I’m Busy Trying Out WordPress 3.2

I have now loaded my test website (one of my old PC’s) with the latest WordPress version 3.2. The user site appears to be the same, but the Admin (or Dashboard) area has changed significantly. So far, I prefer the old v3.1 Dashboard, but I guess I have little choice as updates are pushed out far too often and I have little say in how things look and feel.

Just prior to this my web host (which hosts this blog) was upgraded with a new server and newer versions of Apache, PHP and MySQL. Apache is the latest version, and I had to upgrade my test website to be compatible with the server host, but PHP and MySQL are much older versions than are now available. I know these are very stable versions but I guess my host cannot disrupt it’s customers with constant upgrades. However, the version of MySQL used by my host is now quite old and PHP has significant improvements in later versions.

Still, all is working and there is nothing that I can see that would cause any problems. The new host server exceeds the requirements of WordPress v3.2, so should I upgrade or wait for v3.2.1?

I think I’ll wait…

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I can’t think of anything to say

I realize I haven’t posted anything on my Blog for over a month, and this is the last day of June, so I need to post something, even if it’s just to keep my archives looking like I post at least once a month. But what can I write about? I’ve got writer’s block. Luckily I came across the following article, which I will used to replace my brain-dead brain.

What is writer’s block?

Well, I just can’t think of a single thing to say.

Sound familiar? We’ve all experienced this phenomenon when we absolutely have to write something, particularly on a deadline. I’m talking about. . . . .uh, I can’t think of what the word is . . . oh, yes, it’s on the tip of my tongue . . . it’s:

WRITER’S BLOCK!!!!

Writer’s block is the patron demon of the blank page. You may think you know EXACTLY what you’re going to write, but as soon as that evil white screen appears before you, your mind suddenly goes completely blank. I’m not talking about Zen meditation stare-at-the-wall-until-enlightenment-hits kind of blank. I’m talking about sweat trickling down the back of your neck, anguish and panic and suffering kind of blank. The tighter the deadline, the worse the anguish of writer’s block gets.

Having said that, let me say it again. “The tighter the deadline, the worse the anguish of writer’s block gets.” Now, can you figure out what might possibly be causing this horrible plunge into speechlessness?

The answer is obvious: FEAR! You are terrified of that blank page. You are terrified you have absolutely nothing of value to say. You are afraid of the fear of writer’s block itself!

It doesn’t necessarily matter if you’ve done a decade of research and all you have to do is string sentences you can repeat in your sleep together into coherent paragraphs. Writer’s block can strike anyone at any time. Based in fear, it raises our doubts about our own self-worth, but it’s sneaky. It’s writer’s block, after all, so it doesn’t just come and let you know that. No, it makes you feel like an idiot who just had your frontal lobes removed through your sinuses. If you dared to put forth words into the greater world, they would surely come out as gibberish!

Let’s try and be rational with this irrational demon. Let’s make a list of what might possibly be beneath this terrible and terrifying condition.

1. Perfectionism. You must absolutely produce a masterpiece of literature straight off in the first draft. Otherwise, you qualify as a complete failure.

2. Self-consciousness. How can you think, let alone write, when all you can manage to do is pry the fingers of writer’s block away from your throat enough so you can gasp in a few shallow breaths? You’re not focusing on what you’re trying to write, your focusing on those gnarly fingers around your windpipe.

3. Can’t get started. It’s always the first sentence that’s the hardest. As writers, we all know how important the first sentence is. It must be brilliant! It must be unique! It must hook your reader’s from the start! There’s no way we can get into writing the piece until we get past this impossible first sentence.

4. Shattered concentration. You’re cat is sick. Your electricity might be turned off any second. You have a crush on the local ExpressPost delivery lady. You have a dinner party planned for your in-laws. Need I say more? How can you possibly concentrate with all this mental clutter?

5. Procrastination. It’s your favorite hobby. It’s your soul mate. It’s the reason you’ve knitted 60 argyle sweaters or made 300 bookcases in your garage workshop. It’s the reason you never run out of Brie.

FACE IT! IT’S ONE OF THE REASONS YOU HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!

How to Overcome Writer’s Block.

I can hear you running away from this article as fast as you can. Absurd! you huff. Never in a million years, you fume. Writer’s block is absolutely, undeniably, scientifically proven to be impossible to overcome.

I guess it’s just not that easy to get over. So try to sit down for just a few minutes and listen. All you have to do is listen – you don’t have to actually write a single word.

Ah, there you are again. I am beginning to make you out now that the cloud of dust is settling.

I am here to tell you that WRITER’S BLOCK CAN BE OVERCOME.

Please, remain seated.

There are ways to trick this nasty demon. Pick one, pick several, and give them a try. Soon, before you even have a chance for your heartbeat to accelerate, guess what? You’re writing.

Here are some tried and true methods of overcoming writer’s block:

1. Be prepared. The only thing to fear is fear itself. I know, that’s a cliche, but as soon as you start writing, feel free to improve on it. If you spend some time mulling over your project before you actually sit down to write, you may be able to circumvent the worst of the crippling panic.

2. Forget perfectionism. No one ever writes a masterpiece in the first draft. Don’t put any expectations on your writing at all! In fact, tell yourself you’re going to write absolute garbage, and then give yourself permission to happily stink up your writing room.

3. Compose instead of editing. Never write your first draft with your monkey-mind sitting on your shoulder making snide editorial comments. Composing is a magical process. It surpasses the conscious mind by galaxies. It’s even incomprehensible to the conscious, editorial, monkey-mind. So prepare an ambush. Sit down at your computer or your desk. Take a deep breath and blow out all your thoughts. Let your finger hover over your keyboard or pick up your pen. And then pull a fake: appear to be about to begin to write, but instead, using your thumb and index finger of your dominant hand, flick that little annoying ugly monkey back into the barrel of laughs it came from. Then jump in quickly! Write, scribble, scream, howl, let everything loose, as long as you do it with a pen or your computer keyboard.

4. Forget the first sentence. You can sweat over that all-important one-liner when you’ve finished your piece. Skip it! Go for the middle or even the end. Start wherever you can. Chances are, when you read it over, the first line will be blinking its little neon lights right at you from the depths of your composition.

5. Concentration. This is a hard one. Life throws us so many curve balls. How about thinking about your writing time as a little vacation from all those annoying worries. Banish them! Create a space, perhaps even a physical one, where nothing exists except the single present moment. If one of those irritating worries gets by you, stomp on it like you would an ugly bug!

6. Stop procrastinating. Write an outline. Keep your research notes within sight. Use someone else’s writing to get going. Babble incoherently on paper or on the computer if you have to.

Just do it! Tack up anything that could possibly help you to get going: notes, outlines, pictures of your grandmother. Put the cookie you will be allowed to eat when you finish your first draft within sight – but out of reach. Then pick up the same type of writing that you need to write, and read it. Then read it again. Soon, trust me, the fear will slowly fade away. As soon as it does, grab your keyboard – and get writing!

Well, that was the article, and I’m still stuck for something to write, so I’ll just have to do with this because I can’t think of anything to say.

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Internet Marketing Is Not Easy

I have just spent the past week preparing a new eBook for sale on eBay and thought I was ready to go.  So I uploaded my listing, only to find that it didn’t display properly in Internet Explorer.  Everything looked fine in Firefox on my computer, so I thought it would be okay to upload my listing.  But after I uploaded it, everything was different:

  • Firefox displayed okay, but continued on after the listing with the background for a considerable time.
  • Internet Explorer left-shifted everything into the background, so that it couldn’t be read.

I have just spent the best part of Sunday afternoon and evening stuffing around with html and css code and have finally come up with something that I can live with.  I have also checked out my listing with the other major browsers, with the following results:

  • Internet Explorer 9 now displays my listing perfectly.
  • Google Chrome now displays my listing perfectly.
  • Firefox 4 displays my listing, but does not seem to know when to stop the background.
  • Opera displays the same as Firefox.
  • Safari displays the listing, but it has a limited “letterbox” view and needs to scroll to see the listing.

What a crock of .

Many Internet Marketers, who sell to prospective Internet Marketers, will tell you that you don’t need to know anything about html, css or anything else.  But I have found that you need a reasonable amount of knowledge in this area to at least keep your head above water.

Luckily, I have a background in Computer Programming and have studied HTML/CSS, which is just another computer language.  But many do not have any idea of what to do in this area and the differences between Internet Browsers seems to confuse the issue.

I’ll continue to concentrate on Internet Explorer and Firefox, as these are the most popular.  But things may change as more people use Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

Anyway, my eBay listing is up and running and you can access it here with any browser you choose, and let me know if you have any problems.

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The Meaning of Life

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognise that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

But then…

A student took the jar which the other students and the professor agreed was full, and proceeded to pour in a glass of beer. Of course the beer filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly full.

Which proves:

That no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a beer 

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Why Didn’t I Finish My Posts On Cricket?

Why didn’t I finish my posts on the Cricket Season just finished? 

I’m glad you asked.

I had tried to use my blog as a teaching aid for those who aspired for further promotion toward the elite level of Cricket Umpiring in Australia.  However, towards the end of the season I began to see traits from some of the Umpires that are not acceptable within the Umpiring ranks. What were those traits?

1.  Ego.  Some Umpires have a high opinion of themselves (and don’t we all?).  But some expressed an ego so large that it was out of proportion to what they have achieved.  One in particular has an ego that far exceeds the game of Cricket itself, and this has been a great disappointment to me personally.

2.  Some Umpires have been complaining that they never get feedback on their performances.  Well, this season we have had one of our retired Umpires watch other Umpires during matches.  When he has provided feedback, he has been vilified and those same Umpires have vehemently denied doing what has been observed from the sidelines.  Is there any wonder why our mentor will not be doing it next season?

3.  The subtle undermining of other Umpires by some who like to relate stories of their partner’s perceived mistakes, and in some cases, stories that simple were not true.  They never seem to have a good word for their fellow Umpires but praise themselves relentlessly.

4.  The lack of commitment from a number of Umpires has let the team down.  I know it is difficult to commit to every Saturday and some Sundays for 6 months, but many do.  A minority of Umpires think that they can pick and choose what games they will officiate.  This causes a great deal of running around and numerous telephone calls to fill vacancies at the last minute.

In all honesty, there are some Umpires who have officiated in every match that was available and I truly appreciate their commitment.  There are also some who had every right not to make themselves available but nevertheless did so.  To these Umpires I extend my deepest gratitude.  These are the people who will provide the next generation of dedicated Cricket Umpires.

Now, back to the original topic:  Why didn’t I finish my posts on Cricket?  Well I guess I felt let down by some but I was totally mortified by the behavior of a minority who chose to take a belligerent attitude and refuse to accept any feedback that they didn’t want to hear.  These same people claim they are setting the path for the future.  Heaven help us if this means claiming other people’s ideas and leading the majority down the wrong path.

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