How the internet lets me stay awake 24 hours a day. Sort of.

Right now, I am asleep. And it’s not even today. Right now, it’s actually last week, which is when I wrote this post.

You see, this is a scheduled post, which means I wrote it, set a posting date and then went along my business (probably writing another post). But what about the Facebook post and the Tweet I sent out about this post? Also scheduled, so that they would go out after the article was published. I was, in fact having a sandwhich at the time.

How does it work?

I run my blog on WordPress, which I consider one of the best bloggin platforms around. Whenever I write my blog posts (usually on Sundays) I schedule them to be posted at different times and dates using the built in scheduling option. There’s not much to it, and anyone can learn how to schedule wordpress posts in just three steps

How To Schedule WordPress Posts

how to schedule a wordpress post

  1. Write your post
  2. Click on the Publish date and set it to whatever you want
  3. Click ‘Publish’ et voila.

You will receive a confirmation message above the post editor that let’s you know when your post will be published.

“Post scheduled for: Jun 22, 2012 @ 6:00”

That really is all there is to it

Tip #1 – WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin.

Sometimes looking at all your upcoming posts in list view can be a little disorientating – you don’t get a clear sense of what is posted when. To solve this problem, I use a plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar to show me exactly when my posts will be sent out.

Have a look – each of these is scheduled to be posted at around 2-3pm South African time, which is when I get the best response to content I post.

Wordpress Editorial Calendar Plugin
You can download the plugin here

Tip #2 – Posting to Facebook and Twitter in the Future

To help me schedule my Status updates and Tweets I use Buffer. It works by allowing you to set a time window for your content to be published. Most of the traffic to this blog comes from South Africa, which is why my posts are set to go out between 10am and 4pm SA time. That’s 2am to 8am my time. And I’m still fast asleep.

Buffer App for Social Media

Status updates and Tweets are intentionally scheduled to go out later than blog posts and not at the same time. I learned the hard way that it’s better to give it a little while (caching, daylight savings time, whatever).

buffer-time-setting

You can create a free Buffer account here

Using these two simple tools, I’m able to post content, comments,status updates and tweets pretty much around the clock. Which in my opinion is pretty cool.

Go ahead, try it for yourself – it’s easier than you think and people will think that you are somehow magically awake all the time.

Img Src: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootcoot/4802606550/in/faves-joeshlabotnik/

Video Thumbnails Plugin

I often write blog posts that only have a little bit of text and a cool video that I’ve found somewhere online. This is all good and well, except for the fact that my blog theme automatically generates a thumbnail (for the featured image) using the first pic I have in the post. In the past, if I didn’t have an image in the post, I wouldn’t have a featured image, or I would need to go and manually find one to display on the home page. Like so:

lesterhein.com

 

Enter the Video Thumnails Plugin. It does pretty much what it says on the box, creates thumbnails using the videos in your blog posts. And it works like a charm :) I’ve tested it with YouTube and Vimeo and it’s worked without a hitch using both of these services.

You can find it here

http://sutherlandboswell.com/2010/11/wordpress-video-thumbnails/

How to fix your blog when the WordPress auto update fails

Using Multi sites in WordPress 3

I like to keep my the plugins and wordpress versions up to date on the various blogs I manage. Sometimes though, the update process doesn’t go quite so smoothly, especially when updating the WordPress core.

If an update fails, you’ll be presented with a maintenance screen and no way of accessing your site and will only see the maintenance screen.

The solution? Well it’s pretty easy actually.

1. Log in to your site’s FTP connection
2. Delete the “Upgrades” directory (/wp-content/upgrades/)

That’s it :)

source

How to enable multi sites using sub directories in WordPress 3

Using Multi sites in WordPress 3One of the coolest features of WordPress 3.x is the ability to add multiple sites to any domain. This means that you can control multiple sites on your domain all from one place – very cool. I spent a lot of time banging my head against the keyboard trying to get this to work, so discovering multi sites was a real blessing.

Recently I needed to add a blog section to http://stereotyperecords.co.za so that individual users could update and post their thoughts in addition to the content that appears on the main site. One of the challenges is that the new sites need to use sub-directories and not sub-domains, which is what WordPress forces it to do at first.

Here’s how it goes down.

First, backups. Make copies of your wp-config.php file as well as your .htaccess file. You’ll need FTP access to get to your .htaccess file.

Next, you’ll need to disable all of your active plugins in order to complete the installation. Not all plugins are multi-site compatible, so take care here. From what  I can see Google XML site maps and Flickr Photo Albums are not compatible, so if you rely heavily on these – think about it…

Now add the following line to your wp-config.php file:

define('WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true);

Once you’ve added this line, in your WordPress dashboard you have to visit Tools -> Network and set up the network. (source)

Follow the instructions provided and you’ll be on your way to getting multi sites enabled.

During the activation of Multi Site a few lines of code need to be added to wp-confg.php. One of those lines states:

define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', true );

That line tells WordPress to use subdomain addon sites.

Change it to

define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );

and you will now be able to create subdirectory sites.

The problem now is that WordPress will force an addition to your slug in the form of siteurl/blog/newsite

To get around this, you need to remove the /blog/ with a slight change to the .htaccess rules you added earlier. Replace the code WordPress give you:

# BEGIN WordPress
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# uploaded files
RewriteRule ^files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$1 [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

# END WordPress

With this code:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]

# uploaded files
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?files/(.+)  wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$2 [L]

# add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?wp-admin$ $1wp-admin/ [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^ - [L]
RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-(content|admin|includes).*) $2 [L]
RewriteRule  ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*.php)$ $2 [L]
RewriteRule . index.php [L]

(source)

You will now be able to create multi sites without the /blog/ inserted into your slug.

If you nee some more visual assistance, check out this video tutorial on how to implement WordPress multi sites:

How To Use WordPress Shortcodes Anywhere In Your Theme

I was editing the StereoType Records website and wanted to call a WordPress shortcode for a plugin from directly in the theme  – useful if you want to add things in places they weren’t to go, like a Flickr Gallery in a pop up or a music player in your header. Whatever you need to call from a shortcode, it’s really easy to accomplish with just one line of code:

echo do_shortcode('[myshortcode]');

(source: http://wpengineer.com/2051/use-wordpress-shortcodes-outside-the-editor/

Now you can pop your favourite shortcodes anywhere you like. I used it to call the Flickr Gallery shortcode on a custom page template here:

http://stereotyperecords.co.za/gallery/

How to display code in your WordPress blog posts like Smashing Magazine

I encountered this problem while doing a post on how to add a Facebook like button to your WordPress blog. Everytime I entered code into a blog post, WP would strip it out and there would be nothing to see in the post. Since the whole post was about a couple of lines of code, this was clearly not a good thing…

I was trying to get the cool code wrappers that Smashing Magazine uses, and I finally found a plugin that allows to me to do just that. The plugin is called Google Syntax Highlighter For WordPress and you can find it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-syntax-highlighter/

Once you install the plugin, all you need to do is preface the code you want to display in your post with a pre tag and define the correct class. You can see all the different class aliases for different languages here: http://code.google.com/p/syntaxhighlighter/wiki/Usage

The end result looks something like this:

How To Add A Like Button to your wordpress blog

(view this post)

WordPress Hassles with file size uploads

For the last week or so I’ve been working on the beta version of the new StereoType Records website, but I’ve been hitting file size limitations at every turn.
After a number of calls to my host I decided that I was going to try and fix it myself. One of the error messages I received was while importing data from the current install:

“File upload failed. This error could also be caused by uploads being disabled in your php.ini or by post_max_size being defined as smaller than upload_max_filesize in php.ini.”

After about an hour’s diggin and sifting, I cam across a php.ini ‘template’ that seems to fit my needs, and most importantly, it resolved my file permissions and upload limit issue.

Here is the code: (found here)

register_globals = off
allow_url_fopen = off

expose_php = Off
max_input_time = 600
variables_order = “EGPCS”
extension_dir = ./
upload_tmp_dir = /tmp
precision = 12
memory_limit = 64M
post_max_size = 64M
file_uploads = On
upload_max_filesize = 64M

Man am I glad that’s over.  Now, on to the next hiccup we go…