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This Blog Has Moved November 17, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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That’s right, the new site is up! Join me at LearningNerd.com for the all-new nerdiness!

Oh, and bring champagne. ;)

Deleting the Old RSS Feeds November 16, 2006

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I’ll be deleting my feeds tonight, but the main one (for all posts on this blog) will still work for a little while, thanks to Feedburner’s redirecting service. So, remember to delete your old feeds and subscribe to the new ones tomorrow! I’ll post my official “this site has moved” post tomorrow afternoon.

See you then!

The New Site Launches on Friday! November 14, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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I’m almost done! Now I just need to tweak the CSS, write the About page, install a plug-in or two, and double-check everything. I decided to base my templates off of the WordPress Classic theme, because the other theme had more features than I’d ever use. I like the no-frills approach. :)

Anyway, I now need to decide which subjects to start with. Here are my choices:

  • Writing
  • Math
  • Visual Art
  • Programming

I’d love to start with a blog about each of those, but that may be more than I can handle! I’ll probably pick three. I know that writing will be one of them, and after working on my WordPress template for the last few days, I’ve regained an interest in programming. Then again, I already started on math and art. Hmm.

What do you think?

Finding, Uploading, and Preparing to Edit a WordPress Theme November 9, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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Update: More on WordPress, see the WordPress Category on the new site LearningNerd.com.

First, I read the Using Themes page on the WordPress Codex, which explains everything — too much, in fact! I got caught up in reading random pages and got a headache. After a short nap and some dinner, I browsed through the free themes listed on Theme Viewer.

I wanted a simple theme to start with for my home page, so I downloaded RoundFlow 1.0. I then unzipped it and uploaded it to my wp-content/themes directory with my new FTP program FileZilla. Then two clicks in my admin page and the new theme was up and running!

Well, I opened up the theme editor from my WordPress admin page, glanced over the scary template code, and then noticed that it said I couldn’t edit it! I wracked my brain for a few minutes, and then it hit me: I remembered something about an .htaccess file from the WordPress Quickstart Screencast Tutorial. For some reason, that was the only installation guide that mentioned it.

I watched part of it again and followed the instructions exactly, uploading a blank text file named “htaccess” and then renaming it to “.htaccess” in my FTP program. Then I also followed the instructions for editing the file properties of some of the WordPress files and folders. Sure enough, it worked! Now I can edit my themes from within my WordPress admin page!

Then I remembered another important detail: according to the second page of Get Your Feet Wet with WordPress, it’s a good idea to make an extra copy of the theme you’re going to edit, just in case you mess it up (and I’m sure I will). To do that, you need to choose a different name for the extra copy’s folder in the wp-content/themes directory and you need to change the info in the style.css file, which lists the name and author of the theme.

OK, so I made my copy, added the word “edit” here and there, uploaded it to wp-content/themes via FTP, made all the template files writable (as explained in the screencast), and it worked!

Important Update: After a little more reading, I discovered this page on WordPress Permissions that says you should never set permissions to more than 644 for files and 755 for directories. The WordPress Quickstart Screencast Tutorial sets the permissions to 666 and 777, which isn’t advisable. If you really want to be able to edit your themes from your admin page or use the built-in backup plugin, just remember not to leave your permissions set to 666 and 777.

Next, editing the template code. Uh oh. Well, I’ll leave that for tomorrow!

How to Install WordPress November 9, 2006

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This post has moved to http://www.learningnerd.com/video-guides-to-installing-wordpress.>

Please update your bookmark. Thanks!

And My Web Host Is… November 8, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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Precision Effect! I like the fact that they’re a small company, and I especially like how fast they respond to questions. I talked to one of their support guys over AIM and he responded right away! Another plus is that they offer very small hosting plans (200 MB disk space and 5 GB bandwidth), which is perfect for me, since I hardly need any space yet.

With the coupon code TAKE20, I bought one year of web hosting for $24.48. Not too shabby! They let you upgrade your account at any time, so if I need more space before the end of the year, they’ll just charge me the difference.

(By the way, I get a free month of hosting if anyone signs up and uses “learningnerd” as the referrer. ;) )

I had to make a PayPal account to sign up, but that didn’t take long. I got my confirmation emails and everything within a few minutes, including an email with the information for updating my DNS. So, I then logged into my account at Namecheap (where I registered my domain name), quickly found the change-your-DNS page, typed in the URLs listed in the email, and poof! Simple as that.

Tomorrow morning I’ll install WordPress and write another update. The new site will be up within a few days! Wee! :D

Choosing a Web Host November 3, 2006

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So many choices! The worst part is that for every great review I read, there’s an equally terrible one. The web hosting plans offered by the biggest companies look too good to be true: tons of disk space, nearly unlimited bandwidth, and an endless list of features all for less than $10 a month!

Take a look at DreamHost, for example. They offer 200 GB of disk space and 2 TB (2,048 GB) of bandwidth for as low as $7.95 a month. Looks like overselling to me, but they do get many great reviews. Then again, some of the great reviews include a coupon code created through the DreamHost Affiliate Program, which has to be one of the most ingenious affiliate progams I’ve seen. Entire websites have been made solely to share these DreamHost Promo Codes, and people have even paid money to advertise them on Google! But DreamHost certainly has its share of bad reviews. Take a look at the horror stories showcased on DreamHost Sucks.

Here’s what I’d like to know: just how bad is DreamHost? Are all overselling web hosts equally as bad? Are there any web hosts that don’t have any terrible reviews? Your input would be much appreciated! For now, I’m relying on the following websites:

The general consensus seems to be that the most reliable web hosts are the smaller companies that don’t offer tons of space. So far, I’m leaning towards Precision Effect. They certainly look like a small company, and I’ve yet to find a single bad review — and trust me, I looked! Of course, that may be because there aren’t many reviews in the first place.

Another small one is MozunkHost. In fact, it’s so small that I haven’t been able to find a single review! Maybe that’s a bit too small.

So, any web host recommendations?

Planning the New Blogs: Subdomains November 1, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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Take a look at these sites:

From what I’ve read, subdomains look like the best way to go for my site. If each subdomain is really treated like a separate website, then I wouldn’t have to worry about confusing the search engines with too many topics. Sounds perfect! The blogs at About.com all have their own subdomains, and it obviously works for them. Every blog hosted at WordPress.com and Blogger.com also uses a subdomain, and the search engines do seem to treat each one as a separate website.

But then how do sites like Wikipedia rank so high on so many different keywords when every page is on the same site? Then again, Wikipedia gets tons of links — and look at that, I just added one more!

A Note on Registering the Domain Name October 30, 2006

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I recently registered learningnerd.com through Namecheap. With the promo code Yaffaspecial (which I found with a quick search on Google), the price was $7.98 a year. Not bad!

Of course, I could’ve gotten it for an even cheaper price. Sites like DomainsAreFree say they’ll register your domain name for just $3.99. I’m a little wary of companies that charge ridiculously low prices, though; you usually get what you pay for. On the other hand, I’ve heard some bad stories about GoDaddy, which charges more than Namecheap! For now, I can only conclude one thing: domain registration is a tricky, tricky game.

To add to the confusion, people have wondered about how domain registration affects your search engine rankings, as discussed in this article: Does the Length of a Domain Registration Affect Your Rank? I’ve seen a couple articles on the subject, but no definitive proof. What do you think?

Preparing for an All-New Blog! October 26, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.
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Guess what I did today? I registered a domain name! Yes, folks, learningnerd.com is now mine! :D I always figured I’d use my own domain eventually, so why not now?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my goals for this blog and whatever future projects I may delve into, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my current setup just won’t cut it. Using one blog to cover every topic that exists is just plain impractical; it’ll only become more and more difficult to keep organized! The many unrelated topics won’t help my search engine rankings, either.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that I should just hop on the niche-blog bandwagon. But that doesn’t mean I can’t blog about all of my many interests — no, far from it! Here’s what I’m thinking: one niche blog for every project. Why didn’t I just do that before? Well, I considered it, but I wasn’t ready to start a few blogs at once. Now that I’m more comfortable with the whole blogging thing, I’m ready to get serious.

So, while I figure out how I’m going to set up the new site, I’ll be blogging about the process here. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to put my other projects on hold. That’s OK, though! To be honest, I’m not happy with the way I’ve been learning everything so far. Instead of starting with the very basics and working my way up, I’m thinking I should just start at the top and learn stuff as I go along. It’ll keep things interesting.

But more on all of this later. I feel like rambling, so I’m going to force myself to wait until I can sort through my thoughts and explain them coherently — probably tomorrow.

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