I signed up for a WordPress.com blog the other day. Why open another blog? Three reasons: 1. Because itís there and I always try to test web services or software as part of my work. I also needed the API key for Akismet, an anti-spam plugin I just installed; 2. Iíve long wanted a WordPress.com account and in fact checked daily for my Golden Ticket to this service for more than a month; and 3. I want to separate my very personal stuff from my main blog. In short, Iíll be blogging for my family and friends there. After using it for more than a day, I can say that the WordPress.com interface (using WordPress MU) is the best one around. Most of the features will be included in the coming WordPress release.
Why limit yourself to a badge to display your latest photos in Flickr when you can integrate the photos into an image gallery in your blog? If you use WordPress, you can use the FAlbum plugin to do this. Download the plugin from the Random Byte site and upload the files into your WordPress plugins directory.
Follow the instructions listed here, log into your WordPress site using the level-10 account (admin, if you haven’t changed it) and then activate the plugin. An FAlbum options tab will appear in your plugins page where you can specify the options.
What’s good about the plugin is that it caches data so that your gallery will still be available even if Flickr is down. If you want to check the plugin’s capabilities, visit my site’s photo gallery by clicking on the Photos link in the header.
I’ve been offering to help officemates who wanted to start their own personal websites. A couple are already blogging using either Friendster or Multiply. While Friendster is backed by an excellent blogging platform – TypePad from MoveableType – the address it offers its users is so long you can’t recite it in one breath.
Superbalita reporter Joseph Tubilan was the first to approach me for help. I helped him open an account with Blogsome but he wanted more customization with the WordPress theme and I couldn’t find a way to FTP theme files to his Blogsome account.
I told him to open a PHP/MySQL account with www.100webspace.com. He opened one and I installed WordPress for him. 100Webspace, however, displays its banner ads on top of your pages and it sometimes gets in the way of the blog design.
If you hold a gun to my head demanding that I write a PHP code to print “Hello World” without searching the web for hints, I’d be dead in a minute. I do not know how to program – in any computer language. If the technology world were J.K. Rowling’s universe, I’d be a squib.
And yet I was able to install and deploy various content management systems for my Cybercafe experiments, personal sites as well as sites of my friends. I was also able to deploy an online classroom for participants of both my and my wife’s lectures as well as classes under Newsletter Solutions. I was also able to deploy a newsroom intranet system (using a discarded PC) with a portal, an online news style guide and a searchable database of new sources.
I was able to do all that because I use open source scripts.
After I changed themes early today, Iíve been checking blogs and websites in an effort to find a fix for my new designís bug Ė its inability to be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.
Until this afternoon Ė Explorer displayed only one column of the two-column sidebar. The third column was displayed under the second bar. I took all my sidebar elements out and placed it back again one by one Ė shoutbox, recent comments script, buttons etc. and found that I deleted one unordered list closing tag. After fixing this, Explorer finally rendered the homepage design properly. And then I checked the individual page for the posts Ė its layout was horribly wrong under Explorer.
Thanks to Yugaís tip below, I decided to look for the code that defined the width of the sidebar and changed it from 320px to 310px. That fixed everything Ė the homepage and the individual item pages.
The excellent i.ph blog service is now free. I found the news via Yugatech and J Spot. The free account offers users a 12-megabyte (MB) disk space and a 100mb (is this monthly?) bandwidth Ė which is good enough for a personal blog.
If youíre still using a Blogger or a Friendster account, consider transferring your blog to i.ph. Yes, i.ph offers a smaller space but if you only use it for text and host your photos in free providers like Photobucket, its free account is more than enough for you. I.ph uses a better blog engine than Blogger and it offers a shorter web address (yourname.i.ph) than Friendster.
I.ph also offers beautiful templates and a lot of customization options through a point and click interface Ė meaning you donít have to worry about understanding codes to edit your site’s design. Iíve transferred my sonís site to i.ph from Blogspot.
I was finally able to install WordPress for a site I help manage – PFMCPI — The Philippine Federation of Married Catholic Priests, Inc. The site used to run on a Serendipity installation. I think Serendipity is the better blog script. My previous Cybercafe Experiments site used Serendipity. In PFMCPI’s case, however, WordPress seemed the better option. It’s posting through mail facility and recent posts plugin are easy to set up. Posting through mail is important for mobile phone blogging. This also allows married priests to post articles to the site using an interface they are already familiar with — their mail software.