The WordPress Process: to WordPress.Com We Go

WordPress.Com is awesome
WordPress.Com is awesome

The WordPress Process is a series of posts at Newsome.Org, documenting my forced march from the comfort of Blogger to the initially uncharted territories of WordPress.  Parts 1 & 2 are here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, and Part 6 is here.

Newsome.Org (formerly and sometimes currently known as Rancho DeNada) has lived a gypsy’s life.  When I started blogging (actually no one knew about blogging then; it was just “Latest News”), I published content via a Perl script.  It seems antiquated now, but it worked pretty well.  Then I began using Blogger’s publishing platform, via the now-discontinued FTP publishing feature.  My blog was hosted on my web server, but I could use Blogger’s front-end to manage content.

When FTP publishing was no longer available, I made the move to WordPress.  Again, hosted on my web server.  It was sort of bumpy, as noted in Parts 1-6, but I got it done.

Near the end of last year, it dawned on me that (a) I might need a new tractor this year and (b) for that to happen while staying married meant I had to cut out some expenses.  So I did.  One of them was my web server.  I needed a mighty and dedicated web server back in the glory days of ACCBoards.Com, but I don’t need it anymore, with the decline of the message boards and the vast improvements to content management platforms.  So, I decided to move Newsome.Org to WordPress.Com.  What this means, in effect is:

1. My blog is hosted at and by WordPress.Com;
2. WordPress handles all the software updates: and
3. There are a few limitations on how I manage pages and content.

This was probably the best blog-related decision I’ve ever made.  For one, I don’t have to worry about updating WordPress.  They do all that.  Two, media handling is very easy, often requiring nothing more than a URL or shortcode.  Three, it is a lot cheaper.  I need some storage and the ability to stream media files, so I pay for the $100/year upgrade bundle– less than half my prior monthly cost.  I could go into a lot of detail, but the point is that managing my web site is much easier and much less expensive.  Sure, I can’t install certain plug-ins, and I can’t install any theme I want.  But you know what?  I don’t need to.  I don’t miss them at all.

I had a lot of content, and the import process was very easy and mostly successful.  Because of my blog’s long history and many prior platforms (and resulting scattered media files, etc.), some of my pictures weren’t imported correctly.  I sent a request for help, and got it quickly and effectively (Valerie is tech support awesomeness).  After all was done, I still had to manually go back and revise some internal links, but that was because some of my early blog posts were in .shtml (because of all the server side includes I used to hack and use).  It took a few nights, but soon enough I was up and running.

And it is great.  So much less stressful.  It’s hard to explain, but blogging just seems easier and more fun.  In sum, if you have a blog or want a blog, there is no good reason not to host it at WordPress.Com.  There are plans ranging from free to enterprise.

One limitation of WordPress.Com over my former web server is that I can’t just upload whatever pages I want.  Native JavaScript isn’t supported either (content from certain approved sources can be used via shortcodes).  This is the reason for all the scrambling I did last month to find a new home for The Home Place, my internet portal.  I ended up hosting it at Amazon via S3.  Here’s the new link.  Amazon S3 (and Glacier) are unbelievably cheap.  Look for a tutorial on those shortly.

Giving the WordPress iPad App Another Spin

As I noted earlier, the increasing frequency of Parallels/Windows crashes and the utter lack of any decent Mac blogging apps have led me back to the native WordPress blog editor. With a few good plugins, I think the web-based desktop editor may work.

That leaves mobile. Historically, I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by the mobile WordPress app. But like the web-based editor, it has been steadily improving.

The lack of plugins, especially Post Snippets, is a drag. Adding links has gotten easier, but it’s never going to be really easy on a tablet.

Images are still hard.


I like the preview feature, particularly since you never know what a mobile blog post is going to look like.

All in all, it’s good enough. And that’s good enough for me.

Post Snippets: A Mandatory WordPress Plugin

Now that I have been once again foiled in my attempts to find a decent Mac blogging app, I am, once again, considering using the native WordPress front-end.  It’s still not great, but it seems to be improving at a steady pace.

Today, I came across a fantastic plug-in that may be the thing that makes the WordPress front-end good enough.  Post Snippits.  A plugin that will save you a ton of time and effort.

One of the things I do to make my blogging more efficient is create snippets of text or code that I use over and over.

For example, I like to have a snippet that lets me add a YouTube video by simply filling in the video’s ID number.  Create a snippet via Post Snippets’ settings, click on the Post Snippets icon in the post editor…


and the following beautifully simple and easy box appears.

Add the video ID, click Insert and…



I also created a snippet that lets me create an Amazon Affiliates link to a recommended record.

Wrinkle Neck Mules – Apprentice to Ghosts is available via immediate download at Amazon.  Buy this great record now.

With a little effort, you can automate a lot of stuff this way.  It actually works better than the similar feature in Live Writer.

And that is a promising development.

WordPress for iOS 2.6.4 Released

After I pooped all over the WordPress app the other night, I was pleased to see that an update was released today.

Version 2.6.4 allegedly fixes some bugs.  That’s good

It is now easy enough to insert, if not place, images.  It is still a huge pain to insert links.   My best tip here- use a URL shortener to save some typing.  For those like me who keep forgetting how to do links in the app, type http:  and the form will pop up.

The next thing WordPress should do is allow for a default URL shortener to be set, so all you have to do in the link URL form is type the shortened link code.  That would save a ton of time.

I wrote this post on my iPhone, and it wasn’t a completely horrible experience.  Let’s see how it turns out.

What WordPress should do is opt for a bookmarket equivalent, with a browser-based implementation of the “Press This” app that renders a minimal, but usable, web-based editor.

Just to see if I can do it, here’s a random image.

So how’d it do?

Update:  It did OK.  I like two spaces between sentences, and those didn’t make it.  But other than that and a few small screen related typos, the post came out pretty good.

Live Writer Beta + WordPress 3.0 = Jumbled Mess (for Now)

NOTE: This blog post is going to be all jumbled up.  I am trying to show the Live Writer developers a problem that exists with the current beta and WordPress 3.o

I love Live Writer.  I’m even willing to learn to live with the Ribbon in the beta version.  I love WordPress, and find 3.0 to be a nice advance of the platform.

But, at least for now, the Live Writer beta and WordPress 3.0 do not play well together.  The problem is that the photo or other graphic layout (location, placement, etc.) created in Live Writer does not make the trip through WordPress 3.0 and onto the applicable blog page.

Here are some examples, using some random screen caps.


There’s a screen cap of my Facebook profile.  I am a Go Dog Go-ocrat, because I think just about every single problem we face in society originates from the moment the first person decided it was really important to differentiate himself from all the other people.  In other words, once dogs start driving cars, it’s all over.  More importantly for purposes of this post, that graphic is supposed to be above this paragraph.

Here’s a picture of a book I just read.  I liked it.  That graphic is supposed to be below this paragraph.


For some reason, the alignment and other information is getting lost between placement in live writer and publishing to a WordPress 3.0 blog.  When I look at the published and jumbled post under the WordPress dashboard, the graphics appear to have no placement information associated with them.  By that I mean nothing is shown under the graphic, not even “None.”  That graphic is supposed to be under this paragraph.  None of these images should have words beside them.


I suspect that this problem has to do with the photo setting “Inherit from Blog” in Live Writer.  It may be that you need to specifically set the information for each photo or graphic to “None” by double clicking on the image and selecting the second choice under Picture Tools.  Let’s see if that helps.


Nope.  It’s still a mess.

Live Writer and WordPress are two of the three applications (along with Google Reader) that I use the most.  I’m sure this will get fixed.

I’m just doing my part to try and help.

Backing Up and Upgrading Your WordPress Installation

This is a new installment of my The WordPress Process series, documenting my forced march from the comfort of Blogger to the uncharted territories of WordPress.  Parts 1 & 2 are here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, and Part 6 is here.

image As everyone knows, WordPress 3.0 was released this week.  This morning, I upgraded my WordPress installation (which uses Woothemes’ excellent Canvas theme), easily and without a hitch.  Here’s how I did it.

First, backup your blog.  There are about a million ways to do this.  Most ways are free and hard.  So I went with not free and very easy: I paid $45.00 for Backup Buddy.  Backup Buddy looks impressive, and more importantly, my pals over at WordPress Tavern really like it.  I can confirm that installation and activation is a breeze and a full backup takes just a few minutes, even using the slower compatibility mode.  Obviously, you never really know if a backup system works until you have to restore lost content, but Backup Buddy looks like a screaming bargain at $45.00.  The installation, activation and backup process could not be any easier.

After that, upgrading was a simple as clicking the “Update Automatically” button on the WordPress Dashboard.


Wpveda has a good  walk-through.

Note that the WordPress upgrade takes a little while.  So don’t panic if the screen remains blank for a while.  That is normal.

All in all, it took about a half hour to backup and upgrade my WordPress installation.  So far, it works great.

Later I’ll cover the new features.  I’ll also try to answer any questions you have about the process in the Comments.

WordPress & iPad: a Pretty Good Combo

One of the first iPad apps I downloaded was the new, iPad optimized version of WordPress.  While only time and blog posts will tell how often I do it, I can tell you that it is very easy to configure and use the WordPress app on an iPad.

Photos and links will continue to be a problem, until someone comes up with a better way to create links on an iPad.  The photo insert tool within the app seems to be pretty straight forward, but since the iPad doesn’t have a camera, you’d have to import photos to use them.  I suppose I should try a screen cap.

I added a screen cap of the app interface, and sadly it seems the app still adds photos to the end of a post, and only then when published. I suspect it will also be sideways (it was, and I couldn’t even fix it with Live Writer).

I also had a mild lockup, that required me to close and reopen the app. This happens after previewing a post, and seems to be caused by the categories and tags overlapping the text box. I’ll attempt another screen cap.

It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. And I suspect it will only get better.


The interface, including the keyboard, works well.  Photos
are still a huge issue, as they get added to the end of the post,
sideways and far too big (I resized these via Live Writer).


Notice the jumbled words.  The categories and tags are
on top of the text box.