Kyle Dickson's Archive

First-Week Issues and Updates

0 Commentsby   |  08.26.09  |  Updates

Developers over in Web Integration and Programming have spent hours this week helping us identify and resolve a number of issues. Thanks to individual faculty who have reported issues and helped in the troubleshooting process. If you’re seeing something strange, please report it to and include what operating system you’re using, which browser you saw the issue in, and which blog we might look at for an example of the problem.

Here is a quick update of known issues we are working on.

Special Characters in Header

The About/Intro text in the black box doesn’t like quotation marks and some other punctuation. The obvious solution is to avoid some punctuation, but there is a fix if you don’t mind adding HTML special characters. Just replace the misbehaving mark with a short code such as " for a quotation mark.

Embed HTML Codes

The Embed code from web sites like YouTube isn’t working consistently, so for now you need to link directly to content on other sites. We’re testing a fix, but the process shown on works, though the result won’t be a viewer window but a clickable link.

Embedding YouTube Videos into Your WordPress Posts

Minimal Header Bug

If you are using the Minimal Header in the ACU Blogs theme, make sure you leave “Show Blog Title” set to Yes. The Minimal header would be hard to use without the blog title, but selecting to hide the title on the minimal header breaks all links in your blog temporarily. Changing back to Show Blog Title should resolve the problem.

Media Settings

I mentioned this in the post yesterday, but adding images wider than 500 pixels will only show the portion of the image in the main column. You can ensure that uploaded images are resized appropriately by changing the Image Size number for Large image maximum width to 490 pixels. (*See the Post by Email note on the Image Template setting in Postie if you plan on uploading images by email.)

Post by Email limits

Remember that Gmail’s upload limit for attachments is 25mb. Given that the total allowance for your class blog is 100mb, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re uploading content from a iPhone or iPod touch here are a couple considerations.

  1. With the new 3.0 software, all iPhone models and the second-generation iPod touch (released September ’08) can record audio clips using the new Voice Memo app. Files longer than around 8 minutes may need to be trimmed before they can be shared by email, though longer memos can be uploaded to iTunes during your next sync.
    How to Upload Large iPhone Voice Memos

    (If you need an inexpensive microphone that approximates a lapel mic for your iPhone or second-generation iPod touch, I’m a fan of Griffin’s SmartTalk adapter–usually less than $10, it works with or without the headphones.)
  2. With the iPhone 3GS, users can record video clips in the Camera app and share them by email from the Photos library. Files longer than around 45 seconds will need to be trimmed before you can email them, but this limit is on the device and has nothing to do with your Gmail upload limit. Again, longer video files can be copied back to your computer at their original 640×480 resolution (emailed files are compressed to 480×360) with your photo management software.
    How-To Guide for iPhone 3GS Video Recording and Editing
    (Technically the only limit for audio or video recording is remaining memory on the device.)

Post by Email screencast

0 Commentsby   |  08.24.09  |  Tutorials

Picture 31Now that you’ve had a week to find your way around the WordPress Dashboard, you may be ready to try out post by email. This was one of the key features faculty in the blog pilot last spring wanted to bring over to ACU Blogs. Post by email is a great way to publish content quickly:

  • post an announcement or schedule update
  • have a TA upload slides before or after class
  • share a photo you just took on your phone
  • ask students to submit audio/video interviews with community experts

The following screencast will introduce you to Postie, the WordPress plugin that handles post by email, along with the main settings that give you more control over who can (and can’t) use the class blog email address.

Post by Email with Postie (8 min)



In the screencast, I mention a small problem with the current image attachment settings. Postie handles images fine, adding them to the appropriate post, but you may notice a hiccup in the way image borders are displayed. Here are a couple changes that should iron things out:

  1. Go to the Postie settings panel, and under the Image tab, replace the HTML in the Image Template box with the following line of code:
  2. <a href={IMAGE}><img class=alignleft size-large wp-image-{ID} src={LARGE}alt={CAPTION} /></a>
  3. Go to the Media settings panel (above Postie in the  left menu) and replace the Large size values with 490 for Max Width and Max Height.
  4. Send an email to your class blog with one or two images attached. Images wider than the main column should now be reduced as well as being linked to the original full-size image.

Let me know if you have any other questions about post by email.

ACU Blogs setup screencasts

0 Commentsby   |  08.18.09  |  Tutorials

ACUblogsStandardOur friend Mike Wiggins has taken time he didn’t have the week before classes start to make life easier for new blog owners. He is the designer of our ACU Blogs theme and has put together two screencasts introducing the first-time setup and use of a custom widget he designed for your sidebar.

Basic Blog Setup for ACU Blogs

Custom Navigation Widget for ACU Blogs

In the coming weeks, we’ll be spotlighting additional features like post by email or the mobile interface in follow-up screencasts. Thanks again to Mike for his help.

ACU Blogs now available

0 Commentsby   |  08.09.09  |  News


This week class blogs on WordPress MU will be opened up to all faculty for the fall semester. In these first weeks it may be helpful to think of yourself as beta testers of a new product. Though much testing has gone on this summer, we expect to bump up against a few issues in the weeks before school starts so please send questions and comments along through the ACU Blogs Comments page in the sidebar. We will continue to monitor issues and respond to questions in a timely way.

To begin, follow the directions on the How Do I Get Started? page and then review WordPress terminology and tools in the how-to pages below. The screencasts should be helpful in walking you through common questions as well.

Testing Post by Email

by   |  07.11.09  |  Updates

Last semester we had several faculty members help us test web services that made it easier to post to a WordPress blog. Some of their favorites were the WP iPhone app (from the App Store), the PressThis applet (check the Tools tab in your blog Dashboard), and websites like Posterous.

The last of these offered interested bloggers a simple way to update their blog with text posts, photos, media files, even PDFs and other documents by sending a single email. The downside was each user had to set up a separate account and keep a second version of their blog at

For the fall we have a far simpler solution built right into WordPress MU

If you’d like more information about the Postie plugin and how it can help simplify posting content to your class blog, contact someone in the Adams Center.

WordPress 2.8.1 is here

by   |  07.11.09  |  Updates

This week Automattic released WordPress MU 2.8.1. We’re looking at the upgrade this week and hope to have it installed soon.

UPDATE – 8/1

The update to MU has been applied and is running fine.

Kyle Dickson's Comment Archive

  1. This is an example of a comment. Comments can appear at the bottom of any posts or pages when you you check Allow Comments in the Discussion box.

    *If you have trouble with an avatar appearing on ACU Blogs, check to make sure you’re using your MyACU email address for To find this email address, log in to MyACU and look in the Courses box to see what email address is listed with each of your classes.

    • This is a threaded comment. It shows up as a Reply to the previous comment (indented from the left margin) because I chose the Reply button.

      If you just want to Comment on the post, just go to the comment box and submit as you normally would and your note will appear at the bottom of the list.

      Threaded or nested comments help visualize some of the back and forth of a discussion board without the confusing interface.