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Mainstream Blogging

April 6, 2009
By Dave Hecei, dhecei@post-journal.com
The Internet has changed the way we use our computers. The Internet is where we learn, shop, get our news, and entertainment. While some of this content comes from major sources — like CNN, ABC, Amazon, Wikipedia — much of the content comes from computer users like yourself. If you have a passion for writing, fishing, golfing, knitting, photography, or any hobby, why not share your interest with others? There are plenty of ways to put your own content on the Internet for others to see and use. A Blog is one of the easiest types of Web sites to create. Now when someone says ‘blog’ it might bring up a picture in your mind of someone’s personal journal. While a Blog can be this, it essentially is just a Web site and can contain anything you want. What has made Blogging very popular is new software that makes it easy to create your own Web site. No longer do you need to know HTML (hyper text markup language), you just need to create content. One of the easiest, and free, ways to create a Blog is to create an account at Wordpress (www.wordpress.com). Wordpress is a Web service but it is also a software engine. Wordpress, the software, is a Content Management System (CMS). This is just a fancy way of saying that it creates a Web site for you based on your content. Before CMS you had to either learn HTML or use an expensive Web site design tool (Dreamweaver, GoLive) to create each individual Web page. If you wanted to update a page you had to redo the whole page. With a Wordpress Blog, you log into your account and enter a management page. Here you can create new posts or even add new pages. You just type in the text for your post using similar tools as you would with a word processor. After the text has been entered you just hit the update button. Photos, audio, video, etc. can be added in much the same way. With a CMS like Wordpress you don’t have to worry about ‘code’ anymore, just content. To allow more flexibility in layout, and yes design, there are plenty of ‘themes’ available to choose from. Wordpress even has plenty of plug-ins or widgets you can add for even more functionality (calendars, search, Flickr, etc.). Because of the popularity of Wordpress, there are plenty of people out there that do nothing but create other Wordpress Themes. There are quite a few that you can preview on the Wordpress site. If you find one you like, just hit a link and your site is transformed, without having to re-enter any of your content. When you create an account at Wordpress, you create a user name, which is then used as your Web site’s address. As an example, if you create a user name of ‘supermacinfo’, then your Web site becomes ‘supermacinfo.wordpress.com’. It is now your Web site for you to do with what you please, well at least as long as you follow the user agreement guidelines. Another place to create your own Web site is on Apple’s own Web service called MobileMe. This service, which used to be called .Mac (Dot Mac), is more than just web space. MobileMe gives a Mac user a .mac or .me e-mail address, online access to your email-ical calendar-address book, plus it allows you to synchronize your personal information on multiple Macs and your iPhone/iPod Touch. All this, and more, is available for $99 a year (Amazon sells it for under $70). As part of the MobileMe package you get 20 gigabytes of storage. This can be used for backup, your emails, or your own Web site. The best way to access this Web space is by using iWeb, one of the pieces of the iLife suite. iWeb is Apple’s Web site creation tool and is included with all new Macs. If you don’t have iWeb, or you have an older version of iLife, then it’s time to update to the new iLife 09. Included in iWeb are many professionally designed templates that you can use to design your own Web site. Each template has several secondary pages. When you create an iWeb site you will likely have a ‘welcome’ page, and then other pages like about, blog, links, gallery, even podcast. With a program like iWeb, you create a Web site on your Mac, which you then upload to a Web server. If you have a MobileMe account, you can publish to your account with a single click. Only the data that has changed is uploaded, saving time on the Net. If you don’t want to use your MobileMe account, you can export your site and upload it to your own server, or to the web space you probably have with your Internet Service Provider, using an FTP program. These are just a few ways to get started on the Internet. If you like to write, take photographs, have a band, cook, or just about any other hobby you can think of, then having a Blog allows you to share your passion with others. This is what makes the Internet so powerful, the sharing of ideas and information. Check out my Mac Blog on The Post-Journal Web site.www.post-journal.com/page/blogs.list . My latest post is here http://tiny.cc/rMbXv. From there you can hit a link to see all my past Mac Blog posts.

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