Tag Archives: blogging

Google searches

As anyone who reads this blog already knows, I’m addicted to web stats.  I’m fascinated by how people find the blog on the web.  Here’s a selection of my favourite searches used to find the site over the last few days.

On Google,

  • SHOULD YOU EAT MEAT AND POTATO TOGETHER (link) (my favourite)
  • can tooth extraction result in another tooth moving down into space (link)
  • LEGO perception (link)
  • tesco superstore halloween stock (link)
  • cracking a rib when coughing (link)

Theme header images and meta blog entries

I’ve added another header image to the site which I’m quite pleased with (matrix-themed), and I forgot to post when I added the two based on recent photographs I took.  I think the one with the leaf looks amazing even if I say so myself.  Rather than making you hit refresh over and over to see the images (and for those of you on feed readers who don’t see them anyway), I’m linking them here.

This is the original image I did.

This one’s based on the sunset photo’s I took recently.

This one’s a close up of a leaf on our apple tree.

And one based on the Matrix falling letters motif.

I must say, I really am still very impressed with the Mandigo WordPress theme, and the ability to include random header images is only one small part of that.  The last update added a feature I wanted as well, since the entire header image is now clickable as a link back to the main page.

You’ll notice the images above are taller than the ones you see on the site, because I check the option to show a smaller section of the image.  I like the images, but I also like seeing some blog text on the page without having to scroll down!

Spamalike

Got a sudden influx of spam, all of it one line and on random posts.  Looks like a tracking mechanism, so the bot makes a spam comment, and then looks for the tracking ID.  If it shows up, it knows it’s ‘good to go’ with as much spam as it likes.  Askimet stopped 2 out of the 5 and I manually flagged the other 3 as spam.  We’ll see how it goes.  If I end up marking 50 a day as spam I may need to force registrations on comments, we’ll see.

Thanks!

Just a quick thanks to Grete, who proof reads my posts and keeps me on the spelling straight and narrow 🙂 Thank you 🙂  You may notice spelling mistakes that go away a few hours after I post when Grete reads the articles!

She has a user account and can post entries as well, although she’s not felt the need to do so, so far, but if you see anything from her, don’t be surprised.

A month with WordPress

It’s just over a month since I left Blogger and started running my own WordPress site.  I’m not new at hosting sites, I have several (some phpBB, various custom stuff, previous goes at CMS’s) and I’m comfortable with apache and mysql.

Here’s a few random thoughts about WordPress.

  • Easiest, cleanest and best ‘default settings’ install of just about any web-app I’ve installed.  Really impressed with the ease at which it goes on, and how it works out-of-the-box without having to worry about any settings.
  • Solid and robust plugin architecture.  It’s a constant battle when you host your own sites to keep the number of plugins down while still adding some stuff to the site which makes it easier to use.  WordPress handles the plugins really well, I’ve not had any conflict with each other yet and I’ve not had any cause any weird issues.  I’ve added one or two that I think really add some value and I’ve added a few that are just fun stuff for me (like Pull Quotes).  Overall I’m really impressed, and the automatic one click upgrade for plugins rocks.
  • Because WordPress is popular, there are a lot of templates and I was lucky enough to find one which is basically bullet proof and ideal.  I usually have a lot of problems with templates and CMSs, either having to do a lot of customisation or losing out on features because the templates are old.  This isn’t really a WordPress ‘good point’ since it’s the template designer who’s done the hard work, but I guess the popularity and template system in WordPress helps.
  • The actual process of writing posts is pretty easy.  Sometimes I find the editor a bit clumsy, and having to flick between HTML and Visual editing mode for the more complex post styles can be annoying.  The built in media manager seems powerful and I’m probably only just scraping the top of that but it does what I need (allowing me to upload images and then including them in posts without having to FTP them to my hosting provider and work out a URL).  Compared to Blogger it’s far more flexible and powerful.
  • I like the pages feature – I felt it was a major issue that Blogger didn’t provide a built-in method of including non-dated pages/posts.
  • Managing posts / tags and categories is a pain (in 2.6 you have to edit a post to change the category / tags).  I think they’re changing this in 2.7 or later.  But, a simple plugin fixed this for me anyway and made it a lot easier.  Blogger’s tagging / category feature was reasonably limited and although I don’t think I’m benefiting yet fully from WordPress’s tagging / category system it is far more flexible.  I love the tag to category and category to tag feature, which has saved me a lot of work in restructing the posts.
  • Overall page views are down a great deal since leaving Blogger.  This is party because of the (bizarre) popularity of my posts on my thumb pain / tendonitis and party because the site doesn’t rank as highly in Google for other random topics.  Generally, I don’t mind.  This is a personal blog for me to vent and my friends to read, so how highly it ranks on Google isn’t an issue.  I could have spent a lot more time with the redirection from the Blogger blog, sending visitors to specific posts on this site, but I decided it really wasn’t worth it to preserve the people reading about thumb pain.
  • I think i already blogged about the fantastic seamless import of Blogger content into WordPress.  If not, it was fantastic.
  • I like trackbacks.  I like sending pings when I link to another blog.  Part of the reason why I left Blogger was a lack of trackbacks / pings.  If I link to someone’s blog I want them to know it, so they feel like their blog is valuable and being read.  Even if they don’t display the pings / trackbacks on their site, it’s just a nice easy way of letting people know they’re being read.
  • I never did find a plugin that worked as well as the Blogger blogroll one (which shows the last post in an rss feed you choose, for each entry).  Which is a shame.  There are some, but they seem over complex.

Overall, I’m more than pleased with the move.  I feel more in control of how the blog looks (even though I’ve hardly touched the template I’m using) and I have direct and immediate access to the content (I back the mysql database tables up each night).  WordPress itself performs flawlessly, and there aren’t any major features that I wish it had.

Happy Geek

Today I am a happy geek.  I’ve ticked all my boxes.

  • Fantasy Miniatures – check
  • Blogging – check
  • Photography – check
  • Using Picasa to manage photo’s – check
  • Using Picasaweb albums – check

Pretty good day.  We popped into the Games Workshop Warhammer World shop to pick up some paints (white and black) that I’m missing (I can cope with other colours missing, but white and black are pretty essential).  The guy behind the counter was as chatty as they always are in Games Workshop shops, and he was asking what I was painting (I said undead), and if I was looking at getting any other miniatures.  I sort of laughed and said no, I had plenty to keep me going.  He asked what I was interested in, and I had to just say, “I’ve been painting for over 20 years, with some breaks, I’m really not into playing, just painting the miniatures”.

It was a number I plucked out of the air (20 years), but it turns out it was pretty accurate.  Started when I was 14ish, which makes it 23 years.  I’ve probably been painting for longer than the shop assistant has been alive.  When I started painting the miniatures were made out of real lead (probably).

So anyway, didn’t manage to get any painting done this evening but I did end up finding a lot of miniatures I’d forgotten about, and did some web geekery, so yeh, pretty happy.

Rambling update

Made it through to Friday, pretty tired today generally.  Lovely weather outside, bright sunshine, crisp.  Bubbles is out there somewhere baking herself in what are probably the last few days of warm enough sunshine.  She’s got conjunctivitis the poor bugger.  We’ve got some ointment to put on twice a day, she’s been pretty good about it despite the whinging.

Watched Fright Night last night after recording it on Sky+.  Classic movie, how on earth did we find those special effects1 scary?  Not even sure why it’s an 18, I guess some of the more fleshy scenes are the cause of that.  Evan watching stuff like that the experienced is improved with the surround sound, we’re still really pleased with it.

I got sick of paying for a Sky Movies subscription and not watching anything.  It’s because we don’t sit in front of the TV these days unless we’re doing so to watch something we recorded, so I went through the entire week ahead and set 4 movies to record (Clerks II, Fright Night, Deja Vu, American Gangster) and I’m going to try and do that every few days and record anything I’ve not seen or not seen for a while.  Pan’s Labyrinth was on a week or so ago too, so recorded that and not watched it yet, and Hairspray was on Sky Anytime so I’ve ‘recorded’ that for Grete.

Still pleased with the 5.7% HbA1c result.  Found this nice little chart in case you wanted to know more about the test,

HbA1c
Normal/abnormal
Average blood glucose
4-6.5% Normal for those without diabetes 3-8mmol/L
6.5-7.5% Target range for those with diabetes 8-10mmol/L
8-9.5% High 11-14mmol/L
Greater than 9.5% Very high 15 and above

I bought a Marathon bar2 on Wednesday to eat after I got the results, either as a celebration or a commiseration depending on how the results went.  Celebration was a good option.  I never ate a lot of chocolate or sweet stuff before being diagnosed, but I did enjoy a Snickers bar every now and then.  Almost amusingly, they don’t have a totally terrible effect on my blood sugar because of the high fat content, but as you can imagine I’ve had about three since I was diagnosed.

Roleplaying tonight, 4th edition D&D, first time we’ve played (rolled characters up last week), so should be interesting.  Always takes a while to get ‘into’ any campaign, never mind one with a new ruleset so I’m expecting tonight to be pretty slow.

My good friend Simes blogged about some TV he’s been watching.  It certainly feels like the TV schedule has picked up, mostly stuffed with American TV.  The Fringe pilot was cool, the Burn Notice pilot was also interesting and we’ll be watching that to see where it goes.  We’ve got quite a wait for the new series of Criminal Minds sadly, but Bones is back on and is as good as ever (I think).

And I’ll leave you with this,

And I think Pirates would kick both their asses.

  1. special in the loose sense []
  2. yes, yes I know, but I like living in the 80’s []

Blogging about blog blogging

I’ve reduced the number of blog categories down to 9 (Fiction, Games, Health, Internet, Life, Movies, News, Politics, Reviews, Science and Technology), although there’s still a 10th category (Uncategorized) as a hang-over from the blogspot import.  I may shrink that down further if I find the Fiction, Politics and Science ones don’t get used much, and I may add a ‘humour’ one.

Alongside that, I’ve tagged posts which had other categories with new tags, based on the category names.  For new posts they’ll probably get a lot more tags, but it’s a start anyway.  I’ve tried to configure the tag cloud in a useful way without having the text be too big, but I run a pretty small font in browsers usually so it’s not always easy for me to tell how it looks for you guys.

I’ve removed the Twitter sidebar, as expected (self-fulfilling?) I’m not really updating Twitter and not finding myself drawn to read it, so having 8 lines of dead text on the right isn’t useful space.

Postmove reflection

It’s nineteen days since I moved away from Blogspot and onto a self-hosted WordPress install, and I’ve not missed Blogspot one bit.  The move was pretty smooth thanks to the built-in WordPress migration tool thingy.  The hardest part was finding a template I liked which was up-to-date, modern and had all the features I wanted, and I really struck gold with Mandigo.  The old site is slowly falling off google’s index and the new site is starting to show up, so my enlightened wisdom shall soon be available to all to search for.

Now I’m struggling with maybe the greatest dilema of all blogging-kind.  Tags vs Categories.