Google’s PhotoScan App: An Easy Way To Digitize Glossy Photos

I’ve been busy digitizing family photos.  It’s been a quick process with the older photos.  Place the photos on a table outside where there is good light with minimal glare and take pictures of the photos using my digital camera.

But this technique won’t work for the newer glossy photos due to glare issues.

Here’s what happens:

Digital camera
Taken with digital camera

The solution is to use the new PhotoScan app by Google.

The PhotoScan app works the same as an image scanner but is easier and means you can do it using your smartphone.

Here’s the same photo taken with the PhotoScan app:

PhotoScan
Taken using PhotoScan

After launching the app, position the photo within the frame then tap the shutter button.  Four dots will appear and you hover your phone over each dot and hold in position until the dot is filled.

Once completed the PhotoScan stitches together a single image from several overlapped photos eliminating any glare and evening out exposure.

Here’s a video to show how easy PhotoScan is to use.

You can check out my progress digitizing my family history here!

Some more comparisons using glossy black and white photos.

This post was written in response to Challenging Situations:  #EdublogsClub prompt 6.

3 Ideas For Making Your Blog More Engaging

Blogging isn’t publishing text!

And if your blogging program only involves students publishing posts with text or images — you’re implying to your students blogging is about writing when it isn’t.

It’s about sharing your learning and engaging with readers.

Blogging should include a media rich environment to engage readers, create opportunities for interaction, and should encourage students to express their creativity.

With maybe the occasional cat/dog joke?

.

Here’s how you can do it:

Technology Task Challenges For Teachers

Stuck for ideas?  Check out Ron Burke‘s Technology Task Challenges for teachers courtesy of Laura Moore.

I’ve embedded Ron’s Technology Task Challenges for teachers Thinglink below. Each image on the Thinglink links to a different Technology task PDF.

Click on the Image or hover your mouse over the image then click Read More to access the PDF.

I’ve embedded Ron Burke‘s Padlet Challenge below so you can see what his Technology Task Challenges look like.

Web tools For Posts

The Thinglink, the Cat joke and the Padlet PDF are all examples of media from other websites being embedded into a post.

These are just simple examples.  There are a gazillion online tools that you can use to create slides, videos, comic strips, quizzes, polls and more which you can embed into posts and pages.

I’ve listed popular tools used by educators by activity type to help get you started here.    Each tool has been embedded into the post so you can see how the tools works.

I’ve added my section on Padlet from the post below so you can see the type of information shared for each tool.

Padlet

Padlet, originally known as Wallwisher, is an online notice board creator.  Padlet’s popularity is how fast and easy it is to create engaging activities to use with students.

You can read more about using Padlet with students here.

Made with Padlet

Widgets For Your Sidebar

You can also engage readers using Widgets in your sidebar.

I’ve assembled a list of popular and most useful widgets used on class blogs, student blogs and personal educator blogs which you can check out here.

Many of the widgets have been embedded in the post to show how they work.

Below is a small sample of my section on clocks and calendars so you can see the type of information shared for each widget.

Clocks and Calendars

Clocks are great for displaying the time in your location which helps when you are trying to develop connections with classes in other countries.  They also help younger students learn about time and time zones

Clock Link – 100’s of different and unique clocks of all types.

What Else?

Not all online tools are designed to be viewed on mobile devices.  Compare my Cool Tools to Embed post and my 40+ Popular widgets for your blog post in the web browser on your computer with how these posts look on a phone or tablet.

Subscribe to Laura Moore blog!  Laura provides great tips and trick for using technology with students.

Leave a comment below if I’ve missed your favourite tool in my Cool Tools to Embed post.

This post was written in response to Free Web Tools: #EdublogsClub Prompt 5.

Digitizing My Family History

A picture isn’t worth a thousand words if you don’t have the context for interpreting the story behind the picture.

And you’re left with 100’s of family photos like I was when my grandfather died aged 98 in 2006.

Many were taken in 1920’s, some from late 1800’s and no one’s left that remembers all their stories.

Fortunately my grandfather was interested in the family ancestry since the 1930’s which left numerous documents and mementos as breadcrumbs!

I’ve embedded a Google photo of the Ockerby ancestry compiled by Rev Thomas Ockerby Hurst (my great-grandfather) in 1939 below so you can zoom in on the information easily.

And Hurst ancestry which I believe was compiled by my grandfather Charles Hurst.

Ockerby letter
Letter by my great-grandfather from 1908 announcing the birth of my grandfather.

The photos

I’ve started digitizing the photos to enable my relatives and others who are interested easy access.

You’ll find the photo’s digitized so far using the following links:

  1. Clarice Hurst’s photos 1920’s People 
  2. Clarice Hurst’s photos 1920’s Places
  3. Charles Hurst’s photos before 1930’s
  4. Charles Hurst’s photos after 1930’s

The Family History

I’ve also been researching and documenting my ancestry to piece together the stories behind the photos — to bring the stories back to life!

You’ll find Hill Family, Day Family and their Bridgetown, Western Australian history documented here.   I’m currently working on my Ockerby and Hurst family history.

I think I may also be luckier than most?

  1. Hill and Day ancestors – notable settlers in Bridgetown and other parts of Western Australia.
  2. Ockerby ancestors – notable settlers in Tasmania and some were prominent people in the early 1900’s in Western Australia.

They’ve featured in numerous historic newspaper articles which I’ve sourced via Trove (thanks to guidance from Sue Wyatt) and books:

  1. Featherstone and Mary Ockerby – Tasmanian Pioneers written by Kathy Wright (2004) – incredible work!
  2. Bridgetown the early years.  Book two, People of the Warren Blackwood District from 1950’s by Fran Taylor (2015) – includes a Chapter on the Hill family.
  3. Bridgetown the early years Book One by Fran Taylor (2014).  Doesn’t include the Hill family but provides invaluable insight into what life was like in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s.

And my mother, Janne, has been helping me identify as many people as she can while sharing the stories she can remember.

And Yet I Ponder

Will I be able to identify the story behind each picture?  Probably not!  But maybe by sharing them all online others will eventually help?

Maybe someone will see this photo online and one day tell me if these are Day or Hill relatives?

Mid 1920’s

Or someone from South Australia will tell me about Bentley House?

Bentley House, Mt Gambier South Australia 1924

Or someone could tell me if this document is really from 1862 and if I should be doing something more to preserve it?

Old Document

The journey, and questions, continues….

This post was written in response to Photos – #EdublogsClub Prompt 4.

Dealing with Change

I really struggled writing this post. I’m not sure why?  Perhaps because normally during the writing process I’ll do a lot of research?

This post I just wanted to provide a couple of tips that have helped me over the year when implementing change.

Each helped in different ways including:

  • Handle my emotions better when a student expresses their frustrations at changes after spending hours planning sessions.
  • Accept that when delivering professional development that constraints that I have no control will impact — and change takes time.

And if the tips don’t help — I’ve gone with Plan B!

A couple of funny videos (maybe I should have gone with cat videos?).

Response To Change

We each respond differently to change!

While we can’t control how others will respond to being asked to change we can control how we react to their responses.

Whenever we ask someone to do something differently we are asking them to change, to let go of the familiar, to trust you in where you are taking them and what you are doing. The people you are asking to change are used to doing it one way, now you are saying lets try it another way!

GUESS WHAT?

Not everyone wants to change! Familiar is known, comfortable and secure.

Change is uncharted water; many people’s natural and rational response is resistance. Emotionally change can simultaneously bring joy and sorrow, gain and loss, satisfaction and disappointment.

There will always be a small number of people whose automatic response to any form of change will be to complain.

Understanding the impact change can have on others helped me:

  1. Accept that there will always be some that will complain or get upset.
  2. Taught me not to take it personally.
  3. Helped me handle my emotions better.
  4. Manage resistance better.
  5. Appreciate the need to discuss their feelings.

Time Taken To Effect Change

Implementing change takes time; change is not something that happens overnight.

For example, implementing a small change within an organisation can take 3-5 years compared to a large change that can take 5 – 10 year.

Often when we implement change we don’t allow adequate time for the change to occur.  Our focus should be on long term strategies.

What Else?

This post is part of the ongoing #EdublogsClub series. This week’s writing prompt was to write a post that discusses leadership, peer coaching, and/or effecting change

My other tips?  Research information on change management.  It helped me even if I couldn’t express my ideas well.

Feel free to leave your own tips (or links to funnier videos).

A Glimpse into My Work Life!

People I meet in person often find what I do unusual because I’m a remote worker who works very flexible hours. And those who know me online often assume I’m based in their time zone, USA time zone, or I’m a bot!

So I thought sharing a glimpse of my work life would provide an insight into what life is like as a remote worker.

Background

I’m the Support Manager for Edublogs and CampusPress — part of Incsub which is also behind WPMU DEV.

Inscub Is a specialist WordPress company with over 60 employees.  We’re spread across different countries and time zones; most are remote workers like myself.

My Computer

Much of my day is spent testing, supporting people using our blogging platforms, or working with our support team, developers and sysadmins.

I’m a notorious multi-tasker and can be working on several tasks at the same time.

My Computer
My Computer Set Up

I have a reasonably large desk with x3 24″ monitors.  I would have a fourth monitor if it would fit on my desk!

How does anyone get any work done with one monitor?

I run Windows because most of our users are Windows users.  My computer is housed in a noise reducing case — hate excessive computer noise!

Bonus tip:

Photos from my phone automatically upload to Google photos when I connect to wifi.

Search in Google photos is incredible! It’s very accurate. Rather than take a photo I quickly searched my computer to find the latest photos of my set up.

Google photo search
Searching Google photos

Company Communication

We use Slack for most company communications — with different slack channels for different teams or work tasks.

Slack provides real-time messaging, asynchronous messaging, enables us to send direct messages to each other, and lets us search for previous discussions on a topic and supports voice calls.

slack
What Slack looks like

Our slack conversations are generally very work focused.  However, we also use it for the occasional personal chatter, as highlighted above, like you have in an office.

Other Work Tools

Here’s a quick summary of some of the other work tools we use:

Helpscout is used for all email communications. It enables multiple staff to access at the same time and for emails to be assigned to different people with notes.

Helpscout

 

We use Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets because both enable us to work collaboratively and add comments for feedback.

We use Asana for managing tasks and projects.

And off course Twitter!  I have TweetDeck set up on my computer set up logged in @suewaters and @edublogs so I can quickly provide assistance by Twitter as needed.

Any time Any Where

I don’t work standard hours.  My work hours are flexible to fit in with when I need to work with other team members and to support our users.  And my phone is my portable work office for when I need to deal with something quickly if I’m away from my computer.

After all the articles written on why we shouldn’t take our mobile devices to bed, you would have thought that I would have learned by now?

I haven’t!

The After Midnight Google Hangout

Even after accidentally answering Google Hangout after midnight when I turned over the device.

Nothing like a live webinar from bed at 1 AM answering questions when you can barely think (and not dressed for the occasion).

Blogging session
Late night webinar

FYI William Chamberlain in the above photo isn’t the person who rang me!  He was one of the participants and probably wondered why I was making no sense.

Waking Up To Snakes

Or waking up to snake photos from my South African work colleague who was excited to share his latest photos; knowing I’m scared of snakes and I would be seeing the images as I wake up once he was asleep.

Google Hangout
Thoughtful work colleague 🙂

What Else?

This post is part of the ongoing #EdublogsClub series. Check it out and learn more here.

Hope you enjoyed the quick tour?  Was there any thing else you would like to know about what I do?

My Blogging Story: Part II

Blogging has been both transformational and life-changing for me.  As a result of blogging, I’ve changed how I learn, I’ve helped others make a difference in their life and changed my career.

So here’s my blogging story (Part II) which I’ve written as part of the weekly #EdublogsClubYou can join me and sign up for the #EdublogsClub here. 

Evolution of a Blogger

2017 is my 10th Anniversary as blogger!

It took a year to understand why I should blog after being shown a blog (2006) to starting my own blog (2007). Prior to starting my own blog, I shared my learning via podcasts and wikis; it wasn’t until I reached the point where I wanted to reflect on my learning that I started blogging.

For me it was a combination of not understanding, 1) what is a blog, and 2) the importance of reflection, sharing, connected learning and learning as part of a community.

I’m passionate about blogging because it:

  1. Helped me become a better writer — I passionately believe that if blogging can help someone like me who continues to struggle with language it can help others that are like myself.
  2. Gave me a voice and mechanism to share my thoughts and help others.
  3. Changed my life — blogging resulted in changing my career from an aquaculture lecturer to employment as the Support Manager for Edublogs and CampusPress.  Many of my fellow edubloggers have had similar life changes as a result of their blogging.

Seth Godin and Tom Peters video summarizes the essence of what blogging is for me.

PS My Blogging Story (Part I) shows how my blogging has evolved 🙂

Blogging: Becoming a better writer

What’s even more incredible with my blogging journey is I’ve battled writing and processing language my entire life.  While my English teacher and I would agree that my expression continues to be rather odd at times — blogging helped me become a better writer.

It’s not perfect — and continues to be a work in progress — but I can’t imagine any of my English teachers or I would ever thought that one day I would be paid to write.

English Report
My Actual English Report

Blogging Turning Point

Looking back on my blogging journey one of the key events that made me a better blogger was participating in Darren Rowse’s 31 Days Project in 2007.

It was a month long series of posts on ProBlogger designed to walk bloggers through 31 tasks that you can do to make your blog better.

We formed our own community and worked through Darren Rowse’s 31 Days Project as a group. It was an intense month — where we read each others posts and learnt together — and collectively improved our blogging skills.  Commenting and reading each others posts was as important as writing our own posts.

Some Blogging Tips

Below is a few blogging tips.  You’ll find more detailed tips on Why I blog (and how you can too).

My advice to those participating in the weekly #EdublogsClub is make it a goal to read and comment on as many of the posts as possible.  You learn as much, if not more, by reading/commenting as writing your posts and it helps generate ideas for things to blog about.

Remember blogging isn’t about writing.  It’s about connecting, reflecting and sharing.  Mix it up with video, audio and embed cool tools into your posts.

Steve Wheeler says it better than me in 3 Things you should know about blogging!

And don’t forget — what is Obvious to you is amazing to others.  Don’t assume others know what you know.  There is always someone who will be grateful of what you shared — even if they don’t necessarily tell you.

What is your blogging story?

I would love to hear about your blogging story!

Join me by participating in the #EdublogsClub and writing a post on  your own blog!  You’ll find the blogging prompts for Week 1: My Blog story from the #EdublogsClub here!

Alternatively, leave a comment to share your story, provide advice for new bloggers, or tell me what you would like to know more about.

Embedding videos from Google Photo into posts

Google Photos is my favorite photo and video sharing/storage service but it can be frustrating when I want to embed my Google Photos videos into posts without uploading them to YouTube!

It’s tricky as you can’t embed directly from Google Photos so I’ve written this post to show how you can do it via Google Drive!

Video Embedded via Google Drive

But first let me show you a video that’s been embedded directly from Google Drive!

The following video was created from a series of videos captured during my 7 AM early morning winter walk in Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia.

I created the video to help others learn more about my City.  The videos were combined into one video using VivaVideo on my Android smartphone.

Why Google Drive?  Simple!

I don’t always want to share my videos using YouTube and educators I work with often want an alternative option to YouTube so I need to be able to explain how it is done.

About Google Photos

Why Google Photos if I’m using Google Drive to embed?

Good question!  I use Google Photos for most of the management of photo and video as Google Photos is great for sharing, editing and storing because:

  1. It automatically backs up all my photos and videos taken on my Android smartphone to Google Photos.
  2. Stores the images and videos as full HD and not compressed/low resolution copies like other services.
  3. Automatically organizes my photos based on data, people, locations and is easily searched.
  4. Makes it easily to edit and share photos to social networks.
  5. It includes an Assistant which allows me to easily create Albumns, Shared Albumns, Collages, Animations and simple videos using the app on my phone or via my web browser.

Google Photos makes it quick and easy to do so many different tasks except embed videos directly into posts.

This is where Google Drive or another video hosting solution is needed if you don’t want to use YouTube.

Embed video via Google Drive

Here’s how to embed your Google Photos video via Google Drive:

1. Log into Google Drive in the web browser on your computer using the same gmail account you use for Google Photos.

2.  Click on Google Photos folder in the left sidebar (images and photos are automatically added to Google Drive).

photos61

3.  Click on the video you want to embed and then click on the Pop-Out icon.

Click on pop out

Videos take some time to upload to Google Drive from Google Photos.  If the video has only recently backed up to Google Photos it mightn’t appear for awhile in Google Drive.

4.  Click on the Share icon.

Click on Share

5.  Click on Advanced option in Share window.

Click on Advanced

6.  Click on Change next to Private.

Click on Change

7.  Click on On – Any one with a link or On – Public on the web and then click on Save. 

Link Sharing

8.  Click on Done to close the Share window.

9.  Click on the More icons and then Embed Item link.

Click on More Icon

10.  Copy the embed code.

Copy the Embed code

11.  Paste the embed code into your post using Insert Embed in the Add Media Window and then click Insert into Post.

The method you use will depend on the website or blog platform you use.  This is how you do it on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.

Insert embed code

12.  Once your post is published you’ll see your video embedded.

Your Tips or Questions?

Hope this information helped!

Please leave a comment below to provide tips on how you share your videos or let me know if you have any questions.

What do you want to know about blogging with students?

I’m facilitating a session of blogging with students for ECAWA 2016 State Conference with Brette Lockyer and Michael Graffin on Saturday June 25 and we would love your help!

Background

We will be inviting participants in our session to share what they would like to learn during the session so we can personalize it to their needs.

Before the conference I’m trying to crowd source what you would like to know about student blogging — if you were able to attend a session on student blogging — to help us prepare as many answers as we can!

I’ll be publishing follow-up posts after the conference to provide the information we shared in the session and to answer any questions readers left on this post.

How you can help

Please leave a comment below to answers any of the following questions!

If you are new to blogging with students, or never blogged with students, we would like to know the following:

  1. What you would like to know about blogging with students?
  2. What grade(s)/subjects do you teach?
  3. Your class blog URL (optional).

For those experienced with blogging with students we would like to know:

  1. What are your tips for blogging with students?
  2. Your class blog URL (optional).

Thanks for your help!

Edublogs Plugins? Your Questions Answered

Last weekend at our local WordPress Meetup some members suggested we share the plugins we use.  Plugins can be very personal depending on the type of site you’re developing however I thought others would be interested in the plugins we use on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks.

So here it goes!

Here’s a summary of the plugins we provide for our users on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks as well as insight into the process we use when looking for new plugins.

About Edublogs | CampusPress

Here’s a bit of background on Edublogs and CampusPress to help provide insight into our plugin usage.

Edublogs is the largest education blogging platform on the web and hosts over 3 million blogs since 2005.  CampusPress is our white-labelled WordPress for Education solution for Schools, School Districts and Universities that want us to host the service on their own domain.  We host hundreds of WordPress Multisite networks customized specifically for education on CampusPress.

Edublogs and CampusPress are part of the Incsub which is also behind WPMU DEV. WPMU DEV is the largest premium WordPress site on the web.    Our team has more than 60 WordPress experts.

Plugins Access

Edublogs and WordPress.com are both hosted solutions but have been customized specifically to meet the needs of their users.  WordPress.com includes the more popular plugin functionality within their sites automatically.  Users don’t see a plugin menu item and can’t activate plugins.

We use a different approach to plugins on Edublogs.  Plugins that provide key functionality are automatically activated on all sites.  Examples of these types of plugins are the Classes plugin (powers My Class) and Reader plugin (powers the Reader).  Classes and Reader plugins were developed specifically for Edublogs by our developers and you’ll only find them on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.

We also provide plugins that our users can activate in Plugins > All menu in the dashboard of their sites.  We don’t automatically activate these plugins because not all users want access to all plugins.  There is no need to add extra menu items, features or functionality by activating a plugin if it isn’t needed.

Plugin Review Process

Edublogs and CampusPress is powered by a customized version of WordPress multisite.  Plugins are often designed to work on a single installs of self hosted WordPress and may not work or can cause problems on WordPress Multisite.

All plugins we install are thoroughly tested to ensure they won’t cause issues such as compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance.

Plugin selection process is based on:

  • Can the functionality be achieved without installing a plugin?  For example, our users can use embed code in posts, pages and text widgets or the URL.  Sometimes plugin functionality they request can be achieved using embed code.
  • Does the plugin provide a feature or functionality that many of our users would want?
  • Does the plugin have potential to cause compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance?
  • Is the plugin user friendly?   The less user friendly the more likely the plugin won’t be used.

New plugins are chosen based on requests for specific plugins or functionality from our users; or functionality we know our users would like.   Where possible we try to provide a plugin that provides the functionality our users want rather than provide several plugins that have similar functionality.

For example, we’re currently looking at adding a Slider plugin as it is a common request.  We start by looking at the specific plugins users have requested and compare them to review articles to see what others have said about the plugin.

Our testing process once we’re identified suitable plugins is:

  • Test on a single install of WordPress (to confirm the plugin is user friendly).
  • Test on Edublogs (Super admin user activated only as sometimes we need to make additional customizations for our server set up or to make it more user friendly).
  • Change to Edublogs Pro so users can use.
  • Upload to CampusPress networks once tested on Edublogs.

Plugins Overview

Below is a summary of the plugins users can activate in Plugins > All on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.  Occasionally we change the plugin name to make it more meaningful for our users so where possible I’ve linked their plugin name to where you can download the original plugin.

The Plugin Help is linked to support documents in our Edublogs User Guide.

You may also find out Edublogs User Guide documentation helpful.  Most of it is applicable to any WordPress powered blog.  We try to provide very detailed instructions with screenshots since our users range from very young students across all educational sectors.

Plugin  Used For Edublogs Help link
3D Rotating Cloud Adds the Wp-Culumus widget to Appearance > Widget which you use to add a beautiful rotating and animated representation of all your tags and categories to your blog sidebar. Plugin Help
AddThis Social Share Adds Social Share button to every post and page, so readers can easily share your content on their social networks.  You can also add the Social Share widget to your blog sidebar. Plugin Help
Calendar Calendar allows you to display a calendar of all your events and appointments as a page on your site, and gives you the ability to add them to your sidebars too.
Calendar+ Create, manage, and share your calendar and upcoming events. Plugin Help

Compfight Safe Images

*Modified to check a banned word list to make safer search.

Easy tool to quickly find, add Creative Commons images to your posts with attribution.  Once activated it adds a Compfight icon to your visual editor which you use to search and insert images using Compfight. Plugin Help
Contact Form Designed to add a straightforward contact form to your blog which allows visitors to your blog to send you an email. Plugin Help
Custom CSS Enables you to modify the theme’s fonts, colors, border and backgrounds by adding custom stylesheets to your blog. Plugin Help
Dogo Content widget Designed to easily add DOGO widgets to your blog’s sidebar where you can display engaging content from one or more DOGO websites. Plugin Help
Divi Builder Replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a drag and drop WordPress page builder that allows you to build beautiful designs and more diverse layouts quickly. Plugin Help
Duplicate Post Quick way to duplicate a post, or page, including the title, contents, tags and categories so you can re-use an existing post easily with minimal effort. Plugin Help
Easy Tables Quick and easy tool designed to help you add tables to your posts and pages. Plugin Help
Edit Flow Edit flow allows you to collaborate within a team on a group blog.
Embed Any Document Enables you to embed any document into a post or page. Plugin Help
Fancier Author Box Used to add detailed author biography with links to your social media networks to your posts, pages and custom post types. Plugin Help
Feedburner FeedSmith Allows you to redirect all your original Edublogs or CampusPress feed to your FeedBurner Feed. Plugin Help
Footnotes Provides an elegant and easy to add footnotes to posts and pages. Plugin Help
Formidable Forms Allows you to create a wide range of different types of forms. Plugin Help
Forums Adds forums to your blog. Plugin Help
Google Maps Allows you to easily embed, customize, and use Google maps on your blog.  You can also display local images and let your site visitors get directions in seconds. Plugin Help
Image Widget Makes it easy to add images and badges to your sidebar. Plugin Help
JetPack Jetpack is a single plugin that provides a suite of different features including post by email, ability to control which pages widgets are shown on, slideshows, extra image gallery option, auto post to your social media accounts, social share options and more. Plugin Help
JSON Feed Provides feeds in JSON form.
LaTex Maths Symbols Allows you to use LaTeX code in posts and comments.  LaTex is good for formatting mathematical formulas and equations. Plugin Help
Lightbox for images Adds an overlay that goes over the site and shows the larger version of the image when a reader clicks on the image so that readers can view without navigating away from the page. Plugin Help
Live Shortcodes Lets you quickly and easily add cool things to posts and pages such as accordions, toggles, tabs with minimal effort by configuring and inserting shortcode. Plugin Help
Live Stream Displays latest posts and comments in a continuously updating and slick looking widget.
Media Tree Allows you to easily group files into categories and display them in “tree” view in a post or page using shortcode. Plugin Help
PayPal Donations Designed to easily add a PayPal donate button to your blog’s sidebar. Plugin Help
Podcast Allows you to embed video and audio files inside an embedded player so your visitors can view them directly in their web browser.  Enhances WordPress’ existing podcast support by adding multiple iTunes-compatible feeds, media players, and an easy to use interface Plugin Help
Polldaddy Polls & Ratings Create and manage Polldaddy polls and ratings inside your blog.
Post Types Order Allows you to change the order of any posts or custom post types. Plugin Help
Print Friendly and PDF Optimize your posts and pages for printing and lets your readers download or email a PDF version of your posts or pages. Plugin Help
Review Notifications Notifies administrator of posts pending for review by email. Plugin Help
RSS Images Enables featured images in rss feed automatically.
RSS Just Better Allows you to display RSS feeds in your posts or via RSS Just Better widget. Plugin Help
Scheduled Content Allows you to make certain post or page content available only at scheduled periods. Plugin Help
Simply Snow Creates a snowing effect on your site.
Submission form creator Allows you to create and add almost any type of submission form to a post of page.

Supreme Google Webfont

*modified to only load selected fonts with more options in Settings > Writing

Adds Google webfonts into a nice dropdown list in your visual editor which you can use to change your font type and/or font size. Plugin Help
SyntaxHighlighter Evolved Easily post syntax-highlighted code to your site without having to modify the code at all.
Table of Contents Designed to help you add tables of contents to posts, pages and sidebars. Plugin Help
User Widget and profiles Displays blog participant info – number of posts and comments, and links to profile page.
Visual Editor Widget Adds a new ‘Visual Editor’ widget based on the native WordPress TinyMCE editor. Plugin Help
Wiki Adds a wiki to your blog. Plugin Help
WP Accessibility Provides options to improve accessibility in your blogs, including removing title attributes.
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Join Me for Fitbit Goal Day 2016

May 21 is Fitbit’s #GoalDay2016 which encourages Fitbit community members to reach their personal step goal tomorrow.

Every day is a goal day for me while #GoalDay2016 as a great way to encourage us all to focus about our need to move more.

My Step Goal

Last year I decided I had to work harder on living a healthier life. Over the years my work changed from being very physically demanding to sedentary. Which hasn’t been good for my health. Besides eating a healthier diet, I set a goal of walking 10,000 steps every day. I’ve tried other forms of exercise and found unless it is an activity I do every day I eventually stop.

10,000 steps per day works for me. It’s been part of my life since August 31. During this time there has only be a few days where I haven’t reached my goal. It ensures I move more than I did and I’m healthier than I was. It also models to my children the importance of setting goals and focusing on living a healthier life style.

My routine varies slightly with the season and day of the week.  But most days I achieve my steps by doing a 6 KM (3.73 M) morning walk and a 4 KM (2.5 M) afternoon/evening walk.  My weekend walks are longer as I use them to catch up and socialize with friends on longer walks.

I use a Fitbit, even though I hate wearing anything on my wrist, because having the stats easily accessible on my wrist pushes me each day.  I’ve used a Fitbit Flex, Charge and now have a Fitbit Surge.  I like the Surge because it has built in GPS (which I like for mapping my longer walks) and it automatically detects/tracks any exercise.

You can also use Health apps on phones.  I avoided this option because I try not to take my phone when walking — it is my Internet free time.

Join me?

Any one want to join me for #GoalDay2016?  You can connect with me on Fitbit or leave a comment if you don’t use a Fitbit and are using a different device to track your steps.

Achieving my personal goal on May 21 will be challenging — you might beat me!  We’re expecting 10 to 20 mm of rain with possible thunderstorms.  But that mightn’t deter me.  One of my favorite walks (on my own) was 11 KM where I completed the second half the walk in the rain.

Enjoy walk along ocean in rain
Enjoying walk along ocean in rain

PS This weekend I’m participating in my first event with my husband.  A 12 KM (7.45 M) walk in the HBF Run for a Reason.  We’re both looking forward to it.