The American Internet Should Remain Free

Do you think the internet is important?

It has given me much over the last several years. I have made new friends, educated myself, found fun things to do and share, and been amazed at just how crazy/sad/caring our society can be. My future career and the very livelihood of millions of people depends on the infrastructure, technology, and freedom of the internet.

I don’t generally jump on bandwagons and I’m rarely vocal about causes. For this I will make an exception.

There are some crazy ideas being tossed about in Congress and the Senate right now. These have a huge potential to be poorly interpreted, cripple freedom of speech on the internet, and set our society back in time. While I understand the desire for large corporations to “protect” their “intellectual property,” I value individual freedom more.

What can you do?

First, watch this video.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Next, take a few minutes to contact your legislators and express your view about the laws being considered.

Let’s keep the internet free.

Share

Mechanics Beats Theory

My friend was frustrated on the other end of the phone.

“I just don’t understand how my WordPress (.com) blog can be a website,” she said.

I briefly explained the difference between posts and pages, and the way different themes worked to display information. Throughout my monologue she mumbled sounds of a vague and unconvincing understanding. My brilliance wasn’t cutting through her fog.

“It actually really easy to do. You just don’t know the mechanics of the process,” I concluded.

“You hit it on the head!” she said. “I don’t get what steps to take.”

Something clicked for me in that conversation. My friend helped me understand that many people need practical, concrete examples before they can grasp the systems and information flow that many WordPress developers take for granted.

I look forward to playing with new approaches to teaching people learning and teaching styles.

Share

How to Paste from Microsoft Word

During the “21 Tips From the Organizers” segment at WordCamp Detroit, my buddy Anthony talked about pasting from MS Word the “right way.” Someone I met at the conference asked if I knew how to do this.

Sure do!

The Background

When you copy text from Microsoft Word (or a webpage), the clipboard also grabs hidden formatting instructions. This allows you to bring the formatting along with the text when you paste it.

Sometimes (but not always*) these invisible instructions confuse WordPress’ TinyMCE editor and your post “looks funny.” Yes, that’s the technical term.

When it happens, you the HTML view will show extra markup.  If you know HTML it’s frustrating and you can clean it up. If you don’t, it’s just frustrating.

So, how do you prevent this problem?

Option 1. Use the “Paste from Word” tool (easier)

  1. Copy the text from MS Word.
  2. If your toolbar appears as one row, you need to click the circled icon to expand the “kitchen sink.”
  3. Click the “Paste from Word” icon in the second row.

    A box will pop up.
  4. Click in the box and paste your text there.
  5. Click “Insert”
  6. You’re done.
Option 2. Paste into a plain text editor first
  1. Copy the text from MS Word.
  2. Open a basic text editor like Notepad.
  3. Past the text into a blank text editor.
  4. Press Ctrl-A to select all the text in the editor.
  5. Copy the text again.
  6. Paste the text into the TinyMCE editor window on your WordPress site.

This method is repeatable, reliable, and strips ALL the formatting from the text to be pasted. It takes longer, and sometimes you want to keep your formatting.

If you’re serious about your writing, you might just want to forgo MS Word and take a look at the Full Screen mode.

Happy blogging!

*I think this was more likely to happen with MS Word 2003 and older versions of WordPress.

Share