Another way to WordPress

iPhone landscape keyboard viewed in the WordPress app

WordPress on campus has been a godsend and I anticipate it will continue to be throughout this academic year. I love showing it to anyone on campus willing to listen because almost without fail they are impressed by its ease of use. Some people are downright excited, which includes me for sure.

But, tonight I’m even more excited because I can add to and edit my site via my iPhone using the free WordPress app. I admit I experimented with this app while we were piloting WordPress MU in the spring, but I didn’t have my phone then. Instead I was using my wife’s iPod Touch, which lacked the luster of publishing posts or pages from anywhere because I had to rely on wi-fi networks. Plus now, the addition of the horizontal keyboard in the iPhone 3.0 software makes typing a somewhat more realistic task.

Updating your web site from your phone while riding the bus into New York or proofing a post scheduled for review from our beloved College Hil coffee shop (yes, I’m talking about you, Cosmic Cup) strikes me as a lightyear leap from where we were just a year ago.

If you’re an iPhone and WordPress user, do you think you would ever use this app to update your site? If so, under what circumstances?

New name. New header. For now.

Photo by mawel from Flickr
Photo by mawel from Flickr

I’ve been changing my blog name and header almost as frequently as I change my underwear. Well, almost as frequently. Seriously though, in the last two weeks I haven’t stopped trying to think of a clever name or even something remotely more clever than “Blog” or any of the other ridiculous names I’ve used recently (“Boss Blog” comes to mind immediately). Thankfully, on the drive down to Williamsburg this past Sunday, “The Alley Way” just kind of popped into my head. It’s no “Boss Blog,” but it’s simple and I like it’s double meaning since this site is about the way I see and interpret things. Plus, there is actually something called an alleyway.

However, I really enjoy finding appropriate header images for these blog names. I simply can’t get enough of’s advanced search feature that allows me to search anyone’s images that are marked with a modify, adapt, and attribution Creative Commons license. Couple it with Cooliris (formerly PicLens) and finding the right picture is a snap.

Anyway, a shout out to mawel from Flickr for taking such a great shot of this alley in Malcesine, Italy and for allowing anyone to use it with proper attribution. I especially like the “Internet Cafe” shingle hanging on the right. Very appropriate.

Embed directly into the Text Widget in WordPress

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="205" height="180" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Many who use WordPress know it is not possible to embed YouTube videos or Google Maps natively into a WordPress post. WordPress strips all non-standard XHTML from a post or page, which means the embed code provided by many media sites like YouTube gets removed when the post or page is saved. To skirt this issue we installed a number of plugins, Anarchy Media Player and Google Maps Quicktag – MU for instance, to provide us this ability in our WordPress MU installation.

However, as I was dorking around tonight with some of the widgets on this site and I discovered I could embed YouTube videos and a Flickr slideshow directly into the Text widget using the embed coded provided to me from these sites. WordPress must not be validating the code in this widget, which is why it must work.

Strange, but I’ll take it.

Quick lesson in large drive formatting on Mac and PC

Photo by Stuart Bryant on Flickr
Photo by Stuart Bryant from Flickr

Yes, this is a remarkably boring topic because hard drives should just work. Like toilets. I shouldn’t have to think too much about them, however…

Special Collections here at Lafayette is participating in of our WordPress pilot by providing their students a place to write about their day-to-day work activities. One of the things their students are doing is creating videos about these daily tasks, such as how to create protective jackets for very old books and documents. The files to produce these videos are quite large, so Special Collections found a 500GB hard drive laying around (pretty cool, huh?). The downside is that the drive was formatted for Windows NTFS file structure, which Macs cannot write on, and since the students are doing all of their editing using iMovie ’08 we needed to figure out another option. At first I thought FAT 32 would work, but I did some digging and found that FAT 32 will not recognize files larger than 4GB, which could be a problem when working with video.

Since the students will likely be working on their movies exclusively in our Mac lab I created two partitions: one for Mac only formatting and one using FAT 32 for both PC and Mac. I figure the compressed videos could be moved over to the FAT 32 partition, assuming they remain under 4GB, while the project and raw video could be saved on the Mac partition.

I’m open for other suggestions.

Alternative School Break site is live

Photo used courtesy of Alternative School Break, Lafayette College

Amber Zuber, Assistant Director of the Landis Community Outreach Center, along with her right-hand student, Rashidah have successfully gone live with the new Alternative School Break web site, which they are managing in WordPress MU as one of our WordPress pilot participants.

Next week, Rashidah, along with a number of students from Lafayette, are traveling to Long Beach, MS to work on housing projects and anticipate posting their daily reflections to their new site. I am very excited to follow their progress throughout the week.

For those interested in following these good deed doers, follow them next week at

Naming is hard

Photo by ACKman16 from Flickr

It almost seems silly, but deciding on a blog name for this site is hard. I spent the weekend thinking of names while also peppering my wife for the same. I then turned on my co-workers, particularly Ken, today. Here’s a brief sampling of what I’m able to remember:

  • Blog
    Because I couldn’t think of a better name (current)
  • Boss Blog (for those who watched the “Dukes of Hazard”)
  • Paper or Plastic?
    Readying to make a choice
  • Crow’s Nest
    Looking ahead
  • Bourne Digital (a mashup of Jason Bourne and Born Digital)
    Kicking ass in education
  • Lincoln Blogs (has nothing to do with me since I’m not a Lincoln, but I brainstormed it and thought someone might like to use it)

Assuming I can stick with it, this site will focus on my readings, thoughts, and observations about education and education reform both in higher ed and K-12 as well as all things Lafayette. I’d love some suggestions no matter how plain or strange.

WordPress app for iPhone/Touch

Photo © 2009, Apple Inc.

I grabbed my wife’s iPod Touch and searched for a WordPress app and found one. I thought it made sense to post my findings using the app, so here I am in Talbots while Mb shops. Here’s what I found:

  • Setup was easy once I properly configured my WordPress site to use the XML-RPC publishing protocol.
  • I can manage a number of WordPress sites from the app.
  • I can assign posts to a category, but cannot create new categories from the app. I can also assign tags to posts.
  • I can designate my post’s publishing status (e.g., published, draft, pending review).
  • Writing is simple and very basic, though I would like to see some basic HTML editing like lists and bold. Also, the ability to add pics from the iPhone/Touch would be handy. Maybe I’m asking for a bit much with the latter.
  • If the name of a WordPress site changes it will not propogate down to the app.

I like the app, but I just realized that Mb shopped the entire time while I played the role of the husband who ostracized himself from the entire shopping experience. Not sure that’s what I was going for.