The first chapter covers the initial buildout of a plugin that Integrates your instagr.am feed into your WordPress site. I will be releasing one chapter a month for the next 9 months.
Each chapter comes in PDF and eBook format, with a full code download.
As some of you may recall I conceived of this idea many, many months ago and immediately started working on it. Unfortunately life got in the way and it sat abandoned. Well lucky for you I found some time to dust it off and revamp it.
The Importance Of Beauty Regimens A lot of people might think and even outright say that taking care of one's skin, hair eyes, face and everything else in order to maintain one's beauty is nothing but vanity, but it certainly isn’t. Beauty is useful for a lot of things, with the most obvious being the advantage it gives you when dealing with most people. It’s a simple fact that humans tend to treat those who are beautiful with a certain level of preference, regardless of how unfair that might sound. As such, it's a useful tool to take advantage of. So whenever somebody looks for such things as top 10 beauty (/category/beauty-and-sport/) tips and trucks, they might not be doing it for the simple vanity of it. They could just be trying to maintain one of the most useful advantages a person can have in this world.
For a refresher, I have written two books for traditional distribution, but for a tech author there isn’t much money, control or satisfaction down that path. I started thinking of a better way to write my next book, and that is where By The Numbers came from.
Most people spend 50 - 60 dollars on a book that contains only 2 or 3 chapters they actually care about. But since the books are produced in toto, you are forced to pay for content you don’t need. With my By The Numbers books, that problem is addressed.
Each book is released chapter by chapter. Each chapter will set you back $2.99. You only buy the chapters you think are applicable to your situation. Only care about plugins? The chapters covering creating a plugin would set you back $8.97.
Want just the chapters on themeing? $8.97. Want the chapter on caching in WordPress and getting the most out of the functions file in your themes? $5.98.
You aren’t the only person who has bought this book (or chapter), where are these people? Are they running into the same problems you are implementing the code? I wonder if they have the same ideas you do after reading the chapter and working out the code. Wouldn’t you love to have access to them? To the author from time to time?
Of course you would. Each chapter from a By The Numbers book has a corresponding forum that allows you to interact with other readers of the book, as well as the author, as time permits. We are doing this at the same time, why not do it together?
I have been wanting to write another book for a while, but wasn’t excited about working with traditional publishers. I wanted to connect more with my readers, and produce something that was a good value for your money. I think that with the By The Numbers system I can do that.
I am super excited about where this could go. I have 2 other books in the wings that I want to write and release this way, and I am already talking to some other smart people who are interested in it as well. Everything hinges on how well WordPress By The Numbers sells.
Thanks in advance for reading, and sharing your hard earned money with me. Together we can do something radical to an established industry. Its time to start.
As always be respectful or I will nuke you. The homily follows.
Today we remember the healing of the Paralytic. Many homilies have been written on this miracle, most of them focusing on the connection between physical illness and our great enemy sin.
Today, I would like to focus on two aspects of this story, the charge that Jesus gave him afterwords, as they met in the temple and the loneliness of the man.
“See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.”
You see it wasn’t enough that this man was healed by God, he needed to do some follow up work. If you will, he was given a prescription by Christ that he needed to follow for the healing to remain intact.
I think we all can relate to this. We have all gone to the doctor for some sickness or ailment and after we are diagnosed, we are given a prescription to take. This medicine is critical to our successful recovery, our successful healing. How many times have you heard a doctor admonish you to:
“Now take this entire prescription, don’t just take it until you feel better. If you don’t complete the course of this medicine, your sickness is likely to return, and be worse than before.”
I know I have heard this statement more times than I can count. Right now you might be asking yourself what these two things have to do with each other, and more importantly, what this has to do with our lives today.
I am glad you asked! You see, sin is a disease. It infects us after we are brought into this world, and the longer we are in it the worse it becomes. Our Baptism and Chrismation are Holy acts of Healing that enter into our Person and attack sin, this horrible disease, and allow us to move closer to God.
But just like Jesus’ healing of the Paralytic, after our grafting into the Church, we are given a prescription from our Heavenly Father. We are given the most perfect and blessed course of treatment known to man.
Services like Holy Unction are an example of this Holy Medicine. The epistle of St. James tells us of the commission to the presbyters to heal the sick:
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (Jas 5: 13-15)
You see from this passage that the Church has always connected physical healing with spiritual healing, and we as inheritors of this teaching get to live out this truth in the present day.
And where do we find this treatment? In Christ’s Holy Church. The sacraments and services of the church are the course of treatment given to us by God to combat the re- emergence of Sin in our lives, and to lead us to a place of perfect healing and cleansing.
And just like a prescription for antibiotics that you are charged to take until they are gone, the Holy Prescription given to us by our Lord must be taken in whole. No part can be removed without compromising the effectiveness of the entire treatment.
Confession leads to Communion, which leads to Prayer, which leads to Alms Giving, which leads a softening of the heart, which leads to Holiness, which leads us to God.
And just as these sacraments build on one another, and lead us to God, so to do the services.
Great Vespers leads us to the Divine Liturgy, which leads us to Winter Lent, which leads us to Christmas where we meet Our Lord God and Savior face to face, which leads us to Great and Holy Lent, which leads us to His Passion, which Brothers and Sisters, leads us to Salvation.
Christ’s Holy Church is a Hospital. More appropriately, it is like an emergency room, filled with hurting, dying people. We all come here to be healed and saved. But just like an emergency room the Church can be noisy and messy.
Saint John Chrysostom whose Liturgy we celebrate today famously coined the phrase “The Church is a hospital.” Both he and Saint Basil the Great wrote prayers for healing that eventually formed the basis for the Holy Unction service.
Just like an emergency room, the church is where miracles happen and people are saved. That is why we go to the hospital when we are sick, and that is why we come to Christ’s Holy Church. To be healed.
Now, we must speak of the loneliness of the Paralytic. As we are introduced to this man we discover that he has been there a long time, but with no friends to place him in the pool, he could never be healed.
In this story we discover one of the most important lessons the scriptures have to teach, us. We cannot be saved alone. Salvation and healing come in community, when friends are there to lift you up, to carry you, physically as well as emotionally and spiritually, to the pool of Christ’s healing and love.
One of my favorite icons illustrates this concept beautifully. While viewing the “Ladder of Divine Ascent” icon, you see that those who are climbing the ladder to heaven alone, are being pulled down by the demons.
It is only those who are climbing, hand-in-hand, that are able to fight their way to the top. Only together can we hope to overcome Sin, Death and the Devil.
Only together can we climb the ladder to heaven. Only together can we find healing and salvation. Our ascent, and our healing continues today, as we come together as one body to celebrate The Lord’s Supper.
I would like to close with a story.
I had a friend who couldn’t understand why my wife and I converted to Orthodoxy, some 7 years ago. I tried to explain to him all the gifts that the church gives us, gifts that we found we needed.
Confession, communion, holy unction, the cycle of services that order our lives. I spoke to him with more emotion and love than I was aware I had for the Church, at that time. When I was done with my impassioned outburst he simply said to me:
“All those things are great, but they are crutches. You don’t need them, all you need is Jesus.”
I was stunned, offended and at a loss for words. This was a friend whom I loved, opened my home to when he needed it, and he had just insulted something I loved, cherished and felt as though I was saved by.
It was horrible.
It wasn’t until many months later that I realized that he was partially right. These things were crutches. But my God we need them. When you break your leg, you go to the doctor and they put it in a cast, and they send you home with a pair of crutches.
You are given these crutches because until your leg is healed, you cannot stand on your own. If you tried you would fall, and hurt yourself even worse. If you break your arm or collarbone, you are given a sling for your arm. These things are done to help with your healing, since your body cannot do it properly on its own. For us the sacraments and services of the church are exactly the same.
We cannot hope to stand in this world of sin without the help of God, and He has chosen, in His wisdom, to give us crutches, so that we may stand while we are being healed, being made whole. And knowing our own weakness, he has given us each other, so that we might lean on each other when times are the worst. Here in this place, we lift each other up.
Our God is a glorious God of healing and Miracles. He is the Great Physician who heals soul, body and spirit. Let us today begin again our course of healing with a renewed commitment.
Please forgive me if my words have fallen short of their mark, I am but the most sick among you, clinging to God and his healing mercy.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Well my friend, sit down for a spell, and I will enlighten you. On April 21st, 2011 I replied to a very funny tweet from @PepsiThrowback:
Tweet made, I went on my merry way. A day or so later I got a DM from our friends @PepsiThrowback, telling me they thought my tweet to them was rad, and that they wanted to send me something “From the Throwback Vault.”
I quickly sent them my mailing address, assuming I was going to get a t-shirt or something. Then, yesterday after work I found this waiting for me:
Ooooh, that is a pretty big box for a t-shirt. I wonder what could be inside. Hmm, looks like a card:
Oh well that’s nice guys, I think you are totally rad as well. You might actually be bordering on bodacious. Looks like there is something else under this paper. Lets get that out of the way and take a look.
Oh two cans of Pepsi Throwback and… Holy Crap is that GI JOE!?
Holy Balls, it is a set of GI JOE action figures from 2008! That is just ridiculously awesome. Let’s take a closer look.
The only irritating part about this whole thing is now I have to make the decision, do I take them out to play with them with my boy, or keep them mint in the box?
I blame you for my current existential dilemma Pepsi. I blame you. Oh and thanks for the swag, it is truly awesome.
Having to weave a cohesive story together, full of characters that are believable, even when you throw in the fantasy bits is an incredibly difficult challenge.
I am horrible at organizing my thoughts when it comes to writing. My best posts on this site where stream of consciousness, so of course that is how I tried outlining.
I mean, it works for Stephen King.
I quickly found that my normal approach wasn’t going to work in this setting. As it turns out, I am no Stephen King. Funny that. There was just too much to keep in my head at one time.
After some searching around for outlining techniques, I came across “The Snowflake Method”. It is a less than ideal name for an incredibly helpful process.
The basics of this method are quite easy. The author of the above link based the technique on a programming pattern, since he spent many years as a developer.
Although I understand his reasoning, I don’t think it is the most accessible way to explain the over-arching principle of the thing. The way I understand it, you are moving from the most general, abstract place you can start, to the most specific place you can end.
So let’s begin with a word:
That is a good start, but not very interesting. Lets be a bit more specific:
A small potato.
Now that we have a sense of the size of the potato, what else can we expand upon?
A small brown potato.
You can see where I am getting. We move from the most general concept of the potato, until we have a specific understanding of the essence of the potato:
The potato was small, covered in eyes that we in various states of decay. Forgotten in the bowels of the refrigerator, the foul root mass waited, biding its time and planned. Soon a reconing would come. Then that damnable carrot would know who controlled the fate of the people of the icebox. Soon.
Back to writing a novel, you do this with each of your characters. Starting with a one sentence summation of the character, expanding to a more specific paragraph that encapsulates the story of your character, finally ending with a multi-paragraph outline of the path your character will be following during the book.
I think the most helpful piece of this for me has been forcing myself to be concise and specific about the journey a given character takes throughout the story. My main characters trip through the pages is about 10 paragraphs. It summizes, neatly, what will unfold for the reader over around 450 pages.
Once I have all the character journeys written out, the novel has basically written itself. You can easily see where character paths align, run afoul of each other, and need to be adjusted.
Anywhoo, I thought I would share some of my insights/trouble/joys while in the process. Hopefully it will help someone.
On February 4th Andy Rutledge drafted an attack on Frank Chimero and to a lesser extent, Ryan Carson precipitated by what I can only assume is a sudden onset of crabbiness.
I also fancy myself a student of history, human behavior, morality and economics. I have been in business in one form or another for 15 years, and I am an avid member of a number of movements.
I like to think of myself as well rounded. It is from this position that I read Andy’s rhetoric, and find it close-minded, un-informed and generally irritating. I could refute his logic in toto, but I thought I would focus on a few core concepts, that when debunked, destroy his entire argument.
Destroy the foundation, and the entire construct will collapse, as it were.
This is really the biggest one. Shatter this and the entire logical structure is broken. I of course will not put forth the idea that there are endeavors that do not yield profit of some kind. All actions a human being take reward us with profit of some kind.
That is the point though, profit of some kind. There are great many types of profit that are intangible. The example that Andy uses as the basis of his attack is a great one. What if Mr. Chimero’s motivation for this book was simply to have his words published, and put in the hands of as many people as possible?
Tangible profit was never expected, hoped for, or planned for. In fact the opposite was the case. Being a published author myself, I can say that intangible profit was more compelling and rewarding than the tangible profit I received from writing. Add to that the reputation building that occurs from publishing a book, and you begin to see a more positive outcome to his “selling out”.
As another example, not hypothetical at all, I have a good friend who is a musician. He and his brother write and record music and then release it for free. They refuse to sign a record deal, and are actually a little uncomfortable when presented with the possibility of being paid for their work.
They make music for the intangible profit of having their music heard. They want nothing else, and expect nothing else.
There are a great many things I could attack in this section, but I am going to focus in on 2 points:
The presumption, hubris and faithlessness in the ability of man to create that Andy betrays in his assertion is really staggering. There are numerous examples of new models of business being developed all around us.
From Cory Doctorow’s pattern of writing books, releasing them for free, and trusting to his audience to the right thing and buy them, which incidentally, the do in droves, to Gary Vaynerchuck’s championing of paying with social currency, a concept made famous by Doctorow in his Novel “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” we are seeing new models of business spring up.
What exactly makes the concept of mixing these two established business models to create something new? Nothing that I can see, and there are a great many people who agree with me.
So on to Kickstarter. I am really baffled by Andy’s position that Mr. Chimero gave up control of his “genius” by soliciting help from backers via Kickstarter. Kickstarter backers are not investors. They are pledging to support the creation of quality products they would like to own. Nothing more, nothing less.
As Dan Rubin has said, Kickstarter is the PBS business model. My donations to PBS don’t give me any ownership of the programming they create, nor does it give me any input into its production. It merely ensures that I can continue to consume that type of programming.
Backing Mr. Chimero’s book merely ensures that I have the chance to consume the content. If I don’t like it? That is unfortunate, but too bad. Mr. Chimero has no obligation to make me happy, healthy and well adjusted. He only has the obligation to deliver what he promised, in exchange for my financial contribution.
I tend to agree with some of my peers on the twitters, that Andy is once again stirring up trouble for no discernible reason. His points are invalid, short sighted and not very well researched. I didn’t even bring up open source, which is a shining beacon of mixing the two models he maintains cannot be mixed.
Comments open as always, please be civil if you comment!