Thursday, September 23, 2010

Head First WordPress (Book Review)

Head First Word Press
by Jeff Siarto
O'Reilly Media, 2010
Paperback (334 pages): $ 34.99
PDF ebook: $ 14.99
Visit the Book's Web page

[Reviewer's Note: is a content management system that lets you create blogs and websites, by first loading the Wordpress software onto your web host. This is different from, which, like Google's Blogger, provides the hosting for you. is more complicated, but offers many more features.]

"You had me at hello," is a famous line from the film, Jerry Maguire. Jerry begins a speech about how he loves Dorothy; and after only the first few words, Dorothy tells him: "Shut up, just shut up. You had me at 'hello'."

It took only a few minutes to realize that Head First Word Press was my perfect WordPress companion. "Had me at page one," I might have said.

First, I was able to read the book without using a computer. Of course, you should use your computer when you read these kinds of books, to follow along with the exercises. But there are so many illustrations, and each concept is so well explained, that I was able to get a much-needed break from the screen and just kick back and read.

Here's the second way the book hooked me: the book's first topic is the most challenging topic faced by every WordPress beginner: setting up WordPress. I have never had the pleasure of WordPress's famous "5-minute install". Installing WordPress has taken me up to eight hours — that was the first time, when I had to download something called "Putty" in order to move the files around. The fastest I've ever installed it was an hour and a half, when I had some tech support. HeadFirst WordPress tells you what is really happening during this installation, and how to manage it quickly and expertly.

The book started strong and it just got better. With the typical "Head First" series clarity, the book covers practical topics that you've probably been too busy to study on your own. You'll learn how WordPress organizes your files. Select the right FTP program and image editor. Design your own WordPress theme. How to make more than a blog — make a website — by using WordPress to create web pages. How to manage a blog with many people involved in the roles of owners, editors, authors, and contributors. How to add videos. And how to promote your blog.

An excellent chapter about WordPress security offers advice about how to prevent hacking, choose and use secure passwords, create a system of automatic backups, and restore your backups whenever needed.

One caution: the book is not written for absolute beginners. If you can answer "Yes" to these two questions, then the book might be for you:

Are you familiar with the concepts of web hosting, file transfer (FTP) and have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS? Do you want to learn how to build not just a blog, but a full-fledged WordPress site?

If you're using, or thinking about using it, putting this book on your desktop will make you a competent and confident user. Your brain will thank you, because all the learning happens without anxiety or confusion: all the learning is always simple and straightforward, and often fun.

—Michael Pastore
Epublishers Weekly

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Sumo Wrestlers Get iPads Possibly With Sumi-eInk Screens

Sumo wrestlers need iPads, too!

Sumo wrestlers in Japan have a problem &mdash but I am not going to be the man to tell them.

When they try to send emails from a mobile phone or a personal computer, then can't do it very well thanks to their fat fingers, which push more than one key at a time.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) has purchased 51 iPads to distribute to their wrestlers, thinking that the larger keyboard on the iPads will solve the problem.

I am speculating that a new screen technology might be required: the sumi-eInk screen.

More information about this story is available at:

BBC News:

—Posted by Michael Pastore, EpublishersWeekly

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fun With the Peerless iPad: An Article and A Cartoon from Time

Time Magazine online has two interesting pieces about the iPad. This is Harry McCracken's article (from his blog Technologizer), titled:

Will the First Real iPad Rivals Please Show Up?,8599,2018883,00.html

For a lighter view of Apple's revolutionary device, Time also offers this this earlier cartoon video

The Apple iPad and You: An Odd Todd Cartoon,32068,64025998001_1957653,00.html

Which brings to mind the hilarious work of Ted Avery; it's a pity that Avery's cartoons are not freely available for everyone to enjoy.

—Michael Pastore is a novelist, and the author and/or editor of a number of non-fiction books including The Ithaca Manual of Style, The Zorba Anthology of Love Stories, and 50 Benefits of Ebooks: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution. A new (2010) edition of 50 Benefits of Ebooks will be released on September 8, 2010. He blogs at Epublishers Weekly:

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Shelf Required (edited by Sue Polanka) Book Review

Reviewed by Michael Pastore, author of 50 Benefits of Ebooks: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution.

No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries
Edited by Sue Polanka
ALA Publishing, September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8389-1054-2
Paperback, 200 pages, $ 65.00 (10% discount to ALA members)
Book's Web page:

Archimedes, the Greek DaVinci who enriched Greek culture with dozens of discoveries and inventions, is best known for sitting in his bathtub and shouting "Eureka!" when he instantly grasped how to determine if a king's crown was fake or made of solid gold. I had my "Eureka!" moment, just days ago, when I finished reading this new book edited by Sue Polanka. For two years I had been wondering how I could learn more about this topic, without reading hundreds of articles or getting an MLS. No Shelf Required is the best available source for the latest information about ebooks in libraries.

Why should librarians have a deep knowledge about the world of ebooks? ... An August 5 article in Newsweek magazine, titled "Farewell, Libraries?", hinted that because hardcover books are now selling less than ebooks, shelves of books would be disappearing, causing significant changes in our nation's libraries. The article does not report the other side of the transformation. Ebooks are great for libraries in many ways, including the most important one: how to get more patrons through the doors and using the library's resources. In the year between 2008 and 2009, the Vancouver Public library issued 60,000 new library cards; librarians there credited ebooks as the key factor in this significant surge.

No Shelf Required is indispensable for librarians and publishing professionals; a number of the chapters are also of interest to scholars and to general readers who want to better understand this changing electronic world. The book contains nine chapters, all written clearly, and each chapter covering an essential topic.
—James Galbraith gives us a history and overview of "E-books on the Internet" that is at once exquisitely well written and succinct.
—Jackie Collier and Susan Berg write about "Student Learning and Ebooks", answering questions such as "How can e-books be used to help students learn?".
—Shonda Brisco, in her chapter "E-books in the School Library", discusses how school librarians can overcome a number of practical challenges to bring ebooks to their schools.
—Amy Pawlowski, in "E-books in the Public Library", covers the nitty-gritty about the variegated vendors and producers, formats and delivery methods; and explains the keys to success in implementing an ebooks program.
—Lindsey Schell, in "The Academic Library E-book", explains the key issues and obstacles for academic librarians, such as vendors, licensing, funding, sharing, ADA compliance, and DRM.
—Carolyn Morris and Lisa Sibert, in the book's longest chapter "Acquiring Ebooks", provide a thorough description of the ebook acquisition process, which is far more complex than purchasing printed books.
—Alice Crosetto, in "The Use and Preservation of E-books", explains how to understand various data associated with ebooks, and discusses important preservation initiatives called LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), and Portico,
—Emilie Delquie and Sue Polanka, in "E-book Standards", tackle the immense problem of lack of standardization, expertly review the existing standards (in EPUB and XML) and discuss other issues such DRM, metadata, SERU, DOI, and more.
—Rolf Janke, in the concluding chapter "The Future of Academic Book Publishing: E-books and Beyond", offers a keen analysis about how academic publishers can make the difficult transition from print publishing to digital.

For its comprehensive coverage about a complicated topic — a theme that is so important it could help every library to survive and thrive — No Shelf Required should be required on every shelf. To keep up with the latest about ebooks in general, and ebooks for libraries, follow Sue Polanka's blog, also called "No Shelf Required", here:

—Michael Pastore is a novelist, and the author and/or editor of a number of non-fiction books including The Ithaca Manual of Style, The Zorba Anthology of Love Stories, and 50 Benefits of Ebooks: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution. A new (2010) edition of 50 Benefits of Ebooks will be released by Zorba Press on September 15, 2010.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Digital Content Consortium is Using My Content Without Crediting the Source

Bums! ... Rascals! ... Scoundrels!

A blog called "The Digital Content Consortium" has been posting some of the Net's finest essays, articles and reviews.

The problem is: All these fine pieces are written by me, and used without any reference to me or to the EPW blog.

The Internet was made for sharing. I am happy to share most of my content. About my writings that are not marked "Copyright" you may reprint them in your electronic publication, but you must link back to me or acknowledge the source. Then everybody is happy.

But don't pretend that you are the authors of the writing that you've posted.

Readers reading the Digital Content Consortium: come on over to Epublishers Weekly, and get the information from the original source.

Take a look and see if they have reprinted this blog post that reveals their nefarious ways:

Every time I post to Epublishers Weekly, the DCC takes all my content, and formats things to look as if they are the authors. Of their 15 most recent posts, 7 were written by me and appeared first here at Epublishers Weekly.

Of course, there is no contact information, so what is to be done? ...
I've added a tagline to the bottom of all my posts.
And I've left a comment on their blog:

Most esteemed gentlemen,
I write to inform you that your blog, the Digital Content Consortium, is using the content from my blog, without permission from the author.
In fact, from your 15 most recent posts, 7 of these have been written by me.
Fortune will smile upon you if you remove my content before the rising of the next moon.
Your friend most sincerely,
Michael Pastore
Epublishers Weekly

My comment is awaiting moderation. The comment will not be posted, and spam in great quantities will be sent to the email address that was required in order to post the comment.

Michael Pastore
Epublishers Weekly

—Michael Pastore is a novelist, and the author and/or editor of a number of non-fiction books including The Zorba Anthology of Love Stories, and 50 Benefits of Ebooks: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution. A new (2010) edition of 50 Benefits of Ebooks will be released by Zorba Press on September 8, 2010.

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