How to Target a New Tab for an Image Link

Here’s a picture I want to link to another website and have it open in another tab or window:

The image above links to the website it’s from, but opens on the same page as this post, replacing this post.

I click on the image (in Edit) and choose the far left icon of a picture, and check that the link I want to target is there:

Then I click on “Advanced Setting at the top, and scroll to the bottom of the next screen

Click beside “Target, and now, your link will open in a new tab or window:

WordCamp Toronto 2009

Live Tweeting vs Live Blogging

WordCamp Toronto 2009 May 8, 2009
WordCamp Toronto 2009 May 8, 2009

At the Toronto WordCamp 2008, I live-blogged, and that was fun:


At WordCamp Toronto, 2009, I Tweeted using the hashtag #wct09, and that was fun, and more social for a couple of reasons.

  1. I was less focussed on getting every piece of wisdom and could relate more f2f with the people around me; and
  2. I could have conversations via Twitter with others at wct09 (if they were using the hashtag) pick up pieces of wisdom from their tweets, and talk f2f with them after meeting on Twitter.

So, for me, with the current social applications, Live Tweeting was a richer experience than Live Blogging, but both were fun.


I learned from the mix of new information in presentations and conversations around and between the sessions, and my most frequest conversationalists were –

I enjoyed great conversations on shared interests with them – who could ask for anything more?


  • James Walker – Your Blog is Your Social Network

There was much more of value there, and others will be blogging about WordCamp Toronto 2009, but this is my contribution for now.

at wct09 - picture from Flickr - Uploaded on May 10, 2009 by LexnGer
at wct09 - picture from Flickr - Uploaded on May 10, 2009 by LexnGer

Thanks to

Oh yeah, and I won:

My Winning EduBlog WordCamp Toronto 2009
My Winning EduBlog WordCamp Toronto 2009

An Autodidact is Social

Seems like a contradiction in terms, but autodidacts are social; we have to be. When I learn from the web, I access websites, support people, books, friends, and the wonderfully generous denizens of the web. I’ve spent much time over the last couple of weeks trying to get on top of creating the website I want, one that looks competent and meaningful. (I believe, as I repeatedly say, that we start reading before we decode a single word. We get an impression of the page or screen and our attitude hinders or helps us understand what is in front of us. So I want a site that appears knowledgeable.) To create the site I want I have,

  • searched for information on Google, using different queries;
  • complained on Twitter (and elicited help);
  • phoned a generous web-friend and accepted his help;
  • bought and read parts of books;
  • downloaded and read parts of pdfs;
  • talked to knowledgeable friends;
  • tried out all kinds of WSIWYG solutions, both offered by friends and found through Google;
  • finally circled around to deciding on either (decisions are hard for me ;-> ) KompoZer or both of which I’ve been learning piecemeal over a number of years;
  • settled in to create the site I want on my domain;
  • read up on FTP through Google and on my domain host’s Support pages;
  • sorted out, with phone help from my domain host’s Support, NetFirms, how to use FileZilla;
  • re-installed the use of WordPress, which I had deleted in a fit of frustration and pique, with the help of NetFirm’s phone Support;
  • choose a free wp template, Titan, (brother of the theme I’m using in this, my blog) and decided I would need their Support, and to pay for it because they have to make a living;
  • decided to follow Jestro on Twitter for information and quick requests for support;
  • Spent all day trying to follow a tutorial on how to access Titan’s CSS, gave up and added my problem to the Jestro Pro forum and went to supper. (I had done similar CSS work with help from Dave Ferguson on my blog so I knew it was possible.);
  • Got back from supper to find the answer already on the Jestro Support Forum (and an explanation that the tutorial could have been clearer);
  • made some changes I feel good about, but also discovered that my learning will be continuing! ;->

All of those were interactions with people or the communications created and left by people. Even autodidacts are, by necessity, social learners.

I will be accepting the help of other generous people, directly and indirectly, but there are two more important observations I want to make:

  • As a teacher, I understand why students get cranky and worse when they are frustrated because they are just not “getting” something they want to learn. It makes me (and I suspect them) feel unintelligent and inadequate, and I, (and I’m sure them) get upset with myself and anyone else I can blame. It must be even more so for those who learn differently than our schools teach. That is why I am revealing my own struggles; learning is only easy when you are, by your own nature, good at learning in certain areas. We ought to be compassionate for our own and others’ struggles to learn in the areas where we don’t have the natural velcro for.
  • It is hard to ask for help, even help you have paid for, but you must in order to keep on keeping on (as Gladys Knight advised)! I don’t know if it’s a societally developed fear of loss of face or an inherent fear of showing weakness, but I find it difficult to ask for help. I think others do too.

So that’s my current learning struggle, which I will continue on with, after I get some work that I’m good at 🙂 done.

A Little Learning is …

a dang’rous thing”, at least according to Alexander Pope. He declared that we should “Drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring.” I, however, think a little learning is a wondrous thing; it can addict you to drinking deep at the Pierian Spring, that is, at wanting to know more and how to do more.

This post is part of a carnival of blog posts hosted at Dave’s Whiteboard. To drink deep at this particular Pierian Spring, check out

Daves Whiteboard / Carnival
Dave's Whiteboard / Carnival

Little Learnings – a Bit at a Time, as Needed

I came to the digital world initially with fear and reluctance at a time when those who knew how the technology worked were seen as the digital specialists. People with a communication background who were enthralled by the communication possibilities offered by the digital world (as I came to be) were invisible to those looking for web expertise. When I was told that part of my writing course would include introducing my students to MSWord, back in the 1990s, I began to look around my college for help because I realized that I couldn’t ask my husband, as I did at home, to come into my classroom (a computer lab) and open and set up the program for me. Besides, he preferred Word Perfect.

So when my college offered half day courses in various computer aspects, I signed up. I took many of the courses, (Word I, II, & III, Web Browser I, II, III, & IV) many times. (My working memory has always been a bit wonky; I need a lot of repetition and/but I get bored easily. Bit of a problem sometimes;->)

I bought books on MSWord and tried to sort out what would be useful for my students. I couldn’t figure out how to figure out stuff in the books. What the @#$%, for example, was this thing that had “Normal” written in it? And why would anyone want to use a “View” called “Outline”? Meanwhile, in my writing classroom where I was ?teaching? students how to use Word for their essays, something interesting was happening. Some of my students were telling their friends, and sometimes even me, some things that could be done using Word. One taught me about Styles and Tables of Content. Wa-HOOOO! (Sometimes translated as “eureka”!)

2009 Version of MS Words Styles
2009 Version of MS Word's Styles

While I didn’t totally depend on the kindnesses of students, I was encouraging social learning in my classrooms, not just because it was a trendy pedagogical approach, but because it helped me where I worked! I was learning from my students that the trendy pedagogical approach of group work was highly effective for teaching writing and computer use, and that it was highly effective for my own learning. They learned how to use a word-processor to make their own writing easier to revise and edit; I learned various aspects of word-processing that I was responsible for teaching, and that I could also use in my own writing tasks.

I was shanghaied onto a PD committee to introduce other professors to the web and other things digital. I knew that I didn’t know enough to be on it, but I was crafty enough to know there would be people on it I could learn from. I attended religiously. There was a woman my age, (shall we say “mature”) who taught humanities subjects and was not a computer programmer or technician, but knew so much about the web’s technical aspects! She had her own website hosted on our college’s server. I was filled with admiration for the way she dressed, and for her knowledge and ability in the digital world. I decided (unconsciously) to take her as my role model. After all, she wasn’t young, male, or a computer programmer, so maybe I could learn more digital stuff and be more like her.

When I tried to learn more, for example HTML code, so I could have my very own website, (hosted on my college’s sever) I was frustrated. I heard about “WYSIWYG” software for creating websites and I was intrigued. A little learning (people can put up websites without learning HTML code because there’s software that lets you do it based on how it looks!) made me hungry to learn how to do this thing that was easier than learning HTML code. (Although I had memorized <b>bold</b> and its companion <i>italics</i>.)

I took weekend courses in this WYSIWYG software, where we followed detailed instructions so we all could produce identical web sites, presumably based on the learning theory that if we followed instructions once, we would know how to use the software. (Did I mention my wonky working memory?) I learned enough to go out searching for easier WYSIWYG software and found Netscapes’s Composer. I was thrilled and excited; I could figure out (with the help of a website put up by a female professor whose name is lost in the mists of my memory) how to put together a web site, and I did, individual link by individual link.

My First Website, made with Netscapes Composer
My First Website, made with Netscapes Composer

A little

  • employment-forced,
  • employment-aided, and
  • social

learning had moved me along, and also taught me how much more there was to learn, and started a dangerous ;-> addiction.

(A young writer I coach likes to say, in square brackets, at points in her novel draft, “much happens here”.)


So my awareness of

  • how much I am a social learner and
  • how manuals and books only work for me after I already know something and
  • how important the web is to human communication (more than the printing press, even!)

has led me to

  • blog and
  • join Facebook and
  • Twitter.

Through blogging and Bloglines I have encountered some people repeatedly, most of whom I’ve never met f2f, but I feel like I know them. Some of them have commented on some of my blog posts and/or “friended” me on Facebook and occasional messages between us – usually connected with education and the web – have made them feel like colleagues – and I need colleagues now that I teach only part-time, and yet still hunger for fellow learners in this rapidly changing communications world. Many of these colleagues I follow on Twitter, and recognize their icons.

Ah Twitter, that time-sink and/or valuable resource, that place for sharing treasures, over-sharing quotidian detritus, and just plain bitching complaining!

So I was again searching for the perfect WordPress template for my edublog (this one) and I found it, except that the body was in serif font! I can’t stand serif font, except on paper, and even there, not so much. I NEED Lucida Grande, or at least some kind of sans serif. (Good audience-aware web design, IMHO, requires sans serif on screens because it’s easier on our eyes.) I poked around and figured out that for U.S. $15.00, I could get an upgrade that would allow me to alter the CSS. (Did I mention how little I know about HTML? Even more about CSS.) I had poked around on Google and found out the definition of CSS and it sounded … interesting. So I used PayPal and got the upgrade. But I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. I tried. I searched and found out more. I even read the FAQs and tutorials. For a break, I opened my TweetDeck and  … complained.

I got a direct message from one of my web colleagues inviting a phone call, called, talked for a long time with both of us looking at both our blogs’ backends (really – not a rude thing at all;->). Eventually, after much help from the phone call  and another book (WordPress for Dummies) I got the sans serif font I wanted in the body of my blog – as you can see!

When I boasted in a later Tweet, I got the kind of feedback I most value –

Feedback on Using CSS to Change My Font
Feedback on Using CSS to Change My Font

Thanks so much Dave!

And when I later got a request for a post for Dave’s Carnival –

Daves Carnival
Dave's Carnival

I was delighted for this inspiration, this opportunity to look at the cascading impact of each bit of little learning, and the generosity of digital colleagues!

So, what’s my point? My point is that real tasks and social colleagues, whether coffee line-up or digitally based, move a little learning into into a deep enough draught at the Pierian Spring, so that we

behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!

The more we learn, the more we see there is yet more to learn, one small real task and consequent social encounter at a time.

Live Blogging WordCamp – Day2

on my feet
on my laptop
Our awesome M.C. - Matthieu
Our awesome M.C. - Matthieu

Keeping WordPress Secure – Mark Jaquith

Upgrades will be automatic, and that will help keep up with security issues.

Top 50 plugins – good security, but less popular ones might have security problems.

WP 2.6 – notifications on plugin upgrades

Themes usually not a security issue, but can be – no system to check yet – again more popular ones, more seen, therefore likely more secure

Databases & hashtags important, but password security essential – bad if –

  • you can pronounce it
  • you haven’t used the shift key
  • you use it somewhere else
  • you write it down
  • it includes personal info

Info for developers – lots of code …

WordPress becoming much more secure! Result of concentrated effort by WordPress developers being very careful about code.

Password solutions –

  • others available

Running Your Blog Like a Pro – David Peralty

  • Blog every day
  • research your topics
  • prove your passion or expertise
  • come up with unique angle – don’t copy or be generic
  • look at what inspires you – use that to inspire yourself – interview, break news, dissect
  • promote your content – network, social bookmarking & sharing, comment on other blogs, Twitter etc., aggregate updates
  • track & join the conversation – etc.
  • Getting more comments – questions, open endings, be controversial, respond to comments
  • make commenting easy, thank people for commenting
  • getting links – compelling content, link bait, guest posting, create services, try out other media (audio & video)
  • Link bait = long, detailed, easy-to-digest, funny, useful, hard-to-replicate
  • increasing revenue = try other ad services, test ad placements, direct ad sales
  • don’t be afraid of ads – look at your competition’s ads, court advertisers, don’t undersell yourself (perceived value important)
  • secondary efforts – book deals, job offers, speaking opportunities
  • make your blog dummy proof – every page has contact info, make it easy to advertise, offer to promote their content
  • Find what’s limiting you – links? ads? content? SEO? more contacts? guest posting on other blogs?

Question Answers

  • colour coding for different topics
  • “link bait” definition – primary purpose, get people to share – compelling content
  • ad systems – “adify” –
  • FeedBurner – useful – some copyright protections
  • David avoids plugins, 3rd party comment services

Mark McKay – Video Blogging

Mark McKay - Video Blogging
Mark McKay - Video Blogging

  • Great video on Canadian content on tv
  • a videoblog can be anything! – tutorials, news, community activism, personal etc.
  • videoblog can be like a tv show – Mark is on MTV live


  • think before you speak – comments will respond! – have the facts
  • duration – about 2 minutes or less – long enough to make your point – short enough for a quick watch
  • Fair Copyright for Canada – Kill Bill C61 > viral, Michael Geist’s site – great video – 61 seconds
  • 12Seconds –
  • the camera doesn’t really matter – file size important though (100 mb) – compress before uploading
  • software – iMovie, Avid (free version available on their website), Premier,
  • be careful of the lighting, lots of light or outside, look & sound are important
  • syndicate to iTunes, BlipTV, Yahoo Video,, mdialogue, tubemogul – highly recommended, includes stats
  • viral videos – enter contests and win – especially controversial stuff – post on popular websites with a link to video
  • YouTube has made video mainstream & has created tv stars, brought amateurs into prominence
  • Using video sites saves you bandwidth use and gives you access to their audience – YouTube especially
  • MTV clears his copyright stuff
  • green screen in his basement – painted wall or used a piece of fabric, good lighting needed, there’s a FinalCut Pro plugin that helps

Brendan Sera-Shriar – Making the Most of Plug-ins

Brendan Sera-Shriar
Brendan Sera-Shriar

Plug-ins extend WordPress

Beyond out-of-the-box plug-ins

Customization – look a important as functionality – enhance & simplify the blogging experience of advanced users.especially developers & designers

coding needed for customization – PHP and SQL experience required

coding is a language & is learnable

Tips on writing plug-ins

  • look at source codes, especially of plug-ins you like
  • research to make sure you’re not just repeating
  • use a plug-in template

Demonstration of coding a plug-in

Feeling overwhelmed with content

Entertainment Blogging: A Panel Discussion

Frank Yang, Tim Shore, Chris Budd, Jonathan Dekel

Entrtainment Bloggers
Entertainment Bloggers

Melissa, one of the great organizers
Melissa, one of the great organizers

And I’m out of here ;->

on my feet
on my feet

Tipping Towards Brevity

Felt Tip EP album coverImage via Wikipedia

My (New) Blogging Pattern

I used to try and blog once or twice a week – and felt badly if I failed to keep my blog current. My earliest blogs were long ruminations, almost essays, using academically correct formatting and referencing. I actually kept two, sometimes three blogs, trying to keep my professional, academic, and personal interests separate. At that time, I got many of my inspirations for what to write about from reading the blog posts I collected, using RSS, through Bloglines.

Too much! It turned a pleasure into a “should” and felt prison-like. Over a period of time I moved to one dominant blog, leaving behind a few orphans. I created a WordPress blog, because I could add niftly little widgets and make my blog both look attractive and work as a repository for much of my life on the web.

This setup was more comfortable, but when I got busy, I still neglected both my Bloglines and my blog.

I joined Facebook, because I read about it on blogs and in newspapers, and my daughter told me to;-> I found aspects of it interesting and handy, but wasn’t all that keen on some parts of it so I took (take) a conservative approach. However, through Facebook I discovered Twitter. And I’m hooked. I love eavesdropping on the partial conversations and I scavenge news and info through the links. If someone seems to be using Twitter without contributing, or is just boring, I stop following them. It’s easy, like sliding away from the bores at a large, noisy party. Then I followed the web metaphor, and I linked my Twitter stream onto my blog. And, copying something I’d seen on other blogs, added my saves to my blog.

The tipping point that I recognized this week was that, although I am continuing to semi-neglect my Bloglines and its inspirations, I now collect the stuff that intrigues and feeds me through Twitter. Then, using my online bookmarking tool, (and diigo, too) I share it. The items I save to now automatically create posts on my blog even when I don’t compose and write one up. I write less, but share as much, I think, but in a briefer, more discontinuous manner. I am, however, increasingly taking the (brief) time to annotate the links I save and share, to create more context.

Maybe my attention span has shortened, or maybe I’ve moved to the efficiencies (Twitter and automatic posting of saved items) that the web creates and encourages. Whatever the rationale I use, I have definitely tipped over into a new pattern of keeping up and sharing.

I think, (I’d appreciate feedback here) that my blog is still useful to others, at least to those who share some of my interests, because what I collect from Twitter (and from time-to-time from my Bloglines account) winds up on my blog through the posts.

It’s what I do now, and I enjoy this pattern.

The Infinite Web

I love the web, and all its communication possibilities. I believe the web is an constantly expanding platform that anyone (with access to an online computer) can work and play on. I title my blog WebTools For Learners because I believe the constant change on the web literally forces users to be learners, always finding new possibilities and variations. There’s text, hyperlinks, and aesthetically presented text. There are images, and web-based editing and sharing of images. There’s audio, and web-based creating, editing, and sharing of audio. There’s video, and webcams, and other infinite possibilities. That’s what I write about here – the infinite web!

But … even full time, I can’t keep up. Even those technically-expert people whom I watch on Twitter and on their blogs, can’t keep up. I was delighted and relieved to read someone (I think through Stephen Downes‘s OLDaily) who reported that he no longer worried about keeping up; he saw the web not as a reservoir, but as a river he could dip into and find what he needed when he needed it. (If anyone knows who used this metaphor, I’d appreciate knowing so I could credit him.)

I’ve been aware for a long time that I couldn’t learn EVERYTHING about the web, and even that it just wasn’t my lack. What I need, what we all need, is the skill to find what we need when we need it. Simple survival.

So that’s what I write about here, stuff that I need or think I might need, which is stuff (web applications and their uses) that you might need, too, and want to learn about.

When I first named my original blog, WebToolsForLearners, I was aiming to help educators find and experiment with various computer and web communication possibilities – as part of their teaching responsibilities. But I wanted to be more open than just writing for teachers. I have learned a lot from my students, especially about using the computer and the web. I wanted to write for anyone who was interested in this utterly new, amazing communication platform, the most significant communication development since the invention of the printing press, IMHO. So I used the generic term, “Learners” rather than the more limited possible title “WebToolsForTeachers”.

I’ve kept the title, with a couple of spaces added, for my new web space here – WebTools For Learners although my web address is different – I am grateful to have had a blog at, and especially grateful that I could move my past postings here to my new space. The web has many flexibilities, and that ability to transfer is very handy. You may be wondering why I bothered to move, and my reasons are straightforward, and a result of my ongoing learning on and from the web.

  1. Bloggers I respect, especially edubloggers, keep writing on, and about, WordPress blogs. They often had more technical understanding than me, so I paid respectful attention to what they said and did.
  2. I learned enough on Blogger to understand that I had enough web application knowhow to be able to work with WordPress.
  3. On its homepage, WordPress uses the words, “aesthetics”, “usability” and “free”. What’s not to like?

WordPress › Blog Tool and Weblog Platform via kwout

For those thinking about starting their own blog, there’s lots to learn. And we can celebrate the fact that there are lots of ways to learn using the web. Start with Blogger if you want one of the easiest platforms to learn on. But if you want a more sophisticated and beautiful platform, consider WordPress, now or later. Or, when you’re ready to establish a blog in the future, dip into the river then, and find out what people are recommending that sounds like it would suit you.