Category: Blogging

‘It Takes One to Know One’ Department

Do you read the comments that come after Internet news articles? Some commenters (usually anonymous) are extremely mean and abusive! Their attacks seem like the online version of a school yard bully.
The Quippery

Here  are a few comments I read at the end of just one Canadian news story this morning:

…You are a fool.
…Hope you idiots are pleased with yourselves.
…You don’t have a clue yourself.
…BS… espoused by utter MORONS
…And we still have an idiot at the helm.
…One by one the poor saps who were taken in
…greasy, sleazy, slimy selfie king
…Nuth’n finer than a far left nutter sputtering
…another leftwing(confused) doofus of questionable mental acuity
…The big, stammering idiot with the dumb expression

When we were kids, we would respond to a verbal bully by saying, “Sticks and stones will break our bones, but names will never hurt us.” (But the names still hurt…) Or we would taunt back, “It takes one to know one!

These responses have no effect on the cyberbully. They carry a shield of anonymity‘you don’t know me’; ‘you can’t see me’; and ‘I won’t be there to hear what your response is’! Freedom of speech without fear of consequence!

Have you ever had a cyberbully leave comments on your blog?

Post 570

The Unofficial WordPress Undiscovered Club

Maybe you remember “The Never Been Freshly Pressed” Club (NBFP). I started it in 2013 because there were so many of us WordPress.com  bloggers who had never been ‘pressed‘. (‘Freshly Pressed’ was a WordPress magazine, of sorts, that featured the writings of every day bloggers.)

discover-badge-circle‘Freshly Pressed’ has been allowed to die. It has been replaced by Discover – a slick, modern online magazine. The editors select content from about  53 million posts per month, so the chances of your post being chosen are still quite slim, but if you do get selected, you get to put a badge on your sidebar!

After almost seven years of blogging, I believe I have demonstrated an inability to be slick or modern – therefore I am, by extension, Undiscoverable. For that reason, I think I can safely form the Undiscovered Club, and proclaim myself  President of the Canadian chapter. Should he accept, Al at thecvillean is my choice for President of the American chapter. (He is current President of NBFP.)

If you would like to join our club, use the comment section below to state your unqualifications (first, and foremost, you must never have been featured on Discover.) You may also decide to volunteer for a position of your choice.

You might want to download the Unfeatured Undiscovered Club Badge to display on your blog. (I put mine on my ‘About’ page, along with all my other unprestigious awards.)

Be sure to tell all your Undiscovered blogging friends about our new Club!

In keeping with our general philosophy of “undeserved unknownness“, I refer you to this post that demonstrates the virtues of ‘unning’:
Unsubscribe, Unfollow, Unclutter – It’s UnFriday!

Post 551

Common Blogging Mistakes – To Fix or Not to Fix

I am the poster child for bloggers who have long since passed their best before date, if in fact I ever had one. I have a boatload of fake followers with names like ‘fbrxy3579’ but very few of them are actual readers. Most of the people I call ‘near and dear’ give me a glassy stare, and mutter something like “I haven’t checked the internet in the past 8 months” when I ask them if they read my last post.

I don’t blame them – I’ve been blogging longer than most guinea pigs live, and my content is a ‘how to of what not’ to write about. I also have made many ‘blogging mistakes‘. Sure, I’ve fixed most of those, but I perversely hold onto others.

You probably have made some of these ‘mistakes’ too, and maybe, like me, you just can’t be bothered to take the whole ‘What Not To Do‘ thing any more seriously than the ‘What Not to Wear’ thing.  If you are, however, curious – here is my list of what you might or might not want to do:

  • Small font sizes can make the typeface hard to read, as does paragraphs of white words on a dark background. (WordPress.com gives all bloggers some choice of font type and size, regardless of the theme, I believe.) Many browsers do let you zoom in and out, or change the font and colors in the options panel – should the reader need to make these kinds of adjustments.
  • Comic Sans typeface,  Script and other harder to read display fonts –  good for headings, maybe not so good for paragraphs.
  • If you throw Color theory out the window with Dizzy color combinations – green and yellow, red on black, anything neon – think about the impact on readability.
  • Really, really wide blocks of type. A very wide column of text might cause your readers to get lost when they move from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Do you want that?
  • One long paragraph. If you are paragraph challenged, write a post of 500 words or more. No breaks, no headings, no graphics. Then try to read it.
  • Large blocks of centered text – alters legibility, making text harder to read – but might work in some situations.
Comic Sans 10 pt

An example of Comic Sans Font, small size, white on black and red on black, long paragraphs, centered!

  • One line paragraphs. If you can’t get the hang of how to make a paragraph, just make each line a new paragraph! That’s what most news outlets do, right?!
  • Dead ends make your blog harder to navigate. When readers land on a post, you could give them an easy to click ‘Home’ button that takes them to your home page. Try not to leave them stranded!
  • Distractions – dancing critters, blinking text, auto play music. Do your readers love it when your post takes control of their computer and sings out a tune or an animated something starts?
  • Ditch the search box if you don’t want your reader to find something else on your blog!
  • Turn off readability on mobile devices if you don’t think people want to read your blog on a tiny phone screen!
  • Big photos – when you upload your photos, do you  compress them? Do readers really like to watch your photo load one line at a time?
  • Categories and tags – why bother! Just throw it all in one drawer and call it a day! Of course, Categories and Tags do have a purpose that might be useful to you and your readers.
  • If you never, ever proof read – will readers know that you meant ‘book’ not ‘boob’?
  • If you use lots of badges and widgets and graphics that march down the side of your blog it could affect your blog’s load time. Are your readers more patient than you are!?
  • Do you beef up your text with lots of visual clutter if you don’t have much to say?
  • Research – there is a wealth of inaccurate, insignificant or out-of-date content that is far easier to find – why would you choose to dig a bit deeper?
  • Broken links – they take time to find and fix. If you don’t want to find them, then is it a good option to just never link to any other site?
  • Do you respond to all comments – or do you pick and choose who you respond to and who you ignore. Do you say “Thanks” to that person who only said “Great”?
  • Do you write posts, even when you have nothing to say? Do you reblog a post you wrote before so your readers can reread something you wrote when you still had nothing to say?
  • Do you use too few social media buttons? Or too many social media buttons? Who knows how many are too few or too many?
  • Do you use multiple pages for what could easily be a single post so you get more clicks?


What blogging ‘mistakes’ have you read about? Have you corrected them, or chosen to keep them?

Post 528

Transition – Beep Beep Boop is Gone?

orange pink clouds Alberta

The dawn of a new day. If there are clouds, then a sunrise can be a remarkably beautiful transition from dark to light.

orange pink clouds Alberta

Perhaps our blogging hosts, WordPress.com, were thinking of dawn when they recently unveiled the New High Speed Editor. I certainly thought they had made a few improvements since they first introduced the ‘New Editor’. It loads so fast that the ever so unpopular, wait while I’m working, ‘Beep Boop Boop’ screen is gone!

Another plus – images can be dragged and dropped from your desktop right into your post. Unfortunately, the new editor is still in transition – the search feature for creating links to my old posts is missing.

How long will it take before this transitional editor is finished? Or will it ever be? Will we still have access to the good old editor that many or us prefer, or will it eventually disappear?

It is like asking, ‘Will there be a beautiful sunrise tomorrow morning’. No one really knows.

Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.
– Teresa Tsalaky, The Transition Witness –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Transition.

Post 520

WordPress Bloggers React to the Rainbow Banner

WordPress.com celebrated the US Supreme Court decision (that same-sex couples can marry nationwide) by posting a Rainbow Banner (the LGBT Flag) across the top of every WordPress bloggers ‘My Sites’ and ‘Reader Page’. These are the first pages WordPress bloggers see when they log onto their site. While only they can see it (not their readers), every WordPress.com blogger in the world was presumably seeing the same Rainbow flag.

503-wp-blue-bgThe response from the WordPress blogging community was immediate, with questions being posted to the WordPress forum: How can I remove this!?

An early response from a WordPress Member was “The rainbow master bar was added in support of the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on same-sex marriage today… However, as this is a polarized issue and the community support forums are not the place to hold such discussions we are closing threads related to the mastbar.”

With that, they closed the topic. As further requests came in, WordPress repeatedly closed each topic after responding with “The banner is temporary. It will eventually be removed. Threads are being closed as the public WordPress.com forum is not the place for these discussions.” In some of the requests, the user simply said the banner was offensive, just as a Swastika banner would be offensive. Others said they would prefer to have an option as to what appeared on the top of those pages. Others weren’t aware of what the banner meant, and though they liked rainbows, they didn’t want one there. Others asked, how long is ‘eventually’?

At this point, I thought the Rainbow banner was one design decision that WordPress hadn’t thought out very carefully. They chose to impose their support, and an implied solidarity, onto every WordPress.com blogger. Many of these bloggers were quick to object to that kind of forced compliance and rightfully so.

One forum moderator responded to the bloggers objections by saying, they thought everyone who posted a protest on the forum was a hater. Hater? Everyone? I object to the banner, but I’m not a hater. I simply object to not having a choice as to whether I want to fly a particular flag. There are lots of flags and graphics I would object to – not out of hate – just a desire to have  control of the design in the ‘living room’ of my blog. I think WordPress made two errors – one in their disrespect for their user base by posting the banner, and the other in the way they responded to the users when they objected.

What do you think?

Post 503

The Rise and Fall of RivetPics

In a land not so far away, in a time not so long ago, there was a very large kingdom called The Whorled. In the very middle of the kingdom was a huge castle where King Sharpmann lived with his family, friends, crusaders  and 70 million Minions. Outside the castle was a huge town where most of The Makers lived. The Makers created all sorts of beautiful things, wrote interesting stories and took wondrous photos. They captured them all and put them into big books which they would bring to the big town square every day. They would spread their books out on long tables so that everyone could look, talk about, and buy what they were seeing.

The Castle Minions enjoyed looking at the books, but were sad that they didn’t have a way to save and share the contents of The Maker’s books.  The King, who wanted happy Minions, invented a Copy Wand which he mass produced and distributed to all. The Minions only had to shake the wand  and utter the magic words, “Copyright be damned” and instantly they had an exact duplicate of any idea or image that The Makers had created.

The King decreed that these images should be called Rivets because they could be riveted to the tables in the town square. All this riveting would henceforth be called RivetPics. This activity kept The Minions busy, and it helped them to forget that they didn’t own many of things that were in the pictures. Even some of The Makers started using the wands, and much of the Whole Wide Whorled (or WWW as it was called) embraced the activity.

Inevitably though, the costs to run RivettPics increased so much that the King required an influx of capital. So he sent some of his Caped Crusaders off to the Dark Forest to ask for the help of the Wolf-like Investors who lived there. The Investors ears perked right up, and they said they would be more than happy to help the King with his creation, but they warned the King that when the Castle Tower Clock struck 2014,  the King would have to  start generating a significant return on their investment.

As 2014 drew nearer, the King decided that the way to profit from RivetPics was to tap into the Minion’s Mildly Moderate to Miniscule Wage.  He wasn’t quite sure how to do this, so he sent his crusaders on another mission. This time he sent them to Wallet Street, where they purchased a slightly used Monetization Strategy from Prince Mark for $9.95 a month plus tax. To kick start this marketing plan, the King created  Sponsored Rivets – which were promotions for certain rivets that came from a select group of Big Box Businesses  (BBB) that were willing to pay for this privilege.

These rivets were targeted to match the content that The Minions had riveted to the tables. The King hoped The Riveters wouldn’t notice that Sponsored Rivets  were really just slick advertising. The King need not have worried, for the Minions were enthusiastic about spending their wages to buy the things they had riveted to the tables.

Life was not so good for The Makers, however. The Riveters had gradually taken over many of the tables and this left less and less room for The Maker’s books. The Makers had started to think of these Rivets as screws, for in fact The Makers were being… well, you know what was happening to them. They had created all the original content, but they were receiving less and less attention for it, and were  receiving fewer and fewer bitcoins for their effort.

In retaliation, The Makers removed all their books completely. The once never ending source of the Rivets dried up. With no new ideas, the Riveters gradually lost interest in RivetPics. Sales slumped, and the BBB’s pulled all their advertising. This would have been devastating to the King, except he had sold RivetPics to Gaaaaagle a few months earlier.

The End

Is this the future for Pinterest too?

Post 470

It took a while……… but I’ve finally arrived.

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/

Why I reblogged Al’s post: When I was Freshly Pressed, I had to kick myself out of The Never Been Freshly Pressed Club. Without consulting anyone, I dictatorially selected Al at the cvillean to take over the position of President. This reblog is Al’s Acceptance Speech. I hope all WordPress Bloggers will go to Al’s blog and join the Club, follow his blog, and throw buckets of praise at him because he is one very nice person.

Post 443

The Cvillean

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare  “Twelfth Night”

“Great men need great events.” – unknown author (although it might have been me)

Before this month, I fell squarely in the first quote category. Now I am honored to say I am one of those who has had greatness thrust upon him.

For those who do not know, I am a member of a club which was founded by a fascinating blogger, Margie, at As iAge. The club is aptly named “Never Been Freshly Pressed” and membership is very exclusive. There are only around 400,000 potential members. Margie was not only the founder, but self-appointed President as well. Earlier this month, Margie found herself in the embarrassing position of having been Freshly…

View original post 186 more words

My Freshly Pressed Natural Disaster

Michelle, a well meaning WordPress Story Wrangler, chose my post ‘Hidden Valley – A Community Lost’  for the honour of being Freshly Pressed. Michelle had been following the story of  the flooding of our community, and she thought it deserved a wider audience.

Unfortunately, most of the Freshly Pressed readers didn’t agree. They weren’t as drawn to a story that was tagged ‘Natural Disaster’ as they were to – well – just about every other post that day… or week… or month probably. So much for my expectations of Freshly Pressed fame! I don’t, of course, blame WordPress for my somewhat dismal showing.

WP StatsAll my long time, loyal readers (and you know who you six are!) will want to know about the meteorical rise in Viewer Stats that comes with being Freshly Pressed. I’m going to satisfy your curiosity by inserting a clip from my stats page. On the far left you will see a very, very short bar, which is my usual readership. The next three bars are what happened to my readership when I posted the stories that no one else in the Google World had picked up on – the Flooding on the Siksika Nation and Hidden Valley.

Continuing on from left to right, you can see what happened when The Mainstream Media finally picked up on the story. Freefall! When you get to the fourth bar from the right – that is where I was Freshly Pressed.

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/As if the loss of our entire Community in a flood wasn’t tragic enough, I must now announce my voluntary resignation as President of the “Never Been Freshly Pressed” (NBFP) Club. (It was very short sighted of me not to proclaim myself  LIFETIME PRESIDENT.)

We are going to need a new President, and because I am the Founder of the Club, I am quite prepared to stalk and bring down the person who I feel would be best qualified to carry on the traditions we don’t really have, but would have if we should ever need them.

It is with great pleasure that I dictatorially proclaim our Treasurer, Al, of the blog thecvillean, as our new President. Now, I know that Al is not a Canadian, and he is, well, a man. But he has worked very hard to manage our dark chocolate fund and I think his dedication should be recognized and rewarded. Congratulations, Al!

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.
– Rosalynn Carter –

As a NBFP Alumnus, I promise to sink back into relative obscurity. I promise to continue to write in the mediocre style that is my trademark. I promise to continue to overuse exclamation marks! And I promise to keep looking at life from the sunny side of the street.

Post 440

Why I Think I am Entitled to Popularity

A Satirical look at Entitlement:

1. The facts: This is my 426th Post. I have been blogging for three and a half years. I get about 60 views a day.

2. My Complaint: My popularity expectations are not being met.

3. My Goal: I want to be immensely popular.  I don’t want to put a lot of effort into promoting my blog, nor do I wish to learn how to be a better writer or photographer. No, I just want what popular bloggers have.

4. My Cunning Plan: I’m going to start a new Entitlement Movement. I welcome your suggestions on what I should call it.

5. What my Entitlement Movement will demand:

  • I want better wild animal photos for my blog. No one does a nicer job than the Canadian Photographer, Christopher Martin.  Oh sure, I could buy a camera like his, and learn how to use it, and spend days tramping through the wilderness – but I’d rather be sitting at my computer complaining. I think I am entitled to some of Christopher’s photos. He has lots of them.
  • I want better wild flower photos. Montucky at Montana Outdoors is very good. He (at least I think he is a he) is American, not Canadian, but I spend enough money in the USA during the winter when I visit there, so I think I am entitled to some of his photos too.
  • I want better drawings. I like the work of Doodlemum.  Yes, I suppose I could learn to draw better, but that would take a lot of time and like I said before, I’m better at complaining.
  • I want unique and inventive content. Terry Border from Bent Objects, Nicole at The Middlest Sister and Dan at A LEGO a Day are three of my favourites. I admire their creativity. I don’t have that skill set, and I’m not even sure I have that kind of capability – but it is what I want, and someone should give it to me. I’m entitled.
  • I want better stories. Most of my fellow bloggers are better writers than I am, so I want them to ghost write for me.
  • I want the same viewer stats as the top 1% of all bloggers. Why should they have so much, and I have so little?

It just dawned on me that I should be demanding better internet service too. I live in a rural area and the nearest internet tower provides “insufficient service” for my needs (“Insufficient service” – that is how my ghost writer would say it, I think). I know, I could move closer to where the services are – but it would be much better if they built a tower closer to my house. Not where I could see it, though. I don’t want my view destroyed.  It is bad enough that I can see power poles behind my property. I want all power poles to be underground so I can’t see them. I want all my power to come from the sun or the wind and I want it to be dirt cheap.

Speaking of my rural aspect, there are 17 pieces of property out my way and we were here long before the developers started to march across the horizon and build warehouses. We were here long before the nearest town became a city and annexed us. We were here first! I demand that all this newly developed land be given to me and that I be made President and CEO of all the enterprises that have replaced the homes of the moose and deer and fox.

I also want to have quicker access to an airport, but I don’t want planes flying over my house anymore. Sometimes they are so loud that I can hear them above the howl of the wind and the buzz of the mosquitoes. (I want the wind and mosquitoes to go away too.)

Now I want to go have a nap. Organizing an Entitlement Movement is hard work. I think I need to find ‘people’ to do this stuff for me. I’m entitled to have someone arrange for my entitlements.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln –

 

The Unofficial WordPress ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ Club

So You’ve Never Been Freshly Pressed! Then it is your lucky day, because you qualify for membership in the NBFP Club.  Yes, there are other bloggers just like you who have chosen WordPress.com but WordPress.com hasn’t chosen you… or them…

By my estimation, (and by virtue of my self appointed rank of President of NBFP I am authorized to do estimates) 99.9986% of WordPress bloggers have not, and never will be Freshly Pressed. Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion. It is advanced math and like WordPress, I am not at liberty to tell you how and why I do what I do. Rest assured, however, that no matter how many of your fellow bloggers get Freshly Pressed and no matter how many of your fellow Bloggers are Freshly Pressed on numerous occasions, they still are a very small minority. There are, you see,  nearly 40 million new posts each and every month for WordPress to choose from!

I’m sure you are as excited about the NBFP Club as I am. You already know the benefits of Never Being Freshly Pressed, but let me itemize them for you (this is why I am President – I am organized too):

  • no long lines of strangers hanging about your blog hoping to cash in on your fame
  • no feelings of inadequacy if you don’t get Freshly Pressed again
  • no depression when your site stats slip back to normal
  • no need to live up to your past fame

Of course, the NBFP Club will be more than just a virtual reality. I’ve found us a clubhouse.

street scene

I know it doesn’t look all that good right now…

street buildings

But my contractors assure me that with just a few renovations, this is what our place could look like. I think the restaurant and patio will be wonderful!

Since the inauguration of our club, we’ve rounded up a few bloggers who are eager to serve on our Board. The good thing about our Club is that anyone can be on the Board simply by volunteering to fill a position that they invent. How cool is that!

UPDATE:  It is with extreme sadness that I announce I was Freshly Pressed on July 9, 2013. I therefore announce my resignation as President, though I will still retain my title of Founder and First President.

Our New President is Al at thecvillean . Previous to this, Al was our very capable Treasurer. If you would like to join the NBFP Club, head over to his blog.

Farewell all and Happy Blogging!

Post 388

Press Release from The Never Been Freshly Pressed Club

bandaid

I was just putting the finishing touches on a post about all my blogging friends who have never been ‘Freshly Pressed‘. I was thinking it would be appropriate to form a group of ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ (NBFP) bloggers, perhaps design our own badge to put in a widget on our sidebar – celebrate our status as the underdogs.

I think everyone roots for the underdog.
– Johnny Knoxville

I was going to link to some of my fellow underdogs and the first on my list was Steve at The Brown Road Chronicles. He recently wrote about how he has skirted around accusations that he has used the banned substance called ‘Freshlypresstosterone’ in an attempt to achieve Freshly Pressed fame. I guess the drug finally worked –  yesterday Steve was Freshly Pressed.

Toonaday bandaid

Steve with A Broken Heart because he was Freshly Pressed

Congratulations Steve – but as self proclaimed President of the NBFP, I’m going to have to kick you out of our club. It breaks my heart to have to do it, but rules are rules. (Note to the Club Secretary – please get those rules written. Note to Membership – please nominate a secretary.)

I’m sorry Steve, but you will have to remove your belongings from the Club locker room. I’m going to have to suspend your bar and dining privileges too. (Note to Club House Manager – do we have a location for the Club yet? Note to Membership – hire a Club Manager.)

On the bright side, that means someone gets Steve’s parking stall.

Life goes on. Let me introduce you to some of the remaining members of our Club:

  • Al at thecvillean.  Al is blunt in describing his feelings about the WordPress FP editors: “When the intellectual powers that be at WordPress FP gather together to beatify a subscriber, please just put away the dartboard and actually read one of my posts.”
  • The self described ‘disjointed and somewhat snide’ blogger at Pouring My Art Out is pragmatic: “I have as much chance of being ‘freshly pressed’ as Dick Cheney has of being voted People Magazine’s ‘sexiest man alive’”.
  • Christine at The Good Stuff writes, “I just started my 2012 day timer with that freshly pressed paper smell” – In our club, Freshly pressed means different things to different people.
  • L8n at Back Road Scholar. L8n is well connected. If anyone can find us a club house, L8n can.
  • Me. I wrote about the probability of being Freshly Pressed in a post called So You’ve Never Been Freshly Pressed. I compared it to a lottery, but it isn’t. It is a competition with no fixed rules where there are winners and losers and no one really understands the how or why of any of it. As one Freshly Pressed Blogger said about being selected, “here was a post that was far from my favourite in terms of creativity and flow. It didn’t even contain any of my own pictures!”

Contrast that to all the benefits of the NBFP Club –  no long lines of strangers hanging about your blog hoping to cash in on your fame; no feelings of inadequacy if you don’t get Freshly Pressed again; and no depression when your site stats slip back to normal.

If you are an overlooked, under appreciated blogger and  you would like to join our club, head over to the home of our new President, Al, at thecivillean so that your name can be added to our roster. You will have to take an Oath of Allegiance… once we get one written.

Post 384

Testing – A Post About Nothing

thinking hat

Thinking

The test is to recognize the mistake, admit it and correct it. To have tried to do something and failed is vastly better than to have tried to do nothing and succeeded.
– Dale E. Turner –

Nothing else to say, really.  I didn’t mean to publish this post. I was just testing something. Before I could get it fixed, three of you had left comments. So, who knows – maybe a post about nothing will get more comments than anything else I’ve posted here…

Post 379

My First Ever ‘WordPress In Review’ Report

I’ve been blogging for three years and managed to stay under the radar as far as WordPress.com was concerned. Then, for some unknown reason, my stealth radar shield was deactivated. The WordPress stats helper monkeys swooped in, sucked up all my blog’s pertinent data, and compiled an annual report.

I won’t burden you with the full report, but here is the stats monkeys cleverly worded comparison:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 31,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

I’ve never been to Cannes, but I’ve bought a few DVD’s from Costco. Comparing my blog views to the DVD sales stats for Costco wouldn’t have made me feel very successful though.

That pretty much wraps up this year. I expect my radar shields will reactivate shortly and my blog will return to stealth mode. Happy New Year!

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
– Bill Vaughn –

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.
– Joey Adams –

Post 376

Responsive to Change – My Cat and WordPress Themes

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
– Charles Darwin –

This is Mooch. He is a very large cat (see story The Cat Compendium) that may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he certainly was extremely responsive to change. It took him about a nanosecond to accept that he no longer lived at our house and had been adopted by the people next door.

But Mooch isn’t what this story is really about. This is about my blog, and your blog, and how everyone reads our blogs. Surveys suggest that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.

But there is more: people no longer just use their desk top or laptop computers to read our blogs. More and more people are using their phones or digital tablets to view our ever so entertaining stories. And did you know that a blog that looks just fine on a computer screen can be much more difficult to read on a tiny phone screen if the theme of the blog hasn’t been taught to be Responsive or doesn’t have the Mobile Option clicked (Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button.)

Which WordPress.com themes are fully Responsive? Hop over to this page: Responsive Themes to find one that appeals to you. For now, I’m using a Mobile friendly theme that isn’t responsive, but I frequently change themes. Like Mooch, I enjoy the change of moving to a new abode – with the simple click of my mouse!

Post 357

How to Insert Bold Quotation Marks

There are three ways, at least, for adding quotation marks to a Blockquote. The first is the easiest – you just type them where you want them to go.

The second and third ways are achieved by writing CSS rules for Styling a Blockquote. If you have a WordPress.com theme, you will have to purchase the CSS upgrade before you can make these changes permanent. This option gives you many style upgrades, even if you never touch the CSS Stylesheet Editor.

You write the CSS in the Stylesheet Editor. Go to your Dashboard and click on Appearance – Customize – CSS.

Technique 1: Using the before selector to automatically add quotation marks to a blockquote.

Blockquote

The theme used a before selector that contained content: ‘\0201C’;
I added the CSS  (in italics below) to do three things:
I added the border with the blockquote { selector.
I moved the blockquote right and changed the background color with the .site-content .entry-content blockquote { selector.
I moved the existing blockquotes built into the theme to the left with the  .site-content .entry-content blockquote::before { selector.

blockquote {
border: .1px #a8a8a8;
border-style: solid;
border-radius: 10px;
}

.site-content .entry-content blockquote {
margin-left: -5px;
margin-top: 2px;
margin-bottom: 7px;
padding: 15px 20px .25px 30px;
background: #ffffff;
display: flex;
}

.site-content .entry-content blockquote::before {
margin-left: -35px;
margin-top: -10px;
}

Your theme may use different selectors, and you will have to figure out which ones to use.

Technique 2: If you want to use blockquotes you designed yourself, here is one way to do it:

Download, or create your quotation marks in the size you want them to appear on your page, then upload them to your WordPress Media Library. Note what the URL is for that image.

The quotation marks I’ve used here is a small .gif image that is 15X15 pixels in size. I could have made it larger, or a darker colour if I wanted bolder quotation marks.

Then write the CSS (in italics below) in the Stylesheet Editor. The blockquote { selector may not be the selector used by your theme – so you may have to test other selectors until you find the one that works.

blockquote {
background-image: url(‘insert your quotation mark URL here’);
background-position:top left;
background-repeat:no-repeat;
padding:.7em 2.2em .2em 2em;
color:#121212;
}

Insert your image URL where it says insert your quotation mark URL here. Your image URL must be inside one set of single quotation marks.
The setting for padding will determine where the image sits on your page, so you will have to tweak that.
The setting for color will determine the color of the font, so you will have to tweak that too.

There, that is it. Or it might not be it, in which case you should contact the WordPress Happiness Engineers or the WordPress Forum and ask for help!

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