Archive for ‘Updates’

Customizing your Mobile Blog

0 Commentsby   |  09.18.09  |  Updates

Here’s a video introducing the WordPress plugin that makes all ACU Blogs easier to access from a mobile device. The following screencast walks you through the basics of the WPtouch plugin and how it can help make the pages and categories users typically find in your sidebar available on the mobile blog.

The basic interface should already be set without any work on your part, but if you’d like some control over what users can get to from an iPhone or iPod touch we’ll get you started.

Mobile Blog View with WPtouch (16 min)

Draft and Pending Review

0 Commentsby   |  09.17.09  |  Updates

Enjoyed a great Adams Center lunch with faculty, but one question came up we didn’t have a very precise answer for: what is the difference between saving a post as a Draft or as Pending Review. It turns out there is little difference unless you’re using the Contributor role to allow students to submit, but not publish, posts to the blog.

Here is a nice discussion of the distinction and how it might work with students, but for the majority of the time Draft will serve to save your in-progress content without publishing it.

Look for a few other questions from today’s session soon.

WordPress Feature: Pending Review

Sample Class Blogs (updated)

by   |  09.09.09  |  Updates

If you’ve never created a blog and aren’t quite sure how it might support your particular classes or teaching style, here are a couple basic ideas from faculty last spring:

  • a class website for basic information, announcements or updates during the semester
  • a repository for documents, reading lists, assignment sheets, presentation slides, or links to articles
  • a collection of media you have created, links to strong content online or on iTunes, or embedded media from websites like YouTube
  • a discussion board for students to respond to material or the work of classmates
    (*ask about privacy settings)
  • a place for students to submit media projects or collaborative work for feedback
    (*ask about privacy settings)

What we learned last semester was that WordPress provides a flexible set of publishing tools that diverse faculty would use in a variety of ways.

While you’re considering how ACU Blogs might serve your needs, here are a handful of class blogs from faculty at ACU and at other universities to give you some idea of the range of possible uses:

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.)

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.