Too often we need a backup before we made one, and it is too late. For your own machine an external drive may be just the thing. But to save yourself from total loss from flood, fire type disaster a cloud backup may be the thing.
WordPress websites can be saved for no cost using a backup plugin and Google Drive automatically, behind the scenes. If you aren’t doing this, contact me for guidance or help before you really need it!
One of the most important steps to a secure website (or computer!) is to keep backups. When you need it is after you have used it reliably for some time.
I consider myself a longtime novice Linux user. I have enjoyed using Linux OS’s since I discovered them 20 years ago and I always watch to see what is changed with each upgrade of the various distributions of it. For years now I have found Linux Mint to the be the best for me, it just works from the start and always has.
I had someone in another state ask for help. Her Computer is dragging badly and taking long pauses. My first suggestion was to get a new computer but as we looked at what she has it seemed like an upgrade for her memory from 4 gigs to 8 gigs might be the better answer for this HP Notebook. I was hesitant to talk her through it because I’m so far away and if things go wrong the computer is not going to work but it seemed like a simple job so we went ahead and tried anyway.
Being modern means using social networks and new apps but we all seem to still have email.
I’ve been using Gmail in it’s webpage for years and years now. Before then I used Thunderbird. Many of my clients still use Thunderbird so I just reinstalled it, set it up with IMAP for my Gmail account and thought I’d go through some of the settings I did that might help other people out there.
Setting up an imap Google account
I always recommend using imap to get email from your server. This leaves the mail on the server until you view it. Gmail has an All Mail folder that includes everything you did not delete. The other option, POP mail, will pull all your mail off the server and delete it from the server. This means trying to see your mail from our phone or another computer will not work, it will have moved to the computer that POP’ed it.
IMAP mail will normally only download the message header and subject until you choose to view it. I am using Thunderbird as a backup for my mail so I have IMAP pull the whole message. For me this means my message file on my computer is almost 1.5 Gig, and that is compressed. But if my account was grunged at Google somehow I still have copies of everything on this machine. I then backup my data folder. This way I could open a new computer, install a new copy of T-Bird and restore my mail.
Setting up the addon gContacts to handle addresses from Gmail account
Now that my mail is setup I would like to keep my addresses in Thunderbird too. And an available addon called gContacts will do that. For simplicity here I’ll just say in Thunderbird go to Tools, Addons, look fro all available addons and search for gContact, install it and follow its directions.
Setting up addon Lightning and Google calendar provider
Like the Contacts, Google Calendars can be imported into an addon called Lightning and it can use an addon Provider for Google Calendar to make it see and interact with Google Calendar. Now you can use your phone app for Google Calendar and read it from thunderbird and the other way around.
This makes Thunderbird almost everything Outlook is for far less money so make a donation to Thunderbird and its addon providers and still save over the price of Microsoft solutions.
A few months ago I wrote about LastPass. My view for the need of a password keeper hasn’t changed but I have changed a little about LastPass and discovered Bitwarden an open-source program it does the same thing.
Some years ago last pass was bought by LogMeIn and it increased its yearly rate from $12 to $36 for the paid version. I used to pay $12 a year and found that reasonable but 36 is a stretch. A short search for reviews of Logmein shows that it has been behaving much like the old AOL it’s hard to stop their service once you begin paying for it. Basically, the only way to stop is to cancel whatever credit card was used to pay for it.
Bitwarden is an open-source program. For me that’s a plus. And after using it several weeks I found it behaves pretty much the same as Lastpass. When you register at a new site it offers to keep your information, and also offers a password generator to create a secure password for you.
This post actually came with the new editor in WordPress. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. What it says about the editor is exactly right, and if you use wordpress I recommend this new editor.
Of Mountains & Printing Presses
The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.
What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…
… like this one, which is right aligned.
Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.
Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.
The Inserter Tool
Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.
Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:
Text & Headings
Images & Videos
Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
And Lists like this one of course 🙂
A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:
The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.
Matt Mullenweg, 2017
The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.
Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.
You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.
If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:
Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.
The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.
Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:
You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:
If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.
On any system there are tools I feel I always need, Lasspass is one of those tools.
Using computers means using security and that means passwords. And good passwords are about impossible to remember, so, Lastpass. Make one GOOD password you will remember and Lasspass will help you make good ones for all the sites you visit and it will remember them. Even better once it has your login information and you have logged into it visiting a site will just mean opening the site and hitting Login, the information will already be in their fields.
Most folks by now have had computer problems solved by having their uncle or primary grade niece help them out by connecting desktop screens with remote control. Teamviewer is probably the best known software for this process but there are many others.
A new product for Webinars has this option for free (for 1:1 meetings) and it is Zoom.us. I first learned of Zoom in a business article about its great success, at that time I hadn’t heard of it. Then I realized I’d heard its mention on NPR, as a supporter of public radio, so I visited its website.
What I like most about it is its support of most operating systems. It works on Windows, MAC, Linux, Android and IOS phones and tablets. I like to work most from Linux but most other services don’t work in Linux.
You can use it just for its great video communication, but it has Desktop sharing and Remote support right there! Its easy. Just make a free account and install the app and you are ready to go. I recommend everyone who would like my services to sign up and install it and it will make communicating computer solutions much, much easier.
As a consultant for WordPress web hosting I will always recommend keeping your site as up to date as possible as falling behind can cause the site and worse, my host to be hacked by known problems, unnecessary problems.
But the update to WordPress version 5 has been a hot topic as it changes to a new editor, and change is scary. Personally I like the new editor, it uses blocks for all its elements and (theoretically) requires less knowledge of HTML. But it is different and is a change.
I ‘manage’ all the sites I host for others that is I do the updating and I have chosen to go ahead with version 5 but am keeping the old editor in all the sites.
If I am your host and you would rather use the new Gutenberg editor you need only activate its plugin from your Admin Plugin page. Or if you prefer, contact me and I’ll activate it for you and help you through understanding how to use it.
Websites I host are all updated to version 7+ now, but many are using a PHP version that is going to be dropped at the end of the year. If you have a website and don’t know if you are in trouble with this issue ask your host, or check your self. I recommend the Chrome addin called Wappalyzer which will show the source and version of websites CMS and server programs as you view websites. Read the linked site below to know the whole story…
Support for PHP 5.6 drops on December 31 – but a recent report found that almost 62 percent of websites are still using version 5.
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