Installing WebCalendar via Fantastico

Keeping your schedule manageable is probably only going to happen when you have some type of calendar for recording the various activities that consume your days. You might have a million things to do and different places to be on different days at different times, so how do you keep track of it all?

A great solution is found in WebCalendar, a free and open source software program that you can install on your computer or onto your Web site. WebCalendar has a ton of features and most importantly, if you need to work with a group, WebCalendar lets you share your calendar with others.

If you’re running CPanel, WebCalendar is installed easily via your web site’s CPanel interface. Sign in to CPanel and select Fantastico near the bottom of the screen.

Fantastico script installer.

Fantastico is a script installation facility and we’re going to use it to install WebCalendar in just a few clicks. Near the bottom of the screen under “Other Scripts” click on WebCalendar.

Installing WebCalendar.

Click on New Installation to bring up the first of three installation screens.

Specify the directory where you want to install WebCalendar and give yourself, as the administrator, an admin username and password. Under ‘Base configuration’ specify the admin name and email address and select your preferred language. Change “Run cron job every 15 minutes” to 30 minutes to reduce the server load.

WebCalendar Install.

When you’re ready, click on the Install WebCalendar button.

The next screen specifies the name of the MySQL database and MySQL user that will be created and used for WebCalendar. The installation domain and directory are verified onscreen and the access URL is noted. If all details are correct, just click on the Finish Installation button to make it so.

The last screen indicates the full URL for your installation of WebCalendar and shows the admin login details for administering the calendar. Make sure to enter your email address underneath “Email the details of this installation to:” and then click on Send E-mail.

Now you can take your browser to the access URL, sign in as the admin, and start entering your important dates and events. The WebCalendar User Manual may be very helpful in that regard.

Blog Posts by eMail with WordPress

It’s not that hard to get to the Internet to sign in to your WordPress blog in order to make a post. If your browser is set to remember your password, all you have to do is go to the wp-admin page for your site, click on ‘Write a New Post’ and you’re off and running.

At times you may find yourself wishing to be able to write an email and have it appear in your blog. Well, with WordPress 2.5 you can blog by email!

To specify your email address for blogging by email, click on the Settings Tab and then on the Writing sub-menu.

Blog by email feature is reached via the Writing Settings page.

About half-way down the page you’ll see the heading “Post via e-mail.” A word of caution here is important to mind so that your blog isn’t hit by spammers posting via a compromised email address. From WordPress:

To post to WordPress by e-mail you must set up a secret e-mail account with POP3 access. Any mail received at this address will be posted, so it’s a good idea to keep this address very secret.

Obviously, the key here is to keep your blogging email address a secret. Enter your POP3 mail server, a non-easily-guessed login name and password, and your chosen default mail category on the Writing Settings page. Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to keep the new settings.

Enter a secret POP3 email address username and password to blog by email.

Now, you can send an email or text message to yourself at your secret email address and the content of your message will appear as a blog post.

Settings for Writing to a WordPress Blog

On the Settings Tab click on Writing to get to the Writing Settings. Default settings for writing a post or page are specified here.

Settings in WordPress for writing a blog post.

Choose a larger or smaller Post box (which appears on the write post or write page screens where you enter your content), by altering the default value of 10 to the number of lines you wish.

Under ‘Formatting’ you’ll probably want to keep the defaults as is, but feel free to change them, of course. When the box for ‘Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display’ is checked, you’ll see smiley faces, like πŸ™‚ and πŸ˜› in your posts where you type the symbols for emoticons. If you’d rather not have the cute little faces in your posts, you don’t have to. Unless you already know what you’re doing, leave the box ‘WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically’ unchecked.

Default post and link categories are selected on the Writing Settings page. With a brand new blog you’ll have one category called ‘Uncategorized’, so you should learn how to make your own categories that fit into your blog’s theme. To help organize your thoughts each post to your blog should have a main topic, and maybe a few other related topics, which WordPress calls Categories.

To set up your WordPress blog categories choose Manage from the main menu, then select Categories from the sub-menu.

Add new, edit existing and manage categories for blog posts.

From the Manage Categories page you can add, delete or edit your blog’s categories. Click on ‘add new’ or scroll down to ‘Add Category’.

Add new categories to keep your WordPress blog posts organized.

Basically, fill in the blanks here. Specify a category name, but realize that category names usually appear on your blog as links so you’ll want to keep the name short, one word if possible. Enter a URL-friendly name for the category slug, where the category name has been cleaned up to contain only lowercase letters, numbers and hyphens.

The category parent may or may not be important to the structure of your blog. If you have a category that naturally contains other categories, specify the top-level category under ‘Category Parent’. For instance, if you’re blogging about things you like to eat, your parent category ‘Fruit’ may contain the child categories of strawberries and kiwi, and your Veggie parent category may contain peppers and squash.

Each category can be given a description, but not too many WordPress themes will show category descriptions, so this is not a high priority.

Don’t forget to click on ‘Add Category’ at the bottom of the Manage Categories page to actually add your new category.

Let’s say that you’ve gone ahead and entered several categories that you think will apply to your blog posts. Then you make several posts to your blog and find out that some of the categories don’t really apply. Trim down the number of categories from the Manage Categories page. Check off the box next to a category that you no longer need and click on “Delete” near the top of the Manage Categories page. Poof! The category no longer exists, but take note:

Deleting a category does not delete the posts in that category. Instead, posts that were only assigned to the deleted category are set to the default category.

Remember, the default category is selected on the Writing Settings page (that you reach from Writing within the Settings Tab).

The default category is selected on the Writing Settings page.

Don’t forget to click on “Save Changes’ on the bottom of the page after you’ve modified the default category or the changes won’t stick.

Perhaps you have several posts under a certain category name and need to edit the category name or description. Just click on the name of a category from the ‘Manage Categories’ page and you’ll find yourself at, you guessed it, the ‘Edit Category’ page for the category that you selected. Fill in new information and click on the ‘Edit Category’ button to keep the changes.

The default Link Category and assignment or editing of Link Categories is very similar to that for Categories. The default link category is called ‘Blogroll’, but you can assign other link categories. Manage your link categories by going to the Manage main menu and then the ‘Link Categories’ sub-menu to reach the ‘Manage Link Categories’ page.

From here you can add a link category by entering the appropriate info and clicking on ‘Add Category’. Edit a link category by clicking on a link category name. Then fill-in your info on the ‘Edit Category’ page making sure to hit the ‘Edit Category’ button to keep the changes.

The default Link Category is also specified on the Settings/Writing page.

General Settings for a WordPress Blog

Setting up a WordPress blog is not too hard, and once it’s set up you can change everything about it. Login to your Dashboard and click on ‘Settings’ near the top right. Sub-headings on the Settings page include General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Privacy, Permalinks and Miscellaneous.

General settings for a WordPress blog.

General Settings is the place to identify your blog’s title, subtitle or tagline, its address and your administration contact email address. Pretty straightforward, eh?

Tick the box “Anyone can register” if you want it to be so. If you don’t want just anyone to be able to leave comments on your blog, check off the box “Users must be registered and logged in to comment.”

If you’ve decided to allow people to subscribe to, write for, edit or administer your blog, select the default user role here. Progressively higher capabilities are given to roles beyond that of subscriber.

Finally, date and time formats are specified on the General Settings page. Select your local timezone as compared to UTC, chose the date and time formats, and pick the day that starts your week. Notice the link to documentation on date formatting if you’re not sure how to alter the date or time formats to suit your style. Get more date and time codes from the php manual.

General settings page holds default date and time formats and hours offset from UTC.

Don’t forget to click on ‘Save Changes’ to keep your new selections. Once you save your settings, the same page returns with a colorful banner that lets you know that the new settings were indeed saved.

Bright banner shows that settings were properly saved.

So, now you know to use the General Settings page to modify your blog’s title and subtitle, and to specify your admin contact email address, as well as manage your blog’s date and time features.