What is Open Source?

Tim Caswell

I admit, many years back I didn’t know what open source was either. Thanks to my oldest son, Tim Caswell, I’ve come to know and appreciate open source.

Basically open source is software which is open for all to use, without purchase. You are also free to improve, update, modify the code for your own purposes. Click on the term open source if you want a more technical definition. Quite likely you use open source software already.

  • Linux an operating system for your computer. (Windows is a non-open source operating system.)
  • Apache popular http server, if you have your own hosting account or visit websites, you benefit. Many sites run on Apache servers
  • Firefox a web browser, I use it, do you?
  • Open Office word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation tool
  • WordPress Where would we be without wordpress, powers this site and many others.
  • node.js and many other programming languages such as rubye, python, etc. My son supports his family working with node.js and other open source languages
  • Gimp a photo editing tool
  • Blender a 3d modeling program
  • many, many more programs

Apple and Windows aren’t opensource. You can’t legally go in and change the programming on your iphone. Windows, if your software is buggy and you are a programmer, you can’t go in and make changes to fix and improve the bug unless you are working for windows. You are stuck waiting for the next update. Non-open source companies may fight over intellectual property, keeping their goods out of the hands of their competitors.

Now if a company wants to keep their code to themselves, that is up to them. Doesn’t mean they are evil or anything like that. Simply 2 different business models. Personally I love Open Source for many reasons. You’ll be hearing more on this later.

What are your favorite open source programs?

I love WordPress, Gimp, Open Office, Firefox, ones I use everyday.

Learning How to Use WordPress

WordPress 101 for Boomers Several years back I realized it’d be quite helpful for a business owner to have their own website. Not necessarily a blog, I thought blogs were online personal diaries, and why would I want my private ramblings public? My own personal website though would be cool.
So I checked into making a website, not knowing anything about websites, hosting services, etc. To make a long story short I fell in love with WordPress.
I had to click on all the buttons, learn what they’re for, down to editing the graphics and layout of a site to make it do whatever I wished. Yet I remember back when I first started and I put WordPress away to learn to build a site because I couldn’t get mine to work right. I spent countless hours, googling directions, etc. to simply change the main logo-like image on my website. Nothing worked. Later I learned it was because my wordpress installation was missing some files.
I learned to talk to my webhost, to ask questions to those who knew much more than I, even if I didn’t know the right words, I searched much online. In the end, putting these things into practice, creating my own WordPress site is how I learned to use WordPress.
WordPress has improved much since then. I’ve learned much too. So I created these free WordPress tutorials for those who’d like to learn how to use WordPress.

  • Not sure how to get started with WordPress?
  • Don’t even know what WordPress is?
  • Do you need a blog. or even a website, but not sure where to start?
  • Someone hack your website?
  • Better yet, learn how to protect your WordPress site from hackers
  • If you’d like to learn WordPress or brush up on your skills, visit my newer site WordPress 101 for Boomers. If you get stuck and have a question, be sure to ask. Someone else may have the same question. See you there!

Adding Photos to Your Blog

Creative Commons License photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani
Three years back I wrote a post about why you shouldn’t grab images from google images and post to your blog.

I love photos, both taking my own, and viewing the work of others. I’m amazed at the talent out there. Love that through flickr we have images we have permission to use through creative commons. (Not all Flickr images, just ones which give permission.)

Yet, it is extra time to find the images, upload them to my post, add proper credits and I’ve been wishing for a plugin to do such, just hadn’t taken the time to search for such before now.

Enter Photo Dropper. You can search for it under add new plugins in your admin panel, install, activate. With you mouse wherever you want to add an image, scroll down, way below where you type in your post and you’ll find photo dropper browse photos. Better yet, click on the photo dropper icon by your other add media buttons.

Type in your keyword, photos pop up, pick one, click on what size you want and it is inserted into your post. Viola! Couldn’t be easier!

Do go to settings after you install your plugin, then photo dropper. Make sure the for commercial use button in checked.

Thank you photo dropper, now if only the photo was uploaded to my media library instead of linking through flickr, so the thumbnails would show up in certain themes which do such.

Free WP Theme Warning

WordPress is a great tool, at least until it is hacked. One reason to keep your sites updated.

WordPress themes are great fun, like a wardrobe for your website, change themes and you change the look and feel of your site. There are premium themes (ones you pay for, and should have customer support to help you with issues) and free themes. Both are OK, but use great care where your themes come from.

You can now upload and add themes from your wordpress admin panel. Those are checked for issues, I’ve not found any not safe to use.

What is sad is when you search online for free wordpress themes, you find many sites, several of which add spammy or malicious code. Adding these themes can even spread the bad stuff to your other themes, blogs. I look at the files before uploading. If I find encrypted looking stuff, I do myself and others a favor, don’t use it.

2 theme sites to avoid: I was wondering if they were just the themes someone sent me or all the themes on their sites. Not finding a theme without malicious encrypted code, I searched online to see if others also found such to be true.

Yep, finding the same issues. Do not use, link to or even visit wordpresstemplates.com See Malicious code in wordpress template. Nor use freewordpressthemesbase.com, see WordPress php injection spam.

Protect your sites, don’t add mal themes to your webhost.

What Happened to My Computer Screen?

A friend was over at my house and I was showing her how to do stuff on her laptop. Suddenly she hit something and she lost her tool bars. Frustrating for her until my youngest daughter calls out “Push f11”. . .

Hard time reading your computer screen? Just push “control +”
Simple stuff. Most of you may know this, this video is for those who don’t.

Next week’s video is for Rosie, long overdue, using Firebug to edit your wordpress themes. Very technical.

Are Free WordPress Themes Really Free?

Are free WordPress themes really free?

Well, that depends. No upfront cost to you, but did the last person to modify the theme add anything nasty to it?

Now I don’t have a problem giving credit to a theme’s designer for their work with a link. I do object when they add some kind of Javascript where they control what links show up at their say so, even if the links are invisible to your average visitor, they aren’t invisible to the search engines.

Even worse is when some kind of spyware code is hidden somewhere in all the theme’s files, code which could say anything, do anything. You have no idea unless you decode what they’ve hidden.

Real life example:


DO NOT DOWNLOAD and use this theme without rewriting the entire footer.php file.

It contains some code which starts with


and continues with a bunch of jumbled up letters and such. What does the code do? I don’t know, I’d have to decode it to find out but since it is code often used by hackers/spyware I don’t want it on any of my websites. So Do Not Download and use this theme as is from http://www.free-wp-themes.com/

In fact, I’d check any of the themes on their site very carefully before using, better yet, not use them at all. I checked out another theme they provide and found the same eval code in that footer too.

WordPress gets better all the time, you can now download free themes inside your wordpress admin panel under appearance. Next time you want a free theme, check out those. I’m not saying everyone that offers free wordpress themes embeds bad stuff into the code. Use caution, use trusted sources. I’d check out themes listed on Smashing Magazine, again, do your due diligence.

Another option is to pay for a premium theme from a trusted source such as the Arthemia Premium theme from Colorlabs and customize it for your needs. Check out WeMagazine for Women as a cool example.

Free isn’t always free. Use caution, use trusted sources.

How Do I Upload Files to My Web Host Using Filezilla?

I remember when I got my first hosting account (a service you pay for, which stores the files which make up your website and serves them to your visitors), and I was at a loss what to do next. I had some files I’d created, the beginnings of a website, but it was confusing to me how to get these files onto my host account, so my site would be live. I needed help, couldn’t understand the tutorials on the host I was using, used words and terms I was unfamiliar with. I was still learning that url meant the line of stuff starting with http that when people click on it, it takes them to that page.

My son, Tim Caswell, helped a lot. He showed me several ways to upload files to my webhost. My favorite way to upload files, especially if large or folders of files such as wordpress, was through a free FTP program call Filezilla. If you’d like your own free copy, click on the link below. Filezilla is open source, where many programmers work together making it better for all. I use IX Web Hosting, if you are using someone else, the files may be organized a little differently.


I realize not all have a gifted son nearby who can show what to do, so I made a quick tutorial using Jing.

Downloading and installing Filezilla

Starting and Using Filezilla

Uploading files to your webshost using Filezilla

Deleting Files Using Filezilla

Filezilla’s Help Pages

Note: If you purchase Filezilla’s Help Pages“>IX WebHosting through my link, they do send me some commission. You are free to use any webhost you wish. If you don’t have a webhost and decide to use IX, I’d appreciate you purchasing from my link to help support the blog.

Yikes! My site has been hacked!

No one wants to wake up in the morning (afternoon, evening or even middle of the night) and find your website now says “Hacked by . . .” or that their sites fail altogether. Worse yet your site may be hacked and you not even know it. There may be hidden links, not visible to you, but they are visible to the search engines. You wonder why google no longer likes your website? All kinds of sneaky tricks.

Tomorrow, Nov. 11 join us on this free conference call to learn what you can do to protect your websites.

Join us this Wednesday at 11 AM EST. for WordPress Security: Covering Your

Join Heidi Caswell of Connect Simply www.ConnectSimply.com and Heidi Richards
Mooney of Women in Ecommerce as they chat about what to do when your WordPress
sites get hacked. They will discuss the importance of upgrading, added security
and more!

To join us for this Complimentary Teleconference call (641) 715-3840
At the prompt enter Participant Access Code: 361467#

See you there!

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Must Have Programs for My Laptop

I’ll add to this list as I reload programs as I use them. This helps me anytime I set up a new computer. You are welcome to use any of these programs if they fill your needs. I advise making your own list as each of us have our own favorites.

  • Firefox is a browser just like IE or Internet Explorer which comes standard on most computers. I, like many prefer Firefox. I do have both on my computer. Some websites such as maybe your bank work only in IE. Other websites work best in Firefox. Once I download and install firefox, I add extentions. Here are some that I use most often, although there are many other cool ones out there:

Restoring System on My Laptop

Grrrrr! I hate it when computers act up. My new laptop has been doing that, hangs up in the browsers, no matter which one I choice. Accessing email and twitter became at times an impossibility. Since it was a new laptop, I called the company to find a fix. Their best option was to save my data and go back to the factory settings.

So I pulled out my external hard drive, backupped my documents, and restored the system.

It is a pain, but better than having things hang up and not run right. That is the easy part. Next is to find the programs I use and add them to my laptop. So I search and download each program and install. I forget how many programs I use. Getting smarter in my old age, I’m creating a list with their download links for future reference. Stay tuned and I’ll share.