Posted in Blogging

Being Social on WordPress: Turning on Likes and Reblogs

For better or worse, there’s long-been a movement towards using the quick and easy “Like” or heart button to acknowledge that you’ve seen something someone else has posted. On one hand, it’s nice to at least let someone know you stopped by to read, when you just didn’t have anything else to add to it other than “I agree!” On the other hand, even I fall into the trap of simply Liking something during my busy day.

Whether this is good or bad is a debate for another time. But as far as trends go on the Net, I figured I may as well drop a Like button on my blogs just to offer the option. The way I see it, if someone wasn’t going to comment on something, they won’t – whether or not the Like button is there. At least the Like lets you know they were there, allows you to check out their blog if they have one, and maybe pursue a further connection.

Who knows. That person might just be shy!

While visiting blogs during Blaugust, I notice most WordPress blogs do have the Like button… but a few don’t. So I just wanted to take a moment to talk about how to add Likes and Reblogs to your WordPress blog – both WordPress.com and self-hosted.

Likes and Reblogs at WordPress.com

Log in and:

  1. Click My Sites in the top left corner.
  2. Click Tools > Marketing.
  3. Navigate to the Sharing Button tab.
  4. Under the Reblog & Like section, select which features you want to turn on.
  5. Choose how you want those buttons to appear, then click Save Changes.

I do not have Reblog turned on. This allows anyone on WordPress.com to one-click repost your content. So if that’s not something you want to see, I warn you to take care with this feature.

Some communities, such as Tumblr, thrive on a reblogging feature. In fact, you WANT your stuff reblogged to share it. It’s a totally different environment.

But as far as I’ve ever seen, very few folks who use WordPress want their content straight up copied into another person’s blog. I think it’s just a difference in how blogging is approached, and the type of content shared on the different platforms.

Likes for a Self-Hosted WordPress

To have Likes on a self-hosted WordPress, you must have the Jetpack plugin installed. There’s a lot fewer settings for self-hosted, and no option to Reblog at all, since you aren’t technically hooked into the WordPress.com ecosystem.

To turn Likes on, log in and:

  1. Go to the admin dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Jetpack > Settings.
  3. Click the Sharing tab.
  4. At the bottom of the page, toggle the Like buttons feature on.

And that’s it! Your blog can now swim about in a sea of peer affirmation. Like and enjoy! 😉

Posted in Art

Amazing World of Sketchbook Tours

I never knew that sketchbook tours were a thing until this past week. A friend from my FFXIV RP Tumblr circle posted a video of a sketchbook she developed alongside of her FFXIV-inspired webcomic, and I was amazed.

Sure enough, if you search the term on YouTube, you can find a bunch of inspirational and amazing traditional art. What’s even better, is as the artist walks you through the sketchbook, they discuss the media the used, their inspirations, and things they learned from the process.

I mean, look at this amazing stuff!

Gosh, this makes me really want to think about Inktober and a sketchbook of my own this year. I’m generally not patient enough to work with traditional media, so all my stuff ends up scanned in and fixed up, like it did last year. So, seriously, props to people who work in this wonderful media and share it through videos like this!

Posted in Blogging

Automattic (WordPress) Acquires Tumblr, I’m Late to the Party

Somehow, some way, I the news of WordPress buying out Tumblr this past week completely flew by me (I realized I was not following the Staff Tumblr on my account, for one thing). I didn’t know anything about it until I was surfing my reader for the newest Blaugust posts and saw this one at Unidentified Signal Source – thanks for your write up!

Now, I’m not your typical target audience for Tumblr. I’m older than most of the folks there, and my reasons for having a Tumblr are somewhat differently aligned to those I interact with. But interact is the key word.

I’ve used Tumblr for years. Looking back at my main Tumblr, my very first post was back in May, 2011, when I had no clue what this Tumblr thing was. I just knew my RP friends used it. While this account has gathered some dust lately – I’m not sure what I want to do with it – I’ve always approached it as a micro-blogging anything-goes, free-form creative outlet.

Most recently, I rolled up a Tumblr for my FFXIV role play pursuits. While I prefer the toolset that WordPress gives me for writing a blog post, the truth is, it feels like a more isolated experience. It just does not have the backend for sharing, reblogging and interacting the way that Tumblr does.

When you’re looking to make connections and role play, going where the community is makes all the difference. RP folks choose Tumblr as a platform because it is super easy to post something – click a button and toss up text, image, video, whatever you want. And, the whole ecosystem of Like, Reblog, Follow makes it super interactive.

You might be able to write an RP story on a WordPress, but it sure does feel like you’re posting into the void. I’ve tried it. It didn’t work. I went back to Tumblr.

I’ve had pretty good success on Tumblr. My first RP blog was for GW2, before the game launched. White Charr has been inactive for quite a while, but it still has 1,200 followers. Which, for a Tumblr blog for a specific game, back in that time, was quite a feat for me!

My newest RP blog has been running for a bit over a year now, and it has 760 followers. There’s a good solid number of folks that I write with, interact, reblog, do character memes, and all sorts of fun things that just aren’t possible in the same way on WordPress. My content gets out there, I know when people respond to it, and I see when it gets passed around.

So, all that being said… I’ve been concerned about the direction Tumblr was headed for a good while. When I heard that WordPress bought them, at first I was surprised, but then, I was intrigued and a bit hopeful.

I feel like a combination of Tumblr’s engagement tools and WordPress’ backend power could make the true experience that I want in a blogging platform. I wouldn’t have to go to Tumblr to find the community and interaction while sacrificing all the tools that makes using WordPress awesome.

Will it go that direction? I don’t know. But I’m excited to think that Tumblr, which has been stumbling along financially for a while, has a new extension on life. I’ve always enjoyed WordPress for what it is, and I hope they’ll recognize what makes Tumblr amazing, and press on to make it even better.

I’m along for the ride on both sides.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: Halfway Point Check-In

I consider today the halfway point for the month of August, so I decided to write a quick re-cap check-in on how I’ve been doing this month. So far, I’ve managed some sort of blog post every day for the past 16 days, which is more than I expected out of myself.

I usually give myself a break on weekends, and have had to give myself an extra nudge or an easy topic to tackle the weekends past to get it done. I still have a number of ideas that I jotted down before Blaugust started that I have waiting in the wings, just in case I run up against topic-block.

Things in FFXIV are slowly winding down into a steady cadence-of-life now that Shadowbringers has been out for a bit. I still haven’t accomplished all that I want to do, but between the two characters I play, I’ve gotten a lot done. Aside from “gathered a whole lot of purple carrots today,” I doubt you want to hear of my daily excursions in the First.

The only other thing of note is, after some soul searching and missing practice for a month and a half, I decided to move my violin content back to my self-hosted blog. The reason being – I wanted to set up an online practice log… and I wasn’t sure that a WordPress.com hosted blog would allow me to install the plugins I needed to do that.

I might write more about how I managed to set that up later, but for now, it’s doing what I want it to do.

Hopefully everyone else is having a productive and insightful Blaugust so far! Keep writing!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Using Stormshade for Screenshots

Maybe you’ve noticed that as of late, a number of the FFXIV screenshots I post here seem of better quality than the shots of yore. This is because I’ve been dabbling with a shader system made specifically for FFXIV called Stormshade.

Stormshade is a version of Reshade that has unlocked the depth-buffer for FFXIV. I don’t know what all that exactly means, other than some of the visual options you couldn’t normally fiddle with are open to edit while it’s turned on.

Not only can you create your own settings based on the shaders provided, but you can also download shader presets created by the community. There’s a whole page of those on the Stormshade site. For most of the shots I take, I flip between the various presets I’ve downloaded until I find a combination of something I like to look at. One day I’ll spend some time making my own.

Note: Often, these presets are very intensive on your PC resources, so I don’t suggest using them outside of taking screenshots. A few of the presets can be used for play, and will usually be marked in the description if so.

Continue reading “FFXIV: Using Stormshade for Screenshots”
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Level 80 Carpenter!

Last night, thanks to a combination of scrip turn-ins and finishing up some leves, I finally reached my first level 80 crafter on my main – carpenter. I already have one level 80 crafter on my RP Alt – turns out that alchemist is pretty easy to zoom through with leves this time around. But that’s because it’s highly self-sufficient compared to many of the other crafting jobs I’ve messed with so far.

As you can see, I also had to take goldsmith up a few levels to do this well. That’s because the leve I was doing required nuggets, along with thread from weaver, and a ton of wood for each turn in.

But this was nothing compared to the leves for goldsmith itself. I might have tried to level it more if it weren’t for the fact that almost every leve recipe required at least one, if not two, gathers from timed nodes. Gold itself, which is a timed node, seems to be required for almost everything, which is a bit crazy. Especially since you really need to shoot for high quality gathers to have a chance to craft in high quality for leves.

But hey, if you can gather some HQ gold, it’s probably a good thing to sell!

Anyhow, I’ll take a peek at the other crafting jobs and see which ones are least painful through leves. I still have materials left over for alchemist from my RP alt, so I’ll probably try leveling that through leves. But the rest just might get relegated to slow leveling through scrip turn-ins until a crafting beast tribe comes out. My main goal was always to get at least one job to 80, since that’s all it’ll take to keep my mentor status!

Speaking of scrips, I’ve been exploring other turn-ins and rotations for gathering scrips on Amon. I finished getting his Botanist gear, but now I’m torn between using weekly turn-ins for gathering or my alchemist gearing. I really, really like the Fisher scrip outfit, so I just went ahead and grinded on normal scrip gathers, with one timed turn-in. I was able to get everything, except the fishing pole.

It’s pretty snazzy!

They did a nice job on all the crafting and gathering scrip gear. Too bad it gets traded in for cross-job gear later.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: A Little Light Bird Farming

In yesterday’s post, I noted how I was going back (with the encouragement of my FC) and doing some of the older content that I passed by back in Heavensward. Namely, the Trial battles. After getting the normals cleared on Sunday night, Amoon, Syn and I messed around to see how easy it would be to farm Ravana.

Not very hard, it turned out. With the three of us, we usually beat him down before the phase transition, clocking in a tad under 2 mins for the whole run. Even when Syn dropped for the night, Amoon and I were able to clear just fine between a Paladin and a Bard.

But we had no luck in a mount drop – Amoon already had his, so really, it was just Syn and I who needed one. I really wanted a red bird for my RP alt, Amon, but eventually, I do want to get them on my main.

So, last night, we recruited another FC member, Zel, who also needed the birds. And we resumed farming. It took a bit to get the drop, but when we did, the whistles dropped one run after another.

Amon and his bird

Seeing we had some luck there, I joined for a few runs of Bismark. This one took longer because of all the transitions you couldn’t bypass. But it was still not difficult with the three of us.

Again, it took a few runs before the first whistle dropped, which I got. And we ran a few more after that with little luck. We had just decided to run one more for the night when the second whistle dropped, scoring us all with the birds we needed!

So, overall, it was pretty great for everyone. I will still need to go back on my main for the Ravana bird, but Syn needs that one, too. She ended up getting a Bismark bird from a random group a long time back as thanks for some healing she did somewhere down the line (long story).

So, first birds acquired! We’ll see how much progress our little FC can make on these!