Embracing the Web

I had been looking to improve the look of the website I manage for the media committee I’m on. I’d been meaning to change the look of that site for quite a while but it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all that is out there. Then I found a premium WordPress theme that really seems to suit the needs of the site, Thesis. This theme was created by Chris Pearson, who created the (free) Cutline theme I was using on this site. Because I had to write an article, I told myself I would delay working on the site in order to get the article finished. Alas, that didn’t happen so after a ton of research (I don’t even buy a DVD without thinking about the pros and cons) I actually paid for a WordPress theme that I could tinker around with. I feel so much better about the website though and it was well worth paying for. And, I know when I get more time, I can customize it to my liking with or without code.

I thought that was that and thought I could continue with the article but then I felt like changing this site. I ended up going with Pearson’s free Neoclassical theme and decided to retire the Caffeinated Muslim header I created last year. Instead, a few of my pictures will rotate in the header. Right now, I only have 3 pictures that will be rotated but I’m sifting through my pictures to figure out what else I’d like to rotate. If anyone has any ideas of which of my pics I should include, let me know! So far, I’m thinking about adding this, a pic I took in Singapore Airport’s restroom:
Warning for the Squatting Pan
(I kid)

This is random, but I wanted to go into a few other aspects of all of this: my web host, FTP, working with images, and working with WordPress.org, all under the cut (meaning you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to ;) )

Web Host
Last year, I was told to create a website/blog for the media committee I’m on so after all going through all the information that is out there, I decided to sign up for Hostmonster. One of the reasons that I went with Hostmonster was because they had a script that would easily install a WordPress.org blog and they were in a lot of top 10 web hosting lists. Even though GoDaddy was cheaper, I refused to use them. I hate their commercials. I have had a positive experience with the web host thus far and I’ve found it to be a good learning experience to navigate around all the features.

Hostmonster has an FTP program included that I had been using previously to upload files, such as WordPress upgrades. However, when I was trying to upload all my files to their server this time around, I found out the program that I had always used does not work with a Mac! So, I turned to Filezilla, a free FTP program. I downloaded and installed it but for some weird reason, the program wouldn’t work. So, I downloaded and installed Fetch, which I then found out would cost $25. Um, no. THEN, I downloaded Cyberduck (which I should have done first. What a name!) and was able FINALLY use FTP (for free) with my Hostmonster account.

Image Manipulation
For this particular site, I had to get my pictures to fit a certain dimension in order for it to appear the way it does. Last year, when I created the header for this site and the committee’s site, I used PaintShop Pro on my HP laptop. I don’t have this on my Mac and I don’t have any other imaging tools at the moment. So, I download the unfortunately named GIMP, The GNU Image Manipulation Program, a free, open source solution that provides the capability to manipulate images. All I needed to do was adjust the image size and crop it properly so this program was able to do that easily. It can do a lot more, but I haven’t messed around with it just yet. Anyways, I was able to get my images just right by using this program.

Last year, I chose to use a WordPress.org blog for the basis of the committee’s website because of the WP community – there are so many themes, etc. So, because I had so much space through my web host, I also decided to make this site a WordPress.org site. Later, I found out about WordPress.com and realized that it would have been so much easier to use that for this site. However, I realized that .org is better for me because I can mess around with it even more, even if it’s something as simple as adding some javascript to include my books from LibraryThing.

I was a bit intimidated in the beginning by the fact that I would have to upgrade WP installations on my own and felt a bit apprehensive about performing this function. However, after having done it a few times now, I realize that it really is not that big of a deal and I can get it done within 5 minutes or so (once I had the FTP stuff straightened out, that is). So, after I first used the script from my web host to initially install WP, I manually upgrade it on my own. It’s not a problem though.

So that’s that. I thought I’d share :)

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