Web 2.0 – Odiogo on WordPress (self-hosted)

Late last week, I had found out about Odiogo which changes your blog text to speech (see my post on 8/11/2007) and had tried adding it to my blogs. At the time, I had a Google Blogger blog and a WordPress blog hosted on WordPress.com.

It worked just fine adding it to my Google Blogger blog, but it turns out there is no way to add it to a WordPress.com hosted blog. This was a big black mark against WordPress.com blogs in my opinion.

Since then, we have set up our own domain and I created a subdomain of my own (clear.bluedei.com) and set up my own WordPress blog on there and supposedly, it was possible to use Odiogo on a self-hosted WordPress blog so I created my feed and submitted my request to Odiogo and waited impatiently for my confirmation email to arrive from them.

It came this afternoon, so I then tried setting up Odiogo on my new blog. It was amazingly easy! I just downloaded the plugin from the link in the confirmation email, ftp’ed it to my wp-content/plugins subdirectory on my subdomain and set it up on my blog. Now I have an odiogo feed button on my sidebar so people can subscribe to my audio feed and each time I create a post, the odiogo ‘listen now’ button is automatically added to my post.

Here are the actual instructions that were very clear and easy to follow.

1. Download the plugin

2. Upload directory odiogo_listen_button to your /wp-content/plugins/ directory via FTP

3. Login to your WordPress admin account and activate the Odiogo Listen Button plugin through the Plugins menu

4. Click Menu Options > Odiogo Listen Button

5. Enter your Odiogo Feed ID and click Save
Your Odiogo Feed ID is xxxxx.

6. Click menu Presentation > Widgets (or Sidebar Widgets depending on your WP version)

7. Drag and drop Odiogo Subscribe Button from Available Widgets to Sidebar

8. Click Save Changes

Here is a link to the Odiogo FAQ page. I noticed that people have been trying to find out why their feeds were being cut off before they were done.  You can find the answer on this FAQ page by looking under “How do I activate RSS full text option on…” and they have one for Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.

It is really a neat and useful tool and I’m very glad I can add it to my new blog.

~Susan Mellott

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Picking a Web Hosting Company for our Site and Blogs

We had decided that we wanted to go with a web hosting company so we could set up our own site. I did some research and here is what we decided.

We went with Inmotion Hosting. I did some research and they looked like they had very good uptime and support and the features we wanted, at a reasonable price. We pay $9.95 a month and got a free domain (with the 12-month package). If you get the 24 month package, it is $8.95 a month. I picked it especially because it is supposed to have very good customer service and it had a decent package (Power Business class – the middle business class plan) for a decent price.

Another company I considered was Host Gator. It was also supposed to be good. It was about the same price for similar features. And LunarPages got excellent reviews but had less plans. Actually, I probably would have gone with Blue Host instead, had I found it earlier. When I went to WordPress.org to set up WordPress on my site, they recommended it and it looks good and is cheaper. What I particularly liked about it was that they had an active developers forum where members helped each other.

CPanel is really a nice tool to manage your site and Fantastico is an easy way to install things (like WordPress). Subdomains are where you can add something to the front of your domain name, like I created clear.bluedei.com for my blog and Sean is thinking about deep.bluedei.com for his. You could also set up say support.bluedei.com or store.bluedei.com. Ours allows 50 mySQL databases. Some have less and some have unlimited. It appears that when something is installed through fantastico, it takes a database so it is good to have plenty (or at least more than you think you need).

Also, the web hosting companies have different servers that they can put you on and if you plan to do development or leading edge stuff, be sure to ask for one with the latest versions installed (like php or mySQL) since not all of them do.

You can do a search on: web hosting reviews, to get sites with ratings, reviews and overviews of the different web hosting companies. And here is a link to a blog post on MySitesAdvisor called Review of 3 Reliable Web Hosts that looks at 3 web hosts that they like. Blue Host was also on their list. They also have a post on 5 Keys to Choosing a Better Web Host that has a lot of good information in general on what to look for in a Web Hosting service.

We are in the process of setting up our own site at bluedei.com. We haven’t done the front web page yet, but I have set up a subdomain clear.bluedei.com and installed WordPress there and copied my posts over and am working on getting it set up. You can take a look if you want, but it is still a work in progress as I figure out themes and plug-ins and whatnot. I will do another post about the difference between WordPress hosted by them at wordpress.com and WordPress that you host on your own domain.

But this is the first step to having our own site.

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – Convert your post texts to speech with Odiogo!

I was looking at a Blog called Just Giblets and I noticed a widget at the top of each of their posts that said “listen now”. So I clicked on it and it read the entire post by converting the text to speech! I tried other posts and it did the same for every post. And as I was going down their posts, I found one called “Do you notice anything different?” that explained more about Odiogo.

So I went to the Odiogo website and started looking at how I could add it my own posts. As it turned out, I ran into yet another limitation of WordPress (hosted on wordpress.com). It does not allow you to use this feature since it restricts some of the things Odiogo needs to use. So I re-signed up with Odiogo for my Google Blogger blog instead. After I got the confirmation email (it takes about a day), I followed the instructions, which required me to do nothing more than click a couple of links and buttons and voila! Each of my blogger posts had a “listen now” button. I didn’t even have to add it to each post, it is automatically added for me. Here is how it looked when I clicked on the listen now button. It is in the process of reading the post.
odiogo posts

As you can see, there are other formats you can also listen and download the post as. Odiogo also creates an audio feed stream that you can access from the blog using this button:

odigo feed

This takes you to this page where you can sign up for the audio feed of the posts using various feed readers, or can just listen to them from the page.

We are in the process of converting over to our own hosted site and I will transfer my WordPress blog there, which should allow me to add this to that blog (although not as easily as you can add it to a Blogger blog).

They also market it as a way to create podcasts easily by just writing your text and then converting it to audio. That is interesting but I’m not sure how much easier it is than just reading and recording it and that way you also have a human voice rather than a digital voice. But I didn’t really look into that much from their site and I’m sure they have a lot of other good uses for it. You can go here to learn more about their mainstream media, or here to learn more about adding it to blogs.

It is free to add to your blog and for some people, may generate revenue. I’m not sure what they are referring to by “ad income”, I have not really noticed any ads except for saying it is from odiogo. But in any case, it is free. This is what the site says “Not only is Odiogo free, it may be able to generate advertising revenues. Once your listenership reaches a significant level, you may qualify for a share of ad income! More technical details about the solution can be found here and in our FAQ. So what are you waiting for? Give your blog voice, and legs, now! ”

Since I could not add this to WordPress, you can see this in action at my Google Blogger Blog “Along the Path to 2.0“. On the some the earliest posts, when you click the listen now button, it says “Sorry, this article is not available yet.”, but most all of them are available now.

Here is a link to the Odiogo FAQ page. I noticed that people have been trying to find out why their feeds were being cut off before they were done.  You can find the answer on this FAQ page by looking under “How do I activate RSS full text option on…” and they have one for Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.

I have friends and family with low vision and this seems like a wonderful addition to a blog to make it more accessible. And I believe that this is something that needs to be considered as Web 2.0 apps are being developed. Part of the concept of Web 2.0 is inclusiveness and being accessible and this shows how easily you can enhance your blogs to make them easier to access for everyone.

I hope this sparks your interest and helps people think about creating and looking for Web 2.0 applications that help make it accessible by everyone.

~Susan Mellott

Learning 2.0 – Library Genius 2.0 T-Shirts!

Check out these Library Genius 2.0 T-shirts for the Allen County Public Library Learning 2.0 program, found on this post from the ACPL’s Innovation Through Technology Blog. Kay Gregg designed these shirts and all the icons associated with each Learning 2.0 course completed! They will be used to kick-off the ACPL Digital Collaborative’s Learning 2.0 presentation. Here is Kay modeling one of the new t-shirts:

Look at this post from ACPL’s IT blog on Library 2.0 Bling for a closeup of each icon. and here is a picture of the Learning Video 2.0 button.

For more information on the ACPL’s Learning 2.0, check out these posts from the ACPL Innovation Through Technology blog. And for what ACPL’s Digital Collaborative is creating for Learning 2.0, check out the ACPL DC Wiki’s21 Things“. Click on the links to see what each person has created. This wiki is a working wiki for the Digital Collaborative and is constantly being updated.

I want to be a Library Genius 2.0!

~Susan Mellott

Harry Potter 2.0 – Sims Snape Teaches Slytherins to Dance

I was looking for episodes on the internet of some TV shows for my sister and was having a hard time finding “So You Think You Can Dance” (which apparently Fox does not put on their website). But I looked for anything on YouTube and found Snape teaches Slytherins to dance. It is excellent and was created using the game Sims 2.

And fourth-rose has also written a story that goes with the video, in which Professor Snape, in order to make sure Slytherin doesn’t make fools of themselves at the upcoming Yule Ball, teaches them to dance. It is absolutely hilarious and well worth the read.

Looking around, I found that people were writing additional Harry Potter stories using Sims to illustrate them. Here is a page of Sims outtakes from a chapter of one of those stories by CloudlessNights. You can find her work by checking out her tags and links, like Harry Potter starring The Sims: Book 1 – The Philosophers Stone and Book 2 – Chamber of Secrets.

She also has a great series called the Timeturner Incident written by the Sims. As she says in episode 1: “Please bear in mind that visiting sims can’t be controlled, so whatever they did, they did it all on their own accord. I was only watching in shock, awe and amusement, and taking a lot of pictures ;-)”

And check out the Harry Potter Sim Videos on YouTube. The assortment of creative ideas is outstanding. And there is an outstanding series of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with voice actors and everything. Here is chapter 1 (he has disabled embedding the video). These were created starting in October of 2005. It is interesting to compare to the movie.

And of course, if you just search on Sims2, you end up with a ton of fun videos. Who would have thought people could be so creative with this new medium?

Enjoy.

~Susan Mellott

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