Posts Tagged howto

How to disallow comments for old blog posts – in bulk

WordPress has a single ON/OFF switch to enable and disable comments on all posts in a blog. But what if you want to turn off comments on just a few blogs, or all blogs older than 1 year old, for instance? Is there no alternative to editing each blog one at a time and turning off the comments? Yes, there is. Here is how.

In your WordPress administration, click on “All Posts”.  If you have 20 or fewer posts, they will be listed on one page. If you have more than 20 posts, they will be spread over several pages. I have 3o pages, and I wanted to switch off comments on all posts older than 6 months. So I clicked to the last page with the oldest blog posts. Then,

2014-04-20 19-38-18Click on the downward-pointing triangle next to the words “Bulk Action” and choose “Edit”.

2014-04-20 19-39-29Next, underneath the word “Edit” you’ll see the word “Title” with a checkbox next to it. Click the checkbox and all the checkboxes to the left of the title of all the posts listed on that page will also be checked. If you don’t want to edit all the posts, just unclick the ones you don’t want edited.












2014-04-20 19-40-09Now click the word “Apply”, next to the “Edit” window. You will see a new small window appear at the top of all the blog posts which will list them all in miniature, together with a bunch of options (see the next graphic below).



2014-04-20 19-43-29(Click the image to see a larger, clearer version.)

You can make bulk edits to several different elements. I wanted to just edit the comments options, so I clicked on the downward-pointing triangle next to “Comments” and chose “Do not allow”, like this:

2014-04-20 19-43-29Then click the big red button named “Update” and hey presto! All the blog posts listed on that page should now have had their comments disabled. If there were any comments on any of those pages, they won’t be affected. They should still all be there. It’s just that from now on nobody can write a new comment on those posts.

As I had about 25 pages of old posts I wanted to disable the comments on, this took me quite a while, but it was still a damn sight quicker than fixing each post one by one!


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Getting your Kindle book notes into Evernote

Do you read books on Kindle or a Kindle app on an iPad or similar device? Do you want to make notes or highlight passages in your ebooks but don’t know how? Would you like to have access to all your notes and highlighted passages even when you don’t have your Kindle or iPad with you? Would you like to do this but don’t have an account, or you buy your ebooks from some other store than Would you like to share your notes and highlights with others? Would you like to transport all your notes and highlights into Evernote? If your answer to any or all of the above is ‘yes’ then read on.

In this post, I show you how I, a Japan resident who purchases most of his Kindle books on Amazon Japan (not, I don’t have an account there)  get my book notes and highlights made on my iPad’s Kindle app into Evernote. It’s a non-geeky (no coding required), unoriginal solution that makes use of free automation services and apps: Evernote, Kindle app for iPad, Twitter, IFTTT.

(This is for Kindles or Kindle apps only; I’m still figuring out how to do the same thing for notes/hightlights created in iBooks. Here’s a video on how to share notes and highlights in the iBooks app.)

Why bother?

Why would you want your Kindle notes in Evernote? As you’ll see below, notes and highlights made on a Kindle or Kindle app are automatically stored on your Amazon Kindle page. So why bother transferring them? You can edit them, sort them by book or by date, delete them, all on your Amazon Kindle page. Well, I like to have as much of my work- and research-related info as possible under one roof, not scattered across different programs or devices. Also, with Evernote’s offline notebooks capacity, I can access and edit my book notes in Evernote even without Internet access. If those considerations are not important to you, then you can stop reading right here. If you’d like to know more about your Amazon Kindle page, read Michael Hyatt’s post: How to Get Your Kindle Highlights into Evernote.

Evernote ambassador and SF writer Jamie Rubin has a geeky and long-assed post on how he gets his Kindle book notes and highlights into Evernote AUTOMATICALLY, but it requires knowledge of snakes and anyway it only works for notes taken on a Kindle device. If you take notes on, say, the Kindle App on your iPad, you’re out of luck. There is an app called Snippefy, which seems to do exactly what Rubin and I want, but unfortunately it’s not available for Apple Japan.

Michael Hyatt’s post: How to Get Your Kindle Highlights into Evernote, is good, but it involves manually transferring each highlight/note from your Amazon Kindle page to Evernote. This article gives a very good overview of Amazon’s Kindle page. I recommend it. For best results, and if you don’t mind not sharing your notes on Twitter, the simplest solution may be to wait until you finish reading your book and making all your notes and highlights, then going to your Amazon Kindle page, selecting all the notes for that book and copying and pasting those suckers into an Evernote. You have to do this manually, tho. Or perhaps Snippefy will do the job. Unfortunately, I cannot test it out.

Once set up (explained below), and assuming I’m reading a book on my iPad’s Kindle app, theree are just 4  manual steps, all done within the Kindle app (see below for details). Read the rest of this entry »

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Great free gradebook Excel template for teachers

gradebook template

gradebook template

Are you a teacher? Do you use Excel spreadsheets? Do you use an Excel template? Do you use an online or digital gradebook template?

Like most teachers around Japan, I’m marking exam papers and calculating my final grades.

In the past, I used, which was quite good, but is now defunct.  I’ve tried other gradebook templates over the years, but I never found one that I could customize the way I wanted to.

Instead, I used plain ol’ Excel spreadsheets. I use a few basic formulas, but nothing too sophisticated. I certainly didn’t try creating my own Excel template or gradebook template. So I was impressed to find this free Excel gradebook template on the web.

This free Excel gradebook template does useful things like

  • allow you to assign different weights to different activities and sets of grades;
  • allow you to excuse certain students’ assignments;
  • set which assignments are part of the final grade;
  • has a column for extra credit;
  • turns the final grade into a letter grade, using a complicated “IF” and “INDEX” and “MATCH” formula. (I tried adapting it so that it would do the reverse – give me a percentage for a letter grade, but I failed miserably).

Perhaps you’ve already finished your grading, but bookmark the site anyway. It might come in handy next semester. Plus, the site has a ton of other free Excel templates, too.

Here are a few other neat things to make Excel do, using formulas rather than templates:

  • how to make it easier to read and tell apart a long-assed row of columns by colouring every other column
  • how to count certain words – in my case how to count all the “shusseki 出席” (present) and / or chikoku 遅刻 (tardy) for each student. Atetndance is recorded digitally online, but includes not only “present” but also “tardy” and “absent”. This formula automates the process.
  • how to sort rows randomly – great for creating randomly sorted lists of students for test purposes, for instance.
  • And here’s a plugin for MSWord that lets you easily created all kinds of text puzzles and activities – Zarb.

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How To Choose A Scanner – YouTube

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Brooks Duncan of has a short video on the key factors to consider when choosing a scanner. Brooks Duncan is author of the Paperless Document Organization Guide, a series of detailed, multimedia guides on going paperless. Check it out (buy it from here and I get a commission).

If you’re interested in going paperless but have not yet taken the plunge, I recommend first subscribing to his free 7-part email course on going paperless. You can sign up for it at

Need some help deciding which scanner to get? Here are 5 key factors to look at when deciding.

via How To Choose A Scanner – YouTube.

Brooks recommends the Fujitsu ScanSnap. If you have this already, you might be interested in this video in which Brooks shows how to use ScanSnap’s software to distribute multiple documents by keywords.

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The “Where the Hell is My Wallet” Hack | Bridging the Nerd Gap

I’ve been using Evernote more than, ahem, ever recently:

  • first, I discovered how it can help me go paperless (thanks to Brooks Duncan’s excellent advice on DocumentSnap – if you’re serious about paperless, do consider getting his Paperless Document Organization Guide);
  • next, I came across Daniel Gold’s “Unofficial Guide to capturing everything & GTD” which reminded me of ways to use Evernote for Getting Things Done, and also gave me tons of neat tips on tagging and searching and how you don’t actually need 52 Notebooks;
  • and finally I updated to version 2 of Brett Kelly’s definitive Evernote guide just to brush up on the basics as well as learn just what the heck is parent/child tagging (a fun game for all the family).

Going paperless is exciting, but it’s also more involved and less intuitive than I’d thought, so I’m grateful to the above guys for paving the way and leaving clues scattered on the info highway.

And this just in from Brett’s blog: some good advice on how to be prepared for when your wallet gets stolen. It just happens to involve Evernote, but that’s not compulsory.

Brett’s not only a fine writer and Evernote expert, but he’s also got a pretty darn good imagination, to be able to put himself in the shoes of some idiot who’s stupid enough to not keep important information together in one place, so that much valuable time is wasted when emergency strikes.

Even the most vigilant among us will occasionally, say, leave our freaking wallets on the table at the restaurant because the kids were losing their minds and getting the hell out of quickly became priority numero uno. Hypothetically, of course.

Losing your wallet doesn’t just mean you’re out whatever dough was inside; you’re also about to make several lovely phone calls to credit card companies asking them to kindly cancel the crap out of your Visa Gold before some jackass decides to use it to fill up his gas tank and the gas tanks of his 20 closest friends.

via The “Where the Hell is My Wallet” Hack | Bridging the Nerd Gap.

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Using a Kindle in Japan

I’ve finally figured out how to purchase and download Kindle editions of books onto my Kindle.  It’s not straight forward because I don’t have an account and I live in Japan. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create an account (I have an Amazon UK account and was able to register with that; Amazon Japan accounts are not recognized by Kindle/
  2. On your PC, go to and log in.
  3. Find the book you want (tip: add the word “kindle” to the book title in the search box; or select “Kindle Store” from the search-box drop-down menu).
  4. (Doing the above “kindle” search – step 3 – on Amazon UK brought up the following message: “Kindle titles for your country are not available at
    Please shop for Kindle titles at “)
  5. Select “alternative formats” if it doesnt automatically appear (it should be in the next section down, below the photo of the book cover)
  6. If there is a Kindle version, it will be listed.
  7. If you’re logged in, on the right-hand side of the Amazon window, where the “Add to Cart” button is, you should see the following:
    Add to Cart (or Buy now with 1-click)
    Deliver to:
    (followed by the name of your Kindle gadget. This is listed in the Settings of your Kindle and is created automatically when you register your Kindle)

  8. Click “Add to Cart” or “Buy now with 1-click” if you’ve got 1-click switched on, and the book you’ve selected will be downloaded to your Kindle. I have a Wifi-only Kindle, so the book was automatically downloaded the next time I moved my Kindle within the range of my Wifi network.
  9. You can also download the book to your PC and transfer it to your Kindle later. Here’s the help message from Amazon: “If you are outside a 3G wireless coverage area and cannot connect to Wi-Fi, select Transfer via Computer from the Deliver to menu when buying. You can then download the Kindle Edition to your computer and transfer to your USB connected Kindle. “
  10. Voila!
  11. Is Kindle cheaper than buying a physical book? I just checked with 2 books and found that the Kindle version is 72% of the hardback price, but (in 1 case) double the paperback price. In another case, the Kindle version was just 20 cents cheaper than the mass paperback version.

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Great example of a simple, professional, free “howto” video that will attract customers

Surfing YouTube for videos that would teach me how to create an eBook, I came across this one, and was impressed. It’s a very good example of a good, helpful, video that attracts customers. It’s simple, yet professional. Using free technology anyone could make a video like this.

Just because I found her video useful as well as enjoyable (her narrative sounds natural, not scripted, tho it probably is up to a point, and she keeps to the point, and illustrates everything she talks about), I visited her website. To make it even easier for me to do that, about 10 seconds into her video, she has a pop-up which says, “Subscribe to my blog Link in the description”, which means she’s also put the link into the description part of her YouTube video so you can simply click on the link and go right to her website, instead of typing the address into your browser (can you make clickable links in a YouTube video? Maybe not yet).

Here it is.

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After watching, and leaving a comment, I clicked on the link she provided and visited her blog. There I watched another video that also had something of value: “I’ve found a way to make teaching profitable (online)”. What she’s saying, tho, is that, the key motivation for her videos and website is that she likes to teach, something she’s been doing since she was a child apparently. Teaching, helping others, providing simple, effective and inexpensive guidance on specific topics, is what has led to her business success. That’s a good reminder of a basic business principle. In these days when everyone and his brothers and his sisters, and his cousins and his aunts is trying to make money in the Internet, and when most people don’t succeed at it, that is no small accomplishment.

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Well, her website is proving to be quite a treasure-trove: I just found this video demonstrating artisteer, a blogging theme/design software that I’d heard about, but watching Lisa demonstrate it I saw why it was good and why I wish I had bought this instead of the frugal theme I bought a couple of years ago. This is drag-and-drop design for dummies (like me)!

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How academics waste time, and how the Internet can help

A student just came to my office and asked about the history of the word “gentleman” – did I have a good definition?

I assumed that he had looked up the word in a number of dictionaries (I checked, he said he had). I recalled reading something about the history of the word recently. It was by C.S. Lewis, but I could not remember where I’d seen it. I have a number of C.S. Lewis books on my shelf,

cs lewis bookshelf

and I quickly began to scan through them trying to recall where I’d read it. I wasted about 5 minutes on this before doing what I should have done to start with and google “C.S. Lewis + gentleman”. There it was: top of the heap.

The blogger gave the source as “Mere Christianity”.

The Complete C.S. Lewis

Complete C.S. Lewis

Well that book is on my shelf. And for an academic, merely quoting the book is insufficient. I want to know which line of which page it’s on. I want to find that section in my own copy of “Mere Christianity”.

So I started scanning through my own copy of “Mere Christianity”. This is not a short book. In fact, it’s a collection of talks, 4 series of 10 talks each, collected into 4 books with each talk being one chapter. Couldn’t find it anywhere. By now, this was really bugging me: where the heck is this passage from? Might the blogger be mistaken? Might it be from another book, and not from “Mere Christianity” at all?

There are people like this: they just can’t rest until they have nailed that quotation or passage: the line, the page, the book, the year published, etc. For academics, it’s a valuable tendency, but it can be expensive time-wise.

Fortunately, there’s the Internet and Google. I could have saved myself 30 minutes of fruitless thumbing through a book if I’d just clicked on the second link in my search results. This is to a website which hosts the entire text of “Mere Christianity” online. Type “gentleman” into the “search in this page” box and bingo! The passage I’m looking for is right there in the preface (no wonder I didn’t find it). Total time taken, barely a minute.

1:30. You do the math.

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Thank God (and capitalism) for the Internet

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Have had an iPod nano for about a year but only recently started playing with the built-in video camera. When I plugged in my iPod to my PC, I couldn’t see the videos I’d taken with the camera. After fiddling about for 15 minutes or so with iTunes’ useless help files, I did what I should have done at the outset, and just Googled iPod nano video camera edit.

How to transfer iPod nano recorded video to computer

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How to eat sushi

For those who don’t know.

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