Easy to Read WordPress Posts: Smile as Hemingway Whispers in Your Ear and Makes you Smarter

Hemingway working on his book sat at typewriter

Readers are busy.

You want easy to read WordPress posts.

Hemingway, was a famous author.

His books were powerful.

His books were simple and easy to read.

So follow my Hemingway style recipe for easy to read WordPress  posts.

Thats it.

Writing a simple post is easy.

 

 

Image By Lloyd Arnold -Public Domain, Link

Convert HEIF & HEIC to JPG or PNG on MAC without downloading any software or uploading to an internet service

I recently needed to create an Ebay listing, and discovered they don’t support the new iPhone HEIC file format. After some googling, all I could find where tutorials on using an online service, or downloading software. I thought both of those seem sketchy to me. So I remembered. every Mac comes with the Automator application, which allows you to build scripts by dragging and dropping components.  And sure enough, converting HEIF or HEIC to JPG or PNG formats is supper simple.

In less than 5 minutes, I built a script to select the files and make copies in the correct format;

First, from the keyboard bring up spotlight search by typing  ⌘-space and entering Automator, enter to run the program.

Second, Once the programs, select create a new script, then in the script editor, simply find and select the following three modules; by finding them in the left hand tree menu then dragging them to the right hand panel.

  1. Ask for Finder Items
  2. Copy Finder Items
  3. Change Type of Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Ask for Finder Items” is exactly that, and prompt the user to find and select Items (in this case HIEC photos).  Remember to check the ‘select multiple items’ checkbox.

The “Copy Finder Items” takes the Items, you selected in step 1,  and copies them to a new location.

Finally “Change Type of Image” takes the copies items and changes the filetype. You can select JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG or TIFF.

That’s it. Simply navigate with the Finder to the folder you selected in Step 2, and your files are all converted.

This script is really basic, but you can extend this script in many ways. Such as ‘create thumbnails’,  ‘save to an iPhotos album’, ‘crop images’, and much more.

Some notes on Multi-site WordPress and Add-on Domains

In my posting One approach to creating a landing page, I talk about using a web hosting server (i.e. Gator, or GoDaddy etc..) to house multiple domains, which works fine.  But there are some gotcha’s when setting it up or moving a WordPress site from one location to another.

Here’s the sequence that I think works best for minimizing rework.

  • In all cases, I recommend writing down the steps as you do them, so you can retrace your steps if something goes of kilter.
  • Purchase your new domain(s)
  • Login to your web host account using cPanel (if you don’t have cPanel, its unlikely you have sufficient control over your web server to install multiple domains
  • Navigate to “add-on” domain and add your new domains. Note: When you enter your “NewDomainName.com” the Subdomain and Directory will auto-populate.  You could adjust these values but its likely not needed.

  • You can add multiple add-on domains. Check with your hosting provider recommendations on the size of your host and how many and and what web activity your server supports.
  • Next install WordPress into the directory (or directories if you installing multiple and separate WordPress instances) See Installing WordPress.
  • Login and validate the new WordPress works; and add All-In-One WP Migration from ServMask.
  • To create your site, I recommend using DesktopServer from ServerPress to setup your site on a local computer first.
  • Go ahead and use DesktopServer and build your site; when your ready also install All-in-One WP Migration in your local machine.
  • Follow the  All-In-One WP Migration video instructions (that is part of the plugin) and Export from your Local and Import to your Host.
  • Validate it works (and if it doesn’t be calm and think through the process.)

As for the gotchas, you can just change the name of a directory. In my case I’d installed “labelreviewq.com” and got everything working. I then purchase “checkmyfoodlabel.com” which I wanted as the main entry point to the site. I added my new domain via add-on domain. I then renamed my directories and setup a redirect to point “labelreviewq.com” to “checkmyfoodlabel.com”…What I forgot to do was change the wordpress homename and site_url (see WordPress Changing the SiteURL)

One approach to creating a landing page

Updated May 22 2018, updates in blue:

With all the technology and web services available, there are endless choices on how to create a landing page for testing your startup idea.  One such service is unbounce.com. The service looks intriguing, but as I looked into it, I decided it wasn’t for me, as I don’t really like monthly recurring costs.  At $79/month, after a few months it quickly adds up into a real expense. The service makes sense if you are in a rapid mode to test many landing pages, but for many early stage ventures, their just isn’t enough time to maximize the service.

In my case, I have access to a wordpress server — In fact this blog is running from a wordpress server. I would consider it a sunk cost. So I headed over to the local WordPress meetup for some advice — I came away with several new ideas.

What WP Theme Is That. — very useful for getting information about a wordpress website, as to what theme and plugins are being used. In otherwords, if I see a website I like, I can see if its wordpress and get some insights into is underlying services.

DesktopServer — Is a free tool that allows you to create a WordPress site on your machine and then push to an online location. Excellent for setting up a WordPress site in a safe and private environment. The tool also has a premium service that automates some of the manual deployment processes. Here you just have to put a price on your time and opportunity cost.  Note: DesktopServer’s site recommends their Duplicator product for copying sites from a local to remote system or visa versa —  don’t use the duplicator – the product  is poorly maintained; and not formally tested with the latest version.

All-in-one WP Migration — my recommendation for copying/moving wordpress sites from one place to another. It worked for me flawlessly with no futzing at all. 

Elegant Themes – Divi — for DRAG and DROP self created themes the wordpress meetup  recommended this site for quick and rapid prototyping.  Their overall comment was — good for many many situations not all — i.e. 90%+ for most use cases.

WP Engine — the general consensus was this is the best WordPress site since it includes many services that any sane WordPress developer would use….i.e. each site comes with three environments (development, test, production)  and SSL (a $150 value), WordPress specific firewalls and comment spam filters (at least $300/year from Sucuri).  They charge ($420/year).

For now I’m going to see if I can utilize my existing wordpress server and forgo a new service. If nothing else, for the learning more about hos the stuff works.

So for now, I’m using my own pre-exisitng webserver, the free DesktopServer, and the $89 Divvy Theme from Elegant themes (which I’ll also be using for another business.) I was able to install a second copy of wordpress on my GoDaddy host, using a domain I already owned.  Simply use cPanel to  “add-on domain” the domain. Then install wordpress, following the standard wordpress installation instructions. Just choose the file path location for the “add-on domain” home directory.

Refreshing .profile without restarting Terminal Window in Linux / Mac OS X

As you begin programming you are often asked to configure your Mac’s environment, and asked to add a PATH or other ENVironmental variable to your profile.

Youtube videos encourage their audience to set their environmental variables by opening and closing their terminal windows. This works fine but
With Linux/Unix/MacOSx this works fine but did you know you can launch Terminal from the command prompt?

To open a new terminal window

$ open -a Terminal ~

Using ~ is short-hand for “the current user’s home directory”

 

# common startup files
etc/profile
~/.bash_profile
~/.bashrc
~/.bash_login
~/.profile

 

Dual sided scanning with single sided scanner

I recently purchased a Brother multifunction printer (MFC-7460DN) – its great to be able to print, fax and scan on the network. But it it only scans single side documents!!!

PDF Labs  to the rescue with a free (non-commercial distribution use) solution. The process is very simple. I’ll share how I set it up to work with my Mac OS X 10.x (Yosemite).

  1. Brother Control Center software
    1. For this walk through I’ve assumed you already installed all the software that comes with the Brother multifunction printer (MFC-7460DN.) If not head over to Brother Support and download the appropriate drivers.
      Download Brother Software
  2. PDFServer
    1. Download and install PDF Labs PDFserver software (its free for home use; a commercial license to distribute is required.) The installation doesn’t require anything special
      BrotherScan_5
    2. Optional – Since the PDFserver is a command line tool, I like to remind myself that I installed the software by adding a note into my user profile. Again this is not necessary but, great if you sometimes forget what you have installed.
      1. Open a Terminal window
        Terminal_Icon
      2. Edit your profile (with your favorite editor) and add the following; which simply reminds you that you have extra tools installed.
         echo PDFtk has been installed to /opt/pdflabs/pdftk/
         echo    man pdftk for usage
         echo    see www.pdflabs.com/tools/pdftk-server/
  3. Configuring Control Center to scan to file
    1. Launch Control Center
      BrotherScan_1BrotherScan_2
    2. Set the File scan options for the ODD pages
      Note: Once you understand what this all does you can modify as you need, but for now use:
      Name the File: Odd
      Turn off: Insert Date in File Name
      Set the Destination Folder to “Downloads”
      Select File Type: PDF
      BrotherScan_3
    3. Place you documents in the scanner, then Click “Start Scanning”
    4. When the documents are done, take them from the output slot and insert them upside down into the scanner (note they will be in reverse order, last page on top, first page on bottom)
    5. Change the “Scan to File” settings by change the File Name to “Even” then, Click “Start Scanning”
    6. You should now have two documents Odd.PDF and Even.PDF in your Downloads folder
  4. Combine the Files into one PDF
    1. In your terminal window (re-open if you closed it); change to the directory with your files
      cd ~/Downloads
    2. Now combine the files with:
      pdftk A=Odd.pdf B=Even.pdf shuffle A Bend-1 output collated_pages.pdf
    3. Your file will be in the called “collated_pages.pdf” with odd and even pages properly oriented.

This process is pretty simple, but I hope to use Mac Automator to create a easier workflow.

 

 

Mac OSX Yosemite – Simple Finder Hidden File Toggle

Wouldn’t it be nice to use Finder to see all your files, including your hidden files.

Well there are lots of postings showing you how to use the Terminal to run a command line script that toggles some of the Apple Finder default behaviors. But opening a terminal window every time is a pain, there has to be an easier way.

Wouldn’t it be nice to simple click an icon?  Well there is an easy way using the Automator

1 – Head over to launchpad, the launch Automator

RunAutomator

2 – Select Application

ToggleHiddenFiles_0

 

3 – Next Drag Run Shell Script onto the workflow pane

ToggleHiddenFiles

 

4 – Select correct shell: ‘/bin/bash’ and type the following, and save the file to the desktop:
(I saved mine as ‘HiddenFileTOGGLE’)


#!/bin/bashSTATUS=`defaults read com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles`
if [ $STATUS == TRUE ];
then
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
elsedefaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
fi

killall Finder

5 – Now ever ytime you want to change, just double click ‘HiddenFileTOGGLE’

Setting up Multisite WordPress with GoDaddy Hosting and URL Forwarding

Setting up Multisite WordPress with GoDaddy Hosting and URL Forwarding

Intro

My journey into WordPress started, over 6 years ago. I first set up a wordpress.org site.  Then, about 20 months ago, when Amazon Web Services started offering a try it Free for one year, I decided I could kill two birds with one stone. I could host my own wordpress site and learn about cloud technologies at the same time. I set up BizKnowlogy.com, the hard way installing WordPress from scratch, but then discovered BitNami – a mega repository of preconfigured Amazon Machine Images for instantly deploying cloud services.

I was able to simple set up my Amazon EC2 (elastic computer cloud) with WordPress 3.x in 20 minutes – probably less if had know what I was doing. But as the year ended, I found the cost to host more than what GoDaddy and other web hosting companies charged. There were some tradeoffs. But that story is for another blog entry.

As I began running my own WordPress site, I stumbled across a GoDaddy FAQ that said you could run multiple sites on a single server (provided the sites were low usage sites.)  And thus began my journey to set up a Multisite WordPress.

What is Multisite WordPress? 

In simple terms, its the ability to run multiple WordPress sites from one single installation.  For example mysite.com and myothersite.com can both reside on the same physical server, using the same base WordPress php code and a single MySQL database.

Multisite should not to be confused with multiple WordPress sites installed separately (into their own directories) on the same server; each using its own MySQL database.

Visit the WordPress Multisite support forum if you need additional help; I posted a couple of questions when I got stuck and had them answered promptly (within a day.)

Why did I choose Multisite?

In my case, I am the primary administrator for several sites, without the need to overly worry about failure compartmentalization. In other words, the benefits of logging into one location to manage all the sites outweighed the potential costs if I experienced a problem when I upgraded WordPress (or plugins etc…)

How did I install Multisite?

The rest of this blog assumes you

  • have an existing WordPress site hosted by GoDaddy
  • are the administrator of the GoDaddy hosted server and WordPress site.
  1. Backup you WordPress
    1.  Start by ensuring you have a backup of your entire WordPress. If you don’t know how, research a method, select a backup method, then backup, the restore and, most importantly – prove to yourself you can rebuild your WordPress from your backup!
    2. I used the  GoDaddy backup approach; by logging into GoDaddy’s cPanel for my server; then selecting Backup Wizard to save my “Home Directory” and “MySQL” database. This approach saves ZIPPED files that through the same GoDaddy menu can be used to restore the entire WordPress public_html directory and the MySQL database.
      GodaddyBackup
  2. Upgrade Wordpres
    1. Upgrade to latest WordPress; In my case I happened to time it when WordPress 4.0 (yes a scary Dot Oh release) was released.
    2. From the plugins, I simply selected upgraded my WordPress 3.9x to 4.0; I was fortunate and everything worked fine.
  3. Enable Multisite
    1. I started by following GoDaddy’s FAQ – The are basically worthless and provide such sketchy detail, as to be indecipherable. Once you have actually finished installing Multisite you should be able to review the FAQ and figure out what the bleep they were trying to say in the first place.
    2. Follow the excellent Youtube by WPKB.com instructions (Note make sure you check to see if there is a newer video; At first I found and older video that lead me astray and wasn’t as clear)  WPKB also has a document version (but again the Youtube is better)
    3. Just follow the Youtube it works.
    4. On selecting which multisite approach to use (using Subdomains or  Subdirectories), I chose to use subdomains.  I choose this approach because I had a better sense on how to redirect URL requests. Mainly  I knew how to make sure if someone typed into the web browser  “MySecondSite.Com” or “MyMainSite.Com” they would end up in the right place.
  4.   Add your second site
    1. At this point you can easily add a second WordPress site by logging into the WordPress as the master site administer and selecting “My Sites” and “Creating a New Site” then filling in the form.
      AddSiteToMultiSite
  5. Buy your second site Domain name and add it to your WordPress server
    1. For me I simply purchased “philiptopham.com” through GoDaddy.
    2. From the cPanel park your Domain name
      ParkedDomain
    3. Make sure to point the domain to the main WordPress install directory. GoDaddy automatically creates a domain root in a subdirectory!! CHANGE THIS – For example – in my case – it needs to say “/public_html” NOT “/public_html/philiptopham
      ParkedDomain2
  6. Mapping a different Domain name to the SubDomain
    1. At this point if you In my case I wanted people to type “philiptopham.com” I didn’t want people to type “philiptopham.MyMainsite.com” into the browser. So I needed to install a URL Domain Mapping tool.
    2. Install the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin; the plugin’s installation instructions worked well. At the time of this writing the plugin is listed as compatible with WordPress 3.9.2 but I installed on WordPress 4.0 with no issues (thus far)
    3. The configuration instructions were also straight forward.
      1. In my case the I chose to CREATE a CNAME record.
      2. I logged in to my Godaddy account.
      3. Selected “MyMainSite.Com”  –> Then edit DNS Zone File
      4. Add CNAME “philiptopham” pointing to “@”; waited about 10 minutes and was able to login.
      5. Test by going to WordPress main account then “visiting” each site and verifying the URL resolves correctly.