New toy

I’m typing this in my kitchen on my new laptop. I’m not wirelessed up to the internet like I would like to be, but maybe one day.

But it’s a big step up from a Windows 98, Pentium III, 850Mhz, 256Mb RAM, 14Gb hard drive desktop machine in my spare room. My new toy has a dual core processor, 120Gb hard drive, bluetooth (don’t know what that does but it sounds good), wireless networking, and heaps more portability and Windows XP Professional.

Wooo hooo. And to top it off, JJ and I don’t have to go to school and work respectively for about two weeks.

Macromedia/Adobe Help wish

I was trying to do something in Freehand, go to the Help menu to find out if such a thing is possible. It is, but it tells me to open a menu window but does not tell me how. I’ve noticed this lack of more contextual help in Photoshop also. As I don’t use these packages all the time it’s a problem for me. 

It wouldn’t be that hard to have a section that could be linked to from this type of help where you can click here and here (with a couple of helpful diagrams) so I don’t have to search elsewhere to find these sorts of instructions.

For example, this is the current version.

FreehandhelpasisAnd this is what it could look like with a link to tell a user what and where the effect type pop-up menu is.

FreehandhelpwithlinkedhelpHow about it Macromedia/Adobe?

Website support has this type of information but you have to be online to get it.

Turning a website into a blog (part 3)

I’m still plugging away at turning from a website into a WordPress blog. See part  1 and part 2 of my progress.

I’ve actually started putting some content in so the blog is coming along. It took a while to find a theme I was reasonably happy with and it’s slow going over a dialup connection at home. I settled with a theme from Crave4more – Cravingforgreen. I have changed it a fair amount and down the track will probably start from scratch and do my own.

I’m currently having trouble with the heading size in the content area. I’ve changed it in style.css but it just doesn’t change in the site. So I’m currently doing a backup of my changes and will copy some of the original theme files back in to try and see what the problem is. Changing the H2 in style.css just isn’t working so it must be getting the size from somewhere else.

I did find a very useful document about WordPress Themes at Urban Giraffe which I paid the 5 US dollars and downloaded the PDF. They step through it step-by-step so now that I’m getting more used to how it all hangs together I’ll do that at some stage.

The other time waster has been image insertion. As is very image intensive I needed something fairly easy to add images with. This meant I had to search through all the plugins and eventually settled successfully with Iimage Browser. A lot of the documentation with these plugins is not geared towards newbies like myself and is hard to trawl through.

The only problem with Iimage Browser is that it doesn’t have a wysiwyg editor which is a bit of pain when you want to move images around more than anything. My workaround was to insert the images, turn on the visual rich editing again and then move the images around.


Turning a website into a blog (part 2)

As written a few days ago I’m thinking of turning a website I’ve done into a blog.

I finished off the last instalment with how easy it was to install WordPress and that I’m very impressed with the WordPress documentation. That was before I started the configuration.

I find myself going round in circles with it.

I’ve managed to install another theme. That’s easy. Anything that has to be installed is easy but trying to do anything else more manually isn’t easy for me yet.

There is loads of documentation, but I haven’t yet come across the type of documentation I’m looking for and that’s probably because there is so much out there that wading through it all is the trouble.

I’ve created some categories and I want to change the order of the categories. I found out how to do that I thought and went and did it but nothing’s happened on the website.

I started putting the About page together and then realised that inserting an image wasn’t so easy. The website I’m converting is very image heavy so after some reading I’ve had to install yet another plug-in to add images. There are loads of image type plug-ins so it will be trial and error.

I’m about to spend some more time on it now so hopefully things will start to fall into place.


Brushes with stars in her eyes

Even a Photoshop novice can experiment with brushes and make something that otherwise might be beyond their means. When I say ‘their’, I mean me in this instance. I’ve changed my blog theme yet again because I found this website that has a heap of brushes you can use so long as you give a link back to his site. The site being Photoshop brushes.

I liked the stars, hence the ‘stars in her eyes’. Not really sure what else this alludes to but I guess it’s also a bit of a cliche and therefore easily remembered.

My old banner ’tis here.


Turning a website into a blog

I’m largely responsible for the safarisuit website and I don’t update it very often as it’s a pain in the ass to do. I have to do it home for a start and use FTP to upload changed pages. I’ve almost sub-consciously started a blog type format for it where I put latest news type items on the homepage and archive off the older ones.

Being a lover of blogging I thought why not convert it into a blog. I initially thought of getting another Typepad account and using that like I do for this blog but I thought the safari suit host must provide a blogging facility. They don’t as such, but they do have the minimum requirements for me to install WordPress.

So as I’m writing this I’m uploading WordPress files to my webspace on my dialup connection. An aside, I told a friend recently that I’ve done all of the safari suit website via my dialup connection and he was astounded. Unless I start making megabucks or doing more work from home I can’t yet justify getting broadband. So dialup it is. While it’s damned slow it gets there in the end.

I haven’t completely worked out how I’m going to transfer what’s already on the safari suit website to a blog type format but I think it will eventually work out. I’m optimistic if nothing else. Right, the files have finished uploading.

Not even five minutes later

WordPress is all installed on my website. Too easy! There’s no content there as yet.

Wordpress1 As someone who is normally very frustrated at the crap level of documentation for just about everything I am very impressed with the documentation on the WordPress site. 

Now for some configuration.

Installing wireless broadband

My sister went and organised wireless broadband for herself. She came home armed with her wireless gateway modem, a CD, a quick start guide and the assurance from the salespeople that you just plug it in, turn it on and you’re away.

Yeah right!

Luckily she also organised me to come round after work one day to set it up for her. I have some technical support background and sheer pig-headedness on my side to get these things set up. She is a bit of a computer luddite.

I rocked up to her place after work one day last week and plugged everything in, went and turned on the computer and things weren’t working as they should have been. I rang up technical support and after nearly a two hour wait I finally spoke to someone. We fairly quickly established that a wireless adapter was missing from the computer – a very essential part when connecting wireless broadband. We also worked out that to get the right settings on the wireless gateway it would be easiest to plug it into a computer that had a network card which my sister didn’t have.

I do have a network card on my computer so I took home the wireless gateway and the ethernet cable and my sister bought herself a wireless adapter. When the gateway was plugged into my computer I rang up technical support – blessedly quiet over Easter, so I didn’t have to wait too long – and a different person basically said I hadn’t needed to do that really, that I could set it up at my sister’s place.

So, on Easter Sunday, off I went to my sister’s place, found the easter egg stash, armed myself with chocolate, put Free Willy 2 on the DVD for JJ to keep him occupied and installed the wireless adapter into the computer. I plugged everything else in and rang technical support again when there was no wireless connection forthcoming.

Yet a different technical support person brought up the settings on the gateway using while connected to a network card. I told him that when I was all connected in this way at my place that one of you guys told me it didn’t matter. I got step by step instructions from him what to do when it was connected to a network card and all I had to do was change the wireless setting to mixed from disabled. I had been told this the first time after the two hour wait but failed to write down proper instructions and failed to take this improperly written instructions with me.

Off I went home again – luckily only five minutes away – changed the setting, went back to my sister’s and finally got everything working with just one slight hiccup that a new piece of hardware (the bit between the phone jack and the modem/landline) will fix.

I’ve taken a while to tell this tale and it could have all been avoided with CLEAR instructions.

The quick setup guide didn’t have a vital ‘What you need to do/have first’ section. This section could have outlined that we needed a wireless adapter, and how to find out if you have one. This section could have outlined that you might need to connect the gateway to a network card to change the wireless setting. This section could have saved me a few hours and many phone calls and needless stress. This section would have only taken up a tiny bit of space. This section would have also saved a lot of technical support time from the ISP.

Not so hard I would think.