blogging

Starting a New Blog

I’m starting a new blog. The domain name, alex-is.com, wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even my second or third. I wanted the domain name to be short and related to me or a hobby of mine. The name was inspired by the status updates you make on Facebook or Twitter. For example, when updating my Facebook status via the iPhone it starts with “Alex”, then you often use a verb such as “is”. Hence alex-is.com.

Transient

Why start a new blog?

I have nothing against my previous blog I had at janella.com. But that domain name was a gift for my wife. Long story short - she disliked her @yahoo.com email address. I thought a personal custom email address would be a great gift. It has been, and continues to be, used more for email than for web content. But I co-opted the website portion for my own purposes.

I blogged there regularly. But I have run into a little writer’s block as of late. I am uncertain of the cause, but I believe part of the problem stems from a revelation I had the other week that I’ve been unknowingly blogging for two. While the posts there were ascribed to myself, I always felt I was speaking for the both of us. This was not necessarily a bad thing, but my wife has never agreed to blog. As far as I know she has no such desire to do so.

I’ve come to this realization not through anything she has said or done, but by simply reflecting on how much I enjoy writing about what I do or have done. As with many unfocused personal blogs, I’ve chosen to write on a variety of subjects, like the movie or television show I just watched, the trip we just took, or how much I hate the neighbor’s barking dog. I chose to be transparent about my daily activities. I don’t believe I ever asked her if she wished to do the same.

When I first realized this, I tried to change the style of how I blogged on janella.com. But I kept hitting a wall. It’s because that site will always be associated with both of us. I came back to the thought of creating a new separate website, under a different banner, in the hopes it would free up this writer’s block. And so, I think starting my own domain name would shrug off the impediment I feel. After all, as I’ve said before, janella.com was a gift for my wife.

Janella.com has been through many iterations over the years, pointing to various types of pages and services. Currently, it’s pointed to all the photos we have taken through the recent years. I think it will remain as such.

What Will I Blog About?

Same subjects as before: news, movies, television, technology, photography, and whatever subjects I care to comment on. I’ll try to stay away from subjects involving family and friends, deciding to keep this part of my life private. But it will be difficult to stay away from that subject, since it is a large and important part my life. I’ll definitely stay away from anything concerning work - that’s one hot potato I’ll always avoid - with the exception of job searching, a subject I’ve written about previously.

I would like to steer clear from reblogging as much as possible. I’d prefer to use my tumblr for this function. But you never know. Reblogged media may creep in. If I reblog, I want to provide some of my own commentary, as opposed to simply republishing material without thought.

Ideally, I would like to make a blog post at least once a week. This desire is a goal. Let’s see how real it turns out to be.

Data Corruption or Compromise?

Damn! Somehow, someway my main blog was compromised. I’m not sure if it was on the server level or if my password was somehow guessed. I don’t think it’s the latter.  I tend to randomly generate my passwords and even I don’t remember them. I’ve reverted was was once the main blog back to Wordpress.com.  If Wordpress.com account becomes compromised, well, that would be a surprise.

Once again I find myself with only a few opportunties to truly blog. And so I’ve decided to revert back to a tumblr account. Newer posts I make will be here.

And So It Begins Anew

I blame the economy.

The web hosting account for janella.com has come up for renewal. Dotable, where the site is hosted, has been a great web host this past year. Their pricing and support have been great. I have nothing bad to say about their company or service. But money is money.

Granted it only cost “x” amount of dollars a year for the account. But “x”, when factored with “y” and “z”, makes hosting a web site an extra expense I can do without. I must consider alternatives to web hosting.

There are many free platforms to blog out there - Wordpress.com, Vox, LiveJournal, MySpace, Facebook, etc. The logical choice would be to go with Wordpress.com. I know Wordpress well, as my blog ran on Wordpress. But I love how Tumblr works. Tumblr is drop dead simple.

Yes, I’ll need to deal with the fears I’ve mentioned in my old blog postings: lack of control of data and loss of data. But I’ll learn to deal with it. I trust in Tumblr. (Now don’t let me down.)

And so it begins anew…here on Tumblr.

Erase and Rewind

The Matrix has been reloaded.  Reason?  No real reason, just sheer boredom.

Anyone who's been reading these pages knows that I've been having a nasty habit lately of changing things around. I'm not sure why I am so scatterbrained about the blog the last couple of years, but I've learned to live with it.

So I've archived the old and started once again from scratch.  I'll post something worth reading some time soon.

What's Up with Wordpress?

For some reason the blog has been acting up lately.  Pages have been loading slowly and posting has been difficult.  The problem does not appear to be the server, as I'm able to access files by FTP and use other portion of the site that are not built using Wordpress fine.

And so I've deployed Movable Type once more. The feeling of generating static HTML pages is starting to appeal to me more and more.  At least the pages appear to be loading faster.  Now I think I'll need to work on modifying this template or creating my own, as I don't like how it's looking from a design standpoint.

Update: Movable Type keeps f-ing up on me.  I installed it for a few days, then for some reason my mt.cgi files are all screwy, not allowing me to post!  Oh well, back to WP.

I Know A Little Bit

OK, I have an idea of what I can write in the future on Janella.com. I have always said of myself, "I know a little bit about a lot of things." I'm a classic example of being a "Jack of all trades, master of none". Unfortunately, I'm not really an expert in any area, but this fact hasn't stopped friends and family asking my advice on a few things.

I'm planning on writing a few entries on subjects I am asked about often. I am going to breakdown the what, where, why and how of the subject. I'll try to make each entry short enough to read within five minutes, so posts won't be too long.

Most of what I learn on a subject is through everyday application, reading, and listening to podcasts. I claim to be no expert, so please don't take what I write as the final answer. I hope you find what I write helpful.

My Fault - I Know What Happened

OK, I figured out how I "screwed the pooch" on the web site. I fracked an upgrade to a new version of Wordpress, not following directions because I thought I knew what I was doing. Clearly, I was incorrect in my assumption.

I do have a month old backup of the web site which I could restore. But I am extremely lazy at this point in time and am seriously thinking of simply just pressing on from here.

I pulled a similar stunt earlier this year, thinking I'd start fresh with the site. But I met with slight resistance to do this and so I relented. But because of my latest action, and the fact that I simply do not wish to dig deep into the vault any longer, I am going to just continue to post from this point on.

OK, enough late night rambling. I'm going to look up a few New York tidbits for our trip later this week, then I'm heading to bed.

Thanks for reading.

Fumbl-log

I'm sure you have noticed another change on ./Janella.com. Yes, I keep fiddling with the look, never satisfied with one layout for too long. Every time I think I have a look I like, I tend to find an aspect that doesn't suit my web site vision.

What is the main vision?

I would like, and hope, that the web site is easy to read and easy to navigate. Some day soon I will probably go back to a splash page for the opening page, similar to Miss Aniela's home page. (I'm sure I could have picked a different example, but she takes such nice photos. Note: some photos might border NSFW items, so click at your own risk.)

For the blog, I was trying the latest version of Movable Type 4. Remember Movable Type?

Back in the day I used Movable Type to run ./Janella.com. Everything was running nice and smooth, but then Six Apart felt like charging for there product. I could still use it without paying, but it simply seemed wrong. In May of 2004, I switched to a free solution which was Wordpress. Wordpress has powered the site for the last three years. I heard there was a new open source version of Movable Type out there and decided to give it a try.

Well, I liked some bits of it and didn't like others.

Things I Liked

The templates provided with Movable Type are nice. They mirror some of the templates provided at Vox which is not surprising since Six Apart owns Vox as well. I especially like the cityscape templates created by .tiff - one of my Vox neighbors. The layouts are clean and easy on the eyes.

Comments

Notice the red "V" icon? Nice touch. Anything that encourages comments and makes it easier is a welcomed feature, especially since BossaNova, Fina, and MJ use either Vox or LiveJournal.

Things I Didn't Like

The install is better than before, but it still takes a little tech knowledge to do. It's not as simple as a Wordpress install - which basically requires you to create the database, upload the files to your web site, access a URL and - poof! Instant blog.

Movable Type is still something like: Upload file into the cgi-bin. Make sure the *.cgi files have the right permissions. Move the mt-static files to a directory and .... Well, it can be a bit to follow. After my fourth install I have it down pretty well.

The Wordpress import of entries into Movable Type wasn't smooth either. There was a bit of formatting problems here and there. I managed to work it out by first installing an old version of Movable Type (3.3), then installing Movable Type 4. A lot of work. I'm sure the final release of version 4 will be easier on tasks such as this.

I didn't enjoy that generating your pages produces multiple static HTML files based on categories, years, months, etc. Why have all these files?

Editing templates, styles, and using widgets isn't as straightforward as it is in Wordpress. I had a tough time creating links in the sidebar, as well as incorporating standalone pages. These things should be easy!

My Final Thoughts

Would I use Movable Type again for the blog?

Yes. Overall it is a nice piece of software, but it has room to improve. It does a good job of handling multiple blogs - if you write on a variety of subjects. But knowing there an alternative that is easy to use and easily has hundreds of different templates, plug-ins and widgets to customize a blog, makes it difficult proposition to change.

My choice is still Wordpress.

Writing Here and There

I think I mentioned a post or two ago that I was starting a new blog.  Yeah, another blog.  This makes a total of three blogs!!!  Well, actually it's more like two.  There is:

  • [weblog] janella.com - The main blog.  I use this to keep family and friends updated on what is going on with life's events.  It also serves as the main method to hear about new photos taken and posted involving those life events.
  • [360].yahoo.com - My work blog.  I write here to keep some friends at work informed of what's happening in my life.  It almost mirrors [weblog] janella.com, so if you read this blog you really don't need to visit here...unless you want to see what my coworkers are writing about.  360 is a beta weblog offered by Yahoo!
  • [LTF] janella.us - The new blog!  A weblog to chronicle my adventures in photography.  We'll adventures is a strong word.  More like stumbling and fumbling through the learning process.

Having a separate blog has helped me focus my thoughts, and allowed me to write more about the task-at-hand. [weblog] gives me the freedom to write about anything, whereas [LTF] allows me to specifically write about taking photos.  I'm not sure if the writing is composed well, but it is the most writing I have done in some time.  Plus you won't need to read about it here - and if you want to read about it you can go [there].  I hope you do take some time to read it over, and feel free to make any comments both encouraging and critical.

Who knows, managing three blogs may become cumbersome - it's not cumbersome at the moment - so it may well change.

Oh well, it's time to go do something.

Later.

Friendster Joins the Blogging Craze

It looks as if [Friendster] has joined the blogging craze! I just did a test blog at http://giron.blogs.friendster.com/my_blog/ It seems simple enough.

The blogging engine is provided by [Six Apart] who also does [TypePad] and recently bought [livejournal.com] It looks like Six Apart is trying to take over all of the blogging community!

  • The deal with Friendster provides them with a very good user base and exposure to revenue
  • TypePad is a pretty successful subscription service
  • livejournal.com is probably not too far behind in becoming (partially probably) a paid service. I think they will probably use livejournal.com more as a test environment, beta testing a few things out on that community then porting those changes over to TypePad and perhaps Friendster, depending on how that deal is structured.

All I have to say is that it's interesting.

blogger

Well, I gave in to the Blog. I wanted to be able to update this portion of the web site from wherever I may be (e.g. work, school, home, Europe ;)) And so I jumped on the Blogger bandwagon. It's actually a pretty cool tool for updating news/journal/diary type stuff. I guess I could also go on a freehand rampage about the state of the world or television or something. I might just do that in the near future. The photography course at De Anza is winding down. One project is due this week and I think the last one next week during finals! I already signed up for Photo 2 which should prove to be interesting. It covers the use of filters, lighting (both flash and spot), different camera types, and other projects that stretch the mechanical side of photography. Now I need to work on seeing the image, which I think is a big weak point of mine. We'll see what my final grade is in a couple of weeks. For now that's it.