I recently helped my friend Linda Hopkins (who runs Les Petites Gourmettes Cooking School for Children) get her WordPress blog up and running. It’s a very tasty site. Lots of recipes and cooking tips. It’s got a ton of great photos and lots of color splashed everywhere. Earlier today, Pamela Jo Bowman and I updated her blog to the latest version of WordPress. She uses the Pixeled theme which is mostly black and green.
During the week, in addition to all of the screenwriting and research we’ve been doing, we’ve also been working on the Transportation Safety Technologies, Inc. website for automotive safety engineer and testing specialist Mark Arndt. The site isn’t finished yet but it’s coming along nicely. It’s a very reliable engineer-blue-and-gray theme with a splash of orange and red.
Last week, I pretty much finished a Flash business site for my nephew who recently relocated to Wisconsin. Chris does painting, hence, Bowe Painting reflects that with a lot of photos and color. I am sure you can tell where this is all going.
Tonight, I looked at my site and started to think, “This site is just too dang white.”
So, as soon as I finish the Flash site for Jenny and Marc for their VFX company, The Creative Cartel (which I’m really anxious to finish this weekend), build the commerce site for Terry and Kay for their newest venture (to be announced soon), finish revising the blog and site for the film, A MARINE STORY, help Pam rebuild the Reminesse site and revise the GREENing Productions site, I’ll get right on the redesign for my site. Like the cobbler’s children who go without shoes, web designers’ sites are always the last for the make-over.
One of the great things about being a professor is that I was always getting (and reading) new books. Publishers shipped them to us constantly because they hoped we would adopt them for our classes. If it’s a popular class it can mean hundreds and hundreds of sales. In addition to Review copies of books, it seemed that I was always picking up something or another for class. Something wonderful and exciting to share (to go along with one of the BEST things about teaching, always something new to LEARN). Which leads me to mention my latest reading musts!
I was reading HOW TO WOW IN FLASH on the plane. Written by Colin Smith, the book is nine chapters of the things you most need to know and use when building a flash website … things like incorporating a dynamic image page, a scrolling text box and bitmap caching for faster image loads. Best of all, it’s written from a designer’s point of view. So, it included the code but emphasis is on how it’s going to look and work. Great book. I’m looking for more books like it.
I think I already mentioned the Rockable Press book HOW TO BE A ROCKSTAR WORDPRESS DESIGNER. Still amazed at how accessible PHP, CSS and WP became after reading that book. I’ve taught CSS in the past and, had this book been around, it would have been required reading because it takes you really far, really fast.
While I’m unpacking (groan), I also like to take time to read things for pleasure (gasp). I’m working on the Emily Dickinson story so I’ve got two wonderful pleasure books I’m perusing (now that I’ve got my books unpacked). The first is the Emily Dickinson HERBARIUM, a copy of the 400+ plants and flowers that 14-year-old Emily collected, pressed and labeled in her own inimitable hand. In later years, she would use plant and flower imagery in many of her poems. The HERBARIUM is the genus of her genius. Alec picked this up for me in Manhattan at Strand Bookstore (18 miles of rare books). I love it, absolutely love it.
I’m also reading Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s FACE TO FACE WITH EMILY DICKINSON. The daughter of Austin and Susan Dickinson, the niece of Emily, Martha has the unique perspective of someone who grew up in the presence of these two amazing women. Her firsthand account of their lives is fascinating.
A while ago, I started using Facebook. There were some things I really loved about it. Short entries. Easy to read. Easy to write. Easy to keep up with what everyone was doing AND communicate to everyone what I was doing. It really cut down on my number of emails and telephone calls.
There were, at the same time, things I abhorred about Facebook. I couldn’t really cover things in depth as I could on my blog. There were these things called Notes and another thing called Pages that let me write more about things I found interesting … but those things didn’t really get into the main flow of the conversation. There were sidelined and overlooked quite easily. So, if I found something related to film production or web production or wanted to discuss a new technique, I’d return to my blog. It was as media-rich or user friendly but it did have substance.
Recently, I discovered two things that are the BEST plug-ins and features ever. First, there’s a fabulous WordPress plugin called FOTOBOOK that was written by Aaron Harp. It’s a self-installing wonder that pulls my Facebook albums directly into my blog. Effortlessly. Efficiently. It’s just wonderful. AND, I also discovered that Facebook let’s me pull my BlogPosts directly into my Notes (which are then published into the general conversation). I still have to go back and forth between the blog and Facebook but, now, both venues are doing double duty so I’m getting better quality with less effort. If you look in the sidebars, you’ll see my photo albums (including my recent research trips to New England). There’s also a RANDOM photo feature that changes every time someone visits. Just something to keep it fresh. Now, I’m working on RSS feeds AND looking for a way to manage video. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Remember, I’m Mac-based.
If you know of a FOTOBOOK-style plugin that pulls video in from Facebook as effortlessly as stills my life is perfect … however briefly.