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Posts Tagged ‘ProTip’

Tips For WordPress Blogging On The Go (From Your Phone)

January 26, 2012 8 comments
WordPress for BlackBerry app screenshot

WordPress for BlackBerry app screenshot

I have used both a BlackBerry and an Android for blogging on the go especially during my Post-A-Day Challenge. I found it especially useful to do when I was pressed for time. However, there a couple of limitations I have noticed with the apps which should be noted before you go to try and do it for yourself – assuming you want to make your blog post looks as awesome as it can.

Before I go on, I have to mention that although I have not used the WordPress for iPhone app I have heard that many of the same issues exist and so I assume these tips are just as relevant for you iOS users but can’t confidently tell you one way or the other.

WordPress for Android app screenshot

WordPress for Android app screenshot

The key thing I have found was to do some planning before you try to blog from your phone. Why? Because it will make your life way easier if you set up certain aspects of the post on a computer beforehand.

There are a couple of reasons for this which will be laid out below.
 

  • Pictures (Inserting): It is way, way easier to insert an image on your computer. Mainly because the WordPress app only likes to put images on the top or on the bottom of your post then you have to move them around manually. As well, you can make sure the picture resizes correctly, and it will, of course, upload quicker. Pop the pictures in your blog, name them, and put fragments of thoughts…or even “blah blah blah” between them to show yourself where to stick your content.
  • Pictures Resizing: Chances are the pictures you take on your phone are going to be too big for your blog’s theme. Because of this it will end up looking horrible til you get to a computer and fix it OR feel like figuring out the math and manually resizing it by constraining it with HTML code. The image settings within the WordPress app don’t necessarily reflect your theme’s so your best off taking one of your phone’s camera pictures already on your computer and seeing what the length of it gets resized to when you resize it to the width of your blog’s theme. Now go into your phone’s WordPress app’s settings and set the “custom” image length and width to reflect your findings.
  • Links: They’re a pain to add in correctly on your phone I’ve found relative to doing it on your computer. Best thing is to, again, plan it beforehand. As well, the WordPress system on the full web gives you a helpful pop-up box which lets you easily reference previous blog posts by just clicking.
  • Tags: While links are a pain to add in, technically, tags aren’t. However, if you want your posts to be able to link back to each other and you plan on using tags you’ve already used for a topic make sure you add them in beforehand. Again, the full WordPress gives you a drop down of all the tags you’ve previously used so everything stays nice and neat whereas the mobile app doesn’t do this. It sounds like nothing but wait til you’ve been blogging for a while and have hundreds of posts and have to remember what the exact tags you previously used were: not fun.
  • URL: The URL of your post is an important part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). WordPress online allows you to edit the last bit of your post’s URL whereas the mobile app just takes the title of your post.
  • Bullet & Numbered Points (aka ordered and unordered lists): These are just annoying to set up and so I again, recommend setting it up beforehand and then loading the very fragmented, nonsensical (to everyone but you) post on your phone and edit from there filling in all the gaps.

In case you are wondering, yes, I used my own tips to write this post. The words “blah blah” were actually used quite frequently in this post before it was fleshed out on the subway and streetcar where I am now. I guess you can sort of accuse me of breaking one main tip (plan ahead) into a bunch of little ones but from all the bloggers I’ve spoken to, not many have considered this method for blogging on the go and ask me how I’ve managed to do it on numerous occasions and still make the post look as good as if I’d blogged from a computer. Now my secret is out.

Anyone else out there try any similar methods? Anyone know any better methods? Let us all know in the comment section below!

IT #Protip: Restart computers/devices that act up. It fixes problems so often you’d be amazed.

January 9, 2012 4 comments

it-office-computers-row

A friend called me today to ask me for help with his BlackBerry. He said his Text Messages icon had disappeared from his phone and the text messages themselves were nowhere to be found anywhere on his phone. At first I thought he must have hid the icon so I told him to “Show All” and he said it didn’t help so the next thing I told him was to restart (aka reboot) his phone. Minutes later my friend sent me a BBM message:

Him: Yooo

Me: Yo

Him: Restart fixed it thanks

Me: Hah no prob

Always first step when any computer acts wonky

Reboot

Him: lol

Me: I’m serious

–End Conversation—

He didn’t respond to my last message aside from laughing about something I was being completely serious when relating even when I said that I was being serious. No “OK,” no “I totally will next time.” And there’s the thing – I know that he will call me again when he has a tech support issue and one of the first questions I will ask will be “Did you reboot?” and he will, of course, say no and I will, naturally, get frustrated with him wasting my time (which I am giving him for free). Then, he will wonder why I am getting so annoyed with him…we’re friends after all aren’t we? Shouldn’t I want to help him? Except he won’t remember this conversation when I did help him and did give him this magic bullet solution to a lot of his technology/gadget issues.

Seriously folks, even if you work in an office that has an IT Department paid to cater to your every whim before you call them about your computer/device/phone issue, restart it.

Computer Help Key

This is not something that anyone who even has a passing understanding on how to use their electronic device should have any trouble doing. There is no secret code to do it and no hidden menus to accomplish this feat. It is simple, it is easy, and it fixes an astounding number of issues for computing devices. Even if you aren’t having any computer issues I always recommend giving your computer a restart every day if you can. Doing this clears the RAM and is just overall a good thing to do for your computer and it is amazing how many people don’t bother to do this. This also goes for iPhones, BlackBerrys. Android devices, iPads, PlayBooks, Android tablets, Macs, PCs and even the PalmPilot your dad still insists on using even though Palm stopped supporting it in 2001 because it still does everything he needs it to do and he has no reason to upgrade.

tech support cheat sheet xkcd

In 2009 LifeHacker.com published this awesome flowchart in the article Tech Support Cheat Sheet Reveals The Secrets Of Troubleshooting which they pulled from popular webcomic XKCD and which can be found in its original here. To quote LifeHacker when they posted the article:

‘The only thing missing is the “If you haven’t already, restart your computer and try again” entry.’

See! Even they commented on it!

I promise you if you restart your computer/device before calling IT or your friend who consider “a computer person” or “a technology person” you will immediately earn tons of respect from them when they ask “Did you reboot?” and you say “Yes, I did, but it didn’t help.” They will also be 1,000,000,000 times less likely to respond to your queries in a passive aggressive manner, get annoyed with you, or be slow to respond when you call for help the next time you need it.

Images Row of Computers & Computer Help Key via Microsoft Office.

Tech Support Cheat Sheet via XKCD .

How To Change The Network Adapter Priority In Windows 7

December 1, 2011 56 comments

For a while after I got my Windows 7 computer I had no idea why it preferred to keep connected to my home wireless network over the wired network but that seems to be the default setting that Microsoft uses. Finally after scouring the interwebs I found the answer – it is very much the same as doing this in Vista so if you know how to do that you can probably stop reading. The problem with the wireless connection being preferred vs the wired connection for me is that the wired is a faster than wireless. As well, for me when I hit the “Turn off wireless connection” quick key on my laptop it turns off Bluetooth as well which is often annoying. Today, I thought I’d share with you the solution for telling your computer which network connection it should prefer.

Two things I thought I’d mention before we begin:

  1. To be clear, for this post I am using Windows 7 Home Premium with Service Pack 1 installed and all images and screen caps come from that version.
  2. All images can be clicked on to be full sized. They are downsized only so they can fit in the constraints of my WordPress blog’s theme.

First things first. You got to get to the network settings! Go to the Start Menu and click on “Control Panel” on the right hand side.

Start Menu Windows 7 Control Panel Selected

For the purposes of this post I am going to assume things are set to default settings so your Control Panel should be organized by ‘category.’ Now that you are in Control Panel you will see a number of different categories for setting on your computer as shown in the screen cap below. You are going to be looking for – as highlighted below – the “Network and Internet” category and click the line which reads “View network status and tasks.”

Windows 7 Control Panel Network & Internet

Once you click there you will be brought to the “Network and Sharing Center” which will look something like the image below. Notice how I am connected to two different connections at once for the internet and the basic network information says from my computer to the internet there are “multiple networks.” But none of that really matters right now because we are quickly going to be moving out of this screen. On your left hand side of the screen you’ll see the option (highlighted in red in the picture below) to “Change adapter settings.” Read more…

Guitar Pick: One Of A Gadget Geek’s Best Friends

November 26, 2011 7 comments

A couple of years back I was using a Nokia N80 and I wanted to change the faceplate from the stock black to silver. In order to do this I immediately went to the internet and started to Google and found a video much like the one you see in the screenshot below and linked here. This video came direct from Nokia (as evidenced by the image in the beginning shown below) so I figured it was pretty trustworthy.

The video told of the need for an SRT-6 Housing Opening Tool which is the little blue triangular thing you see in the screenshot above. Later in the video it showed the usage of this SRT-6 tool and it was to wedge the housing open and disengage a clip on the inside which can’t be seen from the outside. That seemed pretty important because that was exactly what I was trying to do, switch the housing.

It occurred to me that this SRT-6 Housing Removal Tool looked an awful lot like something else which is way more commonplace in most of our every day lives: a guitar pick. Sure the SRT-6 has 3 different edges with, I assume, different thicknesses and it might be better for gropping in the hand and using as a lever when opening gadgets but essentially it’s a guitar pick. You could probably play guitar with an SRT-6 and no one would be the wiser.

Not only do guitar picks fill the role of the SRT-6 but over the years I have found that they are an amazing addition to my gadget tool arsenal. They’re great for wedging underneath a SIM card to ease removal. The same goes for microSD cards.

I will, however, never forget my trip to buy my guitar pick. At first I asked some guitarists I knew if they would part with a pick and they all said no. The next step, obviously, was to find a music store. My friends all pointed me to a chain called Long & McQuade and off I went. I got there and asked one of the sales reps where I could find individual guitar picks. The guy showed me to a rack of little drawers which each had a different size, material, thickness, or make of guitar pick and I started looking. The rep tried to help out by showing me their most popular brand but I took one look and said that it was way too thick. He showed me one that he said his co-workers liked or that was made by a high end guitar pick manufacturer (or something like that) and I rejected them each. He remarked, “Wow, you guitarists are really so picky.” I stifled a laugh and sort of awkwardly replied, “Umm, ya, I don’t play the guitar. In fact, I don’t need this for anyone to play the guitar.” He started laughing and asked what I needed it for. I pulled out my phone and explained what I needed it for he was amazed that I had the same phone as him and he asked me some questions about the device and how to make his work better and then left me to my own devices.

A guitar pick is a great little thing to have for anyone who has a gadget or two in the house and I highly recommend it. It is a really cheap investment and I am sure you’ll find a ton of uses for it.

Coat Check ProTip

October 26, 2011 9 comments

Thought I would pass some wisdom on you which I learned for myself a bunch of months ago but has become way more relevant as the weather has began to grow colder. The tip, as the title of this blog post and the above picture implies, is all about coatchecks and the tickets they give out so you can reclaim your coat later.

I have seen this happening to the best of us, you go out and use the coatcheck and receive a coatcheck ticket to reclaim your coat. Hours and many drinks later you arrive back at the coatcheck and want to pick up that coat. You start looking through your pockets, you rifle through your wallet, ladies you start taking apart your purses, and no ticket can be found! Did you lose it on the floor earlier when you pulled out your wallet, phone, gum, or whatever? Who knows! All you know is you are now either stuck with pleading with the coatcheck folks to give you your coat back because you can identify it and it’s very distinct and maybe you can tell them what’s in the pockets. The other alternative are to sit and wait until everyone leaves the establishment and if your coat is still there they give it to you or leave and freeze for the night and pick it up the next day. Suck right?

Not to worry though! I have a solution to this problem that ails all of us at one time or another! Check out the picture below:

Just take a picture of your coatcheck ticket right when you get it and before you shove it into whatever pocket or crevice of your purse. A key aspect to the taking of this picture is, of course, being able to clearly read the number on the ticket. Most coatcheck room staffers that I have ever spoken to about this and every one I have tried this with will accept this picture as clear evidence that that coat which you claim to be yours without a physical ticket is actually yours. Problem solved! You’re welcome! Now your can keep yourself warm all the way home and don’t have to worry about keeping that tiny ticket safe all night for later!

Twitter For BlackBerry How To: Tell If Someone Is Following You

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

You may remember I told you how I had switched to Twitter for BlackBerry after being an UberSocial/UberTwitter loyalist for quite a while. This switch didn’t come without its sacrifices, however, one of which is being able to tell at a glance if someone is following me or not by looking at their profile.

In UberSocial it is all very straightforward and very easy to see at a glance if someone is following you and if you are following them. Twitter for BlackBerry makes it easy to see if you are following someone (as seen in the image below where it says “Following” with a check next to it right below their name) but there is no simple way to tell if they are following you.

As you can see in the image above, I am following my friend Josh aka @phjoshua who writes the awesometastic blog “The Reviews Are In.” What isn’t immediately obvious, as I mentioned above, is whether or not Josh is following me. But let’s look a little further down that same screen with another screenshot. After that we are then going to check out the profile of Wil Wheaton @wilw who has been a number of well known TV shows, writes a blog, is an author, and is definitely a celebrity who I am not friends with…maybe someday though! (Probably it would be nice to meet him in real life first.) Read more…

Closet Organization & Figuring Out Which Clothes You Really Don’t Wear

August 20, 2011 8 comments

clothing (shirts) hanging in closet

I think this has happened to a lot of us at one time or another. We look into our closet and it is stuffed with clothing. Sure a lot of the stuff is old but they all have their uses right? You’re totally going to wear that shirt again some time soon even though you can’t remember when the last time you wore it was, right? The truth is you probably won’t…unless you’re a certain lady named Jasmine.

Here’s the trick I used to great effect as of late to cull my closet’s herd and make room: Read more…

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