Essential WordPress Plugins

I currently have installed nine plugins. The experts say you should keep plugins to a minimum for performance reasons, but I consider all nine to be essential.

Here they are, in alphabetic order:

Antispam Bee

This is a simple, undemanding plugin that does what it’s supposed to do.

Graceful Pull-Quotes

For those longer articles, easy to use shortcode.

I’ve recently discovered Perfect Pullquotes, which is more attractive and flexible than Graceful Pull-Quotes, so I’ll be switching over to that soon.

Smart Maintenance Mode

When changing the structure of a […]

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Strange Word 2013 Omission

Until and including Microsoft Office 2010, Word enabled you to retain the Spacing before value in a paragraph style that included a Page break before, typically Heading 1. This enabled you to start a chapter part way down a page. The only requirement was to go to File > Options > Advanced > Layout Options and select Don’t use HTML paragraph autospacing.

In Word 2013, this option was removed, meaning all chapters except the first now start at the top of a page.

The easiest way round this limitation […]

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Permalink is a Strange Creature

I’m told I should use post names in the URLs for this site instead of the default setting of /?p=123. 

Before trying it on a live site, I thought I’d better test it elsewhere first. I have a test site on my PC running in a wamp environment. It was set up with the default permalink. I’ve changed it to /postname/, /%postname%/, and /%category%/%postname%/, and when I click a post title it shows the correct URL in the title bar, but it […]

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Overseas Software Suppliers Still Ripping Us Off

For all the government inquiries into price gouging by overseas software companies, nothing has changed.

I wanted to upgrade Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro today to the newly-announced Version 7. The US price was $45. When I tried to buy the downloaded upgrade, I was directed to the Australian page, where the price was $70, even though at current exchange rates it should be less than $48.50.

There’s no excuse for this. It’s out-and-out price gouging.

I forewent the upgrade.


I later upgraded at what […]

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Removed Banner

While I like WordPress’s Twenty Eleven theme, the amount of space taken up by the banner and header image all but pushed the content off the page. I discovered I could remove the banner simply by going to Appearance -> Header and scrolling to the bottom and deselecting ‘Show header text with your image’.

I modified a header image with my name and tagline, and I’m pleased with the

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Slow Opening of Folders

A problem I’ve had since moving to Windows 8.1 (I skipped 8.0) is that Explorer can take a while to open the folder I click on. It turns out that the problem goes back to the days of the infamous Vista, when Microsoft decided to optimise folders according to their contents. To get round this issue, you need to select the folder, right-click to choose Properties, and click Customise. You will see a dropdown list headed Optimise this folder for:

The options for […]

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Getting to Grips with WordPress

Any new software rewards effort in coming to grips with it, and so it is with WordPress. I’m still getting to know how to find and use its many features.

For a sizeable percentage of bloggers, using blog software straight out of the box provides immediate results, which is as it should be. Being a tech-head, I can’t just do that – I need to tweak and explore and try to present something more sophisticated. Time will tell how successful I […]

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Office Add-ins

I mentioned in my Memory Hogs post that Outlook’s add-ins were giving the CPU a hard time. A similar problem occurred with Excel, in that it took a while to load. Again I deselected the add-ins I don’t use, and the problem went away.

I did the same with Word and PowerPoint, though neither seemed affected, but why load memory with processes if you don’t need

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Memory Hogs

After building my new system I noticed the CPU usage was typically approaching 50% while the system was idle. This was a concern because it generates unnecessary heat which in turn affects the CPU’s life span.

It was easy to identify the culprits: Microsoft Outlook 2013 and TrueImage Sync.

I didn’t need Sync, so I disabled that process. Outlook, though, seemed more problematic. I found the answer by Googling.

The problem wasn’t Outlook per se, but its add-ons.

The problem with add-ons has two […]

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The Elusive Welcome Page

I spent some time trying to figure out how to have a Home page that didn’t display all my posts, as they would be repeats of those on the category pages (e.g. Writing, Software). I also wanted the Home page to be a simple introduction to the site.

I stumbled on the solution by accident.

The first step was to create a page (I called it Welcome) but not to publish it. The next step was to make that page static. And […]

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