Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again

20120610 153624 Revisiting Instagrate to WordPress... again

I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

SOPA and What You Need To Know

the internet needs you1 SOPA and What You Need To Know

The countdown is on, and SOPA is expected to pass through the Senate on January 24th. (*UPDATE 1/19/2012 : Key Supporters of the bill have backed down after Wednesday’s protest)

Tomorrow, January 18th, 2012, many of the most popular sites on the internet will be taking part in a ‘blackout’ of their sites to protest this bill.

While none of our sites are equal to Mozilla (Firefox), WordPress.org or Wikipedia‘s traffic (<<< those links will take you to posts on their stance on this bill), we are taking part, to show our disapproval of this bill in its current state.

Our own sites will be blacked-out.

While we sympathize with those who have their work stolen from piracy sites online, this bill is not a good compromise.

It will change the internet as you know it.

Please educate yourself on this topic (in addition to the links above):

Stop American Censorship
Strike Against SOPA
WIRED.com – Black out your site the Google friendly way
SOPA Blackout rebuffed by bill authors (*duh…)
and on…
and on…
and on…
and at this point of my list [not trying to be rude] but, I say, just do your own Google search on SOPA Blackout (see how there are currently more than 2600 (!!) news stories on this?)… There is so much info out there…

And if you are so inclined, please add these plugins to your WordPress sites:

SOPA Strike (you will see out black-out tomorrow, January 18th, 2012)
Stop SOPA Ribbon (you can see this in the upper right-side of this site)

On that note — all of our sites will be on ‘blackout’ tomorrow.

Educate yourself.

(*this post is being cross-posted on all of our sites: Archer Creative, Living The Life Fantastic, Karla Archer )

as always — please feel free to include your own links on this issue…

Useful WordPress Plugins

I am often asked what plugins are useful on a WordPress site. The main thing to determine is what you are using your site for. Sure there are a lot of plugins out there. I am amazed at what plugins can do for a site. But just because it is available doesn’t mean you should use it.

So here is my top 10 list of useful plugins that every blogger should have – whether a power blogger or beginner.

Contact Form 7: This is a very nice contact form that does allow for customization (I use it on my business site). You can also create multiple forms and use each one on your site. There are other contact forms available, but I like the ease of use of this one. (and it’s free)

WP Database Backup: Any blogger’s worst nightmare is to go to their site and realize it’s GONE! It can happen. Backups are so important. This plugin would be worth paying for if you had to (but it’s FREE!)

Tweet Meme Button: Allows users to tweet your post. Anymore, it is pretty much assumed that you’ll provide this option somewhere on your posts/pages/site.

Sexy Bookmarks: I love this plugin. I’m sure I’ll get tired of seeing it everywhere some day, but for now, I think it is an attractive fun way to allow your users to share your site on various networks (you get to select which ones are shown)

ShareThis: does the same thing that Sexy Bookmarks does, but in a smaller manner.

All-In-One-SEO Pack: This works “out of the box”, so it’s great for beginners. But advanced users will appreciate being able to tweak things even more.

WP-Touch: More and more web users are accessing sites via their smartphones. A site can look totally different on a mobile device. This plugin will allow the visitor to see your site on their device without you have to do any special coding or resizing. Another option is WP Mobile Edition.

WP Super Cache: Speeds up the time your users have to wait for your site to load. (explained via a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo… but all you need to know is FASTER!)

Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP): Keep your readers on your site longer by showing posts they may have missed. This plugin will show posts that are related to the current post (obviously…)

Google XML Sitemap: Helps search engines better index your site, and notifies search engines when you create new content.

I’d add Askimet, but it is included by default now when you install WordPress. USE IT!! 85% of comments on the internet are spam.

To install a plugin:

You can install a plugin by either downloading it to your computer and then uploading it to WordPress OR install it directly to your site via WordPress.org.

Click on “Add New” via your “Plugins” page on your dashboard (see below)

 Useful Wordpress Plugins

Then decide whether to “Search” (WordPress.org plugin directory) or “Upload”. Or to really be adventurous, filter them by what is popular, featured or recently added.

 Useful Wordpress Plugins

Install the plugin by following the screen prompts. Once it is properly loaded it will ask if you want to activate. Activate and then be sure to change any setting necessary for the plugin to properly function (*Not all plugins have settings options)

 Useful Wordpress Plugins

What are your favorite plugins? Which one would you cry over if it suddenly stopped working on your site?

Need more info or help on this topic? Do a google search, or feel free to ask questions in comments or email me.

Dealing with Potential Issues From WordPress 2.8 Upgrade

2227030877 cdb73f788f 300x217 Dealing with Potential Issues From Wordpress 2.8 Upgrade

As you might have noticed over the last several days, things look a touch different around here. I have actually been working on a revamp of the site, behind the scenes, but the recent upgrade to 2.8 has necessitated that things temporarily change until I can get this new look up, as my current theme is having problems with the upgrade.

There have been several issues with the upgrade and I wanted to highlight a few and make a few suggestions. My thinking is, if someone like me – who has a great deal of confidence when it comes to dealing with technical issues had struggled with the upgrade, then it is highly probable that someone WITHOUT that confidence is right now struggling with the upgrade and wishing they could throw WordPress into a deep lake.

If you haven’t already upgraded to 2.8, the first thing to do is to backup your site. This may seem like a tedious task, but you need to be doing it anyway. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing everything on your blog. Let me say that again: If you don’t back up your blog (regularly), you may lose your entire blog.

Now, some of you may have the Automatic Upgrade plugin. I do, and this was how I upgraded my blogs. And each and every one of them had awful issues when I went back into the dashboard. My dashboard looked like it had been placed in a  blender on puree and then exploded all over my computer. It was a mess.

One of the biggest issues (and this is huge) was that I was unable to edit any of my posts. None. Nada. Zip. I couldn’t see them. This is what I saw in place of my posts, on my “visual” editor:

119891821 300x121 Dealing with Potential Issues From Wordpress 2.8 Upgrade

(click for larger image)

The only way I could view what was there was by highlighting it. Even then, it was in HTML, not WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”).

In my attempts to fix it, I deactivated all plugins, tried various themes and contacted my hosting service (Dreamhost) – to see about reverting to my database with WordPress 2.7.1.

Nothing worked. Finally, I deleted my wp-admin and wp-includes directories and did the “On-Click Reinstall” that my hosting service offers. (Even if your hosting service doesn’t offer this, just download a NEW package/zip file and upload it to your host.) This solution worked and I am able to edit my posts once again.

All of the suggestions below come straight from the WordPress Support Forum, but I’m not sure that people are actually paying attention to this post. It’s a sticky post, and I think people are looking for someone to answer their particular question. I’m pretty sure that most issues will be resolved by using one of the suggestions mentioned.

That said – I am still running into problems with my widgets – I can’t move them around. BUT that is a plugin issue and not a WordPress issue. The authors of each plugin and theme are responsible for making sure their items are compatible with the newest WP version.

If you are having problems, hang in there! Follow the suggestions and steps below. And if you need more help with any of the steps, don’t be shy – Ask away in the WP Support Forum. That is what it is there for, and there are plenty of people offering help.

Insure backups are completed before doing the upgrade
1. See WordPress Backups

Can’t login to deactivate all plugins
1. Read How to deactivate all plugins when not able to access the administrative menus?

Try these things to resolve problems with Visual Editor and editor tool bar
1. Delete or refresh the browser cache

2. If using Gears, disable it and re-enable it again

3. Delete wp-admin and wp-includes directories and upload fresh copies from a new(important) install package or reinstall automatically

4. Visit http://yoursite.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/wp-tinymce.php and look for any PHP errors or warnings at the top. If there are any try contacting your hosting provider to resolve them or try the next step. Of course replace yoursite.com with your domain

5. Add define( ‘CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS’, false ); near the top of wp-config.php. That would make WordPress admin run slower, so can try removing it in a few days and testing again (this would eliminate any stale network cache)

6. Some people also reported success redoing the upgrade via Tools->Upgrade->Re-install automatically, then clearing the browser cache.

7. A number of plugins have been reported to present problems so deactivate all plugins and reactivate one-by-one to find culprit

8. Try another browser

9. Confirm that Your Profile, “Disable the visual editor when writing”, is NOT checked.

Try these things to resolve problems with Widgets such as not able to drag and drop
1. A number of plugins have been reported to present problems so deactivate all plugins and reactivate one-by-one to find culprit

2. In Appearance->Widgets under Screen options, try the Enable Accessibility Mode

3. Delete or refresh the browser cache

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of xxxxxxxx bytes exhausted
If deactivating plugins doesn’t work try one of these methods for increasing the amount of memory a PHP script may consume

1. If you have access to your PHP.ini file, change the line in PHP.ini
If your line shows 32M try 64M:
memory_limit = 64M ; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume (64MB)

2. If you don’t have access to PHP.ini try adding this to an .htaccess file:
php_value memory_limit 64M

3. Try adding this line to your wp-config.php file:
Increasing memory allocated to PHP
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

4. Talk to your host.

Upgraded, can’t login and getting error message
In a few cases, the error message reports what plugin file is causing the problem so rename or delete the plugin folder, then try login again.

A post is repeatedly displayed on the blog’s main page
Likely a problem caused by a plugin so deactivate all plugins and reactivate one-by-one to determine the culprit.

Getting Warning: gzinflate() [function.gzinflate]: data error when doing the upgrade
1. Try redoing the upgrade via Tools->Upgrade->Re-install automatically
2. If that fails, disable all plugins and perform a manual upgrade (see Upgrading WordPress.

Upgrade causing error 500s
1. Deactivate all plugins and redo upgrade.
2. If necessary, perform a manual upgrade (see Upgrading WordPress.

Blank admin pages after login
1. Deactivate all plugins. See How to deactivate all plugins when not able to access the administrative menus?
2. If necessary, rename theme folder in wp-content/themes to cause WordPress Default theme to be place into service

Blank site after upgrade
1. Deactivate all plugins. See How to deactivate all plugins when not able to access the administrative menus?
2. If necessary, rename your theme folder in wp-content/themes to cause WordPress Default theme to be place into service, then see if there’s an upgrade for your theme

Getting Fatal error: Cannot use object of type WP_Error as array
1. Problem has been reported with the Options and Structure theme so look for upgrades
2. Change to the WordPress Default theme if necessary

Tags are not saved
1. If you using hyperdb, make sure to update it.

(photo: jmacphoto.com)