Blogging with Style

WordPress is the terrific piece of software that makes blogs like this one feasible without the water torture of dealing with the HTML markup language, XHTML, and CSS. That’s not to say that others haven’t dedicated enormous personal energy (and talent) to making this a great experience for writers and readers as well. If you decide to create your own blog, our web hosting HOW-TO article will tell you just about everything you need to know. Once you’re set up, run Fantastico from the cPanel admin panel and install WordPress. Configure WordPress using the simple user interface for the program and you’re all set. If you decide to offer your readers some alternative styles (other than the WordPress default which is not bad), you can thank Alex King and some very talented designers for making it incredibly easy. Install WP Style Switcher, and then just choose the styles you wish to offer, drag them to folders on your blog’s web site, and you’re done. Thanks to some jerks who have nothing better to do than try to turn blogs into the SPAM nightmare that email has become, you’ll also want to install WordPress Hashcash to eliminate the gambling and Viagra ads. The entire process can be completed in less than an hour.

For the blog reader, there’s more good news. You can navigate this WordPress blog in a format that suits your reading style. And, yes, we all are different about that. If you’re using a Mac or a PC, the simplest method for choosing a new style is to click on several in the Style section of the margin of this blog until you find one you like. WordPress generally remembers your choice with cookies so you don’t have to go through the drill each time you visit the site. If you’re using a cell phone (particularly one with the Blazer browser found on the Treo’s), it’s not quite as easy, but almost. As mentioned previously, the default style for this site (and many others) displays in Blazer with one character per screen line which can get tedious after the first couple words. Instead, you can start up the blog with a default style of your choosing with the following syntax: http://mundy.org/blog/index.php?wpstyle=mystyle where mystyle is your preferred site style. The style we recommend is Type, but you may want to experiment with some others. For Mac addicts, don’t miss Panther. It’s a knockoff knockout.

The correct syntax to load Type as your default style is http://mundy.org/blog/index.php?wpstyle=type without a trailing period. Our personal favorite and this site’s default is Rubric by Hadley Wickham of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, but it was a difficult choice. Chances are you’re looking at it. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Blogging with Style”

  1. Hank says:

    I see that your entries have trackback URIs but don’t see any trackbacks. What are you using to block trackback spam?
    [WM: Hashcash seems to do the trick. There’s a link to the download in my article.]

  2. Hank says:

    As far as I can tell from reading (as opposed to testing), Hashcash doesn’t do anything to block trackback spam. As I understand the trackback protocol the only way to block it (if it’s accepted at all) is by moderation or automated filtering on the source or content, by blacklist for example. Hashcash works by sticking a magic number in the comment form and checking it (by MD5 hash code generated in a Javascript function) when the form is submitted; adding an extra hurdle that comment spammers would have to jump in order to successfully litter a Hashcash protected site. There is no form required for sending a trackback ping, so Hashcash isn’t invoked. [WM: More great news. I guess I’ll just sit back and wait for the firestorm … and then turn it off. Thx.]

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