HTML5 Test

HTML5 for Masterminds

Earlier this week I bought the Kindle edition of HTML5 for Masterminds. I have not done too much with HTML5 yet and wanted to get familiar with it.

This post is to test some of the new HTML5 tags I would like to use and see if they work on my site and with WordPress.

The first tag is <figure>. This is used for things like pictures, videos, etc. I am still trying to fully understand this one, but there is a <figcaption> component to it. Also, it looks like HTML tags such as <img src=””> are still used. More reading on this one.

This is the <figcaption> for this picture.

Next is <details> and summary that allows for expander functionality.

Click to expand.

Text hidden unless expanded.


<ol reversed> has to do with lists and sorting. This should generate an ascending list versus a descending list. In other words, it should be numbered 5 – 1 instead of 1 – 5.

  1. Green
  2. Yellow
  3. Black
  4. Red
  5. Orange

This appears to all work with WordPress in the Chrome browser, so that is cool. More to come.

A Cautionary Tale: Knowing Before You Post

In the past year I almost posted some things that if I had I would have come off as a jerk. It would have been unintentional, but the result would have been the same. It was because I thought I knew what I was talking about, but I really didn’t. This reminded me of a very important rule:

Know what you are posting about before you post.

A few years ago I was on Twitter and saw a lot of people tweeting with the hashtag #TWLOHA. I had obviously come in mid-conversation and had no idea what that hashtag meant. As I read the tweets I found out what the letters stood for: To Write Love On Her Arms.

However, I did not know what that actually meant. I read Alternate Press Magazine. I follow them and some of the bands they cover on Twitter. Based on some of their tweets I made an assumption it all had to do with getting tattoos.

I started to write a tweet, basically a silly joke about tattoos. Before I hit the tweet button, something stopped me. I said to myself, “You need to know what this is.”

Cancelling the tweet, I Googled “To Write Love on Her Arms”. Was I ever glad I did. To Write Love On Her Arms is an organization that helps young people struggling with abuse, depression, addiction and thoughts of suicide.

My tweet wasn’t going to be intentionally mean, but in context, I would have come off as a jerk, and really not funny. Plus, I would come across as putting down a group that does a lot of good. Not something I would ever want to do.

If you would like to checkout To Write Love on Her Arms click on the image below:

The next example happened a few weeks ago. I need to give some background, because this one had some factors that guided me toward almost making the wrong assumption.

I have an iPhone, and every so often I bother poor Siri with stupid questions. Last year I asked her if she was Colossus: The Forbin Project (the classic ’70s sci-fi movie where a super computer takes over the world). As is often Siri’s way, she evaded the question:

More recently, people have been posting screenshots of Siri’s responses when asked if she was “Her” from the Spike Jonze movie “Her” (Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a Siri-like operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Siri has some funny – and specific to the movie – responses to that:

Because Apple sometimes has fun with how Siri responds, it is very easy to think that many of her responses are part of her persona. Maybe it’s a quip, a joke, with some sass thrown in. This can be fun, but it can also lead to making assumptions like the one I almost made last month.

I noticed that a lot of people were tweeting screenshots of Siri’s responses when asked what the dates January 13, 2014 and July 27, 2014 were.

For January 13th, Siri said it was “Birth of the Prophet.” For July 27th, she responded it was “Opening Gates of Hades.”

Based on the other posts I was seeing, and my previous Siri experience, I thought this was Siri being Siri. I even did a post about it. I thought that this was something maybe fun, or a tie- in to some TV or movie promotion. For example, the 5th season premier of the show Archer was January 13th. I wondered if it was related to that. But, I wasn’t sure. Again, I said to myself, “You need to know what this is.”

I Googled it and again was glad I did.

In some Muslim countries, January 13, 2014 is the holiday of Mawlid (or Milad), which marks the birth of the prophet Mohammed. July 27, 2014 is the last day of Ramadan this year, when it is believed the opening the gates of Hades will occur (having been closed at the beginning of Ramadan).

Needless to say, I pulled the post immediately. It wasn’t bad, just silly, but I did not want anyone thinking I was disparaging their religion. That is not something I do.

Hopefully these cautionary tales will help you avoid posting something that you will later regret. Don’t assume, and don’t take the word of other people online. Most of them were WAY off base as far as what they thought January 13th and July 27th were about.

Sites and Services I Use in Support of ThomasMcNamara.com

I use different sites and services in support of my website. This is for video files, sound files, pictures and even documents I may refer to in a post. I do this for three reasons.

The first is that the sites and services I use, such as YouTube and Vine for videos, are simply a better way to go than hosting them myself. These services were specifically designed to handle their file types. All of them have iPhone apps that make sharing very easy not only to my site, but to my Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.

The second reason is my hosting service, BlueHost. Though BlueHost offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, there is a caveat. They define “unlimited” as how much storage and bandwidth a personal or small business website would use in normal operation. As we all know, video files can be huge, and streaming videos can take a large amount of bandwidth.

At this point in my site’s life I am not too worried about exceeding “normal operation” (and I am fine with BlueHost’s policy), but I just do not want it to ever be an issue. The main driver, though, is the functionality, ease of use, and sharing/iPhone app support that these services offer.

The third reason I use these services is my recent experience with moving hosting services. Though many hosting services use a similar folder structure (/public_htm/ for example), not all of them do. My last host – Earthlink – used a different folder structure than BlueHosts so I needed to update links. If I had all of my files hosted on my current hosting service and decided to move again, I may need to update a lot of links. Again. Yes, there are ways to do that, some (semi-)automated, but still many steps to go through. This way, anything stored and linked to on one of these sites or services will maintain their current links if I move.

Here is an overview of the sites and services I use. In the next few months I will do individual posts on each, discuss how I use them, and give any tips or tricks I may have come across.

Website Build: WordPress

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of WordPress. One is WordPress.com. This is a free service (similar to Blogger) where the site files are hosted by WordPress on their servers. Totally free sites will have “.wordpress.com” as part of their name, though for a fee you can have a dedicated name assigned to it. There are some limitations to what you can and cannot do on a WordPress.com blog. Please see their website for more information.

The other type of WordPress is WordPress.org. This is the type of WordPress that I use. WordPress.org has themes, plugins and other files that can be downloaded from their site and installed on a hosting service that you pay for. Some hosting services, like BlueHost, have applications that will install the WordPress files on your site for you. Then you customize the site with the theme you want, plugins and widgets to include, and so on.

Using a hosting service is not free, but it gives you more control of your site and your content. The Kindle book WordPress for Beginners by Dr. Andy Williams was very helpful to me when I was setting up my site.

Picture and File Hosting: MediaFire



There are many great sites for storing/hosting pictures (Flickr, Tumblr, Picasa, etc.) and for storing/hosting files (Dropbox [which I use daily and love], Google Drive, etc.), but I decided to go with MediaFire.

MediaFire allows me to upload and store not only picture files, but other types of files like Word documents and PDFs. One post I have coming up is about some Visual Basic for Applications programming I did in Word and I want to be able to easily share an example Word document.

I use the Pro version of MediaFire, which is normally $4.99 a month, but as of this writing (January 2014) is half price. The Pro version includes ad free sharing and downloading, and 100GB of storage. It also includes the ability to link directly to my pictures or files. The MediaFire web interface is very clean, you can create folders, and drag-and-drop files from your desktop for upload. I also like their iPhone app.

There are many other solutions you can use – including free ones – but the biggest draw was having one place to store and organize my pictures and files, having them be available ad free, and overall ease of use. This also keeps my Dropbox account completely separate from my site.

Video Hosting: YouTube

YouTube is of course the premier video sharing service. Once I finish ramping up the website my plan is to focus on my YouTube videos and channel. A great feature of YouTube is the ability to embed a video stored there into a page on your site. Yes, the videos are ad supported, but the trade off for their storage and use of their bandwidth is worth it to me.

Because YouTube is so ubiquitous many apps, programs and even cameras with built-in wi-fi have “upload to YouTube” options.

I also like Vimeo, though I have not used it very much. Cool features include being ad free and you can password protect videos. Some filmmaker friends of mine have used this when sharing reels or clips that they didn’t want completely out in the wild yet.

MicroVideo Blogging Service: Vine

I have been on Twitter since February 2008. When they announced Vine I had to check it out. Vine is a fun app to create 6 second videos. Like YouTube, the videos can be embedded into webpages. Some people are doing amazing animations with Vine. It is also great for quick, simple demos or examples when you don’t need to do a fullblown video. Also on the list to do more with in 2014.

Approach to the Reboot

As with the blog when it was hosted on Earthlink, I will be writing about projects I am working on, books I am reading, movies I have seen, music I like, technology and other things that interest me

I will organize the pages by category, but the posts will be all over the map.

One thing I will strive for is to be positive and have fun. This is not a complaint blog. I may post about things that concern me, but will try to do it in such away that is helpful, not a bummer.

More to come.

Reboot.

Last week I had some issues with my site.  Since it was going to take a great deal of work to get it restored and configured correctly again, I decided to use this as an opportunity to change hosting services.

I had been on Earthlink.  I had some issues, such as their version of WordPress not being the most current.  Also, no matter what I tried, I could not upgrade to the latest version.

I also had issues with certain Plugins I wanted to use.  Some I could not install, others could not update.  It appeared that though ThomasMcNamara.com was my site, and I was paying for the files on that site, I did not have access to all the WordPress folders and files.  This was very frustrating.

Today I changed to BlueHost.  I am still in the process of configuring the site, such as adding Plugins, deciding what widgets to use and so on, but it is going great.  For example, there was a Plugin that needed to be updated and I was able to update automatically.  And it actually worked.

Once I have the framework of the site set I am going to put up some of my previous posts, including my reading list page.  Then my plan is to post at minimum once a week.  I have a list of things I want to post about, so it may be more than once a week,  but we will see how it goes.  Though I plan to be much more active on the site, my writing priority is on some scripts and a novel I am working on.