Updating Updates

Posted 7 May 2016 By Shari Smothers

I looked up and I was forcibly updated to 4.4.3. And I guess I’ll take that since everything looks to be alright. And, there is an update to 4.5.2 Interesting that it came out so fast. I’m skeptical, of course, so I think I’ll read on it awhile and see what responses it gets.

In the meantime, I have new site plans for a current ning site that I maintain. I’m reading up on the transition of that so that I might be able to help the guy who runs the host company and owns the name. I’m looking forward to the adventure of updating. And for now, I am working on what I want the site to look like.

To that end, I’m working on updating and developing my site in the background. I’ve always changed my personal blog sites real time, and usually late at night. But, for this site, I want to get back to doing it most efficiently and that is without all the changes on the front.

Things change so fast with technology until I have to have to do my homework to see what works best for backside updating. And, I’ll be the practice pet using my own site to try things out. When the company site changes I want to be able to hit the ground running. I’ll post about the tools I find and how they work for me. And, I’m open to suggestions of apps or plugins for this work.

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Quick Note on Problem with Version 4.5.1

Posted 5 May 2016 By Shari Smothers

It’s been a while, I know. But I’m working slowly on returning to my base work. One of them is maintaining my sites.

Recently, I got into one of my sites and it innocuously offered an update to 4.5.1. I was thinking what the hell, I was on a roll getting back into the swing of things. I clicked that little update button and was very unhappy.

When I opened a post, I was in text. I usually write in the text tab for this site because I need to not have all the automatic formatting of the Visual tab. Here’s the thing though. I couldn’t see any of my formatting buttons above the writing section. Then, I couldn’t switch to the visual tab at all, to see if there was anything there.

Working Out Solutions

I made a snap decision that there was an issue with my site and the newest version of WordPress. I set out to find the most efficient route to go back to my previous version. I found a few great videos that helped me suss out what I needed to do to revert. The one I used (twice now since I hit the upgrade button a second time by mistake), is  Andrew Q. Power’s video. I put it back to my previous version and everything was back working. Good times!

The situation with this site was a bit different. It had been so long since I was on here, until the site needed to be upgraded. I wanted the same older version in case I was right and it was the new version’s issue that hung up my posting section. For that, I found Rick Roberts’ video and it was the perfect help for me to get the job done…and quickly.

Both videos are clear and concise, very easy to use. One uses cPanel. The other uses Firefox. Once you get into them, you will see how the choice could be yours in either instance.

Resources

Both these video solutions helped me. It took very little time and I was back to posting and other things immediately after. I followed the steps, (after trying to do different things on my own), and got it done. If you think it may not work well for you, watch the whole video and then decide based on your own software technical abilities.

One of the main things you should take away from this post is that answers can be found for what you want to do. If not these videos that worked for me, there are many others to choose from, and books too. Remember, if you get yourself into a site jam, you can likely get out of it, too.

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My Design Work in 2014

Posted 21 November 2014 By Shari Smothers

sls-piinkWell, hello there!

It’s been a very long time since I posted here. Not that I haven’t been writing here, and elsewhere. It’s just that I haven’t felt that it was time to go live with anything.

Ignoring that voice in my head, I want to share a little about what has been going on for me.

Deferring to my day job, I have put a lot of things related to my blog on hold. Added to that the web work I’ve been doing for my church and my time seems to have evaporated quietly, almost without my noticing.

Having Too Much Fun

I enjoy the work that I do. It’s taxing and tedious at times. But, what job isn’t, really? It requires me to think, design, interact with others, and collaborate on projects, or execute on my own. And sometimes it’s painfully routine. All of it is balanced enough to keep me involved the entire work-day.

Then, there is the fact that there is always more work than time. That opens me up to bringing work home. That truth leads to me staying late, going in early and taking work home, sometimes. All leading to burnout.

All Work, All the Time, . . . Not So Good

There is a lot more to get out of life than just working all the time. And sometimes it comes screaming out at you from the oddest inspirations [Pinterest]. And you really can’t ignore it anymore. In fact, it’s almost effortless to let it back in after a point.

For me, it has come to a head with the inspirations I find on Pinterest, currently my favorite place to explore whatever interests me. And with the requests I get for web work and design work. And the fact that I don’t want to look at work work, anymore on my own time. I’m regularly being nudged back to where my passions are.

On the Other Side

Every time I’m asked for a special item these days, I put on my real design hat. I’m pushing my skills to the next levels because that is where my joy is found. I find technique videos on YouTube. I use my software manual, and I get busy.

At church, people give me projects and tell me to do with it what I want, just make it happen. These guys have afforded me enough work and latitude to set up a new portfolio. (I’ll be compiling that down the road.)

For now, though, I’m enjoying the creative outlet. It’s like catching my breath, after a long time not.

Fruits of My Labors

I’ve been making so many things lately. I learned that it’s necessary to make an object a perfect square if you don’t want it cut off by NING technology. I found that by searching online for a solution to my problem of my images being chopped up in the events section.

What I make for this area I call because they are small and square, and that’s their job. I’ve come up with some great ones and crappy ones (according to myself). And not wanting to use others’ images all the time, I’m pushing myself to go further in actually making things.Here are a few of my favorites are below. I’ll show more in my portfolio.

Badge-joyseekers badge-Christmas Banquet Badge-corrected081314

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think I have a signature yet. But I have certain things that I like to see. Like, good use of space with negative space that contributes. Color schemes that complement the images and don’t make your eyes smart. All of my ideas are presented inside whatever constraints I am given. I’m working on it.

A Final Note

I break rules, too. The image that opens this post is and initials ball. If I was going to be correct about it, One letter s should have been in the middle. But I didn’t like it that way. So just for me, I have the initials in order, sls. I guess though that for work purposes, I may want to do another one “right” so people will know that I know better.

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Operating in Space: File Sharing

Posted 2 December 2012 By Shari Smothers

I am a strong advocate of minimizing emails. When working on projects over time and in groups, it’s very difficult to keep the number of exchanges to a minimum. I email various file types to myself and to others as we revise our data. Or I will put it on a flash drive and go back and forth between computers and locations until I’m done with it.

Because I am such a fan of the under-stuffed Inbox, I was a great advocate of Google Wave, a product likely before it’s time. Certainly it was before my time as I could not get my people in my communications to get on board. I never did understand how they didn’t see the benefits. Or, how many more didn’t see benefits because it soon went the way of the wind.

I used Evernote for a while then stopped. I have since returned to it because it is a really easy to make notes on the fly and have them wherever I am. But, it’s not for sharing yet.

File Sharing Practices

There are many ways to share files, today. From email to flash drives to cyber space. I use them all from time to time.

Dropbox Revisited

My latest venture is Dropbox. A while back I shared files with someone that I was considering working with. It was very useful. Recently a friend shared video clips with me. And, again I was reminded of the versatility of the application. It’s free to get started with a limited amount of space.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Right now, I can add storage space by getting others to use Dropbox. This is my link to get credit – http://db.tt/ConaSbzi

Google Docs Changed

I liked it when it was Google Docs and I could share files wherever I was. It’s now Drive and it works like the rest of them. You get so much for free then you have to start paying. I received comic book files from a friend and it worked well. Although, the file size was large and it seemed to take forever to download. That may be standard. I don’t know because I don’t transfer a lot of large files.

I’d like to know what you’re working with. Share your applications that you like for sharing files with others.

Tried and True

Until the masses start using Dropbox and other web based sharing, I will be prepared to share via the traditional methods of email, discs, and flash drives (and mental telepathy where available). I was slow to get on board with this because of basic resistance to change, so I understand all people are not all using the same technology.

I also have a particular aversion to proprietary software that seeks to constrain me to one vendor, thus controlling the market and thereby being able to set rates. (Yes, it is a personal pet peeve.)

I’ll investigate cloud computing as I grow more comfortable with it. I was reviewing the latest version of Microsoft Office that requires you use their cloud stuff. I was initially put off by the ‘required’ part. I don’t like being forced into anything. And since I am a tried and true fan of WordPerfect, (since DOS 5.0 version), I am more than willing to hold off on MS Office until I’m absolutely compelled to update.

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Coloring Hyperlinks with CSS

Posted 9 March 2011 By Shari Smothers

Why color your hyperlinks? Adding color is one of the easiest ways to draw readers through your pages. Like adding pictures, adding color is a simple way to enhance the usability of your website. Three things you can accomplish with color:

  1. Improves reader scanning
  2. Indicates links
  3. Break up long texts

Design is not my strong suit. I can do most of what I need effectively. Otherwise, when it’s beyond my abilities, I refer to my brilliant graphic design friend, Nida. She’s the person I refer people to when they’re looking for custom graphic design work. Be sure to take a look at her portfolio. Anyway, Nida pointed up a great tool from Adobe.

Color Ideas

Kuler, from Adobe, is a great color scheme tool. On the site, you’ll find colors grouped together. You can use one of their many pre-defined color schemes, or you can make your own. Kuler has a great resource that lets you create custom color schemes and see what they will look like before you start working on your CSS.

You can pick your colors using the W3 Schools Color Picker. W3Schools also links other pages related to color, including a color mixer page. But this isn’t nearly as versatile as the Kuler tool.

You don’t need a lot of colors unless that’s really what you want to do. But remember to address your links (pardon the pun), when you’re planning your colors. You could leave your hyperlinks to whatever is the default color, but a better idea is to coordinate them with the scheme of your website.

One Thing about Formatting

If you’re not using CSS, get started. Small websites (say, one page–or three) can have the CSS code on the HTML page. The best practice for using CSS is to create a separate CSS file and link to it in your HTML head section. Place the following line of code (I place mine after the meta information):

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”blank-css-template.css” />

Replace ‘blank-css-template‘ with the name of your CSS file; one line for each CSS file you use.

Pseudo Codes for Hyperlinks

You use pseudo classes to manipulate the hyperlink colors in each of the states.

  • a:link – inactive hyperlinks
  • a:visited – previously clicked hyperlinks
  • a:hover – state when mouse is over the hyperlink text

It’s necessary that you include the link states in the order listed above for it to work properly. Also, you can add another state, called the active state, written a:active. It can be written before or after the a:hover state.

Format Your Hyperlinks

In your CSS document, the above pseudo codes are written without any introductory symbol. So, no pound sign (#) or period (.). A syntactically correct sample of the code you would include is:

a:link {font-family:Verdana, Arial, sans serif; color:#000033; text-decoration:none;}
a:visited {color: #003300; text-decoration:none;}
a:hover {color: #527A00; text-decoration:underline;}

Plug the code into your editor to see how it works. I prefer bold links, so one piece of code I’ll add is “font-weight:bold;” to each line. What are some of your ideas on color in your web pages? How do you manage adding color to your website?

Resources

  1. Kuler, for color scheme ideas, from Adobe
  2. W3 Schools Color Picker
  3. How to Create Rollover Text
  4. Graphics Ninja, for custom graphic designs
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HTML Editors in Play: Komodo

Posted 24 September 2010 By Shari Smothers

I installed the two applications that I downloaded. And I added another to my bevvy of tools, to be discussed later. I’ve only made time to work with one, so far.

This first one I started using is Komodo Edit. It is responsive and the side area for folders is useful. Like some of the others I’m using, you can change the interface colors, which I find quite helpful. It draws my eyes to anything that might be missing, like the closing bracket. It points up when there’s an error in the syntax.

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