Category Archives: Wordpress

May News Letter

Like the spring weather here in Western New York, I’m getting a late start on the May news letter and monthly update. Things have been real busy around here, and I’ve started building a portfolio, and cleaning up some of my blogs and designs.

First things first, I’d love to explain the current theme of the blog. I haven’t gone soft, I’m simply trying to bust out of my comfort zone. Being a d00d many of my designs have a darker theme, and also a more manly feel to them. I thought for spring I would try to force myself out of my comfort zone and create something with a softer more feminine feel to it. Thus we have pinkish purple flowers, with a floral theme. I may have went a bit overboard but it’s my first attempt at this type of designing. I’m going to be changing it up in June with a more summery theme that I haven’t really decided on yet. However, for the next several months I am going to be focusing on getting out of the comfort zone.

I’ve been adding blogs to my portfolio. Currently, I’m maintaining 4 on Blogger, 2 using WordPress, and I’ve been playing around on Tumblr. I don’t really know what to think about Tumblr, but with Yahoo purchasing the company earlier this year I think it’s going to be an up and coming platform in the future. For that reason I’ve been giving it a little bit more attention than I believe it really deserves. Currently here’s what my blogging portfolio looks like. If your bored and any of these topics interest you check em out.

Blogger Blogspot Blogs

Maintained for clients :
Helene’s Mostly Jewelry – Jewelry Blog

Hobby blogs by me :
Notes On Using Linux
My Amateur Photo
Mi Palabra Del Dia

WordPress Blogs

The Bitcoin Blog – Whole Site Currently Under Development.
The Design Blog – This blog that your currently reading.

Tumblr Blogs

Because Tumblr is a really different type of blogging service, I’ve been using it to mirror some of my current blogs. I try to post different information but also link the post from my other blogs to it. This has proven very effective in traffic generation. I think Tumblr really falls somewhere between social networking, or maybe social blogging. It’s a very different platform then the other services available. For example, users really can’t comment, only share posts. I’m going to be doing some more posts about blogging this month. I’ll be sure to add more information on Tumblr. For now here are the blog mirrors.

New Aeon Design – Sort of a mirror to this blog.
Mi Palabra Del Dia – Mirror to my learn Spanish blog on Blogger.

Staying with the busting out of my comfort zone theme. I tried my hand at a retro redesign. This was a really fun project for a customers news letter. I learned a lot with the design, and on my next attempt I’ll be changing more than a couple things, but I had fun designing it and the customer was happy.
Fun Retro Redesign for Helene's Mostly Jewelry.
The concept is to take some old public domain ad stock and recreate the design. I found the above image, cleaned it up a bit, added some text with a basic font to maintain the old style theme. I went with a bold sans-serif and some classic script for the business name. In the future I’d like to maybe add an additional font and make the business name more pronounced. The customer however loved it and that’s really all that matters.

So, that’s what I’ve been working on over here at New Aeon Design. This month, expect some posts about blogging and blog design. I plan to change up a bunch of stuff on the Blogger blogs, and I’d also like to talk a little about WordPress. You can also look forward to some social networking posts, tips, tricks, and what I’ve discovered.

With that said, thanks for checking out my blog portfolio, thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone following members, rss, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook (Just started nobody following yet, you could be the first !), Pinterest, and G+. Feel free to comment and ttys ! SEE YA !

Add A Twitter Feed To Your Blog Or Website.

I wanted to make my blogs, and websites a little more interactive, and also give people another way to interact with and or contact me. I decided on creating a twitter widget to put in the sidebars of my blogs, and also add to the front page of the website. The process was surprisingly easy. Here’s what you do.

If you don’t have a twitter account you want to go to twitter.com and create an account. O.K. we’ve got our account set up, now go to https://twitter.com/settings/widgets . If you’re not logged into your account, twitter will ask for your username and password and then it should open to a page that has a box that say widgets with a radio button that says “Create New”. Click on create new, and the next page that opens will be the configuration page. Put your @twiiterUserName where it asks for it, and then configure it. If you want replies to show up in your time line then uncheck that box, click whether you want your photo’s to auto-expand or not, adjust your height, theme color, enter your link color hex code or stick with the default, and click create widget. Thats it your done, when the next page loads, cut and paste the code into your blog or website and you’ll have a cool twitter feed, posting all of your updates in real time.

I placed the twitter feed on my Tumblr blog in the sidebar. It’s a custom theme I created so, you’ll have to read the Tumblr documentation to install it in yours. For Tumblr I basically just created another side box and pasted the code into it.

On my website, I did some rewriting of my css to make it responsive to both browsers and phone screens, and using the @media code the widget will even be omitted from smaller displays so the page still displays properly in most devices.

On this wordpress blog, using the 2012 theme, I just clicked on appearance, widgets, dragged a text box over to my sidebar, and pasted the code in the text box. It really couldn’t of been any simpler with wordpress and this is one of the reasons I’m really glad I decided to give WordPress a try. Between the website, Tumblr, and this WordPress blog, WordPress was hands down the easiest to install the widget in !

If you want to get a bit crazy with this project and really customize the heck out of the timeline and make it your own, you can check out the developers page here.

This was a really, easy, fun project, and I think it’s a great way to add a little interactivity to your blog or website. Any questions, please feel free to comment, or tweet it from the side bar. Thanks for reading and good luck !

Getting With The Winter Season

I wanted to do this way before the Winter Solstice but I just didn’t have time. The holiday season always gets hectic around here, and I just didn’t have time to blog, or even notice that the blog still had an autumn motif. Well, better late than never ! The Design Blog is now decorated for the winter months.
snow_seamless_tut
The snowflake tile was created in Gimp 2.8 as was the header graphic. The image for the header graphic was taken at a local park. I should of spent a little more time post processing and getting the snow a bit whiter but I didn’t. If it was for a customer I probably would of spent a little more time on it.
winter-christmas-rss-icons9
The cute little snowman rss icon was found here.

Feel free to use the snowflake tile for any of your design needs. If you use it and like it, although it’s not necessary a link back would be appreciated. I love leaving web freebies for you guys, and hope the links and free graphics help in your design work. Thanks for checking out The Design Blog.

Basic WordPress Security

Found this in my Tumblr blog stream and thought it was funny.

Found this in my Tumblr blog stream and thought it was perfect for this post.

Here’s some basic measures you can take to help secure your wordpress blog. I’m not a security consultant, and I don’t pretend to play one on t.v. Some of this stuff is common sense and some of it is stuff I picked up doing a little research on this subject recently. This post certainly isn’t the end all and be all of WordPress security and really covers the very, very, basics. I do think it’s a good start though. Let’s get started.

When you created your WordPress blog, the first user is set to “Admin” by default during set up. You have an opportunity to change this during the set up process and hopefully you took advantage of that. This is one of the most basics of computer security yet so many people seem to ignore it. NEVER KEEP THE DEFAULT ADMIN USER NAME !

Now, whether you kept the default admin, or you created a user name, a good idea for the admin account is to make sure to use a nickname that will appear on the site when you’re replying to comments. In you’re dashboard click on users, then under the user name click on the edit link. In the field for nickname create a nickname for the admin account. Then below that select the “Display name publicly as” and make sure the new nickname you created is selected. So now when you reply to a comment or post, the nickname appears instead of the Username for the Admin account.

Another trick is to not use the Admin account for posting anything. Create another account, that you’ll only use for posting, with limited privileges. Do this by creating a new user, then click on users again and at the top of the list of users you should see a drop down menu that “reads change role to”. Simply check the new user you created and then  change that drop down to contributor, and only use the Admin account to make changes to the blogs design. If you go this route make sure to select a nickname for this “contributor account” as explained previously.

The reason for doing all this is to make sure someone with ill intent doesn’t get the login name of the Admin account. Once a hacker gets a login name, they have achieved half the battle. Now they just have to figure out the password. By using these techniques someone would now have to guess the Login name, and also the password in order to access the account. It’s almost like creating two passwords for your blog and having two lines of security or doubling your basic protection.

So, lets talk passwords. Passwords are a royal pain. We have so many passwords, and we always try to make them easy to remember, or use the same password for all our websites. Huge mistake ! If you do this and you’re compromised they now have access to your e-mail, maybe the website, your ftp server, and God knows what else. That’s a really bad habit and practice to fall into. Give your blog a unique password !

Let’s start with really bad passwords. Really bad password choices are names of wives, pets, street address, favorite foods, etc, etc,. By using a password like this, anyone who knows you and might want to gain access to your site will achieve that goal with just a couple of guesses. A friend of mine once asked me to check the security on a server he set up, I gained entry in under 5 minutes ! He was absolutely flabbergasted, and didn’t understand how I cracked his server so quickly. I looked at him and said next time don’t use your lovers name as a password ! He was embarrassed to say the least.

Really good passwords really shouldn’t be words at all. A random sequence of numbers and letters are best, mixed with capital and lower case letters. In all fairness though, that just sucks. Most people won’t do this, and it really is difficult to remember the password. You could use l337 letters using words and replacing letters with numbers like 1amG0d or something but even that isn’t very secure these days. Brute force crackers can and will figure these passwords out in a very short amount of time.

Here’s a few tricks for creating passwords that are hard to crack and easy to remember.

1) Make the password at least 8 characters long and use a series of UPPER CASE and lower case letters with a few numbers thrown in the mix.

2) Use a movie quote, or line from a favorite poem or song, or maybe a passage from your favorite spiritual book. Replace some of the letters with numbers, like zeros for o and 1’s for L’s.

3) Now, this is my favorite. Use the above technique, but instead of using the complete quote or phrase, simply take the first letter from each word in the phrase.

For example: the line below taken from Bowery Blues by Jean-Louis (Jack Kerouac)

“the night will be bright with the gold of old.”

This would break down to : 7NwbBwtg0o

You now have a 10 letter and digit password that is very secure and somewhat easy to remember. You can come up with your own system for how you place the letters, caps and numbers. Like every third letter is CAPS, or 7 for t’s, 0 for o, etc, etc,.

Finally, lets talk about that meta widget, with the link included for the login page right out in the open. That gots to go ! The first time I seen a WordPress blog, I couldn’t believe they placed the login link right on the main page of the blog. I’ve heard that removing it wasn’t even an option till recently. Well now you can remove it and I suggest you do. Why even tempt someone ! Out of site out of mind !

To do this, go to your dashboard, click on appearance and select widgets. On the right hand side of the page there will be a column titled Main Sidebar, simply take your mouse and drag the Meta widget to the Inactive Widgets box on the bottom of the page. Thats that for that. Now make sure to bookmark your login page so you can login to your blog.

On that note, it may not be a bad idea if you know and understand WordPress and PHP to change the url of the login page. As I get to know this blogging program better, that may be a future post down the road. This should probably only be attempted by webmasters with a good understanding of PHP and how the WordPress software works and is configured.

Anyway, this covered the very, very,very basics. I’m not a security expert, but I think this is a great start for someone concerned about the security of their WordPress blog. Thanks for reading and I hope I didn’t make this overly complicated or confusing. If you have any other suggestions, or I missed something obvious, please comment and share. Till next time , keep on blogging and  cheers!