Episode 64: Customise Your Microblog with Miraz Jordan, aka @Miraz
Micro Monday

Full episode transcript -


Hey, it's micro Monday again the weekly micro cast where we get to know members of the microdot block community. I'm Jean MacDonald, the community manager at Microdot Blawg. And on this show, I am pleased to welcome back. Whereas Jordan, who has at Marie as on micro top log Now I say, welcome back because whereas was one of our guests, uh, in 2018 and ah, she I know a lot about her already. And if you've listened to that episode, it's Episode 35 from November 2018 you would know that more, as is based on the New Zealand coast north of Wellington. She has cute dogs. Um,

she has quail if you're following or now that we didn't get to talk about the quail last November. But we did talk about how she had for many years produced tech oriented blog's, and now she's settling in and micro dot block to just post the quote bits and bobs that interest her. Um, however, she has gotten interested again in producing something that is tech oriented. A new blogged um, which is titled How to customize your micro dot blogged and ah, she's sharing a ton of tips and tutorials on how to do stuff with your blood. The toasted on microdot blawg. Uh, and I'm gonna let her to explain how she got interested in it and and talk about what she's doing. But you really must go check this out. If you don't listen to another thing on this podcast episode, go to custom that micro dot blawg and check out everything she's posted already. Some are as welcome back. And how are you doing,


Kiara Jean? Thank you. I'm doing extremely well. Thank you. I've been so excited by this project. You


did say on the last episode you were on that You still like sharing tech tips. And in fact, you had just shared the CSS, the custom cascading style sheet that you had used to form at the photos on your pa. So apparently that snowballed. And I would have to rewrite your bio here because it's not after many years of producing tech oriented plugs because you're still you're still in the business, apparently. Well, before we talk about the blood liketo tell the listeners a little bit about your background in, um,


the tech world. Well, I actually started out as a secondary school teacher, which means I was teaching adolescence and German was actually my subject, German and English. And at that time the school got a computer lead that got a lead full of BBC computers, and the moment I saw him, I was just rivet it, and I made it my business to find out about them. I even actually wrote a piece of software which was for my German students to learn German. It was a terrible we're halfway. But I saw I sold a copy to somebody that was on dumb and we use them. What something I found really interesting was when the kids in the computer lab would challenge me because I saw a mistaken something I put in the program and they'd say, No, you're wrong. It sees this on the computer cry. I put it in there,

right? Yeah, and I got out of school teaching after 10 years in the mid eighties, also and and then got involved in an adult literacy organization, and they got a I was Everybody loves the Commodore 64. I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who despises thumb because that's what I had to use. But then our organization got a Mac. Anything that was the end of that for May. I just got totally engaged in it and and loved it. And after a while I got a bit tired of my job, and I lived for the moments when my co workers would say, How do I do this thing on the computer? Yeah, Ana told like this, but I actually left that job and set up my own business where I helped people, their necks and the Internet because there was a I know the Internet's been around for a long time,

but the general public crony discovering it in the nineties. And so while I was on the Mech, I was I was the Mac help disk for the for one of the Internet providers people would well on. I talked them through the process of putting the settings and restarting their computer. However many times toe for the software to take hold as it weren't through the Internet through the mode on land. But I item in things, um, and I taught classes that oh, you're not spectacle at night school anymore. But night school basically and individual clients and so on. And I was teaching people how to use the Macintosh From the beginning, they've never touched a computer before. Tea room. How to use the Internet. What? The Internet?

Waas. I don't are saying this. This thing called email. Oh, really? So I've had a lot of experience of teaching people teaching people who truly were beginners because they've never touched a computer before. People who felt they were beginners because they lacked confidence. I did. One editor. I did several fantastic courses at the night school, the Community Education Center in Wellington. I did one called computer confidence for women Lace. I did a similar course are basically the same course, but for, uh, speakers of other languages,

new migrants. Uh, one class was full of brushing women on. I loved it. I


loved it well. And then, um, I know that you we're co author on, um visual quick start guide to WordPress.


Right? This back in 2006 I followed Maria Lange's block and she was a WordPress. And I've been learning about would press myself just for the same reason that I wanted to change things behind the scenes. Find out how it works. On Monday, on her block, she said, Oh, I don't know how to do something or other. I can't remember what, and I left a comment. Mince it all. You do it like this and she was very established. When a step ashore fish and I don't know how many books she's written, it's well up in minutes, days or seventies or something. And she suggested we collaborate on a wood press book. So we did


yes. So, uh, I mean, I know it's more than a hop skip and a jump to microdot block, but I think that that's interesting. You know that you have this, uh, this history with WordPress back in the day and, um, answering people's questions about howto do wordpress. Uh,


yes, that was a couple of courses through the folks that they Oh, I don't even remember what it's called. The kind of the community education part of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, in but me over for a a weekend to run some courses there, which was pretty well, yeah, I think that was about No, I don't remember when it was much being 2000 and eight. Yeah.


Who? And, um, Yes. Oh, so you have this big, you know, background in, uh, about teaching and teaching beginners and helping people with the very basics of the Internet and


beginners on my special group. Really? I I find I really enjoy working with with that group of people. There are so many experienced people who teach stuff, but they target it to people more advanced than the total beginners. Man, I love that group because I don't know anything. And, um, you could make so much difference by teaching them those things that other people assume they already know.


Yeah, I definitely have some of that experience myself teaching, you know, the internet for beginners back at our local apple, Um, third party, apple store before there were Apple stores. And it was so cool when I I think the thing that, um and they were mostly senior citizens, let's put it that way, which is a while back. And now I'm I'm starting to edge into that particular demographic myself. But they, um and I felt like my ace in the hole was when I showed them how to use, um Well, uh, it was called go for.

It was a way of black porting into another, uh, diversities computer or whatever. How they could go into our library system from the Internet and put holds on books hot? Yep. At magic. I mean, they're so the interface now, it's so, so, so sophisticated compared to how it used to be, you know, with something like that, which was very command line, kind of driven. And yet if you showed somebody what itwas and how it worked,

you know, like I said, this we're not, um, geeks. If you could get to that beginner's mind and explain what was happening, it was really great, um, experience for both of us, you know, toe for all of us. Because I sure enjoyed, uh I like to think that there's probably some people who still remember that moment.


There will be a They will wait. I occasionally bump into people that I worked with 20 years ago on the street, and I heard the memory for names and faces on their own memories, you know? And I go blank even though I'm trying to be polite and look interest. Say yes. You taught me you know how to use my,


uh, yeah, Maybe they don't want to thank you anymore for that, huh? Um So tell me like how you got, Um because as I said at the beginning, you you were posting some tips Are at least the ones tip on how to do the style for formatting The photos on your, you know, on your regular micro. Yes, log. Uh, site. What? How did you end up? Like I had changing lanes and deciding to create a whole site of tutorials.


Well, I guess I went to look into it a bit more and rummaged around with some of the other things. And the dates bothered May date for mets are different in different countries. And I just didn't like the format that was on my block. I wanted to change that and that involved, actually going deep into the theme files. And I looked at those theme files and thought, this is nothing like wordpress. And so I went off in search of things that I found this wonderful set of video tutorials. It's more than two hours all up, um, which is superbly put together. Each is about five minutes long. they're not huge individually. It's just that there are a lot of, um and there's so well put together. And they really explained how Hugo,

which is I'd also never heard off. But the system behind microbloggers how it actually microdot block how it actually works And hell, things are put together and and so on on dhe. So I worked through them, and then I was fiddling with things, and then I thought I did not break my real block too much. Um, eso I set up a whole separate secret block that I asked you not to tell people about Discover because it wasn't a really block. It was just a testing ground to try Latin, break thumb and put random stuff up there just so I could try things. Um, yeah. So I set up this other block and started really messing around with it and found that it's actually extremely simple to change the date.


That's exciting. I think they're probably set correctly for me, my fault. But I I want to check it out anyway. So Well, that's cool. So, you know as, uh, you know the cliche about programmers in general tech, you know, engineering projects. A scratching your own itch situation got you started. Sounds like


Yes, Exactly. And finding it interesting as well. And seeing this Hugo stuff and thinking, I'd like to know more about that. Especially if it's what's behind the blogger. I'm actually running.


Yeah, that I'm excited to check that out because, you know, Hugo's pretty much nothing I never heard of either. Um, when Manton decided he was going to, you know, uh, read, do the the underpinnings of microdot block and use fuego. Um, and I was excited only because, you know, other people were excited, but personally was like, it didn't really mean anything to me. And honestly,

I still haven't had time to dig into that level of, uh uh stuff. So I'm totally gonna watch these videos, and and there's a link on your, uh, on custom dot microdot glug on the resource is Paige and I will also put that a link into the show notes for this


episode. And you can actually download Hugo to your own computer. I did that and run it for yourself on your own computer. A swell so you can really rummage around with things, but I found they were some slight differences, and I can't tell you what they are because I haven't analyzed them. But between the the, uh, Hugo fires themselves and what mental is using behind my credit block, you need to ask him what those differences up. I think he's He's customised a few things to make it right for micro dot block, which is,


um, now, for listeners who think we've just jumped into the total deep end of the pool we have on, I'm going to suggest we swim back to the shallow and, ah, maybe, you know, get our feet wet If somebody came to your to your sights, Um, you know who you're going back to? The idea of helping people who who are starting out as beginners. Where would you, you know, suggest that they start, you know, among the tutorials you've posted?


Well, the place to go is to the archive Go there first because on the archive, the thing at the top of the page, actually at the very top of the page, there's a category called lynx. But you can ignore that and go to the section I've currently titled. No category, Okay, And on the 30th of May, I put up a tutorial about the address for your block. And so, um, that's a tutorial way. You don't need any particular expertise beyond being able to log in to your block, and it shows you where to government and what to Chris to save the change. And so on on. And then I tried to work through things in a fairly,

a fairly structured way so that the next three or four or five tutorials are actually pretty straightforward and mainly don't require any particular expertise. Andi, I've tried to put right at the start of each tutorial and indication butts level, so the 2nd 1 does actually require a little bit of expertise, but not micro dot block expertise. You have to know a little bit about, um, you're to my name, but the domain name hosts the people. You get the domain name from their help discs should be able to help you, um, and other people will help you if if it's not actually very, terribly hard, if you can follow some instructions, but it can be a bit confusing and bewildering for somebody who's not familiar with it. so that one mullet yeah,

flummoxed people a little, but changing the title of your sight, for example. Again, anybody can do that. A CZ you work down through the archive from oldest in your newest. I get into things that can be a little bit harder. And I've actually gone off onto a sort of attention off that you would need to use a text editor, not Microsoft Word for some things. That road that it's really if you're going to customize your block. People who say I don't like the color of my headings You can change the cover of the Hitchings and people do that on Slack and other people sail. You go here and you do this, and it's not hard. But it does require understanding a little bit about HTML, which is the coding behind every word page on the planet because that's really pages rip out there about HTML. So I've got a tutorial in there that says,

What is HTML and how does it work? And reaching Miller's actually, in terms of what's behind being a blogger in terms of what's behind your block? HTML so simple and anybody can do it. No last year with designer H E mail can be more complicated, but bloggers don't have complicated html neyts. And so you need to understand the HTML because to change the color of a heading, you need tomorrow a little bit about style sheets and starship only work in conjunction with hte e mail.


Great. Um, but yeah, I like how you, you know, sort of made it into small bite size. Exactly, um, chunks. And, you know, again, this was one of my ah strategies when I was a web design instructor is Ah. And basically people signed up to take a class in Dreamweaver, for example. Uh, there even know that existed?

Uh, it's a funny, but anyway, doesn't matter. The point is like, it was a big program to generate web pages. That was supposed to be what they called wheezy wig. You know, you have that word that much anymore, because everything is like, physically nothing is actually shows you the code anymore. But what you see is what you get. Um, and so you, in theory, could create a web page without knowing the HTML,

which it really doesn't work. You know it And then I know from personal experience when I first started out, but and in the class I taught, you know, the first week we just learned the basic tags like you show here on your, um ah, on your tutorial and showed people how to and I'm had them typed them in race that in a text editor, in fact, in text, edit on the Mac just and then save them and then run them. You know, open that file up in a browser and the excitement when people realize that that little bit of you know it's not code. You know, this not programming. It's really like what it's called Mark up for a reason that you're like tagging words. You know,

you're tagging the content to be different parts of the Web page. Yes, people that that mark up that they add, it turned into what looks like a real webpage because it is one. The excitement is there, and then they also have the confidence going forward. You know, even if they do learn dream weaver or go live or whatever that they can look at the code and fix it When when the program itself isn't really doing it correctly.


I think it's a little bit like a car. I am yes, on it. And I slept. Look, his cast up in there. Where is probably, perhaps not these days because the computer runs the car, but you're hurting. Years ago, people who knew about cars would open it up and say, Oh, yes, it's the differential. Oh, yes, it's the alternator or something.

So, Ryan, you how the engine worked and help was put together and which but was bit, which was which, and so they could actually open the bonnet and understand what was going on underneath, which I don't. I mean, I have a vague knowledge of Karen Jin's, but is it all right? I'll touch anything


in that thing. Well, that's what I really like about. What you've done, though, is like, Is that at some point? Um, things can only be so simple, you know, like if you just go with the basic microdot plug themes and you write, you know nothing out of the ordinary like out of the parameters. That micro net plug is, you know, totally supporting great, you know, and that that's what you want to do.

Great and I actually recommend to people what? Start out Just doing that. And I worry about the styling of everything later, and you might find out you don't really care after a while because the important thing is to get the content up there and and the, you know, everybody knows how it is to be like, you know, you get get slowed down and flum X by trying to decide what she look like. Um, your whatever microdot block template, you choose your contents gonna look fine. But of course, eventually get into these These, uh, summer little tweaks and some are bigger you want to do. But,

you know, we're not gonna pretend that you can do them with zero knowledge of what's going on under the hood or the bonnet, you know, depending on where you live. Oh, yes, yes. Uh, so, yes, I'm Oh, the other thing that I love about your, um, cut the one of your posts is about using comments. So commenting the html and CSS and how it's extremely useful because if you are especially sometimes I'm copying other people's HTML. I'd like to,

like, remind myself Oh, yeah, I picked this up off of more as is Ah, site. Uh, so if I doesn't work E or not, it won't work. But if I I don't use it, right, if I have a question, I need to remember where I got it from or what was I trying to do? Or, as you say, What the heck was


I think he is? Those comments for people who aren't familiar with HTML aunt intended to be visible to people looking at your Web page. But in fact, anybody can see them if they know where to look. And one of the tutorials have got that. I'm thinking I should make much more prominent because of its crucial role is the one about how to use the Web inspector, which is built in browser. So browsers like safari and opera and chrome and one that I was using, uh, to help me with the tutorials one called brave. Um, if you're, ah, click on the page or on a Mac with you control key down, you get a little menu of things, and one of them is about inspecting the page, and you can actually go in as an ordinary person on any Web page on on the Internet and sneak a peek at the coding behind the page at the HTML and that tool.

That weather inspector is absolutely invaluable for anybody who wants to miss around and customize their own their own blawg with colors. And if something bold, or maybe putting a line above it and and things like that because you can go in on any Web page in in the world and you can change her looks. You're the only person receives those changes. The rest of the world doesn't mean you're not really changing natural page. But you can play around and see what would happen if I tried this net. The other thing.


Yeah, now that's true. And that's what made the Web pretty exciting. If you were willing to get you know your hands dirty, I don't know. It's not dirty. The nasty smells quite clean, but the that you could learn from, uh, copying what other people have done and then playing with it until you know, and that's how people figure out new things to do. And that's how they do that still today. But


it was the time honored. While you two do it back in something like 1991. I was working for an organization on way set up a Web page. It was pretty exciting in those days. 1991. You know, what I actually did was get somebody else's with Paige, get the HTML and copy the whole thing. And I changed the words per hour wait beside because I also had no idea there was any other way to learn how to do it. But that's what people did in 19


you know, and sort of similar to the cars of today. The, you know, looking under the hood. It's much harder, like the kinds of Web pages that people are used to seeing nowadays are much harder to parse that way. Then, like the simple stuff that we just built by hand with HTML and, um that I do like that feeling, like, maybe I'm I am a do it yourselfer that I'm not very good Do it yourself or in the physical world, but on, uh, the Web, like trying to figure out how to make something happen. You know, ice gonna look for tutorials like yours. Myra's so


well, One thing is, I've a the time I've been on the Internet, which is about 30 years now, I think roughly, uh um, I started before the Worldwide whip was being harassed not long before, just before. But in all that time, I just lived such a huge amount from the generosity of other people sharing their knowledge online. And people have put up tutorials well, like that two hours of videos that I mentioned before. But what about tutorials? They've shared their expertise that share their knowledge. And if they if all of those people hadn't done that, I would know nothing. Oh, I saw an opportunity for me to. I said to myself, Hey, I've got these particular skills and experiences and expertise I could actually put some information out there to help fill a get that I noticed.


No, no, I think that's fantastic. And I think you would agree. As I you know, I have learned that I learned so much just by trying to figure things


out for other people. Yes, and as a teacher and a software trainer, Um, that's also how you learn is, but people I've learned so much from all my students first from having to figure it out to be able to tell them about it. But then also, when they say what about something rather or I've got no idea what you're talking about. Can you explain it some other way?


Yeah. Speaking of which, if people have, um, questions or ah, requests for ah, Maria as generated tutorial. Goodness. What should they do?


I have today. Well, the other day I added a contact me page, which I have expended slightly. And today I've added a future page as well because somebody on the microdot block timelines it. Have you thought About what? You sure on this particular topic So And I've already got topics in mind that I haven't added to the future page yet. So I'd encourage people to contact me. They could come on to slack. Um, and I've also included by email address on the contact me Paige, who's well, so if people have ideas for things like go there.


Well, that's great. Um, but floor, We wrap up this episode of Micro Monday. Do you mind if we get a short quail update? Because I'm sure that people are wondering how are our your quail doing


well? A few weeks ago, some people will know we had Ah, stoat or weasel. I I don't know which that came in and killed three of them. In two separate incidents, I managed to trip the hard thing, but I was on my own and I couldn't reach anything useful. And it got away again. I'm Mae. I've got two traps out to try and get it. And then I amalgamated the four remaining quail and secured there. Run a little bit more, so they're all doing fine. It's not the best time of year for quail and musically. A week off the shortest day. All right,

it's mentally cold, but it's totally relax, Mark, But actually, in New Zealand, the weather's horrible in August and September. That's when it's really unpleasant. So they're all doing fine at the moment. Thank you.


Well, good. Um, because I I like that we have quail on on our network. Mike Rhoda, plug. We have quail


imbecile. I I want give a shout out Really? To Daniel Gel cut and Mars edit because oh, sure, it'll should know about Mars. Aid it If they don't, It's software that you can use for writing block posts, including on micro dot block. All of those posts on customized microdot flog have been written with Mars edit. That's made it easy for me to include particular snippets of text. For example, I'm like the images to there's a post preview so I can see how it's going to look, you know, just invaluable.


Okay? Yeah. You know, we do love Mars at it, but here it microdot this. And I did get to see Daniel Jacket last week, which was great because, uh, he hasn't been to W W D c for a couple of years, and he came to the microdot, blogged meet up, you know, And he's sort of a celebrity in our little community. Rightly. So is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrap this one up?


I think that's better. It actually, we've covered a great deal. I imagine you're going to have to trim some things out.


Oh, I don't know what I would cut. And I mean, the obvious thing is the quail and I'm not doing that. So thank you so much for coming on to micro Monday this time. And, uh, don't be surprised if I ask you back on again because I think I'm just looking forward to following where this goes. And, uh, I think that our community is going to be very interested in seeing what you do.


Eugene. Cocky Te'o


listeners. If you want to follow more as a microdot plug, there's a link in the show Notes or Goto Microdot blog's last mirrors. That's M I. R A. Zed, Um, and and it could customize how to customize your micro dot bog is custom that micro dot blogged Thanks for listening, and we'll talk to you next week.

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