News: WordPress 3.5.1 Released – Update Your Blogs!

Working with my WordPress-based blogs today, I see a notice that WordPress 3.5.1 has been released. In this world of online attacks, spam and malware, it is important to keep your Worpdress software up to date.

You can install this WordPress Update directly from your blog dashboard.

View the change log for this version.

News: Update Powerpress WordPress/Podcasting Plugin ASAP

Powerpress logo

It looks like there was a security problem with one of the audio players used by the PowerPress WordPress plugin that many podcasters use on their sites. There is an update waiting and Blubrry says “Everyone is strongly encouraged to update their copy of PowerPress immediately!”

Taking their advice, I have done just that on all my WordPress blogs and you should too. Visit your WordPress Dashboard to perform the quick update.

Here is a snippet from the PowerPress Changelog for this version… 

Powerpress 4.0.6

  • Released on 1/23/2013
  • Everyone is strongly encouraged to update their copy of PowerPress immediately!
  • Due to concerns of possible security exploits, the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player has been removed from PowerPress. Learn More
  • Notices added in both the WP dashboard and in the Audio player settings page that the 1 Pixel Out player has been removed.
  • If you’ve configured your web site with the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player, Flow Player Classic will be used. Go to the PowerPress > Audio Player settings page to change this player if you like.


WordPress Wednesday: WordPress 3.5 is released!

Wp logo

The latest version of WordPress press, 3.5, has just been released. Following my usual WordPress Wednesday, it’s time to look at your blogs, update your plugins and try out the new 3.5. 

For a complete list of new features and other changes, visit the WordPress Codex.

A few of the changes…

New Media Manager

  • Beautiful interface: A streamlined, all-new experience
  • Create galleries faster with drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls
  • Insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click

New Default Theme – Twenty Twelve

  • Simple, flexible, elegant
  • Mobile-first, responsive design
  • Gorgeous Open Sans typeface
  • Uses the latest Theme Features

Admin Enhancements

  • New Welcome Screen
  • Retina-Ready (HiDPI) Admin
  • Hide Link Manager for new installs
  • Better accessibility for screenreaders, touch devices, and keyboard users
  • More polish on admin screens, including a new color picker

…and much more!

News: New Liveblog plugin for WordPress turns any post into auto-updating liveblog

This news just came through my RSS feeds. It seems that Automattic, the developer of the WordPress blogging site and software, want to make it a bit easier for bloggers to “liveblog” events. The new VIP Liveblog Add-On allows bloggers to write entries, including text and graphics, directly from their site to users pages. These pages are then automatically update for anyone who js monitoring the liveblog.

Wp liveblog

Liveblogs are often seen around breaking news stories and events like Apple product announcements. More an more, bloggers are covering these events live and want to get the word out as quickly as possible. This new plugin makes it simpler than ever before. 

Here are some bullet points about the new plug-in directly from the web site… 

Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admindashboard)
Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.

You can download the Liveblog plugin directly from

Software: WordPress 3.4 released and available for install

I try to take a moment each week to make it WordPress Wednesday on my web sites. This means I check for updates to themes, plugins and the WordPress software itself. Today I saw that WordPress has released their 3.4 update for all those self-hosting WordPress on their own web sites. Offering myself up as a guinea pig, I have installed it on one blog and all seems to be well

There are bug fixes, of course, but also a flurry of new features, although most mainly look like “under-the-hood” enhancements that will take a while to be adopted by the theme and plugin community. You can find a complete list of improvements on the WordPress web site and get an overview int he video below.

Download the latest version of WordPress here

Troubleshooting: Powerpress Plugin vs. PushPress Plugin – Disappearing podcast links

Blubrry logo

I was having a difficult time releasing my latest gardening podcast last night. The PowerPress plugin I use from was silly refusing to accept a podcast enclosure link. I could past in the URL of the media file, click verify to assure the file existed and press Update on the WordPress post, but once that complete the enclosure information would be gone. It was very frustrating.

I could see that the PowerPress plugin was working on my other blogs and even on past posts to the garden blog, so it looked like something that had changed recently. I try to keep all my WordPress plugins up-to-date to prevent malicious attacks on my blog, but it looks like this time an update had broken something else. In this case, an older plugin, unrelated to PowerPress itself, was the culprit.

After quite a long time trying various searches for an explanation, I finally came across this post — “PowerPress Media URLS keep vanishing” on the Forums.  It seems that the plugin PushPress was no longer compatible with newer versions of WordPress and it was interfering with the PowerPress plugin in some way. Sure enough, deactivating the PushPress plugin cleared up the problem and allowed me to, once again, post my podcasts.

I am posting this in hopes that if and when someone else runs into this problem, my post will be easier for them to find during their search for a solution.

Link: PowerPress plugin from

WordPress 3.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release

Just in time for WordPress Wednesday. Take some time to update your WordPress installs as well as your plugins.

WordPress 3.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release

Posted January 3, 2012 by Ryan Boren. Filed under Releases,Security.

WordPress 3.3.1 is now available. This maintenance release fixes 15 issues with WordPress 3.3, as well as a fix for a cross-site scripting vulnerability that affected version 3.3. Thanks to Joshua H., Hoang T., Stefan Zimmerman, Chris K. and the Go Daddy security team for responsibly disclosing the bug to our security team.

Download 3.3.1 or visit Dashboard → Updates in your site admin.

Tip: Using typographical elements as graphics in blog posts

You may have noticed here that I sometimes like to use typographical elements — like the ?, ! and @ – as graphic elements in a blog post. Rather than go through the trouble of creating a JPEG, uploading it to the site and then linking it in with the IMG tag, I use this small bit of code below to render it out as text. Inline CSS styles allow me to easily size and position the element. This should work in nearly any blogging system, like WordPress and render properly in most or all browsers. You might also imagine using special characters like bullet signs, ™ and © symbols and more.

If you are looking for a quick way to dress up a blog post, give it a try.


This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element. This is some sample text to show you the positioning of the typographical element.

Question: WordPress — Is it hype?


I get a lot of questions every day and here is a one from today…

  • Q: Seth Godin uses TypePad. Is WordPress hyped VS a Reg. Website and using Typepad as your blog platform? I like WP but seems like it has to be watched like a hawk for it not to freeze up or slow down. What will this cost me in WP maintenence fees.
  • A: Hmmm, is WordPress hyped? I don’t think so. It does what I need it to do. There is certainly some personal choice and preference involved. I don’t use TypePad myself, but many people seem to, so it must have something going for it.

    I find WordPress easy to maintain and manage and the number of plugins available for it make it quite extensible, even for someone like me who really isn’t a programmer, although technology-savvy. I do like having my own install of WordPress on my own web host, as opposed to having my blog hosted elsewhere — at least for my own personal blogs. I do use extensively for other, shared project blogs, though. I even have one blog still hosted at, where I started.

    Speed is more a function of your web host and the number of plugins/features you have installed on your WordPress site. As with anything, installing too much cruft can slow it down. I find that the amount of traffic you have is more a concern than the actual software though. WordPress has caching plugins available to help in high-load environments., though, so that can help if you have a really popular web site.

    I don’t find I have to “watch it like a hawk” to keep it running. In fact, I don’t think I have ever had a problem with WordPress other than those I have caused myself through badly configured plugins or themes. You should be able to maintain WordPress by yourself, as typically it only involves clicking a few buttons and waiting for the upgrade. In fact, I always recommend that bloggers know how to control and maintain their own blogs, rather than relying on someone else — especially if that person is charging by the hour for basic maintenance.

    The new automated upgrade utilities built into WordPress make it almost a plug and play environment. Most web hosts have a one/two-click install for WordPress, making it even easier.

    Overall, I like WordPress, both self-hosted and hosted at It serves me well and I regularly recommend it to others.

Do you have a question? Why not drop me a line? Use the Comments link above, send email to or call the voice mail line at 818-804-5049

Question: How do I make automatic backups of my WordPress blog database?


I get a lot of questions every day and here is a one from today…

  • Q: How do I easily backup my WordPress database (the file that holds all your posts, comments, etc). Why should you backup your WordPress Database? If not, am I in danger of losing all my blog posts due to hacking, upgrade issues or other technical mistakes?.
  • A: Yes, failing to backup your WordPress database could lead to the loss of all your blog content if there is an issue. There are a variety of ways to backup your WordPress database. The usual method is to use the database manager page at your web host’s site to manually run a backup to a text file and then download the text file. Doesn’t sound very easy or fun, does it. When I switched over to WordPress a few years ago I was determined to find an easier, and more automatic way, to do backups.

    Enter WordPress Database Backup, a free WordPress plugin available from

    On each of your self-hosted WordPress blogs, download and install this plugin and then activate it via the WordPress Dashboard. Once installed, you can force an immediate backup that can be downloaded to your local computer or, and I prefer this method, an automatic backup which wakes up and then emails the backup file. I keep a separate Gmail account just for this purpose.

    Now, whenever there is a WordPress upgrade, I check to make sure there was a recent automatic backup and then proceed with the upgrade, secure in the knowledge that all my content is safe.

Do you have a question? Why not drop me a line? Use the Comments link above, send email to or call the voice mail line at 818-804-5049

Question: How do I set up a WordPress blog with a static page as the home page?


I get a lot of questions every day and here is a one from today…

  • Q: How do I set up a WordPress or blog to use a static page as the opening screen instead of a list of blog posts?
  • A: I first turned to the WordPress Codex to give me some guidance on this. You can read more in this here – Creating a static front page.

    Basically, you create the WordPress Page you would like to act as the front page for the site. Put your home page content here. Then, create another page and name it Blog, Posts, or whatever else makes sense to you. You need not add anything to this page, as it is only a placeholder to contain the usual posts you would see in a more typical WordPress blog.

    Next, from the WordPress Dashboard, select Settings, Reading. Under the first option on that page (Front page displays) select the radio button next to “A static page”. Then in the popup menus immediately below that, under Front Page, select the page you created to act as the new front page. Under the Posts page, select the second page you created named Blog, Posts, etc. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue “Save Changes” button.

    Now when people visit your blog, they will see the static page you defined. You will need to include a link to the Posts page in the sidebar or header in order to allow people to access your blog posts.

Do you have a question? Why not drop me a line? Use the Comments link above, send email to or call the voice mail line at 818-804-5049

From Blogger to WordPress after all these years

I have been blogging for a long time, even before there were any blogging services to help out with the process. I used to edit a text file that automatically loaded into my home page in an early proto-blog experiment.

When came along, I took too it immediately. It simplified things a lot and really allowed me to get a constant stream of content on my site. Back in those days, I took advantage of the FTP publishing side of Blogger which allowed me to publish static pages directly to my own web server, instead of hosting the blog at a URL. I really liked this. It meant my blog was available even if Blogger was down, and it also meant I had my own copy of all my blog pages.

While I now create any new blogs using WordPress software, I still had 3 blogs using Blogger. Last week, though, I saw the end to my Blogger days. Google, who now owns Blogger, is doing away with FTP publishing entirely. One, My Word with Douglas E. Welch has already moved and A Gardener’s Notebook is next. I have decided to abandon the TechnologyIQ blog, as I haven’t been keeping up with it as I once did.

Blogger is providing a migration path for those using FTP publishing. You can move your blog to Blogspot using either a Blogspot URL or your own custom domain. Preliminary info is available in this document from Blogger — Important Note to FTP Users.

If you are using Blogger, you might be considering, or needing, to make a change. I highly recommend WordPress, both in its Blogspot-like hosted mode at and in the self-hosted version of WordPress available for install or download from your ISP or directly from

All things move forward. Blogger is focusing on the ease-of-use of hosted blogs, which is fine. You just might need to seek out other alternatives. If you are looking for advice on transitioning to or a self-hosted WordPress install, you can ask questions here using the Comments link below or in the forums on the New Media Interchange Community Site. I would be happy to answer any questions I can and sharing those questions with others would be a great way of getting more information out into the world.

WordPress 2.9 upgrade fails on GoDaddy shared server(s)

(Update 12/19/2009 – 1341 PST – Received links on how to export and import database into new 5.0 version of the database. Working with some knowledgeable others to help me do the process.)

(Update 12/19/2009 – 1024 PST – Looks as if my main database is still in mySQL 4.0 format although GoDaddy support 5.0. Probably never had need to upgrade DB since I moved there. Support email sent in on how to upgrade database)

Hmmm. Upgrading your WordPress installations is typically a part of good system management, but when trying to install the latest version of WordPress 2.9 this morning I received the following error.

Upgrade WordPress
Downloading update from

Unpacking the update.

The update cannot be installed because WordPress 2.9 requires MySQL version 4.1.2 or higher. You are running version 4.0.27.

Installation Failed

I am not sure if this effects all of GoDaddy’s shared servers or just mine, but it could effect a lot of people if their default install of mySQL is this version.

What are you experiencing with WordPress 2.9 installs on shared servers?

Tread carefully when editing WordPress themes (and how to recover when things go awry)

wp-appearanceI received a WordPress emergency email from a friend/client last night and I wanted to share both the problem, and the solution, with you. Now, I am far from a WordPress expert, but having faced some issues myself, her problem was one that I could solve.

The Problem

My friend was trying to modify an existing theme on her WordPress blog and one thing she really wanted was to expand the theme to include 3 column, instead of just 2. I have often had the same desire for more sidebar space, so I could understand why she wanted to do this.

Using the WordPress Admin interface she had entered into the Appearance area and clicked Editor to access the php and HTML code that underlies all WordPress themes. In editing one of these files though, she made a coding mistake, or a typo, and suddenly she could no longer access the Admin pages for her WordPress blog and trying to access the blog itself resulted in a terse, one line error. Oh Oh! Of course, having “been there and done that” I knew what had to be done to get things working again.

First, let me offer a word of advice that can help to limit the effects of a problem like this, should you ever want or need to poke around in your WordPress Theme files. When you are editing these files, you are editing the LIVE files on your existing web site.  This means any changes you make take effect immediately. Since some of the theme files effect the Admin pages as well, you can find yourself locked out of your own, now broken, blog.


Whenever you are editing a file, ensure that you have a clean, unedited copy of the file somewhere on your hard drive. Usually, if you downloaded this theme, you will still have the original files there. If you are making a series of changes, you can also keep a local copy of the file as you make changes. This can be down by downloading the file from your web site, or copying and pasting the contents of the file into a text editor on your system. Doing this gives you a fallback point should anything go wrong.

Now, what do you do when things go wrong? First, you should still be able to access your web site via ftp (File Transfer Protocol). This is the same method you used to upload the theme file originally or upload photos, audio and video to your web site. Since it is only the WordPress theme that is broken at this point, using a lower level method of accessing your site, i.e. ftp, should still work fine.

Log into you site using ftp and navigate to the folder that contains your WordPress install. This might be at the the top level of your web site or inside of another folder. In my case, my WordPress installs exist in a sub-folder, so I am looking for something entitled /career/wp-content.

The wp-content folder holds all themes and plugins you have added to your site. Inside of that folder you will find a folder named “themes” and inside that folder you will see sub-folders for every theme you have uploaded to your WordPress site. Locate the folder for the theme you are currently using i.e cutline is the one I am using. Inside of that folder will be all the files that make up that WordPress theme.

Now, you replace the file creating the error with your clean, backup copy of the file. In this particular case, my friend had been editing functions.php, a particularly important file. To repair her site, I renamed the bad file to functions.php.old and then uploaded her original, clean, functions.php file into the same directory.

Immediately the WordPress blog was available again and the changes she had made to functions.php were gone. This then allowed her to acesss the Admin pages for her blog. Now she could attempt to make her changes again, hopefully with better results.

This is a pretty geeky post for most of the readers here, but one take-away is that it can be relatively easy to recover from, what looks like, a major problem with your WordPress blog.

If you are editing your theme files, tread lightly, keep a original, clean copy of the file you are working on, and you will be able to put things a-right on your WordPress blog when something goes wrong.