Oct
24
2008
0

WordPress Update to v2.6.3

Wordpress Upgrade

Wordpress Upgrade

Quick Update

or those of you keeping score at home, I’ve updated to WordPress v2.6.3 last night. 1  This version was released as a security fix.  Unlike other WordPress upgrades, this one took only a few seconds.

Less Quick Updates

Admittedly, prior updates probably only take about 10 minutes, max.  This 10 minutes includes roughly 9 minutes of backing the website and database up and 1 minute of actually uploading the new version.  Since the 9 minutes of backing up is essentially all processing/downloading time, there’s nothing for me to monitor which makes the whole process very painless.

Upcoming Updates

The kind folks over at WordPress have been hard at work on the version 2.72  If you scan through the above link, you’ll get to see what the new WordPress 2.7 control panel/dashboard is supposed to look like.

Best Thing About WordPress

(If you just can’t wait, skip down two paragraphs.)  Regular readers have heard me go on and on about the virtues of WordPress3  The interesting thing about new versions of WordPress is that any upgrades would be seamless to a website visitor. 4

A website that is easy to read is a function of the author

Website content is really all that matters to a website visitor.  Visitors don’t care about what software a website owner is using – just as long as the content is useful. 5

A website that is easy to write is a function of the program

The single best thing about WordPress is that this program makes maintaining a website a breeze.  I would recommend WordPress to absolutely anyone interested in creating a website.  For the novice, the program makes it easy to write, edit, and delete single pages or the entire website without any knowledge of programming.  For the tech-minded, the program makes it easy to install, upgrade, and personalize a website.

If you know a little PHP, MySQL, and javascript you could do some c-r-a-z-y things with WordPress. 678

  1. Talk about unnecessary decimal places. []
  2. I call them “kind” since a lot of these people are working for free. []
  3. You know, you three should really form some kind of support group for people who read unnecessarily nerdy and self-referential blogs. []
  4. I think its interesting, anyhow. []
  5. If they don’t care about what kind of software, they sure as heck don’t care its version 2.6.3. []
  6. You could even put together your own workers compensation calculators and EAMS search engines! []
  7. Am I going overboard with these footnotes? []
  8. The answer is “No, I’m not going overboard.”  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “You can never go too far.” []
Oct
13
2008
1

PDRater.com Facelift

New v5.0

New v5.0

First off, don’t be afraid, this is the same website you’ve come to know and love.  Change can be good!  Besides, this latest change is almost 100% cosmetic.

I have been meaning to change the entire look of PDRater.com for a while now.  Thus far I’ve been focusing on improving the workers’ compensation calculators and the website content.

Previously I showed the evolution of PDRater.com from a ridiculously ugly but useful website into a less ugly and more useful website.  Since these latest changes have been mostly cosmetic rather than functional, this should really be something like Version 4.647.  I figure with adding six new calculators in September and updating the look, I’ve earned the right to call this Version 5.0.

Besides, its my blog, right?

The last theme I used was based upon the fantastic WordPress Themer Kit, which is an incredible tool for people who either have little graphic design skill or who don’t want to build a new theme from scratch.  Ultimately, I just don’t have the skill, time, or inclination to build an aesthetically pleasing theme.  (But, let’s be real, its mostly the lack of skill thing).

That said, I am good at adjusting and incorporating.  The original Aeros theme looked significantly different than the one you see.  I’ve changed the background color, removed the slight transparency, highlighted the different sidebar sections, and moved the top menu to the left side.  Since the theme was open source, this mostly involved tinkering with the CSS and underlying PHP.

How do you like this new theme?  Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.

Sep
19
2008
1

Virtual Real Estate – Part II – Less Obvious Benefits

Got Spam?

Got Spam?

The last post in this series was about the obvious benefits of owning your own web space and domain name.  However, there are a lot of other benefits which might be less obvious.  Frankly, I didn’t realize these benefits until well after I had set up my own website.

Virtual Real Estate – Part II – Less Obvious Benefits

  1. Outsmart spam. When I need to sign up for a new online service or website, I just create a new e-mail address – and point it to my real e-mail address.  For example, If I want to sign up for PDRater.com, I register with the address, “pdrater@my-very-own-domain.com.”  If I start getting spam sent to that address – I delete the e-mail account!
  2. Organization. Just as with spam avoidance, I can create e-mail accounts for differnet purposes and have them all routed to the same place.  Later on, I can search for information I sent myself (or had others send me) by searching for “todo@my_very_own_domain.com.”
  3. Portability. If you may need files while you’re out and about, just upload them to your website and have the file available anywhere.
  4. Redundancy. There are a lot of companies that charge for online backups.  Why not just do it yourself?
  5. Resiliency. I made a point of purchasing the domain names through a different company than the one hosting my web space.  If one of those companies were to suddenly go off-line, I would be able to put up a new site in roughly an hour.  If the web host is down, just upload a new copy of your website to a new host and connect it to your original domain name.  If the domain name host is down, just buy a new domain name and point the web host to the new name.

Next in this series: I haven’t thought of a next segment yet!

Sep
18
2008
1

Virtual Real Estate – Part I – Obvious Benefits

Virtual Realty (get it?)

Virtual Realty (get it?)

I purchased my first domain name and web space in August of 2007.  Since that time I’ve probably purchased about a dozen more domain names.  There are some fairly obvious benefits to owning your own domain name and web space.1

Virtual Real Estate – Part I – Obvious Benefits

  1. Your own website! Admittedly, there are a lot of ways to get a website for free, but there are always tradeoffs (pop-up ads, no creative control, ads inside your pages).
  2. Accountability. When you own your own webspace, your web host is responsible for taking care of problems when things go wrong.
  3. More features. When you’re paying for your own webspace, you can set up your own MySQL databases, install programs like WordPress, set up an FTP account, etc.
  4. Custom e-mail addresses. Always wanted “I-Hate-Clowns@SuperCoolAwesome.com”?  Good news!
  5. Hopeless customizerI’ve already confessed my need to customize just about everything.  Being able to tinker with every little setting on a web server is a customizer’s dream.

Next in this series: Part II – Less Obvious Benefits

  1. Its more like leasing, but whatever. []
Sep
02
2008
1

Homemade WordPress 2.6+ Plugins

If you’re at all curious, I’ve written about four eight of the plugins for this website.  WordPress was specifically written to allow users to create their own plugins.  A “plugin” is a little piece of programming code that will modify how a program behaves.

I’ll discuss them later on, but for the ravenously curious my plugins include:

  • A plugin that creates rounded corners throughout the website
  • A plugin that creates the “accordion” menu effect on the Links and Calculator pages
  • A plugin that adds AJAX effects throughout the website
  • A plugin that creates a “gray-out” screen over certain pages when you’re not logged in or a registered user
  • A plugin that redirects a user to the calculator page when they log in
  • A plugin that changes the look and operation of the registration page to be more user friendly
  • A plugin that makes lots of little tweaks to the site to make it look and act better (I’m constantly adding to this one)
  • A plugin that allows users to sign up for automatically recurring subscriptions using a credit card or their PayPal account (I’m still working to make this more user friendly)

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