A Useful Plug-in + Bonus Talk About School

Here is a link to the Jetpack plugin I mentioned in the podcast and a list of features. I don’t use all of them, but I use most.

What features does it have?

  • WordPress.com Stats: Simple, concise site stats with no additional load on your server.
  • Comments: enables your visitors to use WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook accounts when commenting on your site.
  • Subscriptions: Allow users to subscribe to your posts and comments to receive a notification via email.
  • Contact Form: Easily insert a contact form any where on your site.
  • Sharing: The most super duper sharing tool on the interwebs. Share content with Facebook, Twitter, and many more.
  • Spelling and Grammar: Improve your spelling, style, and grammar with the After the Deadline Proofreading service.
  • Gravatar Hovercards: Show a pop-up business card of your users’ gravatar profiles in comments.
  • Shortcode Embeds: Easily embed videos and more from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.
  • WP.me Shortlinks: Enable WP.me-powered shortlinks for all of your Posts and Pages for easier sharing.
  • Beautiful Math: Mark up your posts with the markup language, perfect for complex mathematical equations and other über-geekery.
  • Extra Sidebar Widgets: Easily add images, Twitter updates, and your site’s RSS links to your theme’s sidebar.
  • Enhanced Distribution: Share your public posts and comments to search engines and other services in real-time.
  • Custom CSS: Customize the appearance of your site using CSS but without modifying your theme.

Some of these features use the powerful WordPress.com cloud, others are popular features provided for the convenience of not having to install and manage several separate plugin installations.

Private Versus Public School

During the second part of the podcast I share some thoughts about my children and their move from private school into the public school system.

Overall it has been a smooth transition. Since I have children in both elementary and middle school I can speak with some authority about what I have observed.

There is a definite and distinct difference in access to resources. That is not surprising, disheartening in some ways, but not surprising.

More importantly I can say I am quite pleased with the quality of the teachers. My kids are still receiving an excellent education, but there are adjustments.

The public school teachers aren’t as accessible. It is frustrating. I am not the parent that constantly chases or tries to speak with teachers, but when I reach out I expect to receive an answer or at least be acknowledged in a timely basis. That hasn’t been as good as it could be.

My son put his heart and soul into a project this week and was devastated because he bombed it.

What I want to figure out is why it happened. He had all A’s and one B’ on his 10 week report card so I can’t say he isn’t keeping up. Nor am I going to say he is well ahead because I don’t see that either.

So I am waiting for a response from the teacher so that we can figure out who was responsible for this.

It is possible my kid blew it on all accounts, but I won’t point the finger until I know for certain.

Meanwhile I made a promise to myself to be in bed by midnight so this post ends right here.