Organize Series Plugin Released!

Finally, I’ve managed to assemble a release-worthy version of some code I’ve been using for a while on my sermons site. When I was developing the site for hosting all the various messages I preach at my church I looked unsuccessfully for a plug-in that I could use that would help in the organization and presentation of sermon series.

Finally, I decided to take the plunge and write up some code myself. Please understand, I’m very limited in my skills at programming in PHP/MySql so what may take some a few hours ends up taking me a few weeks! Nevertheless with much persistence I came up with something that has served me well at unshamedsermons.com.

Then came the new design for my church website and my interest in starting to write “series” articles here at this blog and I started looking at packaging the crude code I was using for my sermons into a generic, yet more robust plugin that can be dropped into a fresh wordpress install and make available a way to present special series articles on one’s blog.

Hamachi : Stay Connected – a VPN solution.

LogMeIn FreeI’ve been using a service for sometime now called “LogMeIn” as a way of remotely controlling the computers I have access to. In my opinion, the developers of LogMeIn have designed the premier way of remotely accessing any computers you have connected (via a broadband connection mind you) to the internet. The best thing? It’s free! If you haven’t heard of them I suggest you take a quick browse over and check it out. To quickly summarize what LogMeIn is:

  • LogMeIn signupYou sign up for a free account and download the software to the computer you want to be able to remotely control. (you can do this for any computer you want to be able to access)
  • After setting up the software (painless) that computer is now accessible via the LogMeIn interface via any browser on any computer (err…by any I mean IE or Firefox – the only two browsers I’ve used with it ;)).

Upcoming Service: stikkit – hmm interesting!

Stikkit Website ScreenshotI’ve come across this new Web 2.0 service currently in beta that looks like it will be a very promising service! What is it? The short version is that it is yet another online calendar, to-do list, address book organizer. Where it differs from others is in the unique method of entering in your data. It promises to function kind of like a personal assistant in that all you do is type the info (or cut and paste, or email?) into a “stikkit” interface (kind of like those stick-it notes we can’t seem to get rid of!) and as you are typing the service will work in the background automatically adding the information to the correct places (events to calendars, to-do’s to your to-do list, people to your address book etc.). Then you get your standard different ways of displaying the information.

Well I signed up for the beta and took a quick peek. Looks good but I won’t be using it much until they implement the live update (via .rss/subscriptions) and/or export features. They’ve currently got import and export but it requires user prompting before it’ll do it. Once that gets integrated I’ll probably give it a whirl…unless I forget about it before then :lol:!

The key to blogging for the long haul…

Even though I’m still relatively new to the blogosphere (I’ve been blogging since May 2006 – see my first post!) I have been journaling off and on for quite a few years and blogging and journaling share some similarities in terms of what gives lasting power. Of course, there are pretty significant differences between the two (the primary one being the “public” and journalistic feel of a blog vs. the private and diary feel of a personal journal) but for the purpose of this article I think I can write out of some modicum of experience! Another reason that contributes to a measure of insight found in this article is the fact that even though I haven’t blogged myself until recently, I’ve been an avid reader of other peoples blogs for quite a while – there’s certain things that are common among bloggers with lasting power that stick out to me.
Anyway, the purpose of this article is to answer the question, “What are characteristics that keep someone blogging for the long haul?” According to David Sifry’s, “State of the Blogosphere Report” for August 2006 Technorati tracked it’s 50 millionth blog! Now that’s a lot of writer’s out there – however according to a comment David made in response to Glenn Fannick’s article, “Technorati’s Active Blogs — Perhaps 1.4 Million?“,

Oh how I dislike IE…

I’ll probably post more on this subject as time goes on but one thing that has really irked me in this last few days as I’ve worked on designing my first theme is the workarounds one has to go through to have something that appears right using Firefox look the same in IE.

I never realized the degree of difference between the two browsers (innards wise anyway) until I started learning css and fooling around with it more.? I used to be an IE fan but I got hooked on Firefox when I discovered tab browsing and the incredible array of extensions and plug-ins you can get for it.? Recently I installed the developer toolbar extension by Chris Pederick and it really does help in rooting out coding and design bugs…in Firefox anyway.

I really am not a great coder by any means but just the feel of using Firefox is a lot better than IE.? Looking at your site over and over again on Firefox as you design it is like having a nice smooth milkshake compared to eating sand when working with IE.

And to think I actually liked using Internet Explorer all those years…well I’m chasing the fox now!

Wireless Wonder World

WirelessMy wife and I had to take one of my daughters (Jenna) to London for a special test today at the Children’s Hospital. She’s undergoing a hearing threshold test to determine the degree of hearing loss she has. That isn’t the point of this post however (but do keep her in prayer!). I’m writing this from our hotel room and that’s the reason for this post.

I’m simply amazed with the capabilities of wireless networking! Back in January of this year our church upgraded our computers and we added a network and of course I had the fun job of installing everything :). Since the cost of wireless had come down so much I decided to go ahead and save work (threading wires through tight spaces is no fun) by putting in a wireless router and buying some cheap D-Link USB Adapters to plug in the computers. I learned alot in the process, not only about networking but also specifically wireless networking.

Things not to do with email…

I came across a post at the “43 Folders” blog (Writing sensible email messages) that has some good pointers on writing useful email messages. I won’t rehash it all here but it got me thinking of some of the things I’ve learned over the years with all the emails I’ve handled (and if you’re anything like me you know what a nuisance spam is…but then nobody is immune!) Anyway, I’m surprised how many people still follow such poor email habits that I thought I’d write a list of things not to do with email…hopefully it will be helpful.

1. Don’t be a lazy forwarder…

What is a lazy forwarder? A “LF” is someone who gets a joke, or chain letter, or story from someone via email and fowards it to everyone in their address list. I usually delete close to 95% of such emails I get from people simply because a. The subject field has a, “[FWD – Cute joke lucy!]” or b. I just don’t have the time to be reading all these things. Half the time I wonder if the person sending me the forward even knows that they sent it to me.
Some helpful pointers:

Ugh…a bug!

UPDATE (June 4, 2006; 12:47am): I think I’ve crushed this bug…please comment if you notice anything awry though. Thanks!

Well, you may have noticed that I’ve been hard at work changing the theme and adding various things to my blog. Well…some are things you’ll notice, some are things you won’t. Anyway, i just realized that this theme doesn’t display my photo gallery that well which means I have to do some more…yes, you guessed it…tweaking! hehe. Looks like I’ll have to play around with the .css and stylesheets BUT I can’t get to it right now…I’ve already stayed up past my bedtime. I just thought I’d put this post up so that in case anyone was browsing the picture albums (yeah right! :lol:) they’ll know that, yes “I know there’s something wrong with the page…”

Tweaking, tweaking…and yes more tweaking

I haven’t posted much lately because in the little spare time I’ve had the last few days I’ve been downloading and testing out various themes, widgets, and plug-ins for my blog.? It’s something I can’t seem to avoid – I always have to be modifying or “fiddling around” with things on any websites I maintain.? Anyhoo, there may be some funny things happening with this blog off and on in the next few days as I transfer what works on test to my live blog…hopefully everything will work okay lol.

Continuing work on the library…module that is

Well, tonight I put another hour into the design of the library module for Unashamed Online Basically what it will be is an online reference for all the resources available in my church library. It will also have tools for our church librarian to manage the resources (i.e. what books are signed out etc.) There will also be links for people to sign out resources when they take it out. I’m not quite sure how it’ll all work yet but it’ll be a good project to further develop my php skills lol! I’m also gonna try doing a bit more css on this module as I need to work on developing those skills as well. Of course all this tends to keep me up late at night (yawn!) I’ll need to be careful I don’t put too much time into it hehe.