Archive for December, 2010

Challenge for 2011: Want to blog more often?

There is a saying among writers: to write more, write more. The hardest part of blogging isn’t the tools – it’s what goes on between your ears. Many people start blogs with excitement, but lose courage when facing the blank post page, or chicken out before hitting publish. Here at WordPress.com, we know. And we’re here to help.

Announcing DailyPost.WordPress.com

Starting today, you can go to dailypost.wordpress.com for inspiration, encouragement and advice about blogging. We’ll be posting every day so you can get regular boosts of motivation to blog more often.

The Post Every Day challenge

Daily habits are the best way to make change happen. If you can remember to do something every day, by the end of the year, you’ll have done that thing over 300 times! Simple and amazing.

As part of the DailyPost, we’re launching two campaigns:

  • Post a Day 2011: Post something to your blog every single day through 2011
  • Post a Week 2011: Post to your blog at least once a week through 2011

If you’re thinking big, sign up for PostADay. If you’re haven’t posted in ages, or have never posted at all, PostAWeek might be your speed. Still noble and bold, but perhaps more your style.

And of course, feel free to set your own goal – sign up as if you were doing PostAWeek, just so we can keep tabs on what you’re up to.

How to Join:

Signing up is simple – do the following:

  1. Post on your blog, right now, that you’re participating
  2. (You can grab a sample post from dailypost.wordpress.com)
  3. Use the tag postaday2011 or postaweek2011 in your posts (tips on tagging here)
  4. Go to dailypost.wordpress.com
  5. Subscribe to dailypost.wordpress.com- you’ll get reminders and inspirations every day to help you bring your full potential to your WordPress blog!

If you need a new blog, go here first to get one fast.

That’s all for now. For more, check dailypost.wordpress.com real soon!


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Tips for a new year of blogging

The holidays make for a crazy time of year. You’re spending time with family, traveling, maybe enjoying some winter weather. All of this can help you create wonderful blog posts. :)

Here are a couple tips on how to let your blog shine as you head into the new year.

Blogging made easy

Press This is a great way to simplify your blogging experience. It lets you grab content from any blog post, article, website, or photo you find on the web. If you can you see it in your browser, you can use Press This to blog about it on WordPress.com!

It will automatically insert an image, quote, video, or link on any website directly into your blog post as well as include a link back to the source. No more having to copy and paste 5 different things. With Press This you can share great content quickly.

Drag the bookmarklet (the link that says “Press This”) from the Tools page of your WordPress.com Dashboard into your browser’s bookmarks bar to get started. This adds a handy link you can use to post content.

The next time you want to share a link, photo, or video on another site just press the bookmarklet. You’ll see a window pop up where you can add photos, video, and quotes straight from the site.

The two icons next to “Add:” let you choose which photos or videos on the page you want to insert into your post.

Combine all of that with the mobile options we featured last month and you can really blog from anywhere on the web or anywhere in the world.

Let your photos shine

After many lovely days spent with family during the holidays you probably have dozens (hundreds? thousands?!) of photos from trips, meals, adventures, and lovely winter weather. WordPress.com makes it easy to showcase these right on your blog.

Using our built-in photo galleries or slideshows you can share the best moments from the holidays. Here’s a few from my trip to Yosemite National Park in the winter a few years ago.

Click to view slideshow.

Between Press This and showcasing your photos you have some great toys to play with as you make your blog even better in the new year. Enjoy the holidays!


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Not Just A Contact Form

The short version of this story is that the contact form on WordPress.com has been upgraded. But that leaves out so many of the juicy details :-)

A couple of months ago we took a step back to look at what sort of things the contact form needed and what it could be. While this is still technically a contact form, it is now so much more.

First up, the new interface. Typing in the shortcode still works fine, but we wanted to provide a graphical way for people to manage the form. To do this you click on the ‘Add a custom form’ button:

Add a new form

Add a new form

That will bring up our new custom form builder:

Form Builder

Form Builder

The form builder gives you a simple, but powerful, set of controls on how your form will look and behave.  Common changes you can do that we think you’ll find handy:

  • Add and remove fields
  • Re-order the field list (drag and drop)
  • Select from several types of fields (text, drop down, checkbox, radio button, textarea, etc.)
  • Mark fields as required
  • Enter a specific email address you want the form results sent to
  • Custom subject line for the form results email

Clicking on the ‘Add this form to my post’ button will insert the shortcode for the form into your post.  If  you forgot something you can either edit the shortcode by hand, or simply click the ‘Add custom form’ button again and the form builder will re-load the form details and allow you to change them.

Now if we had stopped there, this would still be a great upgrade, but we decided to turn the volume up to 11.

In addition to emailing out the form results, they are now also stored in the WordPress database.  You’ll notice a new menu item called ‘Feedbacks’, just below ‘Comments’:

Feedbacks

The feedback management is patterned after the style of comment management.  Form submissions that Akismet marks as spam are under the ‘Spam’ section.  If for some reason Akismet made a mistake you can click the ‘Not Spam’ action and the details will be sent back to Akismet so that it can learn from the mistake.  And because you indicated that it wasn’t spam after all, the form results are emailed out again.  You can delete, restore, and permanently delete each entry as well.

For more details check out the updated support documentation on the contact form. For WordPress.org powered blogs we have released this as an update to the Grunion Contact Form plugin, version 2.0.


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Holiday Wallpaper from WordPress.com

Last year we started a little tradition, commissioning an illustration to give away as desktop wallpaper during the holidays. This year, Spanish artist Gary Fernández has created a wintry forest scene filled with curious characters who have great taste in blogging platforms. Friends in the southern hemisphere, we love you too, but if you haven’t already noticed, we really have a thing for snow. We hope you enjoy — and happy holidays from all of us at Automattic!

A tip: Choose an image larger than your screen size, and set the position to “center” or “fill screen” (not “stretch”). For smartphones and tablets, we recommend only using the background image on your lock screen, so it doesn’t interfere with your icons.

Need help changing your wallpaper? Here’s instructions for Ubuntu, Mac OS X, and Windows.

If you were a fan of last year’s illustration, you can find it in this post.


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LOW TO BEHOLD

Yes, I know the entire dance. No, I am not a loser.

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Title: A Band of Skulls song from their 2009 Single Album for “Fires.” I really love their album artwork as well, some of which I’ve included below
Music: Kate Bush “Wuthering Heights”

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SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY

Yesterday I watched Syndromes and a Century for the first time, and it instantly became one of my favourite films. Of course, I immediately thought of you, my readers scattered around the globe like so many flickering stars, and I wanted very much to tell you all about it.


The film is by Thai director/auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and it’s set in two different times in some kind of hospital. A lot of the shots remind me of Sophia Coppola’s style, except without the bored rich people (I just watched Somewhere, it was pretty good I must say). 


There’s not really a plot that makes sense, It’s more about people living together and interacting with one another and in nature. So, I’ve included three, count them THREE video clips. I hope you like them Photobucket

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THE FIRST STEP IS TO STERILISE MY BIOREACTOR

Title: A random quote I saw when watching a TV program about…making food. Photobucket
Music: Cardiacs “Burn Your House Brown.” yummers. 

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Find the Perfect Theme for Your Blog

Do you love WordPress.com themes? Have you ever wished you could view all the available themes without being logged into your dashboard? Curious how other WordPress.com sites use the theme you’re using? Want to be sure you’re using your theme to its full potential?

If you answered yes to any of those questions you’ll be happy to hear this news. I’m proud to introduce the official WordPress.com Theme Showcase.

Example of the Theme Showcase landing page.

The Theme Showcase exhibits the amazing collection of themes available on WordPress.com, documents theme features, and gives you a central place to explore themes outside of your dashboard. With colorful screenshots, detailed specifications, links to sites using the theme, and a list of suggested uses, I know you’ll be inspired to learn more about your current theme or try something new.

The Theme Showcase acts as both a tool for existing site owners to learn more about their theme, such as special features and quirks, and for new owners to explore all our themes and make an informed decision before signing up and choose a theme. Large-size screenshots and links to example content will demonstrate real-world usage of WordPress.com themes.

Example of a Theme Showcase inner page showcasing one theme.

To explore our themes you can browse by subject (Photography, Lifestream, Magazine, Holiday, Single Page, …), appearance (Color, Number of columns, Width, …), features (Menus, Background, Header Image, …), or style (Outdoorsy, Techy, Grungy, Girly, Colorful, Conservative, Simple, …). Or, search for a theme that matches any combination of criteria you choose.

Theme Showcase search and browse interface example.

The Theme Showcase should be your first stop when thinking about WordPress.com themes. If you are considering starting a blog, begin here to pick the perfect theme. If you’re a WordPress.com veteran, come explore WordPress.com themes and maybe learn something new about your favorite theme. Prepare to be inspired!


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ILVOELV Holiday Giveaway: Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton iPhone Wallpapers

Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton iPhone Wallpapers ILVOELV Holiday Giveaway: Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton iPhone Wallpapers

In celebration of the holidays, I have made special iPhone wallpapers from the Richard Prince x Louis Vuitton Spring 2008 collaboration (my all time favorite LV collection). And by Christmas Eve, I will be giving them out to you my lovely readers!

All you have to do is ‘Like’ ILVOELV on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ILVOELV. On Christmas Eve next week, I will be sending everyone in ILVOELV’s Facebook Page a private message with all four wallpapers attached. It’s that easy!

Cheers and happy holidays!

Image by Bengt / ILVOELV. Wallpapers created from images by Louis Vuitton, artworks by Richard Prince



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WordPress for Windows Phone 7

WordPress for Windows Phone 7 logo

Sometimes things just work out. When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7, a complete remake of the Windows Phone platform, we all got very excited. The simplicity of the platform is unheard of, with the target being to “spend less time on your phone – and get to the things you want to do quicker”. A perfect platform for a WordPress app to enable blogging while on the move.

Today I’m very proud to introduce you to the latest addition in the WordPress app family, WordPress for Windows Phone 7:

Screenshot: Action view

The Actions Dashboard

In this, the first version of WordPress for Windows Phone 7, you will find most of what you’ve come to expect from WordPress apps. It’s easy to write and edit posts and pages on the move, you can upload photos, as well as check stats and moderate comments. It’s all easily accessible from an Actions dashboard. In future versions of the app we’re also hoping to implement video uploading – let us know what else you’d like to see!

To navigate through the app a Panorama view is used, something unique to the Windows Phone 7 platform that works really well for managing a blog or a website. You can get an idea of what it’s like using the app by clicking through the slideshow on the brand new WordPress for Windows Phone 7 website.

We couldn’t be more excited about this, and we’re hoping to take the app even further in the coming months. It’s a partnership between iSoftStone, Microsoft and us that’s made this possible, thank you for all your help and support!

WordPress for Windows Phone 7 is an Open Source app. To learn more and get involved, visit windowsphone.wordpress.org/development.

To get the latest news while they’re hot, be sure to subscribe to the WordPress for Windows Phone 7′s Twitter stream: @WPWindowsPhone. We’re also blogging about the app over at windowsphone.wordpress.org/blog. If you need help setting up or using the app, or if you have feedback, be sure to visit the forums.

WordPress for Windows Phone 7 is available now* for free in the Windows Mobile Marketplace.

* Available worldwide within the next few hours.

Introducing WordPress for Windows Phone 7

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