Managing Your Digital Life

I just thought I would pass along to all of you a great new website dedicated to the way all live now. The Managing Your Digital Life Podcast & Blog is a great destination for information on how to deal with all the electronic stuff you accumulate during your daily life. The folks there, like Scott Bourne and Andy Ihnatko, answer questions like: What sort of hard drive should I buy? How do I create a backup plan? What’s the difference between backup and archive?

They will provide tips, tricks, news and reviews relevant to the most up-to-date storage, backup and archiving systems. The goal is to help you take care of, manage, access and safely store/backup all your precious homework assignments, videos, photos, databases, music files and more.

Managing Your Digital Life is a highly recommended site, so check them out!

My Digital Life

I just thought I would pass along to all of you a great new website dedicated to the way all live now. The Managing Your Digital Life Podcast & Blog is a great destination for information on how to deal with all the electronic stuff you accumulate during your daily life. The folks there, like Scott Bourne and Andy Ihnatko, answer questions like: What sort of hard drive should I buy? How do I create a backup plan? What’s the difference between backup and archive?

They will provide tips, tricks, news and reviews relevant to the most up-to-date storage, backup and archiving systems. The goal is to help you take care of, manage, access and safely store/backup all your precious homework assignments, videos, photos, databases, music files and more.

Managing Your Digital Life is a highly recommended site, so check them out!

Building A WordPress Blog People Want To Read

building_a_wordpress_blogBuilding A WordPress Blog People Want To Read by Scott McNulty is a new book on setting up and running a successful blog. McNulty has written an easy to understand and at times amusing introduction to getting started with what is currently one of the most popular social media platforms.

Both well written and well illustrated, the book covers everything from downloading and installing the software, to setting up the database, defining system parameters, and selecting a template. What is really excellent about these explanations is that McNulty tells you not only what are the best choices, but what impact those choices will have on your blog in the future. There are many selections you can make when setting up a new WordPress installation that can seriously affect how your blog operates in a year or two when it is getting lots of hits, and McNulty helps you to make well informed decisions.

While the book was written based on version 2.6 of the WordPress software and version 2.7 has now been released, there is very little other than administrative interface that does not apply. Most of the setup choices and database decisions are still the same. It would be great to see a physical or on-line update of the book for WordPress version 2.7, but I think that is just me being greedy.
Continue reading “Building A WordPress Blog People Want To Read”

WordPress Theme Design

WordPress Theme Design by Tessa Blakeley Silver is a slim book that is packed with information. Subtitled “A complete guide to creating professional WordPress themes”, it is amazing how much the book lives up to its billing. What makes this book so unique and valuable is that it is not a syntax guide or how-to for dummies, it is instead a step by step design tutorial.

The author concentrates on the why’s and wherefores of WordPress site design instead of getting bogged down in the minutia of every single menu possibility or syntax statement. For those looking for a thorough dictionary of all the WordPress programming codex, you need to look elsewhere. While the most commonly used commands are covered, the syntax is not gone into in detail and there are many functions left out. That type of reference is best left to books like WordPress Complete or the online help.

What Silver does in this book is start with the initial conceptualization of a site and then follow it all the way through to the end. From the very beginning with back-of-the-napkin sketches, this book makes it clear that the real heavy lifting of website design work is in deciding what you want the site to do. It is only after your decide what the site should do and how you want that presented that you can begin to program your website and actually get it to function.

Chapters on theme development, debugging, plug-ins and dynamic content go beyond the basics of WordPress to bring a full image to your web design. By showing how all of these features are first planned and then implemented, the author provides a great blueprint for the actual successful creation of a functioning site.

While the book was written before version 2.7 of WordPress was released, there is not too much that doesn’t apply across versions. Mostly this is because more emphasis is placed on the design than the technical details of syntax. Of course that is also the books one weaknesses. You will not want this to be your only WordPress reference. You will either want to avail yourself often of the online help, or you will need a more technical companion, such as the aforementioned WordPress Complete.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. If you need to create a truly custom WordPress site, and especially if you want to create more than one, you need a guidebook like this to blaze the trail.

System Note – WordPress Upgrade

Just a brief system note that I have upgraded this blog to WordPress version 2.6. Not a huge difference that readers will see, but some good stuff behind the scenes for people like me who administer blogs. If you are a blog owner running WordPress, you owe it to yourself to check out the new version 2.6 and what it has to offer such as theme previews, WIKI style revision tracking, and separation of enabled and disabled plugins. WordPress has also started some initial development with Google’s Gears technology to implement a “Local Server” to cache or keep a copy of commonly-used Javascript and CSS files on your computer.

A warning – back up your site before doing this or any other upgrade. I have heard of a few people having problems with this upgrade. Most of those issues involve some cookie problems and perhaps Internet Explorer’s cache. I did not have any of those issues, but be forewarned and make sure you have a good backup.

Anyway, now back to our regularly scheduled program. And please let me know your experiences with this upgrade, both from a reader and a blogger viewpoint!