Hyperactive

Oh good, I’ve got a little time before I begin my charity work, so there is just time to update you about yesterday.

Yesterday was a productive day. Not only am I making progress on my application, but I also managed to contribute three WordPress posts during the course of the day.

Well, actually, I deserve extra points, because I wrote four. But the last one, I wrote as a page, not a post. I use pages very occasionally on my site, mainly for things like biographies. Consequently, I don’t write them often, and most of them date from the first few months of the blog.

But, you see, a strange thing happened last weekend. Somebody wrote something, and someone else then commented. But rather than debating the beef they had with the original contribution, they decided to criticise the person’s nationality instead. Something that’s never before happened, and something which I quite clearly consider to be racist.

So, not only did I kick that person off the blog, I decided yesterday to write a short page, which explicity tells users how I expect them to behave, if they want to contribute to my site. I won’t bore you with the link – it is up on the menu, if you’re really interested – but if you know me, you can probably guess what it says, word for word.

I can’t believe I felt compelled to write it. I mean, is this stuff not obvious? Is it not obvious what things are important, and what things mean nothing?* I can’t tell you just how fucked off I am to have to act as a policeman on what is supposed to be a sensible, grown-up blog site.

* rhetorical

Saving Graces

The last few days, several bloggers have mentioned the subject of Sponsored Posts. At first, I wondered what they were on about. Then, I happened to look at a blog in the Reader and saw, indeed, that the next post on the screen was by somebody I’d never heard of. In quite indistinguishable text, it said “sponsored post”. So I “got” what was happening.

I read posts almost exclusively through the notifications window. That little bell in the top-right of the screen. When somebody – free or not – posts something new, it tags a notification onto that list.

That list does not contain anything sponsored.

If you have a free plan, when you publish a post, a link to your post appears in my list. Just like it always did.

And, when I follow the link in my notification, it takes me straight to your post. None of this sponsored rubbish. I’d only see Sponsored Posts if I went to the front page of your blog and then manually navigated to your post. I am unlikely to use the site in that way.

Okay, this does mean that somebody could find your blog from a Google search, and would get all this Sponsored Post crap, but be honest – who is more likely to read your post? a passer-by, or me?

I Hear You

The other day, I was reading a poem by Victoria Stuart. I noticed on the page that she added a link so we could hear her reading the poem. Now, it could be that she has been doing that forever, but the other night was the first time I noticed.

“What a good idea”, I thought, and made a note that I should investigate one day. I know we can upload MP3 audio to our Media Library, but that seems a sure-fire way of eating up our allocated space.

Wednesday I finally did a bit of investigation. I quite quickly found a site, called SpeakPipe, which allowed me to create a free account. It has its restrictions – the longest any one recording can be is 90s, and the size of all my messages combined could not exceed 100MB. Those restrictions are a bit Apples and Oranges, but my estimate of disk usage was about 1MB/minute. So I’m hoping I get about 100 minutes of free storage. I’ll have to recycle stuff every few months, but I can live with those constraints.

So, as well as publishing my (poetry) contribution to Fandango’s prompt yesterday, I also spoke it into the mic and put a link to the audio into the post. (I only figured this out partway through the day, so the audio appeared several hours after the original post.) If you’re interested, I also recorded the greeting below:

I might do this for some of my future poems – 90s should be easily long enough for a poem.

So, you can go back and listen to the poem, instead of reading it, if the fancy takes you.

But I’m not finished yet. The site also had a “voicemail” function, where you can leave a voice message for me. I presume there is a 90s constraint there, too. So, if anybody has anything they want to say to me, go for it! (just so long as it is short). The link is in my Contact Form, or here. It asks you to supply a name and an email, but that’s just so I can see who sent it. You don’t need to login or anything.

Proof-Reading

Yay!

Anybody who’s followed me for a while, knows that I prefer listening to people’s posts over looking at them. I worked out how I can use my browser to do that, and most of the time, it works a treat.

The one area where it didn’t work was proof-reading my own posts, before I put them live. I guess the editor, and the various Preview screens, are too complicated for the browser to decypher. To proofread my own posts, I had to publish them, load up my “live” site (which the browser can decypher), and do all my proofreading in the few minutes (hopefully) before anybody read the post.

Yesterday, I figured out how to do it.

I publish the post, but with visibility = “private”.

Then, I proof-read the post. I can take my time. I can go have a coffee, or breakfast. I can listen to the post as many times as I want, because, just for me, the post is already live.

When I’m finally happy with the post, the very last thing I do is to flip the switch from “private” to “public”.

This plan will word for everything I publish, there and then. It won’t work for scheduled posts, unless I am watching them. But that kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

But for anything we publish “live”, this is a good plan for getting rid of those annoying mistakes, before anybody else sees them.

The Award for Really Superlative Efforts

Reading responses to Fandango’s Provocative Question yesterday, it has become apparent that several bloggers do indeed enjoy awards.

Therefore I have decided to inaugurate a new award of my own. I am going to call it Mister Bump’s Award for Really Superlative Efforts. Because it’s not where you end up that counts, it’s the effort you put in to get there.

I do, however, realise that this is something of a mouthful, so I will probably refer to it by its acronym instead, ARSE.

While I will, of course, be on the lookout for outstanding blogs, you should be aware that I will not give up my ARSE lightly.

So watch out, dear reader, here I come! And, by the way, if you think your blog comes up to scratch (my ARSE), and you would like a piece of my ARSE, please leave a comment below. Your blog will be entered into a draw and at 5PM on 31st December, 2020, all entries will be thrown away.

Exploits

I also wrote this post to satisfy Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), of 4 October, 2020, laugh.

Would you like to hear what I’ve been up to?

Before I was ill, I rented some space on the web. It hosted my business’s site, a personal site and all my emails. After I closed the company, I kept the rental up – I still use my email and keep a small personal site there. But I don’t use the rental space to anywhere near the extent that I used to.

So, just for a laugh, this morning I installed WordPress in my rental space.

The core WordPress app is built by wordpress.org. It is free to all. You can install any number of themes and plug-ins.

wordpress.com is a hosting service. They take the core package and add various bells and whistles onto it, then sell it to us. They restrict what themes we can use, whether we can use plug-ins etc.

I wanted to install the core package for myself, just to see the difference between the two offerings. So now I can look at them at my leisure.

I saw some things immediately.

All site administration of the core site (.org) is via /wp-admin. I used to think this was an “old” interface, but it is the only way of interacting with the core app. All the screens we use to view media, posts, settings are some of the bells and whistles added by .com.

The .org site doesn’t come with some of the plug-ins we take for granted. Akismet and Jetpack are the two I noticed so far. (Jetpack is actually written by the .com guys). I mean, you can install them both yourself – not difficult, but not done for you.

As for Themes, I just used the same theme on my new install (Twenty Sixteen). When I customized it, I noticed that .com had more widgets available. More bells and whistles.

One thing which did strike me when I was looking at the plug-ins:

I’m not part of this classic vs block argument. I’ve been happily using blocks since I started so I’m not affected. But the first thing I noticed on .org was that there is a plug-in called “classic editor”. Because I never used the classic, I don’t know exactly what this plug-in is, but the name registered.


Another reasons for installing my own WordPress was that I might one day go that route myself. To do that, I wanted to be sure that .com users could still like and comment without having to log in again. The jury’s still out, although there is a JetPack setting which makes it sound possible somehow.

But for all you people hating .com for removing the classic editor, maybe self-hosting might offer some path to still remain a part of the community, but to use the editor you like?

Searching for Images

On the WordPress web site

I got fed up the other day, I was wanting to find a graphic to answer a particular prompt. I’d have first loaded the graphic a year ago, so it went way, way back in the library.

As I scrolled through the weeks and months, I thought, there must be a better way, and I saw the 🔎 symbol above my library..

Search on what?, I wondered. So, I contacted WordPress. It turns out that when you add in an image, there are a half-dozen text fields like title and description, over and above the image itself.

You get to see these additional fields by going into your Media Library, selecting an image, then choosing “Edit”

which leads you to the extra fields:

WordPress told me that if you try searching for an image, the site searches just the title field. You can type your own text into this field, type spaces, and it supports several tens of characters – I never got near the exact limit.

By now, there are hundreds of images in my library (about 700) so I spent four or five sessions going through each image, giving it a very basic name. Like above – “prompt fowc” – just keywords so WordPress will recognise the image next time. There is a button there. “Done”, which saved my new title. And I can then use that Search button to find the image again next time. For example, these ones are all called “prompt”. The result was that I could now type in a word, and see this:

In other words, you just get a subset of your images back. So, searching for that old image is far quicker.

wp-admin

Incidentally, if you prefer the Classic interface, this process is pretty much the same. Look at your media library, and you’ll see a search box to allow you to filter your images:

and you can see/change these exact same fields for each image, just by clicking on your desired image:

(in fact, if you want to set the titles of several images, this way is quicker.) Your new title gets saved automatically when you go to the next image, or close this window.

What about you?

This applies to the WordPress web site, but do you use a WordPress App instead? Have a play! See what you can do. I bet you this will be in there somewhere.

Conflict

Here’s a poser for you. I notice a lot of people follow a prompt called Blogging Insights, where you answer questions on your blogging habits. So I’m sure there should be some views on this!

I was wondering, what do you do when you come across a blog post you profoundly disagree with?

By that I mean a blog post where somebody expresses an opinion, where you sit and think what a load of BS? Do you say anything? Do you leave a comment, or walk on by? Would you even “like” the post?

I don’t just mean a tiny disagreement on a fine detail. I mean something that goes against your ethos. Thinking of a topical example, maybe one of you is up in arms about police killings in the US, while the other thinks it is a storm in a teacup and is maybe up in arms about the protesters instead?

I can maybe see two extremes here. Maybe you’d behave differently in each? I don’t know, would you?

The first is where you “know” the person, where you’ve had pleasant exchanges with them in the past.

At the other end of the spectrum, maybe somebody you don’t know from Adam. (I don’t necessarily mean looking at random posts in the Reader until we find a post we disagree with!) Trying to think of an example…when I respond to prompts, I try to read other people’s responses. So, maybe the two of you just responded to a common prompt?

And, just to stir it up further, would you behave differently on WordPress to other social media platforms?

Anybody have any views? Just interested.