Edu-pumkin II – The Bava

Unlike Jim Groom, who only lavishes surface praise while harboring deep hatred, I truly respect the Bava and integrate him into our family’s holiday traditions1. I had to make a hole in the back of Jim’s head to let some of the hot air out. Still needs some work though as the candle keeps going out. 1 You should see what Santa looks like in our house.

WPMU plugins you ought to have

Here are a few plugins I’ve got in the WPMU install I’m running. Most, if not all, were a result of my sordid association with WPMU cult leader, Jim Groom. He’s likely posted on each multiple times but it’s hard to find them among all the old cartoons and toy posts- besides I had to make a list to send to our people so I figured I might as well post it. These are all installed in the mu-plugins folder. More Privacy Options This let’s users set up additional options in the privacy page for blog admins. You can make sure the blog is visible only to those logged into your WPMU site, only visible to members of the blog, or only visible to admins. User Themes Revisited This plugin gives individual blog admins the ability to tweak CSS or theme templates individually- the edit theme ability in single user. It’s a little awkward at first but really a key plugin for me. Essentially, you copy the theme over to the individual blog and then can edit it without changing things for everyone on the WPMU install. New Blog Defaults This plugin lets you customize how the new blogs are created. You can customize a lot of key elements and do things like putting the initial “Hello World” post in […]

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Migrating from WP to WPMU

I spent some time the other day helping our ITRTs figure out how to install WPMU and then get their single user WordPress blogs imported into WPMU. I’ll probably make a video sooner or later as this is probably murder without images. So here’s my shot at best practice advice in case you have to move a lot of blogs from WP to WPMU when you’re not the final end user and can’t screw up. 1. Go to your WPMU install and make a new blog. Make the url the same thing as your WP blog but add a 1 and the end (so if it the blog url is http://ego.com/loveme name this one loveme1). We’re doing this so you can import it in while leaving the original blog up until you’ve made sure everything worked the way you wanted. We’ll go over how to drop the 1 from the WPMU url later. The admin here will be whoever is the main user of the blog. You’ll have access no matter what as WPMU admin. 2. Got to your WP blog (the original one) and log in to the admin panel then choose tools>export. This will get all your content out1. Save it on your desktop or wherever in a folder with the same name as the blog. While you’re […]

Comic WordPress Theme (and kind of a theme hacking lesson)

So here’s the proof of concept page for those who just want the idea and know how to change things already. It’s a great way to let students quickly and easily build an interactive online comic book story or display their art work. I really like the potential. I’m documenting some process here in hopes of giving people who care how I end up where I end up an idea of the path I traveled. I saw a tweet and ended up at the site below. I liked the way it looked so I noted the reference to the theme at the bottom right. That URL led me to the designer’s homepage but I was either too impatient or too lazy to find the theme there. I backed out and did a search via google for ipseity theme and end up where I want (which is here). However it looked like this when I installed it- which is fine and good but not what I wanted. I liked the clean, white version that had started me on this journey. I’ve now have two options. Option One One, I download the css from the other page and replace it. To do that I go back to the original site. I click view page source (in firefox) I search for cssand find […]

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Publishing Google Docs to WPMU

I was looking to have some people in my class publish lesson plans to their WPMU blogs via Google Docs. So I consulting the dean of WPMU, The Right Reverend Jim Groom, and he made it look so easy. Yet, I failed. Feeling stupid I started drinking looked at the differences in our set up. I began to worry it was because I wasn’t using dynamic subdomains. I reached such a depth of despondency that I actually read one of the error messages from Google itself. It said “Hey Dummy, you haven’t turned on XML-RPC publishing for that blog. Why don’t you go turn it on?” I did and everything now works. There’s a video on how to do that below in case it helps. pub2wpmu

Google Forms Meets the Spaghetti Syndication Monster

Or – how I do things since I can’t program – but isn’t the first title much more fun?1 First off, thanks to Jim Groom for letting me bounce ideas off him, giving some technical assistance and for testing services rendered. Now to business. Here’s what I wanted- a web accessible form that would display the data as it rolled in right under the submission form. Just like comments for a post but we wanted multiple questions2 and we wanted to be able to divide the responses. So that, in and of itself, is pretty narrow and stupid but what this can do in the end is pretty cool and can have widespread power. Using Google forms and the selective publishing option you can embed all sorts of user inputted data w/o having a clue how to program- and I think that’s pretty neat. Obligatory Warning for WPMU users (WP single user should just work)- Some of the stuff I’m going to tell you to do is not a good idea if you’ve got other authors on your WPMU installation that you don’t trust. If it’s just you and people who won’t be doing crazy stuff then proceed under your own recognizance. To make this work in WordPress MU3 you’re going to need to install one plugin – Unfiltered-mu. This […]

Why use WPMU in K12?

I’ve been slowly migrating all of our individual WP installs into WPMU over the last few days. It’s going to really make life a lot easier around here while adding some real advantages. You’ve seen Jim showing a million reasons to use WPMU in the college environment and while most (maybe all) can be transferred over to K12 there are some advantages to using WPMU in K12 that are worth looking at a little more directly. Flexibility – WordPress can handle just about any web need I have in a school setting. I can of course use it to blog but it can just as easily be the backbone for my school’s website and act more like a CMS. And imagine a school website that was both current and easy for multiple users to updated without expensive software. The ability to quickly and easily change themes is attractive to users but it is also a key component in creating engaging web experiences for students. BlackBoard and other CMS options tend to pretend to give you control over how your particular page or site looks but real customization is not an option at the user level and it makes a difference. Being able to control all the aspects of the Richard III page made things far more professional and interesting to […]

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WPMU Easter Egg

So I’ve installed WPMU on one of our externally hosted servers and with Jim’s patient assistance have been trying to get it in shape. One of the things I needed was the theme editor. So I was going through the steps to get it installed and things are looking good when . . . I hit the theme editor tab and the video below happened1. In all honesty, the first time it happened it scared the hell out of me. I frantically thought of all the vague warnings I’d received, reconsidered what I’ve done with file permissions, wished I’d backed things up 2. I’ve since been wrestling with the .htaccess file and other fairly dreadful nerd stuff. Unfortunately, this server is running both PHP 4 and 5 and has some custom .htaccess stuff set up to password directories down the line. This has led to all kinds of hassle for me (and as a result hassle for Jim 🙂 who has insisted I blog about the easter egg so he can reblog it3). 1 and happened every single time I hit the theme editor tab 2 and then realized I already had 3 Isn’t the Internet a weird place

WordCamp ED in DC!

WordCamp Ed is a WordCamp focused entirely on educational uses of WordPress — in schools and universities. The inaugural WordCamp Ed will be held at George Mason University on Saturday, November 22nd featuring a morning of pre-planned speakers, and a barcamp-style afternoon breaking into smaller discussions and sessions. SIGN UP NOW! I’ll be there and I’m hoping to see some of you.

Creating a Safe Space: Hacking WP

60% of my teachers have been in our county for less than 3 years (and, most of these newcomers, have never worked with a 1 to 1 initiative). More than 40% of my teachers have put less than 3 years into this vocation. With this in mind, I have created a space, online, for teachers to discuss instruction, vocation, and solutions for our school. I hope it will be a community building experience that gives teachers as much time as they can to the process without having to commit to meetings. Following the lead of Alan Levine with Tom’s guidance, I started by sketching out my vision. I wanted a place that was password protected and required unique usernames for participation. This site would be a  safe place where teachers could speak their minds in a professional manner. At the same time, I wanted to foster open communication, so anonymous responses would not be an option. I didn’t want a traditional blog format. The U/I needed to be as intuitive as possible, and I wanted meta-data to be presented in a way that encourage conversation. I sketched up two different layouts and solicited some feedback from my faculty.    The overwhelming response was for the second layout. After sifting through themes that mirrored my sketch, I decided on Blue Earth. […]