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The Non-Technical Guide to Posting Text, Images and YouTubes

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Are you intimidated by the blank boxes that appear on screen when you click on Corrente's 'My Blog' link?

Does the mere sight of html make you want to curl up in the fetal position?

Are you low-tech and proud of it?

If you answered 'Yes!' to any of these questions, welcome to the club!! Anyone can join, even if you already know your way around the intertoobz. In fact, please do. Those of you who are snickering at a post on how to post may have some suggestions on how to improve what follows, and those are welcome, too.

Below you'll find plain old English instructions that will enable you to do “cool kid” things like: create a post, put an image in the post or comment, and even post a YouTube that not only appears when you click “Preview,” but doesn't spill across the sidebars! Just follow these simple steps:

How To Post
Start by going to the "My blog" link (up near the top left hand of the Corrente home page). Click the blue link that says "Post new blog entry." This opens a new screen, where you can type your headline in the top "Title" box.

Choose the appropriate selections for “Thread,” “Departments,” or “Food.” In some cases, such as Plantidotes, none of those categories apply, so don't worry about them.

In the "Tags" box, type in key words that help readers and search engines find the post. For example, if you're writing about Republicans, tags like corrupt, amoral, heinous, etc., would be appropriate. On the other hand, if your post is about Democrats, then you could use tags like corrupt, amoral, heinous and so on. Or maybe your piece is about pizza, in which case tags like pizza, tomato sauce, Italian food, and names of some ingredients would be helpful. Basically, tags are the cookie crumbs left behind to help readers find a post.

In the section titled "Body," type in the copy for your story. To see how it reads, hit the “preview” button. In "preview" mode, you'll see two versions of your post. The first is the truncated one that shows up on the front page at Corrente. Scroll down a bit and you'll see the whole story, and below that is the original "create new blog post" box. In preview mode, you can make adjustments in the box, move paragraphs around, check to make sure links are working, etc. When you're done, just hit preview again to see the new version.

Fun with Links
To add a link to your post, highlight the word(s) where you want the link to go. For example, if your link word of choice in the post is "here," highlight it with your cursor (click just in front of the 'h' and drag the cursor over all four letters, then stop). That'll make the word appear in blue (at least, on my computer it's in blue). Now look for the "Add Link" button. It's farthest left of the little doo-dads above the copy box window where you're typing, just below the word "Body." It's a tiny purplish circle with what looks like an infinity sign at the bottom. Click on it and a new window opens. You'll see that the word "here," which you just highlighted, is in the window's 'link text' box.

Go to the page you want to link to and copy the URL. Go back to your blog and paste that URL in the little box you just opened, where it says 'Link URL'. ?Ignore 'Link Title' and just hit "OK." Now the word "here" in your copy should include the html code for the series. Don't worry about the html; it will disappear when you post your piece. If you want to verify that, just hit the “preview” button, and you should see the word “here” showing up as a highlighted link, without the html.

When the post is finished, hit "Save," the same as you would do with a comment. Another new page appears, with a few sentences in green type. The first two say something about "filter cache" and “blahblahblah” -- don't worry about those, because the third one should say something like "blog entry has been created." And that's it – you're all done!!!

Post Repair
After posting, if you happen to see a typo, want to change something or have an update to report, just go back to your blog page, and click on "read more." You'll see an "edit" link right up at the top of the post, under the title. Click that and you'll get the original blog page where you can change whatever you'd like, preview and repost by hitting save again. There's also a "delete post" button, in case you hit "save" button twice, for example. Clicking the “delete post” button will delete only one of the two posts.

One suggestion: Sometimes it's easier to write a post in whatever word processing software you use, especially if it's a complex piece and you'll be doing some rearranging and editing. Then when it's done, simply copy and paste the piece into the “Body” window of your blog.

Adding an Image
To add an image, you'll need a free account at flickr, Photobucket or a similar service where you can upload images. Since I use flickr, these instructions are for that service, but the others are fairly similar.

To add an image to your post, put your cursor at the point in the copy where you'd like the image to appear and click. This tells the computer that that's where the image goes.

Typically, images are placed at the beginning of a post, so position the cursor before the first word in your story (or comment) and click there. If you want the image in the middle of the story or comment, find a good spot for it, place your cursor there and click.

Now look for the "add image" button on your My blog page. It's near the "add link" button mentioned above, the third one from the left. It looks like a sunset. Click on that and a new little window opens. You need to fill in only one of those boxes -- the one that says "Link URL."?

To do that, go to your flickr page where the image you are posting is stored and click on the image you want to use. Doing that opens a page with only that picture on it. Right above the image, you'll see a "share this" option.

If you click “share this,” a new small window opens with an option that says "Grab the HTML/BBCode." Click the HTML button and select "Medium" (500 x 461)in the size window, then copy the code that appears. Now paste that code in the "Link URL" window at your blog. You'll see the usual html gibberish, which is fine. Hit "preview message" and the new page should show your image and story as they'll appear on the front page. If not, delete the image HTML and try again.

You may need to experiment a bit with the copy/paste process. If even one element is missing from the copied HTML, it won't work. But don't panic – just delete what's there, re-copy and re-paste. If that doesn't work, you might want to ask yourself if you really need an image. After all, there's nothing wrong with an all-text post!

Posting YouTubes
Go to YT and choose the video you want to post. Beneath the photo image, you'll see options such as “Like,” “Add To,” “Share,” and “Embed.” Click on “Embed.” This opens a new window, with an html box, some color bars and size options.

First, click on the tiny box in front of “Choose iframe embed code” just below the html window. Skip the color bars and go to the sizing options. You want the width of the YT to be no more than 500. As you'll see, a width of 500 is not an automatic option, but it's easy to make your own. Just go to the “Custom” window and type 500 into the width box. YT will automatically resize the video height appropriately. (Thank you, Valley Girl, for explaining that and saving us all from having to do math!)

When you put your numbers in the Custom window, the html in the box above that changes. Just copy the new html, paste it in your post or comment, and hit “preview.” Oh, nooooes!!! The preview only shows html in the window!! But wait … that's because you're not done yet.

Just beneath the window where you type the copy, look for the highlighted words “Input format.” Click there and you'll see two paragraphs – one entitled “Filtered HTML” and the other “Full HTML.” If your YT is not showing up, the selection button for “Filtered HTML” is most likely on. Click on the “Full” button and hit “Preview” again. Voila! Hit “Save” and you have just posted a YouTube that is correctly sized and not an embarrassment. Unless, of course, you posted some sorry piece of folk music, in which case I can't help you.

So that's all there is to it. And if we're lucky, people who are better at this will come along and add details to make it even easier. You're welcome!

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Comments

Submitted by gob on

preview or save. That is, on a Windows machine, highlight all your text and hit Control-C; on a Mac hit Command-C.

Why? Because every once in a while something along the line from you to the Corrente database goes south at just the wrong moment. If that happens, you have to start over, but now you can just paste from the clipboard using Control (or Command) - V.

Good work, twig!

Submitted by gob on

It's part of the design of the Internet to just drop data without further ado when things fail too hard. A sensible choice that contains some life lessons I wish I'd learned younger.

So be your own error-correction mechanism no matter where you comment or blog.

Submitted by lambert on

I know some of the techie stuff can be intimidating, and I do tend to feel that others feel the same joy that I feel on either (a) figuring out something new, or (b) accepting something is broken and needs to be fixed, but OTOH my mother's position re:, say, toasters -- "It should just work" -- is also quite valid.

Bottom line is that Corrente is probably never going to be totally slick and easy to use (unless somebody who is both lurking and a Drupal person wants to step forward and do that).

But with a little documentation, it can be made a lot more easy to use.

NOTE Computers tend to make people feel stupid. Don't feel that way. That's always poor design on the computer (including my own) and the times when it's your fault, really, are vanishingly small.

NOTE I could, for example, add an editor that would be more like a word processor, that gave you a live preview of what you are posting. The problem is that such editors are big, complicated, slow, and demand a lot of support, because when they go wrong, they really go wrong. So, we have our simple little editor that puts in the angle brackets.

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Submitted by twig on

or difficult to use than other sites. They all take a little experimentation and a willingness to fail before figuring it out. Maybe those of us who are familiar with failure have actually an edge :-)!

Submitted by lambert on

And by two, I meant four.

1. Readers, please test and comment!

When entering a post or a comment, on the toolbar:

2. The ? button explains all the other buttons.

3. The eye icon previews, to avoid those awkward moments when the whole page goes italic.

4. The A/B button allows you to control the break between front page teaser and full page most. It will insert pointy brackets that look like:

<!--break--><a class="more" name="more"></a>

The "break" gibberish tells Drupal (the software that runs the site) to break the page between front page teaser and post page. The "more" gibberish adds the "fold here" text that you see, and creates a link from the front page to the post page, so when the user clicks on the "Read below the fold" link, they go to where the fold is on the post page, and don't have to scroll from the top.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

for you when you do use it, lib. Lucky for us, there are lots of people here who can help, but it's nice to be able to do this without tugging someone's sleeve to get advice!

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

I'm one of those intimidated folks who has only commented on the site up to now.

With your help and a little studying, maybe I can add an original post now and then. Thanks again.