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Tips for the new WordPress Editor – Gutenberg

If you work with WordPress, by now you’ve probably heard there’s a new editor for making pages and posts. You may even have tried it. If you have not yet tried it, or took a look and did not know where to start, this post is for you.

The new editor is called Gutenberg, though the name is not used for WordPress.com. This is a quick introduction to the new editor, outlining some features and providing tips from my experiences. For details, refer to the links at the bottom of the page. (Skip to the links.)

The biggest change is the introduction of blocks. In the past, your post or page was one ‘block,’ into which you’d type your paragraphs and add your photos. If you wanted to mark some text as a heading or a quote, you’d highlight it and change the format to heading or quote.

Now your post or page consists of multiple blocks. Each paragraph is its own block. There are different types of block, and a paragraph of plain text goes in a block type called paragraph. If you add a photo, it goes into a block type called image. A heading goes into a block type called heading, a quote goes into a block type called quote, a list goes into a block type called list, and so on. If you start typing without selecting a block type, you’ll be in a paragraph block, but you can change it to a heading, quote, or other type such as list.

Screen capture of a block and menu.
The block menu for a paragraph, with More Options selected. The drop down at the far left lets you change the block type. Lorem ipsum text from https://lipsum.com/

For a simple page or post consisting of some text and a photo, blocks might seem extra work to do formatting, with minimal benefit. However, they become more useful if you are doing complex layouts. You can move blocks up and down, and duplicate them. You can also save blocks. For example, if you are an author, and add a paragraph about your books and purchase links at the bottom of every post, you can save that paragraph as a reusable block the first time you type it. When you write a new post, you simply add the reusable block at the bottom.

The use of blocks brings changes to editing options. The menu that used to appear at the top of the page now floats, and appears at the top of each block as you work on it. It’s smaller, as it only has options applicable to the block you are working on. It disappears if you are typing, but moving the cursor within the block will make it show again. There are more options on the right sidebar. Use the tabs there to select between options that apply to the block, such as font size or alternate text for an image, and options that apply to the entire page or post, such as category and tags.

If you work with HTML code, you now have two options for editing the code. You can edit a block as HTML, by selecting More Options (three dots) / Edit as HTML in the block menu. Or you can edit the entire page as HTML, by selecting Tools and More Options (three dots) / Code Editor in the upper right of the screen. If you want to add some HTML such as an anchor for a bookmark, you’ll need to add it in its own Custom HTML block.

If using the new editor is not working out for you, you can go back to the old editor, now called Classic Editor. For WordPress.com, select Tools and More Options (three dots) / Switch to Classic Editor in the upper right area of the screen. For WordPress.org (self-hosted), install the Classic Editor plugin.

The new editor has other changes besides blocks. Images can now be uploaded directly to the page, instead of to the media library. They still get saved to the library. Captioning images and adding alternate text is easier. The window for adding URLs, and setting them to open in a new tab, is cleaner. Now that I am getting used to formatting by block, I’m enjoying the new editor.

If you use WordPress.com, the details of these features and lots more information is here: https://en.support.wordpress.com/wordpress-editor/#adding-a-block

If you use WordPress on a site you host yourself, the information is here: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

Fear of Female Sexuality – Eighth Grade

8th Grade Movie PosterI saw the trailer for Eighth Grade a few months ago, in the company of some teens, including a girl a year younger than the character in this film. I asked her if she’d be interested in seeing the film, and her response was “no,” because, being made by adults, it would not be a realistic portrayal of teen life.

It’s a fair point. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, about the last year of high school, was made around my last year of high school. Almost nothing in the film resembles my experiences of high school. The best line in the film, at least for me, was a line that was not included in the theatrical print, and used as filler in the TV version (how I first saw it). Now the film appeals for its incidental nostalgic scenes of my youth – clothing, hair, jeans, and video games at the mall.

However, Fast Times includes an accidental pregnancy, and, like much of what is supposedly a comedy, the circumstances of the pregnancy are grim. The sex was lousy, and the boy is unable to come up with the money to help pay for the abortion, or even give the girl a ride to the clinic. It’s a cautionary tale, not over-emphasized, but effective, and the main reason why I think the film is great for teens to watch, even if not everything rings true to their experience.

Unfortunately, Fast Times was (and still is) a Restricted movie in the United States. Teens are not supposed to see it. This is part of a long history of teens not being admitted to cautionary films about them, including Kids (1995), Bully (2001), and Hounddog (2007).

Eighth Grade has received rave reviews, scoring 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and even conservative reviewers recommend that teens see the film. Adults seem to think it is realistic, but whether teens agree, I’m not sure. Regardless, it includes cautionary tales and models good decision making, and is probably a good film for teens to see. Yet the MPAA says no.

The distributor is taking advantage of the controversy over the R rating to promote the film (of course), recently offering free unrated screenings.

Part of the reason for the rating is sexuality. As humourously detailed in This Film is Not Yet Rated, realistic and sensitive portrayals of sexuality, especially female sexuality or teen sexuality, and especially both, have always been difficult for the MPAA (and other agencies). The other reason is language. Bad words are easy to track, and most classification agencies have some seemingly objective rules around them. For the MPAA, language alone can get a film an R rating.

My research has shown that the vast majority of films get a lower age rating in Canada than given by the MPAA, and that’s true for Eighth Grade. It’s 14A in most of the country, and in the Maritimes and Quebec there are no age restrictions. Only Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia felt a sexual content advisory was warranted. So in most of the country, people 14 and up can see it without restrictions. That’s better than in the United States, but wouldn’t it be better if every child could easily see a film that models a good way to react when someone pressures you to take off your shirt? It might not be part of everyone’s experience, but cautionary tales do no harm.

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Where are you? Location on Websites

tri-countyIf your website is promoting an online service (like this one), your location is not important. I’ll edit for anyone, anywhere. If your website is promoting a physical store, a service that requires in-person meeting, or a service in a specific area, your location is critical.

The internet is a very big place, so it’s not enough to use a term that locals know, like, say tri-county area. The name of your town is not enough either. Continue reading “Where are you? Location on Websites”

Outlook Calendar Sync Cheat

Outlook calendar screen imageIf you use an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCloud Calendar, it’s easy to access your calendar from multiple devices. Even if you use multiple calendars, as long as they are all online, they can talk to each other and share events.

It becomes challenging to share events when you use a calendar that is not online, such as the desktop version of Outlook. Continue reading “Outlook Calendar Sync Cheat”

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Egss in basket - public domain image
Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

The Manitoba NDP recently decided to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover with a greeting and stock photo on their social media accounts. Unfortunately, the image used was a parent and child preparing challah bread. This is a bread often eaten on Jewish holidays, but never on Passover. Continue reading “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket”

I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again…

Picture of old manual typewriterplease get a second reader. When I said it before, my concern was that you might go to all the work of writing and publishing a book, only to have poor sales and one star reviews. I’ve since discovered you can get five star reviews, even if those reviews include statements such as “there are a few typos and some discrepancies.” A book can have dozens of reviews, averaging four stars, despite “continuity problems,” the appearance of being “written in haste,” and “confusion with times, dates and names.” Continue reading “I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again…”