Advice at the Intersection of Work and Life

Featured WordPress blog: Brazen Careerist – Advice at the intersection of Work and Life

This week we are visiting a blog which is a wonderful place to draw inspiration if you are a writer or blogger, and highly entertaining for everyone, even if they are neither. It is titled Brazen Careerist, by Penelope Trunk, with the subtitle Advice at the intersection of Work and Life. It contains such gems as “if you want to be an idea person, you should sit down and write an idea first thing in the morning”.

Penelope Trunk is the founder of 3 internet companies, most recently Brazen Careerist, a social network to help young people manage their careers. As an entrepreneur she got a column in a national magazine and started giving advice in places like Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the London Times. Her career advice now appears in more than 200 newspapers.

As she points out in Penelope’s Guide to Blogging, a blog is a great way to figure out what you want to do with yourself because writing regularly is a path to self-discovery. For that blinding insight alone she deserves a visit, but believe me, the rest of the site is filled with the same sort of wisdom which bloggers, job seekers, and Internet savvy in general should be immersed in every day.

Another point she has made in her blog is that personal responsibility is the most important trait of a successful career. This is one right out of our business coaching manual and a sentiment we have been able to identify with in other ventures such as life coaching and presentation skills training.

Would be bloggers would befit from reading Penelope’s post entitled What makes a blog successful? This contains some interesting views about why you should blog; we might even make it required reading on our Getting Started With WordPress training!

To read more from this entertaining blogger, click here to visit Brazen Careerist

How To Manage Themes in WordPress

One of the most frequent questions a new WordPress blogger will ask is “How do I change the Theme?” or “How do I alter the appearance of my WordPress site?”. This post will take you through the simple steps to changing the appearance of your site. After completing this exercise you will be able to download and activate a new theme for your WordPress site.

First of all, log on to the wp-admin pages using the account details you used when setting up, or an account with Administrator role. On the left Menu click on Appearance and the Manage Themes page will appear.

The current theme will be displayed at the top, and any alternative layouts will be displayed under the heading Available Themes. If this is a fresh installation, there will likely be one one alternative, which will be WordPress Classic.

You can see what your current blog would look like using the Classic theme by clicking on the Preview link under the thumbnail view. After a few seconds your current blog will be displayed in the WordPress Classic style. If you wish to change the appearance of the site to Classic, then you can do so by clicking on Activate WordPress Classic at the top right of the preview screen, and you will be taken back to the Manage Themes page. The rest of the world can now see you blog in it’s new style.

As there are thousands of WordPress themes available for free, the next step is to see what themes appeal to you. Click on Add New Themes (under the Appearance menu item) and the Install Themes page displays.

You can Search for themes by keyword, author, or tag, by entering the string in the search box and clicking Search. Enter a string and search to see any themes which match your criteria displayed in the Search Results. At this point you can either:

  • Select Preview to display a sample of it on screen.
  • Click on Install, to see a small view of the screen, then click on Install Now, to add the theme to your blog.

If you select Install, you should see a number of messages somthing like the following:

  • Downloading install package from…
  • Unpacking the package.
  • Installing the theme…
  • Successfully installed the theme…

Afterwards you will be offered a choice of Actions: Preview, Activate or Return to Theme Installer. Selecting Return to Theme Installer will take you to the Install Themes page so that you can search for another theme. Finally clicking on Themes will allow you to return you to the Manage Themes page, where you will see your new thumbnail picture under Available Themes, or as your current theme, depending on your earlier choice.

Congratulations, you are now able to download and activate a new theme for your WordPress site. In the next post in this series, we will look at How To Manage Plugins in WordPress. Happy blogging!

Top Technology to fill those Christmas Stockings

As it is less than one month to Christmas, we have decided to list some of our favourite tech gadgets to help you fill stockings over the festive season

Mario Kart with Wii Wheel (Wii) – Wii Remote Not Included

  • The Wii Wheel transforms the Wii Remote controller (not included) into a steering wheel that feels natural in anyone’s hands, while the Wii Remote and Nunchuk; controller offer a classic control style for the Mario Kart veteran. In either configuration, players can perform speed-boosting tricks with a shake of the Wii Remote.
  • Players can race as their favourite Nintendo character, or even as themselves! Mario Kart Wii lets players race with their personalized Mii; characters. And racers will see other Mii characters they have created cheering from the sidelines on some race courses.
  • Players can compete with up to three friends in their living room. Or challenge up to 11 opponents via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in the biggest Mario Kart race yet. All tracks and modes of play are available via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and players can visit the Mario Kart Channel to compete in tournaments, check rankings, see when their friends are playing and download ghost data.
  • Cruise new tracks and arenas or tour classic courses from Super Mario Kart;, Mario Kart; 64, Mario Kart;: Super Circuit;, Mario Kart;: Double Dash!!; and Mario Kart; DS. Tired of riding on four wheels? Bust out one of the new motorbikes for special tricks and techniques.
Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (Wii)
Wii Fit Plus solus is the ultimate upgrade for your Wii Fit. For those who do not have Wii Fit yet they can get all New Wii Fit Plus, and as well as experiencing all these features of the original Wii Fit. Wii Fit Plus will offers all the features of the original application with the addition of all new features to make your workout more productive and personal, as well as some great new fun games. Wii Fit Plus is a great way to let everyone in the family combine fitness with fun.

Wii Fit Plus has loads of new features, including:

  • Aerobic Exercises: New Additional Jogging Courses, Ste Rythum Remix all-new songs.
  • Muscle Exercises: 3 New Muscle Exercises.
  • Yoga: Includes 3 New Poses.
  • Balance Games: Heading, Ski Jump, Ski Slalom, Tightrope, irritating maze, Penguin game,
    Snowboarding, and meditation.
  • Training Plus: Skateboarding, Rythum Kung Fu, Dungeon Jogging, many more.

More WordPress Configuration Tips

A common question which is often asked of our support staff is “After Installing WordPress how do you customize it?” So it is about time for More WordPress Configuration Tips, to take you to the next step.

First of all, log on to the wp-admin pages using the account details you used when setting up. In order to make the site your own after installation, we suggest that you customize WordPress by completing the following steps:

In the WordPress General Settings (Settings, then General)

  • Set up your Blog Title and Tagline, if not already to your liking
  • Set the Date Format by clicking on one of the existing examples, or setting a Custom format; we normally use a custom j F Y to show the date in UK format 30 November 2009
  • Click on Save Changes

In the WordPress Writing Settings (Settings, then Writing)

  • Change the size of the Writing window if required
  • Check WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically
  • Add any further Update Services to which you wish to subscribe (For more about this, see Update Services on the Codex.)
  • Click on Save Changes

In the WordPress Discussion Settings (Settings, then Discussion)

  • Check Users must be registered and logged in to comment in Other comment settings
  • If You are particularly keen on keeping a tight rein on comments, check An administrator must always approve the comment Before a comment appears.
  • Click on Save Changes

Once you are ready for your Blog to see the world (or is it the world to see your Blog?), in the WordPress Privacy Settings (Settings, then Privacy)

  • click on I would like my blog to be visible to everyone,
  • Click on Save Changes

In the next installment, we will show you how to install your new WordPress theme, in order to change the Appearance of your WordPress Blog rather than the default theme.

Book Review of Reaper’s Rainbow by Dr Harley Farmer

Book Review by Bruce Thompson
Harley Farmer – Cause Publications Ltd – ISBN 978-0-9526144-0-9

The Reaper’s Rainbow by Dr Harley Farmer is a brilliant detective yarn with an intriguing and compelling plot.

A mysterious illness begins killing strategic individuals in the financial sector and the police believe that Al Qaeda are unleashing a new weapon to cripple our economy. Detective Karen Fraser teams up with Doctor Michael Blandford a former Infection Control Doctor at the hospital where patients start dying.

Together they establish a specialist team of unlikely bedfellows to hunt down the culprit. Gordon Campbell runs a computer security company whose high tech facilities becomes a focal point for their intelligence gathering and international communications.

At first sight you might be tempted to think that it is another story with a superbug as the threat, and faceless terrorists as the enemy. However, after the dramatic opening sequence, I realized that the science is bang up to date, and completely plausible. What is more, the real enemy is lurking in the corridors and boardrooms of hospital trusts everywhere.

I can relate to the bureaucracy that the author describes so vividly. I have heard those same legal arguments, which corporate lawyers utter in all sincerity, but which tell you that they have truly lost the plot. When faced with the intransigence of “the system” which would rather follow procedure than risk success, I have experienced the deep feeling of frustration to which the characters are exposed.

Surely it couldn’t possibly happen? As people started dying, I started to get that funny feeling which I haven’t felt since reading Jaws by Peter Benchley.

This is an exciting book, which kept me up late at night to find out what happened next. It is all the more gripping because it is so believable, and really could happen. I will not spoil the suspense by telling you the ending, but after you have read this book you might think twice about your next visit to a hospital for anything more than parking your car.

The bugs are real, and people are literally dying in their thousands every year from exposure to them. The products and solutions cited really do exist and were developed to break infection cycles. You really must read this book. Then I suggest you send a copy to your local MP and recommend that they read it too!

Harley Farmer is a PhD Virologist and presenter who lectures at international conferences. For more on the MRSA superbug which has become endemic in British hospitals, and a possible solution, see NewGenn controls MRSA in animals and NewGenn supplying products that control and kill the H1N1 Swine Flu.

Space Shuttle Lifts Off Amid Twitter Frenzy

Space Shuttle Atlantis sailed smoothly into orbit today with six astronauts and a full load of spare parts for the International Space Station (ISS). Watching from front-row seats were 100 Internet-savvy NASA fans cheering on the shuttle and churning out constant Twitter updates.

The tweeps, as they are called, represent 21 states plus the District of Columbia, as well as five countries, including Morocco and New Zealand. They traveled to the launch at their own expense, after NASA invited its Twitter followers to sign up online for the chance to see a space shuttle launch up close. The 100 slots and 50 backup positions filled in less than 20 minutes on the 16 October 2009.

With only six shuttle flights remaining and still no word from the White House on a future course for astronauts, NASA is tapping into social media such as Twitter, Facebook and the like to spread its message about the need to stay in space. Astronauts have been tweeting from Earth and orbit since spring, while NASA has already held a few tweetups.

NASA estimates the 100 have more than 150,000 Twitter followers. It’s a dream outreach program for a space agency looking to drum up support. Even the most staid NASA types see the benefit of reaching out to a younger, hipper crowd.

Meanwhile, Britain’s aspirations to become a spacefaring nation inched a little closer as thousands of microscopic worms were aboard Atlantis as it launched from Cape Canaveral for the mission to the international space station. To find out more on this story, see Worms from Bristol rubbish tip journey to the space station

Screen Capture in Mac OS X

The other day someone needed to screen print in Mac OS X, but as a Windows user they focused on the the absence of the Print Screen button on a Mac keyboard, which leads to the inevitable question “How do I Print Screen on a Mac?” As this is not the first time that requirement has surfaced, here are few ways to accomplish screen capture in Mac OS X.

  1. Switch to the screen that you want to capture
  2. Hold down Command (Apple key) + Shift + 3, then release all keys
  3. Use your mouse to click on the screen

You will see a picture file appear on your desktop, which is the captured image file.

You can Print Screen (screen capture) just a portion of your screen, which is really useful if you are wanting to focus on a particular part, say an icon.

  1. Switch to the application or screen where you want to screen capture
  2. Hold down Command (Apple key) + Shift + 4, then release all keys
  3. You will see the mouse cursor has changed to +
  4. Use your mouse to select the portion you wish to capture.

You will see a picture file appear on your desktop, which is the screen capture image.

If you want to print screen for a particular application window you can

  1. Switch to the screen that you want to screen capture
  2. Hold down Command (Apple key) + Shift + 4, then release all keys
  3. You will see the mouse cursor has changed to +
  4. Press the space bar once
  5. You will now see the mouse cursor has changed to a camera
  6. Use the camera to select which application window to screen capture

As before, you will see a picture file appear on your desktop, which is the captured image file.

However as Windows users are used to the captured image going straight to the clipboard, you can mimic this behavior on a Mac as follows:

  1. Switch to the screen that you want to capture
  2. Hold down Command (Apple key) + Control + Shift + 3, then release all keys
  3. Use your mouse to click on the screen

The captured image is now in the clipboard, ready to for you to paste into your chosen application.

The full list of built-in Mac Screenshot Commands are as follows:

Command+Shift+3 Capture entire screen and save to file
Command+Control+Shift+3 Capture entire screen and copy to clipboard
Command+Shift+4 Capture dragged area and save as to file
Command+Control+Shift+4 Capture dragged area and copy to clipboard
Command+Shift+4 then Space bar Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and save to file
Command+Control+Shift+4 then Space bar Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and copy to clipboard

Matt Mullenweg: 10 blogs to make you think

Regular bloggers will already know that Matt Mullenweg is the co-founder of the WordPress blogging software and founder of Automattic, a company that runs and Gravatar. He has just published an article on entitled 10 blogs to make you think. His stated job as the co-founder of WordPress is to help many more people start blogging, and his top ten list is a great place to start reading if you are new to blogging, or a seasoned vetran.

His first recomendation is Scripting News by Dave Winer, who pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software. We particularly like Dave’s blog about the Android operating system, Droidie. This is a blog about the Droid phone from Motorola with the Verizon service and Android 2.0 operating system. We are interested in anything to do with Android OS at the moment, having just taken delivery of an HTC Hero.

Other notable blogs and sites nominated by Matt include Open by Glyn Moody, Raw Thought from Aaron Swartz (check out his FBI file!) and the daily comic XKCD

To read the full article by Matt click here to read Mullenweg: 10 blogs to make you think on the cnn website

Bloodhound engineers test-fire rocket

British engineers have fired up the rocket that they hope will propel their car to speeds in excess of 1,000mph, to smash the land speed record.

Britain’s latest attempt at the world land speed record has come a step closer as the Bloodhound engineers test-fired the new 18-inch-diameter hybrid rocket on a test stand in the Mojave Desert. The hybrid rockets use solid fuel – a synthetic rubber hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), and high test peroxide (HTP) as oxidizer, and are custom built for the Bloodhound Project.

To find out more about this latest step in the attempt to break the 1000mph barrier on land, click here to read the Guardian Science article.

For more on the project check out the Bloodhound SSC website