Contributing to the FamiLAB Blog
- 1 The FamiLAB Blog
The FamiLAB Blog
The FamiLAB blog, located at www.familab.org/blog (also a redirect from www.familab.org) is a Wordpress installation hosted by (get info from Mack)
Why do we have a blog
Technically, it is much more than a blog - it is our entire website (other than this wiki). Most people will visit our blog before visiting the lab itself, so the blog is a good way for us to show the public who we are, what we do, and why we do it. It contains "about us" content, our upcoming classes and events, as well as a more traditional blog with posts highlighting the awesome things that we do. Our blog should also drive awareness that a hackerspace is a good thing.
When to post
There is always something awesome happening at the lab - we should capture it for the blog. Ideally we'd capture pictures or video at every event and create blog posts from them. We should also capture photos & video of our individual and group projects to make sure that we get recognition for our general awesomeness. As long as it is acceptable to share with the general public and fits with our mission, it should end up on the blog. If you need help with photos, videos, writing, post, etc. (or just need an account), people like Ian, Mack, and Bill (add links) are more than willing to help...
How to post
Have someone create a blog account for you by tagging @ops_team on slack or asking in #notboard. Login by going to  and entering your credentials. After that, just look over on the left column and click on Posts>Add New and blog away!
The Arras Theme
We use the Arras theme - we saw it used by AlphaOne Labs and decided to R&D it. To make your posts work properly on Arras, you need to know a few things:
The Arras theme needs a "Featured Image" set for each post to make it look right. Set a 620x300 image as the featured image for your blog post. The bottom 80 (60 now?) pixels are covered with a translucent frame with the first line of your blog text, so think about that when cropping your image. If you can think far enough in advance, take a picture composited REALLY wide for the featured image. Ian leaves the grid on his camera display and composites in only the top half of the grid - this works out pretty well.
The Arras theme has a carousel of images (and corresponding posts) on the main page, followed by a grid of post images, then a list of other posts. Selection of posts into these areas is controlled by Wordpress Categories. There are three FamiLAB categories that drive these:
Main Stories: The 6 most recent (post date / time) posts with the "Main Stories" category checked will appear in the carousel at the top of the blog home page.
Featured Posts: The 18 most recent (post date / time) posts with the "Featured Posts" category checked will appear in the grid of posts in the middle of the blog home page.
Hackerspace: The 10 most recent (post date / time) posts with the "Hackerspace" category checked will appear in the "Headlines" list at the bottom of the blog home page.
Our intent is to have the "Main Stories" contain information promoting our projects, our classes, and our events. Ideally, the Open House blog post would remain in the 6 most recent (either by unchecking others, or by updating the post date on the Open House blog post periodically). We've also discussed creating a blog post for sponsors / donors since we don't have much room for it in the widget area on the side of the site. Think about what a new visitor to the site should see when they get there - that should help guide what goes in main stories. If you've built something cool, and done a great post for it, PLEASE put it in Main Stories. If you were screwing around with the laser cutter and made something fun, then took a dark, blurry photo with a camera phone - don't use "Main Stories" :)
Wordpress allows direct photo uploads, this is recommended for your featured image. If you only have a few pictures for your blog post, then you can upload them this way - please realize that the main frame for the images is only about 620 pixels wide, so uploading your 5mp image is only a waste of your time, and the person viewing the site. Resize those images before uploading them.
Note from Mack: Uploading to Wordpress syncs your images with our CDN which will speed page load times. Please do this for anything on the front page as well as inline images in your post.
Note from Ian: For most stuff that is non-instructional, I upload the featured image to wordpress, everything else is on Picasa - this allows Google+ sharing, tagging, commenting. Then, I paste in the code for a picasa image gallery. If I feel like writing something where I share each step, then I link to the picasa image- picasa allows me to specific the smaller size I want, with it linking back to picasa for the large image. This means fast page loads, and an ability to still get to the full sized image. Most times, I'm hosting the images using my personal picasa account for ease. There is a picasa plug-in for wordpress that I've used on some of my other wordpress installs, we should take a look at it.
Chorca uses Flickr - Im sure you can do all the same things with any of these services.
Embedding a Picasa slideshow
At the ALBUM level, choose "link to this album", then "embed slideshow" - this leads to a popup box...select "extra large 600px"...check captions and autoplay (your call, but why not?)...copy the embed code, and paste into the HTML editor tab for your Wordpress post.
Note from Ian: Youtube videos can be linked in, although our editor likes to get strange with them and sometimes remove them while you are editing / resaving - not sure if this has been fixed in the most recent versions of the editor. I think you have to use the "old embed" code with youtube. (Try this sometime and update this copy)
Do-acracy on the website
Posts are encouraged. If you want to change something major like the look & feel, major formatting, theme, etc. - you should discuss it with others first - please :) Think about the general public when changing the site - the site is more for the public than it is for the members. Also think about whether the wiki would make more sense for the content.
Yes, we have caching turned on.
Google Analytics is enabled, Mack can pull reports
The contact form goes to web at familab dot oh arr gee, which is in turn forwarded to members who have volunteered to respond promptly to web inquiries. If you'd like to help, email us at that address.