Mar. 9, 1891
Aged 81 Years
Mission of Nombre de Dios
Mar. 9, 1891
Aged 81 Years
Mission of Nombre de Dios
I’ve been asked at work to provide weekly tips for the growing number of iPad/iPhone users. You know me . . . First, the idea of spamming my co-workers with email is pretty disgusting and second, why limit the information just to them.
Then it dawned on me that Twitter would be a great vehicle for a tip line. I’ve set up a Twitter feed to share tips, apps and other goodies. There’s also a little Posterous blog for when a screenshot’s necessary to explain something. And, since there are so many others entirely devoted to sharing great ideas about the iThings, I’m frequently pointing to them too. Got a tip of your own? Add it to the conversation!
It looks best in Flipboard (doesn’t everything?) but the iPad’s Twitter app isn’t too shabby either. If you’re an iOS user, I think you’ll find this offers an easy way to put your device to good use without the constant annoyance of email “updates” clogging your inbox.
For those of you who have been using WordPress for some time and are comfortable with the platform, this series will introduce you to some of the new features available to you and show you how you can put them to work in your blog. We’ll look at themes and plugins to see how they can not only improve the look of your site, but make it easier to organize and present your content – especially those oldies but goodies tucked deep in the archives.
Unfortunately, not everything works for everybody. Those of you blogging at WordPress.com have limited choices for themes and few custom plugins. While some of the things discussed in this series won’t work for you, I’ll try to offer an alternative it possible.
Since this will be a series of connected articles, I’m using the Organize Series plugin. It allows me to not only assign posts as part of a series, but to also list the order they should be presented. The plugin will create a little box in each of the series’ posts that serves as a table of contents for the series. I used it recently in the series of articles I did on WeRelate. You can see an example of the series box in this screenshot from one of those articles. As the series grows, the box is updated in each of the posts in the series so if a reader happens to stumble on the third article in the series, she will immediately see that there are a number of articles and how they are organized.
Think of the potential this plugin has for a family history blog. If you are blogging your family history one individual, family or generation at a time, you can use the series plugin to define the relationships. There might be one series for your Smith family and another for the Joneses. You can choose to organize the posts in the order you want or let the plugin add each new post in sequential order.
Once the plugin has been installed and activated, you’ll find the Series box added to your editor screen. To create a series, just type its name in the text box, then click Add. When you have a post that should belong to a series, just select the appropriate series. You can manually number your posts within the series using the Series Part field at the bottom of the box. Don’t know which post this should be? The plugin also added a Series column in your list of posts which shows the series and increment of each post assigned to a series. It also adds a filter option to filter your post by series. Very handy.
Unfortunately, the closest thing available to the WordPress.com user is the category. It will allow you to organize posts – a category for the Smiths and one for the Joneses – and then use the Categories widget in your sidebar to serve as a table of contents to them. When a visitor clicks on a category listed by the Categories widget, WordPress presents a list of the articles assigned that category. And, you can organize your categories in an outline format. For example, you could have a major category for Families and another for Research. The Research category might have sub-categories for Conferences, Sources and Brick Walls while the Families category has sub-categories for each surname you’ve written sketches about. The advantage of this hierarchy is that when you click on one of the major categories in a category list, you are presented with all posts in that category and each of the sub-categories under it. Even if you are using the series plugin, categories are still a very useful organizational tool.
When you add a new category, notice the Parent option in the category editor. Here’s where you select the major category – or Parent – for the category you are creating. Yes, it’s that easy! Your new category will appear indented under its parent category.
Categories are often used in more complex themes to position content within the theme’s framework. A good example of this is the Florida National Guard’s new home page. One category feeds content to the rotating slideshow at the top of the screen and another populates the story slider immediately below it. A major category – Jobs – pulls in the most recently added vacancy announcements from all of its sub-categories. A bit closer to home, you’ll see much the same thing at work at Family Search’s Tech Tips site. While these design features may be overkill for most genea-bloggers, they could be put to good use by genealogical and historical societies looking for an affordable site management option that will grow with them.
Hopefully, this first episode in my WordPress Dressed Up series has given you a taste of the opportunities WordPress offers us genea-bloggers. We’re just getting started. There’s a lot more WordPress goodness ahead!
Combine this with a Gorillapod and you’re ready to capture some great iPhone video.
The map looks great on my Touch, but what blew me away was looking at one of the short guides I’ve published on Scribd. This guide was originally designed in the Pages word processing app using a landscape orientation with several screen shots to support the text. In Float, all the text had been reformatted to fit the small screen and the images designed to fill as much screen room as possible. And, changing the orientation of the device quickly reformatted the text to fill the screen in the new orientation. I was delighted to see how good it looked on the little screen.
Right now Float not only offers access to the huge archive of documents hosted at Scribd, but also content from an impressive collection of publications along with both your Twitter and Facebook feeds. There’s a bookmarklet you can add to your browser’s bookmarks bar to quickly save content you find interesting. I will be interested in their plans for the subscription service – especially if it includes sharing profits with personal publishers using the Scribd platform. I love the idea of a flat fee giving me access to a huge library of books, articles and other interesting content. I would also love to see a bit of monetary return for some of my writing efforts. This model could be something that supports both those wishes.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t have an iPhone/Touch, you can take a look at the Float desktop via Scribd. In the banner ad about Float at the top of the Scribd home page, click the Learn More button to get set up in the desktop. There are iPad and Android versions planned for release this fall. Here’s a look at that same map in the desktop version.
I will never complain about migrating a blog site again. Or at least until next week.
At work we are in the final stages of migrating our public site from a very expensive .NET content management system to WordPress. By migrating, I don’t mean exporting from the one platform and importing to the other. OH, NO! This migration was a total copy and paste effort. Now you see why things have been so quiet here at the Gazette lately. For the last six weeks my co-worker and I have been moving content, images and documents one by one into WordPress.
But, the toughest part of the migration was convincing our staff to use WordPress. How could something that costs nothing be an improvement over this big, expensive system we already have? It was the one-click update that finally sold them. Like many organizations today, we’re doing more work with fewer people. The old system required planning, coordination and lots of effort across several sections for each upgrade. WordPress means the two of us can manage most of the maintenance ourselves.
Our content managers are already seeing the advantages WordPress offers them. The public affairs staff is delighted with the ways it handles media and re-purposes content. As they get more comfortable with the platform, they’ll be even more impressed. We are already finding that it will lighten our tech support load too.
But, what about the site itself? We still need to work on that glaring orange banner ad and a bunch of little details, but all-in-all we’re quite happy with the results. I thought I knew a lot about WordPress, but we bloggers just barely scratch the surface of its functionality. I continue to find new and amazing things I can do with it. And, if WordPress doesn’t do it, chances are very good someone’s built a plugin that will.
David, my co-worker, is responsible for the beautiful design. My job is construction.
I hope you’ll stop by Florida Guard Online and take a look for yourself.
Yeah, this is all WordPress!
This is the opening page from my current project – a collection of family stories from my childhood. The page was created using iWork’s Pages [Mac & iOS - $19.99 & $9.99] in layout mode. The photo frame is one of the standard frames available in iWork apps. The script title and the stylized leaves are from paislee press via Oscraps.com. Liz’s minimalist designs add style to the page while allowing the story to remain the focus.
Actually, about the only thing it has in common with a digital frame is the price. The Sony Dash is described as a “Personal Internet Viewer” and appears to be a cross between a digital camera and a tablet. It’s designed to sit on a table or counter and provide quick access to time, weather, news, music, video and photos. It’s wi-fi enabled so you can display photos from your online sharing platform or from a USB memory stick. And, right now you can get one at Amazon’s Dealz Galore for $89.50. That’s less than half price!