Libraries, Lessons and Learning

It’s Monday. I visited the library. I checked out 2 books, 3 books on cd and 2 music cds. I grabbed some magazines from the “free magazine” table and read the local newspaper. I read some chapters from books on the ‘New Non-Fiction’ bookshelf and paged through some Northern Colorado Business monthly newspapers.

Cover of "Little Bee: A Novel"
Cover of Little Bee: A Novel

Now it’s Tuesday and I am deep into the audio cd book titled Little Bee by Chris Cleave. The story uses first person voice alternating between Little Bee and her plight from a British immigration detention center and Sarah O’Rouke and her family from Surrey.

As each cd finishes, I contemplate whether to load and listen to the next one or to proceed with my Adobe TV learning, lessons and projects. I can’t do both.

In the Rotarian magazine (March 2013) was an article titled Living by the Book by Joe Queenan. On average he reads more than 150 books a year and reads about two hours each day.  Last year I read 59 books and remembered the stories from most of them. I remember audio books much better than I remember books that I hold in my hand and read. I’ve found that if the author gets too much into the scenery or other details, I skip ahead in a book. When listening to it, I might miss some dialogue or other important information so I never skip ahead. One would say I am an auditory learner I suppose.

When I am at the computer, I listen to music while I am working on my projects. The music helps with the flow of learning and for some reason my brows are less furrowed when the beat goes on…

The magazines that I brought home with me (recycled instead of thrown away) are playgrounds of images – of designs that I’ve only noticed now as I work in the world of graphic design. Headers, sub-headers, number of columns and image placement – all mean something now. I think about the person (or team) behind the scene who determined the color structure and the layout. The magazines that I once gathered for content are now kept for ideas for future projects.

My world is surrounded by ongoing learning, lessons and application these days. Free tutorials on youtube.com, Adobe TV, lynda.com and other sites help me to continue learning as I sit in my warm computer room (the rest of the house shivers in 60 degrees temperatures). Learning when to push away at the end of the day is the hard part  – and it usually happens with a smile on my face.

A Blogger’s Best Friend: Askimet

Spam is everywhere:

If you blog then you know about spam. If you don’t blog but just LOVE reading my blog posts then you may not know what bloggers know.

Here it is – spam is everywhere. Some days I get 10-40 spam comments on my blog.

Automated Spam Catcher:

Here is the good news – there is a free ‘spam catcher’ available. It’s called Askimet and it catches the majority of the spam comments and sets them aside for me to delete. Every now and then a good comment gets put in this folder or a spam comment gets posted but it akismet stats99% accurate. If you have a business this tool is a bargain at any price. If you are a personal blog this tool is free.

Once you have it installed it will collect posts that are filled with links. It’s what we need in the email world when our accounts are  taken over.

The 6 month spam total (below) shows the value of this tool. If I had to scour through my posts to make sure all the comments were valid –  I would give up blogging.

6 month spam total

spam2

If you blog – this is part of your world,isn’t it?

all time spam

Akismet  - filters out  spam comments

When I went to the Askimet home page this past week the totals changed by the second of the amount of spam that was zapped. If you go to that page today, check the amount of spam that was stopped. 

Where do all these spammers come from???

I think my WP account was spammed and loaded with gobs of code that showed up as a red flag which caused it get to get shut down last week. I don’t know but I am more tuned in, alert and on guard. I update my passwords and avoid any kind of important transaction using my mobile device (iPod Touch).

Is spam something in your world too? Any tips you can to share?

How to Backup Your WordPress Blog Contents

WP Back-Up Lessons Learned

My first post of the year described my passion for writing and blogging – and yet, I’ve hardly written at all this year.

My second post was about being grateful for all the things I have in my world – the open sky and mountain views.

WP Suspended Account

And then WP suspended my account and I had to sit back and look at the fragility of this process. Pouring out words, sharing photos, linking to videos, telling my story, reading and writing comments are all steps along the way.  And then someone steps up and adds a code filled with links  — or spams my blog or email account and I am dead in the water with no recourse.

After researching this WP suspension, I realized it happens quite often. Sometimes it is

tools export

legitimate and bloggers violate the rules. Many times the blog was invaded and hacked and then everything I had written disappeared. Like my Yahoo account, I immediately went into WP and changed my password. Then I began my research. Here’s what I learned:

There is a way to back up your blog and you should probably do it sooner than later so
you don’t lose your ‘stuff.’

Here’s how to backup your account:

  • Log into WordPress.
  • Open the Dashboard.
  • Select Tools > ExportHow to export a your blog files in WordPress
  • Export > Create an XML file containing your posts and comments for you to
    save or import into another WP blog.
  • Export > All Content (this will contain posts, pages and feedback)
  • Click  > Download Export File button

 

My download file was named: insideoutcafe.wordpress.2013-02-18. It is filled with code and can be opened in another WP blog.

Store this away in a folder (I named mine  – Restore Blog) so you can reinstall if your blog gets shutdown, hacked or suspended. If you have it in a folder, you can import it to another system (Blogger, LiveJournal,, Tumblr, TypePad, etc.) and reinstall and move forward.

Hint: You might want to Export your file on a weekly basis!

 So, I learned some valuable lessons  – the most important one was how to EXPORT my WP blog files and protect my ideas, visions, photos, words, videos and insights that I’ve created over the past few years.

Export and Update Passwords on a regularly basis!

  1. Export your blog files on a regular basis.
  2. Change your password and make it hard to crack.  The best passwords are not words at all but a sequence that only you can know. One idea is the first letter of each word in a phrase = April showers bring may flowers = asbmf1! (Always add a number and symbol to your password.).

I hope this information helps you. I am not so frustrated anymore so will turn my attention back to writing, sharing and reading.

If you have some insights and suggestions – PLEASE share them with me!