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30 Jan 2015

Auto-installing WordPress with Softaculous

I’m excited to say that my hosting now includes Softaculous Auto-Installer featuring 347 scripts and more added all the time!

I’ve recently been asked about the ability to install a subdirectory (for a team website) to their existing WordPress installation, so I’ve made a quick video on how to. I’ve since then figured out how to say ‘Softaculous’–it is a cross between ‘software’ and ‘spectaculous’ (who knew?).

Of course the video only covers the installation. Once installed, I recommend Wishlist Member to manage protecting the site so that only members can access it.

Also, if you want too look at some exceptional premium WordPress themes, check out the Creative Market.

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15 Mar 2014

What the fax?

Who even USES fax machines anymore?! Well, as I found out recently BANKS still do. But I don’t have a fax and don’t intend to get one. I mean, like I even NEED a fax machine twice a year. The history behind me and fax machines is that I have purchased four fax machines in my 20 years of being in home-office business and TWO of them broke in the commission of the first fax ever sent from them. I vowed never again to purchase one, and I’m sticking to it.

Recently, I ‘incorporated’ Webs By Amy (practice your curtsy when you see me next…). And I moved my IRA… and I need signatures… on paper… faxed. Period. No ‘scanned and email’ back–they could email it to me, but I had to fax or mail (what’s that?) back. Whatever. So began my search.

Anyone else remember when computers came with internal fax modems… and you plug a phone into it (dating myself?). Windows machines do come with Windows fax and scan software–but you need the hardware. I quickly looked at my options (READ: Google) and found a cool little dongle that very compactly plugged in to my machine via USB and it looked cool and satisfied what I needed, but really? Spend $50 for something I would use twice a year? Well, turns out, if you send faxes regularly… this appears to be the way to go. There were cheaper options for hardware, but read the reviews first…

Enter checking out faxing via a web service. I almost gave up with them all appearing to be ‘free’ but really only for 30 days. Not for me. Then I found an article about HelloFax and how they work with Google Docs to send/receive faxes by uploading a scan (or typing in a document, even helping with a digital signature…). The free plan comes with 5 free fax pages, and when you run out, it’s only 99 cents / fax for faxes up to 10 pages and 20 cents for every page after. Note, this is just for sending faxes. To receive faxes, you can pick one of the paid plans that start at $9.95 a month, but they give you your own dedicated fax number. I have found that most places that would fax you something, will also scan and email it to you. They just don’t accept scans back. So, if I had to receive faxes, I would buy the fax hardware dongle.

The next choice I found (that I will likely switch to) is FaxZero.com.  It was very hard finding this service… and you can send 5 free faxes a day (3 pages +cover max for each fax). All you need to is accept that an advertisement will be on the fax cover sheet. I can live with that. If the thought of an ad offends you, pay $1.99 for each fax (under 25 pages). They have a lot of accolades from Reuters, etc. on their website and it is a very simple process. No ‘receiving fax’ options appear on that.

Well, I thought to have you benefit from my new idea of posting for the ‘home office.’ I’m sure there are a lot of other options, but I am horrendously cheap and don’t have a lot of time on my hands. Just so you know, I am not associated with any of the hardware/companies/services in this article and do not receive any compensation for recommending them).

Amy Celona, WebsByAmy.com

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03 Mar 2014

The standing desk…

 

I subscribe to ‘Lifehacker’s’ Facebook page and saw a link to an article about standing desks and then the link to the health risks with sitting too much. This came pretty timely for me… I was at the end of a long day with an aching back from sitting (and as you can see, I have an ergonomic chair!).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a ‘standing desk!’  After a few days of my DIY desk (READ: 1 x 8 piece of wood and a box), I decided that I deserved a real standing desk, LOL! Okay, so when I wanted to sit, I ended up forgetting and tripping over the box! I need more junk in my office like I need a hole in my head!

So I invested in the VariDesk Pro (best price I saw was on Amazon). I got the pro because my ‘main’ computer (yes I have two, plus a laptop and tablet) is a 27 inch. Dell XPS All-In-One computer that is pretty heavy and I didn’t want to take any chances. It came in one piece (read IDIOT-PROOF assembly).

I surprised myself by really liking how easy it was to raise and lower. So, how much do you sit? Have you ever heard of this type of thing?

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23 Jun 2013

Backing Up Your Site via cPanel

If you are reading this post via email, click here to see the video online.


This short video shows how to use your cPanel (that is the hosting control panel) to backup your WordPress installation and database, etc. That is what the 'warning' before you do an autoupgrade is referring to, but my nightly backups preclude the need to for the most part, but if you are safety conscious, I wouldn't ever discourage doing this. And while a WordPress upgrade should not harm your site–and IS RARE, many times unsupported/un-updated plugins or even badly coded themes can break your site. At that time a roll back to your last backup is necessary.

While I do back up your site (those hosted by me),* you may wish to keep a snapshot of your installation on a monthly or weekly basis (as I only go back one week and one monthly snapshot) that you can keep on your computer if you ever want it. I encourage you to do a manual backup before doing anything major. I can roll back your site to the latest version, however if backups for the night before are still running, I will have to use the last complete backup (you may lose one day). You can make as many backups as you'd like, however all I ask is that you only keep the latest one on my server… download and delete the other versions (I show you how at the end of this video.

*Clarification of automated backups by WebsByAmy: a benefit of my hosting is daily backups (but they backup the day before, overwriting the day before that) as well as weekly (that overwrite the previous week) and monthly (overwriting the prior month's). However, you can make backups in a matter of minutes–and it includes all aspects of your hosting (your email, databases, etc.) in a manner that is easily (by me) restored.

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17 Aug 2011

Create a Watermark in Paint.net

I have created a short (okay, 15 minutes… so not that short) step-by-step video on how to make your own watermark in Paint.net and then place it on a photo.  If you are receiving this post via email feed, the video won't show up, you must go back to the article (click on article title).

I have created two previous videos on how to download free Paint.net and install it as well as how to edit a photograph and embed a watermark in it HERE.  The latter video assumes you already have a watermark and this one shows you how to create and save as a transparent .png.  Good luck!

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16 Aug 2011

Paint.net Tutorial

I have embraced Paint.net as my new 'free photo editor' of choice over Gimp. The videos below are for the purpose of giving you a free alternative for editing your photos for the fastest viewing quality for the web as well as shows you how to watermark your work.

I have found Paint easier to install and use immediately.  And recently I have found that there are plugins that will add functionality, such as one that allows editing of Photoshop .psd files and another one that allows Paint.net to use Photoshop brushes.

DOWNLOADING & INSTALLING PAINT.NET – you would think that this wouldn't be difficult, but I have found that the page that you usually are directed to when typing in www.getpaint.net, is full of other software that you can be easily tricked into downloading accidentally.  UPDATE:  CLICK HERE to download the .exe file, once you download it, you probably can update it.  If you want to download the latest version, this video will navigate you through downloading the zip file, unzipping and installing.

EDITING & WATERMARKING A PHOTO from your camera for viewing on the web.  This video does import and place a watermark that is a pre-existing .png file.  If you wish to see how to create your own watermark, CLICK HERE for a video tutorial.

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22 Jul 2011

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