Great Talk from Lorelle VanFossen

I have had reason to get right up to speed on WordPress of late. I took the opportunity to have a really good look around Weblog Tools Collection. Which is a great source of news and resources for those running their own WordPress install. But in the process I found a real gem.

I have been blogging on WordPress since April 2006. I started blogging and managing my content from scratch. I had little knowledge and had to teach myself most things. WordPress.com is a great place to do that as it is a controlled environment, the tweaking is limited. But I felt that it gave me enough to do what I wanted to do.

One of the disadvantages of this is that some of the cool stuff that you can do with JavaScript for example; you can’t do here. We have to wait for these features to be added over time. Other stuff you have to hack up and make it work. Such as the Skype button here on this blog. You end up being able to make a text box do just about anything.

But it would have been nice to have got some tips and tricks earlier. Which brings me to the gem that I found. If you have not heard of Lorelle and her blog Lorelle on WordPress, make it your business to. Prominent blogger and lover of all things WordPress. Plus she has her head screwed on. I have been reading her blog for ages. Lorelle attended and presented at WordCamp Dallas 2008. She offered to talk on

“whatever was left…”

It ended up being WordPress tips. I don’t care if you are new to WordPress or an old timer, there is something in her presentation for everyone. It is packed full of tips and tricks to get the best out of WordPress.com, or as she calls it “power blogging”. If you want some great ideas on handling your comments and back end generally you will find it here.

Thankfully someone thought to capture the talk on video and share it with the rest of us. Thanks Lorelle foLorelle on WordPressr all your tweaking of the untweakable and sharing it with the rest of us. It also reminded me that WordPress.com is an awesome platform. For the most part I am pleased that it looks after itself as it means I can just use it.

So here is the presentation, enjoy it and be sure to visit Lorelle’s blog and leave a comment. I know she makes every effort to respond and be active in her community.

Just as a side note when I checked out Lorelle’s blog while writing this post I noticed that she is going to be appearing on Jeff’s WordPress Weekly Podcast. Ironically Jeff is a listener of The Global Geek Podcast and an avid supporter of the show and friend of mine. The cool thing about Jeff’s show is that you too can be on it and talk to Lorelle yourself! So off with you and check out both those guys and make sure you say hello to Jeff for me. Check out The WordPress Weekly details while your at it.

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Never See Another Google Ad Again

I was just posting a comment on Scoble’s Blog about advertising and I mentioned that I don’t even see Google Adsense advertisements. That gave me an idea to share what I do. I don’t know if everyone knows this but what the heck you might be interested.

I use Firefox, the new shiny 2 actually. There is an extension, or I should say “add-ons”; as they have changed the name now (not sure why, anyone know?) called Adblock which I have installed. You can customise which advertisements you do not want to see by filtering elements at the source address, or just right click and select block. You can also view all the blockable elements on a page or white list a whole page. Plus a lot of other options and features.

So to block Google Adsense ads on any site you visit put this in your filter set under options:

http://googlesyndication.com*

The “*” is a wild card that blocks the domain regardless of sub domain addresses (I think I got that right!). That is all you have to do, no more Google Ads – woot! (although I do know of someone that likes Google ads, personal choice I guess)
There is one other alternative and it too is a Firefox Extension called Adblock Plus. I have never used it so I can not comment on how good it is but it does appear on the top Extension for Firefox so that speaks volumes.

You could also choose to install Adblock Filterset.G Updater  which blocks most ads on the Internet. Adblock Filterset.G Updater is a companion to both Adblock and Adblock Plus and should be used with either. This extension automatically downloads updates every four to seven days. This is a “nuke all” approach and may be what you are looking for.

You are probably wondering why I block certain ads and not others. Well the simple answer is that I block the ones that annoy me, Google Adsense ads annoy me, a lot. Especially the sites that go overboard and have half a page of them. The rest that don’t annoy me as much I leave as they are.

The reason I do this is that I feel that ads are sometimes a part of a sites experience and feel. Sure you can go the totally sterile approach if you wish, but if an ad is unobtrusive and doesn’t cause nasty things to happen then that is fine with me. Another good reason to block ads and banners is that they save you bandwidth and speed up your surfing experience. Especially if your connection is a bit on the slower side.  The other reason that I leave a lot is because of the podcast. It is sometimes good to know who has what ads on their site so you can spot those “cash for comment” posts or maybe a bias report or something like that. I also like knowing what is going on rather than leaving it up to a filter set, I am a control freak.

I know this post has been about Firefox’s ability to install great add-ons to the browser and that is because if you use Internet Explorer you are buggered and have to look at ads if you want to or not. Choice is great, do yourself a favour and choose Firefox.

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