ITS Spotlight Article

A Georgia native, Ezra graduated from Valdosta State University (VSU) with a BS in Psychology. While an undergraduate student, he worked at VSU’s Odum library until his last term when the Information Technology department hired him as a Cooperative Education student for the Campus Webmaster. Writing code and solving problems banished his thoughts of a career sitting at a reference desk and finding sources for other students’ papers. To retain Ezra as an employee, VSU’s IT department created a new position and eventually made him the Campus Webmaster. The role expanded from just managing servers and pages for the WWW web site and a few custom web applications to including the online class system, portal, 75 department web sites, and oversight of three students.

In March 2006, Ezra joined ITS to become the newest of three database and middleware administrators for GeorgiaVIEW. This program provides a platform for online classes to most USG institutions. In just under five years, GeorgiaVIEW has grown from 5,523 (spring 2006) to 34,581 (fall 2010) active sections, from two production clusters/databases to 10, and from about 40 web servers to 140. The technical support Ezra, Amy Edwards, and George Hernandez provide prevents cascading meltdowns. Sometimes students and their faculty never experience the problems. Ezra believes that this makes all the 4:00 a.m. false alarms worth it. Amy adds that “Ezra is committed to working for the common ITS goal of providing a quality online learning environment for our USG campuses” and quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower to sum up how she feels about working with Ezra: “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.”

When not working, Ezra pursues several interests. In February 2010, he traveled to Haifa, Israel for pilgrimage to the holy places of the Bahá’í Faith. Just after joining ITS, Ezra bought a dSLR camera and is currently involved with social photography clubs. His favorite subject so far is the Eastern Box Turtle at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Also, Ezra has been writing a blog for more than a decade, “Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric.”

WordPress+Facebook

Since I cannot use Facebook Apps over HTTPS, that put a wrinkle over using the NetworkedBlogs app. Because one had to go to their apps.facebook.com to do more than look at a post (goes to networkedblogs.com which shows my site in a frame) or view the app profile, I decided to ditch it. I decided to look for another way to facilitate the integration. I’m used to Twitter Tools which just posts to Twitter. I thought there should be an equivalent for my blog posts to end up as a Facebook link post (not as a Note).

So I started searching on WordPress for possible plugins. Many were out of date. Many were for functionality not useful to me. Eventually I started searching through Google which muddied the waters even more by giving me much older plugins.

  • Simple Facebook Connect required me to publish to WordPress then go back and hit a button to publish to Facebook. Lame.
  • Facebook Comments for WordPress pretty cool if all I wanted was comments. Really I wanted the posts to show up in my profile more.
  • WPBook sets the URL for each post to go through apps.facebook.com.

Wordbooker finally did what I want… It creates a post in my newsfeed for my blog which uses a link to my blog. I manage it through WordPress not Facebook apps.

I could be happy now. (Until I next get annoyed.)