How to use WordPress to run a magazine, news website

WordPress is a great tool for online writers. It’s simple and yet is such a pleasure to use. Yes, there are things that need to be improved but WordPress being an open source software, you can expect continuous improvements on it by the community.

The ease by which sites can be created and run through blogging software like WordPress allow writers previously without publishers to print their works online. The problem with using a blogging software to manage your website, however, is that the tool defines the character of your site.

Once in a while, I see blogs that seem better off presented as online magazines or news websites rather than as blogs.

WordPress, however, is an extensible website content management system that can be used to run magazine-type websites. Here are steps I took to turn this online magazine on Cebu from a blog into its current presentation. I’m still working on it, though, so you might encounter issues. (Update Jan. 9, 2008: I have redesigned the site. It’s now using an even better theme that I’m still working on. I will be releasing this theme soon.)

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FEAC2006: technical notes

Since last year, I have been actively moving files that I need to access anywhere online, in an experiment to “make the network my computer.” This served me well during the recent Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference in Manila.

The greatest benefit is that the files I needed for things I was working on was accessible whichever computer I was using. I host all my files with, the best online drive I’ve tried so far. Streamload is a close second and I use it for backup.

I used one of the newsroom’s laptops in the conference and it was a plain vanilla installation. In a few steps, however, I turned it’s Firefox into the browser that I use at home and at the office. When I used one of the laptops set up by the organizers at the conference hall, I was also able to turn it into my familiar Firefox installation (after they installed Firefox): with the same bookmarks and bookmarks toolbar. I did this using Foxmarks, a Firefox bookmarks synchronizer. Foxmarks synchronizes all your bookmarks into a central server, so you essentially have the same set of bookmarks and bookmarks toolbar for each browser that uses your account.

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Color code your tasks using The Printable CEO as guide

David Seah’s printable CEO is an excellent guide on which tasks to tackle first and which distractions to deal with later. It lists various answers to the question: When is something worth doing? The answers are color coded and come with points, ranked based on their importance to your goals. Seah uses it to track his tasks using a printable progress chart that he fills up.

I use Seah’s printable CEO as guide but I do not keep track of the scores of my tasks. Instead, I use it as guide on which tasks to perform first. I organize tasks by topics and use color code, based on the printable CEO, to prioritize.

I then implemented this in BackPackIt using the Firefox extension Xinha Here, which launches a visual HTML editor for any text entry area (screenshots below). I edited the main page of my free BackPackIt account and used it as dashboard. For the body text, I entered my version of The Printable CEO and used color coding.

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My other PC is a Mac, sort of

After reading the usual excellent piece by tech journalist Chin Wong “My other PC is a Mac,” I found this instruction on how to install Mac OS X natively on a PC. I showed the instructions to newsroom technical assistant Dongdong Ygay and a day or two later voila – he turned a Celeron 2.5 GHz on an Asus P4GE-MX motherboard with 256MB RAM into a Mac OS X machine:


After start-up, the Mac PC was able to detect our office’s local area network. When Dongdong entered the web proxy settings, the Mac PC was able to connect to the Internet without any hitches. Check the menage-a-trois of operating systems: the Mac OS X image was downloaded using a Windows PC, transferred into a new hard disk using an Ubuntu live CD and then the PC started its new life as a Mac OS X unit.