Notes from the past…


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Continuing website management

I have added a RESOURCES page. Here I have listed all the software that I use to both conduct my genealogical research and manage this website. This is what works for me!

WordPress is what I use as my CMS (Content Management System- my website) and I have added a bunch of plugins that help my site to run smoothly and look better. When I visit someone’s website, I’ll occasionally see something about the site that I really like and say to myself, “How’d they do that?”

Well, this is “how I did that”!

images2 I have also recently purchased and downloaded a pdf book, Digging Into WordPress. If you use WordPress, then you love WordPress! It’s a simple as that. And I do love WordPress, so much so that I really wanna know what makes it tick. As I’ve said before, I know enough HTML and CSS to get by on, but WordPress is created using PHP, which is a scripting language that I know absolutely nothing about. I have been considering purchasing this book for some time now, but I was really intimidated by the thought of trying to wade through all that PHP. I was afraid that the book would be too technical for me. But I finally took the plunge and I am pleased to say that, after having gone through about 50 pages, I have found the book to be quite readable and understandable. I have already learned quite a bit about how to manage and improve my WordPress site. At $27 for the 434-page pdf file, I think it is an excellent buy!


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More about that RSS feed solution

On Thursday I discussed the problem that I was having with my RSS feed, that I could only see a summary of the post, the first few lines, and not the entire post in my Google Reader. After a lot of research online and some helpful comments by folks who subscribe to my feed, this is what I figured out:

  1. WordPress, my blogging platform, contains a setting where an RSS feed can be set to full text or summary, your choice. This I already knew and mine was set to full text.
  2. Mozilla Firefox, the web browser that I use, apparently automatically cuts off the feed for me only. It is visible in its entirety to everyone else.
  3. If I use FeedBurner to deliver my content, then it will appear as a full text feed to me.

Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe not…

After double-checking my WordPress settings, the feed was still truncated. Fine. All I needed to do was to jog over to FeedBurner and burn my feed there.

Not so simple.

FeedBurner promptly told me that the coding for the feed was incorrect. Uh oh, now what? I know enough HTML and CSS to do some basic stuff and even do some simple changes to a WordPress or Blogger template, but to redo the php coding… way outa my league! (Note to self: time to read up on php).

After a bit of hair-pulling and a few choice expletive deletives, it suddenly occurred to me: change WordPress themes.Duh02

So it was back to my theme directory to find one that would create a proper feed to make FeedBurner happy. (Of note, the original feed was picked up just fine by Google Reader, but not by Google-owned FeedBurner. Hmmmmm…)

Many theme changes and test postings created to check the feed later, I finally settled on this current theme, Very Plain Text.

Then I noticed that my postings weren’t showing up on my Facebook profile. Since the feed had changed, I had to update the Wordbook settings. Then I added a message on Facebook, so everyone would know to re-subscribe to my feeds.

What did I learn from all of this? The photo says it all…


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Facelift time!

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I have been pretty busy the past few days, making some major changes to this site.  A clean, “minimalist” new theme to start. I’m a neat-freak at heart, and sometimes I just have a need to send everything to Goodwill, clear the clutter and enjoy the empty space. The new theme is certainly crisp and clear!

I’m also trying to get ready for the arrival of WordPress 3.0, which is rumored to be coming any day now. From what I have read, the improvements sound pretty exciting! I don’t want a theme with a lot of “extra baggage”, like too many colors and graphics, standing in the way of progress!

Remember all my babbling about what I wanted to do with my immense collection of genealogical images? Well, believe it or not, I’m now back at Flickr! I guess I just wasn’t totally satisfied with Picasa Web Albums. I’m really finicky sometimes, what can I say? Last summer I signed up with Flickr and started uploading my images and then changed my mind again… Anyway, I still have 5 months of paid subscription to Flickr, so… It also occurred to me that Flickr seems to be a much more popular place to house ones’ pix. I really like their sets/collections system, too.

And if I’m not using Picasa Web Albums anymore, then I need a new plugin for the images that I want to display on this site. A Flickr plugin. I tried several gadgets that I found in the WordPress Plugin Directory and after installing, activating, playing with, not liking, de-activating and then deleting them all, I finally settled on Brainbits Fickr Gallery. A very nice way to display a Flickr Photostream as well as the photosets. You can view it on my Welcome page.

A few more behind-the-scenes tune-ups and I’m about ready to get back to GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH. But, oh, how I do love to tinker with my site… :)