted by Leita in Design, Internet, Wordpress.com.
5 comments

The three new themes for WordPress.com look great but because of minor details I’ll probably revert back to the default Kubrick.

Neat! 0.01 is just that except for the dark blue border around images that reminds me of old sites built with Front Page themes. If I don’t include images with links that’ll work around that slight irritation. Also, the blog title isn’t included in the header.

wp theme Toni with white linesRegulus 1 combines all the Link Categories into one long, messy sidebar scroll and the images I use for Today’s Surf disappear. Dammit, this one was my favorite, too.

Toni 1.0 isn’t my favorite visually, reminding me of the original wordpress theme in blue. The Categories list has an out-of-place white bar where the category children could be, but they’re not which looks.. well, here’s a screenshot:

If anyone knows a workaround for these nitpicky reasons why I’ll be returning to Kubrick, I’m all ears.

Find Music You’ll Love With Pandora November 29, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Music.
1 comment so far

My new favorite bookmark: Pandora:

Ever since we started the Music Genome Project, our friends would ask:

Can you help me discover more music that I’ll like?

Those questions often evolved into great conversations. Each friend told us their favorite artists and songs, explored the music we suggested, gave us feedback, and we in turn made new suggestions. Everybody started joking that we were now their personal DJs.

We created Pandora so that we can have that same kind of conversation with you.

This little Flash doodad is a doozy. Type in an artist or song and it’ll create a playlist of similar songs. A little slow finding similar music (and I’m Not complaining), Pandora presents me with a list of songs and artists I would’ve never heard otherwise. Tip: be patient and listen while it loads up more songs.
Example: I entered “Bob Marley” and it loaded up the following:

  • Peter Tosh – Brand New Second Hand
  • Jimmy Cliff – Music Maker
  • Bob Marley – African Herbman
  • Bob Marley – Soul Rebel
  • Jimmy Cliff – Who Feels It, Knows It
  • Lee Scratch Perry – Small Axe Version 2 (aka Shocks ’71)
  • The Cables – Ring a Bell
  • Burning Spear – Man in the Hills
  • Ernie Smith – Ride on Sammy
  • Peter Tosh and Friends – Stop the Train
  • Johnny Osbourne – Jah Promise
  • Burning Spear – Slavery Days

Every one a good match to Unca Bob.

Goodies include adding individual songs to a stored Favorites page and clicking Share to email to a pal so they’ll get a message like this:

To immediately listen to this music station I’ve created (named “Bob Marley Radio”)simply click on this link or copy and paste it into your Internet browser:

http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh2902673

This station plays on Pandora, a music listening and discovery service. Pandora enables users to easily create streaming stations that explore their favorite parts of the music universe.

Enjoy!

Clicking on an individual song brings up a menu list: Why did you play this song? – Make a New Station From This Song. – Buy This Song From iTunes. – Buy this Album From Amazon. – I like It. – I Don’t Like It. – Add to Your Favorites.

Clicking on a Station brings up this list: Add More Music to This Station – Email This Station to a Friend – Edit This Station – Rename This Station – Delete This Station.

Pandora is free to use (register for more options such as multiple –up to 100– playlists) and has an option to pony up a few bucks that’ll remove a crop of ads coming in the future. Currently, there’s just one quiet ad for iTunes and no popups.

Price: $36/year or $12/three months.

Pandora FAQs.

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30gigs.com – Worth the Bother? Update November 28, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet.
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Six weeks ago I opened a 30gigs.com email account with the idea of using it as a repository for files and site backups. Since then, I’ve found serious problems such as emails that never get delivered and mails sent that never arrive.

Today, I get another message from my primary email account; 72 hours later and 30gigs still has not delivered an old email to my 30gig account inbox:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software. A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its recipients after more than 72 hours on the queue.

The message identifier is: 1Efddp-0001
The date of the message is: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 07:29:24 -0600 The subject of the message is: [Fwd: Registration]

No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up, and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.

So, until it gets a lot less buggy and a lot more reliable, I can’t trust the service with emails or files of any great importance.

For those still wishing for invites, give it time. Send yourself a dozen Gmail accounts instead and name them foo01@, foo02@, etc. Sure, it’s a pain but at least they’ll work properly.

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War, Dinner, Katrina but No Crabs and No Beach House November 24, 2005

Posted by Leita in Florida, Hurricane, Life in the Woods, Southern Living.
1 comment so far

Heading into the kitchen for the day and packing for a quick trip to Georgia tomorrow to visit some soldiers fresh back from the war.

I’d rather be on the beach or dangling toes off a dock on the bay, dangling string and chicken necks to feed the crabs and ultimately, myself. I had to turn down a three-day freebie beach house stay due to prior plans, thanks to the Army keeping them on call all weekend.

“Yes, soldier, you may spend Thanksgiving with your family, but only if they live nearby because we may call you at any moment even though you’re stateside. Happy Holidays, but don’t go anywhere!”

What a pile of holiday crap.

Happy T’giving, folks. Remember the people who lost homes from Hurricane Katrina; many are spending the winter in tents (and worse) along the Gulf Coast. Say a prayer for them and for the kids fighting overseas, maybe some of both will be home come Christmas.

Peace.

Feedster Beta: Search for WordPress Blogs November 23, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org.
3 comments

wordpress - the logo Similar to Technorati’s Claim Your Blog feature, Feedster now allows an easy way to search for WordPress blog feeds.

Follow the instructions to add yours to the pile.

  • Hint: WordPress feeds look like this: you.com/feed/

I’m adding mine right now (trying, actually.. WordPress isn’t publishing or editing at the moment and the link keeps disappearing):

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New to WordPress.com? Tips to Get Started Fast November 22, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com.
48 comments

Under construction clipart circa 1995. Sorry, I couldn't resist.The WordPress.com gates are open now, at least temporarily. With so many blogs starting from scratch by new wordpress users, I thought a few tips might help get some blogs set up fast without looking like the little man here.

The best tip I can give anyone new to wordpress.com is to visit the wordpress.com faq site and Lorelle’s. There are plenty others, but these two are my favorites.

Note: this is the procedure I use for fast-starting a wordpress.com blog but everyone will have their own. Feel free to comment if you have additional tips.

Time to start:

After your blog is created, login to the Dashboard (located at
http://foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and click on the User menu option (aka foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/profile.php) and fill out the form.

Important: If you want rich text editing, there’s a box at the bottom of this page. Click it if you want wysiwyg editing, leave it unchecked if you do not.

Contrary to semi-popular belief, WordPress.com blogs can have more than one author. Within the Users section, there is a tab for Authors and Users. Here you can add other people to your blog and give them various authorities: Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor or Subscriber. (Update: Adding a link to Matt’s post regarding multi-users in WordPress.com so he’ll know someone really did post about it.)
After updating your Users, head next door to Options. Tabs here are: General, Writing, Reading and Discussion.

General:
While you cannot change your WordPress url, you can change the Title and Tagline here. This is also the tab for setting your time, date, and the day you wish your weeks to begin.

Important: It seems a little out of place, but there is a box for determining whether or not users must be registered and logged in to comment. Click or not, your choice.

Writing: Here is where you decide how many lines will appear in your Write Post box. If you want extra space to write without scrolling as much increase this numer. (I use 16)
Indicate whether emoticons should be little images or text. Guess which one I selected. ;) Last item in this section is the name of the Category where posts default. Leave this as Uncatagorized for now and remember to come back after setting up your Categories if you want to call it something else.

Reading: Where you decide how many posts to show per page and in your feed. Also indicate whether you want your full posts to feed or just a Summary.

Discussion: Decide whether you want to moderate comments or let them post right away, whether you want trackbacks/pingbacks and notify weblogs. This is all pretty self-explanatory but if you’re unsure exactly what how trackbacks and pingbacks work, Lorelle has the answer written in non-techno babble. In a shell of some nut, you don’t have to actually do anything. WordPress.com automatically pings the big boys like Technorati and Feedster whenever you post something new. Easy, eh? You betcha.

Almost Done! Read on…

Themes: (Didn’t you want to do this one first?)When selecting one, consider more than just the way they look. Some have options (such as calendars and contact pages), some do not. Pick the one you think best matches what you want your site to do in addition to how it should look. If you select Kubrick there’s a tab for changing the header and title colors.. nice!

Links: Obvious, eh? Add your links and blogrolls here, either under one category or create several of your own. If you use a service that offers OPML links or backups, click on the Import Blogroll and fill in the url or browse for the file if it’s stored on your hard drive.

Manage: Much of what you’ll find here will be used as you begin posting. If you already know what your post Categories will be you can add them now.

Note: when writing a new post, you’ll find a Category box on the right side of the page where you can select which category the post will belong and also an empty box for creating a new category without having to make a separate trip to Manage/Category. All these boxes (discussion, password-protect, slug, etc. are moveable; click and hold to arrange them the way you want.)

Bonus tips:

  1. If your theme has a default “About” page, go to Manage/Pages and edit that sucker. Leaving the default message can make a blog look unprofessional and unfinished, especially when a slew of posts are already published. Remember: Search engines find wordpress.com blogs fast, usually within days and people will be clicking that About link. Make up a big lie if you want, just give them something that doesn’t say Under Construction.
  2. Please edit or remove the default post and the attached comment. You won’t get in trouble, the WordPress.com folks don’t mind at all, I promise.
  3. The Write Post is buggy on occasion. This post has an image in the first paragraph and a [more] link that didn’t work. Published three times, changes would not show up and it finally wouldn’t publish at all and wound up in the Drafts minus some last minute edits. You’ll learn to deal with it by copying post content before saving in case it doesn’t go through and you wind up with a blank post or, as in this case, one where the formatting is all awry. (This rarely happens anymore, but it still does on occasion.. like today.)

That’s it! Your blog is ready for the first post.

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Spellcheck WordPress Posts in Firefox November 17, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet, Wordpress.com.
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Spellbound

Finally, an easy way to spellcheck WordPress.com posts on-the-fly (not to mention wordpress.org–the spellcheck plugins available work great but are bloaty and slow). No more battling MS Word’s weird curly quotes and insane hidden formatting code that destroys the most simple of paragraphs just to perform a basic spell check.

How To Set It Up:

It takes two downloads for this to work. The dictionary to use with Spellbound is located at Dictionaries for Mozilla. Click your favorite language(s) and install. Most Firefox users shouldn’t have to tinker with the install, but just in case, instructions are included on the same page. Firefox will ask for the usual permission, of course.

Then go to the Spellbound install page, enter in the correct information, click and restart Firefox.

Update: The spell-checker works great in Firefox but will not install in Flock and wouldn’t it be nice if the Flock blog post feature had a simple spell-checker (not to mention a way to edit code directly)? Sheesh, the flocksucks.wordpress.com folks just gained another supporter.

How to Use It

To use, type into any input box (such as a Write Post); right-click and a new option “check spelling” will show up. When using for the first time, be sure and click the Language dropdown and select your favorite language, otherwise the spellchecker will indicate no spelling errors.

That’s it!

Cheers to addons that’ll make more blogs look intelligent and cheers to posts that’ll make our grade school teachers proud.

Source: LifeHacker (other nifty tools listed, worth clicking)

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Growing Up Down South … November 15, 2005

Posted by Leita in Life in the Woods, Southern Living.
1 comment so far

…where snapping a gooey wad of Bazooka resulted in a run from the switch or fly swatter, but snapping peas on the front porch was neighborly entertainment.

…where all the grandbabies begged Granny to tell us once more about the first time she wrung a chicken’s neck. (Just a child, her first attempt ended with her mother chasing after the poor hen and its half-foot long neck).

…where Mama fed her children from the kitchen table while Daddy was served at the breakfast table. Even Daddy didn’t eat in the dining room, that was for company. I have no idea why we needed three eating areas.

…where grapes were for jam, scuppernongs for wine and wisteria’s job was testing children for allergic reactions to bee stings.

…where if your family was too proud to produce at least one Bubba, chances are a cousin would marry one.

…or a Yankee, which was a big step up from a Bubba.

…where beachfront homes fell into two categories, small shacks on pilings built to blow away in a hurricane or pre-Civil War antebellums built to last anything Nature blew. Almost.

Soon-to-be Hurricane Gamma Groans Her Way Through the Tropics November 14, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Hurricane, News, Southern Living.
2 comments

…which, according to the National Weather Service, is a stong indication coastal residents should prepare for a dual blow since Gampa shouldn’t be far behind.

Walter Anderson’s Art Finally Getting Attention November 13, 2005

Posted by Leita in Art, Design, Hurricane, Life in the Woods, News, Southern Living.
2 comments

Earlier, I wrote about Mississippi artist Walter Anderson, whose art was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina. I wrote letters, dozens, to the media and art organizations to try and get the word out about their plight but received no replies.Walter Anderson's art - used without permission but with lots of love and respect.

“There are hundreds of pieces of artwork left, and each one needs to be evaluated, treated, and cleaned by a professional conservator. The family will do whatever is necessary to preserve this work. But we’ve lost our homes, we’ve lost our livelihood, and this is expensive work. What’s more, time is short. The longer each peice of work goes without attention, the less we’ll be able to save.”

From: The Walter Anderson family site.

Since then, The Washington Post, NPR and others have featured the Anderson family’s struggle to save his work. The Today Show ran a segment on the family but I can’t find anything about it on the website. Grrr… they’ll get a letter today. John Anderson’s essay “Katrina’s Destruction of Shearwater Pottery” can be found on the family website.

A brief bio on Walter Anderson is here. His wife, Agnes Anderson, wrote a fascinating book “Approaching the Magic Hour,” that can be purchased here.

I won’t stop writing letters and I won’t stop praying for this lovely family and the gifts they’ve given us all.

 

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